Archive for July 29, 2015

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Paradise Rot

The Island Trilogy

Book One

by Larry Weiner



Genre: Satire/Dark Comedy

Publisher: Booktrope

Date of Publication: May 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5137-0031-1/ASIN: B00YLDWX66

Number of pages: 211

Cover Artist: Larry Weiner

My Review

Welcome to tropical paradise. Welcome to The Isle of St. Agrippina. White sandy beaches. Delicious blended drinks. And island cuisine.

But beware. All is not as it seems. And you just might wind up on the menu.

You see, this long abandoned and now reopened and freshly renovated resort is run by zombies. Not the good ones, if there is such a thing, but the hungry ones. And their brains are working just fine. You’ll see.

Kyle, an advertising exec, should have known it was too good to be true. In fact, he did. Who would hire someone straight from the loony bin? But that didn’t stop him from using the plane ticket and jetting to a tropical paradise.

Right from the get go, things are weird. And they keep getting weirder.

What’s with the slow moving people with their perfect over-white teeth, spray on tans, and practiced pronunciation.

Who is the lady in the woods who likes to conk you over the head and drag you to a bar in the jungle tended buy some weird guy.

And did he really see a chihuahua with it’s butt on wheels, and did it actually speak?

I would have given this book 5 Stars just for the ingenuity. But I also laughed out loud, loved the eccentric mish mash of characters, and couldn’t get enough.

Looking for some fun with zombies. Give this one a try. And the next book, Once More, With Blood, is available now so you won’t have to wait for more fun.

5 Stars



Book Description:


Kyle Brightman—late of the advertising industry and soon-to-be-late of the 5th floor psych ward—has a job offer he can’t refuse. A new resort in the Caribbean is looking for an art director.

Kyle soon finds himself on the Isle of St. Agrippina working alongside a beautiful copywriter with an icy handshake. Questions arise: Why does the resort management team sport spray-on tans in the Bahamas? How can the resort offer such cheap vacation packages? What does one do with vats of Astroglide?

To get the answers, Kyle must first navigate a series of wildly unpredictable events with a cast of even more wildly unpredictable characters, including a seductress jungle assassin, her partially paralyzed talking Chihuahua, an Ivy League Rastafarian seaplane captain, Kyle’s ex-psych ward roommate, a former Haliburton mercenary, and a French tavern owner with a fondness for goats, all set to the greatest hits of the 70’s. Pablo Cruise never felt so right.

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Excerpt: Chapter One


“THERE’S A REASON WE PUT PATIENTS IN RESTRAINTS THIS WAY,” Hap the orderly explained. “See before, when it became necessary to administer a four-point restraint on someone, we’d just do the standard two feet to each side of the gurney and two wrists by the waist. Now we have you done up with the POS 2206 restraint which you’d have to pretty much be motherfuckin’ Houdini to get out of, see what I’m sayin’? We got one arm up and one down so you don’t pop your shoulder out of your socket. Does that matter to the average whack job that comes through here all spun out screaming about the end times or how the government implanted tiny computers in their heads? Nuh-uh. They just keep wigglin’ around as if their super human powers are gonna set them free. Forget it, son. Your body belongs to the St. Eligius psych ward, fifth floor, Seattle, Washington, in these United States of America.”

It was true.

Kyle Brightman lay restrained on the gurney looking something like a flamenco dancer striking a pose horizontally. Unlike flamenco dancers and their elaborate sequined outfits, Kyle was in jeans and a faded Clash T-shirt covered in eggs, tapenade, and mace. Also unlike flamenco dancers, Kyle had been tased in a supermarket. But then it had been a weird week in an off kilter year, so in retrospect it seemed fitting to be held down to a gurney in a hospital corridor getting a lesson in the history and technique of human body restraint from Hap, the large African American orderly schooled in human confinement arts.

Kyle fully submitted to the restraints, finding them rather soothing— Temple Grandin was on to something, he thought. He also thought about the starting place on the long road of his downward spiral: from being fired from his advertising gig as an art director, to mowing the grass for a local golf course, and finally to freaking out on a couple of elderly women blocking the aisle in a supermarket because they wouldn’t move their carts a few inches over when he’d asked.

All in three months’ time.

In truth, the brain lock up had been a long time coming. A bitter divorce that had cost him his waterfront condo and his cat, Lester. The passed over promotion at work to a younger junior art director. The diagnosis of Bipolar II. The drinking. The petty shoplifting at the local Rite Aid. It was a perfect storm of anxiety and neurosis crashing down upon an already paranoid and erratic man with authority issues and a tendency toward drama.

But the idea of his mental state as a tornado gathering energy as it swept across his life was nothing new to Kyle or those around him. His moods were a dangerous balancing act of wit, anger, and a general cluelessness that on the best of days came across as mercurial.

He knew this about himself, and though countless therapists had talked him through his childhood, his mother, his school years, and subsequent launch into adulthood, everybody had yet to find a cure. As a creative director with similar tendencies had once put it to Kyle, he’d best learn to be an asshole with serious repenting skills if he was to survive at all, let alone in advertising.

In Kyle’s mind, every time he met a woman, took a job, or made a friend, he imagined a stop watch starting, ticking off the days, hours, minutes, seconds until eventually they would learn the truth about him: that his moods were like forecasting the weather. It was a seemingly mundane twist of fate then that Kyle Brightman would completely lose his shit because two aged, upper crust cronies wouldn’t move their shopping carts over enough for him to pass. If only he had known what they had been discussing (the cost increase in septic pumping/ whose Mexican gardener was better) he might have picked a more symbolic moment to melt down. But then, he had realized as he began cursing at the top of his lungs that he really wasn’t in the driver’s seat. And when he began to throw eggs at them, followed by a jar containing tapenade while knocking over a display rack of various energy bars, it became clear that he was now entering new territory.

Territory that would require restraints.

“When do I get out of the restraints?” Kyle asked Hap.

“That depends on you,” Hap said. “If you cooperate and let us do our job and you do yours you won’t see restraints again. But if you start to go sideways, we put you in the metal room, hose you down and go to work on you with rubber Billy maces.”


“I’m fuckin’ with you. You’ll be fine. We’re gonna take you to your room. You’ll meet your roommate and we’ll get you on the road to recovery.”

Kyle hadn’t thought about recovery until it was mentioned. It was a rare instance that he lived in the moment. He was aware, strapped to the gurney, that he was extraordinarily tired.

“What if I don’t recover?” Kyle asked.

“You will,” Hap said. “I been doing this a long time and I can tell the ones who are gonna make it and the ones who fall through the cracks. You’re the first one.”

“What do you tell the ones who you know are gonna fall through the cracks?” Kyle asked.

“Same bullshit I told you,” Hap said.


About the Author:

Larry  Weiner


Larry Weiner is the author of PARADISE ROT (BOOK ONE), ONCE AGAIN, WITH BLOOD (BOOK TWO) and the forthcoming HINDU SEX ALIENS (BOOK THREE) that make up the Island Trilogy. Larry earned a degree in film from CSULA and was an award-winning art director. He lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, two kids and a gaggle of animals. He plays bass and thus has poor hearing.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads


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Title: Island Bluffs
Author: Alan A. Winter
Publisher: KBPublishing
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Format: Kindle/Paperback


My Review

You’d never know it by the lovely cover, but this is a story that delves into the dark side.

And the title is an excellent choice as it can be construed different ways in the book.

Carly can’t conceive and she’s desperate to carry and deliver a child. She and her husband Gabe go above and beyond to have their baby, seeking help from a fertility specialist.

The doctor is supposed to work miracles and he does. Carly is now in her third trimester and it’s time to move.

When they first met with the doctor, he had some peculiar ideas. One deal breaker was, they had to move somewhere during the last trimester that was within a 30 minute drive of the clinic.

The other thing, the strange thing, is Carly must carry two embryos. One is from her and Gabe, the other is unknown. She will never see this other child. It belongs to the doctor.

Gabe is a boat nut. He never passes up a chance to be on the water. One day he spies a house on the peninsula of Island Bluffs. He’s inexplicably drawn to it. Despite Carly’s misgivings about the long empty and fixer upper, they buy it and move in.

So many angles in this book.

The strange doctor with his odd stipulations and deeply troubled past. What’s with the children? Why does he only want boys? My mind played havoc with the scenarios.

Megan, Gabe’s 17 year old daughter from his previous marriage. She’s still not over her mothers death and she’s playing the role of step-mother hate to the hilt. I had hopes she’d come around to Carly eventually. And her adoration and respect for her grandfather, Yehuda, is heartwarming.

You’ll like Yehuda. He’s a survivor of the holocaust, yet still sees good in people. He forms a friendship with Buck, the local eccentric and handy man. I loved their friendship.

Buck has his own story that ties into Carly and Gabe’s new house. Can’t tell you why though. Buck went off to war and had to leave his true love many years ago. When he returned he learned she’d gone missing and was never found. To this day, he still loves and misses her, and the police keep her yellowed missing poster up at the station in deference to him.

Then the house has a story. One that will surprise and chill you. Music is heard in the house when there’s no radio on. Voices are heard in the walls.

The town of Island Bluffs is shrouded in mystery. The people that live there are insular. They take time to warm up and accept the new family. And they keep many secrets.

This sounds like a horror thriller doesn’t it? You could call it that. But there’s mysteries in mysteries, darkness and light, and some very surprising revelations.

I was drawn in quickly and felt a connection to the characters. They each had their own flaws, which made them more genuine. I like strong characters and found plenty in this story.

Set aside some reading time when you start this. You won’t want any interruptions.

4 Stars



Island Bluffs is a story of love, forgiveness, and understanding the dark side of the human spirit. It explores the age-old question: are children accountable for the sins of their parents and grandparents?

Carly Mason is a successful New York City forensic dentist. She and her widower husband, Gabe Berk, are trying to start a family. Thinking they had exhausted the options by consulting with all of Manhattan’s fertility experts, Carly and Gabe learn of an eccentric scientist who runs an exclusive clinic.

The doctor commits to helping the couple conceive the baby they so desperately want, but only if they agree to what seems like an outrageous stipulation; Carly must carry twins, one biological and one that she is a surrogate for. Once the twins are born Carly has to surrender the non-biological twin to the doctor at birth, no questions asked. Further, should the old doctor die before Carly gives birth, she has to agree to give the baby the name chosen by the doctor.

As required for treatment, Carly and Gabe move into a new house, which is within thirty minutes of the clinic. They soon discover that their new home and town, Island Bluffs, are far from ordinary. Carly and Gabe feel eyes spying on them at every turn. Gabe’s father, Yehuda, hears strange noises that only he can hear. Megan, Gabe’s rebellious sixteen-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, is attracted to the son of a Neo-Nazi.

The mysteries continue to deepen as a scavenger ship appears on nearby waters searching for sunken treasure along with glimpses of a lone swimmer lumbering through the waves of Barnegat Bay. Island Bluffs is a present-day town bound to the past by horrible secrets and pacts made long ago. Keeping secrets buried as some had hoped was no longer an option for the Berks. Their new and some thought long-forgotten home made that impossible by putting them squarely in the middle of it all. When the truths are revealed, the shocking twists and turns will challenge the very notions of what is right and wrong.

Purchase Links

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Author Alan A. Winter

Alan Winter

At first blush, Alan is quick to say that he never intended to be a writer. But when he thinks about it, he’s been writing in one form or another, for his entire adult life. In college, he wrote paper after paper for his history and literature courses. Professionally, he edited a dental journal and wrote more than twenty
scientific papers. That still doesn’t explain how a dentist came to write fiction!

It started in 1982 when Alan made small talk with a patient about a sci-fi idea he had. She thought the idea was so terrific, she urged him to write a movie treatment about it. Alan dismissed her offhand. What did he know about writing movies?

The patient persisted. Each time she would visit his office, she would demand to see the finished movie treatment. Seeing she was serious and relentless, Alan agreed to hand her a treatment. But how? He had no clue where to start. Asking other patients for guidance, Alan was introduced to a young screenwriter who agreed – for a fee – to write the treatment. They worked together, produced a treatment, and shopped it around to a number of studios. One studio took the idea (without permission or payment) and turned Alan’s treatment into a movie.

Alan experienced two revelations at the time:

  1. Rather than waste energy being litigious, be flattered that a studio felt Alan’s idea was worthy of turning it into a movie. Knowing a stranger valued his creativity supported all of his future projects.
  2. 2. Collaborating with the screenwriter gave Alan the validation he needed that if and when he chose to write a book, it wouldn’t be foolhardy…not that it really mattered what others thought!

3. Still, Alan had no desire to write fiction. That changed in 1985. That was the year that Alan began writing his first novel, “Someone Else’s Son,” which was eventually published by MasterMedia, Ltd.

What prompted Alan to write “Someone Else’s Son” is a story in itself. When Alan completed his periodontal training at Columbia, he joined a prestigious Fifth Avenue periodontal practice. Day after day, the well-to-do, prominent patients asked Alan if he was old enough to be a dentist. (He looked that much younger than the two senior partners). Trying to convince the patients that he was old enough to be a dentist and, therefore, experienced enough to treat them, Alan put his two sons’ pictures on the treatment room wall. When his third son was born, he added that one, too. Every few months, he updated the photos.

But a curious thing happened on a daily basis. The patients kept asking why Alan had pictures of children on the wall. When he replied, “They’re not just any children; those are my sons,” no one believed him. They claimed the boys looked too dissimilar to be brothers. They joked that he must have taken the wrong one home from the hospital. Though this was not the case (at least he didn’t think so), Alan wondered what he would’ve done had he discovered, years later, that he and his wife had brought the wrong child home from the hospital. The result was “Someone Else’s Son.”

While maintaining his periodontal practice, Alan has continued to write since he first took up pen to paper, although now he is very appreciative that his mother forced him to take typing in summer school after his sophomore year of high school. Boys just didn’t do that back in the ’60s, but it has been an invaluable skill over the years.

In 1999, “Snowflakes in the Sahara” was published by iUniverse. “Savior’s Day,” also published by iUniverse, was published in 2013 to critical acclaim. It was selected by Kirkus Reviews as a Best Book of 2013.

“Island Bluffs,” Alan’s newest novel, is published by KB Publishing to excellent reviews. He is at work on his next novel, “The Legacy of Izaak Wolf,” about an adolescent with Asperger’s Syndrome achieves the near impossible to save his family from a surefire calamity.

Alan and Lori live in his native New Jersey. They have five children and five grandchildren.

For More Information

Visit Alan’s website.

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July 6

Book featured at Undercover Book Reviews

July 7

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July 8

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July 9

Interviewed at The Writer’s Life

July 13

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Book reviewed at A Room Without Books is Empty

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Book featured at Lover of Literature


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