Thursday, June 23, 2016


Book 1
If Wishes Were Horses...

" Neil Marshall is a graduate student in the University of Houston’s creative writing program and a promising young poet. However, facing a financially and emotionally draining divorce has him worried about more than paying tuition. So to make ends meet, Neil moonlights as a chef for a high society caterer.  Just when Neil’s life seems bleakest, his oldest friend, racehorse breeder Jason Keys, is murdered. And Neil becomes the prime suspect.  To avenge his friend, clear his name, and rescue a missing championship thoroughbred, Neil infiltrates the dark underworld of horse theft and illegal breeding. Neil’s friends—his attractive writing teacher, his cooking colleagues, and a freckle-faced teenage horsewoman—offer their support. But their cheers quickly turn to gasps when Neil becomes the hunted."

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Book 2
A Whisper Of Rage

"Graduate student and part-time chef Neil Marshall only wants to go for an early morning run.  Instead he witnesses the near-fatal shooting of legendary Houston private eye C.J. McDaniels, and he fears the gunmen can identify them. Before long, Neil finds himself in the eye of a hurricane, his quiet academic life ripped apart as he rides a swath of violence that cuts across a mansion in River Oaks to an eerily silent suburban home, from a secret hospital room to the bed of a fascinating woman.  In Houston's sultry summer heat a deep-rooted rage is building from a whisper to a roar."

Tim Hemlin is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, having studied with poets Charles Simic and Mekeel McBride.  He has published in poetry journals, anthologies, and magazines--most notably in Ellery Queen.  Currently he has six published novels, two short stories and is included in an anthology.

By day he is an educator; however after teaching ELA for 22 years he decided to put his master's degree to work and is now a high school counselor.  In addition, he is an avid marathoner, fly-fisherman, and outdoorsman.  He lives just outside Houston, Texas with his wife Valerie, two dogs and a cantankerous cat.

Connect with the Author here: 
~ Facebook ~ Website ~ Amazon ~
~ Newsletter ~Twitter~ Goodreads ~

Find all of Tim Hemlin's Books Here

These first two books in The Neil Marshall series were originally published about twenty years ago in mass market paperback format. The second editions have recently been published and are now available as ebooks. They still have an up-to-date feel to them.

I definitely suggest reading If Wishes Were Horses first. In this book, the murder of one of Neil Marshall’s close friends and his involvement in settling the estate pushes him to help find the murderer at any cost. He finds himself surrounded by several potential suspects, including some believed to have mob connections. What ties most of the players together is their involvement with breeding thoroughbred horses.

Although A Whisper of Rage reads well as a stand-alone novel, it is the second in the series. Because I had already read the first book, the few references to what had taken place in Neil's earlier life felt seamless to me. While out jogging, Neil foils the attempted murder of a private investigator. As he becomes involved with C.J. McDaniels and the man’s daughter, Linda, he finds himself a target. This leads to him joining their investigation whether he is wanted or not. What should have been a simple assignment was actually anything but with a lot of twists and surprises along the way.

I greatly enjoyed the main character in these books, Neil Marshall. He is an aspiring poet who supports himself by working as a chef for an upscale catering company--when he is not recuperating from being on the receiving end of some form of mayhem. Since the author is a poet and has worked as a catering chef, the details in his portrayal of Neil Marshall’s everyday life when he is not acting as amateur sleuth provided a realistic and insightful touch to the stories.

Neil Marshall is an accidental detective, stumbling into situations and pursuing the truth out of loyalty to friends and a desire for follow-through, not to mention a healthy curiosity. He is a self-depreciating hero, well aware of his failings, yet he forges forward often much to the chagrin of others. Then there are the complications of his ex-wife, Susan. I love how the author used short, choppy sentence structure to add the “feel” behind the words describing Neil’s thoughts and feelings.

Reader, be aware. When I was asked to read this series for a book review, I was told the language was mild. That is not the case. The books include a frequent use of f-bombs and taking God’s name in vain along with the other usual "language." The use of profanity in this manner was common—indeed, expected—by mainstream publishers twenty years ago when these books were first published. Readers like me who prefer to not read works full of this kind of language will want to weigh that preference against the desire to read two engaging, suspenseful and well-written mysteries with the third book now available on preorder and due out in September, 2016.

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Friday, June 10, 2016

Featured Book: Threads of THE WAR - Vol. 3

My guest author today is
Jeremy Strozer
featuring his latest book:
Threads of THE WAR - Volume 3

Book Description:

Threads of The War, Volume III collects and shares personal narratives during real events across the span of The 20th Century's War. Building off of the success of Volumes I and II, Threads III takes us from the private study of the Kaiser in the summer of 1914, through the trench on the last day of World War I, across the frosty Icelandic landmass in 1940 into the hills of Korea in 1951. Within short easily-readable, yet emotionally compelling, bursts Threads III continues opening the door to the personal facet of war; exposing the reader to the facts, fictions, and fallacies of armed violence. Following each story, the reader is provided specific and revealing facts about the events narrated, offering both entertainment and education within the time it takes to read a blog-post.

My Book Review: 

Jeremy Strozer writes this series of books in a style he calls “flash fiction.” They are short stories written in first person of events that take place in war. These stories are in depth vignettes and focus on a micro events as opposed to a broad view with an involved plot. These stories focus on intense personal reactions to acute events or critical decisions and their consequences, both physical and emotional.

I particularly appreciate that at the end of the fictional story, the author includes the factual details of an actual event which was the inspiration for the story. Sometimes they are a mere snippet of history, other times a historical footnote. It was as though the author, after reading one of these instances connected to one of the twentieth century wars asked himself, “If that was me, how would I have felt, what would I have done, and what unexpected consequences would I have encountered?” He ended up with a collection of stories that pack a punch.

The author’s three books are great ones to download onto a cell phone to read while standing in line or waiting for an appointment. They are short, and thought-provoking. They enough to consider I usually prefer to read only a few stories at a time to allow myself to fully digest and appreciate them. I highly recommend this to those who love to read about true stories from the twentieth century world wars and beyond.

About Jeremy Strozer:

I write first-person emotional history in order to teach people to avoid the wanton waste of war. Fascinated by ideas and personal stories, I am able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena. By enjoying thinking and learning about the past I understand the present through creating its context. I have faith in the links between all things; believing there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason. I am also inspired by the future and what could be; thereby inspiring others with my visions of what occurred and what is possible.

My inspiration comes from years of improvisational acting education; the actions and writing of Gene Sharp, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Woody Guthrie, Studs Terkel, and Henry David Thoreau; as well as an affinity for history. I believe all stories are best told from the perspective of the individual experiencing the event and that learning about history should be an emotionally driven experience. Therefore, I push the conviction that all history is simply a personal story, compounded and woven with the personal story of everyone else, throughout time.

Raised in California, I moved to the D. C. area at the age of 18 to attend university. Through education and luck, I've been able to travel across vast swaths of the world, seeing and feeling things I never would have realized otherwise. I helped remove unexploded ordnance from war ravaged countries, stem the flow of the world's most dangerous weapons, and potentially reduce the likelihood of war between some of the world's most powerful countries.

Now, I simply seek to warn the world of the human cost of violence.

Connect with Jeremy Strozer:

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  LinkedIn   |  Patreon

Purchase Links:

Get a free copy of Threads of The War: Smashwords
Buy Threads of The War, Volume II:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple