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The Link By Dean Soukeras

Publisher: iUniverse, Inc ISBN: 059527286X

Reviewed by Marcus Brandt

This book is certainly quite schizophrenic.  On the one hand, it presents a lofty and controversial concept (at least to mainstream society) - that all the world’s cultures and religions stem from the same ancient Buddhist sect, and this is one man’s quest to expose that fact and to go on his own personal journey.  I admire the author for his concept, and get the feeling that he is remarkably knowledgeable about spirituality, but the wisdom and erudition in some passages is jarringly contrasted with the style and structure of the book. The author’s writing seems curiously “dumbed down” for his assumed audience.  Clichéd dialogue and unbelievably cloying interaction between the characters becomes more and more annoying as the book goes on.  One gets the feeling repeatedly that you’re watching a second rate Indiana Jones movie.  I kept waiting for the payoff, or the twist at the end, but it never comes: we know virtually all we ever get to know about the characters and the plot the instant they are introduced.  In addition, there are a great deal of errors that could have been easily corrected with some judicious editing – characters come and go without warning or resolution, at times change names for a page or two, and there are countless spelling mistakes that kept me pondering the wonders of the English language.  “Se” – could be Latin, or indicating a Swedish website, or an IRS form, or the chemical abbreviation for an element in the periodic table or … then again maybe it’s just the word “see”, as in “I see”.  Hard to say.  Even the “Link” of the title gets a different name for a bit. I hope that the author’s next book (if there is one) is a lot better written, or else you can just wait for the TV movie.  Could have been a lot better.



Scarecrow by Robin Hathaway

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN: 0312308515 

Dr. Jo Banks, a doctor living in Manhattan, is having a crisis of confidence.  Because of her mistakes, a little girl is dead, and Dr. Banks can’t seem to get past this tragic occurrence.  So she runs, and ends up in a motel in rural New Jersey.  Called upon to help an ailing guest, she soon finds herself landing a job as the local “motel doctor”.  Unable to help herself, she soon finds herself caught up in the lives of the local folks in the community, and when strange events begin to occur, she can’t help but to get further involved, placing her own life in extreme jeopardy.     

With a delightful cast of characters, this new title from Hathaway is charming and engagingly witty.  Dr. Jo Banks is impulsive, intelligent, and just simply likable.  And while the suspense is a bit on the light side, this does not detract from this delightful tale in the slightest, as just getting to know this slightly oddball cast makes it worth the while.  We definitely hope to see a return of these memorable folks, and hopefully a deepening of the possible romance that’s brewing as well, so here’s to the creation of another madcap adventure starring Dr. Banks.