The Forgetting Place
Written by John Burley and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
 
The Doomsday Equation
Written by Matt Richtel and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
Can a computer predict war or tell us why it is imminent? Can it give us tools to stop us from blowing ourselves up? And where do our personal beliefs fit
into a world run by algorithms? Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times journalist Matt Richtel explores all of this through the eyes of a determined man
with an exceptional but unproven computer program in his newest novel The Doomsday Equation.

Computer genius Jeremy Stillwater has three days to save the world from annihilation. He’s written a program that predicts war based on a global
economy, shifting values, and unanticipated behaviors. That program has started beeping. This means he has three days to save the world--unless
there’s a problem with his algorithm instead of the world as a whole. Seeing the situation through Jeremy’s eyes as he frantically researches both the
news and glitches in his program, we share his uncertainty and growing fear.

This thriller could become real far too easily, and contemporary readers know that. Our needs for power, recognition, acceptance, and love make the
story easy to identify with. Enemies lurk in unexpected places. Could they be using Jeremy and what will it take for him to see that?

Even if you’re not a fan of computers and know nothing about programming them, you’ll find drama, tension, twists and turns in the plot and pacing of
The Doomsday Equation. Richtel’s storytelling and journalistic skills shine as his protagonist, Jeremy Stillwater, fights to save the world.
 
The Search for Anne Perry
Written by Joanne Drayton and Reviewed by Ann McCauley
 
Bullies In Love
poems by Jendi Reiter; photography by Toni Pepe; reviewed by Carol Smallwood
 
Emily Arsenault’s newest novel, What Strange Creatures is a mystery with a strong literary bent, intelligent characters, and an unusual look at amateur
detective work. 

Teresa Battle has spent the last seven years of her life working on her dissertation about a medieval mystic named Margery Kempe. It’s still not finished.
Teresa has the same determination as Margery, but she doesn’t have her conviction or follow through.

Teresa’s older brother, Jeff, is equally brilliant and directionless. Unlike his divorced sister Teresa, he has a love life, and he asks Teresa to dog-sit his girl
friend, Kim’s, puggle for the weekend. But Kim doesn’t come back to pick the dog up. Teresa keeps asking, but no one knows where she is. In time Kim’s
corpse is discovered in the woods and Jeff becomes the prime suspect.

Theresa knows that her brother could not be a murderer. To figure out who might want to kill Kim, she investigates the pretty young waitress’s past and
uncovers a treacherous secret involving confiscated files, a politician, and a previous murder. In trying to save her brother's life, she may be sacrificing her
own to unscrupulous people who are determined to silence everyone in their way. These people do not play around.

Neither does Arsenault. Her dialogue, humor, and skillful storytelling make this a novel that mystery lovers and anyone who’s ever had a troubled sibling should
read.
What horrors do we wipe from our mind and which ones do we obsess about for the rest of our lives? At a state hospital called Menaker, female psychiatrist
Dr. Lise Shields is assigned to work with a new patient, Jason, who arrives with no paperwork. His lover has been killed and he’s there as an alternative to jail,
even though he was not guilty of the crime.

As Shields works with what him, she finds herself alone in the midst of a shadowy conspiracy. She’s sometimes followed and other times her observations are
blown off. You’ll search for answers to Jason’s past and more right alongside her in John Burley’s latest novel, The Forgetting Place.

When Shields arrived at the correctional psychiatric facility, she was warned that many of its patients would never leave. They’d been committed through
Maryland’s judicial system, and that fact haunts her in this particular case. As she works with the head of the institution, she becomes aware that Menaker is
corrupted at the highest levels, but she’s unclear about what they are trying to steal, distort, or protect. If psychological thrillers grab you, you don’t want to
miss the latest from award-winning John Burley.

Burley has taken us deep into the twists and turns of a psychological thriller with a unique perspective in The Forgetting Place.  He is a master of both medical
and psychological detail, and this book is like pieces of a puzzle that fit together in unexpected ways. When you see the picture they make, you’ll be amazed.
The human mind can be a horrifying place, and sometimes it is not safe to venture inside alone.
Literary Writing and A Mysterious Loss
A Conspiracy that Twists and Turns
The Search for Anne Perry is a well written and well researched nonfiction expose. It is a must read for the legions of Anne Perry fans. However, the book
structure is a bit difficult to follow for those of us who are not familiar with Anne Perry novels. There are so many references to characters and plots in
Perry’s book series, and having not read those books, I scrambled to figure out what was going on; The author is obviously trying to connect Anne’s history
to the plots and characters of some of her books.

The later part of the book reveals the ugly secrets. The calculating brutal murder of her best friend’s mother is shocking to read even sixty years after the
fact.  My greatest sympathy is for the murder victim, the unsuspecting mother.

Interestingly, Ms. Drayton notes that themes of redemption thread through Perry’s novels. Something she’s needed since the dreadful crime she and her then
best friend committed at age fifteen. Despite Anne’s isolation and suffering for years in prison, she seems to have survived without serious psychological
problems. In the early years after her release from prison, she found forgiveness through the Mormon faith. 

Anne Perry is now in her seventies. She lives a low profile life except for her book tours; she became an international super star author of the murder/crime
scene genre. It certainly adds a new twist to the phrase, write what you know.

Ms. Drayton paints a picture of Anne Perry’s life as an isolated author, but writing is a solitary occupation. Anne maintains a small group of loyal close
friends, while keeping the rest of the world at arm’s length. However, don’t we all do that to some extent, even non-writers?

Several years ago I met her American agent, Don Maas at a writing conference and he spoke of Anne Perry as if she was a Writing Goddess. Her British and
American agents remain loyal and supportive, though totally shocked when they learned their Anne Perry was actually Juliet Hulme. A convicted murderer,
involved in a bizarre crime described by many: as THE murder of the twentieth century.

Incredibly I found an Anne Perry novel in my stack of books to read, and it is now at the top of the pile. Who knows, because of this enlightening book by
Joanne Drayton, even I may become an Anne Perry fan.
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Ann is author of Runaway Grandma, (2007) and Mother Love, (2004, revised, 2012). She is also a contributor to the anthologies, Women Writing on Families,
(2012) and Writing After Retirement, (2014). For more info, visit her @ www.annmccauley.com.

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What Strange Creatures
Written by Emily Arsenault and reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin

Bullies In Love
 
Wild Teen Murdered in Twisted Debut Novel
Dark Rooms
Written by Lili Anolik and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
DARK ROOMS
Written by Lili Anolik and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
ISBN # 13: 9780062345868
Harper Collins

THE DOOMSDAY EQUATION
Written by Matt Richtel and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
ISBN #: 9780062201188
William Morrow Paperbacks

THE SEARCH FOR ANNE PERRY
Written by Joanne Drayton and Reviewed by Ann McCauley
ISBN # 978-1628723243
Arcade Publishing


THE FORGETTING PLACE
Written by John Burley and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
ISBN #: 9780062227409
Harper Collins / William Morrow PaperbacksWhat Strange Creatures

WHAT STRANGE CREATURES
Written by Emily Arsenault and reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
ISBN # 978-0062283238
William Morrow Paperbacks

BULLIES IN LOVE
poems by Jendi Reiter; photography by Toni Pepe; reviewed by Carol Smallwood
Little Red Tree Publishing, 2015

A wild teen, who attended an exclusive New England prep school, has been
found with a bullet hole puncturing her stomach. Her sister, Grace wants to
know who murdered her. Dissatisfied with the police’s decision that a suicide
note confessing unrequited love answers the question, Grace takes a semester
off from college, takes a job delivering audio-visual equipment on campus, and
sets up her own search for the truth in Lili Anolik’s amazing debut novel, Dark
Rooms.

Murder sets the action in motion, but it’s the psychological intrigue and
secondary mystery-who impregnated Grace?-that moves this novel beyond the
who-done-it category. This is psychological thriller meets coming of age.

Grace and Nica’s mother, a photographer who recorded nearly every moment of
Nica’s life, takes a leave and disappears the semester following her daughter’s
death. The father tries to drink away his grief without success. Grace suspects
that her parents’ reactions go deeper than grief, but how can she ask about it
when her dad is drunk and her mother is absent?

Anolik explores the influences of love, foolishness, and loyalty as well as the
psychological impact of weak police work, pregnancy, and grief in this page
turner. This is an extremely readable look at loss and truth. Finding the truth
won’t bring Nica back, but it nudges Grace into a better understanding of life,
love, and twisted realities.
 
Can a Computer Predict War?
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Editor's Note:

1.Do you have a favorite author to recommend?

2. Do you have a favorite book that everyone should read?

Writer Advice welcomes reviews of recently published books. Be balanced, be fair, and pick a book you want to honor. Let your voice come through. Submit your reviews of approximately 250 words to Lgood67334@comcast.net. Unless there is a byline, the reviews in this issue are written by B. Lynn Goodwin.


“We read to know we are not alone.”  -- C.S. Lewis
Writer Advice
Redemption and Ugly Secrets
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I had the pleasure of reading the poetry collection, Swallow, so was looking forward to Ms. Reiter’s newest poetry collection, Bullies in Love, the Winner of the Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize. Ms. Reiter isn’t a stranger to awards as she’s received: the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists’ Grant for Poetry, Betsy Collquitt Award for Poetry, James Anderbo Poetry Prize, as well as others in fiction.
     
Ms. Reiter’s free verse poetry is gutsy, bold, direct, and very contemporary but not devoid of humor, which appears in the second poem, “I Wish I Were in Love Again”:
Where the sheriff,
big-bellied as Cupid
didn’t see the evidence
of the split rope, the double-smudged lipstick,
the blacksnake-cold gun under the belt.

     And in “Possession”

Rats shrink from the sound of crackling, like a teenage boy forced to read a nineteenth-century novel of manners.

     “What Dora Said to Agnes” ends with the memorable lines:

When a man undresses a woman
he is unfolding a letter
he expected would be addressed to him,
when he reads it whatever memories
he brought to it he will take away again.
When a woman undresses a man
she is promising to wash him,
she is offering the hand that will close his eyes.

   
Each new poetry collection is an exploration, a sharing with the poet, a trying to understand and enjoy what the poet says (and what they don’t say) and how they craft it. Readers enter a realm the poet makes-just the right words chosen after a long time of mulling, indecision, revision, finally a letting go of each poem with a mix of satisfaction and doubt.

“Trigger Warning: Pour Homme” is a list of memories with famous perfumes; most have a reference to her mother until “she’d become allergic.”

Some of her lines demand to be read again and again to savor them at will such as those in, “Deep Sister”:
the spoon-eared hare,
leaping from bush to vanish
fast as a memory of God

    
My favorite, “Inheriting a House Fire” is a stark summary of a family: father, mother, aunts, cousins, grandparents that cuts to the bone and allows no pretension. The four stanzas are a remarkable assessment, one too penetrating to allow any tears of sentiment.
    
The longest poem is the last one, “Split Ends” which is divided into six sections. The seven photographs question what our vision takes for granted-what we see; the poems question the ever present role of sex, probes comfortable personal assumptions, and our collective cultural fairy tales. The photographs and poetry work together well; the book is larger than the usual 6”x9” collection most likely to accommodate the photographs.
    
I recalled the word, fractal, after reading Bullies in Love: a term applied to a type of geometry that allowed us to get a better grasp of our natural world that isn’t arranged in the straight lines of Euclidean geometry. Ms. Reiter’s poems strive to give form through words to lives that follow irregular lines and are as complex as the never-ending patterns of fractals.

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Carol Smallwood’s most recent poetry collections include Divining the Prime Meridian (WordTech Communications, 2015); Water, Earth, Air, Fire, and Picket Fences (Lamar University Press, 2014). Recent anthologies include Women, Work, and the Web (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015); Writing After Retirement (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014). Women on Poetry: Writing, Revising, Publishing and Teaching is on Poets & Writers Magazine list of Best Books for Writers.

This review originally appeared in The Commonline Journal June 1, 2015
http://www.commonlinejournal.com/