Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

I post my reviews to:

2 yahoo groups
Amazon and B&N (of course)
and on Twitter

I am always looking for more places to post my reviews.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Fate and the Twilight of the Gods

Fate and the Twilight of the Gods: The Norns and an Exegesis of Voluspa, Gwendolyn Taunton, Manticore Press, 2018

This is a short book on Northern European (specifically Norse) mythology.

Fate is a force that is outside of human control. In Northern Europe, fate is usually shown as a Goddess with three aspects, known as the Norns or Nornir. They are not separate and distinct figures, which leads to the possibility that they were imported from somewhere else, and merged with the existing belief system via Roman incursions into Europe.

There is a problem in trying to study the surviving textual references to the Nornir. Christians destroyed a lot of indigenous literature during their aggressive converting of Europeans. Therefore, the concept of the Nornir could have been part of something much bigger.

Many different traditions have their own apocalypse story; for the Norwegians, it is called Ragnarok. It is similar to other traditions in that there is a cycle of decline in the quality of life until the end comes. Then the world is purified through destruction and things begin again.

Loki is the antagonist behind the coming of Ragnarok. He is never fully accepted into the community of Asgard. He is eventually imprisoned and tortured. Ragnarok can not be prevented, only postponed, because of a mistake in Odin's (Loki's father) past.

This is a very specialized book. It is recommended for mythology scholars, or those who otherwise know their way around Norse mythology. For the average reader, this book can be skipped.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Finding Sarah

Finding Sarah, Paul Walker, Michael Terence Publishing, 2018

This novel is about one man's attempt to fill in a large hole in his family history -- the sudden disappearance of his grandmother more than thirty years ago.

In 1980's England, Jack runs a home-based business selling software to catering companies. Things are not going well. He had to let go his sales manager, who then jumped to the competition. An important client did not renew their contract. A lucky bet on a horse race keeps the company afloat, for a while. A new sales manager was hired, who seemed to be the answer to Jack's prayers. That is, until large discrepancies were found in his resume.

What is worse is that Jack's behavior is getting increasingly erratic. With no warning, Jack suddenly gets angry, and lets loose with lots of profanity (even in front of friends). Jack pleads business stress, but his wife, Sarah, is sick of it. On the way to a patch-things-up vacation in the country (Sarah is an unwilling passenger in the car), Jack stops at a highway rest stop, and has a nap in the car. Sarah goes inside, and vanishes. When Jack goes in to get her, she is gone. The police are called.

Fast forward to the present. Jack is in a nursing home, suffering from advanced dementia. Matt, his grandson, is inspired to look into Sarah's disappearance. Slowly, he begins to put it all together. Focus shifts to an abandoned well at the cottage where Jack and Sarah were supposed to have their vacation. Are there human remains at the bottom of the well?

This is a very good story, but a very "quiet" story. There are no car chases, or hair-raising escapes from the bad guys (there are no bad guys). There is just lots of good writing, and an ending that will keep the reader guessing.