Monday, January 1, 2018

Seraphina's Song by Kathryn Gauci

Seraphina’s Song. Kathryn Gauci. Ebony Publishing. December 2017. 172 pp.  ISBN#: 9780648123521.

Dionysos Mavroulis is a man hitting rock bottom.  Escaping Smyrna after the Turkish occupation, Dionysos consoles himself in the hashish parlors of Piraeus, spending every small bit of money so he can dream his life away.  However, his life undergoes a more than a dramatic change when he sees a picture of Seraphina, a singer who accompanies Aleko, a famous bouzouki player.  It’s 1923 and this form of Greek music is just beginning to become popular with its soulful sound and tone reflective of the Greek soul that has loved and suffered so deeply.

Seraphina is described as a gorgeous woman and Dionysos loses his mind, heart and soul after hearing her sing.  Truly she has the voice of a nightingale and Dionysos is so lost in that glorious being that he dances with her in a way that touches everyone watching and listening to this unexpected but glorious performance.

A love story begins but journeys where no one expects it to end.  For Seraphina is controlled by the tavern owner who is a Mafia-style figure.  Aleko knows the power and violence of Papazoglou, warning Dionysos to back off his passion for Seraphina.
Love is blind, however, and events quickly transpire leading to a devastating but passionate ending.  The beauty of this novel lies in the exquisite descriptions of the music produced with a bouzouki, the enchantment that binds Seraphina and Dionysos, the dances that give expression to life and love, and the almost indescribable depth of passion that these Greeks have for their homeland and unique culture.  

This is a novel you will not soon forget, a story emerging out of a painful period of Greek history, and a story of revival and love that no enemy could stifle.  Highly recommended!

Ring of Fire - A Pike Logan Thriller #11 by Brad Taylor

Ring of Fire: A Pike Logan Thriller #11. Brad Taylor. Dutton/Penguin Random House Publishing Group. December 2016. 416 pp.  ISBN#: 9781101986196.

Dexter Worthington made an agreement to become a successful defense contractor. That agreement was secretly linked to Saudi Arabia who was indirectly linked to the horrendous act of 911.  Now part of the “Panama Papers” have been leaked to the public showing how many businesses and individuals have been linked with various terrorist acts committed by ISIS and other like-minded terrorist groups.  

Now Pike Logan’s Taskforce is assigned the job of stopping a second leakage because the next leaks may reveal the work of the Taskforce which is a group approved by the President of the United States and the Oversight Council, the Board of Directors of the Taskforce but cannot be found anywhere in print within government records.  However, in seeking to prevent another leak, a far greater and devastating plan is revealed.

A group of Saudis is planning to finish what they believe was never perfectly carried out on 911.  The plane that should have crashed into a significant target such as the White House, Camp David or a nuclear facility, instead crashed into a field in Pennsylvania due to the bravery of the passengers who attacked the on-board terrorists and died for their efforts.  Now the Saudis are looking for a completion of that task through a plan known as The Ring of Fire, a series of attacks on the ports of America and one final explosion of a dirty or nuclear bomb that will render life unlivable wherever it explodes!

This then is what the Taskforce is attempting to discover and stop.  The action is intense and nonstop.  The machinations of the terrorists are for most of the novel always one step ahead of the Taskforce. The Taskforce members are highly skilled, perceptive investigators – the best in their field of work!  A couple of side conversations keep this maze-like journey from becoming monotonous.  One involves a woman being “selected” for the Taskforce and what that entails, including some dialogue that reveals prejudices of tried and true male members of the force.  The other involves dialogue between an Arab and one of the Taskforce members in which myths and truths are thrown at each other, revealing how prejudice grows through misinformation and how generalizing costs lives.

All in all, there’s enough violence and excitement in this eleventh Pike Logan thriller to satisfy every fan of thriller, adventure, international crime, terrorism fiction.  An enjoyable, fast-paced, somewhat long and unpredictable but exciting thriller!