Book Review: The Devil Whispered

In the near future United States, Retired Special Forces Commander Jacobi Slate is investigating a brutal murder committed by his former boss, Admiral Ben Oaksley, who has admittedly killed his beloved wife, Mary. As Slate’s investigation continues and more strange murders occur, he begins to suspect that this is tied to his past and that someone in the background is pulling the strings.

This is a thrilling cyberpunk detective noir story with well developed characters and an intriguing premise. It shows a future America even more enmeshed in technology and describes what could be the results of that. I liked the first-person detective noir approach as told through the eyes of a veteran of many wars. This is not your traditional detective noir, as there is a strong female main character, Risa, who definitely proved herself tougher than any of the others, even our protagonist. As indicative of the noir genre, the lines between right and wrong are blurred and the protagonist is well meaning but flawed. The cyberpunk element is crucial as we see technology becoming more and more enmeshed into human life. This is an action-packed novel with revelations that are eye-opening and thought provoking.

I would recommend this to any fans of the the cyberpunk and detective noir genres.

This was another great book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can borrow it for free. It is also available to purchase outright for only 99 cents at the link below.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shawn Starkweather

Shawn lives in Massachusetts with his wife and the handful of childhood stuffed animals that they’ve been unable to part ways with, even despite the awkward situation in which it occasionally puts their house guests. He wields a coveted Associates of Liberal Arts degree from Greenfield Community College in an overly enthusiastic, flailing manner, and puts it to work writing both fantasy and science fiction stories. Using subliminal codes and hidden messaging carefully placed throughout his books, he plans to captivate the minds of his readers and insidiously manipulate them into purchasing subsequent releases. 

As a novelist, musician, graphic designer, and a purveyor of fine games, Shawn is often confused about exactly who he is when he wakes up in the morning. It’s been said (by him) that perhaps he embodies all of these things so equally that a singular definition could not comprehensively impart a satisfactory description. With your support, and a sufficient demand for more novels, he secretly hopes that he’ll have no choice but to formally acknowledge the prevailing label of ‘author’ and spend the rest of his days providing a sense of wonder and adventure to everyone who helped him solidify his nebulous identity.

Shawn’s Website

Book Review: Sunshine Girl – An Unexpected Life

For whatever reason, I don’t enjoy posting reviews about books I did not like, although I have done it in the past. Usually when I do, I feel strongly that people may want to see what I found wrong with the book and choose for themselves whether or not to buy it. That was the case here. See my review below and decide what it is you want out of the book before you buy it.

I received a free copy of this book from Random House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Sunshine Girl by Julianna Margulies is her memoir about being a child of divorce, living different lifestyles with her mother and father, and navigating difficult adult relationships. She is candid about her childhood and her adult relationships. This takes up a majority of the book. She spends very little time on her two major roles, Carol Hathaway on ER and Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife. Fans who are expecting a lot of interesting stories about these shows and her fellow actors will be disappointed. Fans of ER and The Good Wife might want to look at the table of contents before spending $14.99 on the Kindle version. Chapter 12 is about getting the part on ER, and most of Chapter 13 is about leaving ER 6 years later. George Clooney’s name is mentioned 9 times, but 7 of those times are in the story about getting the part in ER, and two mentions are while she’s complaining about fans, which I will go further into below. I could not find any mentions of Anthony Edwards, Sherry Stringfield, or Noah Wyle. As for The Good Wife, the amazing Christine Baranski is mentioned in one anecdote about a medical problem Margulies was having, but fans of Matt Czuchry and Josh Charles will be disappointed. I could not find them in the book. 

There was one story that completely bugged me because she complains about how embarrassed she was when a group of fans stopped her to talk about her two famous roles. People watched these shows for years, and are still watching them. She continues to benefit from these shows. At least she could treat her fans with respect instead of slamming them in a memoir.

Of course it is her prerogative to write about anything she wants, but fans of ER and The Good Wife might want to decide if it’s worth the money, depending on what they hope to get out of the book.

As someone who has enjoyed ER and The Good Wife, this fell flat for me. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in learning about Julianna Margulies’ childhood and relationships, and very little about her two hit shows. The title is also deceiving. There’s no sunshine in this book.

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My Goodreads Review (Likes appreciated if you are so inclined)

RECOMMENDATION:

As a contrast to this disappointing memoir, I would like to recommend Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, by Alison Arngrim. Her book is everything this one is not. She shares VERY personal information about her childhood, but also talks about the show (Little House), the fans, and her fellow actors. She even mentions members of the crew. She is witty, gracious, funny, and clever. It is one of the best memoirs I have ever read. Warning: She was sexually abused by her brother as a child and talks about it in the book. Interesting fact: Nobody liked Mary. I read this years ago but I will probably put up a review soon.

Good Friday: The Suffering of Jesus

“..It is Finished. ” John 19:30 NKJV

As many times as I’ve heard the crucifixion story, and I’ve heard it all my life, I never could grasp the magnitude of the torture and pain Jesus went through. I went looking for descriptions written by others, and I found this, written by C.S. Lewis, that really helped me see everything Jesus went through.

Lewis was replying to a letter and talking about some people at the time who had objections to one of Jesus’ statements from the cross. Lewis said: “What do these people want? Do they actually visualize Him for 3 hours nailed to a stake–flayed back glued to unplaned wood–Palestinian sun–cloud of insects round head, hands, and feet–the face mask of bruises, pus, spittle, blood, tears & sweat–the lungs gradually tearing owing to the position and then complain–“This doesn’t hurt enough?” This excerpt was taken from The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III.

This description really hits home to me the absolute pain and torture Jesus endured. Add to that the fact that He was the Son of God and he could have ended it instantly if He chose, but instead He endured it all, and gave up his spirit after all prophecy was fulfilled. Imagine having the will to continue being tortured even though you could end it at any time! Imagine asking God to forgive His torturers, even though He had the power to instantly end their lives if He wanted. He endured it all because He was here as a sacrifice for us.

John 19: 28-30 New King James Version: 28 After this, Jesus, [a]knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.