Confessions of a Neighbor

Confessions of a Neighbor ISBN: 9780998012902, Plum Tree Press, an e-book by Heather Nadine Lenz.

Plot: A prologue describes Ella struggling to survive in freezing water while attempting to save her very young daughter from drowning. The actual tale then begins with a lovely seventeen-year-old who was struggling with a massive load of problems: 1) the recent loss of her only family, her mother and most loving grandmother. 2) the three had moved constantly to different cities/countries because her mother was ‘fleeing the Russian Mafia’; 3) she is struggling to attempt to succeed in ballet, like her mother who was a featured ballerina in several ballet companies. 4) she had no idea of her father’s identity; 5) money was scarce, necessitating her working as a waitress while attempting to maintain her ballet training schedule; 6) she was attempting to deal not only with the overriding depressing effects of losing the two most important people in her life, but also had absolutely no supportive friends; 7) she mistakenly becomes involved in a relationship with a neighbor that gradually develops into a devastating nightmare; 8) the fact that she ultimately discovers that her mother suffered from a delusional problem which adds still another dimension to her distress The story gradually unfolds describing the manner in which each of the problems eventually is met and dealt with and provision of further detail would be a great disservice to the prospective reader.

Discussion: The author has produced a volume that provides an intriguingly convoluted plot that certainly would have been highly placed on Oprah Winfrey’s recommended reading list. It has all of the elements of a suspenseful thriller with abundant elements for sustained emotional stress being suffered by an unsophisticated young woman.

5* for devotees of suspenseful emotional thrillers involving an appealing, naive young woman.

The Diary of an Immortal

The Diary of an Immortal ISBN: 9781483578620, an occult thriller e-book by David Castello.

Plot: Steven Ronson, an army medic who was engaged in almost constant conflict for 2 years and was with the group that liberated the Dachau German concentration camp in 1945, returned home to Florida to discover that his father was dying. Instead of suffering the expected long term, he kills himself. Steven leaves for New York where he excels as a Jazz musician partially as a result of a secret stash of pills he discovered at Dachau which purportedly had been made for Hitler so that he could live forever. During one performance, Albert, a former missionary, recognizes his performance as emanating from this source and informs him that the original formula came from China where one order of monks had lived for centuries with its use. Albert with his beautiful daughter Jennifer invites him to join them in a trip to China in the near future. They make the journey where Steven is introduced to the two thousand year old Chow Li and becomes involved in the chaotic period of politically based warfare during China’s movement into its communistic state and beyond. To provide further specifics would not be in the best interests of the prospective reader. Suffice it to say that the story contains many intriguing threads and ends quite differently from what most readers would be prone to expect.

Discussion: The author has exhibited an interesting knowledge of WW II and not only the Nazis’ unbelievably ‘sick’ activity but also the purported extensiveness of their associated activity; China’s revolution and Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong) as well as the part played by Chiang Kai shek with American aide; the Peoples’ Liberation Army; the background of Japanese influence; Tibet’s problems; the ancient city of Sian at the end of the legendary ‘Silk Road’; the ancient Bon Religion, exorcists, shamans, high-priests and the many faces of magic and of the occult. This really is a remarkable collection of seemingly individual items of fact and fiction woven together into an action packed thriller. The single regrettable factor, at least for this reader, is a somewhat uneven presentation that makes one want to ‘skip over’ some sections. It is most regrettable as it slightly ‘spoils’ an otherwise beautifully devised story based upon abundant knowledge of the ancient as well as ’near’ past.

4* Intriguingly interwoven fact and fiction.