Friday, January 26, 2018

TOXIC MINDS by Gordon Bickerstaff

Toxic Minds: The damage is done... (A Lambeth Group Thriller) by [Bickerstaff, Gordon]
                                                         GREAT PAGE-TURNER
Gordon Bickerstaff is a very talented writer who can intertwine sub-plots into one cohesive thriller. Toxic Minds includes extremists, family conflicts, university politics, lovers, fracking and somehow magically makes them into unified book.

Alexa is the mother of a troubled daughter who she has neglected because of her obsession with her work. A group of very dangerous people cruelly use the young girl in order to pressure her mother. Gavin Shawlens, a character in the author’s other books, is called in to help the daughter and to find out who has caused her great harm.

Although the author is unquestionably talented, I found as a writer and editor, that he needs to really work on point of view, especially deep point of view. If he could conquer his lack of understanding in this area, he would be nothing short of a truly great writer. That is the reason I am giving him four stars rather than five.
Into Winter: The Armed Invasion (The Four Seasons Book 3)

                                                          INTO WINTER A GREAT READ

Into Winter is the third book in a series which relates the lives of several men and women who survive an America thrust into a dangerous world following the collapse of the grid. People are forced to survive any way they can. This book follows the third generation of families living in Peaceful Valley. Their parents and grandparents had built ways to survive, and taught the characters in this book everything they know. The main characters use the things they have been taught to contribute to the society existing in Peaceful Valley. But they are threatened by a gang in Corpus Christi led by Sandra Hawkins. She has managed to make citizens in Corpus Christi follow her autocratic lead. She’s dangerous and violent. She decides to wipe out the citizens of Peaceful Valley, but they are prepared for her and destroy her gang when it attacks them.
The author moves into a discussion about how to build a democratic society and how to crush those who threaten them. The citizens struggle to form a democratic government in Corpus Christi and look to the future when they can begin to form one in the entire state. The author does this with great insight. This part of the book is wonderful because it reminds all of us how difficult it is to follow the balance between a democracy and a dictatorial society.

The author knows how to build characters and weaves them together in an interesting way. It is hard to put the book down. However, his use of phrases at the beginning of chapters, such as “In the meantime, in Corpus Christi …” and “Back in Peaceful Valley…” is distracting and shouldn’t be used. He also exhibits some difficulty with point of view. However, the writer is definitely a talented storyteller and leaves the reader wanting more.