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Flight of a Lifetime by Philip Watling.

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Flight of a Lifetime by Philip Watling.
"I was certainly not destined to die; I was not confronted with a tunnel, swirling with luminous mist, or beckoned by distant ancestors tempting me with the promise of everlasting peace and happiness. I did not see a bright light."
You are presented here with an autobiographical account of a tragic accident that occurred to the author and left him struggling between life and death. Very much touch and go. This moving account shows his sheer, gritty determination and courage to pull back from the face of death and to learn those basic skills once more of talking, walking and just generally functioning as a "normal" human being instead of becoming a vegetable. It touches the heart strings and includes personal testimonials from family, friends and medical practitioners emphasizing the seriousness of Philip's head injury and his fight for survival through to his slow recovery. The book gives a very detailed insight into the le…

Lou's Homecoming by Stephan A Onisick.

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Lou's Homecoming by Stephan A. Onisick.
"Sometimes, art echoes life. The uncanny death of the guest actor in the episode (Remember Me from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman)resonated deeply within me. It paralleled the deaths of my father and half-brother, Lou."
Stephan works as a Sharepoint Developer with Analytical Mechanics Associate contracted to NASA's International Space Station in Huntsville. This story goes back  twenty years to 1997 when the first episode of "Lou's Homecoming" was written. Twenty years down the line the draft was revisited, expanded and finally published as an ebook.
It was January 1989. Our author was 38, married and living in Birmingham, Alabama when he received an unexpected call from someone called Lou Onisick claiming to be a relative. Stephan's father had been born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania in 1912. He had worked down the coal mines. His parents had come from Ukraine and they lived in a Polish community. It seemed that the fa…

The Lodger. A Short Story by C.L.Taylor.

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The Lodger by C.L.Taylor.
"My world becomes dark and loud as I'm tossed, turned and twisted. Over and over I turn,my breath burning in my lungs, the river roaring in my ears."
Having read a couple of books by Cally which I have reviewed recently, I must admit that I've got a soft spot for dysfunctional people and families with unstable and unhappy relationships. It mirrors the lives of many of us. Some of us don't seem to get it right with the happy ever after bit.


When 25 year old Joe is introduced you get the feeling that he is infatuated with Laura, the protagonist. Joe is Ian's brother, labelled the lady-killer, vivacious, outspoken and the look before you leap type,whatever that means! So, is he presented as a good guy or a bad one? Find out. Whilst at work, Laura receives an email from Ian, an old flame from her university days asking if she can put up Joe for a couple of nights because he has just been kicked out of his flat. The "chemistry wasn't…

Pumpkin Farmer by Michael Hughes.

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Pumpkin Farmer by Michael Hughes.
This is presented as a satirical view of American society, two formidable characters, one weak and suicidal, the other, a dangerous man who likes to live on the edge of danger, suffering constant itches or bouts of boredom, high on drugs to get his kicks, with sadistic tendencies. Selfishness pervades the book and there is a superficiality about the attitude of the characters presented. The peripheral characters exude wealth and liberation but in selfish terms, a total disregard for humanity.
It is a dark story and it's difficult to engage with any of them or warm to them. It seems to be a modern trend to introduce characters into a story who are flawed throughout without any redeeming qualities. Take Paula Hawkins, for instance: The Girl on the Train. "Another victim of reality, of predator and prey, that was how the world worked. It ate its weak, that was the truth."
The story is set in 1979 and we meet John Nix a business manager who work…

The Scent of Almonds and Other Stories by Camilla Lackberg.

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The Scent of Almonds and Other Stories by Camilla Lackberg.
Lackberg is a popular Swedish writer described by The Independent as “the rock star of Nordic Noir,” who has sold more than 12 million copies in 55 countries. Family relationships with their petty jealousies as well as the sea and gathering storms, omens of disasters play prominent parts in this collection of short stories. The physical environment is depicted in an oppressive way enabling Lackberg to use pathetic fallacy effectively to create tension and horror.
The author presents you with three short Agatha Christie type stories and one novella, perfectly readable but without the depth of her novels such as The Ice Child or Lost Boy. All of the stories are set in the Swedish fishing village of  Fjallbacka.
In "Dreaming of Elisabeth" we meet Malin and husband Lars who seem to have grown apart and out of love. We are told that the wall between them was insurmountable: "Merely air breathed in and out." Both a…

The Real Mystery of Jack the Ripper by Darren Mark Wright.

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The Real Mystery of Jack the Ripper. The Untold Investigation. Darren Mark Wright.
"He is the most notorious and most infamous serial killer to ever grace this island nation and his file never deserves to be closed until he is found."
This is a plausible account by Wright using his research from casebook.org and I am assured that every fact of the case is actual fact and that these facts can be traced to their source. The investigators are a creation of the author and the conclusion made by Lieutenant Davis who has "weird, unique and imaginative ways of recreating crime scenes." Essential for interesting storytelling. His techniques are theatrical, using improvisations and revisiting scenes like a time traveller. The murder victims are included adding to the story-telling and characterisation. Multiple narration is a device used well by Wright as he seamlessly moves from 1888 to 1900 or 1905, from Whitechapel, London to South Africa during the Boer war. The story move…

My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal.

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My name is Leon by Kit de Waal.
"A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And the only way home is to find him. And a family where you'd least expect it."
The story is set in the 1980s with the breakdown of a family set against the 1981 riots and the Royal Wedding of Diana and Charles. The protagonist is a young boy called Leon, coming up to nine. He is keenly observant of people around him and protective towards his mum, Carol Rycroft, 25, who suffers from extreme post-natal depression after the birth of her second son, Jake. Home is a London council flat near a dual carriageway. His father, Byron is in prison.

"I want you to always love each other. Look after him and look after yourself."
Leon is mixed race and Jake is white, blue-eyed and blonde, the exact opposite. For the first four months Leon tries to look after his sick mother and half-brother until the money runs out and the boys go hungry. Carol won't get out of bed and she wets it. Leon wants to make…