Recent Reviews of My Books
I will post below a few of the more recent reviews of some of my books. More can be found on my author site at Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard?ref=nav_profile_authordash) by clicking on the book or any of the online sites usch as Amazon.
ARCTIC INFERNO - review by Darryl Greer
"Arctic Inferno" by author, Geza Tatrallyay is a sequel to his novel "Arctic Meltdown", published by Black Opal Books in 2021. Lead character is Hanne Kristensen, an attractive Danish geologist who is now the newly appointed Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources for newly independent Greenland. Deeply passionate about the Arctic, the effects of climate change and the need to reinstate a more environmentally friendly Arctic Treaty, Hanne must foil an attempt by the Chinese to control the region’s natural resources as well as help defend her adopted country against an aggressive Russia looking to expand into Greenland, a sparsely populated, fledgling country. Her journey towards a new version of the Treaty is beset with obstacles, particularly when the Russian administration is taken over by a rogue element which takes hegemonic bullying to new heights when it invades such a small, defenceless nation. With the Americans, Chinese, Canadians and Scandinavians all anxious to get involved, things could very easily get out of control. Hanne and those sympathetic to her cause will have to use all the tenacity they can gather, to avert the aggression deteriorating into another world war.
The Preface to "Arctic Inferno" is really the author’s factual basis against which the fictional tale is set and it concludes with a useful map for those not familiar with the Arctic. Once the story gets under way, the action lights up the page from the get-go. Geza Tatrallyay has woven an interesting cast of characters together and his central character, that of Hanne Kristensen, is the most complex of them all. As in the first in the series, "Arctic Meltdown", Hanne has two love interests, Richard and Kristi. Enough said. As the scenes unfold, the reader is taken on a journey of discovery as the author’s meticulous research identifies the problems this part of the world may soon face, yet he doesn’t detract from the suspenseful narrative. As always with this author, the story is intelligently written, the subject matter fascinating, the dialogue script-like and believable. Whether you accept the concept of anthropogenic climate change or not, "Arctic Inferno" is a thriller with a difference.
THE MIND SPINS - review by Bonnye Reed, December 7, 2021
The Mind Spins is an interesting collection of shorts. I found the day dreams enticing, and the night dreams encouraging. Either I'm not as crazy as I thought I was, or I am in fine company with Geza.
This is one of those books you will want to explore more than once.
ARCTIC MELTDOWN - review by Daryl Greer ,September 27, 2021
"Arctic Meltdown" by author, Geza Tatrallyay is a gripping thriller set against the backdrop of the melting polar icecap and the not-so-subtle scramble for resources on the Arctic seabed. Hanne Kristensen, an attractive Danish geologist, teams up with Canadian diplomat, Richard Simpson to lead a joint Danish-Canadian effort to gain the award by the United Nations of vast sub-sea territory. Australian, Lock McTierney, a professor of geology at Beijing University, heads the sub-commission charged with considering both the joint Danish-Canadian and the Russian submissions. But the UN process is corrupted and the Russians are hell-bent on thwarting any outcome that is not in their best interests. With the Chinese looking to expand their interests into the Arctic region and the United States taking a strong stance, what could possibly go wrong? To add complexity to an already complicated scenario, little Greenland, resource rich but small in population is vying for independence from Denmark and is looking for assistance from bigger players to help achieve its aims. Add to the mix a group of environmental extremists and an explosive ending is guaranteed.
Fans of Geza Tatrallyay will know that his research is flawless so the factual setting in which he structures his fictional tale is always believable. "Arctic Meltdown" is no exception. He even goes as far as including a non-fiction narrative just after the Prologue to help the uninitiated understand why this area of the globe is so important to so many people and there is a helpful bibliography at the end which discloses his source of information. But that doesn’t mean that "Arctic Meltdown" has been written in the style of a text-book. Once the story gets under way, it’s business as usual for Tatrallyay’s colourful characters. The writing itself is in a no-nonsense style, the story easy to follow despite the complicated environment in which it is set and the characters are just the kind of people you’d expect to find in diplomatic, scientific and academic circles. With just a few villains thrown in. The plot is fast-paced too, as the author takes his readers on an international, breath-taking ride from one scene to the next. Don’t buy "Arctic Meltdown" unless you’re a thrill-seeker looking for something to literally take your breath away.
ARCTIC MELTDOWN - review by Bill Kennedy, June 15, 2021
In his new novel Arctic Meltdown (publishing info) , Geza Tatrallyay combines an extraordinary range of knowledge with a fast-paced, international plot to create a thriller that would do James Bond proud—that is, if Agent 007 were a brilliant, gorgeous, and sexually adventurous female scientist. Tatrallyay weaves a far-reaching tale right out of today’s headlines as global warming opens up the lands and seas around the North Pole to economic exploitation and lethal national rivalries. We follow renowned geologist Hanne Kristensen as she moves from glittering gatherings in world capitals to scientific presentations to deadly adventures in northern Greenland. Through it all, Tatrallyay skillfully holds it all together to provide the reader with an exciting ride, along with a chance to learn more about a part of our world that’s bound to loom larger as in future years.
THE FENCERS: A Cold War Escape Memoir - reviewed by Kathleen Kaska, June 15, 2021
Author, fencer, Olympian athlete, and immigrant, Geza Tatrallyay, escape with his family to Canada during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Having been accepted to the University of Toronto Schools in the seventh grade, Tatrallyay enrolled in fencing classes and thus he began his twenty-year journey, which took him to the Montreal 1976 Summer Olympics. While in Montreal, he reconnected with Paul Szabó, a Romanian-Hungarian epée fencer who was representing Romania in the fencing competitions. When Szabó confided in his friend that the oppressive Communist regime made life unbearable and the pressure to perform caused several fellow athletes to engage in unethical practices, an idea began to form. Szabó decided to defect and asked for Tatrallyay’s help. The two fencers put forth a plan. But with the Securitate, Stalin’s secret police, watching Szabó’s every move, eluding them would not be easy.
The Fencers is a story of emotional conflict, hope for a brighter future, and courage to act when failure seems imminent. It’s the story of friendship and the desire to lead a free life. Tatrallyay has written a compelling story that will keep you reading until the end.
CELLO"S TEARS - reviewed by Jane Jordan, June 2021
I was initially drawn to the beautiful title of ‘Cello’s Tears’, and Geza Tatrallyay does indeed evoke a great poetic symphony. His poetry captures the essence of life with mysterious allure that translates across all cultures, from Haiku and Tanka, the short form of Japanese poetry, to the more traditional western form.
This collection is unique and emotional with a nod to gothic poetry of times past, Many poems are thought provoking like ‘The Changeling Hour’, ‘Time and Solitude’, and ‘Fingertips’ a personal favorite Tanka poem. There is darkness in his words that often transcend into light and hope, a perfect seduction for the mind, and a compelling reason to each page. This poet has a unique style, and he clearly understands the cultural differences in verse and executes each poem perfectly. ‘Cello’s Tears’ may be the first book of poetry from Geza Tatrallyay, but I am certain it won’t be his last.
Reviews I have Written
I am frequently asked to review books by fellow authors and am often pleased to comply. Here, I will post the three to five most recent reviews I have done (other than those for the New York Journal of Books, see below).
ZENO by Darryl Greer
With Zeno, the sequel to his Calvus, Darryl Greer gives us yet another captivating work of historical fiction. Set in Nero’s Roman Empire, this is the story of young Zeno, who returns to Rome with his family after his father, Calvus, is crucified in Britannia for succumbing to the teachings of Christ, whose crucifixion he had witnessed. Zeno and his mother, Vipsania, and sister, Fannia, are accompanied by their slave attendant, Helena—who is more like a surrogate mother to the children—and Calvus’ best friend, Dalmatius, and loyal soldier, Buccio and go to live at his grandfather, Publius’ palazzo outside Rome. Zeno joins the army and distinguishes himself, after which he is temporarily assigned to guard the incarcerated follower of Christ, Paulus, with whom he becomes fascinated. After he saves a senator during a fire that destroys much of Rome, Zeno is promoted to centurion, and, as Nero blames the Christians for the devastation wrought on Rome by the fire, Paulus is executed, but not before he gives Zeno a letter to Yohannan a friend in Judea.
In Judea, the Jews revolt against Roman oppression, and Yohannan, a follower of Christ, decides it is unsafe for his flock of Christians to remain in Jerusalem, so they flee into the countryside. Nero sends an army under Vespasian to put down the rebellion, and Zeno joins this force to realize his ambition of getting out of Rome and getting to know more about Christus and helping his followers, including Paulus’ friend Yohannan. Zeno eventually comes upon Yohannan and his small tribe, and deserts from the army to join them. Back in Rome, there is lots of consternation and excitement regarding the talented centurion who has gone AWOL, and many efforts to find him and bring him to justice.
Much as in the precursor novel, Calvus, clearly a lot of meticulous research went into Darryl Greer’s work to paint this mesmerizing tale of the centurion Zeno that encapsulates the fraught early rise of a pacifist Christianity and the efforts by the Romans to do everything in their power to eliminate it. This a book well worth reading, not just once but several times.
MURDER AT THE GALVEZ by Kathleen Kaska (Anamcara Press LLC, September 215 2021)
With this well-written, light-hearted murder whodunit, Kathleen Kaska takes the Sydney Lockhart mystery series to a new level. The pretty reporter returns to Galveston, Texas to report on a conference at the posh Galvez Hotel addressing the somewhat controversial offshore Pelican Island Development Project. She is filled with trepidation because eighteen years earlier, her beloved grandpa, PoPo -- who in his retirement purely for fun had taken a job as doorman there -- was gunned down, and she, an eleven-year-old child at the time, was the first one to reach his body. Matters are not clear right from the start as Sydney is greeted at the hotel by several messages warning her away and when she goes to check out the development site, the tires of her convertible sports car are slashed. The plot thickens as the conference is cancelled and the keynote speaker is found murdered in the trunk of Sydney’s car. As an unwanted distraction, Sydney’s parents, who live in Galveston, with substantial drama, are planning a renewal of their wedding vows, into the organization of which the entire rest of the family are drawn. Sydney is aided in her attempts to solve the several murders – including that of her grandfather – by her two whacky cousins, Ruth and Marcela and her detective paramour, Dixon who comes to give a helping hand, and protect Sydney from the various men taking pot-shots at her.
Ms. Kaska creates engaging characters who move this fast-paced, southern thriller forward, with lots of fun twists and turns. A very enjoyable, light-hearted read, with a quirky ending.
CLEAN COPY by R.R. Brooks (June 14, 2021)
Bob Brooks uses his extensive and broad-based scientific background to create a futuristic, sci-fi thriller that nevertheless is down to earth and within reach of today’s reality. The characters—even the robot, Kayten—are believable and well crafted. A research scientist in AI, Dr. Peter Valois, is engaged on a secretive mind control project that his firm, Cybernetics has taken on for the US Department of Defense. The Chinese military is interested in his work and hires a disaffected CIA agent to penetrate his lab and spy on his work. The Valois’ teenage son, Dan, is having drug issues, and this gives the Chinese an avenue to get to the scientist. The story moves forward at a rapid pace, from Beijing to San Diego to Mexico, with car chases, murders and kidnappings. Clean Copy is an enjoyable and gripping read, one that will expand the horizons of most readers. Highly recommended.
THE POE CONSEQUENCE by Keith Steinbaum (Black Opal Books, June 25, 2021)
In The Poe Consequence, author Keith Steinbaum connects his interest in poetry and the tales of Edgar Allen Poe with his research into the violent lives of the young LatInos who end up in the gangs of Los Angeles to weave a mystery horror tale of retribution from beyond the grave. After a frightening consultation with a Tarot card reader in New Orleans, Professor Warren Palmer—a lover of Poe’s stories and poems—is accidentally killed in a botched robbery that turns into gangland warfare. He leaves behind an orphan son, Seth, who as a result hates all Latinos, until he slowly develops a respect and admiration for Veronica, his beautiful Latina tutor, with whom his uncle Kevin, his guardian, ends up falling in love. In the meantime, the LA police are puzzled by a series of strange heart attack deaths that plague the two gangs involved in Warren’s death, always coupled with a gangland murder and always at 4 am in the morning. Kevin and Seth, with the help of Veronica and her gangland member brother, intervene to unravel the mystery of the deaths and to help put an end to them.
Keith Steinbaum shows an impressive knowledge of LA gangland life and weaves a gripping story with strong, well-created characters that carry the plot forward. As someone who does not read many tales that involve beyond the grave actors or events, this reader found the link to Edgar Allen Poe’s stories an engaging ploy and an excellent point of departure. A great read!
THE SHERLOCK HOLMES QUIZ BOOK by Kathleen Kaska (Globe Pequot, October 15, 2020)
This is an amazing compilation of interesting questions and puzzles on Sherlock Holmes lore that every aficionado of the great detective needs to have on his or her bookshelf and delve into time and again. It touches on the entire canon of the mysteries conceived and written by Arthur Conan Doyle, refreshes the memory of those who have read these stories some time ago, wakens the curiosity of those who haven’t or who have only read some, and tests the knowledge of even the finest connoisseur of the mind and the adventures of this most famous character in detective fiction. The book also explores the many films and television series that have been made from these stories and tells the reader how these came about, who were the actors that brought Holmes and his famous sidekick, Dr. Watson to life, and how some of these visual adaptations keep the stories alive for modern audiences. The reader will also learn about the fascinating life of the creator of the Holmes stories, Arthur Conan Doyle, and how he wove key elements of his own life into the stories. A delight to read quiz by quiz, or, totally captivated, without putting down.
WISHT HALL by Jane Jordan (Black Opal Books, June 22, 2019)
Jane Jordan has created a wonderful novel that crosses genre boundaries – part gothic, part horror, part romance, part medical thriller, part murder mystery, this book has it all. Set in the two wildly different worlds of misty Dartmoor and hip New Orleans, it brings the reader into the realm of voodoo as well as into the manor houses of England. The orphaned teenage heroine, Amy Derneville is taken in by her step-uncle who lives at Wisht Hall on the mysterious moors of Devon with his twin sons and daughter, whose estranged mother is doing medical research in New Orleans. Right from the start Amy is frightened by strange occurrences, some of which appear to be sparked by her step cousins. As she gets deeper into the life of the family and more and more involved with the two boys, she discovers that corrupting the entire family is a beautiful woman who uses the dark side of voodoo to try and achieve her aims. In the end, though, this ‘witch’ unexpectedly meets her match in Amy. The story has a gripping plot underpinned by evocative descriptions and strong characterizations. It is a fun, well-researched read, yet one with disturbing aspects. I highly recommend it and will want to read Jane’s other novels.
A NECESSARY HERO by G.W. Kennedy (Black Opal Books, August, 2018)
G.W. Kennedy’s novel A Necessary Hero, set in Chicago in the forties, captures the atmosphere in the “crime capital of the USA” during the early stages of the Second World War. The protagonist is Mack Simmons, the son of a well-heeled divorce lawyer, who after a car accident that leaves him with only one eye, attempts to distance himself from his overbearing father and dysfunctional mother by working as a janitor in an airplane engine factory. His best friend, Tom Kilkenny, who joins up as a pilot, is shot down in the Philippines, but manages to crash his bomber into a Japanese warship after having all his companions eject. Mack’s father sees this as an opportunity to create America’s much-needed first hero to spur on the war effort and also to draw his estranged son back into his circle by getting him to spearhead the effort. As Mack gets involved, he digs into Tom’s father’s, “Blarney Bob” Kilkenny’s, nefarious Mafia activities and uncovers Irish Republican Army connections that could endanger the President and alter the course of the war. Through masterful use of language, Kennedy brings back that long-gone era and casts light on the joys and heartaches, the family and social tensions, that ordinary people experienced. This is a book well worth reading and telling your friends about.
THE BLACKBIRD"S SONG by Katie Marshall (Black Opal Books, November 18, 2017)
The Blackbird's Song is a psychological thriller that tackles the difficult scenario of the horrors parental abuse can lead to. After Brian and Shelley lose their mother in an accident, their father, who cannot handle the loss, becomes abusive toward his children. The psychological trauma spirals Brian’s psyche into a multiple split personality, and the reader becomes witness to the struggles among the three personae inhabiting Brian’s soul. As one of these descends into a life of violence and murder, Brian encounters the sisters Lizzie and Jen, traumatizing the younger of the two, Lizzie, while falling in love with the other, Jen. The occasional horrific appearance of this Bogeyman haunts and unhinges Lizzie, even as she attempts to track him down and discover his true identity, not least to clear the name of her brother James who was accused of one of the murders. This is a fast-paced, multifaceted novel with frequent twists and turns that engrosses the reader, in spite of the embedded violence. The surprise ending brings all the key characters together and cautions us that in our world too, dangerous characters with deep traumas may be lurking. Kudos to Ms. Marshall for tackling the difficult subjects of abuse and multiple personality disorder in the context of a thriller.
As I mentioned above, I also regularly review books for the New York Journal of Books. Here is a list of the books I have reviewed to date. You can find the reviews on the NYJB site at https://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/:
Berlin Walls - August 12, 2021
The Secret Lives of Dentists - April 20, 2021
Vera: A Novel - March 2, 2021
13 Days to Die: A Novel - March 9, 2021
A Spy in the Struggle - December 29, 2020
Plagues, Pandemics and Viruses: From the Plague of Athens to Covid 19 - November 1, 2020
The Evening and the Morning (Kingsbridge) - September 15, 2020
The Arctic Fury: A Novel - December 1, 2020
Dead Doubles: The Extraordinary Worldwide Hunt for One of the Cold War's Most Notorious Spy Rings - September 8, 2020
Three Hours in Paris - April 7, 2020
The Dutch Maiden - August 6, 2019
The Russian: A Novel - July 30, 2019
Berlin Noir (Akashic Noir) - May 7, 2019
Quill of the Dove (MiroLand) - March 31, 2019
Shell: A Novel - October 8, 2018
Black Diamond Fall - September 18, 2018
Mine: A Novel of Obsession - June 26, 2018