This week we are looking at an eye opening klaxon call warning us of the inner workings of the drug industry in the US. This week, we are looking at Drugs, Money, and Secret Handshakes by Robin Feldman.
Quite simply, if you are an American reading this and you only read a single book between now and the November 2020 elections, it needs to be this one.
Fully 46% of the edition I read was bibliography and index – that is how well documented this treatise is. Indeed, at times it seemed that literally every sentence Feldman wrote had a footnote marker at the end of it.
And what she documents here is simply astonishing. I think many of us have suspected various pieces of the problem for quite a while, and indeed reform efforts as long ago as the mid 80s, when I was a toddler, have sought to correct some of what is described in this book. But as Feldman points out, many of these reforms have only exacerbated the problem rather than solving it.
Feldman does an excellent job introducing the problem in Chapter 1, spends chapters 2-4 detailing the problem from multiple perspectives, discusses an actual study of the problem she executed in chapter 5 – which is astonishing in its own right and not to be missed – and finally details some potential solutions in Chapter 6. It is refreshing that she explicitly states in the introduction to Chapter 6 that many of her proposals won’t be politically palatable and so gives a range of options from possibly politically palatable yet likely ineffective to almost a third rail of politics yet could likely actually solve the issue.
If this book gets the discussion it deserves, it will likely be a driving force in at least some of the 2020 campaigns, and it deserves to be. Feldman truly does a superb job of documenting and explaining her case, and I look forward to seeing where this goes.
As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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This week we are looking at a frenetically paced Christian self help book that contains a message many need to hear. This week, we aer looking at Optimisfits by Ben Courson.
This book was truly a frenetically paced manifesto of radical hope by clinging to nothing but Jesus Christ. At times, the wording evoked images of being shouted through a megaphone. The overall tone felt like a cross between WWE’s Mojo Rawley and his “All Hype All The Time” gimmick crossed with Canadian rapper Manafest’s breakout single “No Plan B” from several years ago. Courson does a great job explaining his philosophy and even references quite a few legendary Christian thinkers, from CS Lewis to G.K. Chesterton, and his message is one that should resonate in self help and Christian millenial/ GenX circles in particular.
The book as a whole is truly a great work, but there were a couple of problems with it. For one, Courson relies a bit too much on cliche catchphrases, liberally sprinkling them across nearly every chapter of the book. Another is that he proof texts quite a bit, though he also does a solid job of explaining several Biblical stories in more modern language. And the final problem is a general lack of citation. Given how much Courson makes some claim about something someone said and then just moves on with his point, a hearty bibliography and footnotes would generally be expected… but were not present in the Advance Reader Copy edition I read. Perhaps this will be better presented in the full publication edition, in which case this particular criticism would be rendered moot.
Overall this was an excellent introduction to a new to me Christian speaker and thinker, and I’ll likely be paying a bit more attention to future efforts from this author and recommend that you both pick up this book and check out his other efforts.
And as always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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Gilmour warns at the outset to the book that he is a big fan of the 70s and earlier incarnations of Count Dracula, and he sticks to that warning throughout the book while doing a superb job of showing what vampires are SUPPOSED to be like.
From the opening scene of the book where a pile of ash gets bloody and a creature arises, to the first time we see our hero and see the reaction of the villagers when they are told where he is going to be working, to the first time we see Castle Dracula, and at every point in this book… you get the dark, mysterious, awe inspiring power of evil that is Vampire.
None of that sparkly, angsty, weak crap here. The only romance you’ll see is just a touch of it between our hero and his wife – who are both subsequently put in mortal danger along with a couple of their friends.
Instead, you get intriguing mystery – what happened at this castle? Why is it in such disrepair? Who is the mysterious Count? Why are his servants never seen? – and fast paced action.
With a particularly good ending.
If you want to see what Vempires – and particularly the infamous Count Dracula – are REALLY supposed to be, do yourself a favor and pick up this book!
This review of The Crypt of Dracula by Kane Gilmour was originally published on May 2, 2013.
Preston (of Preston and Child fame) writes an interesting piece, but one thing is sorely lacking:
Also, expanding this to look at *both* sides would be very beneficial, I think.
Good work, and a worthy read.
This review of Trial by Fury by Douglas Preston was originally published on April 21, 2013.
Yet again, Robinson – already one of the greatest authors currently writing – outdoes even himself.
We open in WWII, where we get a sense of what is to transpire throughout the book. After the opener, we find ourselves in the middle of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch aboard the Magellan… about to be eaten by a shark!
It never really lets up from there, though when the crew of the Magellan finds a pillbox inscribed with “731”, anyone who has heard of the real-life Unit 731 of the Empire of Japan during WWII automatically has a skin-crawl moment.
Robinson has written of chimeras before, but never before has he based a story around such an atrocious real world event – and he even gives a real world history lesson during the course of the book.
Just when you think the book is winding down and all the monsters are revealed, you get a plot twist you never see coming. Then the surprises are over, right? Not at all. Indeed, Robinson keeps them coming right until the very last word of this masterpiece.
If you’ve never read Jeremy before, pick this up – you won’t be disappointed.
This review of Island 731 by Jeremy Robinson was originally published on April 21, 2013.
In Kent Holloway’s Primal Thirst, we start out with Jack, a cigar chomping professor/ cryptozoologist/ adventurer in the Amazon chasing a supposedly mythological creature – and get pounced on by real cats at the edge of a ravine! Barely escaping that calamity, Jack gets offered a simple job with a lot of money behind it. Fly immediately to Malaysia, rescue a Senator’s daughter, and fly her home safely. Nothing to it, right?
Except that she’s beautiful and the remote tribe she is working with is being slowly slaughtered by creatures that a) are not supposed to exist b) IF they exist, they are supposed to be no more than a foot or two tall and c) are over 4 feet tall! Oh, and they suck you dry of blood… without leaving a mark on you.
Can our daring adventurer save the day? What are these creatures? How did they get so big? And why does some former Soviet who is intent on overthrowing the Malaysian government want the oldest of the creatures for himself?
Well, you’re just going to have to read this book to find out!
*Disclaimer: I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.
This review of Primal Thirst by Kent Holloway was originally published on February 27, 2013.
This is my first book from J. Kent Holloway… and it most certainly will NOT be my last!
The action starts off with King Solomon (you know, ancient Jewish king, Son of David, Solomon’s Temple, all that jazz) thirsting for knowledge – and nearly paying for it with his life.
Several centuries later, during the Crusades, a new man – Baron Gregory – seeks the same knowledge. He has been sent to Jerusalem, blessed by the Vatican with the mission of finding the Urim and Thummim… except that isn’t why he’s *really* in Jerusalem.
As he nears completion of his actual goal, a specter begins showing up and kidnapping his men. Those few who see it and remain to tell the tale speak of a living shadow that smells of brimstone. They call it… The Djinn, based on Saracen/ Muslim folklore of spirit beings between humans and angels.
What is The Djinn? What is its goal? You’ll just have to read the book to find out. Well paced with lots of intrigue and action, as I noted in the title of this review, this is a book you REALLY don’t want to put down!
*Note: I received my copy of the book free from the author (who happens to also be the publisher) in exchange for an honest review.
The review of The Djinn by Kent Holloway was originally published on February 13, 2013.
gotta admit, I’ve never really been a fan of the Godzilla-type stories. Not in movie form, and I’ve certainly never read a book about them.
And then I picked up Robinson’s Project Nemesis – specifically because it was written by Robinson.
Now I can’t wait for my second strange beast book!
The basics: Guys find something in Alaska. Later, one of the guys heads a team working on human regeneration. Hands some strange DNA to his team after they have gotten close, but not close enough. Tissue with the new DNA seems to finally work.
Only it has side effects that are only learned too late. The human grown without a brain, specifically to harvest its organs, *lives* after having its heart cut out.
Meanwhile, a Homeland Security office chief goes to investigate Sasquatch. The local (female) Sheriff finds him after a night of drunkeness and first meets him in his boxers. Together, they stumble upon a secret facility that is not what it seems.
Just as a strange beast lays waste to the place…
If you’ve never heard of Robinson, there’s really not a bad book to start with from him, and this is no exception. It has some similarities to his Chess Team books, and even a passing resemblance to his Last Hunter series. Pick this one up. You won’t be disappointed – and you may well have found your new favorite author.
This review of Project Nemesis by Jeremy Robinson was originally published on February 10, 2013.
I had never heard of Rachelle Ayala before seeing this book as free on one of Facebook’s various Kindle pages. It sounded interesting – in part because I am a software developer myself -am so I picked it up.
This book has got to be one of the wildest rides I have ever been on. Not because of the pacing, but because of all the twists and turns. When you think you have this book figured out, turn the page and another twist awaits.
Simply incredible, which is high praise from a guy who routinely reads around three dozen books a year!
This review of Broken Build by Rachelle Ayala was originally published on December 27, 2012.
Kelly Carrero has done something fairly rare in my experience – written something that is fairly unique. The closest thing I can think of to what she has pulled off here is the movie Jumper, and even that lacked the execution of Ms. Carrero.
You can get the overall synopsis from the Amazon blurb, but what it doesn’t tell you is that the ending sequence is fairly shocking… and makes you want to get the second book immediately. For those who came to Ms. Carrero before the followup was published a month ago, this had to be somewhat….. tormenting. 😉 I know waiting on the third book is!
Do yourself a favor and pick up this book. I got it while it was free, and honestly I would have gladly paid the current price or even more had I known it was going to be this good. (Side note to Ms. Carrero: Smart marketing move doing the free/ $0.99 move on the first book. Honestly doubt I would have picked it up at $2.99, just because I had never heard of you – and I would have missed out on a GREAT book.)
This review of Evolution by Kelly Carrero was originally published on November 23, 2012.