Review of The Dante Club

This is a fantastic novel by Matthew Pearl. It offers the reader an interesting and captivating mystery that must be solved by the members of the Dante Club (a real group)–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and J.T. Fields. These real historical figures are perfectly positioned to solve a series of murders around Cambridge, MA. because all assist Longfellow on his translation of Dante’s masterpiece into English. The macabre crimes replicate scenes from Dant’s Inferno, which leave the Boston police baffled.

The author makes the inclusion of these real men, all primarily professors or related to literature, come alive with well-researched historical facts, settings, and dialogue of the Civil War era. Any reader that enjoys a riveting mystery, whether knowledgeable about Dante’s works or not, will delight in this wonderful story. 5 stars.

Review of The Mysteries of Chartres Cathedral

Readers of history with an interest in factual mysteries will truly enjoy this non-fiction book by Louis Charpentier. I have waited to read this book for a long time.

It took a long time to finish because it is detailed with important information about the famous cathedral and because of delays from my work schedule.

Gothic cathedrals have long been a fascination of mine, so to finally read this book was an utter thrill. Even though published in the 1960’s, the author presents critical information about Chartres that many historical presentations overlook.

Furthermore, Charpentier offers some answers to the mysteries of the cathedral and Gothic architecture in general. However, some mysteries remain unanswered, such as where did the technological knowledge come from in order to build these magnificent structures? Who provided the funding? Why did it take decades to build? (The Forbidden City in China, another marvel of construction, took a mere four years.)

If you are curious, then by all means read this book. Overall, it is fantastic and enlightening.

Review of Rules of Deception

Thriller fans and readers may be disappointed by Christopher Reich’s first book in the Jonathan Ransom series, Rules of Deception. The premise of the story is that Ransom’s wife dies in a mountaineering accident with Jonathan, but he soon finds that she is not who she seemed to be when alive. His decision to investigate this oddity, though only a medical doctor, thrusts him into the dark world world of espionage, terrorism, counter terrorism, and fanatical religious zealots.

It all appears to be a good recipe for a great thriller, except for several points. First, there are way too many implausible plot points. Second, at least for me, none of the main characters are very appealing or likeable, except for a Swiss policeman named von Daniken.

Decide for yourself. I give it 2 stars and that’s being generous.

#Review of The Day After Roswell

#Readers and fans of #UFO, alien, and #ancientaliens theories will find this a very interesting book. Col. Philip J. Corso (Ret.) offers the story of what transpired (his facts) from the point of the “alien vehicle” crash near Roswell, NM in July 1947 up through the mid-1980’s.

There is tremendous detail of the U.S. Army and the Foreign Technology unit that the author worked within, as well as many tangents from that. At times, the timeline and narrative facts get lost in the tangents and self-congratulatory prose.

Sadly, other than his word, Corso does not present any tangible evidence (for the doubters). In fact, the U.S. Army purposely chose to hide the advanced technology harvested at the Roswell crash site by sending it to tech companies, such as Hughes and Bell Laboratories, whereby these companies incorporated the alien technology into their ongoing projects. Thus, the true source of their innovations was hidden forever. All of this was orchestrated by the Army’s Foreign Technology unit, which was run by the author in the early 1960’s.

Another peculiar aspect about Corso’s story comes in the form of strong statements that aliens were threatening the U.S., especially military installations, as well as Earth and its inhabitants. However, the only evidence offered is reference to cattle mutilations and human abductions, along with what sound like alien recon activities. (To my mind, if the aliens wanted to attack or destroy us, then wouldn’t they have done it by now, certainly with their superior technology, especially prior to 1960.)

Much of what he relates about aliens visiting Earth matches what I’ve seen from other credible sources-some secret.

One extremely interesting tidbit Corso relates pertains to the development of the transistor. For details on this:

http://rense.com/ufo/amcompgift.htm

or

http://beatriceco.com/bti/porticus/bell/belllabs_transistor1.html

Overall, I am glad I read the book. 4 Stars.

#Review of The Cairo Affair

#Readers of #thrillers, this stand alone novel by award-winning author Olen Steinhauer takes place a few months after the Arab Spring. An American embassy official is murdered in Budapest and may figure into a CIA plan to meddle in Libya’s growing revolution. The wife of the murdered official, Sophie Kohl, wants to know who killed him, despite not being the most faithful spouse. Sophie and four other characters, mostly in the intelligence circles of the U.S. and Egypt, each tell their version of the events leading up to the murder. Then, there is betrayal, the devilish element that runs rampant throughout the story, which makes it a character in and of itself. Presenting a story from different points of view makes it harder to follow, at times, but is entirely effective in spinning an intriguing espionage tale. Certainly in the vein of Graham Greene, but falls a little short. 3.5 Stars.