Sunday, September 25, 2011

Book Review: Legends of Tsalagee by Phil Truman

Legends of Tsalagee – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

“One day I was out looking, as I did pretty regular back then. It was in November. A rainstorm had come through the night before and left it cold and damp. The woods dripped, and dark thick clouds still filled the day. Anyway, I was climbing up the side of this wooded hill. My feet kept slipping on the thick fall of wet leaves, and I had to grab saplings as I went so’s not to slide down the hill. All of a sudden, this feeling come over me that I was being watched, so I stopped and looked around. Didn’t see a thing. I then noticed how quiet it had gotten. Now in November in the woods around here you don’t hear a lot anyway, but this was beyond that. No birds, no wind, no nothing. It was down right spooky. And things just didn’t smell right. I tell ya, I’ve done a fair amount of hunting in these woods, and when a bear or a cougar or bobcat came around, I knew it; even came up on a small pack of wolves once. But this wasn’t like them times. Something in the woods was watching me that day, and I had no idea what. What I did know was that a little voice inside was yelling at me to skedaddle. So that’s what I did, and I ain’t gone back to look for that treasure since. Don’t really care about that sort of thing any longer, though. I figure I’ve got all I need right here. I wouldn’t know how to act if I’uz rich, anyway.”

In 1889, the famous outlaw Belle Starr was killed. Rumor had it that she had a rather large stock of money and gold hidden, which had been acquired through her robberies, but where? Her son Ed knew where it was stashed so after his mother was killed, he divided it between his sister and lit out before the law decided to pin the murder on him, of which he just might be guilty. Belle Starr lived - and died in Younger's Bend on the Canadian River, near the town of Eufaula, OK. After her 'death' Ed decided to ride up further northeast into the Cherokee Nation where the town of Tsalagee is located. There he met Ned Starr and settled down. But in the back of his mind he still felt the law was looking for him. He decided the best thing for him to do was to not spend any of his mother’s money but to hide it somewhere instead. Thus, the legend of the Belle Starr Treasure took on its beginning.

It turns out that the Starr Treasure wasn’t the only legend floating around the area. The Choctaw and the Cherokees had a legend of their own. All the way back to 1850, the tribal stories of a large hairy man-beast roaming the woods and hills was passed on generation after generation. The Choctaw called him “Hill Man Who Yells at Night” while the Cherokee called him “He Who Lives in the Hills” with the name later being shortened simply to “The Hill Man.” They also believed that the Belle Starr treasure was cursed and protected by the Hill Man. But of course, that didn’t stop many a man from striking out with the desire to find this famous treasure, town’s people included.

Once in a while I’ll read a book that simply hits me as being Great! This is one of those books. In the beginning you have your traditional murder prompted by greed giving the book a bit of “catch me if you can” but the more I read, the more I had to remind myself that there was a murder. The characters are so down-to-earth, even the bad guys. They are comical as well as serious. Author Phil Truman has created characters that I will never forget. He even has me believing in the “Hill Man.” I couldn’t get enough of this book and really hated to have it end. It left me wanting more!

Deadly Niche Press
ISBN #978-0-937660-95-9

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Release: Cold hearted Son of a Witch by MR Mathias

Fantasy Author M. R. Mathias announces the release of the long awaited Dragoneers Saga Book II Cold Hearted Son of a Witch.

Print and eBook versions are now available.

The First Dragoneer, a 43-page novella, available FREE almost everywhere online, begins with just a small part of the grand tale.

The Royal Dragoneers is the first full length novel of the saga. It was deemed a top indie release of 2010 by esteemed Fantasy Book Critic, and it was featured in the first ever Publishers Weekly - "Indie Showcase."

Now, Book II - Cold Hearted Son of a Witch brings The First Dragoneer and The Royal Dragoneers together. Zahrellion and Rikky and their dragons go on a quest to find the special mushrooms Mysterian needs to save Prince Richard from Gravelbone’s poison. Meanwhile, Jenka and his loveable dragon, Jade, escort the King's Rangers back to Kingsmen's Keep. When Jenka and the half-elvish mute, Lemmy, find a map at the Temple of Dou, they follow it and find more trouble than they bargained for. Ultimately, the five Dragoneers come together as they are forced to stand and face a terrible threat that is only just revealing itself. Mathias' fans will find grim and pleasant surprises in this novel-length action fantasy. The best surprise of all is that The Dragoneers Saga Book III - The Confliction will be available for Christmas 2011.

Reviewers respond to The Dragoneers Saga

Mathias is a master at characterization. The dragons are magnificent in the story. The plot is action is fast, furious and never ending. The plot is intricately woven with twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing. The story has a mythical quality. Fans of fantasy will not want to miss this one.

The author draws you into his fantastical vortex from the first chapter of The First Dragoneer and you are compelled to read on whether you want to or not. The characters are believable and engaging. It's obvious to me he either researches a lot or is very knowledgeable in archery, hunting and just plain survival. I left feeling I learned a thing or two. I highly recommend this pre-cursor to 'The Royal Dragoneers.'

Mathias is an absolute pleasure to read. Unique storyline, fascinating characters and a fast paced novel that practically reads itself. The Royal Dragoneers easily lived up to the promise shown in the prequel. Lovers of fantasy everywhere this is a fresh, new talent with plenty of truly original ideas. Do yourself a favour and treat yourself to this book.

M. R. Mathias is the author of the bestselling Wardstone Trilogy, The Dragoneers Saga, and the Crimzon & Clover Short Story Series. He lives in the Big Easy with his tweeting dog, Mr. Stubby Freckle Butt. You can follow M.R.'s tweets @DahgMahn.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Review: For Every Action There Are Consequences by Gail M Baugniet

For Every Action There Are Consequences
– Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

‘Back in my office, I set Jed’s report aside and turned my attention to the witness statements. Neighbors had reported loud noises and shouts coming from the only bungalow in the cul-de-sac. According to a neighbor two houses down, everyone knew about the constant arguing. One statement quoted a woman at the top of the cul-de-sac as saying, “Liticia Tuarence often accused her husband of passing judgment on her. I saw the police arrive more than once when things got out of hand. We went out of our way to ignore the squabbles. This time was different, lots of banging and profanity.” I reread the remark about “passing judgment” and wondered if the woman had chosen the phrase herself or is she’d only repeated Liticia’s words. According to Jed, Wes Tuarence admitted he’d stabbed his wife multiple times though he offered no explanation for his actions and refused to make any further comment. The snapshots stapled to the file told me far more about the man than any written statement ever could. White borders around the photos drew my attention to the gruesome details of each knife wound, giving me a measure of the hatred this man must have harbored.’

Pepper Bibeau is an insurance investigator for Early Settlers Insurance Company. Her boss “Sully” Sullivan has just assigned her to not one but two cases that will take her to Chicago to hopefully solve. The first case is a claim filed by a Doctor Patel who has filed claims for five members of the same family. Due to the heredity of the children’s illness, sickle cell anemia, the probability was that the claim was correct. But due to the lack of blood and other lab work, it became Pepper’s job to check out the claim.

Her second assignment in Chicago came in the form of a favor to Sully. There had been an insurance policy taken out on Liticia that listed her husband as beneficiary and an orphanage as second in line. Sully’s hopes were that Pepper could turn up something, anything, that would help to convict Wes Tuarence of murder and not allow him to claim the proceeds. Sully personally wanted to see it go to the orphanage.

What should have been two simple cases taking just a few days to research ended up taking Pepper into the next week and almost getting her killed. But which case was the real threat? Were the insurance claims legitimate or was the doctor faking claims? Were Liticia and Wes Tuarence in over their heads in something illegal that caused them to flee Chicago or are they victims of the circumstances?

As the number of deaths increased, my list of suspects declined. At one point I really suspected it might be one of the “good guys” gone bad. Actually, I had that suspicion until the end. Was I right? You’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out.

346 pages
ISBN# 9781456522155