Terminal Awakening

BOOK 1 OF SUNKEN EARTH TRILOGY

With plenty of attitude and a motley crew of teenagers, Dowdy’s YA time-travel debut splices together past, present and future.
Josh is the awkward class nerd. Bonnie is the snarky daughter of a renowned archaeologist. Alex is an angry young man with a political agenda. Hiroshi is a hefty gamer with an honorable heart of gold. Together, they are the Chrononauts, an almost unstoppable team in “Time Wars,” a console-based video game. They are also the primary targets of a malevolent force from the future, one that seeks to eliminate them before they’re old enough to be a threat. Fortunately, the dashing Mr. Banks—dandy, erstwhile history teacher at Josh’s prep school—is there to provide guidance. In no time—well, across several different times and places—the Chrononauts find themselves fighting and fleeing malicious rival time travelers, genetically engineered monstrosities, and the general dangers that crop up when visiting unfamiliar eras and lands. From feudal Japan to the reign of Alexander the Great to the Rebellion of Boudicca to a future Earth being broiled alive by runaway climate change, the four friends have to overcome terrific challenges to save themselves and the world. The story cuts skillfully from time to time and place to place, and although it can be initially hard to follow, Dowdy provides frequent notes and several addenda that help clear up points that may otherwise be rather confusing. The action is handled well, however, in spite of the difficulty in conceiving and executing such a temporally scrambled narrative. Unfortunately, this results in character-building taking a back seat. Occasionally, archetypes—Mr. Banks the dandy, Stavros the evil stepfather—seem to substitute for full character development. Finally, several instances of gratuitous scatological humor interrupt the flow, as when “a crouched, naked guttersnipe [is] pissed on by a drunken slob getting rid of his rotgut.”
A creative YA time-travel adventure that, while it has a measure of promise and fits of maturity, overindulges in childish tendencies.

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 659

Publisher: Dean Leon Dowdy

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2014

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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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