The Grumpface

The Grumpface, by B. C. R. Fegan, Illustrated by D. Frongia is a delightful children’s story provided in rhyme.

Plot: Daffy Dan is a young man wishing to obtain a rose for the lovely Bela who sells flowers across from his shop. (She never has seen one as they do not grow in her land.) He travels from “the Village of Ha into the Forest of Ho” to find one. Here in its darkest magical depths he encounters the grumpy gnome Grumpface who traps him and will release him only if he can provide answers to his riddles. Dan is an inventor and thus imaginative. However he fails repeatedly and his clumsiness eventually causes a change even in old Grumpface and the story proceeds to a charmingly happy ending.

Discussion/Conclusion: The author has set forth an enchanting fairy tale demonstrating where the combined elements of bravery, hope, perseverance, honesty and absurdity can change grumpiness to giggles. A delightful story well-presented and nicely illustrated. A caveat from this reviewer’s viewpoint – the e-copy downloaded would seem to make me believe a hard (print) copy would have been even more enjoyable to read.

5* Enchanting children’s book with a small caveat.

The Tenth Nail

The Tenth Nail, a mystery story filled with individuals carrying various amounts of psychological baggage written and copyrighted by Kwen D. Griffeth.

Plot/Characters: The story begins with the strangulation of a prostitute. The man appointed as Officer in Charge of the investigation is Nate Burns, a seasoned highly effective investigator. His newly appointed partner is Manny Trujillo. Literally they have little to no evidence and only vague descriptions. However, the astute medical examining tech discovers that the garrote employed was of an unusual design. Circumstances point to the work of a serial killer which ordinarily would call for State and probably FBI aid. Nate will not permit such ‘interference’ because he ‘promised’ the dead girl that he would find her killer. From this moment the story evolves into a tale of the people involved, both good and bad, pursuing their lives, most of which are heavily influenced by the psychological baggage they carry. Included are: a very beautiful Clara who dropped her desire for a legal career when she met and married ex-Military Police Officer Nate in college and now they have two young daughters; Nate is a big, heavily muscled, tough, seasoned detective strong in maintaining righteous principles (his original training officer and partner who had become ‘like a father’ was killed in line of duty – a fact with which he still struggles years later); Manny, married to expecting wife Selma, is a former narc investigator, promoted to detective and assigned to Nate with this his first murder investigation; Police Chief Montoya who hates Nate passionately because of an indiscretion that led to a ‘sure-to-be-sentenced’ killer being sent to a mental institution instead and the uncompromising Nate holds some type of incriminating information over him; Rawls, a brilliant medical tech who is a weird former California surfer; a strange sub commander and his COB; a beautiful/sexy Miami police detective; a Las Vegas premium computer hacker and his lovely wife; a lawyer who wears $14,000 suits and is ‘one of the best’; numerous others. The entire tale gradually makes its way through a quite convoluted path to attain a violent, most interesting climax with final discovery of the Tenth Nail.

Discussion: Once again the author has provided a story that for the most part moves rapidly as it revolves around individuals with various psychological burdens. And again it has been done in a most engrossing manner. There is an unfortunate slowing of the main thrust of the tale most prominently in the middle portion of book and there is some question about the presentation of one of the prominent characters. However, the overall plot and its presentation is quite unique and provoking with an engagingly constructed termination. Highly recommended

4* Another highly recommended, enjoyable book by this author.