The Seventh Guard – Destiny Expires. This version of Paperback ISBN: 9781732450400 Copyright and written by Francis A. Halpin presents a fantasy sci/fi alien suspense tale in an e-book version.
The story centers around, Robert Lowden, who has only acquired his GED but appears to be extremely bright especially with computers. The only job he seems able to get is as a computer repairman at a local store selling electronics. He is able to retain the position as long as he does NOT converse with any of the store’s shoppers. He is rude to them completely lacking in social sense, never seems to be fully engaged but instead appears to live on the edge of reality. He has one friend, David, a well-educated individual on his way up the usual ladder to success and Jennifer, his similarly situated girlfriend, both of whom ‘see something of almost compelling interest’ in him. Robert becomes involved in numerous unusual and humorous as well as dangerous situations not the least of which is deciding a flashing light bulb in the store’s rest room is providing an alien code. He involves David with disastrous, but simultaneously rather amusing, results and the story gathers steam to advance to a most unusual, but logical conclusion.
Discussion: Entry into the story begins with a quote from Albert Einstein along with another by Stephen Hawking. Einstein: “Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect, as well as the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” Hawking: “I have noticed that even those who assert that everything is predestined and that we can change nothing about it still look both ways before they cross the street.” Combined they very nicely set the tone of the book. It is thought producing, yet humorous in many contrasting ways. It is a suspenseful alien thriller/mystery, yet provides slow moving areas that editing could correct. In all, the author has provided a fascinating tale of secret codes existing in commonly occurring phenomena surrounding us that should provide thoughtful moments for the alien theory devotee. Definitely a 4*- 5* for such readers and probably for computer addicts. Regrettably somewhat less for others.
4-5* for alien theory devotees, computer addicts; somewhat less for others.
Game Piece ISBN: 9781644370124 Black Opal Books, a psychological thriller copyright and written by Alan Brenham.
Barry Marshall is a detective with the Temple, TX police department, eight years married to the love of his life and with a young child they both adore. His wife Erin, raised as the daughter of an Air Force Commander, is a pharmacist in a large busy local pharmacy, a job she loves and they had a most pleasant life until Barry was promoted to detective. He was a dedicated investigator, loved his work and refused to not accept any assignment that came his way. Thus, he rarely was home, missed important dates and activities that he had promised to attend with his wife and/or daughter. She was increasingly worried about his safety, producing a situation that worsened when her favorite investigator uncle was killed in the line of duty. A degree of bickering began to enter the home environment. The situation exacerbated when Marshall had become a subject of identity theft. Even worse, he had become the subject of a personal vendetta where some unknown individual set off on a serial killing spree, all of the victims were individuals with whom Marshall had had some type of altercation in the past. The obviously badly psychologically disturbed perpetrator turned it into a sick game by informing him of each killing. And finally, the husband-wife already tense situation was blown completely by Erin’s receipt of a letter with pictures included of her husband’s affair with another woman. It never occurred and was another act by the unknown person that obviously was attempting to completely wreck not only Marshall’s marriage but his life as well. The story progresses through a number of murders, Barry’s repeatedly frustrating attempts to find an answer and the deteriorated husband-wife relationship until finally a concluding violent episode is reached.
Discussion: The author is a former law enforcement officer, followed by activity as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney among his other accomplishments. The extensive knowledge he has acquired from these sources easily is evident in this psychological mystery thriller. It projects an interesting serial killer plot, the manner in which conditions such as those affecting the detective gradually affect his decisions and erode even his normal thought processes/activities and how the situation similarly affect a person such as Erin.
Conclusion: A serial killer psychological thriller/mystery several cuts above most others.
5* Psychological serial killer thriller/mystery several cuts above most others.