An unsatisfying spiritual account of sudden infant death syndrome.




In this novel, a mother confronts the powers of good and evil to explain her baby’s sudden death.

Xenia grew up in a New York foster home. She knows nothing of her past but cherishes the spiritual guidance of her foster mother, Ms. Bailey. At 18, Xenia leaves home, studies special education at college and meets Paul. She’s naïve about men and romance, but after yielding to Paul’s insistence, they marry. During this time, Ms. Bailey dies and turns Xenia’s guidance over to God. Frequent prayers steer Xenia through her first years of marriage, first sexual experience and first pregnancy. All appears well until Xenia encounters a strange woman. Each time they meet, the woman simply crosses her arms over her chest, allows tears to fall, and stares at Xenia’s pregnant “tummy” and, later, at her newborn baby. Tension builds: The once-placid baby cries incessantly, and once-happy Xenia is tortured by fears and hallucinations; eventually, the woman pushes into their home to find the child. When the baby dies in his crib soon after, Xenia blames Paul, leaves him and returns to teaching. The final chapters consist mainly of conversations between Xenia and Mrs. Smith, grandmother to one of Xenia’s students. Predictably, Xenia learns that the strange woman was an angel who tried to protect her baby from the “evil spirits.” Through this lengthy and contrived exchange, Xenia is told that what doctors call sudden infant death syndrome is actually the work of bad spirits and that SIDS can be prevented with the right sort of prayer and religious “products,” and she’s told that “only Americans…are ignorant about these things.” The introduction makes clear that the author praises God, sees and fights evil in its myriad forms, and aims to persuade; but her story reads as part fantasy, part polemic. Unfortunately, stilted dialogue, grammatical errors and a transparent plot may deter even readers inclined toward the supernatural. Skeptics searching for information about SIDS might be turned off by the exhortation and would probably require a more substantiated argument.

An unsatisfying spiritual account of sudden infant death syndrome.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-1482735024

Page Count: 310

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

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



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


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.


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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