Roland West, Loner, by Theresa Linden

Theresa Linden excels as a storyteller. She assembles her characters from complex webs of conflict and mystery. Her penchant for plot shifts and action commands the reader’s attention. Her proclivity toward trilogies reflects her dedication to the writing craft and her desire to please her readers with a magnificent literary landscape.

Roland West, Loner, the first volume in her West Brothers trilogy, introduces the pageant’s cast. Roland, the loner has two special reasons to avoid company, his older brothers. Jarret, handsome, intelligent and powerful, but also narcissistic, manipulative and amoral. Keefe, Jarret’s twin and puppet, collaborates as Jarret bullies Roland. Jarret believes that Roland is his father’s favorite. He mercilessly schemes to destroy Roland’s reputation in their father’s eyes so that he and not Roland would accompany Mr. West on a business trip to Italy. Although adult caretakers run the West’s mansion in absence of the boys’ traveling father, Jarret controls the lives of his brothers, easily circumventing and even subverting the authority of the adults. Roland remains hopelessly trapped in the West’s castle of a house.

Roland’s freedom comes from the most unlikely of liberators. Once on the loose he hides out with a classmate, Peter Brandt, whose bedroom is so messy, he could easily conceal Roland in the clutter. Roland’s existence as a loner has not prepared him for life on the run. He’s not sure if he can trust Peter. He meets and is attracted to the red-headed, emerald-eyed Caitlyn Summer, who causes him to rethink his loner status.

The struggle rages between the dominant Jarret who will use violence, intimidation and lies to compromise his brother, and Roland, the innocent and vulnerable who hopes that their father detects Jarret’s ploys. The melee plays out to the last sentence of the novel and vibrates through the subsequent volumes of the trilogy.

Although a young-adult novel, Roland West, Loner offers a compelling read to a wide audience.



A Book of Scars (The Breen and Tozer Mystery Series, Volume 3), by William Shaw

A Book of Scars ( DS Breen and WPC Tozer # 3)

Detective Sergeant Cathal “Paddy” Breen of the Metropolitan CID (Marylebone Police Station, London) can’t seem to avoid disaster whether he’s rescuing a cat from a tree, investigating a crime scene or chasing a bad guy. To his aid rides Helen Tozer, a Woman Police Constable who wants to do more than fetch tea and biscuits for her male counterparts.

The introverted Paddy dabbles in art, rendering accurate sketches from memory. He methodically covers the floor of his apartment with scraps of paper—clues representing the puzzle-pieces of his murder inquiries. His mind shuffles snippets until, hopefully, a pattern emerges. He was born before WWII and fits well with the older generation and their methods of operation.

Although only a few years younger, as a post war baby boomer, Tozer stands on the opposite side of the canyon known as “the generation gap” from Paddy Breen. The more intuitive and “with-it” Helen, a farm-girl from Devon, belongs to the Beatles Fan Club, plays a guitar and likes to drink. She calls Paddy, not Cathal, but “Careful Breen,” because he rarely tempts fortune, letting misfortune come to him, and come it does. Paddy’s “old school” perspective blocks his access to witnesses, after a nanny and her charges find the murdered body of a Beetles fan, whereas Helen speaks their language and earns their cooperation.

A Book of Scars begins with the injured Paddy convalescing at the Tozer farm in Devon. Bored out of his mind, he looks for a case to solve, a cold case, such as the brutal death of Alexandra, Helen’s sister. He finds the coroner’s report that describes the horrible nature of Alex’s unsolved murder. The report spurs Breen and Tozer to track down the sadistic killer and determine the killer’s motivation, especially when it seems that the same horrible death awaits others.

A Book of Scars begins as a murder-mystery, but it dips into the horror genre. Although, it serves up generous portions of “who done it” suspense with a full slate of suspects, the heavy handed violence in Africa, the Biafra/Nigerian War, the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya and the dark side of the drug trade between Europe and North Africa spill over into the character’s lives and the story lines.

As witnesses to local examples of this unthinkable violence, Breen and Tozer realize that methods justified elsewhere during an “emergency,” have returned home with the ousted colonials to terrify their inventors. The novel includes descriptions of brutal torture. Unfortunately, these savage acts are based on actual testimony of victims of similar atrocities—atrocities committed with a wink and a nod from the colonial authorities.

Despite the grim aspects of the final volume, trilogy fans will enjoy the progress in Breen and Tozer’s personal relationship. A Book of Scars opens more doors than it closes, raising hopes that William Shaw turns the trilogy into a much longer series. He has almost fifty Paddy and Helen years in which to weave a lifetime of sequels for enjoyment of his readers.

The US titles for the first two volumes in the Breen and Tozer Trilogy are She’s Leaving Home and The Kings of London. The final volume, not readily available in the USA goes by the UK title, A Book of Scars.

For reviews of She’s Leaving Home and The Kings of London, press control/click on these titles.

Testing Liberty, by Theresa Linden

She lies in her darkened cell, alone, cold, hungry and exhausted, awaiting the tortures of the Re-Education Facility. The Regimen Custodia Terra have Liberty 554-062466-84 of Aldonia, exactly where she wants to be. Something of a MacGyver, Liberty becomes more dangerous in captivity than on the loose—always improvising, planning and scheming. Ever elusive, Liberty frustrates the violet-eyed, narcissist Dr. Supero, the lecherous and traitorous Sid, the snooping and callous Chief Varden, the master watchdog of the Citizen’s Safety Station spy network.

In Chasing Liberty, the first volume of a trilogy, Liberty fails because of her selfish desire to save a friend bringing about the destruction of the Maxwell Colony. Its citizens, including its children are now in the clutches of the Regimen awaiting absorption. Driven to free the colonists, she raises both the admiration and suspicion of the underground, the Mosheh. Her relationship with her rescuer and love interest, Dedrick suffers as he tries curb her daring exploits. His involvement with the tribe of wild-men, the Torvah also jeopardizes his relation with Liberty. The one constant in her life remains the inner voice that Liberty calls, My Friend.

Theresa Linden drives her characters through relentless action and the contortions of unforeseen plot twists, shifting alliances, and frustrations. She tantalizes her readers as Liberty and her allies draw ever so near their goals, only to encounter more devious adversaries with cryptic agendas.

Readers of Chasing Liberty find the sequel, Testing Liberty, delightful, but tantalizing, as they anticipate the final volume in the Liberty Trilogy.

Warning: reading this novel may induce sleeplessness and an elevated heart rate.

Current News – Chesty Puller’s Home

Pacific Paratrooper

Chesty Puller USMC Chesty Puller USMC

SALUDA, Va. — Some Marine veterans are on a mission to purchase the former home of one of the Marine Corps’ most revered generals.

When the group found out that Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller’s retirement home inSaluda had hit the market, they scrambled to both form a nonprofit and launch a GoFundMe site to raise the $400,000 needed to purchase it.

By contributing to help fund the purchase, former intelligence Marine Sgt. Maleesha Kovnesky, who is spearheading the effort as chair of the nonprofit, said supporters will be directly contributing to a place that will serve as a standing monument to other Marines.

“It’s the perfect place, perfect opportunity and perfect time to make sure there’s a place that fosters camaraderie (so) all Marines everywhere know they have a place to go and people who care,” she told Marine Corps Times.

Puller, who died in 1971 at the age of 73, had one of the most…

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