Friday, December 29, 2006

Final Paradox - Mary E. Martin

Mary Martin has done it again!

If you have read her first book "Conduct in Question", you have witnessed Ms. Martin's art of shedding light of parts of the law that only the "insiders" see. In her second addition to the Osgoode Trilogy, she has taken it one step further. Martin shows how organized deception of the law can quickly evolve into organized crime and who else to expose it than our old friend, Harry Jenkins.

Harry Jenkins is a 'good-intentioned', blindingly-naive, Toronto lawyer who is constantly grasping for the pieces of his life that have gone awry. Harry has two loves in life; his beautiful, seductress girlfriend, Natasha and the Law. His constant struggle to do well and do what is right makes him easy prey to those wishing to manipulate the law and its purpose. Harry is not quick to pick a fight, but when he fights; he fights hard.

In "Final Paradox", Harry is the championed knight of the wealthy Ms. Norma Dinnick, a widowed old woman who constantly floats between lucidity to insanity. Norma sees and hears people who aren't there and has a bounty of conspiracy theories based on all of the people fighting to steal her estate. This might not seem like a difficult task, however, some of her conspiracy theories are true and Harry can't seem to retrieve Norma from oblivion long enough to obtain any straight answers. With so much money on the line, everyone involved begins plotting and consequentially, people begin dying.

While Harry is dealing with the life and death of this case, he is troubled with the suicidal tendencies of his father (who'd never had a word to say to him as a child or a young man), the reluctance of his girlfriend to take their relationship one step further and eerie images of his past that catapulted him down a dark road. As Harry is being bombarded from every angle and by every person possible (some even threatening his life), he is forced to determine just what kind a man he truly is: good or bad.

In the fashion of good literature, Mary E. Martin has created a suspense novel that focuses not only on the climax, but the art of telling the story. The intricate tapestry Martin has weaved in the first two installments of "The Osgoode Trilogy" is worth seeing in theaters. I look forward to reading the final installment.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

South of Main Street - Robert Gately

My father once told me that you did not really know your family until you attempted to split an inheritance with them. Author Robert Gately displays this imagery deeply and intimately in his first novel, South of Main Street.

In South of Main Street, Gately introduces you to Henry Wolff, a recent widower struggling with the grief of losing his wife and the grief emerging between his two daughters since the death of their mother. You see, Wolff’s deceased wife was quite wealthy and took care of the financial side of their marriage. Why? Well, Henry is…different.

Now that the fortune is left in the hands of Henry, one of his daughters (Sharon) thinks his “difference” makes him incompetent to handle the estate and thus takes him to court to prove so. However, his other daughter (Robin) believes in her father and fights against her sister to make sure his rights are protected. Nevertheless, while the daughters are concerned with the handling of the wealth, Henry is more interested in the handling of life.

Henry is very child-like and focuses on the finer things in life. Henry notices how people treat one another; he appreciates the magic of nature and could care less about the money. Instead, Henry is more interested in touching the lives of people and sets out to do so.

Robert Gately has created a wonderful, modern-day messiah in Henry Wolff. Gately demonstrates through this novel that though the world around us may be in chaos, there is still a strong, still, saving, child-like voice within us. As Wolff assists others with their life’s issues, the reader may find him/herself being assisted as much as the characters in the story. Robert Gately is a marvelous writer with a wonderful flair for writing. I hope South of Main Street is only the first of his works. I highly recommend this title for your bookshelf.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hidden Grace - Garland Roper

Author Garland Roper presents a story worthy of the “big screen” in his novel “Hidden Grace”.

Hidden Grace tells the story of an extraordinary psychotherapy patient, Grace Albright. On the surface, Grace’s problems are not much different than others who suffer from depression. She was subjected to several abusive situations as a child being moved from foster home to foster home and she’s struggled from the influence of this abuse for the majority of her life. What makes Grace so unique? Grace is 60 years old.

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with a 60 year-old seeking psychological assistance, however, her doctor seems to think so. In her doctor’s opinion, “Old people are hopeless…If they haven’t worked out their problems by the time they reach 50 or so, what are the chances?” Unfortunately, Grace is not alone in her need for psychological assistance.

Carl Wilder, PhD, Licensed Psychologist, the constant analyzer, has been gripped by feelings of mediocrity and failure. Though he celebrates a wonderful life filled with an understanding wife, a supporting son and professional success, Dr. Wilder feels that he is no longer effective in his practice and is terrified through each session he conducts, expecting one of his patients exposing him as a fraud. As his sessions with Grace progress, however, Dr. Wilder realizes that his mental condition is not much better than hers.

Hidden Grace paints a beautiful picture of the human spirit; how it deals with human suffering and the detailed process of how it overcomes it. Written by twenty-year, clinical psychologist Garland Roper, Hidden Grace places a human face upon the doctors that make their living helping patients remove their emotional burdens. It also exposes the fragile line psychologists walk as they balance objectivity and responsibility for those patients that seem unreachable.
Hidden Grace is an informative and entertaining journey into the human soul. It is a delicate package of humor, drama, mystery and redemption. I recommend it to everyone and especially to anyone who has sought answers as they’ve battled with human affliction.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Songs in Search of a Voice - Marcus Harris

“Langston Hughes goes street,” was my feeling as I read “Songs in Search of a Voice” by Marcus Harris.

In “Songs”, Harris takes philosophical and prophetic thoughts and eloquently transforms them into a modern, hip-hop revolution. The poems selected for this innovative public missive hold feelings of love, honor, life and introspection. Harris’ words allow the reader to envision the full potential of life while at the same time, calling a spade a spade. That’s right, Harris pulls no punches regarding the mixed up world and the mixed up thoughts that plague it, however, it is far from judgmental.

Harris does not project his words from a pulpit. Though some of the poems plead to the broken masses, Marcus Harris does not talk about or talk at these situations. Instead, he speaks through these subjects allowing the reader a glimpse as to what the people see. Harris shows his capability to lift up even those individuals that tend to let themselves down.

Two of my favorites from the book are "Woman to Player" and "Player to Woman". These two works describes the feelings of a woman trying to hold a relationship with a player and, of course, the player’s attempt to “maintain” while dealing with the attitude of the woman. After reading these two poems, there is a realization that both have their eyes on the prize yet they refuse to work together to obtain it.

Harris goes on to present "Two Little Piggies" which details the story of two boys committing the same crime yet receiving completely different “justice” because they possess a different color skin. Controversial, but so real and revolutionary—and Harris doesn’t stop there. He introduces magnificent art through Haiku, presenting "Chainless Gangs", "New School Hip-Hop" and "NCAA Football". They take just a moment to soak in, but once they do—they will shake you to the core.

I highly recommend this insightful, prophetic journey of emotion through poetry and prose. As founder and president of The Lady Oya Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports domestic violence survivors and their families, Marcus Harris speaks not only for himself but also for many souls that long for love, justice and equality.