Archive for the ‘4 star’ Category

NailedNailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All

By: David Fitzgerald
Paperback: 248 pages
ISBN-10: 0557709911
ISBN-13: 978-0557709915
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
I first heard about Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All while listening to The Dogma Debate. The Dogma Debate is an absolutely outstanding Spreaker internet radio show hosted by David Smalley, the author of Baptized Atheist (and his partners in crime Daniel Moran and Shayrah Akers). The show explores Atheist subject matter in a professional manner, free of the condescending attitudes that close the door on intelligent debate. By the way, I am the 4th listener. The author of Nailed, David Fitzgerald, was a guest on the show and was just as compelling on air as he is in his book.
Nailed explores the legend of Jesus in the same lens that we explore so many other things in history, with facts and rationality. There is no way that any sane mind can come away from reading Nailed with the believe that Jesus ever existed, was influential in that time, or that there is even evidence that his story coincides with what is know about the first century. There is no doubt that apologists will continual to dismiss the evidence presented by Fitzgerald. If only they could be so critical in their self analysis because if the empirical evidence that Jesus never existed isn’t enough, I can not see any way possible to argue that Nailed does not demonstrate that the Biblical stories about Jesus never happened.
Sadly, there will never be anything that completely proves that Fitzgerald is right because you simply cannot kill what never existed. Some will walk away from reading Nailed and say, “AH HA it doesn’t prove Jesus didn’t exist, only that your SCIENCE doesn’t prove that he did!” Well, okay then, let Jesus join the ranks of Santa Claus, Leprechauns, The Easter Bunny, and whatever other mythical creatures of folk lure that you can think of.
If any of this offends you, then please read Nailed and come back to comment on here.
Some of my favorite things that a reader needs to contemplate…
Why does no one else in history document the biblical events, despite many with tremendous motivation to do so?
Why did the Christians feel that it was necessary to forge so many things and destroy so many others that may have shed light on the subject?
Why is there so much Christian anger?
Why is it that despite the millions who claimed to be Christians, I have never met a single one that followed anything Biblical?
Some problems with Nailed
Jesus (pun intended), why is it so expensive? I read the Kindle version because, despite buying many books, I couldn’t justify the paperback price. The benefit of having the paperback would have been being able to break it out in debates with the blind to reference, but I have many like this and the blind will fight you before they try to listen for a moment.
It is very dry and held my intention only because of my personal interest. You need to be wanting this knowledge to read it all, but hey, the knowledge is worth it.
Please, I am begging you, no matter what your back ground, read Nailed. If you are stuck on being Christian, you can learn where Atheist are coming from. If you are Atheist, you will understand more of why you are, and if you are just curious, the break down here is excellent. Everyone benefits from taking the time to learn.

A Cup Full of Midnight : A Jared McKean Mystery
By: Jaden Terrell
Hardcover, 288 pages Published August 15th 2012 by The Permanent Press
ISBN13: 9781579622251

Overall 4 out of 5 stars

This is is second book in the Jared McKean Mystery series. I have not read the first book, yet, but as soon as I get a chance to, I will. A Cup Full of Midnight is a murder mystery. McKean is a private investigator and former homicide detective whose nephew has become a suspect the the murder of a former lover. McKean gets involved to clear his nephew’s name but uncovers a lot more trouble than simply clearing his nephew’s name.

Creativity 4 out of 5 stars

This is a classic murder mystery in format and the story itself is classic murder mystery so the for stars do not come from the creativity in plot. The four stars come from one of the two outstanding things about this novel, style. Jaden Terrell’s writing style is awesome, I loved it. There is a certain style to the writing that i cannot quite explain. Jaden Terrell does a little more telling than showing than I do, but it really works. Terrell leaves much of the scene to the imagination of the reader, which I prefer because it makes everyone see the book from a slightly different perspective, but Terrell throws in these little nuances of the scene that you would probably not even notice in a movie, but add a poetic style to the writing.

Characters 5 out of 5 stars

These characters jump from the pages and this is really where Jaden Terrell shines. Almost all of the characters have the appropriate amount of page space, have  their own uniqueness that you can relate to and really make the story. The best thing about this book is the main character, Jared McKean, who is one of the best protagonist that I have ever read about. These types of books generally have extremely tough, manly men, that you wouldn’t really like in real life, overly smart detective minds that make preposterous conclusions with psychic like abilities, or females that have and implausible ability to defeat multiple foes that are way stronger than her, but not McKean. Jared McKean is human, his vulnerability, compassion,  and realism shine through to create a main character that you can empathize with, root for, and thoroughly enjoy. This is everything that character development should be. When other authors read my criticisms about their characters, this is how it should be.

Spelling and Grammar 4 out of 5 stars

I did not find anything glaring about the editing at all. The knock comes from the occasional repeating of certain things. For instance, the first time Jaden wrote about a character counting down with his fingers by saying that he ticked them off on his fingers, which was a nice way of visualizing the movement of pulling the top of a finger down, like people do to count something off, but the third or fourth time I heard it, the uniqueness was lost and it became annoying.

Execution 4 out of 5 stars

Jaden Terrell executed A Cup Full of Midnight very well. For about three fourths of the way through, I thought I knew how it would end, but I was wrong, which was nice. The best part about the execution was that while McKean has a police background and still has connections in the department, Jaden Terrell has some familiarity, but is no expert and chose to not get into the procedural elements of how police interact or run investigations, like I do in Eliot because it is my expertise. Terrell chose instead to focus on character driven elements of the plot and did it exceptionally well.

Without question I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys mysteries or character driven stories. Outstanding job by Jaden Terrell and please remember that recommendation does not come very often from me.

Michael A. Wood Jr.
The Critical Critic

Damage Control: A Jonathan Grave Thriller
By: John Gilstrap
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN 0786024933
edition languageEnglish

Overall: 4 out of 5 Stars

Maybe I’m too critical, haha, I am the Critical Critic, but when I see a mass market paperback, I frown. That’s what I did when I received Damage Control in a Goodreads giveaway. I have promised myself that I would conduct a thorough, unbiased, review of every book that an author sends me, so I cracked open Damage Control. I loved it! This is an entertaining thriller in John Gilstrap’s Jonathan Grave series, of which I have not read any of the others, but I am certainly ready to, now. Jonathan Grave has spend a life being the hunter, but now he is the hunted. His back against the wall, he must fight to survive, while still protecting his valuable cargo, a young teen, Tristan.

Creativity: 2 stars

Sorry, but it is not that I am knocking Gilstrap here, it is just not creative, not in the surprising or revolutionary sense. As stated under the Execution section, I believe Gilstrap could take any old idea and pull it off well.

Characters: 4 stars

There are many characters in Damage Control that play roles in helping or harming the three targets, Graves, Boxers, and Wagner there was no connection with them, but there didn’t need to be. Graves, Boxers, and Wagner were very well written. I felt the personalities of all three of them, their actions were always consistent with their stated personalities. In other words, show and tell, blended seamlessly, a true compliment for a writer.

Spelling and Grammar: 5 stars

I always look for grammar and spelling errors, none were noticed.

Execution: 5 stars

I am going to admit some arrogance and prejudice here. When I am about to read something based off of the military or police, my experience in the Marine Corps and Baltimore Police Department causes me to brace myself for tons of B.S. about tactics, weapons, the way we speak, and so forth. I looked on the back cover and saw the picture of John Gilstrap, honestly, I presumed, here we go again, what could this guy know about tactics and weapons? Once again, I was put in my place. John Gilstrap thanks some SEAL members and other military members for teaching him a bit. Whether they were excellent trainers or Gilstrap is an excellent learner, I cannot say, but I did not find myself complaining a single time about the military and police issues. A job well done, indeed.

When I write, I painstaking focus on ensuring that there is not a single flaw in my time lines and that everything makes complete sense. Due to my OCD, I constantly looks for flaws in this with other writers. While there were some minor issues that I noticed in Damage Control, nothing detracted from the story and the real praise for Gilstrap is that I am sure there are more. The praise comes in the fact that I was so into the story, it was so fact paced, and there was so much going on that I lost my desire to scrutinize the details.

I think that anyone that enjoys reading, would have to enjoy Damage Control, regardless of their preferred genre. The story has a bit of everything, while predominately a thriller, there are some love interest, comedy, and mystery, in order to appeal to everyone. This is the first novel that I am giving 4 stars to and the first that I can  recommend to everyone. I am reserving my 5 stars for a true classic, if it ever comes along.

Michael A. Wood Jr.
“The Critical Critic”

Learning From the Octopus: How Secrets from Nature Can Help Us Fight Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters, and Disease
By: Rafe Sagarin

Overall: 4 out of 5 Stars

First and foremost, this book should be required reading and studying for every single military and law enforcement member in the U.S. and our allies, we do not want our adversaries adapting these lessons.

In Learning From the Octopus, Rafe Sagarin makes some extremely compelling arguments for the lessons found all over nature that can enhance public safety in a multitude of fashions. I make this evaluation from a point of experience, as I have been a police supervisor in Baltimore, and a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. From the inappropriate allocation of resources of the TSA to the mismanagement that is rooted in law enforcement, Rafe Sagarin finds examples of successful implementation of more efficient and better management that has already been proven to work, in nature.

I don’t think that the subject matter of better management is anything revolutionary, scholars and successful businesses have been showing law enforcement the better ways to manage for a long time now. What Rafe Sagarin does that is special is bring it down to simple examples that can be understood by all education and experience levels. From the patrol officer just out of the academy to the federal czars, there are simple lessons that can make citizens safer and utilize their money more efficiently.

Creativity: 5 stars
I have spent a great deal of effort in my personal writings to try and find a way to break through the wall of comfort that is found in law enforcement. I sincerely hope that this new angle of speaking to those working to protect us can help open their eyes to the mismanagement that is everywhere. Law Enforcement especially is extremely afraid of change, which is why they keep doing the same things over and over, with the same pathetic results. Rafe Sagarin does an excellent job of presenting a creative new way to encourage a change for the better.

Spelling and Grammar: 3 stars
Rafe Sagarin is not an author, he is a marine ecologist, so given that, he did a very good job at presenting his case. I did not discover any obvious errors, but the writing is educational in nature and thus, does not flow like a book. There are sections that repeat and sections that can speak over the head of the target audience, but he does the best that he can.

Execution: 4 stars
Overall, I am in awe of the work that Rafe Sagarin has put together her. This execution gets knocked down to four stars because of the occasional speaking over our heads and the biggest flaw in the whole book, a glaring hypocrisy. Granted Rafe Sagarin is a marine ecologist, has a love and respect for the environment, and by nature of his profession has been force-fed liberal agendas, but if he is going to speak to us in public safety about thinking on a new level and appreciating history, he must do the same, else his lessons fall on deaf ears.

Rafe Sagarin makes some humorous and intelligent insights into how religious beliefs are a key factor in many of the poor decisions that humans make or beliefs that they hold dear, even when all evidence points to the contrary. While I agree with him, I cannot overlook that his religion of global warming has blocked some of his own thinking.

Here is an example on pages that sit next to each other:

Page 150: “And we ignore over 100 years of collected scientific wisdom while we watch human-induced climate change alter our entire planet.”
Page 151: “If we convert our years as humans on Earth to words in a book, analyzing security only in the context of the past few thousand years of human history is like trying to understand all of War and Peace by reading only the last word.”

Page 151 is where Rafe Sagarin speaks to us, page 150 is where I can’t help but dismiss him. Mr. Sagarin, if the past thousand years of human history is the last word of War and Peace, then looking at the last 100 years of weather patterns is like reading the last word in the entire library of congress.

Michael A. Wood Jr.

“The Critical Critic”