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A Beginning to the End: A Poetic Journey
By: Aruna Gurumurthy
Publication Date: May 2017
Reviewed by: Anita Lock
Date: July 21, 2017
Poet Aruna Gurumurthy weaves enlightening and inspiring themes in her latest work, A Beginning to the End: A Poetic Journey.
A pre-med student turned poet, Gurumurthy has found her calling in rhyme and verse. Speaking from the depth of her soul, Gurumurthy leaves no stone unturned in expressing how she feels about various aspects of life, deftly weaving this common theme over the course of six sections that include forty plus poems.
Each poem, set in first person POV, alternates between “I” and “we.” This subjective shifting creates a sense of unity, of oneness, providing her audience with the opportunity not only to engage in the reading process but also encourage individual contemplation. Two literary tools that Gurumurthy heavily uses to emphasize this sense of unity and oneness are repetition and restatement. Her writing style is lilting—at times, resembling raps. Gurumurthy always speaks from the heart, speaking truth into existence.
In part one titled New Day, New Hope, Gurumurthy opens with a warm and welcoming invitation to readers before delving into her lyrical poetry. The last stanza of “New Book in the Cards” aptly closes with these words: “With soft palms, come life my new book. / With sparkling eyes, a gentle smile, and / Kind fingers, / Come sift through my new book.”
Replete with current political overtones, the six poems in New Day, New Hope reflects Gurumurthy’s choices made after introspection. Certainly, what she embraces—love and well-being for all—are themes that do not stand alone but ring true to all who have chosen to create a new and positive page turn in their lives. In “We Are the Homo sapiens,” Gurumurthy offers a profound statement and word of encouragement to people throughout the world who are fighting for justice and equality: “We are the Homo sapiens / We are the Champions / Don’t tether our voice. / Don’t shackle our vision. / Don’t extinguish our spark.”
Epiphanic and sagacious moments grace the next set of poems in part two, Love and Whatnots. At the end of “A Writers’ Confluence,” Gurumurthy writes: “Because, as writers, / We are responsible for the humor, drama, and / Awareness in people’s live / We as responsible for people’s lives.”
Parts three and four, Discrimination, Dogma, Dirt and My Inspiration, My Love, give glimpses of the racial profiling and cultural stigmas that Gurumurthy has had to face, as well as her persistence to overcome all those barriers. “There is no doubt in my mind, not even slight / Keep on going-- / You may have lost today, but I promise! Tomorrow looks bright.” (My Inspiration, My Love, “Quit Not!”)
Lastly, Gurumurthy emerges from her painful situations, determined to make a difference in her life and the world in sections five and six, Clarity in the Fog and Abstractions, Precisions, and Solutions. “Freedom in No Fickle” (Abstractions, Precisions, and Solutions says it all: “I am free / I love to be free / There is freedom in no fear / Freedom in no fickle / Freedom in the infinite / Freedom in everlasting... / Freedom in / Never lasting torment / Freedom in the eternal / In eternity.”
Quill says: A Beginning to the End is a “feel good” book, offering encouragement and empowerment to those who desire meaning and purpose in life.
For more information on A Beginning to the End: A Poetic Journey, please visit the publisher's website at: www.createspace.com
This is Book 4 in the fantastic Coleridge Taylor Mystery series, and for those who have not yet added this particular character to their at-home library, you need to ASAP.
It is the 1970’s. Coleridge Taylor (AKA: “Taylor”) is a die-hard journalist who still has his pride (i.e., does not believe in tabloid magazines), and is still dedicated to real news that everyone else overlooks. The story opens as a serial killer arrives on scene that the news agencies can use to scare everyone living in NYC, while also using the story to climb the ladder of success. Taylor works for the City News Bureau, a much smaller organization than, say...The Post or The Times. He begins by sitting in with a ton of reporters/bottom-feeders at a city conference where they are talking about a killer who is hunting women with a .44. It takes only a short time to grant a title to the killer: “Son of Sam.” But Taylor stumbles over another young woman who was taken out – not with a .44, so it doesn’t rate nationwide news. But he wants to solve the crime and tell the victim’s story. Martha Gibson, a young Black woman, was gunned down in her own apartment building the same night “Son of Sam” struck elsewhere. Therefore, all the reporters go after the "Son of Sam" victim, leaving Taylor with the less visible victim.
But Taylor really has no idea what the heck he’s getting into. As he begins to delve into the crime, he meets the sister of the victim who has given her own surroundings to drugs and a boyfriend who boasts a career as a contract killer. Certainly she and her rotten love could be behind the murder, but...there’s more.
Taylor soon gets into the facts and realizes that Martha was working as a maid for a highly wealthy/in-the-news family named DeVries who live on Park Avenue. This is one of those families who like to fight amongst themselves. But there is also another worker in the house who tells Taylor of a call made from inside the walls that poor Martha heard that preceded her murder. Apparently the call mentioned everything from ‘money being gone’ to someone who ‘had to be stopped.’
Taylor and his detective girlfriend Samantha, end up ingratiating themselves during a family dinner party where all the players of this family are open for review. From a wife who seems to know nothing to a mean young man who seems to hate everyone, the family is ‘rich’ with suspects. Now, add to that a blackout that sends NYC into a 24-hour-long period that’s filled with the vilest of sins being committed, and you are glued to the story as Taylor attempts to track down his own killer before disappearing himself.
Readers will absolutely love Taylor, if they don’t already. This is a character with many layers. A man who has just lost a father who was not exactly a nice, pleasant guy, and missing a loving brother who was listed as MIA in Vietnam, but who Taylor truly believes is gone. Deep down, that’s why he goes after these ‘smaller’ crimes. He wants all victims to have a voice and someone to fight for them, not to be forgotten because some sicko rates more front pages. This author has, quite literally, “Nailed it!” when it comes to creating the perfect visual and suspenseful mystery led by a believable and easy-to-like character.
Quill says: All are standalone books in this series; however, by reading just one, ‘Coleridge Taylor’ and his creator will have you running to buy the rest.
For more information on Lights Out Summer (Coleridge Taylor Mystery), please visit the author's website at: www.richzahradnik.com
The Same Old Story
By: William LeRoy
Publisher: Mossik Press
Publication Date: October 2013
Reviewed by: Anita Lock
Date: July 5, 2017
Author William LeRoy pens a twisted online-chat-room murder mystery debut.
“Johnny was dead; there was no doubt about that.”
The first sentence in LeRoy’s romance mystery may resemble Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. But this story is far from the likes of a Christmas tale. Johnny D’Agostino’s demise at the historic Boston Public Garden on a foggy Halloween night provides enough evidence to rule his death a homicide. Detective Peter Angelo, Johnny’s childhood friend and police colleague, is assigned to the case. The first thing Peter notices when he investigates Johnny’s place is his computer and a set of email exchanges between him (JohnnyD) and a woman named Frankie (Frankie007). One email in particular gives a clue to a regular meeting place, the Ritz-Carlton Cafe. Peter goes there and ends up connecting with a Frankie Fitzgerald, who in turn believes Peter to be Johnny.
Peter decides to play along in the hope of finding Johnny’s murderer, and—as far as Peter is concerned—gathers enough evidence that leads him to believe that Matt Finley, Frankie’s jealous boyfriend who apparently gets wind of the email romance, killed Johnny. Matt has his version about Frankie, including who JohnnyD may be. Frankie sets up a meeting time at the Ritz-Carlton when Matt will finally meet the infamous JohnnyD. But things get twisted once again, and before Peter knows it, he is in Frankie’s apartment. Once she passes out on the sofa, Peter investigates Frankie’s computer. What he discovers is not quite what he expected. Matt does his investigations and learns a thing or two about Peter. The real problem is that both Matt and Peter have fallen for Frankie. Now what?
There are plenty of histrionics to be found in Leroy’s riveting debut! Leroy adds a fresh take to the clichéd lover’s triangle theme that tells the same old story of “all’s fair in love and war,” — love, jealously, and obsession. What makes The Same Old Story so unique is the way Leroy tightly weaves a flurry of elements that will not only keep readers in a tizzy but also make it difficult for them to put the book down. To begin with, his third person narrative, which alternates specifically between two of a small handful of characters: Peter and Matt.
Peter’s and Matt’s sides to the story between Johnny and Frankie as well as Johnny’s demise provide clues — more or less. Because both character’s personal and emotional thoughts get thrown into the mix, everything in the narrative suddenly becomes convoluted, including clues. Leroy adds more to the confusion by numbering chapters according to where each alternative story left off. (Doing a little math, one could easily figure out the real number. But who wants to do math in the middle of a good story? Seriously!)
If that isn’t enough, Leroy makes sure to include copious amounts of nostalgia befitting the melodramatic love theme. Highlighting feminine and masculine characters, Leroy pulls from all the classics — opera, books, and (except for You’ve Got Mail) old movies. To name a few, Tristan and Isolde, Alice in Wonderland, Othello, Wuthering Heights, An Affair to Remember, Casablanca, and Gone With the Wind.
Those are just a few elements. There's more. The Same Old Story closes on an interesting note — one that begs a sequel.
Quill says: While The Same Old Story gives plenty for mystery enthusiasts to ruminate on, it is nothing less than a melodrama buff’s dream come true!