Molly's Reviews

Darok 9Darok 9
H. J. Ralles
Top Publications

Entertaining Read ... Recommended ... 4 stars

The account opens with a powerful tremor, a low rumbling and screams. Twenty-four-year-old Scientist Hank Harvard makes a desperate grab to rescue the SH33 formula he has been perfecting. Clamorous sirens accompany his assistant Lydia Grant as she hurries into the room where the pair began preparing the SH33 for transport away from the danger. A rush down crowded stairs, a bullet train to supposed safety, Hank’s sister Rachel, and a computer whiz kid nephew together with his friend Maddie all figure in the tale.

Teenagers Will and Maddie find themselves ensnared in the jeopardous scheme plotted against the well-being of humanity's safety. Hank and Lydia in addition to the head of the science agency where the pair were working are the only persons who are aware of the existence of the classified SH33 formula.

Following a maleficent nuclear war generating earth not fit to be inhabited, humans were compelled to find a home elsewhere. That home is a settlement on the moon where the sphere has been divided into four quadrants, the fighting begun on earth has not stopped and the catastrophes continue. War has commenced with the attack. Quadrant 4 is on the move for domination and preeminence over the other three Quadrants. The Fourth Quadrant was the last area settled and is the most meager in assets. In all likelihood Quadrant 4 is motivated at least in part by a desire for getting Harvard’s SH33 formula which is supposed to cause the human body to lessen its need for water. Water on the moon is non existent; the settlers must rely on water transports coming from earth. The water must be decontaminated before it can be used. During the attack on the First Quadrant laboratory, Hank has managed to secure 12 vials of SH33 as well as to download the formula onto two memory cards. Nerve-racking experiences, computer hacking, a near miss, mendacity, and a heart sinking realization of a double cross soon become obvious to Hank. Ten of the twelve vials Hank managed to save are soon confiscated by the evil perpetrators. The last of the precious heat sensitive formula has been bravely hidden by Rachel where she hopes no one will think to look. A double, doublecross brings the story to a satisfactory end.

From the opening paragraphs the reader is drawn into the bleak lunar setting where need for life-supporting water motivates the four Quadrants to wage war on one another. Filled with relentless conflict and surprises around every curve "Darok 9" is set in the not too distant future of 2120. Effective dialogue, excellent writing, abundant conflict aptly resolved, exciting action and intriguing suspense fill the pages of this masterfully wrought tale. Writer Ralles has produced a certain winner sure to please young readers and their parents. The language presented in "Darok 9" is ‘kid friendly.’ The message that violence doesn't pay is clear, characters are plausible, and the cohesive story line propels the reader straight into the action. Settings are presented with wit and style, the gripping theme propelling the tale forward blends the enchantment of the lunar milieu with computer legerdemain in a manner sure to entrance today's computer savvy kids. The strong role of 13 year old Maddie is a delight to find in a science fiction novel. Often the genre is weighted heavily toward males. With her well written, easily read work Writer Ralles just may have found a way to entice more girls into reading science fiction. "Darok 9" is a go-away-I’m- reading science fiction thriller, sure to please readers of any age!

The glorification of computer hacking is a bit of a problem; notwithstanding it is a fact of life and can be used for good as well as for detriment. Ralles clearly delineates between the two.

"Darok 9" is good addition to the home and pleasure library, has a place in the classroom and school library as well as use for home-schoolers seeking a good pleasure reading work to entice the upper middle grade through high school students.

Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.

The Other Side of the MountainThe Other Side of the Mountain
John Braswell
Publish America
Buy from Amazon

Exciting Read … Highly Recommended … 5 stars

When Apache Jim Callingbird, special forces Vietnam veteran, finds his family dead he knows he must avenge their deaths. And avenge them he does before setting in play a series of not all unexpected adventures for himself. Followed by local Sheriff Coontz who will not cross reservation lines Callingbird begins a climb up the mountain he hopes will bring him relief if not freedom from the memory of his dead loved ones that he cannot escape. An inexperienced, over confident Federal Marshal is soon on the case tracking the Indian for whom he has little respect. Before long Marshal Thompson realizes he has met his match in Jim Callingcrow. Neither a well known Zuni tracker or tracking dogs are able to more than turn up an empty trail. Only Callingbird's old friend Sam Little Bear is a match for Callingbird's resourfulness. A bounty of $25,000 placed on Callingbird's head proves too much temptation for even close friends and Thompson at last finds someone with both willingness and ability to track the elusive Callingbird.

On the pages of "The Other Side of the Mountain" Writer Braswell has crafted an exciting work filled with caves, illegal hunters on reservation land, wanted posters, haunting dreams, a fatherless boy, repercussion, test of friendship, conflicting cultures, respect for nature, Native American view of justice, and hope. Callingbird's meeting with an elderly Indian brings the reader closer to understanding motivation behind Callingbird's actions.

Braswell's hero Callingbird is a likeable fellow who allows the white man's justice it's chance when his family is destroyed. However, he knows what must be done when that justice fails to materialize and sets out to get it done with little thought for his own comfort. Callingbird's willingness to accept a life as a hunted man to vindicate his family is admirable.

Profuse conflict fittingly resolved, fast paced action, picturesque characters, detailed scenes, are all presented in this masterfully engineered work by up and coming writer Braswell. "The Other Side of the Mountain" captures the essence of the futility of man's injustice to man in an easily read format.

A sure favorite of those who enjoy skillful writing, a commendable story line and well depicted characters. Good book for a lazy summer afternoon or a cold wintry evening.

Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.




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© 2005 by Molly Martin