Category Archives: Reviews

Review of THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS by Matthew Peters

Today Anne and I are very happy to welcome author Matthew Peters to our blog. 14159103_1944404719119993_1827823521_n

Matthew is a very interesting guy who writes very interesting books. This is from his bio.

Dual diagnosed* from an early age, Matthew Peters dropped out of high school at sixteen. He went on to obtain an A.A., a B.A. from Vassar College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. He has taught various courses in a variety of disciplines throughout North Carolina. He is committed to increasing the awareness and understanding of the dual diagnosed. (The term ‘dual diagnosed’ refers to someone suffering from a mood disorder, e.g., depression, and chemical dependency).

His first novel was Conversations Among Ruins (All Things That Matter Press, 2014)  in which he wrote powerfully about the very difficult topic of the dual diagnosed individual. I read Conversations well over a year ago and still think about it from time to time.

But this is a column about THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS, his new release through Melange Books.  THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS is a political-religious thriller that capitalizes on Matthew’s love for history and research.

Here is The Brothers’ Keepers blurb.

Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, and Jesus’ purported spouse, Mary Magdalene. But what about Jesus’ siblings? What role did they play in early Christianity?

Contemporary Jesuit and renowned religious historian Nicholas Branson is about to find out…and the answer will shake the foundations of the Judeo-Christian world.

It all starts with the murder of a United States Senator in a confessional, and the discovery of a strange religious document among his possessions. At the urging of his FBI friend, Branson joins the investigation. His effort to uncover the truth behind the murder draws him into the search for an eight-hundred-year-old treasure and into a web of ecclesiastical and political intrigue.

Accompanied by a beautiful, sharp-tongued research librarian, Jessica Jones, Branson follows a trail of clues, from the peaks of the awe inspiring French Pyrenees to the caves of war-torn Afghanistan. Along the way, shadowy powerful forces trail the pair, determined to keep safe a secret buried for centuries.

Here is our review.

THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS — This conspiracy thriller by Matthew Peters opens with a grisly murder that is intended as much to silence a person who knew too much as to send a message to others. Nicholas Branson, a Biblical scholar, almost-Jesuit and master of many languages, is soon being torn between two competing organizations that want him to use his extensive knowledge to solve that murder and discover the motive for it. But this is one conspiracy that has connections to the very top of very powerful organizations, and before many pages are turned, Nick’s life is also in extreme danger and he is forced to become involved in order to save his own skin and that of the pretty and quick-witted librarian who assists him on his trek. At the core of the mystery is an object that has the power to bring down the Roman Catholic Church and shake Christianity to its roots. The author weaves in verses from the Bible with tidbits from other ancient sources that may have you re-reading some Biblical passages yourself. The action covers many colorful parts of the world and is non-stop toward a conclusion that will have you hoping there will be a sequel for Mr. Branson. And, last but certainly not least, there is some beautiful writing along the way. You are in good hands with Matthew Peters.

Matthew’s says that he is working on a sequel. We will be among the first to read it.

BroKeep

The buy links for a digital or paper copy:

Melange

Amazon

Buy your copy today!

Welcome to Matthew Peters

Today we are very pleased to have author Matthew Peters here for an interview.  We’ve been having a bit of very unsettling weather and there was heavy fog last night so it is something of a miracle that Matt is able to be with us today! 🙂

Matt lives in North Carolina but lived for a time in New York and attended Vassar College which is just up the Hudson River in a place with the wonderful name of Poughkeepsie, which means, I understand, “the reed-covered lodge by the little-water place”.  There was a stream that entered the Hudson here and the Indians used it as a meeting place.

For a change, we would like to start with an excerpt from Matt’s latest novel, The Brothers’ Keepers, which is excellent:

The bus moved up Viadotto and turned right onto Rene. Smells of fried food and burning incense wafted through the open windows of the bus. A left turn brought them to Emilia, past white stone buildings, statues, and street vendors, past the fountains toward the heart of Pisa. The further north they went, the closer they came to the Arno, where a vast migration of darkly-clad figures moved in the opposite direction, southeast toward Rome. It was a black exodus of grief, one of almost unreal proportions; swarms of people with lowered heads and bent postures, heading desperately, slowly, inexorably toward a common ill-fated destination. The dark edges of the black clothes stood out in stark contrast to the gray day that blurred the corners of buildings and churches. Rain fell, blended with human tears, and smudged the scene like a charcoal sketch. Open, dark umbrellas resembled the conical piles of volcanic ash upon which the country was built. On that gray morning Pisa wore a death-mask.

Now, we are ready to begin!

Matt Pic

Please share with us a memory of visiting the library or of reading, preferably as a young child.

I did visit the library when I was a child, but no particular memory stands out. I was the only person in my household who read for pleasure. I do remember escaping into my own world through books and reading in an effort to shut out the chaotic environment surrounding me.

 

Which book have you inherited from the generation above; that is, which book have you read and has stayed with you and made you reread it in whole or in part? What about the book created this attraction?

The book I inherited is not exactly from my generation, but it is from my childhood. That would be LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The attraction to me was the strength of the family depicted in the book. They stuck together through the worst of times and the gravest of challenges. Despite incredible odds, they survived and grew closer in the process. I think I saw in Laura’s family the characteristics I wish I had seen in my own. In addition, the illustrations by Garth Williams are just enchanting.

(Anne and I got to read these books through our children, who loved them as well.)

Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why? (NOT one of the books you’ve written).

The book I would like to leave for future generations is THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. In this novel, Dostoevsky says so much about life, that he renders superfluous many novels that came after.

Dostoevsky(He is  indeed a tough act to follow.  I think Brothers Karamazov is also many novels in one.)

Take a photograph of one of your bookshelves. If a stranger were to enter your room and see it, what would it tell that person about you?

Book shelf

I think the picture tells the stranger (no pun intended) that I love Camus, and that in addition to novels, I am a huge fan of playwrights, especially Henrik Ibsen. A bookshelf down one would find YA, contemporary romance, and philosophy (mostly Nietzsche), to demonstrate the eclecticism of my reading taste.

Albrt Camus(If you haven’t noticed already, Matt is a deep thinker, and this thought is reflected in his writing.)

 

You have written a thriller, The Brothers’ Keepers, and a mainstream novel, Conversations Among Ruins. Did you prefer writing one or the other? Why?

I liked both of them for very different reasons. THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS allowed me to exercise my love for research, history, and politics.

CONVERSATIONS AMONG RUINS allowed me to use a different set of writing skills, and to fulfill my love for literary fiction. Most importantly, it gave me the chance to explore the issue of dual diagnosis. Daniel Stavros, the protagonist, is dual diagnosed, meaning he has a mood disorder and chemical dependency.

I’d like to continue writing both genre fiction and literary fiction.

(We hope he does write both!)

This is the buy link for THE BROTHERS KEEPERS : http://amzn.to/1BTP8cE

This is the buy link for CONVERSATIONS AMONG RUINS on Amazon, available both in paperback and Kindle: http://amzn.to/1GbhBrX

You can find Matt on social media at these addresses.

Website/Blog: www.matthewpetersbooks.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MatthewPeters65

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Matthew-Peters-Author/1434941676798108

 

And as an added treat, this is an excerpt from CONVERSATIONS AMONG RUINS:

She continues to sing and it’s all so surreal—the Christmas song in June, love-making’s passion followed by sudden coldness, the undulating movement of hips and breasts as this mercurial woman dances in the warm summer night. The balcony doors are still open and she has her back to the water. At the end of the song she stretches out her arms and tilts her head to the side. In that moment, silhouetted against the dark night, she looks crucified. Humming softly now, she dances barefoot toward the balcony. She glides past the table, picks up the open bottle, beckons with a crooked finger. Through the open doors he watches her pour ruby liquid into glasses.
He goes out and stands beside her. When she leans over the railing, he reverently places his hand on her tattoo—almost an exact replica of the pendant his mother gave him right before she died. 
“Still want to go?” he asks.
She reaches behind her and rests her hand on the back of his neck. “Yeah, but not from here. Not yet anyway.”
He turns her around and dances her slowly back to bed.

(Beautiful!)

Thanks for being her, Matt!

New Five Star Review of PRAISE HER, PRAISE DIANA

December 9, 2014 — Fran Lewis, Author and Independent Reviewer — Five Stars

“Praise Her! Praise Diana: Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks

Justice: What’s your definition and how would you define it? Each one of us wants those who inflict us with pain or injury to pay for what they did. But, what is the process or result of following the laws to judge this person and punish their crime is not enough to make them pay for what they did to you? Justice according to the dictionary is the “ the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/justice) However, there are times that impartial justice gets cast aside, laws tabled and someone’s own brand of vigilance takes hold. Diana! Just who is she? Is she a character in a novel or is she someone that is hiding in plain site in front of you? Maggie Edwards needs to finance her own apartment, pay her bills and although her first novel was a huge success it’s time to move on to the next. But, what she creates and why will give readers chills, tingles and leave you cold. Diana real or fictitious is a cold-blooded killer who has taken on the male population making them pay for the abuses they’ve inflicted not only on her but other women too. Receiving a phone from a mysterious caller claiming to be Diana. The words spoken are bone chilling, the implications daunting and the end result will send you right to the next page and on and on until you learn just who this diabolical killer is or maybe you will Praise Her Praise Diana, for her actions!

Chapter 2 begins the novel within the novel as Maggie takes the plunge, writes the story telling readers just why and how Diana came to be attacked, raped, tortured and kidnapped by two men. Hitchhiking can be dangerous and any young girl reading this story and Diana’s account of what she endured will surely learn a serious lesson about the dangers our taking rides from strangers.

Writing her chapters and sharing them with readers, Maggie comes to a serious roadblock when her editor and publisher want to serialize her story in their weekly magazine. But, she has committed the chapter to the New York Portal and Heather Burke, who will stop at nothing to make sure she keeps sending those chapters. One phone call that she cannot ignore and one writer being forced into telling the story of this elusive woman whose goal it is to hand down her own brand of justice to any male who has raped or tortured a woman by taking away the one thing he needs to continue his spree. But, deals are made, publisher and magazine editor in agreement, threats to sue, and then the unthinkable happens. Someone is enacting what Diana has described as Maggie tells her story. Diana or someone who has decided to become Diana has begun sending messages to those involved. Body parts delivered neatly wrapped. Notes and graphic pictures telling their own story to make the public aware of not just her story but also many others come to light as well.

While completing the deal with the publisher and the rogue editor Heather, Maggie’s lawyer and friend Jane Larson both realize that there is more to this story and whomever is doing this has another agenda. Receiving phone calls egging her on and making her realize that she has no other choice but to continue writing this story the author includes several other subplots that bring the issues of spouse, emotional and sexual abuse to light. Making the deal with the Portal created quite a stir. Promising a second novel called Staying There was no longer possible or Maggie’s goal. Interests handled and the next installment being written but not before the author adds in another layer. WPW or Women Protecting Women is a powerful organization that Maggie, Jane and many of her friends sponsor and belong. A special art showing at a gallery called the Iphigenia Gallery in New York would be the center of controversy where a special fundraiser for WPW is being held. Ellen the gallery owner, Sheila, a member, Ari and others would hopefully come together to help raise money for the organization. But, not everyone wants this to go off without a hitch and receiving a package wrapped up in butcher paper lets you know that it’s not a piece of meat from a butcher but someone sending everyone a dark and dangerous message. Read more about Diana in her own words as she winds up leaving NYC finding herself kidnapped in the back of a car but no knowing it at first and being used as a pawn, slave and sex toy for two men. Just how this scene plays out is quite graphic as the authors present the facts in a realistic and colorful way.

Justice comes when you least expect it and all too often you get what you deserve. One young girl would learn the meaning of deceit, lies and deception as Jane Larson has issued an order of protection for her against her husband, but this young girl is weak, naïve as Mariana Morales should have listened to Jane and kept her door locked.

Not everyone believes in the mantra of WPW and other voices are going to be heard as we hear Judith Frazier speaking out countermanding what WPW stands for, telling women to speak out and presenting her point of view. Judith was a victim of abuse by a family member and she never recovered as so many never do. Her friendship with one of the members allows her the latitude to join in some of the meetings, an on air interview and the fundraiser. Clashing with the group and the police does not stop Judith but will anyone stop her or does she know something about Diana that we have not found out?

Jane is living with a photographer named David and from this point on she learns just how little she can trust him sending her into the arms of someone else. Maggie and Jane decide to leave town and spend the weekend in Maggie’s house miles away from New York. Diana was determined to have her story told and now with two deals made the Portal and the new insert in Femme, her story will reach more readers and the end result just might make Maggie famous. But, at what cost and whose?

Not everyone is who they seem and the police come into the picture as we meet Detectives Glaser and Smalley but not before Jane, Judith and Maggie present their viewpoints on air. An interview that will keep you guessing and a story that seems to get better every step of the way as a woman’s group called the Eumenides a feminist group begins to take on their own picture or role of Diana, dressing the way she does and attacking and killing males adding more the violence and giving new meaning to the word Revenge. But, Maggie is pressured and she and Jane need time alone to sort things out as their weekend away turns into more between them. Added in we learn about Jane’s mom Martha who originally ran her firm and whose files the police would like to have but Jane will not share them. Added in one-woman claims to have scene Diana, knows who she is but will not reveal her name. Grand Jury convening, subpoenaed but Maureen will not budge.

Two detectives working hard to find out just who is behind the killings yet no one willing to tell. Added in we hear the voices of two cops, that have gone bad causing one woman to disappear after having a night of folly the one man’s girlfriend. The issue of sexual abuse and emotional abuse comes out very strong as we learn more about Jane and her own demons that she has to bear. But, not everyone wants this solved and someone has decided to take out one of the detectives but why? What is behind this killing? Is it Diana or someone else? Why do the authors say at the start that Marissa is dead? Who is Marissa and what part does she play, as she is the character in Getting There Maggie’s first novel.

Authors Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks have created a top notch novel filled with graphic scenes, characters that are well crafted who present their viewpoints in their own way as if they are speaking to the audience reading and hearing their story and in Diana’s own words to understand or try to understand why? When truths come out and lies unfold just who Diana’s and why she has enacted her own form of vengeance might not startle, shock or surprise readers. Just what is Maggie’s secret and what is her connection to Diana? A final protest will reveal it all and the end will make you wonder just how far someone will go to avenge a death! Just how far will someone go for Justice? Secrets, lies, betrayals, deceptions and no one are safe? Who deserves to die? Which man gets what he deserves? Why would Diana go after a woman? Role reversals are quite apparent as men are now on the you might say chopping block and being held accountable for their taunts, actions and abuse of women? But, should all of them suffer? Stereotyping is definitely brought to light in both the men and women characters within this complex novel. Praise Her! Praise Diana! What do you think? Should we? Just who you won’t believe!

The authors provide a great forum for discussion on each of the issues brought to light within this five star novel. ”

Fran Lewis: Reviewer
Link to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1127521818?book_show_action=false