Black’s Beach Parallax

Black’s Beach Parallax
ISBN: 9780692224311, an e-book thriller including numerous long contentiously debated occurrences of the 1960’s and following years by Scott Spade.

Plot: A prologue speaks of a package from Jack O’Malley addressed to his grandson and not to be opened until after his death. The story then proceeds to follow Jack’s life. It begins with his first job as a fresh UCLA graduate at Astro Dynamics, a company working under government contract; follows with his dismissal with downsizing ordered by McNamara; activity at making a living as a professional gambler with his discovered ability to read cards and gamble (in San Diego where small mom/pop gambling houses limited to a few tables of “games of skill’ of insufficient interest to attract the Mafia and their larger Las Vegas ‘games of chance’); to receipt of an offer from Gene, a brilliant former co-worker who has taken a position with an ultra-secrete ‘Think Tank’- the offer is too good to decline but requires clandestine activity that includes deposition of information in a far-removed hidden place; additional activity as a real estate investor and ultimately as a dealer in futures. Abundant, well-described ‘hippie’ and subsequent other sub-culture activity of the era is included and the story moves at a good pace, especially considering the amount of information that is included.

Discussion: The author has provided a most interesting story that should have appeal on two levels. First, a story depicting a period within the United States of tremendous upheaval and change viewed largely from the activity of one ‘largely committed’ active participant of the era. Specifically: “…embracement of the counterculture revolution in social norms of clothing, music drugs, dress and sex. Eclectic psychologists, antiwar activists, sexual-freedom advocates, new agers, draft dodgers, college professors, discussions ranging from intelligent interchanges to new-age gibberish.” Second, a most provocative re-counting and re-examination of the involvement of prominent governmental personnel and agencies in many of the controversial happenings of the times – Vietnam War, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, Kennedy’s assignation, Nixon activities, aspects of the Cold War, Cuba, Batista and Castro, others.

Conclusion: Fascinating, not documented perhaps, but at least tantalizingly provocative circumstantial evidence of FBI, CIA and even higher elected/appointed governmental official involvement in nefarious clandestine activity. The author has enclosed this material in an easy reading tale of an intelligent young college graduate as he ‘goes with the flow’ of the somewhat tumultuous era of the 1960’s and beyond. It is particularly intriguing to the reader interested in, and conversant with the tales set forth daily by the media with respect to political maneuvering and the myriad suggestions of malfeasance and innumerable other improper activities extant today.

5* Excellent conjecture on governmental malfeasance enclosed in enjoyable tale of another era.

The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur

The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur
Thought Balloon Books, 3rd edition of a book first published in 2014, in e-book by Priyonkar Dasgupta.

Plot: Brothers journey to Rajpur to vacation with relatives where they join other youngsters in participating in numerous and varied activities available. The activities range from simply reading and local trips to the surrounding countryside and local arcades and fairs to more extended and parenthetically dangerous bus travels and exploration of abandoned factory buildings. The conversations and subjects set forth are mostly typical of those of boys from less sophisticated backgrounds, the trips are somewhat typically serendipitous except perhaps for the one involving the book title’s character.

Discussion: The serendipitous meandering of a group of youngsters as described pretty much follows those of similar groups in most countries with like amenities. As such, this story may provide a certain level of nostalgia for readers inclined to enjoy reminiscence. Beyond this obvious fact is a most interesting feature however. Although light on character development, the author can write beautifully descriptive passages and a really enjoyable mystery BUT simultaneously provide frustration because much of both get lost in the process.

Conclusion: In this reader’s opinion, a good editor will aid an interesting storyteller to emerge.

3* A good editor will aid an engaging storyteller to emerge.