“Deceived” by Reginald Buchanan

DeceivedDECEIVED

Reginald Buchanan
Outskirts Press (2017)
ISBN 9781432798307
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/17)

I rarely turn down an opportunity to read a mystery/thriller, and “Deceived” by Reginald Buchanan promised all the elements that draw me to a suspense novel: murder, drama, lies, cover-ups, deception – you get the picture.

The story revolves around Joan Witherspoon, a high school senior from the small town of Fall City.  After returning home from volleyball practice one day, Joan finds her mother and father dead in their bedroom. Something is not quite right, but the deaths are ruled as the result of medical conditions, both parties suffering from cardiac arrest due to their history of heavy smoking and heart disease. Joan is taken in by her neighbors, longtime friends of Joan’s family.  Joan finishes school and moves away from Fall City to start attend college and start her new life.  All is well until years later, when Joan becomes a suspect in the deaths of her parents and two other citizens of Fall City.  Horrific events of the past begin to surface as authorities try to unravel what really happened.

While the story has all the potential of a successful thriller, there are several components keeping “Deceived” from achieving that status, most of which could have been prevented prior to publishing.  Primary needs include a thorough edit to address holes in the plot, repetition, consistency issues and the overall structure of the novel.  I found very little room for imagination as everything is “told” rather than “shown” to the reader, and the pace drags with details and events not necessary to the advancement of the plot.  There are complete chapters that don’t appear to have anything to do with the mystery, completely taking the reader out of the story.

Towards the end, the book gets somewhat more interesting and the author does a relatively good job with some of the gruesome details of the murders, but these details were few and far between and did not outweigh some of the significant issues needing to be addressed.

Overall, even though the potential for a good story is there, I cannot recommend “Deceived” by Reginald Buchanan in its current form, and sincerely hope the author will take some time to tighten up his plot and address these issues.

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“The Map to Abundance” by Boni Lonnsburry

TheMapToAbundanceTHE MAP TO ABUNDANCE

Boni Lonnsburry
Inner Art (2017)
ISBN 9781941322147
Reviewed by Kimberly Luyckx for Reader Views (11/17)

Want to bring more prosperity and happiness into your life? In the book, “The Map to Abundance: The No-Exceptions Guide to Creating Money, Success and Bliss,” Boni Lonnsburry illustrates how you can make this possible. In her self-help manual to success, Lonnsburry maps out a seven-stage process designed to produce a life filled with abundance. The author’s plan of action moves from discovery to actualization, providing tools, techniques and innovative ways of thinking to get you reaping the benefits that you deserve. Each chapter is organized to plot out the road to abundance by providing various ways of analyzing the concept of fulfillment and all of its components. You are taken on an encouragement journey that spurs you to discover yourself and question some of your deepest beliefs. Assisting you along the way are “true stories” of people that have followed the path and discovered its significance. In addition, each chapter contains a summary for retracing your steps and reaffirming the key concepts with bonus tips for solidifying a particular course of action.

“The Map to Abundance” is the second volume in the “Map” book series by Lonnsburry. Her first, “The Map: To Our Responsive Universe, Where Dreams Really Do Come True!” is touted as a more generalized guide to manifesting what you desire. The author’s motivation for developing this second text was to specifically address the subject of money and how it factors into consciously creating an abundant lifestyle.

Initially, this handbook reads like a “get rich quick” manual. Its structure and language mimic that of an infomercial with the author dangling the carrot of “how to make money” from page to page. In time, however, the book’s framework evolves to incorporate the importance of positive affirmation and the true meaning of abundance. Here the author shines when she supplies valuable insight into the misconceptions of how we view wealth and money and what we feel we deserve in life.

Unfortunately, the idea of a “map” to abundance gets a bit lost in the text. At the beginning of the book, Lonnsburry provides a visual flow chart with descending circles that represent the seven stages of abundance and how specific chapters relate to each stage. However, when these same seven steps are introduced in the main body of the publication, it is difficult to reconnect them with the diagram, as the wording and numbering do not intuitively coincide. If the steps or stages were more consistently described and the chapters more apparently labeled, the guide’s format would have greater cohesiveness. Overall, I do find the content to be well written and very informative. I appreciate the way that the author engages the reader by posing questions and offering suppositions along the way. There are a lot of substantial takeaways presented here; the main one being that everyone can benefit from removing negativity in their lives and visualizing themselves in a more positive light.

The first few chapters of “The Map to Abundance” appear to wind you along a fanciful path that promises great wealth and financial success. But do continue on because this guidebook has the potential to lead you to an even greater purpose – one of fulfillment and inner peace. I would recommend it for anyone at a crossroads in his or her life. Its uplifting techniques will enable you to gain a clear and joyful perspective. With this publication, award-winning author, Boni Lonnsburry furnishes the tools needed to unearth one’s power and confidence for transformative changes that can result in a truly abundant life.

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Interview with Roe De Pinto, Author of “Too Much Junk in My Trunk!”

INTERVIEW WITH ROE DE PINTO


TooMuchJunkInMyTrunkTOO MUCH JUNK IN MY TRUNK!
The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba, Book 4
Roe De Pinto
Outskirts Press (2017)
ISBN 9781478789604
Interviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/17)


Roe De Pinto
 has received fourteen awards for her The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba series and hopes to continue the accolades with the new release of this adorable little episode, “Too Much Junk in My Trunk!” Through her sweet characters Zealy, a baby seal and Whubba, a baby orca, Roe continues to embark on her journey and dreams of bringing back the morals that she was taught many years ago – respecting yourself, one another, and the entire world around you. Giving, sharing and caring is her lifelong campaign, starting with the birth of a newborn all through their developmental years. Giving to someone else before yourself, and always protecting one another are the simple life lessons, she feels, can restore peace and non-violence to a very jaded world.

RoeDePinto2017.jpg

Hi Roe, and welcome! It’s so nice to visit with you again. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Previous to writing I was a realtor, administrative assistant, manager, travel agent, notary, etc., for career purposes but have been writing for as long as I could write, starting at the age of 10.  I am a mom of two beautiful children, and Nana of three precious grandchildren, who light up my life with joy and love. They have inspired my writing during my retirement years after countless hours of watching my favorite TV viewing- animated cartoons.

I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been up to since we last talked! What’s going on with your series, The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba?

Well, I have been working on the series, The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba for 3 years now and with the new book release, which is book 4, “Too Much Junk in My Trunk,” I have received 14 awards thus far, so I am so happy that the audience is receiving my books anxiously!

I have recently been picked up by publishers, Austin-Macauley, for my first three to be revised under their house format with hopes of their marketing bringing my work to the next level.

That’s so exciting, congratulations! And, what is “Too Much Junk in My Trunk!” about?

My fourth book is about our two little characters exploring a food adventure, which develops into an eating extravaganza, with some newly made friends as they wind up with tummy aches that only their Mommy can make better by giving her best advice.  The book ends with a wonderful lesson learned as they dance happily to the chant which you will see when they feel all better.

I love the lessons in your books!  Great for adults as well – I can relate all too well to the message in “Too Much Junk in My Trunk!” What inspired you to write about eating too much?

I am constantly telling my grandbabies to try new foods, but they have a tendency to overeat on foods that they prefer to eat, so I decided to write about it – and now they remember what Zealy and Whubba did and will recite the chant whenever I remind them they are eating too much.

What do you love about writing children’s books and what is the hardest thing about writing children’s books?

The hardest part I feel is getting inside a child’s mind and knowing how they will react to the words and the lessons you are trying to convey.  Children are so easily impressed and one needs to be very careful how the wording is done and keeping it simple for them to understand.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you started writing your first book?

How tedious the marketing really is when one is self-published.  I prefer to expend the energy on writing!

How active are you in promoting your books?  Tell us about some of the things you are doing to spread the news about Zealy and Whubba .

Social media, book signings coast to coast, award submissions, review submissions, book fairs and trade shows are all what I do – I am a one man band.

How do you feel about writing groups and critique partners?

They are beneficial in exposing to you things objectively rather than as you see them, subjectively.

Do you attend literary conferences? If so, what is your biggest takeaway from these events?

Absolutely, exposure is the key there as well as networking and seeing what works for other writers and industry experts.

Looking back, did you ever imagine your series would receive so much recognition and accolades?  What does that validation mean to you as a writer, but also as a mother and grandmother?

I am completely in awe with each and every award, and it does validate everything I am expressing in my writing for parents of young children to relate to as well as the children.

What were Zealy and Whubba doing 30,000 feet in the sky in an airplane? I thought they were sea animals?

Oh my, the ad aired on national TV as an interview on Talk Business 360, Fox Business Network and it was extended on Talk Business 360 which airs on certain American Airlines flights (27000 in all) in October and November.  I cannot express my heart throbbing when I actually saw it myself on the flight as well as the TV because my quest and dream come true is to see it on TV in an animated format someday and that was sheer delight for me to see my characters on the screen!

What’s next for The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba series?

The fifth book is yet to be started for production, although I have the next 8 scripted, but not edited.  I hope within the year, Book 5 will produce.

Knowing all that you know now about the writing and marketing and, the whole process for that matter – what information would you pass along to someone wanting to break into the world of childrens’ books?

Prepare yourself for spending time and money, but the rewards are much greater when you see children relating and happy and smiling from reading what you created.

Where can readers interact with you on social media and learn more about you and your books? 

My website: www.zealyandwhubba.com has it all.  I’m also on Twitter at @doctaroe and Facebook at www.facebook.com/zealyandwhubba/.

The books are available on Amazon.com, Outskirtspress.com, BarnesandNoble.com and all bookstores nationwide can order for you. Or just email me at doctaroe@aol.com and I can order it for you as well.

Roe, as always it was such a pleasure and an honor to talk to you today.  I am inspired by your enthusiasm and ambition and can’t wait to see what’s next!

Thank you.

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Interview with Bill Adler Jr., Author of “No Time to Say Goodbye”

INTERVIEW WITH BILL ADLER JR.


No Time to Say Goodbye

Bill Adler, Jr.
Claren Books (2017)
ISBN 9781945259050
Interviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/17)

Bill Adler Jr. is the author of many books, including “No Time to Say Goodbye,” a time travel love story, “The Binge-Watching Cure,” a short story anthology, “Tell Me a Fairy Tale,” a storytelling guide, and “Outwitting Squirrels,” which the Wall Street Journal called “a masterpiece.” He’s the publisher at Claren Books, www.clarenbooks.com, a fiction publishing company. Adler grew up in New York City, went to college in New England, lived for two decades in Washington, DC and now makes his home in Tokyo. He’s a licensed pilot and unlicensed writer.

BillAdler.JPG

Welcome Bill, and thank you for being with us today! Why don’t you start by telling our readers a bit about your journey to becoming a published author?

I started to write seriously after being disillusioned with being a lobbyist in Washington, DC. Although I worked for a public policy group fighting for what I believe to be truth, justice and the American way, the ways of Washington, DC were too stressful and unfulfilling for me. I was fulfilled by writing.

I started writing nonfiction. My early books include “The Student’s Memory Book” and “Outwitting Squirrels.” I had more ideas than I could write, so I started to package books: I’d write the proposal, then I’d find a writer and a publisher and put the two together. It was fun developing book ideas. Packaging led to agenting books, which I did for nearly two decades.

Unfortunately, when working as an agent I had little time in which to write. Now I’m no longer agenting, so my time is my own. And although I have a small book publishing company, Claren Books, I’m able to devote significant time to writing.

What is “No Time to Say Goodbye” about?

“No Time to Say Goodbye” is a time travel love story. Dennis, the main character, is moving forward in time, first in small increments, and then in larger, grand leaps. With each leap into the future he moves farther and farther away from his friends and his wife, Rachel, with whom he is madly in love.

Once Dennis and Rachel understand what’s happening to Dennis they race against time to find out what’s making Dennis move forward in time…and to stop it.

What inspired you to write this story?

I’m a big time travel fan. I was thinking about time travel and all the possibilities and permutations and this thought came to me: What if somebody was traveling in time, traveling forward? Would that person necessarily recognize they were traveling in time? Would their friends and family recognize what was happening? Those questions were the gestation of “No Time to Say Goodbye.”

Tell us about the protagonist in the book, what motivates him?

All Dennis wants is to love his wife and be the best doctor he can. When he finds himself traveling forward in time, he loses the most precious things in his life. When he realizes that, a blanket of despair covers Dennis.

Can you relate to Dennis on a personal level? If so, how?

Like Dennis, what I want most is to be happy, to love and be loved. I moved halfway around the world, to Japan, for that.

Why does time travel excite readers so much?

Time travel stories are the ultimate exploration of what-if? Time travel stories make us think about our own lives with a strange, sometimes uncomfortable microscope. What if I hadn’t been at that party? What if I’d taken an earlier train the day I met my future spouse? Then of course, there’s the wondrous possibility of undoing our mistakes that time travel offers. How great it would be to live without regrets.

Is there a secret to writing novellas?

Novellas need a consistent, fast pace. There’s not much room for character development through flashbacks. When somebody reads a novella, they’re interested in bite-sized fun, and that’s what the writer needs to deliver.

What is the future of novellas in book publishing?

The chapter on the future of novellas has yet to be written. A lot depends on Amazon, as does so much with book publishing. Amazon likes novellas, but if the giant decides to really push them will novellas become as popular as they deserve to be.

What kind of reaction to your writing do you most seek from your reading audience? 

One of the criticisms of “No Time to Say Goodbye” is that readers and reviewers wanted to see more — they wanted to know what comes next. The novella ends when Dennis…oops! – a  spoiler, so I won’t say more, other than I left more than a few threads unsewn. Although I agree with reviewers who say the novella is unfulfilling because it leaves many questions open, I like that reaction: Readers wanting more, rather than wishing I had ended the novel a hundred pages sooner.

What is a typical day for you as an author?  What are your writing practices?

Here’s where reality and fantasy diverge: I’m not a morning person. I’ve tried and tried, but I can’t start my writing day at 7 AM, as much as I’d like to. I’d like to sit at my desk and write a half dozen pages before dawn, but that will never happen.

The other time block that’s not mine is between about 2 PM and 3 PM when my cat insists that I lay in bed so she can lay on top of me.

So here’s how I write. I write whenever and wherever I can. I jot down ideas into Evernote the moment they wink into existence. I’m never far from my Chromebook, no matter where I go. I keep a Chromebook by the side of my bed, too, and often write there.

How do you feel when you finish a writing project?

I’m nervous after I finish writing a book. I wonder if my writing is crisp and exciting. I wonder if the characters ring true. I’m concerned that the plot isn’t exciting enough. I fret over dialog. I worry about every single mistake I could possibly have made. But once I start working on a new project, I’m happy and quickly forget my worries.

Which writers have inspired your own work as an author?

I’m a Stephen King fan. A long time ago I had a difficult breakup. I picked up Stephen King’s epic, “The Stand.” That carried me through the hardest days following the breakup, and I’ve been a Stephen King fan ever since. Not to mention, can he ever write.

Why do you publish books, as well as write them?

The book world is fun. Not just writing, but publishing, too. I get this energized, electric feeling when I bring a book out that I know people will enjoy, whether it’s something I wrote or something I’ve published.

I enjoy finding new ways to promote books, too. For example, “No Time to Say Goodbye” has a theme song, the first theme song ever written for a novel (or novella).

What kind of fiction is most enduring? Of all the genres, what lasts the longest and holds up best over time?

Horror. Look at Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Mary Shelley. Their books will be read forever. Civilization can survive without love — you don’t need love to make babies. Civilization can survive without surprise, anger, disgust, even happiness. But without fear, we’d have been eaten by lions long ago.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, about writing, or about life in general?

Read. Read and think about what you’re reading. Why do you like it? How could that book have been improved? Would you have written what the author you’re reading wrote? How would you have developed characters differently? I read for pleasure, but it’s also a treat to know that when I read for pleasure I’m improving my own writing.

What advice can you give aspiring authors?

Find a good editor and learn from that person. Few people are born good writers. We learn from our mistakes, but only if we have somebody who can point out our mistakes. That editor, by the way, can be a critique partner. He or she doesn’t need to be a paid editor, as long as your editor is smart and honest — and you pay attention.

What’s next, do you have another project in the works?

I’m working on developing “No Time to Say Goodbye” for television. Will that happen? I don’t know, but I want Dennis’ life to continue. I’m also writing a Japanese ghost story, Akiko and Peter: Into Eldritch Island, which is just about finished. Akiko and Peter is a novel of six interconnected stories about a Japanese woman and American guy who regularly encounter ghosts and monsters.

Where can readers connect with you on social media to learn more about “No Time to Say Goodbye” and your other books?

I spend too much time on Twitter, @billadler. I’m also on Facebook, www.facebook.com/billadlerjr. My website is www.adlerbooks.com.

Is there anything else you’d like to share today?

For writers: The moment an idea, plot thread, character quirk or other thought pops into your head, write it down. If it’s in the middle of the night, write it down. If you’re in the bathroom, write it down. If you’re taking a shower, use a soapy finger to write your idea on the wall or shower door. Ideas that aren’t put down on paper have a lifespan of no more than forty-five seconds. Will your idea be a good one? You’ll never know unless you remember it.

For readers: Buy books. Don’t worry about whether you love the book or not. As with anything and everything in life, like food, movies, boyfriends and girlfriends, a new job, even a trip down memory lane, you might love it, hate it, or be indifferent to it. Books aren’t expensive, so you can take a risk with a book.

Read review of No Time to Say Goodbye
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“Plan, Commit, Win” by Patrick Henry

PlanCommitWinPLAN, COMMIT, WIN

Patrick Henry
QuestFusion Publishing (2017)
ISBN 9780692868126
Reviewed by Josh Cramer for Reader Views (11/17)

At this point, I’ve read several books on starting businesses and each of them follow the same formula that Patrick Henry uses in his book: you must first plan what you are going to do, do it (and commit to it), and you find success. The main difference I found with “Plan, Commit, Win” is that Henry not only focuses on starting a business, but how to find and build relationships with investors complete with checklists and examples of how to talk to these investors. As with any of these books, there’s no promise that these techniques will work for sure, but if you are authentic, patient, persistent, honest, transparent, and calm, you will have a much better chance of making your business work.

One of the things I love about books like this is taking entrepreneurial ideas and using them in an intrapreneurial way. I currently don’t own a business (and even the business I plan to own is a consulting firm), but these techniques can be applied to how I handle my current team and workflow. That said, my favorite aspect of this book is one of the shortest chapters in the book: Creating a Culture of Getting Things Done. The basic ideas of this chapter is that you must “plan the course,” “set milestones,” and “measure results.” While we do this, we don’t do this to the level we should and it is a good reminder that we should always have a plan to follow, goals to achieve, and a way to measure our progress. Henry states that, “You must also maintain a heartfelt belief that you can win and keep your team on board with that” (159). You should bias your team towards action (getting things done) while being flexible enough to course correct along the way.

If you are currently planning a start-up, Henry’s story can help to inspire you. If you aren’t, the ideas and techniques can still inspire you to develop your team and career in new and different ways.

“Plan, Commit, Win” by Patrick Henry will definitely be a book I come back to again for advice as I continue to develop my career.

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“Molly’s Rocker” by Susan M. Hoskins

mollysrockerMOLLY’S ROCKER

Susan M. Hoskins
Outskirts Press (2017)
ISBN 9781478789741
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/17)

“Molly’s Rocker” by Susan M. Hoskins is a beautiful narrative about the courageous and inspirational Molly Fry.  Molly endured more in her lifetime than most people ever experience, yet she persevered with dignity and grace, a loving heart, and a gentle soul.  Molly was truly a woman ahead of her time and “Molly’s Rocker” is a brilliant testament to her life.

The author and her husband Larry discover Molly’s rocker one day while cleaning out the attic.  Molly is Larry’s grandson and the son of Molly’s youngest daughter, Tula Mary.  Larry remembers his grandmother coming to live with them after a fire destroyed her home.  The rocker was the only thing to survive the fire.  After seeing the rocker, Larry remembers some old tapes, narrated by his grandmother when she lived with them.  These tapes provide precious insight into Molly’s life and the life of Elijah Fry, and how a twist of fate brought the couple together.

Growing up on a Kentucky tobacco farm in the late 1800s, Molly has to quit school at a very early age to care for her family when her mother is taken by consumption. As the new woman of the house, Molly implements some radical changes regarding the roles of males and females and vows to run the farm as an equal to her pa.  The reader sees glimpses of Molly’s independent nature and impartiality early on in the story, and when she takes a stand with her father, insisting that women and men should eat at the same time (as opposed to the females waiting for their men-folk to finish their meals), I knew I was going to enjoy learning more about her.  One of my favorite lines in the book is Molly’s declaration, “I wasn’t sure what would become of me as the years went by, but there was one thing I knew for sure that night.  I was never gonna eat cold eggs again.”  Don’t you just love her?!

Readers also learn the story of Elijah Fry, who comes to be Molly’s husband, by what can only be deemed as providence.  Though Elijah has a rough start in life, he flourishes under the loving upbringing of his aunt and uncle, becoming a respected member of the community. His tragic past leaves him with trust issues however, and his only real friend is Henry Jackson, the son of former slaves.

Elijah and Molly raise a family, and have a successful tobacco farm.  Life is good for awhile, until an unforeseen tragedy leaves Molly and Henry Jackson in dire straits. The two pool their resources to make ends meet, and their friendship causes quite a stink with the bigots and small-minded members of the community.  Molly once again shows courage and integrity in the face of those trying to drive them out of town.

This story is absolutely amazing! It encompasses so many issues that are sadly, still relevant today. From feminist issues to racial tensions, the author manages to cover some serious ground in a seamless, thoughtful read.

Whenever I read historical fiction I get so wrapped up in the lives of the characters that I want to know everything about them. Where they lived, environmental conditions, cooking methods used, along with popular food items of the period, clothing styles, education – you name it, I want to know about it.  Hoskins has excelled in writing a novel that authentically depicts every aspect of the time period. The characters have depth and integrity, and the dialogue is dead on, taking the reader straight back to another time, place and century. I contentedly imagined myself walking amongst the characters as I was reading.

I am truly in awe of “Molly’s Rocker” by Susan M. Hoskins.  Imagine love inspiring a story through an old rocking chair that almost founds its way to a local flea market.  I highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, coming of age stories, and those wanting to experience the life and times of a different era.

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“Naked We Came” by Robert Lane

NakedWeCameNAKED WE CAME

Robert Lane
Mason Alley Publishing (2017)
ISBN 9780692890950
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (11/17)

“Naked We Came” by Robert Lane is a suspenseful psychological thriller that revolves around Jake Travis, a private investigator who is in search of his sister’s killer.

During a family vacation, his sister, age 14, disappears after going to their motel room to get a book. Jake, almost 8 years old, decides he will go to the arcade room while she retrieves her book. That was thirty years ago, and to this day Jake is haunted by the memories of his sister, and the things he felt he should have done. Given that Jake has not told those who are closest to him about his sister, he continues to harbor anger, guilt and resentment internally, and in an attempt to bury some of that destructive cycle, he drowns himself in alcohol.

Surprisingly, 30 years after his sister’s disappearance, the body of a man known as Leonard Hawkins washes ashore near Jake’s house. All initial evidence points to Hawkins for the abduction and killing of Jake’s sister all those years ago, however Jake is not convinced Hawkins is the culprit. Further investigation leads Jake to three rich and powerful friends who all provide evasive details about what happened that day. Jake also learns they are all connected to Russian government officials and a famous, powerful lawyer. Will Jake find justice for his sister and peace for himself?

The story line is engaging and fast-paced and will keep you on your toes trying to figure out how an innocent young girl is caught up in such a mysterious kidnapping. Lane does an excellent job providing subtle clues throughout the story about her disappearance. Without revealing too much information, he prompts readers to keep turning the pages, all the while inducing more questions about the characters in the book without giving away the ending.  Lane’s excellent writing will keep readers intrigued, and place them in the role of detective. Just when you think you have solved the case, “wham” the ending completely stuns you.

I believe readers will enjoy this creative plot with numerous sinister characters and the chance to become a detective to help find those at fault. I recommend “Naked We Came” by Robert Lane to fans of fast-paced, suspenseful psychological mystery/thrillers.

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