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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

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Kortelisy Escape

Caught in a Three Strikes law that sends him to prison for life, Nate Larson negotiates with prosecutors for an early release in exchange for testifying against his brother in an upcoming trial. As part of the deal, he demands custody of his fourteen-year-old granddaughter, Grace, who's survived a string of disastrous foster homes.
Nate studied close-up magic during his time in prison. He's good, and despite her wariness Grace joins him for a touring magic show of New England. Nate's actual plan: to spend a few pleasant months with his granddaughter then run alone to Canada in hopes of undermining the case against his brother, who's been falsely accused of trafficking. Pressure comes from that direction, too, from the actual traffickers who have hijacked the family's legitimate, though secretive, connections to Eastern Europe and the Ukrainian village of Kortelisy.
Facing certain violence unless he runs, distraught at the prospect of wounding Grace unless he stays, Nate must thread a dangerous needle. And Grace, learning to perform some magic herself, must grow up in a hurry if she's to save the only person she has ever trusted.
The Kortelisy Escape is a moving, unlikely love story narrated in alternating chapters by Grace and Nate Larson. It's also a coming-of-age story enriched by mounting tension and large questions concerning magic, loyalty and wonder. It's a book for young and old, intergenerational book clubs especially.

The Kortelisy Escape (Suspense)
By Leonard Rosen
Permanent Press
ISBN # 978-1579625429
Price $29.95 (Hardback)
304 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“The Best Book I’ve Read In A Decade”

Nate Larson, in prison on a three-strike law, has a deal for the prosecution – his freedom for helping them convict his brother, Dima Larson on tax evasion charges. Plus, he wants his 14-year-old granddaughter, Grace put in his custody instead of the state system where she’s been for ten years in one home after another. But Nate has secret plans. As a magician he plans his greatest escape. He has it all worked out, a magic tour that will end near the Canadian border before he is to testify against his brother. He plans to run before testifying against his brother, leaving his granddaughter behind as he disappears.

But things don’t go quite as planned. For one thing he loves his brother, and that gentleman is suffering from Alzheimer’s, while a Russian mobster is running things - a mobster that will kill Nate if he doesn’t run. Plus, he has also become too attached to Grace to leave her.

The Kortelisy Escape is a magic trick requiring a helper to escape from or he could die. It is also a story told about a young Ukraine woman who escapes a bad situation. She’s pregnant by a soldier and is about to commit suicide when a farmer and his wife rescue her. She is accepted into their family as a daughter and she gives birth to a son, Nate Larson. Then one day the approaching army kills everyone at the farm except for Nate and their real son, Dima who are away. Nate and his adopted brother are sent to America, where the older boy becomes a grocer and when he can he returns to the Ukraine to rescue young women, bringing them to America to work in his store until they learn English and find better jobs. The state believes he is operating a white slavery market, but can’t prove it, that’s why they’re trying to get him on tax fraud.

This was a beautiful story. Not only is it a coming of age story, it has everything else: a strong plot, great characters, a love story about a grandfather and granddaughter coming to terms with each other, and about love for your family. The Russian mobster who might kill Nate, or the state authorities that might send him back to prison. He must figure out an escape that is foolproof. Will Nate be able to pull off the Kortelisy Escape at the end, or will he have to die to free his brother, leaving Grace to go back into Foster Care? This novel just proves that authors can still write great stories. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson


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