I jumped at the chance to read this when I saw it. I figured it would be extremely interesting to read about the cases the deputy coroner had worked and how she dealt with that kind of job, etc. And it turned out to be that, sort of.
Don’t get me wrong, the author talks about cases she worked all through the book. But it’s more like she grazes over the case, the decedent and the details and fills the pages with her own personal faiths and beliefs.
Now, believe me, these stories could have been a lot more detailed. But you have to remember this is the deputy coroner’s diary. She’s not telling a story per se. This is a collection of her thoughts and feelings expressed in a stream of consciousness writing style. And while the true crime material was extremely interesting, it was overshadowed and lost in the text because of three things in my opinion.
I received a hard copy of this book. Beautifully bound and covered with a fantastic image and an easy-to-read title. But then I opened the book and I immediately saw that it had been printed in double line spacing format. This is the kind of spacing you use when you are printing a draft that is going to be proofread or edited because it leaves a lot of space for the various people to jot down notes. Unfortunately, it seems that this particular part of the writing process was never done. This book was riddled with grammatical errors. Things like no punctuation being used at the end of a paragraph or the lack of using commas or semicolons. Words are missing from sentences a lot. Toward the end of the book the author is purposely evasive and frankly, those chapters just don’t seem to make much sense. The way the stories are grouped together makes no sense. Sometimes there isn’t even a skipped line to let you know it’s a new story. No indents. It truly seems like she typed this up day by day and then just sent it to be published. And you can tell by the hardback cover and paper that a lot was invested in this venture. But it wouldn’t have taken anything to just click the spell check/grammar check option, and that would have solved a lot of the complaints I have.
The worst part is that all that kind of stuff takes away from the material of the book, it’s content and literary value. Not to mention that it becomes somewhat frustrating and annoying for the reader. Being ultra-repetitive is a good way to annoy your readers as well. I understand that this is a woman’s diary. Her own personal private thoughts. Nothing is really date stamped, it’s just the title of a chapter and then the content of said chapter. Which is not what I am meaning really when I talk about being repetitive. There was one theme other than death that was continuously part of the book. And that was religion. God. Not only did she mention God over and over, she kept bringing up ghosts, spirits, psychics and mediums. It seemed to be on almost every page. By the end, reading the last few chapters felt like I was at church getting preached at. I’m not a fan of that kind of feeling. And it’s not that I don’t believe her claims of paranormal activity. That’s not it at all. I just happen to think that she has way more than the average believer has in the quantity of examples of this activity. So, that leads me to question the validity of all her claims. As so often is the case, she really has no proof that these paranormal or spiritual interactions ever took place.
Another thing that I found interesting was her profound belief in her religion and things coming from “the other side” even though she’s a medical professional and as such usually thought to believe heavily on scientific data. Yet in her expression of her private thoughts, this does not seem to be the case. In fact, she seems to focus very heavily on things that not only cannot be proven but also many things that probably have some kind of rational explanation. Again, I’m not saying these things did not happen. I am only saying that it could be possible some of these “spiritual encounters” could be rationally explained.
And yet, I was willing to forgive all of that and continue to read the book with an open mind. But then came the sarcastic comments and complaints about the deceased. Suddenly she would go from a caring and compassionate community healthcare servant into a hardened and cold medical professional that never sees PEOPLE, only injuries, sickness and death. It was as if the dark, gruesome and unattractive side of the profession were finally outed and put right in your face.
But you have to understand, the people that choose these professions, they see the worst of what humanity has to offer. How would you expect someone deal with that and do their job effectively at the same time without getting burned out or overwhelmed by the emotional roller coaster they endure? A lot of people turn to comedy and a kind of detached coldness in order to deal with the horrors they see every day. It’s hard for people to understand that without having been in that position themselves. I have a small amount of insight as my father was a police officer and I grew up around all facets of law enforcement and the judicial system.
It’s hard for these professionals to harbor the burden of the terrors that all manners of society are capable of. It’s difficult to not let emotions get involved and it’s hard to not get a jaded view of the world. Don’t discount the coping mechanisms that people employ to maintain their sanity and some semblance of a normal life when, let’s face it, dealing with death every day isn’t the norm. That is a specialized area that only certain types of people can handle working in.
This book allows a look into the mind of the Deputy Coroner. It’s not really about the cases but instead, it’s about how those cases affect the coroner. It also shows that as someone in such a position they don’t always know how things end. That’s hard to handle too.
It’s an interesting look into the thoughts of a coroner but it’s not for those who are really sensitive about death. If you can’t handle the lighter side of things being pointed out in a time of heart wrenching seriousness, then you may not like this read. However, if you are looking for an honest expression of what one person experienced, then you would definitely find this an interesting book. If you do read this, allow the material to sink in for a little bit before rendering judgement. Allow time for processing of what you are actually reading. This is not a fiction novel. This is truth as one deputy coroner sees it. Remember, she’s doing a job almost nobody wants to do. Might be worthwhile to give her some of your time and respect.
This book is written by one of the very law enforcement officers that pursued Freddie Crow, an international marijuana smuggler that had been flying contraband over in and out of various countries for a long time.
But this isn’t the usual story you might think of. Before I start my full review, here is part of the summary on the back cover of the book:
“When an international drug smuggler makes a life changing decision, he finds himself pursuing a different type of thrill at the way into eternity.”
The summary on the purchase page on Amazon reads as follows:
“With a hunger for excitement, Freddie Crow becomes an international smuggler, piloting planeloads of marijuana from Belize, Central America, into various areas of North Florida. Because flying drugs into the United States requires avoiding radar detection and nerves of steel, Freddie eagerly embraces this thrill-seeking opportunity. Utilizing his unique expertise of navigating a plane so low over the Gulf of Mexico’s white capped waves that salt collects on its windshield, he earns the reputation of being one of the very few who can actually fly under the radar.
While Freddie busies himself flying in loads of contraband for his organization, a team of determined law enforcement officers and a prosecutor diligently busy themselves to make a prosecutable case. Their perseverance pays off, and the walls come crashing in on Freddie. Facing a life sentence, he decides to cooperate and turn his life around. After serving a reduced sentence, he finds love and redemption just before his world turns upside down again.
That’s when two people, once on opposing sides of the law, come together and become friends as if directed by God.”
The author is a man named Ed Hudson. He spent 34 years in law enforcement, the last 24 years spent in narcotics investigations including drug smuggling. In 2004 Hudson was promoted to Special Agent Supervisor with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Through his career he received numerous awards from the DEA, U.S. Customs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.
So, why is this not the typical FBI agent chasing an international drug runner type of story? First of all, although Freddie was fairly successful at what he did, he always knew in the recesses of his mind and heart that he was doing wrong. It bothered him when his activities or choices affected his loved ones.
But it wasn’t the drugs or even the money that attracted Crow to this line of work. He was a thrill seeker. An adrenaline junkie. It wasn’t that he was getting paid to fly these huge loads of marijuana in and out of countries that got his heart pumping. It was the actual flying itself. Seeing as how smuggling requires one to fly below radar signals there were many times that Crow got to show off and test his limits and skills as a pilot.
Eventually, Crow became involved in some big-time smuggling. He also developed a cocaine habit. An adrenaline junkie with a cocaine habit is a dangerous combination. This mixture, along with the people he surrounded himself with, led to one bad decision after another until he was finally arrested for smuggling.
It is at this time that two life altering things happen that will work together to give him the motivation to change his ways and straighten himself out. He meets Ed Hudson and he has an epiphany about how he’s hit rock bottom with this major arrest and he begins to feel remorse for the trouble and embarrassment he has caused his family, the relationships he lost, friends lost. It’s as if it all came together and instead of looking at the end, he chose to look at a new beginning.
Within twelve hours of his final arrest, he agreed to cooperate with law enforcement and provide them with as much information about the smuggling trade and his own ring as he could. This would not only get him a lighter sentence in his own case but it was the perfect opportunity to confess and rid himself of the weight of knowing he’d wronged and been doing wrong.
The person he was most comfortable with was Ed Hudson. What began as initial standard interviews would grow into full conversations, eventually forging the most unlikely friendship.
This book is the story of who these two men are and how this all came together. The joy of this book is the chase of an international drug smuggler, his experiences as such, the cops and agents that pursued him and the unlikely bond created between two men on opposite sides of the law, both wanting to make a difference at the same time.
A fascinating read, full of all kinds of information and ins and outs of a long-time multimillion or more dollar smuggling business and all the different people one can encounter in such areas of that kind of business.
My only criticism would be that it can be a little slow moving at times. However, those are the parts of the book that truly provide a wealth of information. So, they are not tedious or boring. They actually cram a lot of information into these sections so you’ll want to pay attention through the whole book.
Anyone who likes true crime and things like that would probably enjoy this book immensely. Anyone who wanted to hear from law enforcement’s perspective would also be interested in this book. Since I have blue in my blood coming from a law enforcement family, I found this book particularly interesting.
About the Author:
Author Ed Hudson grew up in rural Northwest Florida, where he spent his youth working on farms, toting bricks and blocks, making mortar for his father’s masonry business and attending school. He later earned an associate of science degree in law enforcement and a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice administration. He worked with the Century Police Department and as a deputy at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department, where he patrolled the highways for nine years. In 1990, he transferred to the narcotics unit and became a special agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) in 1993.
Hudson worked a variety of cases with his fellow FDLE agents along with agents from the DEA, ATF, U.S. Customs and Secret Service. He was promoted to Special Agent Supervisor in 2004 and remained in this position until retirement on October 1, 2014.
Today, Hudson spends his retirement gardening and fishing whenever possible. He enjoys time with his granddaughters, especially when fishing, and with friends if they’re going fishing. He serves his community through the Walnut Hill Baptist Church and as a member of the Walnut Hill Ruritan Club, an organization that lends a hand to those in need. Then he goes fishing. As the Crow Flies is his first book.
Connect with the author on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EdHudsonAuthor.
As the Crow Flies: The Redemption of an International Drug Smuggler
Publisher: Storehouse Media Group
Available from Amazon.com
Author Thomas Greenbank
This was a novel I chose from my good friends at Blackthorn Book Tours. And there is one important lesson I think I took from this novel, one that a lot of people would probably miss. Never go into business with family. Nothing good comes from family sharing a love for money and greed. Someone is always going to get hurt.
GOLD! is about a couple members of the Kincaid family go into business owning a gold mining company. Of course, one of the brothers is gung-ho believing that they will immediately be rich. The other brother is skeptical but willing to take the risk on the idea that eventually money will be coming their way. A lot of money.
The sibling rivalry couple with the stresses of running an entire mining company compiled with the personal issues each one faces creates a lot of nervous tension, anger and emotional turmoil. Misunderstandings turn into disagreements which turn into arguments which then turn into full on conflict peppered with strife and hostility affecting everyone and everything in their path.
The plot is original and unusual, grabbing you from the beginning. Each chapter is actually titled letting you get a glimpse of what is coming in the next part of the story. The titled chapters also make it a whole lot easier to read and organize the story in your head and if you have to step away from the book the titles help keep you on track so you don’t feel the need to keep going back and rereading the ends of the previous chapters over and over again, wasting precious reading time that all of us fight to have.
Well written and easily organized this novel is an incredibly fast read. The structure, as I mentioned before, is perfectly set. Mr. Greenbank is fantastic at each of the different conveying character personalities. This makes it very easy to like or loathe each particular character.
There is a large inclusion of all of the cultural aspects that are different, the language differences from the United States and Australia and all the societal differences gives an entirely new cultural view to the reader, taking you to a new continent, a new country and parking you in the middle of a town that you are not familiar with and letting you learn the ins and outs from the first page all the way to the last.
Every chapter has a twist in a new direction or a crazy turn you didn’t expect, the things you thought were coming are quickly whisked away into a whole new realm that you didn’t even think could exist, let alone consider. These twists and turns are combined with the normal everyday average situations that each one of us can relate to and identify with. That is another aspect that really makes the story feel more personal but the largest way the author pulls you in like that is the way he shows the full persona of each character. There are some characters you love; some you feel for and some you just absolutely hate. Each of these emotions are fully real and experienced because the author presents them so perfectly the characters actually take on real life personalities in your reading experience.
Although this wasn’t an actual horror novel it was still very much a suspense thriller. There are definitely moments where the one-tenth of a second it takes you to turn the page seems like an eternity but once you get to the text on the next page it is always well worth it. I would recommend this to suspense and thriller lovers. If you are looking for the hardcore horror plotline kind of story, this isn’t going to give you that. But the suspense and thriller aspects are completely satisfying and totally enjoyable.
Gold! – Thomas Greenbank
Malcolm Kincaid is a self-made man. He is also a ruthless businessman and opportunist. He knows what it takes to build and maintain a business empire, but how far will he be prepared to go to achieve his goals — and what will he sacrifice along the way?
Rachel, Malcolm’s one-time fiancé; his business partner, and the mother of his child, finds herself forced to work with the man she has grown to despise.
Unaware of his true parentage, their son, Lachlan—after first studying for a law degree—advances through the ranks as their company grows into a mammoth corporation, while Rachel does her best to mitigate Malcolm’s increasing influence on him. This task becomes more difficult when Malcolm appoints Lachlan as manager of a new mine.
Lachlan soon has his own set of challenges: A fractious and sometimes domineering wife with a drug dependency, a child of his own, and a conscience that often leads him into direct conflict with his Machiavellian ‘uncle’.
Over the years, Malcolm Kincaid uses, abuses, and dominates associates and family alike, crushing all opposition in his pursuit of wealth and power.
When he allows the pollution of an Aboriginal settlement’s water supply, however, he faces justice of a kind he could never imagine.
GOLD! is a tale of greed, betrayal, family conflict, rape, and murder. It is also, however, a story of love and loyalty — and of how one man’s pride and prejudice can lead to terrible retribution.
Praise for Gold!
“Honestly, I couldn’t put the book down until I completed it. A most worthy read for anyone interested in a great story. Well done Thomas.”-– ★Pat Ritter, Published Author of 27 Books, 1988–present day.
“GOLD! by Thomas Greenbank has all the ingredients of a page turner. It has a straightforward plot, characters that are tied to the main plot and help further it rather than creating their own sub plots, a well-defined villain whose villainy runs like a spine through the whole story, setting the tone for other characters and events. ..took me back to Sidney Sheldon and Jeffery Archer, warts and all.” — reedsy.com
About Thomas Greenbank
Thomas Greenbank writes gritty Australian fiction. His debut novel, GOLD! The Kincaid Saga, was a finalist in the respected 2020 Page Turner Awards. (https://pageturnerawards.com/writing-award-finalists/thomas-greenbank)
Greenbank’s writing draws deeply on his diverse background and professional experience. From years as a professional musician, factory worker, business owner, wide-load escort driver, ceramic artist and more—to 25 years as a full-time career, there’s not much he hasn’t experienced. This diversity shows in his writing, as does his penchant for accuracy in research. Now semi-retired, Thomas lives south of Adelaide, South Australia, with his wife — #1 fan and biggest critic — Linda. When he’s not writing you’ll probably find them fishing or walking on a nearby beach.
This was an interesting find. First let me say it was a delightful read. This is a novel that has all the earmarks of a successful thriller mystery story. We have death, money, a questionable past, a bright young man, his relationship with his farther and the presence of Daddy’s crooked mob cronies always in the vicinity.
A young man has long since buried his father. He always wanted to please that man and yet never felt he fully measured up to the bar that his father set for him at the moment of his birth. Still, he went and made a life of his own, away from his father.
Things were going fairly well until one day his mother calls and says she has a letter for him from his Dad that she found in a bunch of his things. As I think anyone would be, the son is a little leery about opening this letter. What could possibly be in this letter that his father hadn’t told him already? His mother won’t open it and she doesn’t want to discuss it.
So, what’s with all the mystery? What kind of information is lurking in that letter? This young man knows his father was a mobster and not always walking the straight line. He knows his old man did and got involved with some very questionable, if not down-right wrong activities.
Here are the actual blurbs:
“Years after the death of his gangster father, a young man discovers a letter that sends him reluctantly defying the mob as he races to locate a hidden treasure.”
Inside dust jacket front flap:
“It’s been six years since the ultimately untimely death of Blackie- a charming rogue who endlessly pursued “The Big Deal”- when his son discovers an enigmatic letter telling of a cache of stolen money. Feeling no choice but to pursue his father dream, he embarks on a search that leads from New York to the strip in Las Vegas and ultimately to the south of France. Along this life altering journey, he is confronted by the dangers of his father’s past as he unravels a decades-old mystery, while revealing other long-buried secrets.”
Once in possession of this letter the son is soon pulled into a world of his father’s unique personality and communication, not to mention his father’s old business associates, leading him to investigate the past in order to understand the present. Winding through all kinds of dangers and strange and suspicious obstacles, he makes his way onward, determined to solve the mystery of his father’s cryptic letter.
But soon he finds that along with many other things, people, friends, acquaintances and business partners, the people and things he knew as a kid were not all what they seemed. Now it’s a question of who he can trust and how much he can trust them.
This was a gripping and exciting read. I tore through it once I finally got to it on my reading list. What a great find! The mystery aspect of this book is written so well that you are completely absorbed, wanting to know everything, just like our main character, who is also narrating the story.
This novel is filled with surprised, twists and turns, one thing after another bringing constant questions, constant answers and constant suspense. Any thriller or mystery lover is sure to totally dig this book.
Moonlight Becomes You
Author Robert Herold
This was a selection of mine from the good people at Blackthorn Book Tours. I originally got interested in this when I read the summary/blurb for the novel.
“The Eidola Project travels to Petersburg, Virginia, to investigate a series of murders in the Black community--rumored to be caused by a werewolf. Once there, danger comes from all quarters. Not only do they face threats from the supernatural, the KKK objects to the team's activities, and the group is falling apart. Can they overcome their human frailties to defeat the evil that surrounds them? Winner of two 1st place wins from the Southeastern Writers Association, including Best Novel!”
I must say I got more than I anticipated out of this novel. It does start a little slow but once you get to the meat of the story the action is practically nonstop. This is a story full of supernatural villains, real-life villains, good vs. evil, romance and all kinds of mental and emotional drama. All carefully and expertly woven into a tapestry of a tale. From the beginning you start this slow climb through the details and by the time you get near the top it all seems to be masterfully coming together. Then with rapid and consistent pace you finish the ascension with a satisfying finale worthy of the time spent reading.
Excellent action all the way through. There is a strong and very real KKK presence in the story. This of course leads to some very disturbing scenes in the book. However, if you compare what is in the story to the things that really happened in this country alone, I’d say the content in the story is a fairly mild representation of the racial issues in that era. I understand that this might make some people uncomfortable but it was a reality and still is to a large degree. I think it was bold of the author to include such situations so that people who haven’t experienced that kind of discrimination can get a glimpse of what it is like.
I really enjoyed this novel. It was a fast read and very easy to get through. The chapters are well organized and everything flows perfectly. Truly a must read for any thriller lover.
Book Information: Moonlight Becomes You by Robert Herold
Acclaim for Moonlight Becomes You
Moonlight Becomes You earned 1st place in two categories for the Southeastern Writers Association, including Best Novel.
About Robert Herold
The supernatural always had the allure of forbidden fruit, ever since Robert Herold's mother refused to allow him, as a boy, to watch creature features on late night TV. She caved in. (Well, not literally.)
As a child, fresh snow provided him the opportunity to walk out onto neighbors' lawns halfway and then make paw prints with his fingers as far as he could stretch. He would retrace the paw and boot prints, then fetch the neighbor kids and point out that someone turned into a werewolf on their front lawn. (They were skeptical.)
He has pursued many interests over the years (among them being a history teacher and a musician), but the supernatural always called to him. You could say he was haunted. Finally, following the siren's call, he wrote The Eidola Project, based on a germ of an idea he had as a teenager.
Ultimately, he hopes the book gives you the creeps, and he means that in the best way possible.
The Flip Side of History