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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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Inhuman Interest

Inhuman Interest (Horror)
By Eric Turowski
Booktrope Editions
ISBN #978-1620157992
204 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Intelligent And Well Written.”

Tess Cooper is a full-time reporter, and part time on the cop beat. When she’s sent on an assignment to interview “men on the street” for a human-interest feel-good story, she discovers possible city corruption instead. Or somebody is pretending to work for the city as they attempt to run businesses out of a mall. Bringing the story in, she’s put on suspension for not doing the feel-good story for the paper. Looking for a temporary job, she runs across an ad in the newspaper, asking for an assistant immediately. Applying for the job, her life is suddenly turned upside down. Her new boss is Davin Egypt, and he is an occultist. Basically, he protects the city from occult things that pop up, and right now things are happening that even ties into the mall story and graveyard robberies.

Tess is thrown into the middle of this gigantic case that is aimed at destroying her boss and the city on the anniversary of a devastating flood a hundred years in the past. It also involves giant bugs – centipedes under the control of occult powers.

This was a horror story with a touch of humor, as Tess stumbles into one situation after another, and very reminiscent of the old Kolchek TV series, but with a female lead in the part. Intelligent, and well written, the pace never lets up. Highly recommended

Tom Johnson


The motion came from hundreds of small bodies, squirming, heading in my direction. As they neared, I saw they were long, with bristling hairs catching glimmers of the distant glow. There were thousands, both wormlike and insectile in form, and moving closer. A skittering sound, and a chirruping, echoed in the tunnel. They rushed at me, like a wave but on the sides and top of the tunnel as well. I saw venomous colors, red and blue, in the needle- like hairs on the million racing things. A burst of air moved before them, like the wind before a subway train. I smelled the grave in the sudden breeze, and something astringent, burning my nostrils.

Then, as they closed, I saw that these were no insect-sized things. Some probably measured a couple yards long, furred with vicious, shimmering spikes, hundreds of legs, flat, dead compound eyes on triangular heads, segmented fangs curving inward, spherical segments bloated and dragging below the leg pairs or hanging down from the monsters rushing across the ceiling. I felt a rush of them against my pant legs, my boots, and I let out a tiny cry.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Trail of Crosses

Jane Mannering can shoot a rifle and handle a knife as well as any Englishman. However, she is no match for the red-painted warriors who ambush her section of a Colonial caravan the moment she and her comrades reach the shores of Virginia.
Jane plots their escape during a forced march inland, leaving a trail of maltese crosses carved on the trees – their pre-agreed upon signal of distress. All the while, she fumes over what interest their captors could possibly have in a twenty-three-year-old spinster and a rugged band of brick masons, sawyers, and farmers.
When the ruthless Chief Wanchese intercepts them at the crossroads of the Great Trading Path, Jane is shaken to discover their greatest enemy plans to keep her for himself. It’s a pity he’s the only man on two continents who’s ever stirred her heart. Alas, she has an entire colony to save, and capturing his attentions is not part of their escape plan.

Trail Of Crosses (Historical Romance/Action & Adventure)
By Jo Grafford
Book Two of The Lost Colony
Clean Read
Price $3.99 Kindle
378 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Impossible To Put Down.”

We first meet Jane Mannering in Book One, “Breaking Ties”, learning that she is a 23 or 24-year-old spinster, not catching men’s eye, nor wishing to. Tall and thin for a woman, she was raised as a hunter and trapper, she is equally skilled with a gun, bow, and knife, and can usually best any man; in fact, she carries three knives on her person at all times. I liked her immediately, as she reminded me Davy Crockett, and many of our early tamers of the land. In this novel she takes front stage. Captured by slavers in asavage attack, she and several companions are taken to a slave market to be sold. Chief Manteo, who was leading the colonists at the time, sends his cousin Chief Wanchese to rescue her.

Chief Wanchese has been smitten with the tall woman ever since the colonists’ arrival, so eagerly trails the slavers. Rescuing her and several others, he leads them back to his village instead of reuniting them with their fellow colonist’s. Being her independent nature she refuses to easily adjust to the role of a woman, wishing to be recognized as a hunter, trapper, and fighter, but Chief Wanchese is determined to tame this proud woman, and make her his mate.  All this while slavers and enemy tribes persists in causing problems, a fierce cyclone, and smallpox plaque the village, as well as unrest within the camp itself. Believe me, this is not just a romance novel, we have plenty of action, and the characterization is wonderful. I did get a chuckle when Jane kills a hooded cobra (native of Asia, not America) in the New World.

Most often reality is harsher than fiction, but it’s in our nature to hope terrible situations end with a positive outcome. Many rumors still contend that The Lost Colony was slaughtered by the indigenous peoples in the New World. However, some facts do remain to lead us in the opposite direction that some may have survived. During the early 17th Century to mid 18th Century natives were found with light skin, blond hair, and blue eyes, a strong indication that the survivors of The Lost Colony intermingled with the local native tribes; many claimed their forbearers originally arrived from the sea in great boats. Whatever the truth of the 115 colonists that disappeared, we want to believe the best in their disappearance. Although Jo Grafford’s novel is fiction, we can still hope that her Romantic tale about the Lost Colony is at least partially true. This was a wonderful read, and I highly recommend it to readers of historical romance, and high adventure. There is never a dull minute in this great action adventure novel of another period. There is one problem with the book, however - I didn’t want to put it down!

Tom Johnson
Echoes Magazine

Monday, March 23, 2015

Omari And The People

In an ancient time, a people made homeless by a devastating fire are led across a treacherous desert by a thrill-seeking thief, to a land he doesn't believe exists - and he started the fire. In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based on descriptions of the African Sahara’s Empty Quarter,) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home on fire to start anew and cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place to which only he can lead them, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The disparate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari's involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability to lead - his very life - is jeopardized.

Omari And The People (Epic Adventure)
By Stephen Whitfield
Sherlie Castle Press
ISBN #978-0964429031
#12.10 Paperback
366 Pages
Rating 4-Stars

“In The Style of The Old Classic Adventure Literature.”

In The City, located on the Sea of Providence, somewhere in the Empty Quarter of the Sahara Desert during the `13th Century, a rogue known as the Phantom Thief takes pleasure in robbing the wealthy ruling class; He lives high on his takings, as well, but has a good heart. An old woman in the square begs for food, which he buys for her when he visits the poor section. Returning to his home one night, he discovers that his wife has betrayed him, and has revealed his identity to the authorities. Burning his mansion, the fire also destroys The City. When he notices the old woman is still inside the flames, he rushes back to rescue her. Now he’s tasked with leading the survivors of The City to a fabled Paradise somewhere in the desert.

Omari was that mysterious thief, a young rogue, good with a sword and tricks, who enjoyed stealing the government’s tax money, even though he did not need it. But what, or who has chosen him to lead the exodus to the Promised Land? The handsome young rogue attracts the eye of a number of young women on the caravan, but he has fallen in love with Saba Khan, a warrior woman possessing some magic of her own, though the real magic belongs to the old woman he had saved from the fire.

This was a very interesting story, and kept my interest throughout. The characters were fascinating, the magic was brilliant, and the story telling was smooth.  Truthfully, however, I felt that Omari the Phantom Thief was more interesting than Omari the caravan leader. And at times the story does slow on the journey through the desert. This novel could have been serialized in ARGOSY or ADVENTURE in the 1930’s. There is no language, and sex is kept off screen. For anyone wishing to read a family adventure classic, I can highly recommend this book to you.

Tom Johnson
ECHOES Magazine

    As was his way, bin Aswad took no part in the celebration, and actually enjoyed his time alone as everyone else danced, sang and ate. Indeed, he had always found great pleasure in his love of numbers – calculating expenses, inventories and ultimately, profits. Despite Omari’s warnings about making money from the needs of others, bin Aswad had found it profitable to provide specialty clothing for those who could afford it. He found that some people paid well for themselves and or their family to look good in new clothing, and he was very clever in the re-use of old clothes to make new garments, as his cloth supply dwindled. Instead of being rich in coin, he now had more than his share of food, water, tools and other valuables.
    He was happily humming a tuneless melody while he sat counting a number of small gems, when his tent flap flew open. A stunning young woman moved in quickly and stood over him. Astonished, he scrambled backwards with his eyes and mouth wide open, spilling the gems onto the tent floor.
    “Ho, bin Aswad. Easy,” said the woman in a husky voice, and a bright smile that revealed white, even teeth. “I wish you no harm.” She raised her palms to calm his fright and sat down. “In fact, I believe I might be of some service to you.  My name is Saba Khan. Did you drop something?”
    No longer terrified, bin Aswad was still too surprised and embarrassed to form any reply, except to start picking up his gems while glancing up at the stranger. At first glance, Saba Khan possessed what might be called an extraordinary beauty – enough to turn heads, and very pleasing to the eye. In bin Aswad’s lamplight, her complexion was a satiny smooth, golden brown that seemed to blend into the darkness. Her finely sculpted face framed dark amber, almond-shaped eyes, which made him pause. For the brief moment he held her gaze, he was so struck by their sheer intensity, intelligence and perceptiveness that he stopped picking up his gems. His attitude changed to awe and he was willing, even eager to hear what she had to say.
    “How do you know my name?” he mumbled, too awestruck to ask all the questions in his mind.
    “You are well-known, bin Aswad. You have many customers—people you talk to and trade with. Some of the things you receive in trade are precious gems, such as that one you missed, just there.” She pointed a slender finger at a ruby behind him.
    “That gets people’s attention. Some of the things you’ve said are bound to get even more attention – such as the fact that you are unhappy with Master Omari’s leadership.” She leaned forward and opened her eyes wide. “Allow me to offer you some free advice – trade your gems away and keep your opinions to yourself.”
    Bin Aswad noticed the hilt of a dagger in her waistband. As the idea of danger began to form in his mind, beads of sweat broke out on his upper lip. “That’s some strong advice,” he said, in an effort to sound self-assured. “What do you have to do with my opinions or my gems?”
    Saba Khan chuckled. “I’m not here to harm you, bin Aswad. I’m here to suggest that I might be able to help you solve your problem with Master Omari…for the cost of some of your gems.” She raised her brow and tilted her head to the side. “Are you interested in seeing someone else in charge of the caravan? Someone more sensitive to your business interests?”
    He frowned and leaned forward. “And how would you…”  
    “You don’t need to know that,” she said.  “All you need to know is if you pay my price, your satisfaction is guaranteed.”
    He stared at the woman in amazement. “What do you do?  Are you some kind of killer? I don’t want to kill anyone.”
    “I make things happen,” she replied. “And don’t worry; you don’t have enough gems for anyone to be killed. Not even that great blue jewel you have hidden in your robe.”
    Bin Aswad’s eyes widened again. “You know about the jewel?”
    “That is why I’m here,” she said in a low voice.  “Remember my first advice? You’re not going to be able to hang onto such a stone much longer anyway. Too many people know about it. Right now, all you have to do is say ‘yes’ to the deal. If you do, I will give you more details later.  Of course, whether you agree or not, I must refer you back to the second advice – keep your business to yourself. Now, do we have a deal?” She leaned forward and smiled as if she knew the answer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Argosy Library From ALTUS PRESS

Altus Press Announces The Argosy Library

The First Series of Releases Features Popular Authors Such as Lester Dent, Otis Adelbert Kline, W.C. Tuttle, and George F. Worts

March 18, 2015: Altus Press today announced the premiere of its new line of books: The Argosy Library series.
Founded at the end of the Nineteenth Century by publishing tycoon Frank A. Munsey, Argosy Magazine quickly became one of the most popular—and prestigious—fiction magazines of its day and spawned a publishing revolution.
Known as one of the most literate pulp magazines, Argosy published thousands of short stories and novels, many of which features some of the most influential series characters in popular fiction.
With the inauguration of The Argosy Library, Altus Press plans to bring back into print the best of the Frank A. Munsey Company, sourced from its suite of sibling titles such as Argosy, The All-Story, and Flynns Detective Fiction Weekly, among others.
The Argosy Library expects to showcase the varied mix of genres that made Argosy one of the most popular pulps of all time, and Series 1 does just that by showcasing adventure, mystery, western, science fiction, fantasy, and crime stories by some of Munseys most popular authors such as Lester Dent, W. Wirt, Otis Adelbert Kline, W.C. Tuttle, George F. Worts, and Theodore Roscoe, among others.
The Argosy Library will be released in series of ten books at a time—in matching trade dress—and will be available in softcover, hardcover, and ebook editions. In addition to being available separately, each series of releases can be purchased as a single, heavily-discounted set.
Series 1 of The Argosy Library is expected to be released in May. For more information, please visit Altus

Titles in Series 1 of The Argosy Library:

Genius Jones by Lester Dent, introduction by Will Murray

The gold-dusted saga of a red-bearded young giant, raised in the Arctic on seal-meat and encyclopedias, who descends on civilization with a loud and solid crash. In his search for wisdom and adventure, the man Jones doesnt have Aladdin’s lamp—but he doesnt really need it…. Never before reprinted, its the longest novel Lester Dent ever published, and one of the most famous. This edition restores text cut from its original publication. Part of The Argosy Library of classics. 271 pages / $19.95 softcover / $29.95 hardcover

 When Tigers Are Hunting: The Complete Adventures of Cordie, Soldier of Fortune, Volume 1 by W. Wirt

The sagas of Jimmie Cordie and his crew were among Argosys most popular series when it was brought to that magazine during its early 30s renaissance. Quite clearly an inspiration for the creation of Doc Savage, this edition collects his first nine adventures. Part of The Argosy Library of classics. 240 pages / $19.95 softcover / $29.95 hardcover

 The Swordsman of Mars by Otis Adelbert Kline

Harry Thorne, explorer and swordsman, had scarcely more than heard of the Red Planet, Mars—when an amazing thing happened…. Otis Adelbert Kline is well-known as one of the best fantasy/adventure contemporaries of Edgar Rice Burroughs. This edition is sourced from the original magazine text and includes all of the original illustrations. Part of The Argosy Library of classics. 237 pages / $19.95 softcover / $29.95 hardcover

 The Sherlock of Sageland: The Complete Tales of Sheriff Henry, Volume 1 by W.C. Tuttle, introduction by Sai Shankar

Once voted Adventure Magazines most popular author, W.C. Tuttle introduced the world to one of his longest-running, and most popular series characters, Henry Harrison Conroy, in the pages of Argosy. Collected here are the first four stories. Part of The Argosy Library of classics. 269 pages / $19.95 softcover / $29.95 hardcover

 Gone North by Charles Alden Seltzer

When Jim Fallon started for the Hudson Bay country, he wasnt sure whether he was on a man-hunt or a wild goose chase—but he found his quest was fraught with real enough peril. Among the best novels ever written by one of Argosys most popular authors. Part of The Argosy Library of classics. 220 pages / $19.95 softcover / $29.95 hardcover

 The Masked Master Mind by George F. Worts

One of Argosys most popular authors pens this never-before reprinted novel of a trail of crime that ran from sleepy Maple Hollow to Steel City. Part of The Argosy Library of classics. 265 pages / $19.95 softcover / $29.95 hardcover

 Balata by Fred MacIsaac

Trees of living gold in the Amazon jungles, guarded by alligators, poisoned darts and rival hunters—such was the lodestone that drew an American expedition, and the unwilling Pete Holcomb…. Part of The Argosy Library of classics. 216 pages / $19.95 softcover / $29.95 hardcover

 Bretwalda by Philip Ketchum

Twas the mightiest weapon the eyes of man had ever beheld; its mystic name meant “Ruler of Briton.” And from over the Northern Sea came a Vikings thrall—the only man in the world who could wield that fearsome steel—to save good King Alfred and the homeland he scarce remembered. Collecting—for the first time—all 12 stories of the Bretwalda saga. Part of The Argosy Library of classics. 479 pages / $29.95 softcover / $39.95 hardcover

 Draft of Eternity by Victor Rousseau

A groundbreaking science fiction, post-apocalyptic & time travel classic from the early days of The All-Story by an underrated writer. Part of The Argosy Library of classics. 183 pages / $17.95 softcover / $29.95 hardcover

 Four Corners, Volume 1 by Theodore Roscoe

Mystery runs rampant in the quiet, upstate New York town of Four Corners…. Easily one of Roscoes best-written series, Volume 1 collects the first half of this lost masterpiece of the pulps. Part of The Argosy Library of classics. 201 pages / $19.95 softcover / $29.95 hardcover