Paperback | $12.00 Kindle | $2.99 One Sixth of a Gill is truly a superb collection of reads. Clearing Out starts these shorts rolling, a poignant first story from Angela’s judicious point of view. A patchwork of clothes and smells to whet the senses, she must choose exactly what to wear. Something so completely ‘Angela’. I have to say I shed a tear after reading this as I did after reading The Dogs Who Walk Beside Us.
This collection is so deliciously diverse I’m hard pushed to label only one as a favorite. The Dog Who Cries Wolf for its nursery rhyme farmyard. A patou that knows the very worst of dangers and is a great white best friend. Going To The Dogs is so clever I had to read it twice. A story of vanity, outdoing many of the Struwwelpeter stories I once dared myself to read. But anything remotely ‘dog’ is a sure hit for me and this book is full of them. The Five Pillars, Lou’s Story, so many more scrummy canine treats and Aperitifs.
Divided By A Common Language had me in stitches. I can definitely resonate with this―with a smile and a wince now and then. You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, deep and personal, where a bunch of daffodils is not the only thing that comes between two people. You can’t help but sense a residue of defeat and melancholy followed by a curious surge of gratitude.
To have had the experience of reading these translations, blogs, poems and shorts stories ―L’hiver, The Photograph and The Dogs Who Walk Beside Us, to mention a few―left me feeling extraordinarily grateful for being part of such a personal journey. It’s a book to savor because each page one will bring out a myriad of emotions you never knew you had.
Kindle | $0.00 As a fellow (foreign) author, I have to admit that I’m a bit jealous of Mr. Brewer and his novel “The Gangster’s Son”. Not only did he write an original and tight story set in 1991 in Japan, with references to the American military presence in the country, but interwoven in the tale is a subtle, very profound knowledge of Japanese culture. Having been a martial arts student for almost 30 years, I have always nurtured a keen interest in the Japanese society. Over the years I have had many Japanese sensei and I not only tried to learn their moves but to understand their way of thinking. As a result, I published “Return to Hiroshima” in 2010 in Holland and Belgium.
So, I read “The Gangster’s Son” with great interest and growing fascination. I’m not going to summarize the plot: you can find résumés in other reviews. Let me just state that it is a fresh, intelligent, and complex plot and that the police procedures are very convincing. I want to convey especially my admiration for the way Joe Brewer has blended the “exotic” culture and ubiquitous human emotions like compassion, fear and sadness. Japanese may think different in many ways from Westerners but in the end they face the same emotions. The result of this suspenseful but also poignant mixture is far from a run-of-the-mill thriller but a compelling story with multi-layered characters. Congratulations, Mr. Brewer, I feel a new twang of jealousy coming up….
Kindle | $0.99 The China Pandemic is a post-apocalyptic tale the initially hinges around Graham Morgan, a sturdy, even-keeled survivor of a lethal, quick-killing pandemic that sweeps 98% of the world’s population off the map in the span of weeks. Graham has just buried his wife and father, finding himself without purpose, until a gift is bestowed upon him—the unexpected stewardship of a young child. With the promise to guard the child “like his own” recently forged, Graham departs on a journey to reach his family’s empty lake house in the rural Northwest, and the perceived safe haven of a secluded locale.
Needless to say, his journey and the following trials are not for the faint of heart. A.R. Shaw strikes a nice balance between menace and the post-apocalyptic environment that would ensue after 98% of the people essentially disappeared. Supplies are still available, to include food, medicine, and essential materials, and there’s an unnerving quiet blanketing the landscape. Very unsettling, because getting to those supplies often proves dangerous, and as a reader, you will cringe any time Graham’s crew sets out to scavenge. Shaw adds an unexpected, and often overlooked threat in this story…I won’t spoil it for you.
Shaw also embeds a high degree of survivalist realism. Emergency first-aid is featured prominently (not for the squeamish), while home remedies and extensive survival craft is solidly locked around the framework of an exciting, fast paced story. Fast paced, but not exhausting. A.R. Shaw gives you plenty of breathers, filled with raw human emotion and well crafted dialogue. Graham’s expanded crew spends a balanced amount of time cramped into tight quarters, and Shaw fleshes this out perfectly. But don’t get comfortable in the warm confines of the cabin, because just when you let your guard down…let’s just say that the author is not afraid to put her characters in harm’s way.
Overall, a thoroughly post-apocalyptic novel, with solid character development, realistic settings and a well balanced pace. I highly recommend it.