Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Targets by Don McQuinn

Fiction / Vietnam War 

501 pages / 1393 KB
5 Stars

Legalities first: I received a free electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.

I have been enjoying McQuinn's novels for several years. Mostly, I read his space operas and fantasies, recently I've discovered some of his war novels. Oh, what a discovery I have made!

Targets follows Charles Taylor, MAJ, USMC during a year's tour of duty in Saigon during the Vietnam war. This is not a story of shoot –'em up bang bang out in the jungle type of episodes. No, this is a much more thoughtful, and thereby fear inducing, of life and love in war-torn Saigon. There are the guys who just want to survive and get home, the guys who want to make a positive difference, and the ones who want to stab a few of the others in the back. And through it all are the Vietnamese who just want the war to end and everybody to go back home.

This is not the first story of that war I've read, but it is the first story of that war I've read where the Vietnamese play a major, and positive, supporting role. While this is not a novel of battles in the rice paddies or jungles, there is enough violence in the city—assassinations and attempted assassinations, back alley beat-downs, and kidnappings—to keep anyone's adrenaline flowing smoothly.

McQuinn also shows the world that a good yarn can be twisted without peppering it with profanities. The yarn is stronger, the twist tighter, and the woven story superb!

If you like a well-written novel, read Targets.
If you like a good story, read Targets.

If you want to know what war is about, read Targets.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Flash Fiction Magazine 50 Stories 50 Authors –ed by Emily Clayton and Dina Paulson

Fiction / Flash

125 pages / 2224 KB
5 Stars

Legalities First: I received a free electronic copy of this magazine in exchange for an honest review.

Flash fiction, by most definitions, is 1,000 words or less. Many of these stories are less, and to be honest, many left me with "Reader's Greed." I wanted more.

This "slithering road"* of short stories will take you into worlds you aren't familiar with, even though you've seen them before, indeed, may have lived in. Worlds where crows gather "in B Minor,"** where the "scintillating synaptic conflagration"** will leave you wanting more.

Fifty flash fiction stories—perfect for lunch hours, bathroom breaks, or just before your eyes close at night. Well worth the investment of time, imagination, and money. Buy it! Review it!

*Raji Samuel, author

**Miles Varana, author

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Red Mountain --by Boo Walker


326 pages
5 Stars

Rumors abound that there is to be a second book, a sequel, which is a good thing. I read fiction to escape, and I want all the loose ends tied in neat bows by the time I get to the end. Many were tied, many were not, and the ending left me wanting more. Much more. The problem is, I want the more RIGHT NOW and he’s still writing it!

While I love series books, I do so enjoy it when each book in the series comes to a satisfactory ending. Perhaps it’s my old age—I may not be here when the sequel comes out ;-) I vacillated between 4 & 5 stars because of the ending, but so enjoyed the rest of the book, I gave it 5.

Among the characters we meet are an old codger who howls with the coyotes, a prodigy pianist, a teen with angst (don’t they all have angst?), a rock star, and an (ex) street person. None of them take over the book and they all balance each other. All are believable, and actually, all the main characters are rather likable. They each had a story, and their stories intermingled as they would in real life. We see in this book how our lives are truly not insular no matter how reclusive we might think we are, but each thing we do, each thing we say, affects other people.

I found the book worth my investment both in dollars and in time (except for the first 3 chapters, I read it in one day!) and if you like a good story, I think you’ll enjoy it too.