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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Jimmie Dale Alias The Gray Seal

"Few characters as obscure as Canadian novelist Frank L. Packard’s gentleman cracksman, Jimmie Dale the Gray Seal, have had the impact and long term import of this one. Almost unknown today, Packard and his creation not only exerted a tremendous influence on the pulps he came from, but established many of the tropes of the modern superhero in comic books. From his secret lair, the Sanctuary, his multiple identities, and his calling card, a gray diamond paper seal, Jimmie Dale set the pattern for the mystery men and super heroes who will follow."

- David L. Vineyard

In the summer of 1912 New York City was being terrorized by a bizarre organization of metal-clawed criminals who ascend stonewalls as easily as others climb stairs. Dubbed the Spider Gang by the press, they roamed over every part of Manhattan from neighborhoods of squalid tenements to the most luxurious mansions of the rich. It wasn't wealth that they sought however; instead it was the City's most beautiful women who were being carried off for some sinister purpose.

A new challenge for the Gray Seal! The very first in a long, long line of crime-fighting urban vigilantes has returned in an all new novel length adventure. More than a century ago bored society millionaire Jimmie Dale hid his identity behind a mask and slouch hat to become the safe-cracking master criminal known as the Gray Seal. His objective was excitement rather than financial gain, but quickly decided that justice was a still more worthy goal. Dale became feared and hunted by both the police and the underworld as he waged a one-man war on evildoers the law could not stop. Commanded by the mysterious woman of a thousand faces known as the Tocsin, Jimmie Dale pits himself against those who prey on the weakest members of society. The Gray Seal novels of Frank Packard influenced a wide range of heroes including The Shadow, the Spider, and the Green Hornet. The Gray Seal strikes again!


Jimmie Dale Alias The Gray Seal (Crime Mystery)
By Michael Howard
Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN #978-1548060466
Price $15.99
374 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Return Of An Old Favorite”

It’s 1912, and The Spider Gang is terrorizing New York. Halvard Romeron, a Norwegian, has arrived in the city that never sleeps, and his gangs of weirdly dressed men who can climb building walls are kidnapping young, beautiful women of different races. It’s believed they are to be used in the white slavery market.

Marie LaSalle, only known to Jimmie Dale as The Tocsin, has sent him as The Gray Seal out to try to find and rescue the women. In the meantime, Dan Reid is in New York and Marie LaSalle reveals to him that she’s still alive, and tells him about The Crime Club that is searching for her, so she must remain in hiding least they murder her like they did her father and uncle. While in town he decides to assist the daughter of his old friends in her current search for the missing women.

I am an old fan of the Jimmie Dale mysteries from the turn of the twentieth century, and this brand new novel is a treat, bringing back great characters and action. I must say, the old stories are a bit dated a hundred years later, but the current author has brought a more modern sensibility to the stories, making for a fun read. The story actually begins in 1920, as Jimmie and his wife, Marie look back on their beginning in 1912, a few years after she had recruited the robin hood thief to help her in her fight against gangdom. The Gray Seal predated most of the masked Robin Hoods and vigilantes of the pulps, including Johnston McCulley’s famed Zorro. Future crime fighters would follow The Gray Seal’s use of leaving a mark (a gray seal) noting the crime was his. Zorro would leave the “Z” mark on his opponent’s with his sword, The Spider would leave a crimson mark of a spider on his victims, and The Black Bat would leave a black bat image on his victims. However, in this new story, the seal was mysteriously absent this time, though mentioned in passing. Highly recommended for both old fans and new. An old favorite has returned.

Tom Johnson
Author of THE MAN IN THE BLACK FEDORA


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Set The Night On Fire

In 1971, Josie Corsino is unmarried Josie Pastore, a fresh face chosen from her LAPD policewoman class to be an undercover operative.

When the story begins, she's immersed in the politics and schemes of one of the most active radical organizations in LA, but after three years on assignment she's weary of the lifestyle and tired of lying about who she is. Josie wants to “come up,” and do police work with the same opportunities as her male counterparts.

Before that can happen, she's arrested during a demonstration in downtown LA and upon her release from jail is told by her department contact that one of her fellow undercover officers has disappeared. Members of his group have filed a missing persons report with the police department in which they publicly blame the LAPD for his sudden disappearance. It would be an embarrassment for the department to admit the officer was spying on this particular group, so Josie is given her final undercover assignment—find the missing officer.

For protection, she forms an unlikely alliance with another UC as her search leads to an underground network of violent radicals with ties to celebrities and political figures who are unwitting participants in an imminent plan to destroy innocent people and property. By the end, both her personal and professional lives are about to undergo some drastic changes.


Set The Night On Fire (Police Procedural)
By Connie Dial
The Permanent Press
ISBN #978-1579624026
Price $29.95 Hardcover
304 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Harsh Reality”

This is the fourth story in the Josie Corsino series, but is the first after she graduates the police academy. Picked as an undercover officer, she infiltrates a radical group. Three years as an undercover cop she’s ready to move up, but they have one more assignment for her. She partners with another undercover officer, Dave Soriano. Their assignment is to find a missing officer. The trouble is someone in the upper echelon of the city may be releasing the names of undercover cops. This could prove fatal for them.

The harsh reality of the undercover police officers inside the underground is a dangerous job, and one that could get them killed if found out. The author was an experienced police officer in the LAPD, and was familiar with all aspects of her job, including undercover work, thus her books are very authentic reads. She retired a captain and the commanding officer of the LAPD's Hollywood Community Police station after nearly thirty years on the job. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of ASSIGNMENT: NINA FONTAYNE



Sunday, July 16, 2017

Crimson

Crimson is a mind-bending action-packed science fiction novel filled with past, present, and future, historical conspiracies. This second novel in the Trinity Series is a deep rich crimson soaked story with a plot that twists and turns page after page. Technologically driven, this story is one 'hell' of a ride and contains the mother of all retrofits.


Crimson (SF)
“Book 2 In Trinity Series”
By CG Blade
Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN # 978-1520280271
Price $8.99
237 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

Petra is back in the second Trinity novel, this time she’s pitted against the Crimson Alliance, a group believed controlled by a Chinese Shadow organization. There is a lot happening in this one. First, the Guidestones in Georgia attract planes like a magnet, causing a great catastrophe with many dead and injured. Evidence leads Petra to Hawaii where she finds Dreama, the daughter of Ray Nelson. She is bringing her back to the mainland when she crashes in front of another cataclysm wiping half of California off the map, and making Nevada the new seacoast. Now duplicates of Petra are striking, killing anyone in their path and causing destruction across America. The president, with Ray Nelson’s help, device a military strike against North Korea and China.

This was another fun romp by the author of COBALT, a science fiction action yarn with humor and plenty of action. You don’t have to believe it, just go along for the ride. The author is enjoying himself, and you should too. I would be amiss if I didn’t say something about Captain Petra Kayden Dace’s aircraft – yes, she was promoted to captain at the end of the last novel. Also in that novel she acquired 8 drones she named after patriotic men: George, Joan Paul, Patrick, Benjamin, Thomas, Than, James, etc. They can morph into anything, in this case a P35B jet plane. I also called Petra the future Captain America last time, but in this novel she reminded me more of Wonder Woman and her invisible plane. One more comment I feel that I have to make; these books are being sold at cost, not for profit. If readers are looking for their money’s worth, plus a darn good read, these books are for you. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson
Author of THESE ALIEN SKIES




Sunday, July 9, 2017

Ketogenic Recipes

Have you tried diet after diet but nothing seems to work? Do you have a tough time sticking to any kind of diet? Would you like to eat more of the “guilty” foods you love and lose weight? Would you like to go on a diet that does not feel like you are in prison or you are punishing yourself? If you answered yes to any of the above, I have some terrific news for you. You can start eating fatty, filling, tasty foods again and not have to worry about all that fat and calories sticking to your gut. 

I know you are looking at your spare tire. You are looking at that flab in your midsection, and you are probably thinking that your spare tire is permanent. Not so. By simply changing the way you eat, you can finally say goodbye to all those pesky extra pounds. I know it sounds hard to believe at this point, but let me tell you this eating plan that I am going to teach you turns everything you have heard or know about weight loss on its head. It really does. In fact, if you stick to this plan, the more fat you eat, the more fat (and I am talking about your weight) you lose.


Ketogenic Recipes (Non-Fiction)
By James Smith
Independent Publishing Platform
ASIN B073S845V3
Price $0.99
102 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

This is basically a recipe book using high fat, moderate protein, and low carbs. This trains your body to use ketosis for your energy needs, turning fats into ketones. There are many recipes included, but being a non-cook, I wouldn’t be able to find my way around a kitchen. However, for those looking for good recipes for healthy eating, I highly recommend you check this book out.

Tom Johnson

Author of HAUNTED RANGE

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Cobalt

Combine a hidden sadistic puppet-master, a hijacked American population, a wounded soldier, plenty of ‘Pseudos’, and you have Cobalt. What is an Artificial Intelligence that’s reached singularity secretly trying to achieve before humanity can stop it? In this first twisted novel in our Pseudoverse, a genetically modified re-engineered wounded patriot finds herself thrust forward into a world surrounded by greed, corruption, and tyranny. This is a twisting, turning, story of regeneration, retribution, and renewal. Fans of historical science fiction and lovers of satire will be turning pages quickly to find out what happened to the world they once knew so well. Is everyone who they seem to be in this tale of humanity’s last stand? The mystery deepens as First Lieutenant Petra Kayden Dace sets out to discover who or 'what' is behind the takeover of the United States, the world, and its citizens. Cobalt is an action packed thriller sure to entertain and keep you guessing until the very end. Filled with humor, hidden clues, and new technology, this is a one-of-a-kind science fiction mystery that you will never forget. Step into a world of political corruption as Cobalt becomes a lethal weapon in an arsenal against pure technological evil.


Cobalt (SF Spy Satire)
By CG Blade
“Trinity Series #1”
Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN #978-1520220196
Price $8.99
261 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Cobalt Is Our Captain America Of The Future.”

Army 1st Lieutenant Petra Kayden Dace is critically injured on a combat mission, and her father’s best friend, General James Cooper, head of NIB has his lab synthesize her DNA to replicate her memory cells within the DNA, and grow a new body with the capability of using her mind like a computer. She trains her body to super human abilities, making her a formidable spy. It is 2076, and the world is a much different place. Our government consists of a tri-presidency, with three presidents in office, Helen Long, Mark Sheehan, and Dave Keller. It appears there is a government conspiracy with the aid of industrialist, Raymond Nelson.  It’s up to super spy Petra Dace to uncover the plot, and neutralize the situation.

This was a fun read, and well written, though the story was slow. It could have been a much smoother read, but was a bit wordy and technical. The author could have included the action scenes of Petra’s training, which would have moved the story a little faster in the beginning; we’re told she put a couple martial arts instructors in the hospital. Don’t tell us. Show us. Think about Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin training at the beginning of each story, moves that Modesty will use in a final fight scene at the end. That’s what we want to see. Action. Instead we were bogged down with too much detail and not enough action.  There was a bit of humor, as Petra has an implant in her head that talks to her, and they have a running commentary throughout the assignment. Reminded me a lot of the old SF series, AGENT OF T.E.R.R.A by Larry Maddock (Jack Jardine); the main characters are Hannibal Fortune and his android, Webbley, a shape shifter who shoots barbs back and forth. Another fun thing about COBALT, the author leaves little Easter Eggs for the reader to watch for, like naming authors, and other little secrets. For instance, the main character, Petra Kayden Dace’s initials are PKD (Philip K. Dick, naturally). Since this is the first in the Trinity series, I’m hoping all the detail is used in this one, and we have more action in the rest of the series. Over all, it is a darn good read. Cobalt is our Captain America of the future. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson

Author of WORLDS OF TOMORROW