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

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

All The Missing Girls

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.
The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, and boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.
Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

All The Missing Girls (A Murder Mystery)
By Megan Miranda
Simon & Schuster
ISBN #978-1501107962
Price $16.73 Hardback
384 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“A Well Written, Interesting Plot.”

Leaving Cooley Ridge for college at 18, Nicolette left a life behind her, but something was pulling her back. Something unfinished. Working as a school councilor. She is on break when she gets a note from her father that only says, “I saw that girl.” That “girl” was her best friend, Corinne, who had disappeared ten years ago after a party night at the local fair. Her father was in a care center, sometimes in normal mind, but most times in another world of his own. But Nic has to go back. Her brother Daniel needs to sell the family house, and they need their dad’s consent. But why is her dad bringing up Corinne at this point? She needs to find out, and bring closure to her past.

Ten years ago, when Corinne disappeared, Nic’s close friends were suspects in what the police considered a homicide case. These included her brother, Daniel, her boyfriend, Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend, Jackson. But her body was never found, and not enough evidence to bring charges against any of the suspects. But now there is another missing girl, Annaleise, who was 13 when Corinne disappeared, but 23 now. Before she disappeared Annaleise called a cop asking to discuss the old case, but before they could meet, she too was gone. Now the old case is back on everyone’s mind, and Annaleise’s disappearance may have something to do with the ten-year-old disappearance of Corinne.

This was a well written, and interesting murder mystery. The author moves the story backwards, which could be confusing to some, but it works better this way. I thought I had the murder solved within the first fifty pages, but didn’t count on the sleight of hand the author used to keep us off balance. The main character is telling us the story, so she reveals the mystery how she wants us to understand it, keeping us focused elsewhere. I liked the plot, and the author’s writing style, and the mystery should capture the reader’s interest, and keep them turning the pages. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Town of Dudley Sixth

"In a world of eternal slumber, it is but wise to foresee the future. Where true beauty is priceless, for creativity can be so far ahead. Do our eyes not see that far ahead, does our brain make baseless theories in greed? Here we live in a world of zombies, value is only for the present, who cares about the future? Our air is cold and bitter, the sky is ever dark, and the land is barren, for the earth is in parts. Long ago, it was not when began the curse, in a time when all was but lost. Tall buildings seared through the dark clouds, but no height made visible even a ray of light. A city built in ruins and curses, never is it filled with zeal and happiness. People however, can choose to defy nature, jewels of ruby and stones of blue sapphire. All were embedded in layers of white gold, the gold that coated the mechanized bricks. Bricks of steel and skeleton design, they shifted forever each year with a chime. Sound of cogs, when metal contacted metal, made lively the mood of a silent city. Grey were the streets and white were the roads, street lamps of rose gold, enclosing bulbs of diamond pose. Diamonds that were alien used to trap small stars, forever emitting a bright white light. Fake flowers of caesium behind gates of rubidium, were held in place with emerald stems. Each building unique and everything but bleak, with engraved patterns of blue platinum nailed into walls. Gold roofs and doors with all their glory, windows of minerals and tampered glass. A beauty it was and a shame to be true, each night when the lock down began. Barriers were raised and gates were closed, doors and windows were securely locked. Curtains drawn and lights switched off, lamps were covered as the dark night dragged on.....”
I was told history repeats itself, so does that mean we are going around in circles, or are we spiraling into darkness?

Town of Dudley Sixth (SF)
By Zegham Shebaz Karim
Infinity Publishing
$9.99 Kindle
77 Pages
Rating 2-Stars

“A Study In Words.”

In the city of Lukememilldale, on the planet Kepler, we meet Sambol Sixth and his family. A wall separates the citizens from the outer barbaric tribes. Sometime in the past a giant spaceship crashed and an invasion turned their planet dark. I think. This wordy piece of work seemed little more than the author expressing his ability in vocalizing words onto paper, creating the printed word into a story of sorts. Basically, we are told what is happening, instead of being shown. A man looks like a coward, another looks brave. Someone is good with a sword – please show me, don’t just tell me. At times I thought I was reading The Hunger Games, at other times it felt more like a poet retelling some ancient saga at a campfire. Yes, the author uses pretty words, and his syntax is good, as is his storytelling. There’s just nothing to keep the reader on the edge of their seat, or more importantly, turning the pages. If you like reading pretty words, this book is for you; otherwise I can’t honestly recommend it.

Tom Johnson


Friday, June 24, 2016

Wicked Tales of Horror

Compilation Of Short Horror Stories And Urban Legends. FIRST CONTACT: An Army Major working at the Pentagon is invited to join a secret society of the Illuminated elite. Just by fate, he finds himself right in the middle of an event that changed the course of history. WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR: A music engineer, wannabe Rapper. Will do anything to be like his Super Star friend. Even sell his soul. THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS:The Johnson's daughter falls ill after being exposed to an antique book. The side effects turn out to be deadly at their Christmas eve party.

Wicked Tales of Horror: First Contact Volume IV (Horror)
By Mark Rich
30 Pages
Rating 1-Star

“The Horror Is In The Writing.”

This short story collection has three interesting titles, and a neat cover that drew me to the book. Unfortunately, the writing was simply bad, the spelling poor, commas out of place, and the syntax so terrible I couldn’t force myself to complete the book. The author is either uneducated, or has a poor understanding of grammar and sentence structure. Thankfully, the book was free on Kindle when I picked it up or I would have demanded my money back. With this listed as Volume IV, could there really be three previous short story collections by this writer out there? I hope the author will consider taking the book down and let an editor look over the manuscript to offer advise or help before the book is actually on sale for $0.99, which will guarantee a lot of complaints. I cannot recommend this book to anyone in its current form.

Tom Johnson


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Night of The Owl

1946: World War II is over and the world is changing. While the Axis has been defeated, a new menace threatens the globe: Communism. When industrialist Owen S. Grane is brutally murdered, the Three Musketeers, America’s foremost superheroes, are called in to find the culprit, who attacks and kills like a wild animal. Was it the Soviets? A spurned lover? A cheated business rival? Or someone else? One by one, upper level executives of the S.M.A. Corporation, an American defense contractor, are attacked and killed in a savage manner, until, finally the Owl reveals himself – but only after a cat-and-mouse game with the Three Musketeers.

Night of The Owl (Comic Book Prose Fiction)
By Jeff Deischer
Westerntainment Books
Price $14.00
152 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

After the end of WWII, the mighty Golden Age heroes came home to end their career saving the world from Nazi aggression. Although, three of the heroes still gathering at the Round Table, and calling themselves The Three Musketeers, are Hunter, Blitzkrieg, Compatriot and his sidekick, Buddy. They work with F.B.I. agent Billy Troy, who keeps them informed on what is happening. The rest of the super heroes and super villains are either dead or retired now.  Agent Troy brings news of the murder of the head of S.M.A. Corporation, who was ripped to shreds, and probably tortured. Plus, there was a weird flying creature spotted nearby.  The Three Musketeers are asked to investigate.

This was a fun story, almost reading like a pulp story, but with comic book super heroes and a new villain, The Owl. The author, an expert on Golden Age and Silver Age comic book history, brings characters together in his Argentverse. And whether you read this as fan fiction, or new genre, what you get is old versus new in a brand new package that will resonate with not only comic book fans, but fans of well written action yarns with good plot devices. Although I grew up reading Golden Age comics as a child, and Silver Age comics as a teen, I am not versed in their history, nor did I read them all, so the author was speaking to a mere initiate not a master of the subject, yet he was able to spin a fine tale of light mystery in this comic book prose. There is an explanation about the Argentverse at the end of the book for new readers like myself. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson


Friday, June 17, 2016

Otto Binder

Otto Binder: The Life and Work of a Comic Book and Science Fiction Visionary chronicles the career of Otto Binder, from pulp magazine author to writer of Supergirl, Captain Marvel, and Superman comics. As the originator of the first sentient robot in literature ("I, Robot," published in Amazing Stories in 1939 and predating Isaac Asimov's collection of the same name), Binder's effect on science fiction was profound. Within the world of comic books, he created or co-created much of the Superman universe, including Smallville; Krypto, Superboy's dog; Supergirl; and the villain Braniac. Binder is also credited with writing many of the first "Bizarro" storylines for DC Comics, as well as for being the main writer for the Captain Marvel comics. In later years, Binder expanded from comic books into pure science writing, publishing dozens of books and articles on the subject of satellites and space travel as well as UFOs and extraterrestrial life. Comic book historian Bill Schelly tells the tale of Otto Binder through comic panels, personal letters, and interviews with Binder's own family and friends. Schelly weaves together Binder's professional successes and personal tragedies, including the death of Binder's only daughter and his wife's struggle with mental illness. A touching and human story, Otto Binder: The Life and Work of a Comic Book and Science Fiction Visionary is a biography that is both meticulously researched and beautifully told, keeping alive Binder's spirit of scientific curiosity and whimsy.

Otto Binder (Biography)
“The Life And Work of A Comic Book And Science Fiction Visionary”
By Bill Schelly
North Atlantic Books
ISBN #978-1623170370
Price $15.58
352 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“An Interesting Look At One of The Giants of the Comic Book Industry.”

Growing up during the so-called Golden Age of the comic books, I never thought about the men and women behind the comic books I was reading. I discovered Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman when my parents moved to the big city when I was seven years old; these and others became my escape from reality. My real discovery, however, was Captain Marvel and later, The Marvel Family. As a kid, it was enough that they entertained me, and became a huge part of my reading. I read comic books off and on until 1980 (age 40), when I no longer felt any interest in them. But looking back on my youth, and a media that was so important at the time, I couldn’t pass up this book.

Bill Schelly gathers letters and interviews from many of those in the comic book industry who knew Otto Binder, one of the main writers for Captain Marvel and The Marvel Family, and put this biography together. I believe it is an updated reprint of a previous edition, with added material. Whatever the case, the author gives us a behind the scenes look at the man and his craft, the good times and the bad, and not only what the industry did to him, but what decision he made that proved disastrous, as well. Otto Binder entertained millions of kids for over thirty years. Beginning his writing career in science fiction pulp magazines, where little was published of literary quality, it sparked his ambition to become a writer. Not many of his pulp stories rose above the rest of the early junk being published, but his Adam Link stories certainly fascinated the readers and other media of the day. Going into comic book writing was better pay for less work, and his output became a herculean affair. But tragedy and finances took their toll eventually, leaving him in hard straights. He never forgot his fans, even if he tried to forget the comic book industry. It’s a bittersweet story of triumph and heartbreak, but one I’m glad I finally read.

The book itself is well produced, and the writing is excellent, and the story easily followed. If I had one compliant, it would be the light print of the text. With all ready failing eyesight, the light print was difficult to read for long periods. I can’t say that I am a comic book fan, but I can highly recommend this to those fans, as well as to old folks like me who grew up during the Golden Age.

Tom Johnson