The Sojourners, Outskirts Press, an e-book copyright and written by T. L. Hughes.
Mike Hogan, after splitting with his girlfriend, decides to leave California with his long-time buddies Kansas born Luke Coppens and Ohio born Declan Brady (Decky). They spend a month driving from Huntington Beach, CA to Lowell, MA where they leave Luke’s ’64 Ford Fairlane in his parents’ driveway and embark for London to obtain jobs in the music video production business. They arrive at Heathrow Airport in late September of 1984, discover that such jobs are unattainable and begin a wandering journey through parts of Europe and beyond for Mark. They lose Decky in Amsterdam because he wants to explore his roots in Ireland. He and Luke continue on to Munchen (Munich) to experience the fun of Oktoberfest and the depression of visiting Dachau and lengthy conversations with a former member of the Nazi Party about Hitler, WW II and Apartheid. Then Luke and he part ways as Mark decides to take the train to Austria and then continue through former Yugoslavia’s Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia and Greece. Here he discovers the hub of all international travelers, Syntagma Square, and visits the Pantheon, Acropolis, and Parthenon, before taking off for the islands of Ios and Santorini. His journey then takes him to Turkey and the ancient city of Ephesus before Istanbul and finally returning home with a little financial help from his family to resume with his original girlfriend and settle into a life no doubt affected to a greater or lesser extent by the trip and the diverse people, cultures and places visited.
Discussion: Fundamentally a travelogue that has been written in a memoir like manner with the wanderings through such varied cultures and variety of individual personalities encountered all of which seem eventually to have provided a serendipitous experience. If the reader enjoys rambling travelogues, the descriptions largely are accurate but minimally described and the presentation of an individual’s personal ruminations and analyses when encountering situations in differing cultures and the individuals thereof, provide some interesting features. If the reader finds these features enjoyable, this book is for you.
5* For a particular type of reader.
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.