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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

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Glare of The Gorgon

Why did a desperate man shave his head before visiting Doc Savage headquarters, only to be struck down, his pulsing brain turned to inert stone? What sinister secret did his strange slaying silence? And how was a lizard-green shadow resembling Medusa branded on Doc’s office wall?
These are only some of the questions confronting the Man of Bronze as he pursues a grisly trail of petrified corpses to post-Prohibition Chicago, whose criminal underworld is being terrorized by a serpent-haired demon engaged in a seemingly senseless slaughter spree whose ultimate target will shake Doc Savage’s men to their core.
Suspects are many, clues baffling. Death and danger lurks everywhere they turn––symbolized by the silhouette of a faceless Gorgon.
From the concrete canyons of Manhattan to the coal fields of Illinois, Doc Savage tracks a phantom fiend the likes of which he has never before hunted. Or is he the one being hunted?

Glare of The Gorgon (Doc Savage Adventure)
The Wild Adventures of Doc Savage
By Kenneth Robeson (Will Murray)
Altus Press
ISBN #978-1618272386
Price $24.95
510 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Smoothly Written, Fast Paced, And Thrilling Adventure.”

Ned Gamble contacts Doc Savage from the train he’s arriving on from Chicago, to expect him. But he’s being followed, and before he reaches the safety of Doc’s headquarters, he is killed in the hallway and an odd green figure is found on the wall where he died. When Doc examines him, he finds the man’s brain calcified. Ned is carrying a newspaper with an article covering the death of a scientist in Chicago that appears to have a bearing on the case. At present, Long Tom Roberts is attending the Chicago Exposition of Science, and Doc notifies him to contact Janet Falcon, the last person Ned Gamble was in contact with. Finding the girl is easy, but Long Tom is quickly captured, and the case is running full steam with the Greek mythical Gorgons playing a hideous death note. The story quickly moves to Chicago where the Exposition becomes a backdrop for some of the action.

Although the cover isn’t one of my favorites, the author’s writing continues to mesmerize the reader from the first page onward. The writing is smooth, the plot fast-paced, and the adventure is filled with thrills. Doc’s aides, the five greatest minds in the world – next to Doc – have to be shown a little dumb in order for Doc to appear so smart, but these longer stories tend to make them even dumber than they would normally seem in a pulp-size adventure of 120 pages. In this novel we see that clearly. Not that it distracts from the novel, I just feel the author should give them a little more intelligence in these longer tomes. However, the author has another winner on his hands. Highly recommended to Doc Savage fans, as well as adventure lovers around the world.

Tom Johnson


Friday, May 20, 2016

Deadly Ties

She went to jail for the right reason but the wrong murder.
With her mom in a coma, Kyara is determined to discover who is behind the brutal attack. Does her grandmother’s recent release from jail have anything to do with it? The police believe that some meth-addicted youth are responsible but what Kyara uncovers is shocking. Is anyone telling the truth? Even Ryan who she thought might be able to help her is harnessing his own dark secret. Is he truly trying to help her or does he have his own agenda?
The golf course wasn’t built because the sport was gaining in popularity but to hide a deadly secret. Those responsible are determined to keep it buried and those who know anything are being silenced. Kyara finds herself trying to catch an old woman, stay ahead of those trying to kill her and unveil the truth. But can she do it before a town pays the ultimate price?

Deadly Ties (Suspense/Mystery/Thriller)
By Maggie Thom
Quadessence Solutions
ISBN #978-0991727230
Price $2.99 (Kindle)
313 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“A Deep Mystery With Hidden Treachery And Suspense.”

After nearly two decades in prison for a murder she didn’t commit, Getty is now out and wants revenge. She doesn’t pretend her confinement wasn’t deserved. She was just convicted for the wrong murder. And those who framed her were going to pay. With her daughter assaulted and in the hospital, she can only count on her granddaughter, Kyara. And Kyara isn’t sure whom she can trust, as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding the golf course in Jaspertown. There are hidden secrets, and covered up crimes that someone wants buried for good, even if it means more deaths.

I’ve been a fan of this author from her debut suspense novel, and have eagerly followed her writing as each new book was released. She is a masterful storyteller, who weaves an intricate plot with many twists, and even the reader is never sure what is truly going on, and who did it until the story comes to a climatic end. I don’t know if I imagined it, or if the language was more mature in this new novel. But don’t get me wrong the profanity isn’t thick, but rather sprinkled lightly. The suspense does overflow on every page, however, and that makes for good reading. In fact, Maggie Thom is one of the best suspense writers in today’s fiction. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson


Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Crossroads

All farmer Eben Smith wants to do is rectify an unjust government system he feels starves city folk in order to “fix” the economy.  Before he gets to the city for the first time, however, he finds himself at a strange crossroads. There what he’s bartering may be altering not only his own life, but also the destiny of alternative worlds! Includes: “Borrowed Glory” and “The Devil’s Rescue"

The Crossroads (Fantasy)
By L. Ron Hubbard
Galaxy Press www.goldenagestories
ISBN #978-1592123681
Price $9.95
124 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Fantasy And Beyond.”

This volume actually contains three stories by the author: The title story, THE CROSSROADS, originally published in the February 1941 issue of UNKNOWN. Plus, BORROWED GLORY and THE DEVIL’S RESCUE.
         THE CROSSROADS is a fun story about a farmer taking his fruit and vegetables to town to trade. However, he comes to a strange crossroad with roads leading in different direction. Not knowing which to take, he decides to rest at the crossroads. Oddly, travelers come from the different paths and find his goods were bargaining for.
         BORROWED GLORY. An angel and genie make a bet against humans. The genie doesn’t believe humans will keep their word if given something for a time, and the angel has more hope for humans. The angel offers an elderly lady 48 hours of anything she wishes, knowing that at the end of that period she must give everything back. The genie doesn’t believe the old woman will. The old woman had worked all her life for very little, never having loved, or known the love of a man, and her wishes are to be young and beautiful, and to experience the love she missed. Can she return it if she does find it?
         THE DEVIL’S RESCUE is about what the title says. Edward Lanson, Mate of the Gloucester Maid is the last survivor on his boat when sailors on the ghost ship, The Flying Dutchman, rescue him. And then who should appear but the Devil to bargain with the ship’s captain, and now another soul, Edward Lanson. Will the Devil end up with all souls, including Edward’s, or can the devil be beaten?
         These were fun little fantasy stories, each interesting and entertaining in their own right. But of the three, my favorite is BORROWED GLORY, about the elderly woman wishing to experience love. Highly recommended for the entertainment value.

Tom Johnson


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Hatching

In Las Vegas, rookie EPA investigator Evangeline Bixby searches for her uncle, who went missing while seeking the source of a mysterious biological toxin. Retired cop Danforth encounters a man outside the downtown casinos who seems to rot to death before his eyes. Danforth’s former partner, Chuck Needles, recalls a series of unsolved deaths involving an unknown toxic agent.
Underneath the bright surface of Vegas, an evil darkness grows, savage, monstrous and ravenous. Bixby, Danforth and Needles will risk it all to stem a poisonous tide of murder and destruction hatching beneath Sin City.

The Hatching (Horror)
By Eric Turowski
Forsaken: A Booktrope Imprint
ISBN #978-1513706047
264 Pages
Price $15.95
Rating 5-Stars

Gangster, Vinnie Sabrini, owns the Sirocco Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, including the Land of The Giants Zoological Gardens. The zoo contains a variety of animals, the largest and smallest of several species; for instance, the Komodo Dragons and crocodiles are some of the largest in captivity, while the pigmy elephants are some of the smallest. When seen together, you get the impression of giants. That is a gimmick to attract customers to the casino. Another gimmick is to insure a higher content of oxygen in the gaming room to keep the customers awake and over-active, bringing in higher stakes for the casino. But something is going on below the casino. When workers disappear, this can be covered up, but when bodies are found in the street or nearby the casino, and a biological agent is discovered as the cause, it looks suspicious to the EPA. When Agent Higgins Bixby comes up missing, his niece, Agent Evan Bixby, goes undercover to find out what he was investigating when he disappeared. She crosses path with private detective Danforth, and they follow leads leading to a government facility in the desert where secret experiments are being conducted; they are trying to grow food in radiated soil. What Bixby and Danforth discover sends them back to the casino in a hurry.

There are lots of things happening in this tale, and the author actually identifies the creatures causing the problems early on, but the reader needs to have a background in biology and zoology to figure it out. Clues point the reader in one direction, however, and that’s where I will leave it. The climax is big and would be perfect for the big screen. The author knows how to move the characters through exciting scenes of terror-filled action and horror. The writing is smooth and exceptional, and he weaves a tale of horror and suspense, as searchers trek through the caves and tunnels beneath the casino. It is not a novel for the weak of heart, for the monsters hiding in the dark will eat you. The scientific information has been well researched also, making the story believable. For there is proof of these giant creatures in fossil evidence, and we know why they grew to such gigantic size during the Carboniferous Period of our past. The only problem in the author’s rationale is the time limit: The Carboniferous Period had millions of years to produce these results, and in the case of this story, we only have about 20 years. Still, this well written work of fiction will keep the reader on the edge of their seat, and in the end, you will believe the science of the story was possible. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Fever City

The story kicks off in 1960 Los Angeles, with the daring kidnapping of the child of one of America's richest men. It then darts back and forth between a private detective's urgent search for the child, the saga of a notorious hit man in the days leading to JFK's assassination, and the modern-day story of a skeptical journalist researching the still-active conspiracy theories of the 50s and 60s, with the aim of debunking them. Just as the detective discovers that the kidnapping is a crime much larger than he imagined, and the hit man finds himself caught in a web that is astonishingly complex, the journalist discovers-to his horror, dismay, and even his jeopardy-that the conspiracy theories might well be true.
With expert pacing, sparkling dialogue, and plot twists that will keep readers entranced, Tim Baker's irrepressible debut novel is a joy ride through classic noir traditions, updated with a surprisingly contemporary sensibility.

Fever City (Crime Noir)
By Tim Baker
Europa Editions
ISBN #978-1609452872
Price $12.07 (paperback)
400 Pages
Rating 5-stars

“A Fast-Paced, Thrill-A-Minute ride.”

Normally, there are two things I absolutely hate in a story. One is using real people in scenes and narrative, the second is jumping back and forth in the tale from one point to another. This story contains both, but the author pulls it off. The author’s writing is smooth, and he keeps the same people throughout the tale, even if the years jump from 1959 to 1960, 1963, and 2014. It all stems from the kidnapping of the Bannister child in 1960 and the private eye handling the case, to the assassination of JFK in 1963 and one of the assassins hired for the job, and finally culminates with the son of the private detective searching for answers to the mystery in 2014. We are led through conspiracies with Marilyn Monroe, Howard Hughes and the Roswell UFO crash, to secret cabals, the Masons and Illuminati, and hidden temples in the homes of powerful men who control the political system of America and the world.

Two leading questions haunt the tale. First, what became of the missing child, and why are assassins trying to kill the son of the detective, now a reporter, trying to find answers to an old mystery. Everyone the reporter questions turns up dead, and some really weird people are trying to protect him before he meets the same fate. With most of the original people involved now dead, it seems he will not find the answer.

The story comes to an end in France, as the reporter finally learns the truth from one of the main players in this long-running mystery, although I had figured it out early in the story, and if readers will pay attention they will also. But it is certainly a good yarn, even if it does play loosely with real people in history. This book was hard to put down, and kept me turning the pages. Highly recommended for noir lovers.

Tom Johnson