Book Review – Murder Run, By Shelly Frome

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Murder Run
Shelly Frome

5 STARS

That’s right gentle readers, Shelly Frome’s book, Murder Run, garnered 5 stars from me. I am a fan of mobsters and mystery so this book hooked me from the beginning.

Jed Cooper is a simple man. He likes to work with his hands and doesn’t talk fast, or much at all. This makes his latest gig as personal handyman to a reclusive dancer vacationing in Connecticut ideal. Miss Julie has a secret though. One that could cost Jed his life. When Jed receives a mysterious late night phone call he rushes to Miss Julie’s side, only to be caught standing over her dead body by the local state trooper. Now Jed has two detectives and the trooper on his tail as he tries to piece together what happened to his beloved employer. His journey takes him back to his roots in New York, where run ins with people from his old neighborhood only make him wish for the country life all the more.

Sal Palmeri, a Capo past his prime, receives several odd missives which bring him panicking back to his old haunts. Two murders and a recent string of arrests by the Feds have everyone in the criminal underworld jumpy. Concern over exposure to his operations that could cost him his quiet retired life, Sal tries to take the reins back while struggling with short term memory problems.

What is the connection between these two and how will the death of Miss Julie change the lives of everyone who ever knew her? I guess you will have to pick up a copy of this book to find out.

Murder Run Tour

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On This Day in Literary History – Nov 10th

Gentle Readers, I usually stay away from controversial topics like religion and politics, but November 10th is a day I cannot ignore. The year was 1483, and in the town of Eisleben, Saxony, part of the Holy Roman Empire, the Father of Reformation was born.

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Portrait of Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Martin Luther (10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was the eldest child and his father had big plans for his heir. After following his father’s plan all the way up to enrolling in Law school in 1505, but quickly dropped out. He began a philosophical journey that led eventually to the clergy. He was a vehement about questioning the Pope’s role and authority, treating the Bible itself as the only true guidance from God. He also denied that Heaven is obtained by performing good deeds. Luther taught that salvation is a free gift from God, through Jesus Christ, that one only has to accept. His criticism of the Catholic Church led to his excommunication. He was also branded an outlaw of the empire.

Though I am not particular religious, some of Luther’s teachings ring true with me. His principle of “Justification by Faith Alone”, to me, is something so many people could be served to think about. I don’t feel that one can “buy” their way into any sort of heaven, paradise, nirvana, etc. The afterlife, which sometimes I question myself still, is either there or it isn’t. I don’t claim to have the answers, which I don’t think Luther thought he had all the answers either. I just am not sure that where anything divine is concerned, mere mortals can get it 100% correct. IF there is a great architect to this universe, I don’t think we would be able to comprehend the intellect that orchestrated all that is, was, or ever will be.

When I was younger I questioned a Southern Baptist preacher on the interpretation of a passage in the Bible. I was looking at the section in its entirety, where only a small verse was used as part of the sermon. I had not intended to offend the older man, I simply had questions. His denial to engage in any sort of debate and subsequent shunning sparked my jaded view of Christianity. I want to be clear that I believe very much in many of the teachings of Christianity. There are great morals and lessons to be learned. I just abhor the way the Bible has been disassembled and twisted to serve whatever “righteous” cause is trying to wield oversight over another person’s life. The hypocrisy has caused my own break with organized religion in many ways as I have grown older.

On this Day in Literary History – Nov 9th

November 9th was not a terribly full day of literary success, but there was an event that is connected to my life in a small way.

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Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)

Dylan Thomas was not a poet I knew much about, except that I read his poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night” in high school English class. I have also seen many of the numerous references to it in popular culture since. In researching Thomas’s life, I found a tragic story of near poverty and alcoholism that led to an early death in smog filled New York.

You can read his poem here, “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” This link is hosted by Poets.org, who received permission to post the work.

In looking over more of his work, it is a shame that Thomas was not able to overcome his vices as he could very well have gone on to greater heights. I wonder about the connection between alcoholism and the creative mind. Are creative types more susceptible to addiction of any kind but in particular alcohol? Greats such as Faulkner, Poe and Hemingway all battled with alcohol during their lifetimes. Something to ponder on a rainy day with a blank notebook and a few fingers of good whiskey I think.

On this Day in Literary History – Nov. 8th

Gentle readers, indulge me if you will. I am going to attempt a new series of posts to keep things lively. I am calling them, On this Day in Literary History. I am hoping to find something of consequence each day that holds some personal meaning to me and share with you a bit of history, a bit of myself, and generally just revel in the lush history that is the written word. So, to begin, here is a writer who has written a book I have read multiple times, whose birthday just happens to be today.

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I imagine it was a chilly day in Dublin Ireland the morning of November 8th, 1847. This day would see a literary giant born the third child of a well to do family. Abraham “Bram” Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912) would spend much of the first 7 years of his life bedridden. When he recovered, he was enrolled in private school. It is said he attributed his long years of illness beneficial to his thought development. Even excelling at athletics later in life, Bram found early success as a theatre critic with the Dublin Evening Mail. His review of a production of Hamlet garnered him a dinner with the great Henry Irving.

He continued to write short stories, and as a clerk in Dublin wrote a manual on the profession. He also was a founder of the Dublin Sketching Club.

After marrying Florence, much to the chagrin of his friend Oscar Wilde, Bram relocated to London and would embark on a 27 year journey in the employ of Henry Irving, first as the acting manager, and later business manager, at Lyceum Theatre. His journey’s took him through much of Europe and even to the United States where he met two presidents, and one of his idol’s, Walt Whitman (a personal favorite of mine as well). During his time in London’s high society, Bram would also become friends with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (another favorite of mine). Quite lucky of him I think to have hobnobbed with such famous personages.

His only child, Irving Noel Thornley Stoker, was born during his time in London. Father and son were both cremated upon their deaths, son being added to father some 50 years later. Their final resting place, Golders Green Crematorium, is a tourist destination where visitors are escorted to see the urn containing this literary legends ashes.

There is a festival I would love to attend held in late October to celebrate the life and work of Bram Stoker. If you are ever in Dublin around this time, I suggest you check it out.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula was probably the first “horror” novel I ever got my hands on. I devoured it quickly. I have watched both the “unauthorized” adaptation (according to Bram’s wife, Florence), titled “Nosferatu”, and the authorized version starring Bela Lugosi. The story of Dracula is so permeated in popular culture that many purists have resented the recent “sparkly” vampires. I have read many vampire stories, including Twilight, but I always come back to Stoker’s excellent tale. Hopefully one day soon I will be able to share this book with my son. I don’t this would particular scare him or anything, but just that he doesn’t quite sit still long enough for longer books yet. For anyone reading this who hasn’t read Dracula. I suggest you add it to your To Be Read list asap.

Author Interview – Justin Osborne

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing a writer with three published works under his belt, Justin Osborne. His first book, Epic:Legacy, reached #5 in its genre. As usual, My comments are in Green, and Mr. Osborne will be Blue.

I want to start by thanking you for agreeing to do this interview Justin. I have become a fan of your exploits on Facebook in both groups I am in with you.
Let’s start with some background. How long have you been writing?

I started writing seriously in 2010, I was at a boring job with a LOT of down time, so I said
‘Screw it, I going to write a book.’

I know you have a new Anthology out and we will talk about it in a minute. First though, how many works have you published?

I have 2 Fantasy novels, EPIC: Legacy and EPIC: Exodus, with Book 3, EPIC: Reunification in the works.

Do you stick to one genre typically? How would you classify yourself?

I like to mix it up. While the EPIC books are primarily ‘Fantasy’, I put elements of other genres in there as well, there’s drama, laugh out loud comedy, sci-fi, etc. The same holds true for my Horror works, a little something for everybody.

Let’s talk about your new Anthology. What would you like to share with readers about it?

It’s a mixed bag of older, previously released stories, as well as some new ones. I even have a piece written by my daughter when she was 16. I included it because of positive reader
response. No Nepotism! Haha

I want to get a little personal with you now. I have noticed that you are married. What does your wife think of your work? How does she handle the hours you spend in the seclusion of your mind while you work?

I usually write when she’s doing something else or if I’m alone, so there’s no struggle for my attention.

How has the rest of your family reacted to your chosen profession?

My kids are amazingly unimpressed, especially the older ones. My youngest seems to be the most supportive and proud, even though he refuses to read EPIC. Haha

I want to thank you Justin for taking some time out of your busy writing and promotion weekend to grant me this interview.

Here I have some links where you can pick up Justin’s work gentle readers. I also have included a link to his Facebook Fanpage where you can keep informed about his upcoming projects. I hope you will give a look and snatch up anything that tickles your fancy.

EPIC: Legacy

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EPIC: Exodus

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Antholocaust

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