Review of, Veteran (Book Two of City Streets Trilogy), by Susanne Perry

As Fall settles in and with it, the cooler weather, I can’t help but think of those who lack the basic need of shelter. The book I’m reviewing today, though a work of fiction, touches on this wide-spread issue.

What’s the gist?

A Gulf War veteran haunted by his past and living on the street, is accused of a vicious crime. Although the evidence points in his direction, he claims to be innocent. Why does he refuse to aid in his own defense? Lieutenant Liz Jordan and Officer Kyle Connors want to believe him, but their hands are tied. Horrors from the past, social injustice, and political conspiracy come into play as the police try to vindicate a former soldier who remains true to his code of honor. Veteran is the second novel in the City Streets Trilogy.

Here’s My Take:

Book number two of the City Streets Trilogy, I highly recommend reading, Runaway, the first of the series. Veteran, has the same main cast of characters, all proficiently crafted with a fitting balance of flaws, quirks, and redeeming qualities.

While I appreciated the murder/mystery aspect of this tale, what stuck with me are the choice of salves that each character chose to apply, in response to the fires they walked through. While some chose to anoint their wounds with kindness, working tirelessly to make life better for the most vulnerable, others chose a toxic topical that they smeared liberally for their own gain. As in the everyday world, consequences or rewards were there to greet all in the end.  

Here’s an excerpt that sums it up. The guilty is being counselled by the detective after the arrest. Quinn and the guilty grew up on the street together. “Quinn had a lot to say about the hell that some street kids go through, how they have often been abandoned before they end up on the street. The street becomes a refuge for them. She talked about blame, blame and anger. How reactions can destroy a person. That’s why she does what she does with kids; she doesn’t want any kid to blame themselves for what the adults in their lives do to them. It’s not their fault. She’s doing great, by the way. And she wanted to let you know that we spoke. She’s not averse to talking with you, if you should want that.”

Veteran is more than a ‘who-dun-it.’ It’s a statement about rising from the ashes and channeling your emotions into a positive outlet that can benefit so many. Yes, even for the lost, there can be redemption.

I recommend this book for those who are concerned with social issues and enjoy a well-choreographed plot guided by characters who will leave a lasting impression.  

Here is a link to my review of, Runaway, the first of this series. Review of Runaway

Meet Susanne and grab your copy:

 Perry is the author of The City Streets Series–three mysteries set within the street community of the Pacific Northwest. An avid reader of mysteries, Perry chose to write in that genre, combining love of “who-dun-its” with experience working with people. Runaway, Veteran and Gutter Punk, the three titles in the series, include references to history, places, and culture specific to their Pacific Northwest settings. Perry is a native of Washington state and worked for a variety of non-profit programs serving children and families. Perry resides with her husband in Arizona.

Amazon Website

Liberty

Jeff tripped on a rock, stubbing his toe, and almost dropping Liberty.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got you,” he promised the Bold. “I’m sorry but it’s time for you to go. The fog’s rolled in and that will help you escape Crusher. Please don’t cry, don’t be afraid. Liberty will take you far away. She’s a great ship. My Grandpa and I made her.”

The lump in Jeff’s throat felt bigger than a jawbreaker candy. He should know because he almost swallowed one, once. It was one of the scariest things in his life, almost as scary as Crusher.

Jeff reached the edge of Pine Grove Bay, and gently slipped the driftwood ship into the still water. He took the yellow nylon rope and watched as a gentle breeze pushed against the cloth sails, carrying the good people towards the bigger waters of Gull Lake. He smiled and waved, hoping that it would calm them down, as they begged him not to let go of the rope.

Wherever they ended up, it would be better than here. Better than the everyday meanness from Crusher. That monster loved to torment the Bold. He hated their art, said it was just as ugly as they were, just before he would wreck it. He took their money so they couldn’t buy food and threatened a beating should they tell anyone. Jeff had to make sure that he’d never let the beast see Liberty.

Jeff knew what the word ‘bold’ meant, but he was too afraid to stand up against Crusher, who was a lot bigger than him. He’d felt ashamed and after a while, he’d gone to the King and Queen to plead for help for the Bold.

But the King said that The Crusher was really just a coward and that it was up to Jeff to fight him off. The Queen said that sometimes there are just monsters, and they build something called character.

Jeff didn’t see it that way. He let the rope go and plugged his ears against the cries of the Bold. His eyes blurred with tears as he watched them go. One of the Bold jumped overboard, he was splashing in the water . . . no, drowning!

Jeff ran into the cold water, not worried about getting his clothes soaked. He scooped up the little man who immediately yelled, “What about Princess Carlan? She’ll help! She believes in us!”

“Um, I don’t know—”

“Yes! Princess Carlan! Take us back, Jeff! We don’t want to go!” The Bolds on the ship yelled.

Jeff was frightened but he thought that this might be the right thing to do, so he grabbed the rope and brought Liberty back to shore. Everyone cheered!

Jeff went back to the palace. The Queen wasn’t happy to see him soaking wet. She told him that he’d be late for school and that Miss Carlan would not want such a mess in her classroom.

Jeff quickly changed and set Liberty back on his dresser. He grabbed his backpack while his stomach twisted into knots.

He hurried down the sidewalk, his legs feeling evermore like cooked spaghetti with each step. But Princess Carlan was so nice. She’d always said he was smart, a good artist, and that his stories took her places, whatever that meant. She would help, he had to believe that.

The open doors to Gull Lake Elementary were bigger than a Blue Whale’s mouth, but at least there was no sign of Crusher.

Jeff closed his eyes and took a deep breath. It was time to be brave; it was time to ask his teacher help.

Review of, The Prince And The Prodigal, by Jill Eileen Smith

As I look out the window, all I can see is brown . . . but that’s a good thing! Yesterday the ground was being struck by hail and sleet and today there’s nothing but clear skies. 🙂

Please let me steal you away to a place where snow never falls, and the earth bakes to a crisp under a hot desert sun. I’m talking about ancient Egypt.

The Details:

Joseph is the pampered favorite son of the patriarch Jacob. His older brothers, deeply resentful of his status in the family, take advantage of the chance to get rid of him, selling him to slave traders and deceiving their father about his fate. It seems like their troubles are over. But for Joseph and older brother Judah, they are just beginning.

While Joseph is accused of rape and imprisoned, Judah attempts to flee the memory of his complicity in the betrayal of his younger brother. After decades apart, the brothers will come face-to-face in a stunning role reversal that sees Joseph in a position of great power while Judah begs for mercy. Will forgiveness or vengeance win the day?

Bestselling and award-winning author Jill Eileen Smith brings her considerable research and imaginative skills to bear in this vivid retelling of one of the most popular stories found in Scripture–a story of jealousy, betrayal, and a reconciliation that only God could bring about.

My Thoughts:

I am extremely familiar with the Biblical account of Joseph’s life, so I was excited to read this book. Let me tell you, I’m glad I did.

This was an excellent ‘behind the scenes’ story of what must have been the dramatic, and traumatic, lives of Joseph and his family. Jill cleverly weaves scenes throughout the story that bring these historical figures to life and through her words, those Sunday School lessons leapt from the pages to become three dimensional.

The book sticks to the main facts but allows the reader an insight into the possible mindset of people who lived thousands of years ago.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Bible, history, the supernatural, adventure, or stories with great outcomes.

I’m giving this one Five Stars!

Meet Jill:

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, Wives of the Patriarchs, Daughters of the Promised Land, The Heart of a King, Star of Persia, Miriam’s Song, and the nonfiction When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams, and She Walked Before Us. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Grab a copy of one of her works and connect with her:

Website Facebook Twitter Amazon.com

Cassie’s Wishes

This was originally posted back in April of 2021. As I sit here today, thinking about what’s going on in my nation’s capitol (Ottawa, Canada), just a few hours drive from here, I thought it could use a reposting.

Cassie took a deep breath and blew her wishes into the wind. It was getting dark and Mommy wanted her home for dinner, so she got up and watched them drift into the sunset. Satisfied, Cassie went home, washed up, and sat down at the table.

“So, Miss, what did you get up to today?” Mother smiled.

“I blew some wishes out into the world.”

Mother handed Cassie a plate of spaghetti, her favorite, and winked at her. “I’d ask you what those were, but I know that takes away their magic.”

Later, as Cassie laid her head against the soft pillow, listening to the crickets and the hoot of Chester, the barn owl, she prayed that her wishes would find the right people.

As Cassie, slept, a great wind picked up and blew those wishes around the globe, over miles of ocean and into every country of the world.

One landed the shoulder of a grieving father, as he stood at the graveside of his ten year old daughter who’d died from leukemia. An inexplicable peace began to fill his heart.

Another drifted past an ICU nurse, as she left the hospital, exhausted and discouraged from a never ending battle against COVID. Hope renewed some of her energy and lifted her spirits.

One landed in the lap of a little girl, as she sat in threadbare clothes, eating the last meal she’d have for awhile. Her rumbling belly ceased and her heart was filled with the promise of a better tomorrow.

One landed on the uniform of a police man. The years of service for his community, had lately seemed to be overshadowed by the horrific actions of a few, and the media relentlessly pelted them with negative stereotypes. He felt his discouragement fade.

The last wish will land on you, wherever you are, and whatever you are going through. It will give you strength and resilience.

Cassie woke the next day, to a better world.

What I’ve Learned From A Heron

This past week, I went for a short hike to a local park and was treated to the sight of our resident heron. This persistent and resilient hunter is a frequent guest at the base of the falls. It’s patience and skill never fails to impress me. I mean, that water is freezing! Not to mention the current and slippery rocks, but that sucker will defy it all and win its dinner.

You rock, buddy!

To show my respect, I’ve crafted a short poem about what I’ve learn from this winged wonder.

Standfast against life’s undertows  

its frigid currents froth with rabid circumstance

eroding some foundations

burying dreams with oozing muck

Cement your grip against the blows

ignore the quips and bites of those afraid to dance  

steel away past frustrations

do not count on simple luck  

Dig in and eye the prize below  

penetrate the roiling surface and take a chance

the waves hide liberation

Heron you render me awestruck