My Blog

Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at fadingshadows40@gmail.com

Monday, August 14, 2017

South California Purple

The year is 1973, and the last of America's soldiers are returning home from Vietnam, often shouted down and spat upon by protesters, while the first toxic cracks of public mistrust have begun to appear at the highest levels of government. The American Indian Movement has entered into a bloody occupation of Wounded Knee, gas shortages have pushed the economy into deep recession, and violent civil unrest is captured in living color and televised nightly on the evening news. But rural Meriwether County, tucked away amid the sweeping river valleys and serrated mountain ridges of southern Oregon has been left largely untouched by time. Until now. Cattle rancher Ty Dawson, a complex man tormented by elements of his own past, is involuntarily conscripted to assist local law enforcement when a herd of wild mustangs is rounded up and corralled in anticipation of a government auction, igniting the passions of political activist Teresa Pineu, who threatens to fan the flames of an uprising that grows rapidly out of control. As the past collides with the present, and hostility escalates into brutality and bloodshed, Ty is drawn into a complex web of predatory alliances and corruption where he must choose to stand and fight, or watch as the last remnants of the American West are consumed in a lawless conflagration of avarice and cruelty. Set against the rugged backdrop of Oregon's vast ranchlands, South California Purples is a novel of loyalty, passion and murder, as seen through the eyes of a cast of unforgettable characters and crafted with lyrical prose and dialogue. It is the first in a new series that weaves together the sometimes poignant, often violent, strains of the 1970s and the human costs of a nation in transition.


South California Purples (Western/Thriller)
By Baron R. Birtcher
Permanent Press www.permanentpress.com
ISBN #978-1579625009
Price $28.00 (hardback)
248 Pages
Earing 4-Stars

Cattle are being killed on ranches in Meriwether County in Oregon, and the corpse show strange injuries. Now the government is rounding up mustangs for auction, and government activist, Teresa Pineu has asked for help from a motorcycle gang, who are camping on her property. The sheriff conscripts Ty Dawson, a former captain in the military police during the Korean War, to help in law enforcement. It’s 1973, and the Vietnam War is winding down, Watergate is on the news, and the American Indian Movement has occupied Wounded Knee, and things are getting bloody everywhere. The sheriff is afraid the same thing will happen in Meriwether County.

The story is told in Three Parts; Part One, the first 62 pages sets the story up, introducing most of the main characters. The author’s writing is topnotch, but the first 62 pages were so slow I almost didn’t bother with the rest of the book. It does pick up speed with Parts Two and Three, but I didn’t find it as entertaining as HARD LATITUDES, his previous novel I read. Still, it is an interesting novel that depicts a slowly dying American way of life, when cowboys still rode the range on horseback instead of helicopters. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of HAUNTED MESA


Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Spawn of Lilithu

Deep in the haunted woods of the antediluvian world Thurl the Gaelg has stumbled upon an ancient inn that houses an evil born from the very pits of hell. With his wits and his mighty sword arm will the Gaelg find himself the next victim of The Spawn of Lilithu?


The Spawn of Lilithu
By William M. Hope
Independent Publishing Platform
ASIN # B073MYXVWT
Price $0.99
25 Pages

“In The Tradition of Robert E. Howard’s Conan”

Thurl the Hyperian is escorting the cleric, Amoras to Rhodiaes to negotiate the royal marriage between two empires. On the road they chance upon The Inn of The Crossroads, and against the warrior’s better judgment Amoras wants to spend the night. Thurl has trouble sleeping and hears sounds from the cleric’s room and when he crashes through the door he finds small creatures ripping the cleric’s body apart.

The innkeeper has adopted the children of Lilithu, from the legend of Cain and his brood of evil children. They use the inn to waylay strangers on the road, killing and eating their flesh. Thurl must find a way to destroy this evil horde.

In the tradition of Robert E. Howard’s Conan, the adventures of Thurl are exciting reads. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson

Author of THESE ALIEN SKIES

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Taste of Blood And Ashes

When Nashville PI and horse whisperer Jared McKean is hired to investigate a suspicious barn fire, he finds evidence of soring, the practice of using painful shoeing or caustic chemicals to affect the gait of a Tennessee Walking Horse. But the owners, Zane and Carlin Underwood, are known anti-soring activists. Carlin's distress seems genuine, and Zane is confined to a wheelchair, paralyzed from the chest down during an attack by a frenzied stallion. Jared believes someone else is behind the arson.

Knowing the arsonist is almost certainly someone in community of those who breed and show Walking Horses, Jared and his new assistant, his half-sister Khanh, attend a local horse show in hopes of flushing out the culprit. There are suspects aplenty, including a groom on the run from a powerful cartel, a modern day robber baron, and a beautiful gold-digger whose dreams are filled with fire.

Secrets pile on top of secrets, and as Zane's memories of the events leading to his accident begin to return, the situation becomes deadly. Jared and Khanh find themselves in the crosshairs of a killer who will do anything to keep the past in the past.


A Taste of Blood And Ashes (Mystery)
By Jaden Terrell
ISBN #978-1579624354
Permanent Press www.permanentpress.com
Price $26.83 (Hardback)
296 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

After reading the first story in the Jared McKean series, I was anxious to finally get to read this fourth book. Jared and his half-sister, Khanh, a Vietnamese girl his father sired, are still together, and she brings some humor to an otherwise very dramatic story line.  Jared is investigating a suspicious fire for an insurance company that killed several Tennessee Walking Horses. The case quickly turns into a murder investigation when human bones are also found.

Anywhere there is money to be made you will also find big crime and gangsters behind much of the happenings. It doesn’t take long for Jared and Khanh to become targets in someone’s sights.

I am against all sports that use animals for man’s enjoyment, and this book was hard for me to read because of the cruelty in this regard. The scene of the barn burning and the horses screaming and dying in the flames almost forced me to quit reading. But the book and the writing are both well conceived and plotted, and the author never fails to create a good mystery. I can recommend it highly for the mystery fan, but be aware of horrific scenes that may haunt you like it did me.

Tom Johnson


Author of THE MAN IN THE BLACK FEDORA

Monday, August 7, 2017

Manhattan Masquerade

Galen Slaughter and Joe Beringer are partners at the Greater Gotham Detective Agency. Although very different men in many ways, both are veterans of the World War who share a remarkable proficiency with fists and firearms. Their lives since the Armistice have been far from peaceful but the greatest challenge of all comes during the first fifteen days of 1933. At a time when the Depression is at its absolute worst they find themselves part of a small band of men and women tasked with protecting the unsuspecting millions of New York City from a mysterious new criminal organization. Outnumbered and out-gunned by gangsters and corrupted police officers alike, they must also contend with the bitter realization that even heroes have dark secrets.


Manhattan Masquerade (Mystery Thriller)
“Greater Gotham Detective Agency Book 1”
By Michael Howard
Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN # 978-1543158069
Price $15.99
638 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“The Action Never Slows”

The New York underworld has a new crime mastermind calling himself Tanas Fericul (change the letters around and you get Satan Lucifer). Mobsters are disappearing, and the Mob is worried. Galen Slaughter of the Greater Gotham City Detective Agency is already working on the case for personal reasons. His partner, Joe Beringer is drawn into the case when Richard Whiting hires him to trail the beautiful heiress, Jessica Silverton. Then he discovers that his secretary, Betty Kern is secretly reporting to Whiting behind his back. And Linwood Hewitt’s Trans-Global Detective Agency also has agents working on the case.

This is a non-stop action thriller from the first page, and the action never slows down. It covers the first 15 days of January in 1933, and there is something going to happen on the last day. Not only is there a good mystery within the criminal element, there are things the detective agency wants kept hidden also. The story is steeped in foreign and national espionage.

The mysterious Wrath is back after years of silence, and could be a new person wearing strange costume. And who is the great American spy of WWI, known as The Peacemaker, and why is he involved. And if that wasn’t enough, the beautiful WWI spy known as R-1 is also involved some way. All right, I’m going out on a limb now. This has got to be the best new pulp novel for not only 2017, but possibly for the last decade. Not only is it a spy thriller, it is the shadow world of the 1930’s, and pulp heroes, all rolled into one. This novel should win all kinds of awards in the pulp community. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of THE MAN IN THE BLACK FEDORA
  

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

ONYX

Caught between the past and the present, a young archaeologist is thrust forward into the
future as pawn in a twisted game hosted by the corrupt, the greedy, and the underworld. In this fourth novel in our Pseudoverse, the year is 2049, twenty-seven years before Cobalt. Who was the very first Pseudosynth? A detective working a case of murders become a casualty of Ray Nelson’s early work as we follow her and her partner through the wasteland of lies, cover-ups, and mummified remains. This thrilling and mysterious follow-up to Emerald will have you on the edge of your seat as we unveil who was ‘the first genetically engineered conscious being’ in this tale of Egyptian lore turned painfully bloody, and cubed. Look to the darkened skies above as the moon moves closer to the sun. In an ever-growing eclipse, the Goddess Serket, the Scorpion Queen, is born for the first time. May she have mercy on your tainted soul…Onyx is one 'hell' of a ride that ends with a shocking conclusion leading into the final novel in the series, Heliotrope: Pente Addendum.

Once it awakens, you had better run like hell!


Onyx (SF/Fantasy/Mystery)
“Book 4 In The Pseudoverse”
By CG Blade
Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN #978- 1521316702
Price $7.99
157 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Lots of Fun And Action.”

Terra Industries is promoting an archeological dig in Egypt where two students are searching for the sunken ruins of the Scorpion rule. When Jasmine Smith and Stephanie Croston discover the underground treasure rooms and tunnels, they are delighted, but unknown to them the man funding the dig, Wes Stuckert, sends a secret armada of vehicles to retrieve the treasure. Jasmine is restless and goes back into the underground tunnels to look again at what she and Steph have found, only to be met by Stuckert’s killer, Keli Bomani, who drops her into an open pit, her body in pieces. But now the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt are upset and give Jasmine back a life of sorts. She is made the Scorpion Queen, Serket. And Serket has the job of returning the stolen treasure and the dead who have it in their possession.

Meanwhile, in Portland the police are investigating the murder of Stuckert’s wife and chauffeur when more weird murders begin.

This was actually my favorite novel in the pseudoverse so far. It has a nice mixture of mystery and science fiction, but still has the craziness of the first three novels with super women and robots. And it has a better story line and more solid plot. There is also lots of fun and fast action, and highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of THESE ALIEN SKIES