Thursday, December 4, 2014

Down Solo: A Novel of Suspense by Earl Javorsky

Down Solo: A Novel of Suspense.  Earl Javorsky. The Story Plant. December 2014. 202 pp.  ISBN#: 9781611881769.

Charlie Miner initially has a huge problem – he’s been shot in the head and is deader than dead! Initially he does the float out of the body bit but then he discovers he can reenter his body and get up and walk, talk, touch and feel, and more.  So what’s the problem with the dead guy who’s still able to act like a living person?  He can’t remember who shot him or why?  Enter the crime thriller story that’s more than a mystery!

Charlie little by little begins to remember his past wife.  A former drug addict, he’s still got the urge for more drugs. In the process of getting high he begins to remember he was a private investigator and goes home to sort through his files, most of which are fairly innocent, even mundane, cases involving infidelity, insurance scams, lightweight issues more or less.  But then a name sparks a flicker of a memory – Tanya.  Later on he’ll get a call and recognize the name immediately of his ex-wife who’s about to dump his daughter Mindy on his hands. It’s summertime so he figures he can handle the latter, especially as he loves her dearly!

Now begins a whirlwind of traveling, gunfights, explosions, threats, and unfortunately the abduction of his daughter. He had left her alone while he began to explore the scene that he knew led to his own mortal demise.  It’s more than a scam involving the presence or absence of gold, its link to investment (something like but not quite like a Ponzi scam), one con man ignorant of being conned by another criminal, a guy who’s like a supervising angel, oodles of slowly revealed memories of a former better life that went awry, and so much more. 

If you think this novel is a predictable series of crimes, heroin addicts, violent acts, etc., you’re right – and you’re terribly wrong.  It’s got no moral lesson unless you want to analyze it and impose your own theory or theories.  It’s quite simply a story that could be so very real in this world of con jobs and crime and death! But it’s also like entering the middle of tornado after tornado, being jettisoned into even more desperation and yet attempts to set it all right – for Mindy if for no one else.  You’ll be surprised to see how it all evolves (you did want me to say ends nicely, didn’t you? LOL).  Earl Javorsky is a crime novelist who crafts a story with unique twists and turns and a refreshing change for those who love an unpredictable, even erratic mystery! Quite a novel!

The Firebird’s Feather: A Late Victorian Mystery by Marjorie Eccles

The Firebird’s Feather: A Late Victorian Mystery.  Marjorie Eccles. Severn House Publishers. December 2014. 224 pp. hbk and eBook. ISBN #: 9780727884268.

Eighteen year-old Kitty Challoner is getting ready to come out to upper class society in 1911 London, England.  It’s a vibrant time and place in which to be alive as the London world awaits a new world, women are fighting for the right to vote – a fiercely controversial debate, and politicians are vying for power while decrying the foreign elements taking violent action in the streets of London.  The fear of Bolsheviks is huge as Communism begins to form and spread throughout the world! 

In the midst of this chaotic atmosphere, Kitty’s mother, Lydia, goes out one day with her male companion and is killed by a gunshot wound while riding through Hyde Park.  Kitty is about to enter an investigative stage of her life that will shed her of all innocence and at the same time reveal the forces of power prevailing in post-Victorian London society.

At first the police are suspicious about Lydia’s husband but that quickly changes to their belief that something about her Russian roots is connected to the Bolshevist campaign of violence.  Lydia was fiercely faithful to her Russian roots but what does her death have to do with a missing gun, a real and fake Russian icon with significant mysterious meaning, the formation of Bolshevist newspapers with their inflammatory essays and reports, the life behind her well-behaved male companion, and half of a sketch of a wolf found instead a box decorated with the highly symbolic firebird?

Marjorie Eccles is a wonderful mystery writer who knows exactly where to tone down and ramp up the exhilarating facts and circumstances around this mysterious crime.  The novel gives ample background and ambiance to the prevailing historical realities in London news and in the connection to Russian exiles now residents in England.  The Firebird’s Feather is excellent mystery fiction that twists and turns in unpredictable but exciting ways.  Every page is a leap forward in being educated in history’s social, political and criminal world in London, England and Russia!  Great, short read that this reviewer recommends as a terrific novel!