Molly's Reviews

Confronted with DeathConfronted with Death
B J Bloch
B J Bloch, 2001

Recommended

Eighteen year old Beth Stuyvesant faces the death of her mother Mattie with the same stoic resolve she has maintained from the time Mattie was diagnosed with ALS five years previous. At first Beth's demanding father had continued to expect his 'marital due' even as the degenerative illness ravages his wife's body until two years after the onset he leaves. Beth is forced to simply accept the awful illness and watch as her beloved mother wastes away. Alone at eighteen Beth begins college, falls in love and is betrayed by the married man who has lied to her. Beth is nearly devastated and contemplates suicide before she leaves Philadelphia to begin teaching school in Indiana where meets a promising student. Working to help Pete Bascomb learn to read is the one bright spot in Beth's life. The first chapter of the books is available on line www.novel-books.com

Beth's unselfish devotion to her new job and Pete are repaid over time by the youngster's caring for her. Writer Bloch has an interesting writing style which is sure to evolve into even better over time. The straight forward narrative to be found in "Confronted with Death" is not similar to his mystery "Another Senseless Killing". The latter was a mystery, "Confronted with Death" is a contemporary 'slice of life' type offering. Bloch presents an array of well developed, although not always likeable characters such as we confront in life. Beth's father and Art the fellow student with whom she is in love are both weak men willing to use others and think of themselves first. This is a not a 'it all works out well' type tale. Beth is confronted with misery, death, and heartache more than her share, also such as is often confronted in life.

Bloch's writing is hard hitting, decisive and on the whole well thought out. My one reservation is that one so young and with so little education as Beth would be given a teaching position in the manner she was. I, a teacher of 20+ years classroom experience question that Beth would have met the requirements for a teaching credential in Indiana. Other than that one glitch the book comes off as well written, not an easy read and not one to leave the reader with warm fuzzy feelings when it ends. It is a thoughtful, realistic presentation by one in the medical profession of what families may face when they confront the reality of illness for which there is no explanation, no cure and nothing to do but watch the degeneration of their loved one. It is a story that needs to be told, and Bloch has told it well.

"Confronted with Death" is not a tale for a lazy afternoon in the hammock. It is a book to be read thoughtfully and with growing understanding for the terrible problems confronting both those suffering form catastrophic illness and those who are caring for the sufferer.

Difficult read due to the tragedy of catastrophic illness and the long term ramifications attendant to such.

Another Senseless KillingAnother Senseless Killing
B J Bloch
Booklocker.com Inc, 2001

Highly Recommended

'The phone finally rang --- once--- twice---' from the very first page this tale grips the reader and holds them fast right on to the last page. Told in the first person we meet a private eye who lives rent free with his less than likeable sister Bea and her even less lovable husband Art. Manny Gold, the narrator of Another Senseless Killing does not want to take on another missing persons case. When Margo Blair begs him to locate her sister Kate Manny realizes his life is about to undergo a permanent change. Manny's long time friend, Cleveland homicide detective Lt. Nick Foley is assigned the matter when Kate's mutilated body is found and an ex cop with a picture of Kate in his pocket is located in a dumpster. Manny begins digging into Kate's past, the twenty nine year old inherited a sizeable legacy from her father, and along the way has made some creepy acquaintances. Kate was both a call girl and a drug addict. The list of possible murderers grows until an ex con is found with the murder weapon in his home. No one has a plausible alibi. While Manny digs Nick is also busy. At last the murderer is discovered and Kate is put to rest.

Writer Bloch has put together a well crafted narrative sure to pull the reader right into the tale from the very first paragraph. The reader is carried along on a twisting ride through a trashy group of the most unlikeable characters, areas and situations as PI Gold tries to sort out the strange circumstances surrounding Kate's life and brutal death.

Another Senseless Killing is a spine chiller filled with twists, turns, lots of red herrings and great, well developed characters. Dialogue is gritty, honest and plausible. I enjoyed this work very much. I do not often read to the middle of a mystery book for review without having a pretty good idea 'who dunnit.' This one kept me guessing right down to the end. Keep your wits, and watch for those red herrings. Bloch has outdone himself.

Great read.

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2005 by Molly Martin