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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, May 28, 2019

Cold For The Bastards of Pizzofalcone

Book 3 in de Giovanni’s bestselling “Bastards of Pizzofalcone” series is set in contemporary Naples during season of cold winds, political hijinks, and murder.
A heinous, double murder in a squalid apartment on the wrong side of town pits Inspector Lojacono, Di Nardo and the rest of the motley collection of cops known as the “bastards” of the Pizzofalcone precinct against their superiors, the press, and the local political hierarchy. Only by bringing the killer to justice can they save their reputations and the department.
De Giovanni is one of the most versatile, prolific, and successful Eurpean mystery in Europe. His award-winning and bestselling novels, all set in Naples, offer a brilliant vision of the criminal underworld and the lives of the cops in Europe's most fabled, atmospheric, dangerous, and lustful city.

Cold For The Bastards of Pizzofalcone (Police Procedural)
By Maurizio de Giovanni
Europa Editions
ISBN #978-1609455255
352 Pages
Price $18.00 (Paperback)
Price $8.99 (Kindle)
Rating 5-Stars

“Topnotch Writing & 3-Dimensional Characters”

The police station at Pizzofalcone was shut down after their officers were caught selling drugs instead of doing police work. A new team of officers have been selected, some from the original force not connected with the drugs, and others from the surrounding area. There are already two marks against them. The old curse still haunts the new team, plus each have their own crosses to bear. Headquarters would love to shut the new team down, while the men and women of the new Pizzofalcone wants to prove they are honest cops and good investigators. A brother and sister are murdered. The sister has a violent boyfriend, plus their father was just released from prison after beating a man to death. These are the main suspects, though others pop up through the investigation. A second case involves what at first looks like parental sexual abuse. Two cases that are critical, and must be solved fast.

It’s the characters that drive the story, and the reader is pulled into the case from the start and glued to each step of the investigation. The writing is superb, as Giovanni’s stories always are. These are the best stories coming out of Europe, and Maurizio de Giovanni is my favorite writer of police procedural and murder mysteries from anywhere in the world. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson

Friday, May 24, 2019

Primordia: In Search of The Lost World

Ben Cartwright, former soldier, home to mourn the loss of his father stumbles upon cryptic letters from the past between the author, Arthur Conan Doyle and his great, great grandfather who vanished while exploring the Amazon jungle in 1908. 
Amazingly, these letters lead Ben to believe that his ancestor’s expedition was the basis for Doyle’s fantastical tale of a lost world inhabited by long extinct creatures. As Ben digs some more he finds clues to the whereabouts of a lost notebook that might contain a map to a place that is home to creatures that would rewrite everything known about history, biology and evolution. 
But other parties now know about the notebook, and will do anything to obtain it. For Ben and his friends, it becomes a race against time and against ruthless rivals. 
In the remotest corners of Venezuela, along winding river trails known only to lost tribes, and through near impenetrable jungle, Ben and his novice team find a forbidden place more terrifying and dangerous than anything they could ever have imagined.

Primordia: In Search of The Lost World (SF)
By Greig Beck
Severed Press
ISBN #978-1925711479
Price $12.78 (Paperback)
Price $4.99 (Kindle)
246 Pages
Rating 4-Stars

Ben Cartwright is out of the Army now, and back home, but still looking for some excitement. Discovering that his namesake, Benjamin Cartwright, in 1908 had went in search of the lost world, sending his notes and maps to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in England. Doyle had written the fiction novel from those notes, and the actual lost world just might be real. Discussing it with his old friends, they decide to look for the fabled lost world themselves. However, they need the notes and maps entrusted to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The first hundred pages or so reminded me of the Hardy Boys solving puzzles, as they search for the hidden notes and maps; there is another group also after them, and the maps end up in the wrong hands. But that’s okay, Ben’s team has the notes, and the last hundred pages take them to the plateau. Here’s where things get scary. A comet called Primordia passes close to Earth’s orbit every ten years, and during its passing one plateau becomes a time portal, returning the mountain top millions of years in the past. It’s this plateau they have found and climbed a chimney to the top, where they discover dinosaurs and giant snakes. It doesn’t take long for everyone to be eaten, except for Ben Cartwright and his girlfriend, Emma Wilson. Just as a giant 70-foot snake is about to eat them, Emma falls over the edge of a cliff and escapes into a cave. Ben is running from the monster snake when the comet leaves Earth’s orbit once again. Emma makes it to civilization and vows to return to the plateau in ten years to save Ben.

The yarn was fun, and being based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World made it unique. There weren’t many dinosaurs, but we do see a few. Mostly, giant snakes eat everyone, since they are the major predator on the mountaintop. Personally, I don’t like reading a book that doesn’t end, as this one is left open for part two. I would love to know what happens in the sequel, but a little afraid it will begin like Nancy Drew before we get to the meat of the book. After all, Emma must wait another ten years when the comet makes its next pass by Earth to attempt a rescue. Will Ben survive that long? And is it just a coincidence that the comet is named Primordia? Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Post Facto

When Clara Sue Buchanan gave up big-city journalism to buy her Southern hometown newspaper, she was determined to ferret out the truth in whatever story that came along. What came were high school football games, the locals' catch of the day, and family reunions. Until a string of paranormal sightings turns the monotony upside down. Then millions of dollars in federal funds are on the horizon, but they threaten to ignite a blood feud. A dog is the victim of a ritualistic killing. A drug stash shows up in the truck of a dead prison guard. Things are getting a lot more interesting. Especially when a mysterious trunk appears from an era past, promising to rip open a decades-old case of unexpected death and tragic suicide. Suddenly, all of Clara Sue's big-city reporter skills are in play as she tries to crack the code of small-town corruption, venality, and wanton murder. Before she's the next victim.

Post Facto (Mystery)
By Darryl Wimberley
The Permanent Press
ISBN #978-1579625559
Price $19.46 (Hardback)
Price $9.99 (Kindle)
248 Pages
Rating 4-Stars

Clara Sue Buchanan, a big city reporter, has returned to her home in Florida. She takes over the local newspaper, and a local mystery. The Lambs, a local family is trying to cheat Butch out of his inheritance. Butch is a little slow witted and might lose everything without help. Clara teams with her cousin, the local sheriff to investigate strange cases that seem supernatural. What’s going on, and could she end up the next victim?

The publisher sent me a copy of the book for an honest review. This was a fun story, and a slight play on the big city cop retiring to Florida to become involved in a murder case. But this time it’s a journalist and she’s female. But everything else is in place. It is a neat plot, and has good characterization, so is already ahead of those retired cops moving to Florida plots, and well worth the read. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


Join a small organization of lovable bad guys: a super villain and her henchmen. Eve, the seven-foot-tall, bulletproof blonde is their leader. Frank and Jean are a couple that can get into any computer or building unseen. Jacob is a rough-around-the-edges biker type that has a deep and abiding love of guns and explosives. And Steven? Well, he’s really good at manipulating people and pretty handy to have around in a fight. As supervillainy goes, they’re just starting out. They don’t have much of a secret base. They don’t have matching uniforms. Not a one of them owns a single pair of tights.
A chance encounter at a sushi bar has led them to a young woman with a terrifying secret she doesn’t even know she possesses. The Yakuza wants to use her to put pressure on a missing father. No one’s entirely certain exactly what the secret is, but it smells like a weapon and it might be just the sort of thing to help topple a nation.
They’re done pulling small jobs. Now they’re aiming for the top – because why bother robbing jewelry stores when you can topple governments? 
Yakuza gang fights. 
Incursions into high-security, top-secret government buildings. 
Picking fake fights with losers in bars. 
A psycho ex-coworker who has some strange friends. 
And a well-dressed older gentleman who haunts dreams. 
It’s all in a day’s work for Steven…one of the world’s most dedicated and dangerous… HENCHMEN

Henchmen (Super Villain Prose)
By Eric Lahti
Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN #978-0682341049
Price $8.05 (Paperback)
Price $2.99 (Kindle)
198 Pages
Rating 4-Stars

“A Fun Romp”

A small group of villains led by a seven foot tall woman named Eve sets out to destroy congress. The yarn is narrated by Steve. The rest of the team consist of two gay men named Frank and Jean, plus a motorcycle rider named Jacob, and a new girl named Jessica Hayha, who’s father Delano Hayha worked for a secret government. The team goes in search of her father, which leads them a secret government facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They encounter men who are mere flickers of shadow aiding government agents. Penetrating a secret building they encounter a man long held prisoner by agents, called The Dreamer. As his name implies, he is a god of dreams, and our government wants to use him as a weapon. 

This was a fun romp, though the plot needed help, and we could have learned more about the main team members. We’re told a little about each, but they still come across as paper tigers, not real people. My main gripe, however, is with Amazon’s pricing. I prefer paperback editions, but trying to order the eight-dollar paperback, Amazon added another six dollars postage, and two dollars tax, making the paperback $16.00. I went with the $2.99 Kindle edition and ended up paying $3.24 when tax was added. Not appreciated at all. What you see is not what you pay.

Tom Johnson