Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Books In For Review

Here's a quick look at some of the books that have just arrived for review.  Check them out!  Reviews will be posted here and to our main site, Feathered Quill Book Reviews, shortly.




Days of Future Past by Sally Smith O'Rourke It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think of as our present existence, as a dream. Edgar Allen Poe Fate sometimes conspires to right a decades-old wrong. And the 6.8 earthquake that strikes Southern California one warm March night is the fateful event that brings family therapist Ann Hart and trauma specialist Ted McConaughy back together. In search of her cell phone after the tremor, Ann picks up a shard of vintage cut glass from a collection she and her husband gathered during the four years of their marriage. For the millionth time she thinks about the day six years ago when he disappeared on a search and rescue mission in the Sierra foothills. Sitting atop the shattered crystal, a small silver cigar lighter glistens in the beam of her flashlight. Gently she returns the Victorian piece to the shelf. What does it mean that something she and Ted, her ex-fiancé, bought together survived when Alex’s beautiful glass is smashed to dust? Ann tells herself that it doesn’t mean anything more than glass breaks and silver doesn’t. Sara Jane McConaughy has never experienced a strong earthquake, and as her father comforts his 16-year-old daughter, his mind is flooded with memories of the Northridge quake in 1994. He was living with his fiancée, his ex-fiancée, and even after all these years he doesn’t know what caused the split, but he always loved her. And he’d been sure she loved him. Volunteering with the American Red Cross in the aftermath of the earthquake brings Ann and Ted face-to-face for the first time since their break-up, twenty years ago. Angry, flustered, excited, and bewildered by Ted’s sudden appearance and unusual behavior while she’s teaching a small group of people relaxing exercises, Ann demands he leave. Just as excited and bewildered, Ted rushes away. His exit leaves both of them wondering about … everything. The earthquake (or is it seeing Ann?) ignites a series of recurring dreams peopled by total strangers in places Ted has never been. Accompanied by short lapses of time and sleepwalking, the dreams take a heavy toll on his waking hours. Sara Jane’s concern sends Ted on a quest to discover the cause and find a cure. When all medical possibilities are exhausted, he turns to a colleague, whose diagnosis leaves Ted more baffled than ever. Tom Alderman believes that the dreams are memories of past lives. The lives live in his subconscious, and the cure is hypnotherapy. After several months of suffering with these increasingly emotional recurring dreams, Ted turns to Ann for help. One of Ann’s specialties is hypnotherapy and since he must be able to trust the hypnotist, Ann is his only salvation. Ann’s agreement to try and help (at the urging of a mutual friend) sends her carefully regimented and calm life into complete turmoil. The garden gate they pass through together sends them on a journey that defies time and reason, forcing them to rethink their past, present, and future. Now, each must reconsider their capacity for love and forgiveness. Things are not always what they seem.

Things Half in Shadow by Alan Finn The year is 1869, and the Civil War haunts the city of Philadelphia like a stubborn ghost. Mothers in black continue to mourn their lost sons. Photographs of the dead adorn dim sitting rooms. Maimed and broken men roam the streets. One of those men is Edward Clark, who is still tormented by what he saw during the war. Also constantly in his thoughts is another, more distant tragedy—the murder of his mother at the hands of his father, the famed magician Magellan Holmes...a crime that Edward witnessed when he was only ten. Now a crime reporter for one of the city’s largest newspapers, Edward is asked to use his knowledge of illusions and visual trickery to expose the influx of mediums that descended on Philadelphia in the wake of the war. His first target is Mrs. Lucy Collins, a young widow who uses old-fashioned sleight of hand to prey on grieving families. Soon, Edward and Lucy become entwined in the murder of Lenora Grimes Pastor, the city’s most highly regarded—and by all accounts, legitimate—medium, who dies mid-séance. With their reputations and livelihoods at risk, Edward and Lucy set out to find the real killer, and in the process unearth a terrifying hive of secrets that reaches well beyond Mrs. Pastor.  

High Stakes: A Jack Doyle Mystery by John McEvoy Irreverent Jack Doyle has worn many hats, one or two blown off by his irrepressible temper. A former boxer, advertising rep, and publicity man, Jack’s midlife career has been shaped by the world of thoroughbred horse racing and dark deeds therein. So it’s no surprise when two FBI agents he’s sleuthed with before pressure him to identify an animal activist who is carrying out “mercy killings” of retired race horses donated to Midwestern university veterinary schools. Plus two Chicago senior citizens are being threatened by an imperious Internet millionaire intent on owning their beloved horse. Then a call comes from Ireland where the life of Jack’s friend Niall Hanratty, the noted bookmaker, is under attack from an unknown enemy. Meanwhile Doyle’s nemesis Harvey Rexroth, the rapacious media mogul Jack helped put into federal prison, enlists a fellow inmate, a Mobconnected attorney, to have Jack killed. Carrying out this contract will be W. D. Wiems, a brilliant, frighteningly warped University of Kansas student who has eagerly launched a career of murder for hire. Fast tracking, Jack visits vet schools while juggling pieces of investigations near home and traveling twice to Ireland where his quest to find Hanratty’s enemy takes him to Kinsale, Connemara, and a Dublin slum. Meanwhile the vicious contract killer is, all unknown, tracking Jack…