Readers browsing Amazon’s online book store (the Kindle store) for their next read will make their purchasing decisions based on several factors. The cover has to be attractive. The book description should be compelling. And then there are reader reviews. A book with seven reviews is likely going to be perceived as less interesting than a book with seven HUNDRED reviews. The latter will be perceived as one where readers are heading in droves in pursuit of a great and wonderful story, whereas the former–the book with seven reviews–will be perceived as one read only by the author’s mother and a handful of friends.
Deadly Sins by Laura Read is a self-proclaimed organized crime thriller that follows the trajectory of Angela Balanescu, the daughter of organized crime boss Leon. Following the murder of Angela’s brother, Joe, by a coke-addicted wife who’d finally broken under the strain of her husband’s infidelities, Angela struggles to align her devotion to her family with a personal allegiance to an equally deep need to discover a purer love not mixed up with violence, greed and mindless promiscuity.
The first thing one notices upon reading through the nine stories collected in Rides From Strangers by independent author Mike Sahno is how empty-feeling everyone is. If one experience can be said to tie together all the protagonists from this provocative compilation of literary tales (with a light touch of magical realism), it’s that of loneliness hard-earned through tough encounters with others. Mike Sahno is the author of three previous books, Jana, Brothers’ Hand and Miles of Files (which recently relaunched). Rides from Strangers is his first collection of stories, though he demonstrates effortless ease in developing these tales, which leave the reader with a desolate sense of loss more typically found in bleak examinations of dystopian society. Though that feeling may not sound good, these stories definitely are.