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Book Review :: The Funny Moon by Chris Lincoln

The Funny Moon by Chris Lincoln book cover image

Guest Post by Dave Greeley

Clair loved Wally but lately didn’t like him very much.

Wally is reminiscent of Jim Harrison’s Johnny Lundgren and Bukowski’s Henry Chinaski, guys who understand the cost of doing things the way they do because they are nothing if not self-aware.

The Funny Moon is set in a small New England college town where Wally grew up and to which he retreated in his late twenties. Lincoln renders it with a clarity that borders on virtual reality, and it becomes one of the book’s leading characters. After a few chapters, readers will feel like they grew up there, too. Inevitably, the walls are closing in on Wally. His main client wants social media advertising, a subject Wally knows nothing about. His wife Claire is running out of patience with him, or maybe she is outgrowing him. Even some of his lifelong chums are looking askance at him.

This is a classic coming-of-middle-age story, but Lincoln sails past every cliché with scenes so well-played the ending is one readers could not have predicted. The Funny Moon is sun-dappled and bleak, both a “What a ride” and “What the fuck?” As Jim Harrison puts it in Warlock, “The trouble is that no one gets to be anyone else.”

The Funny Moon by Chris Lincoln. Rootstock Publishing, June 2023.

Dave Greeley worked with the author for several years in the early 1980s. He is a communications consultant to clients in education, pharma, and high technology.

Book Review :: All Men Glad and Wise by Laura C. Stevenson

All Men Glad and Wise by Laura C. Stevenson book cover image

Guest Post by Laureen Mathon

Reminiscent of Downtown Abbey, this mystery takes place in 1919 on an English estate owned by Sir Thomas. The fourteen-year-old narrator is Harry, the son of Sir Thomas’s groom. When Harry finds a murdered man, he decides he must help to solve the murder and that will help him become “somebody.” This coming-of-age story as well as a murder mystery offers many surprises around Harry’s life along the way.

Readers follow Harry’s adventures in trying to solve the murder while he experiences many of the societal changes of the time—motor cars vs. horses, class distinctions, and gender roles. Expectedly, Harry is gifted with horses, but it is clear the author knows horses well too. By the end of the book, I felt I knew each of the horses and their distinct personalities, making this a great read for horse lovers.

At the front of the novel, the author provides a map of the farms and estates, as well as a cast of characters. There were times when the references to locations or characters got confusing, so I found these additions helpful.

The bumps in the road Harry encounters kept me turning the pages until it was all tied up with a satisfying ending. Could there be a sequel to find out more about Harry as an adult? I hope so!

All Men Glad and Wise by Laura C. Stevenson. Rootstock Publishing, April 2022.

Reviewer bio: Laureen Mathon is a retired insurance professional, avid reader, and former library trustee who looks forward to having this extra time to read and pursue new projects.

Book Review :: A Judge’s Odyssey

A Judge's Odyssey by Dean B. Pineles published by Rootstock Publishing book cover image

Guest Post by Kimberly Cheney

Judge Dean B. Pineles’ memoir is a journey through a dangerous forest of uncertain trails and trials, searching for that pinnacle of democracy: the rule of law. It includes a near career-ending event when, as the Vermont governor’s legal counsel, Pineles recommended taking into custody the children of a secretive religious community based on allegations of mental and physical abuse, an event etched into Vermont’s legal and cultural history. Pineles divulges how he subsequently survived a very contentious judicial confirmation process and became a respected Vermont trial judge, inoculated with the wisdom and humility that came from this intense personal ordeal.

Twenty-one years later, after a successful judicial career, Judge Pineles shares how he began another career as an international rule of law adviser in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Georgia. He details how, after rigorous screening by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, he was selected to be an international criminal judge, helping to improve justice in that tortured land. He finds it a maelstrom of complex social, international, cultural, ethnic, and political forces. He recounts many of his cases, including his meticulous fact-finding, and by ignoring these perilous forces he demonstrates how the rule of law should be implemented. Nevertheless, some of these cases have bizarre outcomes which undermine his best efforts. These are compelling accounts that demonstrate a vigorous mind bringing to life important events. Readers seeking an understanding of the frailty of democracy mediated by thoughtful judicial process will find Pineles’ journey intriguing.

Publishers note: Judge Pineles will donate 100% of his net profits to international and domestic refugee relief organizations.

A Judge’s Odyssey: From Vermont to Russia, Kazakhstan, and Georgia, Then on to War Crimes and Organ Trafficking in Kosovo by Dean B. Pineles. Rootstock Publishing, July 2022.

Reviewer bio: Kimberly Cheney is a former Vermont Attorney General and author.

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