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

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Oklahoma Winds

In Oklahoma, spring brings storms raging across the American prairie, too often spawning tornadoes that lash the land. But this spring Sydney St. John finds herself fighting for her life against another danger, one from the past. When her intern's body is discovered in the archives processing room, everyone wants to believe the girl's death was an accident or a horrible mistake. But Sydney sets out to discover whether the cruel murder of today resulted from another crime committed nearly seventy years earlier, searching for clues as only an archivist can. Her search leads her to another danger, different, in the person of Ben Bartlett, grandson of the creator of the very collection at the center of the mystery. Is he to be her lover? Or her murderer?


 Oklahoma Winds (Cozy Mystery)
A Sydney St. John Mystery #1
By Cary Osborne
Crossroad Press
ISBN # 978-1941408704
Price $12.99 (Paperback)
Price $2.99 (Kindle)
194 Pages
Rating 4-Stars


Sydney St. John is the archivist for records in Gansel, Oklahoma. It’s May of the present day, and tornado season. Everyone is watching the weather for violent storms. Arriving at work one morning she finds her university intern dead. Sydney believes her murder involves the latest material donated to the archives. While the local and state police investigate the homicide, she concentrates on the material, believing the answers lie there.

In 1938, Josiah Bartlett was a filmmaker that travelled to small towns making short films using local children. In Vernon, he wrote a play that involved a young 12-year-old girl being kidnapped, and two young boys rescue her from an old barn. But something goes wrong. The girl, Violet Parsons really disappears. At the same time, a banker is reported kidnapped and ransom of two hundred thousand dollars is asked for his return. The money was paid, but his body was later found. Sydney follows the clues in the archives and films, and a story slowly unravels making her believe that Violet Parsons is still alive, but using another name, and may have been involved in the murder of the banker. But complications arise when Josiah’s grandson, Ben Bartlett comes from California to look through the material. Sydney’s afraid she may be falling for him, and he could be the murderer. Mixed with the danger of a killer loose in Gansel, there are severe storms, as well as tornados that make life difficult in the area.


I was given a copy of the book for an honest review. This was an interesting plot, and I wanted to find out the truth about the missing girl in 1938, but like most cozy mysteries, the story moves slow, even with the storms and attempts on Sydney’s life. The story is clean, and sex is kept in the background. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of THESE ALIEN SKIES




Monday, July 1, 2019

ASTOUNDING

Astounding (SF/Biographies)
By Alec Nevala-Lee
Dey Street Books
ISBN #978-0062571946
Price $16.50 (hardback)
Price $13.39 (Paperback)
544 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“A Monument To The Past”

Astounding was the leading science fiction magazine in the Golden Age of SF. When John Campbell took over editorial control the stories became more believable than the previous soap opera appearing in the news rack magazines of the day. The authors submitting to Astounding knew that their stories better show real science and nuts and bolts technology if they wanted published in John Campbell’s magazine. Three such authors were Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and L. Ron Hubbard. This book covers them and John Campbell in biographies that dig into their backgrounds, showing not only their talents, but also their faults. It also looks at the women behind the men. It’s a history that looks into the magazine in that period when Astounding led the field.

I was captivated by the stories I heard about these men and women. As a young reader in the early 1950s, I discovered Astounding and the other SF magazines, and read everything I could find, especially these authors, but also other science fiction masters like A.E. van Vogt, Ray Bradbury, George O. Smith, and the rest. For those of you that want to learn more about Astounding and the Golden Age of science fiction and the authors, I highly recommend this book.

Tom Johnson
Author of WORLDS OF TOMORROW 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Haunted Charlottesville

Charlottesville, Virginia, and its 12 surrounding counties are filled with history and charm. They also hold spirits who aren’t ready to leave their beloved homes or families behind. Visit more than 75 haunting locations with this experiential and historical guide. Shiver your way through haunted graveyards, mansions, parks, private residences, and other locations as you discover the past and learn of current lingering ghosts and the havoc they continue to instigate. Have you ever pondered about the spiritual implications from murders of olde? Think you might like to be pinched by a ghost or have your name called when no one is there? Interested in what a paranormal investigative group might find? Then make plans to explore these strange and frightening locations. Contact information is provided for those places allowing visitations. But when you visit, be ready for a haunting good time!


Haunted Charlottesville (Paranormal)
“And Surrounding Counties”
By Susan Schwartz
Schiffer Publishing
ISBN #978-0764357556
196 Pages
Price $18.99 (Paperback)
Rating 5-Stars

“A Look At Haunted Places In Virginia”

In Charlottesville and the surrounding counties are a number of places and buildings that appear to be haunted. The author and her brother tour the wide area, she looking for signs and stories of hauntings, and her brother taking pictures of the places they visit. Most hauntings appear to be connected to battles of the Civil War that took place in this area of Virginia, but there are murders that also tend to have ghostly apparitions, as well.

Reading about the hauntings was fun, though in my opinion they are not restless souls that haven’t crossed over yet, but the evil reflections of violent death and murder that remain in those areas, leaving a passageway for demons to emerge. I also love great architect, and the photographs of the mansions and homes where these hauntings took place are beautifully displayed throughout the narrative.

War is violent and evil, and if we learned anything from the Civil War, brother should not fight brother again. There are other ways to achieve peace without massive killing of one another. Regardless of your opinion of ghosts and phantoms, this book will hold your interest to the last page. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of CARNIVAL OF DEATH

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Hologram: The Abduction of Hui Chien Song

As a cadet with the Arizona Highway Patrol, Hui-Chien got hands-on experience and some street-cred with the officers while she worked toward a degree in Criminal Justice. Homicide Detective was her goal—until a blistering hot August day when a routine dispatch to a traffic accident changed her life forever.
News of the abduction hit Detective Fallon Brooks hard. However, Brooks had troubles of his own—he was out on leave due to an injury suffered during an incident involving the shooting death of an unarmed black man, an incident that had him in hot water with the LAPD. Nonetheless, the thought of the young Asian woman at the mercy of two convicted murders—one a child molester—shook him to his core. Brooks puts his conflict with the department and his current status as pariah of the force aside, and sets out on a desperate mission to find Hui-Chien.
A romantic suspense-thriller packed with twists and turns and a touch of erotic spice!


Hologram: The Abduction of Hui Chien Song (Romantic Suspense)
Hologram Book #3
By Nancy Miller
Hologram The Novel
ISBN #978-0989455756
Price $12.99 (Paperback)
Price $3.99 (Kindle)
297 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

Two prisoners escape when the prison van turns over on the Arizona highway. They take Hui Chien Song a hostage. Song, an exchange student is studying criminal justice in hopes of becoming a homicide detective. For practical experience she is riding patrol with the Arizona Highway Patrol. Her unit responds to the accident report, putting her in harms way.

The story follows her captivity and Detective Fallon Brooks who wants to rescue her. Brooks partner shot an unarmed black man and the same bullet wounded him. His report clearly states the black man was unarmed and his boss wants him to change his statement. Meantime, Hui Chien is falling for one of her abductors, Hasan Khan, who is running from a murder conviction of his previous girlfriend. 

There are several sex scenes, as well as some profanity in the book, but the plot and characterization is topnotch, and there are several twists that are unexpected. Plus, we have a good cop and bad cop situation. The bad cop that plants evidence to convict. The good cop that plants evidence to prove the opposite when he knows the original evidence was planted by the bad cop. I couldn’t put the book down, as it kept my interest throughout, and the ending was certainly a surprise. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of THE MAN IN THE BLACK FEDORA

Friday, June 14, 2019

Rope On Fire

John Crane is an elite secret agent…until his agency suddenly closes. But if the government doesn’t want Crane’s talents, Internet billionaire Josh Sulenski does. Someone’s going to a lot of trouble to sabotage a harmless project he funds. Josh wants to know who and why.
When Crane investigates, he quickly turns up a lot more trouble than he bargained for. On his own and under attack from all sides, Crane makes up new rules for the spy game. His only assets: a talent for improvisation and Josh’s very deep pockets.
From the beaches of Puerto Rico to the gritty alleys of Eastern Europe, Crane works his way back to the man pulling the strings—a ruthless gangster out for global power. With his back against the wall and innocent lives at stake, John Crane charges into a war he may not be able to win.


Rope On Fire (Men’s Action Novel)
By Mark Parragh
Waterhaven Media LLC
ISBN #978-1733975605
Price $14.95 (Paperback)
Price #4.99 (Kindle)
324 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Smooth Reading, Plenty of Action”

John Crane worked for a secret government agency, the Hurricane Group, where he was a field agent until funds shut down the group and left him out of a job. Then young billionaire, Joshua Sulenski offers him a job. One of his projects he is funding is being harassed in Puerto Rico, and Josh wants him to find out who and why, and put a stop to the destruction of valuable equipment.

The first half of the book takes place in Puerto Rico where scientists are discovering microorganisms in the mud on the riverbanks. When men attack the lab wearing all black, Crane kills one of them and discovers they are cops. But they appear to be working for a Russian. He eventually stops the rogue police officers and Russian, but learns that someone else was heading the attack from the Czech Republic. The second half of the book takes place there, as Crane discovers a Russian crime boss behind the scenes.

This was a smooth read, with plenty of action. Well written, and fun. Thankfully, there are no sex scenes to slow the story, and the use of profanity does not clutter the narrative, though there is some language. This was all about plot and characterization. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of THE MAN IN THE BLACK FEDORA

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Sarah And Zoey

From award-winning author, Linda Watkins, comes a story of two women, from different walks of life, and the one dog who loved them both.... A feature writer for the Boston Globe, Sarah Palmer had it all – a beautiful apartment, a great job, and a family she adored. A thousand miles away, Mindy Sue Watson didn’t have it so good. Trapped in a marriage to an abusive alcoholic, her only pleasure was in tossing a ball to a skinny dog she’d adopted from the local shelter. Sarah & Zoey is the tale of these two women and the one remarkable dog who saved them both. It is a story of the power of unconditional love. "Three disparate lives - two human, one canine - whirl through a circle of circumstance that is poignant, involving, and especially moving to dog lovers who want a novella about crisis, escape, and recovery. Sarah and Zoey can be read in short segments, so it's perfect for busy fiction readers who want high drama packed into succinct chapters. The mechanics whereby loss and endangered lives heal are nicely portrayed in a winning story that emphasizes hope and offers an involving tale dog lovers will relish.


Sarah And Zoey (Literary Fiction)
By Linda Watkins
Argon Press
ISBN #978-1944815066
Price $7.97 (Paperback)
Price $2.99 (Kindle)
Rating 5-Stars

“For Dog Lovers of Any Age”

Two women thousands of miles apart are brought into the life of a rescue dog named Zoey. Sarah Palmer, a writer for The Globe loses her husband and son in a storm on a boat, leaving her broken and not wanting to live. Mindy Sue Watson is married to an alcoholic and wife beater. Unable to leave him it ends in a final beating that almost takes her life until her dog, Zoey comes to her rescue. She flees the house but her husband catches the dog and drags it behind his pickup, almost killing it. Mindy reaches the hospital, and a neighbor calls the police about the man dragging the dog. Mindy’s husband is arrested while she goes through several years of recovery. Zoey is turned over to the Humane Society and ends up where Sarah learns of the animal’s history. She adopts Zoey and the next two years she gets her life back with the dog’s help. The writer in her wants to learn more about the dog’s past history and discovers the story of Mindy Sue. She takes Zoey on a road trip to visit his first “momma”, only to discover Mindy living in a protective home, and her husband released from prison early. Bringing Zoey back to Mindy Sue puts them all in danger once more.

This was a wonderful story about a dog that helps two women in danger. It saves the life of one, and helps the other want to live again after great loss. For animal lovers, especially dog lovers, this story will tug at your heart. It’s a short novella, and fast read, but the story moves smoothly, and keeps the reader interested to the last page. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of WIRE DOG STORIES

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Westfarrow Island

Big Anthony Tagliabue is a local character whose fiancée Agnes Ann owns a stable on the eponymous offshore island. She is secretly training a promising filly for the track when she discovers that Tagliabue also harbors a secret: he's a deep cover operative who is called to duty when a Russian spy ship transits the coast on her way back to St. Petersburg. Giselle, his enigmatic and exotic handler, intimates that his mission to rescue a defector from the Leonov might also ameliorate his thirst to find the killers of his mate. Agnes Ann is not so sure about Giselle. The result is a tense tale of high seas adventure off Georges Bank, racing drama at Saratoga, bloodletting in the north woods and intrigue on Westfarrow Island. Tagliabue is a bona fide modern day hero with a big right hand and a fast gun hand. His literary thriller will keep you reading in thrall until the last page.


Westfarrow Island (Literary Thriller)
By Paul A. Barra
The Permanent Press www.thepermanentpress.com
ISBN #978-1579625686
Price $29.95 (Hardback)
Price $9.99 (Kindle)
251 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Fast Paced And Exciting Action”

There is more to Big Anthony Tagliabue than first meets the eye. When his shipmate is killed in an explosion on the cargo boat, he almost loses the boat also. Then the mysterious Giselle, a secret agent brings Tagliabue into a case involving a Russian spy ship on the way back to Saint Petersburg. This is a dangerous assignment for the tough Tagliabue who also wants to solve his shipmate’s murder. Plus, his girlfriend is secretly raising a filly for the tract at her offshore island stables.

There was enough plot and mystery for two books. Good characterization, and the exciting action moved smoothly, keeping the reader turning the pages. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of INVITATION TO DEATH