Book Reviews: Tinkers Creek and The China Virus

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IT’S A STORY AS OLD as the Old Testament, but most good Westerns are. The landscape is as wild and diverse as the characters. It often defies description, the country and the motivation that drives men, both good and bad, to do what they believe they are destined to do.

They are caught somewhere between the chasm of fate and circumstance, fighting the elements and each other to survive, never knowing if each day might be their last. So often, it is.

With Tinkers Creek, the creative and imaginative mind of Tony Bull has produced a story that defies time.

It may have happened a long time ago.

It could have happened yesterday.

Tony Bull has skillfully crafted a story that’s as real as the dreams and nightmares of human nature, which are often magnified but never change. Forget the clichés. They didn’t find their way into Tinkers Creek.

The novel isn’t a western, not really. It’s the timeless story of man versus man, the mighty and the lowly, and the conflicts that rage between greed and revenge.

A man is threatened. A man refuses to fold.

The odds are against him, but he stands firm and defiant against an unscrupulous banker and his band of thieves who will cheat, lie, steal, and wreak both havoc and death to acquire what they want. And what they want is Sten Petersen’s land in the valley.

Sten is willing to fight back. He never has a chance.

A shot in the back, and his fight is over.

Leo Marburg wants more than Peterson’s land, however. He wants the whole valley.

And nothing will stop him. That’s what he thinks.

He has not yet met Judd Petersen.

Petersen’s a lawman.

He’s not pleased. The family homestead has been lost. Sten is dead. Judd has vengeance on his mind. He’s prepared to fight. He’s prepared to die.

Does Leo Marburg and his rustlers feel that way.

They better.

Judd Petersen won’t give Marburg a choice. It’s time to do what’s right, and only one will walk away.

Tony Bull with his tightly knit plot and web of twist and turns will keep you guessing until the very end.

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ALBERT DALIA SET The China Virus back during the restless, enigmatic days of the 1980s. The story is just as timely today.

The future of China lies in balance.

Political forces are lining up throughout the secret gathering places of Beijing. They sense weakness within the halls of power and are ready to strike.

China’s leadership is in trouble.

Its influence is crumbling.

The fight to take control will be a battle to the death.

The China Virus is fraught with international mystery and intrigue.

Who can you trust?

Who should you fear?

Trust no one.

Fear everyone.

It’s your only hope.

Spies hide in the shadows.

So do assassins.

Human life, at least within the confines of politics, has no value.

Someone must win. Someone must lose. The losers will quietly vanish from the countryside and be lost for all time.

Trapped inside the conflict is Sino-Tech, which represents the first joint venture of the United States and China in the world of computers.

It’s historic, and there was genuine hope that the project would ultimately bridge the ages old gap of uncertainty and distrust between the two world powers.

But someone important has been murdered.

The People’s Armed Police need a suspect.

It doesn’t take long to find one.

Investigators are quite content to pin the murder on John-Paul Bellini, the young American who has been serving as co-director of Sino-Tech.

Can he figure out who targeted him?

Can he remain free long enough to prove his innocence?

Has his presence in China always been a lie?

Was he himself a spy?

And what does he know that’s so important that certain political leaders want him silenced?

We know so little about the China of that era, but Dalia is a scholar of medieval Chinese history, and he formerly lived in Beijing. He knows the country. He knows the people. He has long had a deep understanding of the social and political unrest that had long divided China.

Dalia carefully peels back the layers of a country at war with itself and guides his readers into the heart of an intriguing story that captures the mystical and disturbing, history – both past and present – of the China experience as the country blindly fights its way into a new and westernized way of life. It is both a riveting and an unsettling journey, a thriller of the first magnitude.

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