Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Title: Silenced Cry
Author: Marta Stephens
Publisher: BeWrite Books
Publisher's Address: 32 Bryn Road South,Wigan, Lancaster, WN4 8QR
ISBN number: 978-1-905202-72-0
Price: $15.50
Publisher phone number and/or website address: www.bewrite.net

Review by Aaron Paul Lazar
Author of the LeGarde Mystery Series

Heads up, mystery lovers. There’s a new crime writer in town, and her name is Marta Stephens.
Stephens’ debut novel, Silenced Cry, is supremely addictive, propelling readers into the action from page one and corkscrewing through a wild ride of corruption, abuse, and villainy.

When Detective Sam Harper’s partner, Frank Gillies, gets a peculiar tip about a drug-related suspect holed up in a local bar, they hurry to apprehend him. The bust goes terribly wrong, and in one heart-pounding moment awash with bizarre twists, the suspect and Gillies end up dead in a rain-soaked alley.

Riddled with guilt and facing an increasing number of unanswered questions about Gillies’ past, Sam tries to move forward, but becomes exasperated when he’s placed with a new partner who hails from a corrupt precinct. In spite of their rocky start, Harper and Mann learn to tolerate each other. Their first case calls them to a construction site to investigate remains found in a sealed up wall. Horrified, they discover the remains belong to that of a baby girl – killed when she was only days old.

The cold case consumes Harper, who digs into the past with persistence and unparalleled drive. Strange connections with his and Gillies’ past pop up. Walt Harper, Sam’s father and an ex-cop familiar with the suspects, grows distant and secretive.

What is Walt hiding from his son? And could it possibly relate to Sam’s partner’s death? The answers lie embedded in a complex maze that will shock and satisfy the most assiduous crime mystery buff.

Stephens writes with a consummate skill. She’s serious about her craft, and it shows. Tight suspense, perfectly chosen verbs, natural and innovative beats, and authentic dialog propel this work to a level far beyond those works commonly found on the best sellers list. Stephens’ writing soars with focused intensity and her characters are real – they hurt, they fall in love, they suffer angst and explode with anger.

Stephen’s second book in the Sam Harper series promises thrills and intrigue matched only by Silenced Cry. This reviewer will be first in line for his much-anticipated copy.


Aaron Paul Lazar resides in Upstate New York with his wife, three daughters, two grandsons, mother-in-law, dog, and four cats. After writing in the early morning hours, he works as an electrophotographic engineer at Kodak, in Rochester, New York. Additional passions include vegetable, fruit, and flower gardening; preparing large family feasts; photographing his family, gardens, and the breathtakingly beautiful Genesee Valley; cross-country skiing across the rolling hills; playing a distinctly amateur level of piano, and spending “time” with the French Impressionists whenever possible. Although he adored raising his three delightful daughters, Mr. Lazar finds grandfathering his “two little buddies” to be one of the finest experiences of his life.

Double Forté is the founding book of the LeGarde Mystery series and was released in November, 2004. Upstaged followed in October, 2005. His third, Tremolo: cry of the loon, was released via Twilight Times Books in November 2007. Mr. Lazar is currently working on his twelfth book, For Keeps. The first book of his paranormal mystery series, Moore Mysteries, will be released in early 2008, followed closely by Mazurka, the next book in the LeGarde mystery series. He is a regular columnist for FMAM (Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine), Mysteryfiction.net and has been published in Great Mystery and Suspense magazine and the Absolute Write Newsletter. Contact him at: aaron.lazar@yahoo.com, visit his blog at aaronlazar.blogspot.com, or stop by his websites at
http://www.legardemysteries.com/ and http://www.mooremysteries.com/.

Friday, November 09, 2007

-New review for Tremolo by scholar/reviewer Bob Williams-

Reviewed by Bob Williams

Tremolo: cry of the loon by Aaron Paul Lazar
Twilight Times Books 2006, ISBN 1-933353-08-2, 223 pages, $18.95

This is the third book in the Gus LeGarde series of mystery novels. Unlike the other books, it takes place when Gus was a boy of eleven and he and the twins, Elsbeth and Siegfried Marggrander, vacation at a Maine resort run by Gus’s grandparents. Lazar has drawn heavily on this material in his other books and in this one he proves what a rich source it is.

As Gus and the twins return home from a boating accident, they encounter a young girl, bleeding from a blow to her mouth, and pursued by a drunken man whom they assume to be her father. The search for the missing girl, Sharon Adamski, runs through the story, in some ways its dominant thread but not the one that most occupies the reader.

The real attraction of the book is – and this quality it shares with the other Gus LeGarde books – the charm of the author and the opportunity for the reader to share in a gracious life built on warm relations with family and friends. The joys of the table and the love of music and the appreciation of the quiet joys of reading embrace an ideal but not impossible world. Lazar has added other strains to this medley. An occupant of one cabin is the mysterious Miss Jones, in reality Rose Kennedy seeking a quiet retreat where she can mourn the death of her son, shot down by an assassin in Dallas. She and young Gus become friends and it is he who rescues her cat Ivanhoe, frightened by a burglar.

It is no accident that the villains in Lazar’s books are villains without redemption. Like a figure from Elizabethan drama or opera they will not only stop at nothing, they will joyfully add gratuitous evil deeds beyond what any reader could expect. It is as if the existence of unqualified malevolence in others is the cost of Gus’s idyllic world, a kind of restoration of balances. Brigit Marggrander, mother of the twins, was the victim of the camps in Germany during World War II. This is another strong statement of the evil that exists in the outer world beyond the charmed circle of the LeGarde family and friends.

Lazar cleverly involves the story with To Kill a Mockingbird, a movie that Gus sees with his parents and which they all find overwhelming. It is a brilliant choice for it is a parallel with the LeGarde circle and the circumstances of Tremolo.

This – if the world is at all just – should be the break-through book for Aaron Paul Lazar. He has served his apprenticeship with two excellent works, but Tremolo reaches far beyond these and is a monument to the enduring values of love, integrity and bravery. Experimental writing is fun but charm and honesty and high ideals have staying power. Tremolo has all the signs of persistent endurance.

About the Reviewer: Bob Williams is retired and lives in a small town with his wife, dogs and a cat. He has been collecting books all his life, and has done freelance writing, mostly on classical music. His principal interests are James Joyce, Jane Austen and Homer. His writings, two books and a number of short articles on Joyce, can be accessed at: http://www.grand-teton.com/service/Persons_Places

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Hello, friends!

Now that Tremolo: cry of the loon is out, I'm seeking candidates to host my Virtual Book Tour, or Blog Tour during the months of January and February, 2008.

What's a Virtual Book Tour, you might ask? Well, it's basically a succession of reviews and/or interviews or articles posted by a reader during a specific time period. A good example is Beryl Singleton Bissell's Blog Tour. For ten weeks, friends/readers/reviewers hosted Beryl's book, The Scent of God. It was so much fun, and I was honored to be a small part of it. (see a sample, here.)

What does "hosting" mean? (I know, it can all be very confusing!) A Blog Tour host usually reads the book, writes a review and/or interview questions, and posts the resultant said review/interview on their blog. Don't have a blog? Not a problem. You can simply post an article on your website, Gather, or any other social networking site.

If you think you'd like to: 1) Read Tremolo 2) Write a review or 3) Formulate some interview questions for me, then contact me through Gather mail with "Tremolo Tour" in the subject line so I don't miss your note. Or, email me at aaron . lazar @yahoo.com (minus the spaces.)

If you're accepted as a Virtual Book Tour Host (I have only eight slots, but am willing to expand it if it makes sense), I will send you a free copy of Tremolo. If you've already purchased it, you'll receive another copy to give away or save. ;o) We'll choose a week that works for you. And the formula above is not cast in stone - you might choose to do a live chat, or simply write about the book, or feature some other clever way to help spread the word about Tremolo. You send me the interview questions in advance of the tour, and I'll return the answers to you in time for you to post them during your week.

Suggestions for reviews: Write a bit about the story and your reaction to it. But don't reveal key secrets, such as the identity of the lady in mourning, or who the villain is, or what happens to poor Sharon Adamski, the missing girl. This sounds pretty obvious, but sometimes folks don't realize they've revealed too much. They call these "story spoilers," and we don't want to spoil the story for anyone, of course!

Sound easy? It is! It does take a little time, but it's also a good way for you to get more traffic to your site, since I'll write a weekly article directing folks to your blog/article, and folks often follow the tour from blog to blog. It's great for networking, too!

Usually there are comments that come with your posting/blog entry, and I will visit to answer all of them during the week. That's why I chose a week for each event - to give time for the free exchange of comments!

Take care, my friends. And for those of you who love to write, remember to write like the wind!