FROM THE DESK OF
DONA PENZA TATTLE, ESQ.
ASSOCIATE WRYE BALDERDASH
“My neighbor’s son swallowed a box of firecrackers.” Wrye enters the office all flush-faced.
“Oh no, is he all right?”
“Don’t know. I haven’t heard the last report!” Does a little vaudeville tap dance, adding, “Da da da daaaa.”
“Ut oh, here goes the Fourth of July jokes.” Tattle offers the heavenly eye-roll.
“I got a million of ‘em. Well, well, maybe not. Halloween and Christmas have a lot more joke fodder.”
“First of all, m’funny buddy, only us Yanks celebrate the 4th and we have a much wider audience that might not be interested. Second, we are late for our Love of Literature Leap, and the books we reviewed are real firecrackers!”
“Betcha thought that was cute.” Wrye adjusts his red, white and blue tie.
“Of course, just like me.”
Wrye groans. “Let’s just go.”
And they do.
The duet leap into their first review, ABSENCE OF LIGHT by Rick Giernoth, a paranormal/horror thriller.
“Oooh, it is creepy and scary and goosebump ut oh in here.” Eyes wide, Tattle snoops about.
“Should be. This is where nightmares begin and probably don’t stop when you wake up.” Points a finger at a young girl being beaten by two men with hoods. “That’s Helen Slater, she was on her own by twelve and scooped up by a separatist hate group. She thought they were the only ones who cared, but were actually indoctrinating her into a life of hating everyone and everything outside their group of white supremacy.”
Tattle frowns. “David Washington, leader of this malignant group, treated her with feigned humanity and kindness, the only caring she had ever known. His goal hadn’t been birthed from anything natural or good. She was a resource to aid his radical cause. He tutored this blond haired, blue eyed beauty to become the perfect poster child. By the time she was in her mid-twenties, she could spout hate propaganda like Hitler on steroids.”
“Which leads to her being beaten to death right outside a rally.” Wrye shakes his head sadly. “Only, when she makes it to the other side, and her course of redemption is revealed, she rejects it. David did his job too well, and she is thoroughly revolted by the option offered to her. Upon fleeing from deathville, she re-emerges in her battered body, coming back to life after four minutes of being clinically dead.”
“David is elated, for she is now even more essential, a living symbol of what he considers the animalistic nature of non-whites, since they were the ones who beat her. The moment she is released from the hospital, he is ready to put her on the road touting their erroneous message.” Tattle tries to reach into the pages to strangle David Washington, but Wrye stops her, reminding her she is only an observer. She breathes deeply, and then continues, “Even though you can’t quite warm up to Helen as a character, you still feel for her, especially when reality is overtaken by heinous visions and physical attacks by a mockery of her guide from the other side and demons. Helen has seen the path to the afterlife, and still has a slight hope of redemption which makes her all the more susceptible and desirable to the Legions of Hell.”
“After committing a horrific crime, Helen is drawn to a church, but the evil within her soul prevents her from crossing the threshold. Father Kennedy immediately sees a young woman in ominous pain being manipulated by the supernatural. In an effort to help, he is eventually drawn into a hidden, ancient faction of the church, The Order of Camerone. There they fight against the unnatural, imprison those demonic beings who cannot be brought back to salvation, and continuously learn about their abilities in this supernatural war.”
Tattle maneuvers herself further into the book. “Ah, but not all is as it appears, and there is a battle that will reveal unexpected truths, as well as, expose the second Son of God. There is no certainty as to who will survive.”
Wrye clears his throat theatrically. “This story has all the elements of horror woven with the eternal fight between good and evil in a dramatic, fast-paced page turner. The characters are well-developed, and multi-layered. They reflect the true nature of humanity with both its flaws and nobility. Rick Giernoth has a unique take on an old theme. He did not just put a fresh coat on the plot line, he created his own palette of gory colors.”
“Rick’s story is sharp, crisp and, yes, downright scary. Personally, I read it with a lot of lights blazing, and still found myself looking over my shoulder and haven’t slept without a nightlight since. No matter your personal beliefs, this gives you pause to consider evil at its most horrific. Plus, it has more than its share of unpredicted twists and shocks. If you want a thrilling ride of terror, read ABSENCE OF LIGHT!”
Off the two go into UNSCRIPTED, Duty Bound I by J. S. Marlo, a contemporary woman’s suspenseful romance.
“My oh my,” exclaims Tattle. “This book truly is a brew of deception, manipulation, courage, honor and intense love.”
“That it is m’literary prowler. “With a backdrop of arson, murder, tragedy and romance, the two main characters are tossed and tousled between their dramatic personal lives and dynamic careers.”
Tattle scans pages with dedicated intensity. “When Blythe Huxley, skip-a-heart-beat attractive with sigh-worthy charm, meets Riley Kendrick a close friendship evolves. Both are married, both have endured hardships, and both become entangled in suspenseful mysteries. They become each others’ support and confidantes.”
“Blythe, an actor for the Canadian show, Wild Rescue, must manage his career along with daily visits to his wife, Claire, who languishes in the hospital in a vegetative state.” Wrye’s face is a mask of compassion. “She had been shot while trying to help a young boy. Blythe must, also, decide when and if to take Claire off life-support. Something her parents refuse to even consider. Adding to his already tremulous life is Isabella Neuville, a gorgeous, gotta-fan-yourself, co-actress, who makes her desire for Blythe obvious. It isn’t easy to keep his distance when Riley’s “winning” script developed a lovers’ relationship between their characters on the show.”
“Yes, indeed, Riley won the contest Martin had contrived, which brought Riley into this exciting new endeavor. However, W. H. Martin, producer-director, sees something in her writing and takes her on as a staff writer. Andy, the lead writer, thinks she is inspiring and she quickly meets his demands. Paul, a co-writer, alternately hits on her or sabotages her. Either way he is obnoxious.” Tattle wrinkles her nose in distaste and sticks her tongue out at the character. “Meanwhile, Riley flies back and forth from her country hometown to the glamorous set while her second husband Ollie, once a firefighter, now a fire investigator, works on uncovering the arsonist responsible for multiple fires. Riley must also deal with her daughter, Rowan being in Iceland studying volcanoes and her son, Hunter, wanting to follow in his step-father and birth father’s legacies to become a firefighter. The latter had died while trying to save a child, leaving Riley a young widow.”
Fully impressed, Wrye adds, “With each page turn, you become hopelessly attached to the characters while truth becomes increasingly rather than less evasive. Nothing is safe. No one they love is safe. Neither are Blythe and Riley.”
“I believe Marlo deliberately doesn’t want you to take a single breath from tale’s beginning to end. The story is that intense.”
“I hear you, m’sister-in-review.” Wrye gives an approving nod. “As a reader, I followed a tangled story that I thought could never be resolved, nor could I figure out the true persona of the villains. The story is a splendid mixture of suspense, thrills, drama and hot-to-the core yet tasteful romance. The author sets a new standard for women’s contemporary romance. It is edgy; engaging yet still harbors the spicy sweetness that originally drew romance readers.”
Tattle flips the book’s last page and offers an exaggerated sigh. “I was completely hooked, not just on hunky, dreamy Hux (Blythe), but on the building pace of the story and the multifaceted characters from the main cast, to the secondary characters, to the antagonists, that I absolutely adored hating. The plot had been well-developed and I kept expecting it to be over-complex causing problematic resolutions, but each scenario resolved itself smoothly and believably. Congratulations on a job well-done, J. S. Marlo! I would highly recommend UNSCRIPTED, Duty Bound I and look forward to reading the next two in the Duty Bound series.”
Hope you all enjoyed our reviews! Until next month, keep reading.
Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq. and Associate Wrye Balderdash
of Blather City, Wannachat
Created and written by: Angelica Hart and Zi
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