An interesting premise, but requires another installment to fully realize the characters and plot threads introduced.



Daniel Rooke, soldier-turned-cop, gets his toughest assignment yet when he takes charge of a special operations unit comprising supernaturally gifted soldiers.

The future of the world in Varni’s novel is very different from our own: In the aftermath of the Sol War, “Specials,” people with supernatural abilities ranging from telekinesis to super strength, find themselves on the outskirts of society, despite the pivotal role they played in the war. Unable to find jobs or housing, many must either turn to crime or to the government, the only entity willing to employ them. Into this world comes Daniel Rooke, who is recruited to lead a team of Specials and train them to find those other Specials who can’t seem to stay under the radar. Before they can enter the field, Daniel has to win the trust of the team and of his superiors, an immensely challenging task. As a non-Special, it is difficult for Daniel to convince his team that he can understand them well enough to lead them. After a series of mishaps, Daniel gets his team functioning, and together they recruit or arrest troublemaking Specials. The process is rife with racial overtones—after Daniel alienates the only black and Asian members of his original team, diversity becomes a high recruitment priority. The Specials found through this process—teleporting Joseph and lightning-wielding Christine, among others, are among the most well-developed characters in the book, with back stories and motivations that outshine those of Daniel and his team. It’s a struggle, at first, to keep straight the many similar no-nonsense, tough ex-military men in the first several chapters. The plot progresses from one special assignment to the next, all while introducing new plot threads and threats, few of which come to fruition. The end of the story is an intense cliffhanger, suggesting this is part of a multibook series.

An interesting premise, but requires another installment to fully realize the characters and plot threads introduced.

Pub Date: May 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-0615566955

Page Count: 460

Publisher: D.E. Varni

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2012

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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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