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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

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Suburra takes a deep dive into a politically and financially corrupt contemporary Italy, where a mighty local crime family, the Mafia, corrupt politicians, and new rabid criminal elements battle each other for control of a glittering prize—control over a multibillion dollar development twenty miles from the Italian capital.
         During the final days of Silvio Berlusconi’s reign, a massive development proposal that will turn the depressed coastal settlement of Ostia into a gambling paradise, a Las Vegas on the Mediterranean, is winding its way through the Italian legislature thanks to the sponsorship of politicians in the pay of crime syndicates. It’s business as usual in the Italian capital. Or so it seems. A vicious gang of local thugs loyal to nobody but themselves is insisting on a bigger cut than agreed upon. The Mafia and their political puppets aren’t going to back down without a fight.
         Orchestral in its movement and sweeping in its ambition, Suburra is a compelling, provocative portrait of contemporary Rome—a city prey to pitiless criminal factions and political opportunism. Suburra has already been adapted into a critically acclaimed Italian film and soon to be a Netflix Original Series.

Suburra (International Crime)
By Carlo Bonini & Giancarlo De Cataldo
Europa Editions
ISBN #978-1609454074
Price $12.02 (Paperback)
Price $9.99 (Kindle)
521 Pages
Rating 2-Stars

Modern Italy is the contemporary setting for this yarn. It pits a local criminal gang, corrupt politicians and the Mafia against each other, as they battle over a multi-million dollar development project, bringing a gambling casino to a town near Rome. Thankfully, there is a two-page listing of the cast of characters at the first of the book, so we can refer to it to remember who everyone is. As it was, I almost gave up on the story a long time before I reached the final pages. Why I continued reading, I don’t know.

I knew going into the story that there would be violent crime, sex, and profanity, but I stuck it out because Europa Editions usually brings us interesting writers from overseas. But this story is packed solid with crime and political corruption, and I found very little to like in the book. The characters are stereotypes of every Mafia movie you’ve ever seen, and the dialogue is so stilted it left me in pain. There is very little to recommend about this book. You have to be a die-hard fan of violent Mafia and corruption to enjoy this type novel. I am not. Let’s hope the Netflix series is written better, with actors able to bring the story off, but I’m not counting on it.

Tom Johnson


Friday, November 10, 2017

Gliese 581: Departure

In the final days of the 21st century, Daniel Medry and a crew of brilliant and talented scientists and researchers leave Earth on a mission to the Gliese system - the first extra-solar journey of its kind. Shortly after their departure, a terrible virus is unleashed upon Earth, highly infectious and nearly 100% fatal. Soon the colonists will learn that they are some of the last unaffected humans left. And if the challenge of establishing a colony on a distant alien world and re-creating the human race wasn't enough, someone on board is trying to kill them all. Will Daniel and the rest of Calypso's crew survive the journey?

Gliese 581: Departure (SF/Apocalyptic)
Book 3 in the Kapalaran Universe
By Christine D. Shuck
Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN #978-1523820498
Price $13.95 (Paperback)
Price $2.99 (Kindle)
312 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

It’s the later part of the 21st century, and our planet has all ready experienced a second Civil War. Monsanto has become EcoNu, and America is readying the Calypso, a space ship to take 250 top scientists to Zarunina’s world, a newly located planet identified as Gliese 581, where humans might live and start a new civilization. EcoNu hopes to conquer the pork market on Earth by introducing genetic viruses into pigs. The project goes awry after Calypso leaves the Earth for space, and the virus decimates the population left behind. It’s a Level 5 extension event, killing 99.95 percent of the population, which hasn’t occurred since the Permian-Triassic extension over 250 million years ago. Now it’s up to the men and women of Calypso to start that new civilization on a distant planet, if they can survive the voyage, while the 15 million survivors left on Earth try to repopulate the planet. And the virus in interfering with births at an alarming rate.

The author did her research on many subjects, including viruses and their effects among world population. The story begins on the Calypso after someone has sabotaged the bay where 200 men and women rest in stasis. And if the system can’t be corrected, they will die. From there the story jumps back and forth to different people and places before the virus and after, and back and forth to the Calypso, also before the sabotage. Normally, I don’t like stories that jump around so much. It’s too easy to forget characters and why we met them in the first place, but the story line keeps the reader involved, and the pure immensity of the situation makes you want to learn more. This was a chilling prediction of what could actually destroy the human race, if we aren’t careful. I highly recommend this to fans of apocalyptic science fiction. You won’t be disappointed.

Tom Johnson

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Adventures of The Incognita Countess

It's the easiest assignment a British intelligence agent could hope for. Lucy Harker needs only see the secret plans of the Nautilus safely across the Atlantic. As German spies are largely a fantasy of newspapers, she anticipates no activities more strenuous than hiding her heritage as Dracula’s dhampir daughter. Then among her fellow Titanic passengers she discovers the incognita Countess Karnstein—and it seems the seductive vampire is in Germany’s service. Can Agent Harker stake Carmilla before her own heart—and her loyalty to the British Empire—are subverted by questions as treacherous as a night-cloaked iceberg?

The Adventures of the Incognita Countess (SF/Alternate History/Vampires)
By Cynthia Ward
Aqueduct Press
ISBN #978-1619761193
Price $12.00 (Paperback)
Price $5.95 (Kindle)
126 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Great Story Telling”

Lucy Harker is an agent of the British Empire’s Secret Service Bureau, and when she’s given an assignment nothing earthly – or unearthly will stop her. The HMS Titanic is about to make its maiden ocean voyage a few years after the Martian’s attempted invasion. On board is an American military officer carrying documents Britain is sharing with America on alien technology. The officer has booked passage on the Titanic, and Lucy’s job is to shadow him for protection of those documents. There is also a vampire on board, and Lucy just happens to be a dhampir, a killer of vampires. So she must watch out for German spies and the vampire.

This was a rollicking fun adventure from the first page till the conclusion. Though most of the story takes place on board the Titanic – and we know what happens with that unsinkable ship, it’s full of action, and we meet real and fictional people; even a certain British Lord who may have been raised by apes. There is a German scientist also on board who will make a name for himself in G-8’s WWI. I’ve never really been a true fan of vampire stories, but this yarn pulled me instantly into the action, and kept me turning the pages. All of the characters were real to me, including the vampire. The story is definitely pulpy, but the author’s writing is intelligent and the story telling excellent. I highly recommend this short novel to all readers who like good story telling and great writing. I could not put this book down until the final page.

Tom Johnson

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dhungwana 2117

The year is 2117. Dhungwana, the only remaining dry land on the planet Earth, is governed by the Federal Communities. Humanity, organized through a strict social reputation index, lives to the dictum "I belong, ergo sum". Ian and Dayla, the main characters, have a brilliant social life until Dayla accidentally intercepts classified financial data concerning her employer, the BlueGray Corporation, while Ian identifies genetic modifications that have appeared in one of Dhungwana’s main food sources. As a result, their lives and social reputations become complicated and their crystalline everyday life is filled with an obsessive and terrifying sense of the authorities, force Ian and Dayla to open their eyes and discover their only allies are the banned of Dhungwana, and their only option is to fight against the reality of a world that is no longer theirs. It is a fight for the survival of the human race.
Dhungwana 2117 by Baibin Nighthawk and Dominick Fencer is a captivating sci-fi novel that combines a unique and truly fascinating plot and compelling characters to deliver a true sci-fi thriller. I especially loved how Baibin Nighthawk and Dominick Fencer portrayed both the human and nonhuman characters, giving each a unique persona that added something extra to the story. The intriguing setting of the story was another exciting factor of the novel that completely blended in with the whole plot and perfectly fitted in every time a new part of the plot was added. Dhungwana 2117 will make a thrilling read for fans of the sci-fi genre, with a dose of romance and hi-tech action.

Dhungwana 2117 (SF/Utopia)
Book 1
By Baibin Nighthawk & Dominick Fencer
Independent Publishing Platform
Price $6.00 (Paperback)
Price $1.99 (Kindle)
ISBN #978-1511527743
Rating 4-Stars

“A Utopian Society”

The year is 2117, and the planet’s sea level has risen until there’s only one land mass again, called Dungwana. Ian and Dayla are lovers, and both feel they have achieved success in a society that praises success. But they soon learn that, like George Orwell’s 1984, the perfect society may not be what it’s cracked up to be. They discover their immune system is being changed by genetics. Genes are inserted in their food, turning them into self-repairing humanoid robots. The Federal Community and the BlueGray Corporation is even killing those who discover the situation. Now, Ian and Dayla must rebel and join others in the fight against this utopian society if they are to survive.

This was an interesting concept, and I certainly liked the idea of Dhungwana, a single continent of dry land surrounded by the ocean. But there is really nothing new here. Perhaps the erotica content takes it a step ahead of Orwell’s 1984, but the authors plan this as a long series of books, and I’m not sure it will be able to sustain the story line for that long, and keep readers’ interest. But if you like futuristic science fiction with an apocalyptic feel, and rebels fighting to beat a government gone mad with control of its people, then I highly recommend this book and it’s sequels.

Tom Johnson