Expendable

EXPENDABLE
A Matti James Mystery in e-book by M. A. R. Unger.

Plot/Characters: Matti James is a special reconstruction artist attached to the Coroner’s Office in the town of Henderson and intimately friendly with Jack Wagner. He, a coroner’s assistant, must investigate a possible death at a strange fire pit of sorts that has been seen from the upper trail in the wild canyon region. He asks her to accompany him and also requests that she bring her dog that has particular assets. It is a difficult hike but she is accomplished in the sport and agrees. They discover a skull with a RR spike driven through the jaws that is suspended on a pole in the middle of a particularly unusually arranged fire pit. They retrieve the skull, turn it in and discover they must be examined for radioactivity because of the RR spike. From this point a complicated plot evolves as an attempt is made to inflict radioactive suffering upon a huge mass of individuals to make the world aware of the perils of nuclear power. Involved is much of the Las Vegas area, persons associated with the Chernobyl disaster, the Piute Indian Tribe, FBI, members of a Wicca coven, now retired members of the Mafia, Matti’s Inbetweener (Ghost-type) buddie Abby, her Foothills Canyons Detective Agency companions, the U. S. President briefly and a number of individuals of, and/or with, indeterminate association(s).

Discussion: This is a pleasantly written, heavily convoluted mystery about a protagonist whose adventures assumedly are well-known from former volumes. The story moves well and although not providing answers to several questions, presents an interesting tale that, except for activity of a couple of strange ‘Inbetweeners’, for the most part, delicately tip-toes around and within the bounds of credibility.

4* Interesting and involved mystery story enjoyably written.

Walking Out of the Dark

Walking out of the DARK
ISBN: 9780993240201, a novel based on a true story in e-book by Steven R, Mailkowski,

Mike, the protagonist, is a young man in his twenties who has moved from his rural home to the city to attend a school for the blind. The move has been recommended because, although he still has marginal vision, he has been told it gradually will fade. To save money his residence is a rather run-down hotel/boarding house peopled by druggies and prostitutes among others. It is cheap and close to school, however. The story follows Mike and his activities as he interacts with Ruby, an interesting resident of his hotel, Margaret, his first teacher, George, a somewhat older fellow student who was an auto mechanic, Norman, a former football coach, Samantha (Sam) a lovely younger teacher and others as well as some of their friends and/or acquaintances.

Discussion: The author has provided a quite engrossing look at the activities of sightless individuals. The thought and practice that is required for the simplest activity and how the slightest wrong or not well-thought-out move could cause a problem that could range anywhere from amusing to complete disaster. The entire tale is absorbing and is set forth in an intriguingly light ‘up-beat’ manner that glosses over the devastating effect that the sightless person must experience and avoids much of the ‘downside per se’ and the more obnoxious individuals who no doubt are encountered. Instead it focuses on the statement: “There are a lot of things you can do in a bad situation; try to choose something that doesn’t make it worse.” It concentrates on the tremendous strength, fortitude and humor exhibited by the affected individuals and even describes some of the physical games devised for and by the blind for entertainment – games ranging from a type of baseball called Beep Ball to such dangerous sports as downhill ski racing where the skier is followed by another with sight who, when approaching the flags, shouts to a blind watcher that it is time to vigorously shake a tambourine so the blind skier will know the flag has been reached so as to make the appropriate turn.

Conclusion: This book is a worthwhile read that provides a number of insights into the world of sightlessness that demonstrates existence of a degree of resilience, hope and humor that is amazing.

5* Nicely constructed/presented fictional memoire, highly recommended.