I specialize in reviewing Print-On-Demand (POD) published books for my website and Midwest Book Review. Please query for a review by email to hgunther234@hotmail.com.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Outskirts Press, Inc.
Parker, CO
Genre: Biographical Memoir
Rating: Good
ISBN: 13-9781432705893, $13.95, 164 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"RoseMarie felt dead, without feelings for anything or anyone, and only the beat of her heart kept her alive. Why did she feel this way? What was so bad that a fairly healthy woman would even consider suicide? In desperation, RoseMarie reached out in 1995 to connect with someone-anyone-and found a dear friend in an unlikely place-on the Internet. Thus began one of the deepest friendships she had ever known and created a virtual lifeline for the both of them. For the next nine years they lived their lives in daily contact, laughing, crying, supporting each other in a relationship unlike any either could have imagined."

I love honest writers, even when the truth may not be particularly attractive. Such is the case in this memoir, Lifeline Online. It’s a story about average women living life as it comes, trying to do the best they can, and finding some happiness along the way. Ms. Lamatt’s first sentence on the back cover ..."RoseMarie felt dead, without feelings for anything or anyone, and only the beat of her heart kept her alive."... is quite an opening hooker. I believe there are many women who can identify with this thought at some point in their lives. And so, therein lies the appeal of this memoir . . . how did RoseMarie get past this point?, how did she find something of value?

Rm Lamatt’s writing style is diarylike in a sense . . . rich in details; and yet, she keeps you interested and turning pages to the end. Her story is well written and well edited. As to its market appeal, I think middle-aged and older women might find it inspiring, particularly if they, too, have a desire to write.

Rm Lamatt is also the author of Fears Flutterby to which I gave a favorable review in February 2006. In Lifeline Online she continues to hone her writing skills.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Aventine Press
1023 4th Ave, San Diego, CA
Genre: Western/Fiction
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 1593304927, $12.50, 165 pp.

Quoting from the cover:

"William Hart is a family man with a hidden past. When a greedy and ruthless land baron hires gunmen to murder the town sheriff and take over the county, Will embarks on a mission for justice–a mission that could cost him more than his life.

"From the West Texas frontier in the 1870s, this is a story of courage, friendship and family love."

Peacemaker of the Pecos is a classic western, and C.E. Edmonson has done an excellent job in telling this tale. The story is well written and well edited. Allow me to share a small portion with you, from page 58:

"Gently, Will removed the sheriff’s silver badge, wiped it against his shirt, and put it in his pocket. He tore the note off the body, crumpled it up and threw it into the street, where a gust of west wind took it. Then he took away the shotgun shells, tossed them on the ground, and gently closed Noble’s mouth. He lifted the shot gun, snapped it closed and stood it up against the window. He placed the Stetson, which he turned frontward, over his friend’s face, as if to shield him from the bright light of the lanterns.

"Then Will bowed his head, and wiped his blurred eyes. He placed a hand on his dead friend’s shoulder, and whispered, "I’m so sorry, Colonel." He stood there silently for a moment more, until a slight tremble shook all his muscles at once. He knew what he had to do. It wouldn’t bring Noble back. But it might help him rest easier.

"Will drew the pearl-handled Colt .45 Peacemaker from the holster. He cracked the cylinder and saw that the revolver was still fully loaded. He slipped the pistol back inside the leather and slid it in and out, making sure it was loose and did not stick. Then he removed the shoulder harness from the body and strapped the rig across his own chest. He turned to the crowd and asked, "Anyone seen Granger and Marlowe?""

If you enjoy true-to-life westerns, you will enjoy this novel.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Genre: Personal Commentary
Rating: Average
ISBN: 9781430326816, $12.96, 144 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"The Challenge of Being a Woman was written, in part, because of the author’s intense dislike of the offensive designation of whore or ‘ho. She believes that the inimical appellation has practically become a synonym for woman, used frequently and indiscriminately by men whose reason for using it seems to be nothing more than their disdain for women. The book is her brief account of the long and arduous struggle of women in what she perceives to be a man’s world. It examines some serious issues, but frequently with subtle humor."

This small, easily-readable book is divided into 20 chapters: Telling It Like It is!; Opinionated Whore or Man-hater?; I am Woman-Hear me Roar; Memorable Women; Amazon Women-Myth or Fact?; Is the Devil a Woman?; Platonic Relationships; To Marry or Not-That is the Question; How do I Look?; Games Women Play; Thinking about Sex; Prostitution; Pornography; Polygamy, Harems, Concubines and Geisha; Sex Crimes; Sex Scandals; Domestic Abuse; Dead-beat Dads; He says-She says; Conclusion.

Pat Estelle has certainly tried to cover it all, and what I heard as I read was a woman roaring . . . possibly out of frustration over the general status of women in today’s society (though she states on page 16: "... I love men, am not angry or bitter, and do not wish to be spiteful or vindictive...."). In this book Estelle has taken the time and made the effort to organize her thoughts and beliefs concerning women’s problems. However, she does not address how we got here, how we have contributed to the problems, nor what we should be doing about them. She does state in the Conclusion chapter: "In spite of evidence to the contrary, I believe there is hope for humankind. I am optimistic that during future evolvement, men and women might undergo real significant changes, become less fragile, more desirable and incorruptible creatures, ones that can’t be damaged or broken so easily, and are without so many defects and flaws."

My personal commentary in response to Pat Estelle’s book is: 1) it’s always easier to find fault than solutions; 2) who or what told us that life is fair; and 3) aren’t we responsible in someway for these problems? A simple solution which would bring about a major change in male attitudes would be for women to organize and agree to close their legs . . . in other words, . . . to say no. As this has not happened, it is my take that the majority of young women have voluntarily (porn being an excellent example) agreed to participate in their degradation which we view daily via TV and other media, as women strive to stimulate, excite, and sate the male’s sexual appetite. And in the end, what IS IT ALL really about?... being desired?, being wanted?, being loved?, competing for males?, or is it economics? I am sure the answer is not a simple one, but we, as women, do need to look within ourselves for the answers as to how and why we have arrived at this place.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

OF GHOSTS AND MAGIC by Alfred M. Albers

Infinity Publishing.com
1094 New DeHaven Street,
West Conshohocken, PA
Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Rating: Average to Good
ISBN: 0741441217, $15.95, 276 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"In 1973, Alex Holloman got a job as a courier and met a wonderful lady. Suddenly, his world fell apart; his parents were killed and then he inexplicably disappeared. When America’s Foremost Magician, John Michaels, agreed to perform for his high school’s 30th Anniversary Reunion in June 2000, he didn’t know it would also involve searching for his friend, Alex Holloman. Unlike creating a magic illusion, which is based on principles of mathematics and science, attempting to find a missing person would challenge John Michaels’ expertise to ‘create a miracle’ in less than three weeks."

This fictional mystery has several positive attributes: 1) detailed information about New York City and Virginia Beach, 2) how one might go about locating a missing person, and 3) entertaining descriptions of professional magic acts. The story is basically that John Michaels, a professional magician, is asked to perform at his 30th high school reunion. He learns that his best friend in high school, Alex, is missing. So, he sets himself the challenge of putting together his show and locating Alex, and through these efforts he also renews his acquaintance with Stella.

There were several things, to my taste, I did not care for: 1) The amount of ‘fluff and fill’ polite dialogue–in this case somewhat cliched–to read through to find the story, and 2) the extensive detailing of every action, as though this novel were a screenplay.

It is stated on the back cover that Al Albers is a Technical Writer for a major defense contractor. Possibly that would explain the author’s attention to action details. Other than that, I found this well-written, well-edited novel to be an enjoyable, light read. And, if you’re interest in magic and love details, this may be just the book for you.


Strong Books
PO Box 715, Avon, CT
Genre: Mystery/Historical/Fiction
Rating: Average
ISBN: 9781928782704, $24.95, 340 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"For nearly 200 years, accusations of foul play and spirited debate over the true cause of Napoleon Bonaparte’s death have only enriched the already colorful accounts of history’s most extraordinary figure. Suspects, ranging from English and French rivals to the French emperor’s own paramours, continued to surface while even the cause of death–stomach cancer or arsenic poisoning–remains unclear. ...

"When American historian and international treasure hunter, Paul D’Arneau, receives a mysterious and lucrative commission from one of France’s ancient secret societies to solve history’s greatest and most controversial enigma, he’s intrigued by this rare opportunity to redefine history.

"Wading through a long list of deceased suspects, Paul quickly realizes that his efforts to penetrate the secrets hidden in the musty documents and oral histories of Napoleonic lore could cost him his life. As Paul struggles to understand why the truth about Napoleon’s death poses such a threat to the warring factions that zealously guard their historical turf, little known details about Napoleon’s life, including an affair with the mysterious Lady Beckett, emerge."

This mystery tale is indeed rich in historical detail; however, it is also a fictional novel with significant characters from the imagination of the author–the Talleyrand family and the mysterious Lady Beckett, to name a few. And as such, this story will bring the reader no closer to the truth about Napoleon’s death.

Dr. Labriola is a renowned forensics expert; yet, this novel is not about the use of forensics to solve a mystery, with the exception of the DNA analysis to verify that the body exhumed was Napoleon’s, even though the missing Amendment/Codicil to his will was found with the body.

I personally found the novel filled with what I call ‘fluff and fill’ polite exchanges as multiple characters meet and relate, and I felt some reactions to events to be strange, such as Paul’s response to seeing Sylvie abducted after just meeting with her. What I considered to be the best parts were Paul’s notes to himself to help organize his thoughts. Quoting from page 271:

"KEY REMINDERS since 5/19:

"Sylvie kidnapped; only delegation knows she is spy for Verite. Warning under door. Vincent on board full-time. Guy arranges monastery visit with Frere Dominic. To monastery. Dom calls Napoleon schizo. He elaborates on histarian network. Says N’s postmortem disappearance a possibility. Mentions Clive Weaver at Elba & Thatcher Drinkwell at Helena: Lady Beckett & E. Indian Co; decision & plan; cartoons; Marshal Ney & the 4 who planned N’s death; Talleyrand. Mysterious call to Vincent. Review N & career. Sylvie returns unharmed, throws party; says she’s game for Elba & Helena. To Elba. Clive provides N’s will with codicil & notation of amendment; mentions Beckett, illegit. child, descendants of Talleyrand who acted as covers for N/Beckett liaisons; the inheritance; Mafia connection. Cartoon view. Confirm amendment reference but none there. Obvious Sylvie come-on. Review white paper on Talleyrand. Confrontation with Mafia types at castle. Decision to leave Elba, maybe the mission. Call to Victor in Amsterdam; will arrange Helena protection, Jules Smit. To Helena. Another Sylvie come-on. Review history of island. Driver turns out to be Jules Smit. "Fish Truck". Thatcher Drinkwell says Leon did visit island; at variance with Leon’s statement; arsenic theory; slow death theory; Ney & marshals; Beckett & illegitimate child; child’s lineage traced to Brussels; E. India Co. & 5 officers; issues of stolen body & double; inheritance; N’s mental state; love letters. Smit found shot in head. Thatcher provides us police protection. Pins & Needles. Issue of opening tomb at Invalides. Call threatening Sylvie. Review my own account on Longwood & gravesite. Call to Leon, weak explanation re his Helena visits. Notify Victor re Smit murder. On Argos. Sylvie’s strange revelation."

And so, there you have it...or at least part of it...in a nut shell. I personally was disappointed on several levels: 1) the slowness with which the mystery evolved, 2) the ’fluff & fill’ dialogues, 3) the cliche temptress, and 4) the lack of forensics in solving the mystery. However, if you’re interested in Napoleon Bonaparte, you may still find this story to your taste.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Kanapolis Fog Publishing Emporium
713 Rustic Rd, Anderson, Indiana
Genre: Literature/Fiction
Rating: Exceptional
ISBN: 13:9780615147147, $11.95, 177 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Daphne is a young woman with a troubled past. With her in the Kanapolis Sanitarium are a strange collection of people who both hinder and help her as she tries to heal from an abusive childhood.

"Glen, the protector. Theodore, the wise. Stuart, the paranoid. Violet, the nymphomaniac. Pet Shop, the zookeeper. Shy Boy, the drooler. And Andie, the therapist who finally reaches through to Daphne.

"A story with sadness, horror, comedy, hate love and redemption."

First off, this story reminded me somewhat of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but at a teenage level and more complex in a unique way. The cover says that Daphne is a young woman, but for some reason, I felt the characters to be in their teens. Belt Buckles & Pajamas delves into the complexities of the psychological affects resultant when a young girl, Daphne, is sexually molested by her father, not protected by her mother, and deceived my her imaginary friend Melissa. Dr. MacPherson, Andie, is the key to Daphne’s wholeness.

Michele LeBlanc is an exceptional writer and does an excellent job of bringing to life these colorful, strange characters. In a way, one might consider this tale to be a mystery of sorts, as the ending is quite surprising, and I wouldn’t want to spoil that element for you. It is certainly worth reading a second time, just to see how LeBlanc worked her magic. The story is well written and well edited. Allow me to share a small portion of LeBanc’s writing with you, from page 66:

"‘No, no cutting or bleeding. Not on the outside.’ She (Andie) looks straight at me. ‘But inside, I have my demons and fears and nights when I wake up screaming.’

"‘You do?’ I wonder at the possibility, that he could ever penetrate her dreams. That she was ever forced to... to be me. ‘You have nightmares, like I do?’

"She takes my hands, looks me in the eyes. I cannot see any demons in her irises. I am certain I am unable to hide the ones swimming in my own. ‘Daphne, I know you have very frightening dreams. I know what has happened in the past haunts you. I won’t pretend that my own nightmares are anything like yours, but I do have them. There are... incidents in my past that visit me when I sleep, that leave me trembling and sweating and crying. But they do not own me. They do not keep me from living in the present. That is what I am offering to you. I cannot make them go away, only you can do that. I cannot make the past any brighter, and better, any safer than it really was. What I can do, what we can do together, is learn how to accept what happened, and how to keep it in the past where it belongs. It doesn’t have to be our master; it doesn’t have to keep us from enjoying today.’

"Her impassioned plea, her vulnerability, her empathy wash over me, overwhelm me, drown me. I know she is telling me the truth, about wanting to help, about her own nightmares but especially about how she doesn’t know just how bad mine are. It is obvious that he isn’t a part of her nights; that she had been able to sleep through until morning and he never woke her and she never heard the belt buckle hit the floor or wet her pants because she smelled his cigar in the hallway.

"‘Tell me about the dreams, Daphane,’ she pleads and I don’t want to because either she won’t understand or worse she will and then he would have tainted her too and she wouldn’t be pure and she would have part of him in her and I could never love her without loving him too and he would win.

"She purses her lips. God! How does someone do that? A simple tightening of a couple facial muscles and I am pulled to her, she is opening me and I am fighting it trying not to contaminate her, trying to keep her safe so there is still Base so I can still call Base and not be tagged."

As the author says, "Belt Buckles & Pajamas is intended for mature audiences, as it deals with a young woman’s recovery from childhood abuse, and some of the situations are not suitable for younger readers. The novel contains some humorous moments to lighten the story; however, in the end, it is a story about the redemptive power of love and the strength of the human spirit."

One of the best books I've read in quite awhile. You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Authors OnLine Ltd
19 The Cinques,
Bedfordshire GS19 3NU, England
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9780755210671, $16.95, 328 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"As dusk falls it becomes chilly in the wooded foothills of the Andes, and it seems even chillier when a man knows he is digging his own grave...Tyranny reigns.

Opponents of the military dictatorship go missing. Only corpses re-appear, and it is clear the victim have been horribly tortured and executed.

Can the son of a defence attorney escape the nightmare or will he be the secret police’s next victim?

Soaring passions, and human frailty and strength, combine in this powerful and graphic story of courage against all odds."

This a fictional story about Francisco Miguel Vasconcelos (Pancho), his family and Mary Elizabeth Sinclair.

A pregnant nurse Mary comes to Don Antonio’s law office for help in finding her missing boyfriend/father-of-her-child and meets Pancho, Don Antonio’s son, who is married to pregnant Rosa, a woman he does not love. Mary’s boyfriend turns up dead and Mary loses her premature baby.

Pancho kills a conscript in self-defense when he is discovered out past curfew; CINA agents terrorize and brutalize him in his home, and Mary saves his life. Pancho’s father is missing and his mother is abducted. Eventually Pancho is taken to be tortured until he confesses and then spends four years in prison, enjoying all the unique aspects of prison life. He marries Mary while in prison after he understands why she had sex with another man–for him, of course. Finally Pancho is released and with his true love, Mary, and her illegitimate son, Luis, from the other man, they arrive in Manchester where they work (he in the kitchen of a Mexican restaurant) and raise their two sons.

Throughout this convoluted tale, Pancho has a variety of sexual encounters: lst he has sex with a friend’s wife–a very willing, old girlfriend–while he’s on the run from the CINA after killing the conscript; 2nd , he forcibly seduces his wife, Rosa (who hates sex because she was molested as a child), after she loses her baby...with threats that he will put her out; 3rd, he tries to seduce Mary but she panics at the last moment; 4th, Mary changes her mind; 5th, Pancho goes to prison and is gang raped; 6th, he has one cell mate with whom he becomes intimate; and lastly, Pancho returns to a normal sex life with Mary.

Sometimes you like Pancho and other times he’s just a male jerk. It was a little hard for me to believe that Mary could love Pancho so devotedly and so soon after the death of her missing boyfriend and lost of her baby. Possibly this love blossomed from her first impression of Pancho standing naked while drying his hair.

"For between glistening thighs, dangling out from a nest of black public hair, dense and tightly curled, two testicles bulged in their scrotum. Up front, proudly arced, drooped his penis, thick and long. Uncut. It swung to and fro like some lurid pendulum as, barefoot, he padded towards her. An involuntary display. Uncensored. She had never witnessed anything like it."

This novel describes in detail many of the terrible ways man has created to torture and humiliate other men. It also provides a realistic account of prison life and living under a dictatorship. Lucas Aragon was an active member of Amnesty International when they campaigned against human rights abuses in Chile. Ribbon of Darkness, his first novel, is the result of his experiences and research over a ten year period. It is certainly a most provocative, unusual novel.

GAME'S END by Vic Sandel

Llumina Press
PO Box 772246, Coral Springs, FL
Genre: Action Adventure/Mystery
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 9781595268105, $14.95, 232 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"After their daring rescue of a young girl, while helping to destroy a terrorist plot to take over military and government computers, Greg Norman and Morgan Hilliard settle in for a well-needed rest. A time to resume their lives and define their budding relationship.

Then a surprise gift of basketball tickets puts them at the arena when a tiny explosive device behind the backboard injures the sport’s best player. It is the first of several attacks on athletes in several sports over the next days and weeks."

Can you imagine and who do you think might profit from such attacks? But, the attacks on star athletes is just one facet in this multifaceted tale of intrigue and romance. Who is Ahmed Maluf and why is planning to kill Greg Norman..."Revenge might or might not be sweet. In this case, it was absolutely necessary."

Vic Sandel has written a good, fast-paced, catchy mystery, dealing with contemporary issues and problems. He’s a good writer, can hold your attention, and his style has a special spark. The book’s well written and well edited. If you’re a mystery buff, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

TRILOGY - THE LOVE GENERATIONS by Neferti-ti Pranya Hamza

Llumina Press
PO Box 772246, Coral Springs, FL
Genre: Poetry
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 9781595266217, $9.95, 136 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"The name Trilogy celebrates three generations of love: grandmother, mother, and daughter.

"Poetry gives us the freedom we need when our voices are not enough. With the support of family and friends, the author embarks on a journey of self discovery, and Trilogy speaks of the experiences she has along the way. This is Neferti-ti’s second book and one she hopes will make her grandmother proud."

The truth shared in this collection of poems and verses clarifies for women of contemporary cultures that we are indeed sisters and have much in common to share–our romances, marriages, divorces, families and friends. Neferti-ti’s writing style is understandable and yet, poetically unique. Allow me to share one of her poems with you, from page 3, titled Aches and Pains:

"When the ache in my feet
had me tired and beat
I tried to walk away,
but you begged me to stay.

When the pain in my knees
had me filled with unease,
you smiled and just said,
Baby, let’s go to bed.

When the ache in my chest
just would not let me rest,
you promised you’d change
anything to avoid being estranged.

When the throbbing in my head
filled in what was unsaid,
I knew what I had to do.
Get rid of my headache...you!"

Now, isn’t that so true?...the progression of a declining relationship. Why do they think taking you to bed is the answer?, and what is it that we want them to change?...which they never do.

Yes, Trilogy, is a book for women, about women, and one which women of all cultures can understand and appreciate. I don’t think most men would be interested as they don’t really want to know or change. So, it’s either accept them as they are, if you want one, or nurture your friendships and do without. Of course, we all have hopes and dreams, and don’t give up yours. Miracles do happen!

Monday, September 10, 2007

SOLEMNLY SWEAR by Joe Porrazzo

2021 Pine Lake Rd, Lincoln, NE
Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Rating: Average
ISBN: 9780595442157, $16.95, 244 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"After a career of excitement and danger, former U.S. Air Force special agent Alex Porter retires and looks forward to leading a simple, civilian life. He celebrates the successes of his daughter, a college honor student and pilot candidate in the ROTC program, and is just starting to dip his toe into the dating pool again. But when he comes upon an accident-turned-crime scene involving New England Mafia don Vince Vionelli, Porter lands in serious hot water."

What can I say good about this novel? . . . one, it’s well-written and well-edited; two, it has a solid hooker for an opener. . . "The mysterious voice, clearly disguised in a deep monotone pitch, continued: ‘I suggest you listen very closely. Do not get up because you are sitting on a bomb.’ The sound of the word "bomb," so dramatically emphasized, had me frozen–except for the pit of my stomach, which suddenly wanted to expel something."; and 3) it has an unusual ending.

However, to me, much of the story reads like a personal memoir–reflections with considerable detail, and there are aspects I felt unbelievable, such as 1) the key witness to a crime committed by a Mafia boss going about his daily business with no protection, 2) Alex’s responses to events–more typical of an average guy than a U.S. Air Force colonel/special agent, and 3) Alex loves his only daughter, Kate, yet is totally unaware of the reality of their relationship. Is Alex a space cadet, or what? Once a writer loses his credibility, he has lost his reader.

Friday, September 07, 2007

LOYALTY'S WEB by Joyce DiPastena

An Historical Novel
2021 Pine Lake Rd, Lincoln, NE
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: Exceptional
ISBN: 9780595432264, $18.95, 300 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"In twelfth century France, King Henry II of England has just finished quashing a rebellion by his power-hungry sons and now seeks to tame the lawless barons who supported them in this corner of his ‘Angevin empire.’ To this end, the king has sent the Earl of Gunthar as his royal representative to ensure that Prince Richard and his former cohorts faithfully adhere to the terms of the peace treaty."

Joyce DiPastena is an exceptional writer–truly a professional, and her knowledge of medieval history is revealed throughout this tale. She excels at descriptive writing, character development and intricate plots. Loyalty’s Web is an historical tale of intrigue with multiple twists and turns, arranged marriages and true romance. It is a fast-paced, well-written, well-edited, fascinating read.

If you enjoy historical novels, particularly of the medieval period, I’m certain you will enjoy Loyalty’s Web.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Trafford Publishing
Victoria, BC V8T 4P4 Canada
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 1425101372, $25.00, 340 pp.

This tale is about a man, Karl Haze, and the wealth he acquired from the fields of poppies–the opium trade. Sergeant Karl Haze of the French Foreign Legion fought in Morocco, the mountains of Tonkin and against the Montagnard Djarais and Rhades–rebel tribes. It begins with his capture and torture by a Djarai tribe and its impotent king. King Y’Siap forced Karl to impregnate three of his wives and eventually the half-blinded Karl killed the demonic king, became the new king of exceptional wealth, and established a benevolent society.

There are no chapters in this tale, just part one and part two. Part one is about Karl and his life and part two is about one of his sons, Carlos, and his life. Etienne Oggeri is a good writer and the story is very interesting, as there are not too many novels written about the area around Vietnam. Oggeri states on the back cover that this is a true story told to him by the Montagnards, his hunting companions, and then confirmed by Diep, a former drug dealer; however, I feel that it reads like a fairytale with exceptionally beautiful women and handsome men.

Towards the end of Karl’s life, he wanted to tell the truth about himself to his wife, Yolande, and his son, Carlos. Quoting from page 205:

"Karl laughed, ‘Killing, I have done that, but I was also a drug dealer. I became rich by selling opium.’

‘Karl, you sold people what they wanted to buy. You did not force them to buy anything,’ Yolande said with relief.

‘I think like Yolande, papa. But tell us how you did that. Your life is like a fascinating novel.’"

And so it is. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.