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

Friday, September 13, 2019

Shadow of The Dagger


A Secret Map to Priceless Treasure, A CIA Analyst Turned Detective
Three people are murdered and one kidnapped to find the solution to the map. As Nicole Phillips seeks to find her kidnapped brother, she doesn’t know whom to trust. No one is who they appear to be. All is deception.
To bring his brother’s murderer to justice, CIA Intel Analyst Josh Baruch puts his life on the line. Can he walk the tightrope between obeying the killers’ instructions and bringing them to justice?
Because Nicole Phillips’s husband died in a mysterious plane crash, she fears falling in love again with a reckless, danger-loving type like her late husband. Josh Baruch, the CIA analyst using her as bait to track her brother’s kidnapper, is just such a risk-taking man. Besides living on the edge, Josh is bitter about women and questions God.


Shadow of The Dagger (Christian/Romance/Thriller)
By Anne Greene
Elk Lake Publishing
ISBN  978-1951080204
400 Pages
Price $12.99 (Paperback)
Price $2.99 (Kindle)
Rating 5-Stars

We meet Nicole Phillips when she travels to the crash site of the plane piloted by her husband. There was no body, but investigators believe coyotes may have dragged the body away. A year later her brother is invited to an archeological dig in Turkey, and he talks Nicole into joining him. Unfortunately, when she arrives in Turkey she discovers Ian has been kidnapped. In the meantime, CIA analyst, Josh Baruch believes the man who killed his brother is responsible for the kidnapping, and is waiting in Turkey for Nicole Phillips when she arrives, as he plans on using her for bait to catch Helmut Meier, better known as The Viper, and the murderer of Josh’s brother.

The author sent me a copy of the book for an honest review. This is a complicated plot, with interesting characters, set in a location known for international spies and intrigue. Josh Baruch is a Jewish American, and well familiar with Turkey, as he was stationed at Incirlik AFB in Adana, Turkey, a place I am also very familiar with. I was stationed there with the Army in 1964, at TUSLOG, as a squad leader with the rank of corporal. 

This was a great read, though a few things did bother me. The villain is supposedly the third richest man in the world, but seems to be after small profit in current crime, and a man so rich should have enough lawyers to keep him out of jail (in this case, an American federal prison). Plus, we find that there is someone pulling his strings also, a minor criminal that is behind the whole mess, and he is after Nicole Phillips, as well as the treasure. Now for detective Pavlik, a Russian with the Turkey police, and master of disguise who plays many parts that just don’t seem to fit. In the end an American Air Force rescue team saves the day on Turkey soil, which also was a worrisome finale to a great plot – personally, it would have appeared more legit if the team was led by a Turkey command. Over all, the Christian background is a delight in this international thriller set in Muslim controlled Turkey, and well worth the read. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of THE MAN IN THE BLACK FEDORA

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Welcome To Miskatonic University

Odd tales of campus life at Miskatonic University from Brandon O'Brien - Bennett North - Kristi DeMeester - Elliot Cooper - Liz Schriftsteller - KG McAbee - Brenda Kezar - Nate Southard - Scott R. Jones - Gina Marie Guadagnino -Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. - Marcus Chan - Gwendolyn Kiste - Matthew M. Bartlett
This is your first year? Welcome! Oh, you're going to love it here at Miskatonic. Just . . . be careful. I mean, I'm sure everything will be fine, but you know, things happen. This can be a strange place. You hear stories: people changing and buildings rearranging, ghostly sounds and overly attentive textbooks, odd notions and foul deeds . . . even monsters! Hah. Just stories, right? Sure.
Faculty struggling for funding in the occult sciences. Students trying to navigate whole new worlds of possibility. Administration striving for growth and progress and not just damage control. And Arkham residents adjusting to the constant influx of new faces.
Just study hard. Party safe. Maybe find love. And don't die.


Welcome To Miskatonic University (Horror Fiction)
By Various Authors
Broken Eye Books
ISBN 978-1940372235
258 Pages
Price $19.99 (Paperback)
Price $6.99 (Kindle)
Rating 5-Stars

An anthology of top authors, all stories taking place at the Miskatonic University, where horror abides. A fictional university created by H.P. Lovecraft in a 1922 novel, the university is located in Arkham, a fictional town in Essex County, Massachusetts. The university and its faculty come alive - for a while, at least - in these 13 tales. Believe me, monsters find their way here to feed off those unwary souls who bring them forth.

I was given a copy of the book from the authors for an honest review. All of the writing is excellent, and the stories honor H.P, Lovecraft, as each author tells their tale of weird menace. As with any anthology, there will be one story that the reviewer will like a bit more, perhaps, than the rest. Although I enjoyed them all, I think my favorite yarn was Official Inquiry Into The Waite-Gilman-Carter Antarctic Expedition by K.G. McAbee. Wasn’t that a great title? You just know that expedition has brought back some terrifying monster for the professors to examine. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of THW MAN IN THE BLACK FEDORA

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Boundless

A little more than two years before the events of Bounty, Jill Andersen makes a life-altering decision. But this decision comes with consequences she didn’t foresee, and her first night as the vigilante Bounty winds up being something for which she was wholly unprepared. 
A crisis of faith eventually gives way to certainty: both in terms of discovering who killed a young man named Johnny Ruiz and in terms of coping with the latest change in her own life. 
Along the way, Jill defies death and discovers just how deep the city’s corruption runs. But will she survive the experience long enough to decide if a life of vigilantism is for her?


Boundless (Superhero Fiction)
Prequel To Series
By J.D. Cunegan
Independent Publishing Platform
ASIN: B07CB7VWB8
Price $0.99 (Kindle)
44 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

      This prequel to the series introduces us to the main character, Jill Anderson. Believing her policeman father was framed for three murders, Jill becomes a detective in the same department to try and prove his innocence after serving in the Army. While in the Army she was created to be a super warrior by a cybernetic scientist, Dr. Trent Roberts. It doesn’t say how she was able to leave the Army after all that expense, however.

This was an interesting, and fun story, with plenty of action, but it did leave me with one worrisome question: after spending so much money and time on her in the Army, making her a super warrior, why did they let her go? But it shows where she obtained her super powers at least.

Tom Johnson
Author of THE MAN IN THE BLACK FEDORA

Guest Post: Why I Self Publish by J.D. Cunegan

Guest Post: Why I Self-Publish
J.D. Cunegan

It seems like every time I hop onto social media, I see some version of the traditional-versus-self-publishing debate. People are wondering which route they should take, and others on either side of the debate state their case. I think part of it stems from the stigma that’s still attached to being self-published — a stigma that, while diminished, still exists.

Now, I will say this: the decision of which publication method to pursue is up to each individual author. Different people have different aspirations and expectations, and ultimately, the decision as to which path to follow is up to you and you alone.

But I can offer insight as to why I chose the self-publishing route.

Mostly, it boils down to something I don’t have: patience. I’m not a patient person; I never have been, and I likely never will be. As such, the traditional route holds little appeal to me. I don’t have it in me to submit a manuscript to an agent or publisher, only to wait weeks — if not months — for a response (which, let’s face it, would likely be no). That’s a lot of time wasted on… what, exactly?

As a self-published author, I operate on my own timeframe. Yes, I have more responsibilities; as a self-published author, I have to worry about editors and formatting and cover design and marketing — all things a traditional publisher would (probably) take care of for me. But that added responsibility also brings with it a sort of freedom. I have control over the entire process. I control the content, and I control the timetable.

By self-publishing, I’m able to tell the stories I want, the way I want to tell them, when I want to tell them. That freedom holds a great deal of appeal to me, particularly as I write stories that are just on the outside of what a mainstream publisher might be willing to publish.

Someday, I might pursue traditional publishing; there’s something to be said for receiving advances, writing stories, and letting the publisher handle all of the other stuff. But I see self-publishing as a trade-off, and it’s one I’m willing to make right now. Yes, I have to secure my own editor and I have to format my manuscripts myself. Yes, I have to either hire a cover designer or find my own cover another way. Yes, I’m the one who has to blow up Goodreads and social media to tell people about my work.

But I get to do all that on my own time. I decide when my books come out. I decide what gets published and what doesn’t. And because of this, if I publish a book, then you know damn well it’s something I really wanted to be out there.

Again, it’s your call which way you go. I just wanted to give you all a glimpse as to why I chose the path I did.


About J.D. Cunegan
J.D. Cunegan is known for his unique writing style, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism, a lengthy career in media relations, and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, and next to books, his big passion in life in auto racing. When not hunched in front of a keyboard or with his nose stuck in a book, Cunegan can probably be found at a race track or watching a race on TV.
Follow J.D. on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Friday, August 16, 2019

King Ra Ra: Carrots For Sale

One morning will harvesting his carrots he notices a lot of old ladies buying them as quick as he pulls them. He wasn't intending to sell them but he liked the feeling of money in his hands. He decides that if he made them more expensive and more rare that they might make him rich ! but when no one buys them ..........he needs to find someone to buy them...........can you guess who ???


King Ra Ra: Carrots For Sale (Children’s Story)
By Kieron Seamons
Independent Publishing Platform
ASIN: B00O4LJOJO
46 Pages
Price Free (Kindle)
Rating 5-Stars

King Ra Ra of Africa has grown some very beautiful carrots, and as he admires them one day the jungle animals come out to see what their kind has. All want his wonderful carrots, and immediately begins buying them. Although he doesn’t want to sell his prized carrots, the money does feel good in his hands. Thinking about his carrots, and the money they made, he decides to offer more for sale the next day – and the next. The animals want the carrots badly, and this gives the king another idea, he can offer his prized carrots for higher prices, until they finally hit the top of the market at one million dollars each. What can the animals do? Where can they get so much money for the wonderful carrots, and keep the king happy?

This was a fun little story. The author writes and illustrates the story. The story is probably aimed at children five years old and younger, and can be read at bed time, in libraries, and at home. Highly Recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of Wire Dog And The Ransom of Red Chief 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The City Burns At Night

She was just like a high-speed drive down Mulholland. Dangerous and full of curves!
Home from the War, hotshot reporter Tom Miller trades the frigid battlefields of Northern France for the warm sunshine and bright lights of Hollywood. Now dusting a chair at the Los Angeles Chronicle, Miller is looking to make his bones. He gets his chance after risking life and limb to rescue two endangered tykes from a brownstone inferno.
This not only gets him on the front page of every paper in town, but hot on the trail of a mysterious firebug who’s loose in the City of Angels. Plus an invitation to a Tinseltown soirée at his publisher’s oceanfront Malibu mansion.
After regaling the assembled glitterati with a dramatic recount of his heroics, Miller enters the orbit of two beautiful women who will forever change his life.
Trudy Wilkes is a young ingenue looking to make her Hollywood dreams of stardom come true. Miller is taken both by her innocence and her vast industry knowledge. She could be just what he needs to build a new future.
But then there's Irene Faye. A sizzling, blonde bombshell who’s career has been on the skids since separating from her studio honcho husband. Miller is just as drawn to her. But for completely different reasons.
As he works overtime to track down the arsonist and break the story wide open, Miller finds that Irene may actually be the key to the whole mystery. As he’s continually pulled deeper into her inescapable orbit, he risks both his job and his future with Trudy in his search for the truth.
And maybe even his life.
The City Burns at Night is the first book in the Hollywood Newshawk series, detailing the exploits of Tom Miller, hardboiled reporter in 1940s Los Angeles. If you like L.A. ConfidentialThe Black Dahlia, and Philip Marlowe, then you’ll love Roger Alford’s gritty mystery that effortlessly combines new pulp with a classic noir style.


The City Burns At Night (Pulp Noir)
By Roger Alford
Black Hood Press
ASIN: B07TKHHTLD
Price $.99 (Kindle)
Rating 5-Stars

After the war ends in 1945, Tom Miller settles in California where he gets a job with the Los Angeles Chronicle. Covering an arson fire in town, he rescues children from the burning building, making a name for him, and is assigned to the arson case by the paper. A chance meeting at a party given by his boss, he meets two actresses that will be instrumental in his prime investigation. Both have knowledge that will help him solve the case – or be his death.

This was a fast moving noir that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat, with just enough twists for a few surprises, and a slam-bang ending. There’s lots of pulpy fun with characters that come alive. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of INVITATION TO DEATH

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