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

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Scottish Banker of Surabaya

Ava begins an investigation into what she thinks is a Ponzi scheme. The trail leads her to a bank in Indonesia that is run by a Scot, but in actuality is a front for an elaborate money-laundering operation by Italian mobsters. The relationship between Ava and the Scotsman turns nasty and personal. Meanwhile, Uncle’s health problems become apparent …

The Scottish Banker of Surabaya (International Thriller)
“Ave Lee #5”
By Ian Hamilton
House of Anansi Press
ISBN #978-1770892347
Price $19.95
448 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Smooth Writing.”

Ava’s mother talks her into meeting with a Canadian Vietnamese girl who claims to have lost a lot of money. She doesn’t want to, but to please her mother she talks with the girl and learns that the Vietnamese community invested thirty million dollars in a bank that might be a scam. Speaking with Uncle he advises they accept the job, with their usual 30% fee. Unfortunately, in her early investigation she uncovers Italian mobsters involved, and this poses problems for them. However, Uncle sees a way to get their money without the Mafia discovering their involvement, so Ava continues. Besides, by this time she wants to punish the Scottish banker for a personal reason.

As usual, the novel is smooth reading, and keeps the reader turning pages to the end. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson


Saturday, April 15, 2017

The King of Shanghai

The seventh novel in the Ava Lee series finds Ava getting caught up in the election for the chairmanship of the Triad Societies.
Ava steps into her new business with May Ling Wong and her sister-in-law, Amanda. On a trip to Shanghai, Ava meets with Xu, a young man Uncle had been mentoring and who is also the head of the Triad in Shanghai. Xu makes an audacious business proposal that she and May are compelled to consider. Meanwhile, separately and privately, he confides to Ava that he intends to run for the chairmanship of the Triad Societies and attempts to recruit her as his adviser and confidante.
Against her will, Ava becomes enmeshed in Triad warfare and her future is threatened . . .

The King of Shanghai (International Intrigue)
By Ian Hamilton
House of Anasi
ISBN #9781770892460
Price $10.84
388 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

Ava, May Ling, and Amanda are working hard to complete several deals with their new business, The Three Sisters, a few of the deals could cost them upwards of thirty million American dollars, and there are some problems completing the deals for all concerned. To add to Ava’s trouble, they are in Shanghai, where Xu runs the Yan Yee Tong, a powerful Triad organization consisting of over four thousand loyal members. Xu is also running for chairman of all the Triad groups, but is opposed by an older gentleman who wants to run them in the old way. Xu wants to bring youth to the organization, and expand his business. He also wants Ava to be part of the new organization. She is opposed to the idea until an assassin attempt is made on her and Xu, leaving him severely wounded. Now she helps hold the organization together while he recovers, and that means negotiating with the enemy before war breaks out among the Triads.

This was another great Ava Lee adventure, as she travels from Hong Kong to Shanghai, and Canada, while dealing with the new multi-million dollar business, plus diplomatically stopping a triad war.

Tom Johnson

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Views From The Past: Wichita County, Texas

It has taken 8 years for this book to happen, thanks to all of the great people who have sent me photos over the years. There are so many wonderful memories in this book: Funland, Short's Pig Stand, Westmoreland Pool, and Sand Beach. There are photos of streets that no longer exist and places that are no longer there: Underwood's and Brownie's BBQ, Tac Burrito, Tastee Freeze. There are photos of the 1979 tornado, police and firemen, fires and wrecks, churches and schools. Memories are timeless treasures of the heart.

Views From The Past (Pictorial History)
“Wichita County, Texas”
By Julie Williams Coley
Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN #978-1541217843
Price $26.95
612 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“History of Wichita Falls, Texas In Pictures.”

This is the third volume the author has collected with photographs depicting the long history of Wichita Falls, Texas, where my family lived from 1947 to 1956, then again in 1968-’69 while I was stationed at Sheppard AFB. And again, from December 1978 until after the 1979 tornado, when we moved away for good. But I still hold fond memories from those early years growing up in Wichita Falls, and attending San Jacinto elementary and Carrigan elementary, as well as Reagan Jr. High. We lived in so many places, and I had so many friends that I will never forget, and it’s wonderful to view these old pictures. There are still places not seen yet, and I always hope for a future volume with more memories.

This volume contains photographs from the 1920s to 1930s, 1940s, 1050s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s to 2000. Chapters on Churches, Schools, and hospitals; Burkburnett, Electra, and Iowa Park; Fire Department, Police Department, Fires and Wrecks; Pony Photos; Sheppard AF Base; and The 1979 Tornado. I remember the Army & Navy Store on Ohio & 7th Street with fond memories, as well as the Westmoreland Pool, Funland, Short’s Pig Stand, the Strand Theater, and so many other places (volume one or two had many more photos of theaters). I highly recommend this series of books for anyone who has ever lived in Wichita Falls. If I had a complaint, it would be a request for the pages to be printed on better paper to provide more positive prints, as these books are collectors’ items to be cherished forever.

Tom Johnson
Author of ECHOES 30  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Two Sisters of Borneo

The Two Sisters of Borneo (International Intrigue)
By Ian Hamilton
House of Anansi Pr
ISBN #978-1770892446
Price $24.95
336 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Smooth Writing.”

Ava Lee #6: “The Two Sisters of Borneo” by Ian Hamilton. While Ava is staying in Hong Kong caring for an ailing Uncle, she teams up with her sister-in-law Amanda Lee, and May Ling her close friend. With Uncle going to Shanghai with Sunny, Ava decides to the Netherlands to check on a situation facing their business while May Ling and Amanda head for Borneo to check on the problem there. The situation heats up when Amanda and one of the Borneo sisters are injured in an attack that may be the result of the problem they are investigating. Ava flies to Borneo to find the attackers, and contacts the head of the gangsters to buy the information, but she is taken prisoner, and the gangsters want a ransom. This brings trouble from Shanghai, and Uncle dies during his concern for Ava. And this move will eventually bring a new leader to the Triads, a man taking the seat of power once held by Uncle. This was another fantastic novel in the Ava Lee series. Even the funeral of Uncle is a worldwide event, as the Triads come to pay their respect to him and acknowledge Ava.

Tom Johnson


Sunday, April 9, 2017

In The Shadow of Death

A backwater system in the Deklan Oligarchy, the Four Suns hides a sinister plot to destabilize the Serrll Combine government. An Envoy is sent to uncover the scheme before the Serrll explodes into factional warfare. Having ‘volunteered’ as a military aide to the Envoy, Second Scout Terrllss-rr uncovers a link between slavery and local government’s plans to cede the Four Suns. That knowledge marks him for death. Fleeing, his survival blister crashes on Anar’on, the fabled world of the Wanderer nomads. Terr is found in the deep desert, lost, without memory, without a past. To restore himself, Terr undergoes training in the Discipline. Facing the god of Death, he receives more than he bargained for.

In The Shadow of Death (SF Political Thriller)
By Stefan Vucak
Independent Publishing Platform
ASIN # B00BRY8186
Price $3.00
288 Pages
Rating 4-Stars

“Fantastic World Building.”

Second Scout Terr is relieved of command of an M-3 ship, and suddenly assigned to an envoy looking into slavery on Elexi.  Unfortunately, there is more going on than slavery, and much of it involves politics. Terr is almost killed, and must face the god of Death.

This was a very interesting piece of work by a master storyteller who has built a universe as fascinating as STAR WARS or STAR TREK.  There are interesting characters, and plenty of action, but my main problem with the story is the long drawn out politics that fuel the story as well as the action. Because of politics, it left me often confused and trying to keep everything straight in my mind, causing the pace to slow for me.  The author is exceedingly good with creating political systems, and this is to his credit. But as a reader that prefers more action, and less politics in a story, it just wasn’t for me. That should not stop readers from buying this book. It is well crafted, and the writing is good. I highly recommend it to science fiction readers who like political intrigue in their reads.

Tom Johnson