February 9, 2021

“The Girl on the Train,” A Review by Jennifer Green

“The Girl on the Train,” A Review by Jennifer Green

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins To be totally transparent, this 2015 psychological thriller is not one I would have picked up or sought out on my own. However, as I’m always looking for new books to read and making a conscious effort to expand the genres on my shelf, when a colleague mentioned this page-turner in a recent Zoom meeting, I picked up a copy and dug in. It’s a quick read, and the premise is interesting: struggling alcoholic rides a train into London every day and muses about the inhabitants of the houses along the tracks, two of whom are her ex-husband and his new wife. When she observes suspicious behavior just before a young woman goes missing, the tension rises. However, it’s the narrative perspective that really gives the novel its…

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January 14, 2021

“The Color of Jadeite,” by Eric D. Goodman: A Review

“The Color of Jadeite,” by Eric D. Goodman: A Review

Editor’s Note: Being in the publishing industry, I’m fortunate to regularly meet talented writers and artists. It is sometimes an instant connection and other times a bit of serendipity. In the case of Eric D. Goodman, it was the latter. A year ago, we published a novel excerpt by Eric, called “Traffic Report,” from Setting the Family Free about a horde of animals unleashed on an Ohio town. A few months later, we published a collection of poems by Charles Rammelkamp and I got to chatting with Charles. While looking up his forthcoming novel, Catastroika, I noticed a familiar name. It seems that Eric had written a blurb for a review of Catastroika. Intrigued, I reached out to both authors and found out that they were actually longtime friends from Baltimore! What’s even more interesting…

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September 8, 2020

“Danger in Plain Sight,” a Novel by Burt Weissbourd

“Danger in Plain Sight,” a Novel by Burt Weissbourd

Editor’s Note: We’re pleased to be publishing an excerpt from Burt Weissbourd’s fifth novel here at the Café. Burt is a strong writer with a background in Hollywood movies, and it shows in Danger in Plain Sight. It’s tough, it’s suspenseful and it has strong forward movement like a good Mickey Spillane novel. This is Burt’s first Callie James thriller, which climbs aboard the Weissbourd novel train behind three Corey Logan works and one non-serial novel set in Wyoming’s Yellowstone Park. In this opening scene, we find Callie James working in her restaurant when her ex-husband Daniel shows up unexpectedly. If you like Danger in Plain Sight, you’ll probably be clicking away to get some more on Amazon. The following excerpt is drawn from the first two chapters, so let’s get to it! Chapter One…

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March 3, 2020

“I Shipped Myself Out of Folsom,” by Townsend Walker

“I Shipped Myself Out of Folsom,” by Townsend Walker

Probably ought to start with how I got there.   Driving up 395, stopped for coffee in Olancha. Tall, weathered man came into the diner, pulled up a stool like he owned the place. We started chatting—horses, construction, steel work. I’d done it all. Will Thornton had a big ranch out there in the high desert, east of the Sierras. He was looking for help and hired me on.  That’s how I met his daughter Holly, not a pretty girl, but with a daddy owning fifteen hundred acres . . .  I courted her, but she didn’t take to me much. With Will, I was getting along real well. He liked my work, we chatted about what I’d done, what he’d done, about desert life. One day setting fence posts, he eased into talking about his daughter. Too much a stay-at-home, would never find a man in their town of 192 people. I wasn’t shy about telling him I was sweet on Holly, “be happy to oblige” and he helped me convince her. We got hitched in Reno with Will and Holly’s sister as witnesses.  Real soon it started not to…

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February 11, 2020

“Designer Baby,” by Joann Mead

“Designer Baby,” by Joann Mead

Designer Baby: Underlying Crimes  Chapter 1  My Mai    “You are mine. You are my Mai.” He chuckled. “Mai, Mai.” Repeating over and over, he laughed at his alliteration as he clapped his short, thick hands in time with his rhythmic chant.  “Only tonight. No rough stuff. Just what we agreed, Vlad. Promise?” For Mai Tran, this business has rules that must be followed. Her patrons were usually compliant. Most were lonely businessmen with too much money and time on their hands. Most had pedestrian tastes. But this client was not typical—more brutish and less refined than the Scandinavian men, and with none of the sophistication of western Europeans.   Mai keenly observed the differences in her clients. She was a quick study. This patron was decidedly coarse with his disheveled hair and beefy body. She comically thought the size of…

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July 1, 2019

“Broken” by Susi Bocks

“Broken” by Susi Bocks

What a freakish awakening this morning. My guts felt heavy, as if they contained weighted stuff like rebar with concrete. I felt sick but unable to purge because it would hurt more coming back up. “Why risk more injury?” I thought to myself. It was going to be an enormous challenge to make it through this day if this beginning was any indication.  I pulled back the covers unmajestically to expose my left leg draped over the side, deftly anchored in between the mattress and box spring to help me propel upwards. It was not an easy feat. All the while, creepy flashbacks kept jutting into the brain space behind my eyes: struggling, hands, choking, bright lights, and a sense of foreboding as thick as pudding – a feeling of being under the control of another but not knowing who…

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