The Family Trust

The Family Trust, An erotic mystery in e-book by Michael Campbell.

Plot: a rather confusing first fifteen-twenty percent of the book introduces Tom Amore whose brother kills their father while on a drug high and we follow Tom as one of the main protagonists as he progresses through his extended schooling as a leading, and probably oldest member of a fraternity. During these years he indulges in recreational drugs, alcohol and extensive sexual activity His extended dabbling in education is paid for by a Foundation, seemingly with no questions asked, with the only stipulation that he find a paying job by the time he has reached his mid-twenties. The time comes and he is forced to face a choice that actually leads to unusual and literal bondage. Meanwhile, another protagonist, Ginger, leaves home at fifteen is brutally raped, kills her rapists, and is able to escape legal action by arrival of a “Mr. Charley” who skillfully removes all remnants of the rapists. The reader later discovers that the man was a shadowy figure in clandestine governmental activity that led to establishment of a world-wide security/assassin (?) business now CEO’d by Col. Michael Turner, his former employee who is married to his daughter. Turner is facing death from a brain tumor and makes arrangements for his wife Jacquelin to take over the business. He introduces her to Ginger, who seemingly had worked for the business until blowing a knee on an extraction mission and now was a high-priced prostitute with bi-sexual leanings – a must because Jax’s favorite of the moment was a beautiful black young woman basketball player with whom she engaged often in a ménage a trois along with her husband. At this time Tom is brought back into the picture and the story continues with a number of other characters appearing and numerous diverse titillating sexual scenes provide a lead into the next book in the series. There is no closure to this volume.

Discussion: A Preface states: “You will read about (in no particular order, not in much depth, and without any filter of political correctness)” a list of every aberrant activity possible and perpetrators thereof. This is followed by “Please be forewarned: If you are offended by sex and violence, (or any of the above list) THE FAMILY TRUST WILL OFFEND YOU QUICKLY. But if you like complicated characters, surprising twists, comeuppance, or cracked a smile reading this preface, just turn the page…”

This reader’s opinion: The Preface did cause me to “crack a smile”, but little subsequent amusement followed; there are surprising twists; the plot and characters leave the reader with numerous questions and often is disjointed but the individual elements eventually are brought together; the pace is good and the treatment of the story quite unique; the characters ARE complicated but frequently as predicted, not particularly well characterized, often in short vignettes among the seventy-eight chapters and most are heavily psychologically disturbed, if not psychotic as well; the fraternity is referred to as a frat – which is a shortened term mostly avoided by members of these organizations at the college level -presumably to provide some indication of how the sexual encounters would be described – in a somewhat sophomoric manner as if by someone unsure about, but greatly interested in the activity, much of which, kinky or otherwise, when set forth is presented in this somewhat puerile manner of such an individual.

Summary: Unique presentation with many flaws leaving this reviewer rather speechless (?).

3*      4* for unique approach/idea; 2* or less for reasons stated.

To Seduce an Assassin

To Seduce an Assassin, a fantasy, paranormal romance written and copyrighted, here in e-book format by Jayla Jasso.

Plot: Yavi and his twin brother Yajna are the emperors of Nandala with Yavi the functional head of state because he was first to emerge. They were able to overthrow Thakur, the villainous former ruler who had usurped the throne from their father. They both are valiant warriors and trained Assassins, and also exceptionally handsome and masculine. Yajna has been able to marry the beautiful Jiandra from the neighboring kingdom and enjoys a life of married bliss. Yavi, unfortunately had led a life of dalliance with young women until one of them had died in a manner to which he somehow felt he had contributed and he vows to live a life of celibacy. Now six years later, the country still is low on funds from the devastating manner in which it had been left by the former ruler plus the fact that the country seemed to be cursed by the length of period it suffers cold weather. It was impoverished further by the palace’s Master Chef, Terijan absconding with money that he gives to Uman, the inhuman son of Thakur who is planning a revolt. He is caught and hung, but is revived as a living ghoul to join Uman and the rest of his similarly conditioned followers. Graciella, the much younger sister of Jiandra is brought to the castle to visit, is a superb cook, and gladly assumes the Master Chef’s duties. Grace also has been in love with Yavi since she met him at her sister’s wedding at fourteen. From this intriguing background the story unfolds as she tries now as a twenty year old beauty to make the thirty-year-old Emperor understand she no longer is a child and that it is about time for him to give up his vow. The tale also is replete with fantasy and the occult where the villains cannot be killed, except for discovery late of a weapon that can be helpful; a special magical gem given to Jiandra that keeps her safe from harm and also gives her the ability to heal wounds/disease; a troubled brother of Jiandra and Grace who resides in a monastery but upon occasion assumes a persona of another world. The story further provides ample battle as well as sexual activity to an interesting conclusion.

Discussion: The author has given the reader of romantic novels a book they really can enjoy, especially if they also like a little of the ‘unreal’. The males are handsome, valiant warriors with all their proper musculature and abilities; the women exceptionally beautiful; intertwining sub-plots; acceptable action battle scenes; fantasy/occult additions, and sexual activity that is explicit but well done so as to be accepted as the expected results of steadily advancing romantic attraction rather than as simple eroticism.

5* For romance afficanados.