The Silver Mosaic by Michael McMenamin and Patrick McMenamin

The Silver Mosaic by Michael McMenamin and Patrick McMenamin
Publisher: First Edition Design Publishing
Genre: Historical, Thriller, Mystery/suspense
Length: Full (442 pgs)
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

March, 1933. The weak German economy is in peril. Winston Churchill wants to push it over the cliff with a boycott of German exports and take with it the new Nazi government whose brown-shirted SA thugs are terrorizing Germany’s Jews.

Working with Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, Churchill enlists the help of his goddaughter, Hearst photojournalist Mattie McGary, and her fiance, the lawyer and ex-Army intelligence agent Bourke Cockran. Mattie’s task is to find out how the Nazis plan to defeat the boycott. Cockran’s assignment is to recover microfilm containing sensitive commercial information on German exporters compiled by German patriots opposed to the Nazis. With it, the exporters’ competitors will be able to steal Germany’s foreign customers with comparable goods at lower prices.

The Nazis are determined to fight back. To oppose the boycott, they find two unlikely allies. One is the Jewish Authority in Palestine who is negotiating with the Nazis to sell out the boycott in exchange for the Nazis allowing German Jews to emigrate to Palestine with funds in excess of German currency controls. The negotiations are top secret and when Mattie gets too close to the truth, both the Nazis and their Jewish allies in Palestine are determined to stop her at any cost.

The second Nazi ally is FDR and the U.S. government who also oppose the boycott because of the damage it will do to American investors. When American agents learn of Cockran’s quest for the microfilm, they team up with Hitler’s black-clad SS and Jewish agents from Palestine to stop him and get the microfilm.

The deadly battle between Churchill’s agents, Mattie and Cockran, takes them from New York to London, Paris, Berlin, Budapest, Prague, Copenhagen, and Stockholm pursued by the strange bedfellows of Nazi, Jewish and American agents working together. Finally, at Mattie and Cockran’s wedding in Scotland, their enemies kidnap Cockran’s son and Churchill’s daughter and offer to trade their lives for the microfilm.

I was excited to be able to review this next volume in the Churchill Thriller series – the fifth in the series. The action takes place shortly after the adventures in the previous volume, The Berghof Betrayal (you can see our review of it here).

It was good to visit with some old friends and to meet new characters. The authors did another masterful job at blending historical figures (Churchill, Einstein, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, etc.) with fictional characters such as Mattie McGary and Bourke Cockran.

The action is non-stop, and the amount of historical research that this father/son writing team does is incredible. The books can be read in any order plot-wise, but it might help the new reader understand and perhaps keep up with all the characters if the previous books have been read.

While long and at times violent (it IS set during a pretty violent period of time, after all), the book is a pleasure to read. I’m looking forward to the release of their next book in this series.

Defragmenting Daniel: The Organ Scrubber by Jason Werbeloff

Defragmenting Daniel: The Organ Scrubber by Jason Werbeloff
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi Thriller
Length: Short Story (145 pgs)
Rated: 4.5 stars
Review by Poppy

7 stolen organs. 1 vengeful victim. A gruesome sci-fi thriller.

Organ scrubbing was a bloody job, but somebody had to do it. Daniel, an orphan from the Gutter, was put to work scrubbing kidneys at aged twelve. The job had its perks: a warm bed, Law and Order reruns, and an all-you-can-eat Mopane worm buffet.

Until the Orphanage stole Daniel’s parts, and sold them on the organ market.

Now Daniel has grown up, and yearns to become whole again. The cybernetic organ replacements just aren’t the same – he needs his parts back. But the new owners of his organs won’t give them up. Not without a fight.

Just how far will Daniel go to regain his missing pieces? And how much more of himself will he lose along the way?

Defragmenting Daniel is a cyberpunk crime thriller that will unnerve you. Every part of you.

Disturbing, intriguing, and well-written, Defragmenting Daniel is not a book for the faint of heart.

I wasn’t sure what to expect while reading this book. And while I did have to suspend reality a bit in order to believe that organ transplantation surgery could be done and the patient up and a around in a couple of hours with little pain or indication of major surgery, the ramifications and possibilities of this story were a bit terrifying.

The gutter is where Daniel is from and it’s not a nice place. The Orphanage where Daniel lives exacts payment for services by both making him work as an organ scrubber and by taking body parts and replacing them with cybernetic parts. The Bubble is where the beautiful people live. They are those privileged enough to be able to afford real organs to prolong life (the reference to Cher cracked me up!). When Daniel turns eighteen, he’s allowed to leave the orphanage, and a search for his biological family leads him to develop an interesting set of beliefs, which include the need to be once again whole … and so the search for his taken body parts begins.

The story moves fast and world-building is a bit vague, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. Be warned, however, the story is bloody and violent and graphic and Daniel’s apparent disregard for humanity was a little difficult to handle. However, he is also oddly attractive and I found myself rooting for his cause, even while being rather disgusted by it.

Kage was an interesting addition as well. He (or she…) works for the police department and is determined to find the person behind a particularly gruesome murder. Apparently, s/he always gets his/her man.

The story surprised me by ending in a cliffhanger… Daniel has only just started his mission. That was frustrating, but I would certainly be interested in reading further to see how things end up for him. I’m still not sure if I want him to succeed or not. Honestly, my ambivalence is an indicator of the author’s skill. Being able to make Daniel sympathetic definitely takes some doing!