Reviews Section

THE TEACHER, author Robert Banfelder                                

"Ah, the master of suspense thrillers returns with a fast-paced and terrifying story that will chill you to the bone even on the hottest day of the year. The king of serial killer suspense, author Robert Banfelder, turns up the heat in his sequel to The Author. In The Teacher, an evil Clarence Emery creates deadly havoc on the eastern end of Long Island, and everywhere he goes. The big questions for Justin Barnes, covert operative for Suffolk County Homicide, are how does Emery manage to elude the police, and is the killer working alone? Another haunting question is can Justin stop him?

This story will bring you to your knees, and it will also give new meaning to dinner preparation . . . one you won't soon forget.

Banfelder brilliantly creates each unthinkable murder scene - unsparing in details - as the serial killings continue to grow in number, making for a terrifying end for the unsuspecting and unfortunate victims.

Time is running out. Barnes needs to catch up with this murdering monster and bring the killing spree to an end . . . but can Justin do it?"          Patti Ann Bengen, BookWorm Publishing


Author Robert Banfelder pulls out all the stops when he created the frightening, manipulating, serial-killing predator, Malcolm Columba, in this two-part suspense thriller, The Author. Forget about that line separating sanity and insanity, because Columba knows no bounds, and bares no guilt, remorse or hesitation as he moves forward with a vengeance- the killer's success, in part, stemming from a global underground network. His premeditated actions are vicious and without conscience. You will become wary of your ability to trust; could it be a Columba at your back door? You will think twice before shutting off the lights at night.

Banfelder is unrelenting in his ability to move you along, and into his pages. You are running fast, and just when you think it might be safe, Banfelder hits you with another curve. Not to be missed. The story is action-packedf, the characters are driven, and the ferocity of the story will stay with you long after it ends.

The question is not when this novel hits movie status, but who will play the part of Malcolm Columba?   Patti Ann Bengen, BookWorm Publishing 

New Beginnings - Patti Ann Bengen

"A Scintillating Story of Survival & Salvation"

There are stories that entertain and at the same time try to preach. There are decent stories that do double-duty in that they entertain and teach rather than preach. And then there are great stories that entertain, educate through example, and have the elements of verisimilitude built into them. That is what makes them great reads. Credibility is key. It is a recipe for success. "New Beginnings" belongs in the latter of the lot. Why? You "believe" from the very moment you meet Heather Langdon that you have entered the twilight zone; not Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone," per se, but a dimension of sights and sounds that fill your mind with the reality of spousal abuse. You are the frustrated outsider looking in on Heather as she rationalizes her husband's acts of cruelty-cruel-heartedness of both the mental and, eventually, the physical kind.

The pages are portholes from which you can clearly see the deterioration of Heather and John's relationship as the omniscient narrator takes you to the murky depths of the heroine's being. "Why can't Heather see what I am seeing? you might ask yourself." "Why can't she see and understand what her good friends initially sense then come to know as being true, trying to warn her repeatedly?" Of course, you and I know the answers to those questions. Most of us do. But Heather remains suspended beneath the point where light can barely penetrate a sea of turmoil. We see out that porthole; Heather cannot see beyond her hope. What acts will bring about a resolution, if any? We certainly hear and maybe even know of women who remain in such situations until the bitter end, which amounts to a wasted life or an early grave - whichever comes first. What is to be Heather Langdon's fate?

Patti Ann Bengen's title, "New Beginnings," foreshadows the events without destroying the outcome. Her treatment of characterization from cover to cover is clever and accomplished. The circumstances surrounding Heather's plight are extraordinary but, again, not unbelievable. They are as real as real can be. Scary. Too, there is no deus ex machina employed to pull the story down to its eleventh hour. On the contrary; from denouement through the final chapter, it is the best unraveling of plot sumary that I have had the pleasure of reading in recent years. What is Bengen's secret ingredient to this success? In a single word -- family. She writes most ably of genteel families and ordinary folk, surfacing their frailities, folies, foibles as well as more serious flaws and faults. The author's canny treatment of one unsavory family member whose unruly behavior can only lead to a stormy outcome paradoxically becomes the proverbial tempest in a teacup; hence you will meet John's other, Meredith. Of the truly wicked (I won't give away the name here), Bengen wisely wields and slashes away with her justifiably vituperative pen, proving once again that what goes around in life comes around - but not until the architect of "New Beginnings" reminds you that there are hungry wolves in sheep's clothing lurking in our world at large. You will love to hate this predatory figure. As for the assemblage of Heather's "new" family, you will hate having them step from the final page, although your heart will be fulfilled. I give Patti Ann Bengen five scintillating stars, plus another for becoming one in her own right, in what I trust will be a new beginning leading to many, many more stories to come. Given the genre of the romantic drama, I truly believe that you will adopt this wonderful writer as a favorite.

Robert Banfelder is an award-winning novelist of psychological thrillers.

"CAREER CRIMINAL" by Gary "Gunz" Govich"

     Gary Govich is a talented writer, who shows no mercy with his pen until he gets to the final page, and then leaves you hanging . . . is there a new beginning . . . or?

     The author depicts the lifestyle of the wild west cowboys from, and of Russia, gone global, but he does not give the reader the opportunity to let this fact sink in, as his world moves along, spinning out of control, and as one deed leads to another, and one favor leads to another, and becomes a nonstop merry-go-round until you are lucky enough to stop it, or that bullet with your name on it makes a fatal connection. There is always someone lurking at the next corner ready to gobble up your "Brighton Beach" kingdom, or elsewhere, globally.

     Mr. Govich has a most effective way of spreading his emotions across the page, and pulling sympathy from the reader, because with each forward step, he is pulled backward two, at least.

     I won't go near the ending, because this is a MUST read, and I do not want to spoil your journey with Mr. Govich.

     Well done, Mr. Govich, I hope to see more of you in the future.

Patti Ann Bengen 5/2/09