Tuesday, May 27, 2014

WITS Book Reviews

Title: Before (B4: Book I)
Author: Mia Zabrisky
Publisher: Mia Zabrisky Books
Genre: Thriller
Publication date: (March 4, 2014)
Book Length in Pages: 71
Reviewer: Dana Micheli

Well, she has done it again! Mia Zabrisky, who, is in my opinion one of the best kept literary secrets out there, has written another un-put-downable thriller.

Whereas Zabrisky’s earlier books spent time in the past, Before (“B4: Book I”) explores a dark, totalitarian future. A man wakes up in a strange hotel room with no memory of how he got there, or even who he is. He also doesn’t know the identity of the beautiful and very dead woman lying next to him. He is soon chased from the room by men who clearly want to capture him…or worse. Now, slinking around the back alleys of a dismal, unfamiliar city, he tries to figure out what has happened to him. The only clue he has is the strange “B4” tattoo on his wrist, which he discovers has branded him a violent patient of a nearby mental hospital. He is also the number one suspect in the woman’s murder; his face is posted everywhere and he is being hunted by the drones patrolling the city.

Not far away, in another dilapidated motel room, another amnesiac commits a brutal murder for hire. This young woman is not paid with money, however, but with a few precious moments in which she is given access to her memories.

Is this Zabrisky’s commentary on where our society is headed, or simply the product of an incredible imagination and a cynical view of runaway technology? We don’t know, and it really doesn’t matter. We will have the nightmares either way.

One of my favorite things about Zabrisky is that she is a serial series writer. It allows me to savor each book, waiting for the delicious cliffhanger that will undoubtedly be waiting for me and knowing that the next installment will still manage to up the ante.

Title: Pinkslipped
Author: Romina Wilcox
ISBN-10: 1493627333
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Genre: Fiction
Publication date: (February 12, 2014)
Book Length in Pages: 290
Reviewer: Dana Micheli

I have always loved Romina Wilcox’s work; her cybercrime novels kept me on the edge of my seat and gave me a peek into the world of Silicon Valley. I am equally impressed with her departure from cybercrime. Her new novel, Pinkslipped, is the all too realistic story of one family dealing with the loss of employment, as well as financial and emotional security, during the Great Recession.

By all accounts, Jennifer and Ed Tesler lived an enviable life, with three children, a beautiful home in an upscale California neighborhood and luxury cars. Jennifer had climbed the corporate ladder in a male-dominated field and, after fifteen years at Tri-Tech, was probably on her way to breaking the glass ceiling as well. Her office was her second home, and she felt like she was part of a corporate family, indispensible. That illusion was shattered after the global economy went into freefall, resulting in huge layoffs at Tri-Tech. Jennifer is shocked to learn that she is one of the casualties. She will spend the next two years not only trying to get another job, but trying to recover her sense of self-worth and stop her family from losing everything they’ve worked for.

Pinkslipped also takes an honest look at the nature of the American Dream. The economic meltdown of 2008 was terrifying, not only for those directly affected by it, but by all Americans. We all felt as if the rug had been ripped out from under us, with no idea of how far we’d fall.

Ultimately, however, Pinkslipped is about the resiliency of that dream. It reminds us that it not only survived the Great Depression, but came back stronger than ever, and it will do so again. The book is also about the power of faith—in God, in family, and in one’s self –in helping us overcome even the scariest of circumstances.

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