Book Reviews

Want to learn more about our members' books? You're in the right place. Barbara Howe has shared the following reviews to get us started. Enjoy!

Power, personal relationships, and the price of celebrity

The OC
D. P. Lyle
Jake Longly thriller series
Oceanview Publishing

The OC by D. P. Lyle is a story of power, personal relationships, and the price of stardom. It is part of the Jake Longly* series, but everything a new reader needs to know about this unique group of characters is included in the first few paragraphs. The story unfolds in Jake's first-person narrative with some alternating chapters from other perspectives. The plot is conversation-driven and full of casual exchanges and friendly banter, but it is also heavy on the attitude. Jake talks to readers as if he were talking to friends over dinner and drinks-lots of drinks!  The fun and familiar people from the previous books return, and Jake and first-time filmmaker Nicole leave the Gulf Shores of Alabama to work in sunny California.Nicole's rich and famous relatives and friends in the film industry provide the background as Nicole begins work on her first feature film, the action thriller "Murderwood." The trip is also supposed to be a vacation of sorts- work mixed with relaxation on sunny beaches, but the group soon finds that Orange County, California, is filled not only with fun, sun, and sand but also with treachery, intrigue, and danger. Celebrity certainly has its perks and privileges, but it can hold peril as well.

The OC moves at a deliberate pace with an undercurrent of peril balanced with lighthearted celebrations. The story is about the characters; they do not just drop into the story; they are the story. I was given a review copy of The OC BY D. P. Lyle and Oceanview Publishing. While the conflict and its resolution are important to readers, The OC is really just an excuse to spend time with this group of colorful and entertaining characters.

Barbara Howe


History revisited with intrigue and espionage


Murder By Plague: The Battle Hymn of the Republic
(An Alphonso Clay Mystery Of The Civil War, Book 4)
By Jack Martin
TouchPoint Press

Murder By Plague: The Battle Hymn of the Republic is part of the Alphonso Clay Mystery Of The Civil War but new readers will be immediately pulled into 1865, and any background needed on the fictional characters is included in the narrative. History provides characters for the story, which adds an air of authenticity that is offset by a compelling twist. This is a fictional story filled with the gritty, the gruesome, the vengeful, and the compassionate, but always with a breath of realism. It is conversation driven in the style of the vernacular of the day, so at times inappropriate language is spoken by unpleasant people.

Popular culture is filled with conspiracy theories and what if notions; Martin injects all this into a story of the Civil War.  Readers obviously know how things ended, but what if history has left out the details of a significant incident? Martin suggests events that history might not have recorded, a backstory filled with missteps, lawlessness, revenge, and retaliation. Readers visualize the events of 1865 as they unfold day by day in both ordinary situations and ones that turn out to be extraordinary. The story offers the motivation, the incentives, and the consequences of both what might have happened and what actually did happen.

Murder By Plague is not a textbook; although much of it is accurate in time and place, it is fiction enhanced by historic people and events. It is compelling to read; after all, documented history is filled with conspiracy, betrayal, espionage, and revolution. Who is to say that every nasty or duplicitous deed in history has actually been recorded?

Do you like historic fiction? Here is Civil War history with a twist.

Barbara Howe