Articles for the Month of May 2015

The Starlight Club 6: Double Seven by Joe Corso

51o+nSZh-UL__AA160_Bob is staying at his daughter Lynn’s house in Darien, Connecticut, as bad weather has prevented his return home. At times like these Lynn likes to take advantage of the opportunity to ask her father for some more stories from the famous Starlight Club…

Looking back over the years, Bob decides to tell her about a time when Joey Bones, Bull and Richie swapped the Crown Victoria for a Caddy convertible and drove to Vegas on business for Red. The drive as it turns out was to prove very eventful when Joey decided to pop in and see his sister JoAnne, in Bonner Springs. However, he is none too pleased to discover that her boyfriend, has beaten her up.

When they arrive at her house and confront Brian O’Rourke, the boyfriend, they discover not only is he a thug, he’s also a drug dealer. With the thumbs up from the boss they sort out the situation, however, the results of their actions brings about an interesting chain of events.

Big Red knows that getting what you want and making people bend to your will does not necessarily have to be achieved by actual violence, after all when you are that famous, the suggestion is often enough. He also knows that looking after the little guys is important, they will owe you for life, and do whatever is needed, when the time come for you to call in the favor.

With Trenchie happily married, and romance in the air, Red realises that something is missing in his own life, he can have any girl he wants but he wants a wife, and there is only one lady who will fit the bill, Iris, but will she want him? There’s only one way to find out…

For Starlight Club fans, these tales are a wonderful insight into the dark underworld of mobster life in New York, where life is cheap, and there’s no time for regrets. This book, like others in the series is studded with big names with shady pasts, and gives credence to the clever façade the Starlight Club, and others like it provide.

Another great story from award winning author Joe Corso!

About the Author:

Joe Corso
I grew up in Queens, New York. I started writing late in life hoping to help my grandchildren pay for their college education. I found to my surprise that I could tell a good story which resulted in my writing 24 books (so far).Go figure. If I would have known that I could tell a good story. I would have started writing a half century ago.
About Starlight Club 6: Problems keep occurring that prevent Big Red Fortunato from leaving Queens. His enemies know he would like to settle in Vegas and they look forward to taking over his action the moment he leaves. Red has one profitable Vegas casino, the Double Seven. His second casino Nell’s Silver Spur is being renovated. Richie Fingers the best card and dice spotter in the world and some of Reds men are driving to Vegas to protect his interests there. Since the men are driving through Kansas, Joey Bones decides to visit his sister. So what can possibly go wrong by him stopping to see her?Trenchie’s happy marriage doesn’t go unnoticed by Big Red and he would like to settle down with a good woman. But in order to do that he has to find a woman who would take him for what he is…a difficult choice for any woman to make.Swifty is the middleweight champion of the world and he’s scheduled to fight the one fighter who’s style he just can’t seem to figure out. Those close to him wonder if he will hold on to his championship belt or will Slick Parker the ex-champ win it back from him?.


The Starlight Club 6 is available from Amazon in Kindle format

and Paperback


Take Three Birds by Jilli Lime-Holt

511FmYjByZL__AA160_The internet has been responsible for many things, and this includes this book.

When three authors who have been “friends” on the internet for a time decide to meet up, will it be triple trouble?

You see, they all live in different countries, Jill who is the author of The diary of a Single Parent Abroad lives in Italy, Janet Holt who is co-author or The Stranger in my Life lives in the UK, and Tottie Limejuice author of the Sell the Pig series, lives in France. However, a little detail like this does not daunt the intrepid trio, it will just take a little organising.

So, Janet takes her first flight to Italy, and together Jill and Janet drive over to Tottie’s grottage in Auvergne in France in Jill’s 20 year old Fiat Punto.
But how will these three strong minded women get on?

Will their friendship survive meeting face to face, and spending a lot of time together?

Well, this enjoyable book which is written like a diary, but without the dates, reveals all. Having read two of the authors already, I would not wait to read this one, and was not disappointed.


About the Authors:  Jilli Lime-Holt is the collective pen-name of writers Jill Pennington, author of Diary of a Single Parent Abroad, Tottie Limejuice, author of the Sell the Pig series, and Janet Holt, co-author (with Helen Parker) of The Stranger in my Life.

Take Three Birds is available from Amazon in both Paperback and Kindle format:


The New Concise History of the Crusades by Thomas F. Madden


51phybtbwol-_sl300_Guest Review

This book provides an excellent look at the crusades, putting them in perspective for their time and in relation to current world politics. It is a great overview for the uninitiated and a great review for folks who have studied the crusades.

The book opens by providing a setting just prior to the first crusade, placing us in the mindset of Medieval Europeans. From there, the information is laid out chronologically. The book closes with the authors analysis of how the crusades were held up as examples of chivalry, later to be reviled as early colonialism, and finally how they relate to modern politics. The pacing is good, not getting bogged down in minutiae or in lists of dry ancient reference texts. Occasionally, there were more names being used than I could keep easy track of, simply because I was unfamiliar with the subject matter.

I learned quite a bit from this book and that makes me happy. Before listening to this book, what little I know came from popular movies and books, and, of course, I couldn’t rely on those to be accurate. I really liked how the book was laid out chronologically and I deeply appreciated the author’s constant efforts to have the reader think like a Medieval European.

In addition to this, the author often gave examples of Muslim impressions of the crusades. This in particular was fascinating. For Europeans, and even Americans, the crusades were a big deal, and continue to influence our culture, if mostly through popular media. At the time of the crusades, the Muslim world barely took note of them, seeing them as just yet one more barbarian force to be repelled (and the crusades were often repelled). The crusades had a greater impact on the Byzantine Empire, mostly because places were sacked and sometimes burned.

It was fascinating to see how the crusades evolved over time. Initially, the word ‘crusade’ was not associated with the pilgrims who ventured east for religious enrichment. Old, young, sick, healthy, men, & women traveled on pilgrimage. It was only later that such pilgrimages became armed men crusading to the east, with the blessing of pope and lord, to defend Christian lands.

In short, this book was an excellent read and definitely worth shelf space as a reference work. It is chock full of info on the European leaders, the Byzantine reactions, the few bits directly affection Muslim affairs, and how the crusades were affected by the Mongols. The book does an excellent job of placing the reader in a Europe steeped in a religious culture and how that affected, even directed, the actions of European leaders. It’s even worth a reread.

Narration:  Claton Butcher gave a good performance. He had a clear voice that used a little emotion as needed, so it was not textbook dry. He also went to the effort of pronouncing people and place names with the correct accents. Such touches are so appreciated by this listener!

What I Liked: Educational!; the cover art; clear & easy to follow; perfect for someone new to the subject; the author places the crusades in the context of the times; the book wrapped up with a short analysis of how the crusades were viewed after their time, and by the Muslim world.

What I Disliked:  Occasionally, there were many names in play and I had trouble keeping them all straight, but this is mostly due to my lack of knowledge and I would not hesitate to recommend this book.


Reviewed by Susan Voss –


Authors Website:


Available from Audible in Audiobook format:


Smokescreen by Khaled Talib


9789881219589_p0_v2_s260x420Fantastic political thriller.


This is a compelling political spy thriller is Khaled Talib’s first novel, but a page turner every step of the way. The story is set in Singapore, where the Israeli government are trying to end, once and for all the Israeli – Palestinian conflict.

However, not everyone agrees on how to do this. Radical factions have other ideas and they plan to assassinate the Israeli Prime Minster when he visits Singapore, but first they must find a scapegoat…

Enter Jethro (Jet) West, not a very appealing fellow, he is a journalist for a top life style magazine in Singapore. Happily sleeping around and living the high life, he soon he finds that his womanising ways and reputation have well and truly gone against him, when he is framed for the murder the Singapore Tourist Boards beautiful public relations manager Niki Kishwani.

However, as if this is not bad enough, he soon discovers his destiny has been decided, and it is far worse than he could imagine.

He has been especially chosen.

As the plot thickens, Jet finds himself being hunted, and the body counts rise, things become rapidly much worse for him as he desperately tries to clear his name.

The attention to detail and research which has gone into this absorbing book is amazing. With spies, corrupt government officials and plenty of twists and turns, Smokescreen is a well written and totally absorbing political spy thriller.


About the Author: Khaled Talib is a former journalist with local and international exposure. He has worked full time for magazines including Singapore Tatler and Egypt Today. His articles have been published and syndicated to newspapers worldwide, and his short stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines. He is also the author of The Little Book of Muses, a collection of personal muses for writers and aspiring authors. The author is a member (overseas) of the Crime Writers Association UK. He resides in Singapore. To learn more about the author, please visit  

About the Book: At an ancient café in Cairo, two veteran spies plot a covert mission to resolve – once and for all – the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. The pledge: Israel will make a major concession as part of the peace treaty. In Singapore, Jethro Westrope, a magazine journalist, stumbles onto the scene of a murder: the beautiful Niki Kishwani directs him, in her last breath, to a digital recorder, evidence that puts Jethro’s life in serious danger. And, much worse, he is framed for Niki’s murder. Jethro sets out to find Niki’s killer and is drawn into a web of deception and intrigue involving officials from the Singaporean, Israeli, and American governments, each with a complex, competing, and potentially deadly agenda. Against this pulse-pounding backdrop, Jethro races to find answers and save himself -yet nothing is as it seems. He finds himself at the centre of a political plot so diabolical and sweeping in its world implications that he is stunned to discover tomorrow’s news headlines today. He is being set up not only as a murderer but as an assassin, and something much larger than his own fate is in his hands.

Available from:

Amazon in Paperback:

and Kindle format:

and Barnes & Noble in paperback and as a Nook Book