Authors Showcase: Mysterious Times

The Book: Dragon Sutra

The Author: Richard Marranca

DragonSutra-CC1The Story: The beauty and luster of passion and love counterpointed by the darkness of the criminal underworld and the Cambodian holocaust taunt Jason, a young American college grad. He and Rachany, a beautiful woman who works at the Russian Market, are pursued by a mysterious foe, and they flee across Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

They see elephants in misty forests, exotic tribes, ancient cities… They end up in Burma’s rebellion, where they are pulled into the violence, into the core of journeys – the adventure of life tinged with the search for meaning, purpose and love. It’s a coming-of-age story that shows we all should be careful what we wish for.

Review by Sunny Frazier, author of the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries: When Jason leaves Philadelphia and goes to Cambodia looking for adventure, he meets Rachany, who captures not only his imagination but his heart. As their journey takes them from the city of Phnom Penh to the ruins of Angkor Wat, the couple is swept into a violent crossfire between monks and generals. Can their love cross cultural differences and an ocean that threatens to keep them apart?

Readers, greet an American’s intimate view into a society struggling with the remnants of war and a mystical past. Richard’s lyrical writing and his first-hand knowledge of southeast Asia, the politics and the people, jump off the unforgettable pages of Dragon Sutra.”

Review by William Doonan, author of American Caliphate. In Dragon Sutra, Richard Marranca takes you on a journey of discovery that will shake you, thrill you, terrify you, and leave you both rattled and wiser. Not exactly a love story, not exactly an adventure tale, the travelogue is nonetheless both, and more.

Somewhere between Marguerite Duras and Pico Iyer, Marranca has cultivated a unique voice that deftly and gently explores a troubled time, and finds some peace in it all. This book is hauntingly lovely.”

The Book: Dumpster Dying

The Author: Lesley Diehl

DumpsterDyingbyLesleyADiehlThe Story: Emily Rhodes came to rural Florida for the cowboys, the cattle, and to do a little country two-step, not to fall head first onto a dead body in a dumpster. Ah, the golden years of retirement in the sunshine state. They’re more like pot metal to Emily Rhodes, who discovers the body of the county’s wealthiest rancher in the Big Lake Country Club dumpster.

With her close friend accused of the murder, Emily sets aside her grief at her life partner’s death to find the real killer. She underestimates the obstacles rural Florida can set up for a winter visitor and runs afoul of a local judge with his own version of justice, hires a lawyer who works out of a retirement home, and flees wild fires – hand-in-hand with the man she believes to be the killer.

About the Author: Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida-cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office. In her words, “I come to the “Big Lake” to write, hang out in cowboy bars, and immerse myself in the Florida that used to be. No beaches, no bikinis, no sand. Just cows, horses, and gators.”

Review by marta chausee: Dumpster Dying, by Lesley A. Diehl, is a smartly-paced page turner, with more attractions than a three-ring circus. Ms. Diehl, who must be a juggler in her spare time, keeps many plates spinning in the air, in the form of plot twists and multi-layered character studies.

Diehl’s accomplishment lies in not making Dumpster Dying a confusing blur of people and situations, but in creating a solid backdrop of Central Florida life, a cowboy life that has all but faded into the past, paired with the golfing life of the country clubs of today, and then bringing out the foibles of the native flora and fauna, which both complement and conflict with one another.

Emily, a snowbird who is in peril from page one, is bar tending in order to eat and keep a roof over her head, while she fights in court over the contested will of her deceased life partner. So much for what she thought would be her golden years! Murder, the secret lives of close friends, and the unexpected arrival of adult children further complicate Emily’s life. The old south, and Florida is the old south, has its own way of taking care of business, as Emily and the reader soon find out.

Review by Nash Black, author of Sandprints of Death. Lesley A. Diehl’s DUMPSTER DYING is an excellent traditional mystery.

Emily Rhodes and her life companion, Fred Costa, come to rural Florida away from the high priced real estate to spend their retirement years. Life has a way of kicking plans in the teeth. Fred dies, not having made a new will and his ex-wife inherits everything leaving Emily with little to pay the bills or prove part of the purchase price of their home came from her retirement. After an altercation with her instructor Emily gets a job, which lasts one night as the man again causes her trouble.

Clara Rogers befriends Emily and her job in the bar of the county club is at least covering her immediate expenses, until she discovers the body of Marcus Davey, the most influential rancher in the area, in the dumpster when she’s taking out the trash.

“Snowbirds” are only tolerated for the money they bring into the area and there is little help for Emily from the law or her lawyer. She is forced to take her future into her own hands to clear her name, find financial security, and discover a killer before she becomes a victim.

The pace is steady and comfortable, just the thing to read on a hot summer’s afternoon when even the gnats are droopy.

You will enjoy a well-written cozy with twists and surprises enough to keep the brain cells active.
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