Hearing Voices

Hearing Voices, An Isaac Blaze Thriller, e-book written/published by Axel Cruise.

Plot: The story opens with Isaac handcuffed to a table after being captured by a group dressed as Federal officers, none of whom display badges however. He believed they were the same persons he has eluded in Rome, Amsterdam, Moscow, and Las Vegas only to be caught here in Cairo, IL. The interrogation is begun by rather well-dressed, multiple doctorate degree recipient from MIT Adrian Hays who establishes the fact that Isaac has an intellect of true genius proportions by asking mathematical questions, and having associate Peter verify immediately by computer. Parenthetically, his knowledge extends beyond the usual range of subjects/conditions permitting him to be highly resourceful and extremely capable physically as well. He even exudes an amount of charisma. As Hays points out, Isaac unfortunately, rather than being a boon to society is “A man whose file implicates him in over three hundred felonies. And a man whose file concludes is unpredictable, unreasonable, and without any clear set of principles, intentions, motivations, beliefs, moralities or allegiances, which, in combination with his high intellect and proclivity toward provocation, means he must not be engaged lightly and must be considered dangerous at all times.” Parenthetically he also is accompanied constantly by the female and male voices within his head with whom he constantly converses, especially with respect to decision making. Hays is interrupted when Isabella, a lovely woman with disturbingly penetrating blue eyes enters the interrogation room. After killing all personnel occupying the relatively sparsely populated building, she has entered with one of the persons prominent in Isaac’s detention whom she has pistol whipped and then kills after saying she had “instructions to make this hurt”. She then kills Peter and asks Hays a question. He replies with the one word “Shanghai” after which she kills him as well. Isaac recognizes her as one of “Harriet Granger’s extremely well trained girls, they converse, and she departs leaving him at the table and chair to which he had been cuffed. He uses his unusual knowledge and expertise to escape. From this explosive introduction the reader is taken on a fast moving, convoluted journey where he meets a number of unusual people and fights various members of CIA’s highly secret and totally deniable Special Activities Division (SAD), high level politicians, governmental agents, agents of only partially explained organizations at varying levels and a rogue operation that had begun as a project initiated in 1945 in the aftermath of WW II. Its mission had been based on a student’s PhD thesis with respect to controlling the human mind beyond the changes suggested by hypnosis. The clandestine group proceeded to develop advanced investigative methods to discover whether human individuals could be controlled mentally and to what extent. The project got ‘out-of-hand’ and supposedly was abandoned, but a rogue group apparently had picked it up and continued with use of drastic measures and disastrous results. The often violent activity continues until ultimately the reader finds the meaning of the initials CT, MK-ULTRA and some others and is provided with an ending that almost cries for, and deserves, the next instalment in Isaac’s life.

Discussion/Conclusion: The story is convoluted, fill of minor mysteries, only some of which are solved, similarly mysterious characters about whom even a few more details would be beneficially enjoyable and a reader may vaguely sense that his/her more rational self is treading a fine line. However, generally speaking, the author has provided a well-written, rousing, high octane thriller that if read fast and with total concentration on the action, will provide a most enjoyable tale that will project you happily into the next volume.

4* Fascinating high octane thriller with minor flaws that will affect few readers.

Questions for Couples

Questions for Couples, Archangel publishing services, written and published by Marcus and Ashley Kusi.

The authors have provided a list of “469 Thought Provoking Conversation Starters for Connecting, Building Trust and Rekindling Intimacy” plus a short list of 15 “Weekly Check-In Questions” and another 10 of “Yearly Questions”. These latter two lists seemingly will provide a manner of reinforcement.

Discussion: Summarily, the authors have suggested a technique that should find a following in today’s often almost chaotic male/female relationship. The gender ethnic has risen to such immense proportions in the recent past, as demonstrated perhaps most vociferously during the recent presidential election campaign, that frequently common sense and even basic courtesy are completely lost. Whether the claims and the extent thereof are right or wrong often seem to be irrelevant in these individual cases where the confrontational status may reach barely controllable levels. The questions provided here proffer a ‘common meeting ground’ that, if judicially handled, can serve to devise suitable answers to each of the partner participants. They cover a wide range of topics with, as expected, a large number devoted to sexual expectations, and activity and family matters. Surprisingly, comparatively few pertain to money matters per se, except in a tangential manner. Many, although differently worded, seem quite redundant. Others appear to be a ‘fishing expedition’ that possibly could apply to a counselor’s approach, but seem strange to this reviewer as being in an area not readily apparent to strengthening or reconciling a husband wife relationship. For example question 262 concerns a partner’s reaction to a transgender admission. Granted, in today’s much ‘enlightened (?)’ population, such a subject may be totally relevant. However, for discussion between husband and wife, in a normally happy or even unhappy relationship, the subject, unless pertinent obviously, seems to be a strange inclusion for ‘normal’ conversation. The weekly questions do seem to be more universally pertinent, as do those for yearly use. So, the total theme appears to be appropriately directed and, apparently as stated by the authors, can be effective. Regrettably, for this reader who in an earlier time served in a counselling capacity, questions where the partner is asked every week to rate relationships on a scale of 1 – 10 on such matters as sex/intimacy and “our friendship and ability to have fun and enjoy each other’s company” may be questionable in themselves depending upon the mental attitude of the individuals involved. Simply put, instead of alleviating tension, they may place an additional strain on a relationship. No doubt individual actions/statements can cause a certain amount of irritation in a close association over time. For the most part, ‘normal’ persons overlook them and instead of actual resentment, usually dismiss them as an individual idiosyncrasy without which the person would not be ‘the one they were’. If the overall relationship already is enjoyable, why stop to ‘count beans’? The old adage still applies: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However and obviously to understand the authors’ suggestions, if even such individual action is sufficiently distressing, there is no doubt their suggestions can be effective. However and hopefully understandably, my suggestion is that a mannerism distressful to this apparent degree, would be corrected much better by professionally trained counsel.

Summary: The authors have set forth questions and usage thereof that no doubt would be most helpful in today’s modern world where such strong gender ethnics exist. Regrettably and hopefully excusably from a member of a much earlier generation, the need to devise such palliative measures for individuals who live in today’s world is most distressing, but admittedly necessary.

3* Actually 3 ½* – 4* for today’s ethnic oriented individuals; 3* for lamentable need.