A subtle love story that rewards patient readers with its quiet charms.

LYDIA

In this supernatural love story, when Ed Austin purchases a 200-year-old farm in Maine, it comes with a ghost that may haunt him in all the right ways.

Ed’s a simple guy. He drives a pickup truck, loves his German shepherd, Zelda, keeps in touch with his daughter, Clare, after the divorce, and loves designing typefaces. When his local junk shop gives him a tin box filled with elegant epistles, he finds a new obsession. The letters reveal the life of Lydia Starbird, a poetic soul and fellow dog lover who was being abused by her husband. She’s part of a long line of Starbirds, all buried in a cemetery near the family farmhouse, now for sale. Ed finds the letters filling his every thought, and after his beloved dog dies, Ed takes a leap by purchasing the Starbird farmhouse. While restoring it, he falls and injures himself in the woods, only to be rescued by a beautiful woman named Lydia. Asking around town about the rumor of the Starbird land being haunted, Ed hears that he’s not the first to be rescued by the woman. Though he dismisses the encounter as a fluke hallucination, Lydia’s ghost has other plans for them. Each may be exactly what the other needs for their heavy hearts to let go of the past. Much of the novel unfolds in picturesque forests and fields, and readers will be as charmed by the Maine landscape as Ed is. What’s more, Lydia’s impossible appearance never becomes gimmicky or trite. She’s fascinated by the flush toilet but doesn’t lose her ghostly grace. The novel falters, however, in the moments when it becomes heavily internal. Tens of pages are devoted simply to Ed reading Lydia’s letters. Not that much action should be expected from a man living alone with his dog, but it’s a relief when the letters end and Ed starts making decisions. Dog lovers especially will appreciate the attention paid to Ed and Zelda’s relationship, their tender exchanges and how Ed earnestly talks to her throughout the day. Ed’s a welcome bachelor who deserves the love he receives, however unnatural it may be.

A subtle love story that rewards patient readers with its quiet charms.

Pub Date: March 24, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Three Islands Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2013

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A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

SHOW TRIALS

HOW PROPERTY GETS MORE LEGAL PROTECTION THAN PEOPLE IN OUR FAILED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

A highly organized, informative discussion of the immigration system in the United States.

In this politically charged environment, Afrasiabi manages to broach the volatile issue of immigration in a well-rounded, surprisingly effective framework that combines case studies, historical research, statistical analysis and personal anecdotes to detail the current issues and propose solutions. Invocations of Kafka, “The Twilight Zone” and “Alice in Wonderland” prove warranted as illustrations of the often surreal circumstances that confront immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants usually lack access to quality legal representation, while their situation can be made doubly difficult due to language barriers and significant cultural differences. Afrasiabi incorporates his work with colleagues and students at the Chapman University School of Law to deftly weave together the facts of several compelling cases and their underlying legal issues, with a genuine sense of suspense as readers wonder if justice will be truly be served. Occasionally, though, the narrative becomes overwrought—two federal laws passed in 1996 are “dark storm clouds depositing their sleet”—although, considering the life-changing effects of court decisions, it’s difficult to overstate the ramifications: extralegal rendition of individuals with pending cases and the de facto deportation of native-born children whose parents are deported. Afrasiabi also addresses the legacy of various anti-alien laws in California, as well as marriage equality for same-sex couples when one partner is a noncitizen. As the subtitle asserts, Afrasiabi employs his additional experience in the field of property law to contrast the stark differences between immigration judges and constitutional judges, like their qualifications, vetting processes and even the oaths they take. His arguments culminate in seven concrete reforms proposed in the conclusion. In order to make the immigration system more just and effective, Afrasiabi claims the solutions are closer than we may think; we can implement procedures and safeguards already in place within the constitutional courts.

A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

NO REMORSE

Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.

Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.

Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980806601

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Marq Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2012

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