Updating The Camera’s Eye

Despite my best intentions, summer activities and traveling have left this blog inert since May. I apologize, and now that we’re into fall, I will try to stay more active and reliable. I’ll start by sharing with you the latest review of The Camera’s Eye, this one from Aimee Ann at The Redheaded Booklover.

First, a reminder about the book:

Professional photographer, Veronica Lorimer, wakens to the sound of a rock crashing through the front window of the Puget Sound island retreat she shares with retired prosecuting attorney, Charlotte McAllister. As the attacks continue and worsen, the local police blame a local vagrant boy, but Veronica and Charlotte suspect the source may involve their own pasts and Veronica’s estranged family. As they get closer to the truth, a sudden discovery pitches their search toward tragedy.

 

 

 

 

Exerpted Redheaded Booklovers Review

The Camera’s Eye, Judith Kirscht

September 6, 2018 by Aimee Ann

Detective & Private Investigator, Literature & Fiction, Mystery & Suspense, Thriller & Psychological Thriller, Women’s Fiction

The Camera’s Eye has to be one of the best mystery & suspense novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading. … [It] is a thrilling novel that is the perfect novel for those looking to be taken on a dark, twisty-turny but an emotive journey. The story the reader will encounter in The Camera’s Eye is shocking but also sensational, and unlike anything, I have read before. … the story is shrouded in a tremendous amount of mystery, secrecy and suspense and the reader will not be able to guess where the plot is going at all and that is thanks to the talented author Judith Kirscht and how thrilling her literature is and how incredible her ability to keep her reader guessing from beginning to end is.

… I found myself invested very quickly and wanted to know more. As well as this, I was invested in Veronica’s character and wanted to know how she would cope with the mounting violence and unraveling of secrets and all of this is thanks to the phenomenal characterization courtesy of the author Judith Kirscht.

The plot … is incredible and full of many layers that are all intricately well-developed, as well as intriguing. … As I read The Camera’s Eye I loved the feeling of being challenged. I loved having to invest myself fully in the story as I tried to think about the violence and predict the upcoming events.

The Camera’s Eye is … a unique mystery … that stands out amongst the crowd. This is because the story is wonderfully written and the plot perfectly executed. This is how crime/mystery and suspense books should be! I adore these kinds of books that push the boundaries. It is daring and bold and frankly brilliant.  I always measure my enjoyment of a book on whether I find myself looking at the page numbers. If I start doing this, I know that the novel is taking its toll. In other words, it is dragging, and I want it to end. The Camera’s Eye was very different than this. Never once did I find myself referring to the page number and that is a sure sign that this book is a compelling piece of work that draws the reader in, and captivates them to read it quickly and to reach the end of the book to find the outcome.

Judith Kirscht has managed to write an incredible novel that is full of suspense and mystery. This will keep readers of The Camera’s Eye turning the pages into the early hours of the morning. Kirscht can only be described as a new literary talent as she knows how to captivate her readers from the start. Kirscht is a writer who does not hold back. She thrusts her reader into the thick of the drama very early on, and she keeps them turning the pages thanks to her excellent descriptive powers. The author perfectly describes the scenes in her book, as well as her characters, and this correctly places the reader in the thick of the story as the reader is able to imagine every place and event perfectly.

To summarize my thoughts on the thrilling novel that is The Camera’s Eye, I would say if you are a reader who is tired of seeing the same old mystery books that are lackluster and forgettable, then take a chance on this excellent read, because I promise that you will not be disappointed. It is a novel that has everything the reader would want in a story and so much more. It has spine-tingling good content, dynamic, memorable characters; all coming from a charismatic author that writes flawlessly and wonderfully. It is an all-around, interesting and memorable book that you will not be disappointed in if you choose to turn the pages. My rating for this astonishing book, of course, has to be five stars!

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Thank you so much Aimee Ann. Also to refresh your memory, The Camera’s Eye was a finalist for the William Faulkner Wisdom Award, was shortlisted and first in category for Chanticleer’s Somerset Award and was among Shelf Unbound 100 Honored indie books. Do give it a try, and, of course, post a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

The Second Mrs. Price: A Beautiful Read

“In the Midwest, in the spring, there are a few days so warm and soft, so gently in motion, so tenderly inviting, that we forget the ravages of the winter just behind us, the heavy breathless summer days just ahead; we accept that we are home, that we are where we belong.”

Thus Toni Fuhrman opens her second novel, The Second Mrs. Price, a compelling tale woven from the eternal conflict between our need to belong, to be rooted, and our desire to escape those bonds and follow our passions.

Selene Price, a mid-career editor, has broken up a family to get her man, Alex, but cannot let go of the house where she grew up, the home of parents who died too soon. On the steps of that house, on the blissful afternoon described above, trouble appears in the shape of Alex’s half-brother, Griff, a rootless soul without commitment or goal. Selene shifts back and forth between her love for the safe and successful Alex and her passion for his brother. Though she felt guilt at breaking up Alex’s family, she feels no guilt in pursuing Griff, as though she believes she can have both.

But Selene is not the only one entangled in the web of want and need. As her passion drives her closer to fruition, the story shifts to other characters’ struggle with the same conflict. The story shifts from one to another, creating a tangled skein of hidden turmoil. The peaceful eye of this storm of buried emotion is the brothers’ grandfather, Bernard, and their love for him draws the characters together. But the impending crises inevitably come to a head, and the question becomes how (and whether) Selene or the others will find their way home.

Woven into the time-honored conflict between freedom and belonging are the generational changes wrought by social revolution of the last century. Selene and the brothers are children of that revolution. The brothers’ mother, child of traditional values, sees her illicit affair as “a dark patch in her past,” while Selene, she notices, “dances in the middle of her wildness.”  Despite the new freedom, the conflicts remain as anguishing as ever and the consequences unchanged.

The beauty of the prose, evidenced by the opening quote, and the variations on the theme over time and character, give depth to an absorbing read and a thoughtful, unvarnished view of our times.

The Second Mrs. Price is available in paperback and ebook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IBook and (in print) at your local bookstore.

The God of Small Things: a Story That Grows On You

Arundhati Roy, in his tale of “two-egg twins,” weaves a story that will stay with you and grow long after you’ve put it down. Roy brings the Indian valley around Ayemenem to life with a power and depth that reminds me of Steinbeck’s descriptions of the Salinas Valley. Its heat, smells, wildlife suck you with an intensity far deeper than the “vast, violent, circling, driving, ridiculous, insane, unfeasible, public turmoil of a nation.” It is a book for those who love being carried deep into the time and place that shape the destinies of the characters.

Rahel and Estha who, though they are “two-egg twins,” share each other’s inner lives as they grow up in a world shaped by their mother, Ammu, their Uncle Chaco, their grandaunt, Baby Kochama, and the Paradise Pickle and Preserves factory owned by their grandmother, Mamachi. The world of Small Things. As the story opens, they are returning to Ayamenem as adults split from each other by a past shaped in some way by the death of their cousin, Sophie Mol.

We then return to the world of seven-year-olds on their way to the airport to meet Chaco’s British ex-wife, and their cousin, Sophie Mol. Through their eyes, we learn with them the adult world, where western culture has descended via television onto the already chaotic colonial mix of Indian and British. Estha wears his “Elvis puff.” His “Special Outing Puff.” Rahel’s hair is held by a “Love in Tokyo,”—two beads on a rubber band—and her “Airport Frock.”

The story of the tragedy that ended that visit unfolds slowly through the lives of the household as each stumbles through the incoherent mix of language and custom—The God of Big Things. The children learn the mix of English and Indian culture, whose edits are always capitalized as are other adult axioms (control your Hopes, not doing so is a Bad Sign). This gives them an innocence that makes its incoherence hilarious and heartwarming. They fill us with joy and dread. They are, as their mother sees them, “small bewildered frogs engrossed in each other’s company, lolloping arm in arm down a highway full of hurtling traffic. Entirely oblivious of what trucks can do to frogs.”

And inevitably, it happens. The mix childish misadventure and Big God tabu that comes crashing down in an afternoon on the river is horrifying and devastating. We have come to love these people and feel a part of their struggle to make sense of the world. You will carry them in your mind long after you’ve gone on to other things.

Democracy in America

I’ve always been fascinated by America, the American experiment, the American experience. In college, I found my place in the sociology, anthropology, political science and literature of the American people, their values and ideals. My novels are born of the culture of merging, conflicting cultures we, as Americans, were born into and from my conviction that dealing with that experience is the challenge of being American. Only once before, in 1968, have I had the horrifying sense that the country was coming apart under the strain, a sense of the great experiment disintegrating.

What has happened to us? Where did this disintegration into hate and violence, this contempt for our institutions begin and where is it taking us? From all of my early studies, the work that keeps coming to mind, as I look for answers is Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. De Tocqueville was a French aristocrat who hated tyranny and feared that democracy would disintegrate into tyranny of the majority. He understood, however that democracy was the future, so in 1831 he came to America in order to see it in action. To my mind, no student should graduate from high school in the United States without reading his observations and reflections on the American people, for we desperately need to renew our sense of not only the hope but the challenges of being an American and a commitment to support its survival as a democracy.

De Tocqueville feared individualism and the abolition of the class system that, he believed, gave order and stability to the European nations. He believed that without that order, people would be forever anxious about where they belonged and would end up habitually comparing themselves to each other. Forever insecure, their individualism would devolve into selfishness and each would end up alone. We should take a good look at ourselves in light of this fear. Has our insecurity, our need to know where we belong, splintered us into rival groups where each gains stature by debunking the other?

However, De Tocqueville also found in the Americans, an equality unknown in Europe and with a deep sense of community and civil order. He found a people committed to building a new world, to resolving together the problems that confronted them. He believed that the multitude of civic organizations would counter the dangers of individualism. The men, he thought, would forever strive to power and acquisition of wealth, but the mores, the “habits of the heart” carried by the women, would provide the civilizing force.

He has a great deal to say about the role of religion in the New World and many other subjects, but this gives a taste of a perspective different enough to shake up the all-to-stale ideologies that have broken us into enemy camps. We have indeed joined civil action groups, but we have, since Trump’s election, discovered the importance of unwritten mores, that undergird our common culture. We are appalled at the violation of norms we have long since taken for granted, but rediscovering  them gives us the opportunity to regain our sense of belonging to a whole.

His views on the role of women should spark lively conversations on individualism versus commitment for both genders as well as on the effect of the rampant greed of the eighties and nineties. De Tocqueville believed that even more than our laws and institutions, it is the “habits of the heart” that give the Americans strength. We need to recommit to those together.

Love in the Northwest: Mary Trimble’s Maureen

 

After two successful memoirs, Mary Trimble returns to fiction in MAUREEN, a story of loss and recovery. For readers who love being carried deep to the setting of the story, this novel is a winner. Trimble’s deep love of the Northwest which shines through earlier books is a commanding presence in MAUREEN, shaping character and plot.

Aching to escape the sorrow and bitterness of her past and aching for a child, Maureen answers a want ad, a rancher’s plea for a housekeeper and caretaker for a child. In so doing, she closes the door on her city-bred life in Seattle for a ranch in Eastern Washington. Left lonely by a broken love affair, she is surrounded now by the needs of a tragedy-struck ranch family.

John Cahill’s wife was killed in an auto accident, leaving him with a seven-year-old girl and a house in addition to the ranch to run with his adolescent son and a single ranch-hand. Here the housekeeping skills she learned as a girl are the vital center of a non-stop operation, and befriending a little girl not ready to accept a substitute mother is a challenge she welcomes.

She finds that she fits into ranch life as though it has been waiting for her, and as the family and ranch absorb her more and more she must remind herself and others that she is an employee only. When John starts dating a woman from town, however, she is faced with losing it all. This new development triggers emotional upheavals for the now teenage Leslie as well, and life on the ranch becomes a series of crises, testing the strength of all members of the family.

This pastoral tale turned page-turner carries the reader deep into the life of a ranch. From fence-mending to round-up to calving, the reader becomes part of the all absorbing work of a Washington ranch just beyond the foothills of the Cascades. You can smell the vast distances of sun-dried grass, but when crisis strikes, those distances themselves put self-reliance to test. A very rewarding read.