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KRL is a California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal.
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Monday, October 31, 2016

Jack Reacher, Never Go Back: Movie Review

by Lorie Lewis Ham

Special coupon for Dinuba Platinum Theatre at the end of this review.

Tom Cruise is back as Jack Reacher in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. This is the sequel to the movie Jack Reacher, and both are based on best selling books written by author Lee Child.

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This time Reacher, a former soldier, is out to prove the innocence of a friend, Army major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), who has been framed for treason. Along the way, Reacher also finds out he might have a daughter that he never knew about, a girl named Samantha (Danika Yorosh). This possible daughter is used against him as he tries to sort out this complicated conspiracy.

Image source: Paramount Pictures

There is a lot of great action in this movie, and it's nice to see Cobie Smulders character be every bit as kick ass as Reacher. Reacher has always been a loner, so it's also a nice twist to see him trying to figure out how to be a father. There are some funny moments where both Turner and Reacher are trying to parent this girl, while obviously having no clue. Sam has been in her fair share of trouble and does a pretty good job of taking care of herself.

If you are looking for a fun action movie head out to see Never Go Back.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is currently playing at Dinuba Platinum Theatres 6. Showtimes can be found on their website. Platinum Theaters Dinuba 6 now proudly presents digital quality films in 2-D and 3-D with 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound to maximize your movie experience.

Print this coupon and enjoy a special discount for Kings River Life readers only!

Lorie Lewis Ham is KRL's editor-in-chief/publisher. She has published in many venues through the years and has 5 published mystery novels. You can learn more about Lorie's writing on her blog Mysteryrat's Closet.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Boo Factor

by Maggie Toussaint

Details on how to win a Kindle format version or an Advance Reading Copy paperback of the book Doggone It at the end of the post.

Something leaps out at you in the dark. Your heartbeat pounds in your ears. Your lungs burn for air. Your palms sweat buckets. Butterflies whirl in your stomach.

Scared silly, scared to death, scared stiff, scared out of your wits – those are a few of the phrases often associated with act of being terrified. What I find interesting is the polarized responses to the experience.

Some people hate that fear-paralysis mode. It produces a nauseating certainty that this is the end of the world. The intensity of that terror often puts those folks off all activities designed to provoke that response.

On the flip side, other people love getting the bejeebers scared out of them. But positive individual reactions to that adrenaline-rush sensation vary. Some folks revel in the intensity of the experience. Some feel lifted from the ordinariness of their lives. Others experience gratification from surviving experiences like sky-diving, rollercoaster riding, haunted house visiting, or scary movie watching.

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Paranormal movies, TV shows, and books have a deep-seated appeal to those who enjoy a scare or two. Interestingly, entertainment options like these that explain the fright and make the “bad guys” pay, offer value for scare lovers and scare haters alike. In the universe of a book or movie, a story may play out with characters who find ways to cope with their fears, and ultimately triumph.

Throughout time, humankind has sought to explain the unexplainable through myths, legends, and religion. In addition to these time-honored stories, modern authors continue to use story vehicles to explore different perspectives of unusual, difficult, or life changing events.

As a person who spent a lifetime avoiding being scared, I now have an intellectual interest in things that can’t be proven or explained logically. For instance, we believe in the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe, though we can’t prove it. Many believe in the afterlife, though we take that on faith from either religious or secular sources.

My current series, the Dreamwalker Mystery Series, features amateur sleuth Baxley Powell, a woman who can, among other talents, access the spirits of those who have died. She’s a police consultant who uses her unusual ability to help solve crimes.

The newest release in this paranormal mystery series, Doggone It, delves into a double homicide at a haunted house. The story opens with Baxley and Charlotte, her reporter friend, visiting the location for a newspaper story and getting waylaid by an earthbound spirit.

Image source: Five Star

Charlotte feels so faint she can’t stand up. She panics as stomach butterflies, tight lungs, and racing heartbeat further debilitate her. She fights back with her secret weapon – by demanding her psychic friend make this problem go away.

Baxley knows it’s a risk for her to lower her guard at the haunted house. During her teens, she had a terrible experience here, but she’s older and wiser now. She knows what she’s about as a dreamwalker, whereas she blocked her abilities previously. Since becoming a dreamwalker, she’s traversed the veil of life dozens of times. Freeing Charlotte from this thrall should be easy-peasy to someone as seasoned as she is.

Plus, her BFF is begging for her help. Baxley’s heart says yes. Her head says she should have no problem. She’s a dreamwalker. She knows all about the spirit world.

But when she lowers her guard, she gets swamped with numbing fear, too. Something terrible has hold of her, and she can’t get away. She hears clanking chains and feels the gut-wrenching cold of nothingness.

Unlike her typical dreamwalks where she is unaware of what’s going on around her body, this experience is like a lucid dream. She knows she’s paralyzed, but she can hear and virtually see Charlotte freaking out.

Baxley’s body, mind, and soul are swamped with the fight or flight urge. Only she can’t defend herself or run. She can’t do anything.

Her options for lifelines boil down to a single bad choice. She can’t use that choice, because it comes at a harrowing cost, but she’s stuck in a nowhere place and afraid. Her father, who rescued her years ago, can’t manage regular dreamwalks anymore, and this is no ordinary anything.

The lifeline choice? A powerful spirit who helps when it suits her, for a horrifying fee. The charge for a favor is an hour of Baxley’s life. Dire circumstances forced Baxley to use the spirit’s help twice before, and in doing so, saved two lives.
If she doesn’t escape soon, she will die. Her life is on the line. The only choice is the bad one. What’s another hour of her life gone compared to no hours left at all?

I hope you enjoyed this reprise of the opening scene of Doggone It. For a chance to win a Kindle format version or an Advance Reading Copy paperback of the book, chime in with something that scares you, or simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “doggone,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 29, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address. Please state whether you prefer the ebook or paperback ARC.

Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes mystery, suspense, and dystopian fiction. Her work has won the Silver Falchion Award for best mystery, the Readers’ Choice Award, and the EPIC Award. She’s published fifteen novels, as well as several short stories and novellas. The next book in her paranormal mystery series, Doggone It, releases October 2016. Maggie serves on the board for Southeast Mystery Writers of America and Low Country Sisters In Crime. Visit her at www.maggietoussaint.com.

Friday, October 14, 2016

“Midsummer Night’s Mischief” A Wiccan Wheel Mystery By Jennifer David Hesse

by Sandra Murphy

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Keli Milanni is an attorney by day and Wiccan always, not that many people know that about her. It’s Summer Solstice time and things should be running smoothly with a literary convention and the Renaissance Faire in town.

A favorite client comes to the office to update her will. It seems there were rumors about an old family treasure thought to have been burned years ago. Now Eleanor has found it in the attic. It’s a Shakespearian book, “Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, Published according to the True Original Copies.” In other words, it’s worth millions. With her will updated, Keli urges Eleanor to take the book to the bank for safe deposit.

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Eleanor tells the family she’s got the book but keeps mum otherwise. Unfortunately, that same night, Eleanor dies in her sleep. Now the family is ready to sell or preserve the book, but it’s nowhere to be found. Eleanor had failed to take it to the bank and to insure it. Eleanor’s daughter blames Keli for not taking better care of her client’s needs, but other family members—that would be Wes—are willing to help her track it down.

Wes is pretty hot to look at, not that Keli gets a lot of chances to see him. Every time they get together to look for the book, one of them gets called away. Wes doesn’t seem to have a place of his own or a job. Keli can’t find out anything more which makes her suspicious—would he have taken the book to sell? The book disappeared while the family was at the funeral home, but it was hard to keep track of who was where all the time.

Image source: Kensington

At the office, Keli’s getting a hard time, once the lawsuit papers arrive from Eleanor’s daughter. She’s suing Keli and the firm for the millions the book would have brought. Jeremy, another lawyer, seems to be hanging around more often, probably hoping to take over Keli’s clients while seemingly interested in her. Threatened with termination, Keli talks the boss into a two week suspension to give herself enough time to find the missing book. Knowing who to trust is another matter.

The first book of A Wiccan Wheel mystery is full of twists and turns which brings about a satisfying ending and a good read. Keli is someone you’d like to know. The Wiccan aspect of the book is there, but doesn’t overtake the storyline although she relies on casting spells to help her find the right path. There’s a spark of romance between Keli and Wes, so readers will hope he returns in the next episode, “Bell, Book and Candlemas,” due out in December. Just in time for holiday giving or for your reading wish list.

To enter to win a copy of Midsummer Night’s Mischief, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “mischief,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 22, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

You can use this link to purchase the book:

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes two mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble. You can also find several of Sandra’s short stories on UnTreed Reads including her newest, "Arthur", included in the anthology titled, Flash and Bang, available now.