A CRIMINAL JUSTICE by William L Myers, Jr.

March 23, 2020

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Philadelphia Legal series

From the publisher:

A man in prison for murder. One woman wants him freed. One woman wants him dead.

Mick McFarland is stunned when he’s arrested for murdering business tycoon Edwin Hanson, brother to David Hanson—one of Mick’s former clients. Mick is even more shocked when he’s confronted with the incriminating evidence: surveillance footage of him stalking the victim and pulling the trigger.

As Mick’s legal team fights against windmills trying to beat the prosecution in court, his wife, Piper, journeys across the country, trying to win her husband’s freedom by going after the man she is convinced is out to destroy Mick and David both. What she doesn’t anticipate is that David’s wife, Marcie, is on a similar mission to shelter her own husband. And the two women may not be on the same side.

Piper has it all right…and all wrong. And her time is running out. Will she be able to save her husband from conviction and clear his name?


William Myers sets up a well done and complete novel touching upon the jury trial of a man facing murder charges, the love of his family, the loyalty of an individual’s coworkers and a fascinating look at the incredible future of computers and computing.

Mick McFarland is an attorney just coming off an important case when he is arrested for murder. Astonished, he is faced with actual video of him walking in front of an individual and then clearly walking back and shooting that man to death. The proof of the crime seems irrefutable; it is shown in a video taken by surveillance cameras with dated impression data and no question of the time is that of the murder.

Going to trial Mick is represented by another lawyer from his own firm. But the evidence brought by the District Attorney filing the case against Mick just continues to pile up with no way open to contest the adverse testimony.

Mick’s wife Piper finally must take it upon herself to go after the party that may have committed the murder and placed the blame on her husband. The final section of the novel is a must-read and involves an explanation of what looks like the future of computing. Some of the technique coming out in the book is available in applications in today’s digital world and the author describes an end product currently available in some areas which are well on their way to making our world a much different place than we think.

A mesmerizing novel that will grab the reader’s attention and open doors that are unheard of by most people. The book is beyond being an all-nighter and could very well be the first written description of a wonderful, but perhaps frightening world opening now.

3/2020 Paul Lane

A CRIMINAL JUSTICE by William L Myers, Jr. Thomas & Mercer (March 17, 2020). ISBN: 978-1542005531. 395p.

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LONG SHOT by Kennedy Ryan

March 20, 2020

LONG SHOT by Kennedy Ryan. Scribechick Media, LLC (March 22, 2018). ISBN 978-1732144309. 460p.

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THE JERUSALEM ASSASSIN by Joel C Rosenberg

March 19, 2020

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From the publisher:

From the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author!

The enemy is invisible and moving fast. The body count is rising. And time is running out.
Marcus Ryker has spent his entire career studying killers. One thing he knows for sure: a peace summit is the ultimate stage for an assassination.

President Andrew Clarke is determined to announce his historic peace plan from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But when senior American officials who support the plan begin violently dying, Clarke orders Ryker and his team of CIA operatives to hunt down those responsible and bring the killing spree to an end.

When the Palestinians denounce the American plan, the Saudis signal they may be ready to forge a historic treaty with Israel. Could the Saudi king’s support be the missing ingredient that will lead to peace at long last?

Ryker soon uncovers a chilling plot to kill the American president. A well-resourced international alliance is dead set against the peace plan. They will stop at nothing to strike a blow against the Americans and seize leadership of the Muslim world.

With all eyes on Jerusalem and the president in the crosshairs, it’s up to Ryker to eliminate the terrible evil that’s been set in motion. The fate of the region depends on his success. He has 48 hours.


Rosenberg is the author of many books most of which deal with the situation currently prevalent in the Middle East. He has established a reputation as a man whose writings echo the reality of what is happening in that area of the world and whose opinions are sought by many leaders involved in finding their way in the tumult of that region.

The Jerusalem Assassin is a novel that focuses on the interest of the president of the United States in fostering a peace between the Arab nations and Israel. He intends to travel to Jerusalem and set up a meeting between himself, the President of Israel and the ruler of Saudi Arabia. The accord reached by the three leaders is seen to also bring peace between the Palestinians and Israel between whom years of negotiation have not yielded any advances.

A new terrorist group formed in Greece is opposed to such a meeting and commences assassinating Americans sent as an advance group to lay the groundwork for the talks. The US president sends Marcus Ryker and a supporting team of CIA operatives to stop the assassinations and bring the killers to justice.

The work of Ryker and his team in moving the talks forward is handled with a style that creates an impossibility for the reader to lay down the book before finishing it. It is action and more action, but logically handled as the time for the talks to start looms closer and closer with the Terrorist group moving their agenda forward as well. At the same time, Rosenberg keeps the terror state of Iran front and center certainly setting the stage for continuous action for Marcus Ryker in forthcoming novels. I’m certainly looking forward to those when they are published.

3/2020 Paul Lane

THE JERUSALEM ASSASSIN by Joel C Rosenberg. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 17, 2020). ISBN: 978-1496437846. 464p.

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THE RED LOTUS by Chris Bohjalian

March 18, 2020

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From the publisher:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Flight Attendant comes a twisting story of love and deceit: an American man vanishes on a rural road in Vietnam, and his girlfriend, an emergency room doctor trained to ask questions, follows a path that leads her home to the very hospital where they met.

The first time Alexis saw Austin, it was a Saturday night. Not in a bar, but in the emergency room where Alexis sutured a bullet wound in Austin’s arm.

Six months later, on the brink of falling in love, they travel to Vietnam on a bike tour so that Austin can show her his passion for cycling and he can pay his respects to the place where his father and uncle fought in the war. But as Alexis sips white wine and waits at the hotel for him to return from his solo ride, two men emerge from the tall grass and Austin vanishes into thin air. The only clue he leaves behind is a bright yellow energy gel dropped on the road.

As Alexis grapples with this bewildering loss, and deals with the FBI, Austin’s prickly family, and her colleagues at the hospital, Alexis uncovers a series of strange lies that force her to wonder: Where did Austin go? Why did he really bring her to Vietnam? And how much danger has he left her in?

Set amidst the adrenaline-fueled world of the emergency room, The Red Lotus is a global thriller about those who dedicate their lives to saving people, and those who peddle death to the highest bidder.


There is no feeling better than to pick up a book by an author that I have read in the past and find that he is not mired in one style of book. That in writing a novel that is nothing at all like the previous one I read, found it as good, and not at all similar to his past writings. The Red Lotus is Chris Bohjalian at his best, a great story, well written with excellent development of principal characters.

Alexis is a young doctor who is one of the emergency room physicians in the hospital she works in. She is dedicated to and good at what she does. While her love life is somewhat limited by the hours she works she does date. The strangest date she manages is when Austin is brought in with a bullet wound in his arm. His story is that he got caught up in a fight between other men in a bar and by bad luck got in the way of the gunshot. Austin, also coincidentally works at the same hospital that Alexis does, although in another department. The two begin dating and seem to be getting more and more involved. Austin’s hobby and greatest interest is bike riding, but not just around the neighborhood, but on long-distance runs with organized groups.

About eight months after the two meet, Austin invites Alexis to go with him on an organized tour sponsored by a professional biker’s organization to Vietnam. He tells her that besides the ride he wants to visit two sites for family reasons. At one, his uncle was killed, and at the other, his father wounded during the Vietnam war. Arriving there Austin decides that he wants to go by himself to visit the two sites and does so. When he doesn’t return and can’t be found by the group searching both the Vietnamese police and the American FBI representative in the area are called in to help.

Alexis has to return to the US and to work but decides she wants to see if she can find out what happened to Austin and hires a private detective. In a short time a body is brought back to the US with Alexis identifying it as that of Austin. What is the reason for his death if not the one of natural causes shown at first sight? The well told story unfolds with Alexis and the private detective looking at a possible connection at the hospital where she and Austin worked. Discovery of facts and clues are found by judicious logic and the reader is left with the obvious desire to get Bohjalian’s next book as soon as published.

3/2020 Paul Lane

THE RED LOTUS by Chris Bohjalian. Grand Central Publishing (March 17, 2020). ISBN: 978-1538748145. 384p.

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THE BOY FROM THE WOODS by Harlan Coben

March 17, 2020

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From the publisher:

A man with a mysterious past must find a missing teenage girl in this shocking thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Run Away.

Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn’t know where he comes from, and another child has gone missing.

No one seems to take Naomi Pine’s disappearance seriously, not even her father-with one exception. Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney, knows through her grandson that Naomi was relentlessly bullied at school. Hester asks Wilde-with whom she shares a tragic connection-to use his unique skills to help find Naomi.

Wilde can’t ignore an outcast in trouble, but in order to find Naomi he must venture back into the community where he has never fit in, a place where the powerful are protected even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions . . . secrets that Wilde must uncover before it’s too late.


Harlan Coben introduces a new character for his readers with this book. It is a man simply called Wilde due to his very unusual past.

Wilde was discovered as a boy roaming free in the woods. He has no memory of where he came from, but does speak and understand English and had lived and survived for years through entering homes of people living on or near the woods and taking food and clothing. Once picked up, he is taken in and adopted by a family, goes to school and serves in the military.

Now as an adult, Wilde makes a living as a person that does things for other people. He learns about the disappearance of Naomi Pine, the daughter of a man that he knew in school but does not react until asked to find her by Heather Crimstein, who is a television criminal attorney. Heather has learned from her grandson that Naomi has been relentlessly bullied in school and may have fled that life.

The search for Naomi and events following her disappearance are action-filled and as described by the author constitute the draw of the book for the reader. The story, while interesting, is not as mesmerizing as the normal Harlan Coben book generally is. The first section features a great deal of conversation with little action and the actions of Wilde in looking for the lost girl come across as a bit disjointed. The book is by Harlan Coben which makes it desirable but an ending that seems to terminate the series without setting up another Wilde novel could be what the author wants in testing the main character.

3/2020 Paul Lane

THE BOY FROM THE WOODS by Harlan Coben. Grand Central Publishing (March 17, 2020). ISBN: 978-1538748145. 384p.

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THIS TIME AROUND by Stacey Lynn

March 16, 2020

THIS TIME AROUND by Stacey Lynn. Stacey Lynn Books (April 10, 2018). ISBN 978-1942561095. 162p.

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THE TWO LIVES OF LYDIA BIRD by Josie Silver

March 15, 2020

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From the publisher:

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade, and Lydia thought their love was indestructible.

But she was wrong. On her twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life–and perhaps even love–again.

But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.

Lydia is pulled again and again across the doorway of her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.

Written with Josie Silver’s trademark warmth and wit, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a powerful and thrilling love story about the what-ifs that arise at life’s crossroads, and what happens when one woman is given a miraculous chance to answer them.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­I enjoyed Josie Silver’s debut novel, One Day in December, so I was excited when I saw that she had a new book out.  Yet, after reading the plot description I wasn’t entirely sure if it was a premise I was going to enjoy.  I should not have worried because Silver does a good job handling a unique, and heartbreaking, premise. Whether you chose to believe that Lydia’s sleeping medication actually provides her with a gateway to an alternate universe where her fiancé is still alive, or that it is all an elaborate coping mechanism created by her subconscious, Silver thoughtfully conveys Lydia’s grief and her journey through the process.

A therapist’s advice to Lydia at the beginning of the book that the grieving process is something that she should “pass through sentiently”, is first met with a fair amount of mocking.  Yet, as it becomes more and more taxing on Lydia to move between her two lives, she begins to realize there may be some truth to the statement.  Helping Lydia through her grief are her mom and her sister Elle.  While the two men in her life are certainly important (her fiancé Freddie in the world she enters when she sleeps, and Freddie’s best friend Jonah in her real life), I appreciated that Silver puts much of the focus on Lydia’s relationship with her mom and sister.  They are the two who ground and support her and the relationship between the three women ends up being the most important one in the book.  A moving title where Silver thoughtfully handles Lydia’s journey and her struggle to move forward with her life.

3/2020 Caitlin Brisson

THE TWO LIVES OF LYDIA BIRD by Josie Silver. Ballantine Books (March 3, 2020). ISBN 9780593135235. 432 p.

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FROM ALASKA WITH LOVE by Ally James

March 14, 2020

FROM ALASKA WITH LOVE by Ally James. Berkley (March 3, 2020). ISBN 978-1984806956. 304p.

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2020 National Book Critics Circle Award Winners!

March 13, 2020

The awards ceremony may have been canceled, (thanks, Coronavirus!) but the awards must go on…

From the Washington Post:

The National Book Critics Circle was forced to cancel last night’s awards ceremony. But the winners were announced — along with plans to celebrate them sometime this fall:

  • Autobiography “Know My Name,” by Chanel Miller (review).
  • Biography “The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth,” by Josh Levin (review).
  • Criticism “Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval,” by Saidiya Hartman.
  • Fiction “Everything Inside: Stories,” by Edwidge Danticat.
  • Nonfiction “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland,” by Patrick Radden Keefe (review).
  • Poetry “Magical Negro,” by Morgan Parker (review).

 

Note: I am a member of the NBCC.


THE LAND BEYOND THE SEA by Sharon Kay Penman

March 13, 2020

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From the publisher:

From the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Sharon Kay Penman comes the story of the reign of King Baldwin IV and the Kingdom of Jerusalem’s defense against Saladin’s famous army.

The Kingdom of Jerusalem, also known as Outremer, is the land far beyond the sea. Baptized in blood when the men of the First Crusade captured Jerusalem from the Saracens in the early twelfth century, the kingdom defined an utterly new world, a land of blazing heat and a medley of cultures, a place where enemies were neighbors and neighbors became enemies.

At the helm of this growing kingdom sits young Baldwin IV, an intelligent and courageous boy committed to the welfare and protection of his people. But despite Baldwin’s dedication to his land, he is afflicted with leprosy at an early age and the threats against his power and his health nearly outweigh the risk of battle. As political deception scours the halls of the royal court, the Muslim army–led by the first sultan of Egypt and Syria, Saladin–is never far from the kingdom’s doorstep, and there are only a handful Baldwin can trust, including the archbishop William of Tyre and Lord Balian d’Ibelin, a charismatic leader who has been one of the few able to maintain the peace.

Filled with drama and battle, tragedy and romance, Sharon Kay Penman’s latest novel brings a definitive period of history vividly alive with a tale of power and glory that will resonate with readers today.


Penman presents a truly monumental portrait of the Kingdom of Jerusalem during a period beginning about the time the first crusade succeeded in opening up the land to Christianity until the city was retaken by the Saracens under the sultan Saladin. The research done by the author is briefly outlined by her in an afterward of the book. And, while it was written as a novel, Penman makes the case for it’s being based on the facts as researched by her and various historians writing about the period.

In order to tell the story as a novel, the author has put words, conversations, and personal feelings into the actions of the novel’s persona and first and foremost that action allows them to become real for the reader. During the period dealt with a young man named Baldwin became king of the area and is depicted as wise beyond his years. He developed leprosy early in his life with the disease affecting him until his untimely death in his 20’s. He is credited with consolidating the territories involved in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and at the same time militarily holding off the constant attacks by the Saracens attempting to recover the lands held by them prior to the first crusade.

There are only a few people that Baldwin can trust, and two of these play leading roles in the book. The first is the archbishop; William of Tyre and the other​ Lord Balian d’Ibelin. Balian rides in support of Baldwin during the battles staged against the invading Saracens and has his personal life including marriage to a member of the royal family become a centerpiece in the novel.
The sultan Saladin plays an important part in the story, as he did during real life as he leads his people into war against those that usurped the lands belonging to them. He was a military genius and while shown as handling the people his armies conquered; killing or selling many into slavery his wisdom at many instances is noteworthy and described by the author.

The novel culminates at the time that Jerusalem is recaptured by Saladin and describes briefly what happens to many people affected by the conquest and who must leave their homes for other places. A brief summary of the presence of King Richard of England, including his capture by Saladin and later ransom by his brother John, ties this book into the legend of Robin Hood which involves the efforts of this picaresque outlaw to free King Richard.

The study of history is subject to interpretation and is really never the result of hard facts. It is, therefore, to Penman’s credit that she has written a history of the period in the packaging of a completely engrossing novel. In either case, it is beyond doubt a five-star work.

3/2020 Paul Lane

THE LAND BEYOND THE SEA by Sharon Kay Penman. G.P. Putnam’s Sons (March 3, 2020). ISBN: 978-0399165283. 688p.

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