Sunday, January 3, 2016


I have not been updating this blog for several reasons, the major one because my husband Chris, my constant lover and best friend, was approaching the last chapter in our love story. Also, I have been spending a great deal of time and effort reading and posting reviews on the excellent blog entitled  The Review and reading entries in the 2015 M.m.Bennetts Award competition, with the winner to be announced at the Historical Novel Society annual convention in Oxford in September.  The long list comes out in February, which is fast approaching.

However, as 2016 dawns, I have resolved to begin posting reviews I would not publish elsewhere because they may contain an occasional spoiler and almost always will be a rant. I consider them an intellectual exercise in polemics not unlike the reviews I wrote of that silly television spectacular called Reign.  But be assured, I do not waste my time or yours on a rant without a reason.

What follows in a Four Star Review I wrote of 14th Protocol by Nathan Goodman and posted on Goodreads.The reason for its inclusion here is simple. Mr. Goodman debuts as a novelist with a remarkable Five-Star spy novel with a One-Star ending.  He stops his narrative as the protagonist Special Agent JanaBaker is either dying or already dead. To discover which, a reader must access another of his works, which with incredible chutzpah, Goodman calls a Post-Quel.
Because the first ninety-five percent of the book is compelling, I rated Fourteenth Protocol a four-star, but if I were grading Mr.Goodman's approach to promotion and marketing, he wouldn't even rate a single star.  So, do you want to read an outstanding book from a promising author but find yourself compelled to download another publication to discovered how it ends,  or should you just stop at the last five pages and supply an ending of your own?  I admit I am a sucker. In a weak moment, I downloaded the Post-Quel.  But do you want to bother? Read my review, and then, you decide.

This is a better than average, fast paced international techno-thriller that would be totally implausible if we did not live in such an implausible world. How far would a clandestine service go to win the prize? Perhaps father than any of us wants to believe until someone lets slip a dirty secret or starts asking forbidden questions. A past paced, well-written novel with undertones of the king of principles our society is lacking, such as self-sacrificing friendship and integrity that defies all logic. Far-fetched unless you read the news. The protagonist S.A. Jana Baker is a strong character, and her infatuated nerdy counterpart is believable and charmingly naive. If there is an antagonist, it is the unbridled forces of government spy agencies and the executive branch. As to the quality of the overall reading experience, a reader would be wise to stop a couple of pages before you reach the end or be frustrated by a five-star novel with a one-star ending. Being a novelist myself, I rewrote the last four pages in my mind and decided not to bother with another of Mr. Goodman's books unless I can read the last four pages before I read the first three hundred and hope he has reformed.

When I checked the reviews on Amazon, I discovered many other readers had the same reaction I did to what one reviewer called 'cheesy'.  Notwithstanding the fact that Goodman's book is being cleverly marketed by his publisher and hyped by his agent and thus, will probably outsell all seven of mine, shame on you, Nathan Goodman,  for alienating your audience.