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.

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.