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The Reluctant Psychic: A Memoir
By: H. Alan Suzan Saxman
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: January 2015
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: January 26, 2015
Susan Saxman shares her gifted psychic experiences between the covers of her memoir, The Reluctant Psychic.
The 60’s were a time of make love, not war and little did Suzan Saxon know that her psychic gift would take her on a life’s journey that erred more toward the side of turmoil than peace and love. From an early age, Suzan knew she wasn’t the teddy bear tea party princess. Most kids had a fear of monsters in the closet at some point during their tender years until they eventually vanished into the never after. For Suzan, however, the monsters never left. At the risk of sounding proverbial, she saw dead people...everywhere. This isn’t to say they were foreboding by any means. Rather, they came to her because they had a message to deliver to their departed living and Suzan was their conduit to do so. For many years, Suzan would awake in the middle of the night and as real as the sun in the sky is, the dark man with the black-rimmed hat and eyeless sockets of flames would be there. It wouldn’t be until many years later she would understand his full meaning and purpose in her life.
Suzan’s relationship with her mother was, for the most part, non-existent. There was a strong undertone throughout their lives together that Suzan was a mistake that should have never happened. Her insignificance was a daily reminder to her mother of the random act of infidelity she should never have performed. Suzan’s real father was a drifter and he loved the ladies. He loved Suzan’s mother, but there was a vast space between such love and actual commitment. Suzan’s everyday father was a good provider, but an uneventful being. Adding to the complexity of her family dynamics would be the years of struggle and skepticism she would navigate before she would be able to come to terms with her tremendous gift.
Suzan Saxman has done an exceptional job of penning an extremely interesting view of what it means to have genuine psychic abilities. Her writing of the subject and her first-hand experiences further affirm there is no ‘hocus pocus’ or ‘folly’ to what she has endured during her life. There is a sense of urgency throughout this book and the reader is able to grasp that her intentions in writing of her life wasn’t to gain a following. Rather there is a sublime calling to all her fellow ‘seers’ that it’s okay to talk about your experiences and embrace the reality that there truly are many spirits surrounding all of us. It is abundantly clear that Ms. Saxman took great care in the mechanics of telling her story. Each chapter outlines a particular point in her life and she closes each premise with a vignette of a reading she conducted. There is a balance of those who believe and those who think “poppy cock,” but it is up to the reader to decide which side he or she migrates toward. I applaud Ms. Saxman for the courage and tenacity to tell her story because there is a strong voice throughout that's non-apologetic. Rather, she is a woman of substance who tells it like she lived (and lives) it and affirms throughout the notion that there are NO coincidences in this life we live. Rather, there is an entire sub universe of what’s happening and it is there for the believer to dive in and explore. Thank you for a truly engaging memoir Ms. Saxman. I hope I have the good fortune to find my way to Woodstock some day and the pleasure of a chat.
Quill says: The Reluctant Psychic is a testament of courage, strength and conviction from a woman who knows she is ‘different’ and embraces and accepts who she is.
Saint Odd: An Odd Thomas Novel
By: Dean Koontz
Publication Date: January 2015
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: January 24, 2015
There are moments in time when every fan of some writer out there falls into a depression when they know that their absolute favorite character will never be heard from again. There was a line in this novel that spoke of how this one young man had made so many friends in his short life – a line that could not better fit the character of Odd Thomas. This is it. After a long run, one of the greatest authors out there has offered an action-packed, thrilling, deeply-emotional and frightening journey to provide Odd Thomas with a first-class send-off.
Pico Mundo, the original spot where it all began, is where readers are brought back to. Odd must get there; he is being followed by members of the desert cult that truly want to take him out. In the last novel, Odd saved children from these vicious individuals, and now all they want to do is get even.
When Odd arrives back home, he heads to the Green Moon Mall, and readers almost feel as if they are walking through that devastating scene right beside him. Odd looks back on the day when Stormy, his beloved, was taken away from him in a burst of gunfire. He knows he has become the prey and the predators are closing in swiftly, giving him less than twenty-four hours to save the town. So with the help of old friends, and characters that readers have fallen in love with, Odd heads to a safe house where a sweet married couple who have the ability to shoot are waiting to help him. As the action grows, wolves appear, dynamite is stolen, and police officers cringe as they wait to see what comes next.
Pico Mundo is the host of a carnival this time out, bringing back the same old Gypsy that’d once promised two kids they would be together forever. Psychic midgets dressed like bears, face painting by females who are immersed in dreams, and an ogre that instills fear at the Fun House: all of these things and more are in Odd’s path to help him or harm him, as he faces the impossible challenge of stopping death…and discovering his own life.
The ultimate battle, Dead Koontz has saved the best for last. He is the owner of the brilliant mind that continues to grace the literary world with an illumination that can’t be found anywhere else. And although I am grateful Koontz will gift me with the next unbelievable tale very soon, I feel the heartache saying goodbye to one of the best characters written. Odd Thomas will be sorely missed.
Quill says: A fantastic tale from start to finish. Readers will want to go back to the beginning and follow Odd once again.
High Stakes: A Jack Doyle Mystery
By: John McEvoy
Illustrated By: Charles Shockley
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: December 2014
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: January 19, 2015
There is no doubt that the world of Thoroughbred race horses can be exciting and glamorous but where there is money, corruption seems to follow. That is a fact that Jack Doyle has come to terms with as lately he has done well exposing some dark secrets in the world of horse racing and now the FBI has asked him for help on a new case involving horse killings. Apparently the killer finds Thoroughbred horses that have been donated to colleges and universities and injects them with a lethal substance causing them to die almost instantly. Then after the terrible deed is done the killer leaves a note with the letters ALWD standing for Animal Life With Dignity and a message reading, “No More Exploitation For This One Of God's Creatures.”
Of course this seems to be the act of a crazy animal rights activist to Jack but with no real leads to go on he knows the only way to gain any information is to hang around the track and see if any talk around there could lead to some clues. Using all of the contacts he has made working around the track Jack talks to trainers, jockeys, owners, and a veterinarian named Ingrid but no one seems to know anything that could be of help. The FBI agents become even more desperate when these killings continue and constantly harp on Jack to provide some answers but of course there is only so much that can be done with so little information.
In the meantime Jack receives a call from a friend from Ireland asking if he would come to an awards banquet for a former jockey he was an agent for. While enjoying the trip to Ireland Jack gets a message from a friend’s wife saying she is concerned there may be someone out to harm her husband but he just keeps blowing it off. So, suddenly on top of attempting to solve the horse killings in the U.S., Jack is trying to help a friend who is across an ocean to stay safe from whoever might be trying to hurt him. In addition, there is a plot brewing unknown to Jack that centers on an attempt of his own life.
With my interest in horses this was an easy book choice for me as I loved reading a mystery in the midst of the horse racing world. Even though I have not read any of John McEvoy's other books I instantly connected with the character of Jack Doyle and enjoyed every chapter of this story. Especially towards the ends I could not bring myself to put this book down until I reached the conclusion and I love when books keep me holding on like that. The plot created in this book was quite intricate but McEvoy ties everything together so well that I was able to keep up with the story and not once did I get lost in what was happening.
Quill says: An absolutely intriguing mystery with a perfect setting!