Diana Christmas

Diana Christmas, a noir novel published, copyright and written by F. R. Jameson.

Briefly, this is the story of a still ravishingly beautiful former British actress who walked away from her rapidly ascending career twenty years before and of the naïve young reporter who attempts to help her to return. Michael Mallory, the young issue of a late marriage between small town school teachers has been coddled by his mother from birth, but now has decided to expand his life. He moves to London, gains a job at the Classic Cinema Monthly which reports on Cinemas and stars who performed in these ‘Oldies’. Since the journalist assigned to interview Diana is drunk at the time, Michael is given the assignment. Shortly after arriving, he finds himself in bed with her and quite quickly hopelessly in love. Gradually he learns the cause of her unanticipated withdrawal and that the perpetrators of the cause still exist and occupy seemingly prominent positions. Totally enamored and not aware of his naiveté, he decides to rectify the situation and be able, as her hero, to return to his blissful situation. From this moment forward, the story evolves into the noir tale promised with the young journalist being severely beaten, hospitalized and returning to mother, while the lovely Diana and her still prominent acquaintances in the cinema industry proceed successfully. However, the young reporter recovers, returns to the fray and the story progresses to a most interesting climax.

Discussion: The author has set forth, as promised, a tale about a “Screen Siren Noir” accompanied by other characters typical of the genre. The story gradually evolves from a point where this still beautiful woman of another era seduces a naïve young man to aid her return to prominence while attempting simultaneously to use these other characters as all proceed to work their way through an industry well-known for its corruption, duplicity, deceit, treachery and the constant need for proper ‘connections’. The results – mayhem, mystery and murder with several surprises along the way. Specifically characterized, all of the individuals are psychologically compromised and credible as such. The extent of Michael’s naiveté is a ‘bit-of-a-stretch’ but also largely acceptable as part of the tale.

Summary: A well-written noir tale probably more enjoyable for British readers, but interestingly peopled with characters believably manipulative and presenting surprises till the very end.

4* Noir mystery/murder tale, interestingly told with surprises.


We Run Bad

We Run Bad ISBN: 9781732411203, Okie Doke Book Publishing, an e-book copyright and written by John Curry.

Plot: The protagonist, gambling on making it big on a belief that a dilapidated section of Philadelphia was about to be the next real estate ‘boom’ area, loses heavily when the economic recession begins in 2007 (referred to as the recession of 2008 and lasting roughly for two years with only gradual recovery thereafter). He abandons the house with the idea of recovering his fortunes by gambling in Atlantic City. Here, either because he is an inadequate poker player, because he is incessantly spaced out on drugs and alcohol, or perhaps both, he again fails. He is offered an opportunity to regain his lost money and actually augment it by running an illegal poker game in New York City. In these illegal ‘underground’ games, run surreptitiously in private apartments and/or condominiums, the house takes such a large percentage of each pot that the house actually is the only winner. He accepts, is ‘busted’ a couple of times but released by the group’s lawyer and is making money at a fast pace. Luckily, he avoids an extensive law operation and the story continues depicting his continuing self-defeating activities.

Discussion: The author has set forth a dark tale, in a quite extensively descriptive manner, the activities of an inveterate gambler who has no control in spite of experiencing a ‘bad run’ that he only extends and expands with constant drugs, alcohol, sex, and other abominable life and living conditions. His descriptions include some activities that certain readers may accept as humorous. Regrettably, this reader finds them to portray action more in accord with a pitiful inability to equate with the mores of society, a society that certainly is grossly deficient in a host of ways. However, it is the only one we presently have and large masses of people do require some basic rules to avoid complete chaos until change hopefully can be initiated.

Conclusion: A highly descriptive tale ostensibly following the down trending life of a foul-mouthed, drug and alcohol junkie, inveterate gambler with an underlying commentary on the conditions of the mores of today’s society. Actually, an unpleasant read.

3* 4* For commentary on today’s society; 2* or less for presentation.