Review Reviews by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

365. Alternative READ: Bittersweet Crude ~ Jay Bern ~ Author House ~ Reviewer: Caroline

Title: Bittersweet Crude
Author: Jay Bern
Publisher: Author House
Genre: Adult/Mystery/Fiction
Publication date: 2005
ISBN: 1420833650
Length: Unknown
Format: Paperback

Bittersweet Crude by Jay Bern

Mystery Meet

It is rare that a novel is released in time to run head-on into the political traumas it portrays. After all, it takes some time to craft a novel and current events tend to be fickle. It turns out Bittersweet Crude by Jay Bern is ahead of its time.

Released last year by a subsidy house, this novel didn’t find its groove easily. Given the oil-induced headaches governments are experiencing, that may be about to change. Here is an author who knows about the inner-workings of crude and the way it is inextricably braided into politics. He takes those truths and weaves them into a story that requires no effort from the reader to suspend disbelief.

Chris Horn is not the average quirky detective but a rather earnest youth who finds himself thrown into the intrigue of big business and Mid-Eastern politics. After he finds a body in the hold of a freighter that has experienced what could be the oil-world’s equivalent of a nuclear meltdown, he is jockeyed into positions no young man should have to endure. In spite of his dealings with men (yes, a world of men — for, after all, that’s the way it apparently is) dealing with their demons to say nothing of cultural differences, politics and more, while their Texas wives mostly plan cocktail parties and pine for better things.

Yes, there is some romance in this novel — a lovely thread I wouldn’t want to have seen omitted, but it feels a little uncomfortable, as if the author suspects it is not essential to his story. It does give him the opportunity to introduce the lovely Eurasian Sarina, educated and brainy, into the mix.

Nevertheless, the real story here is the gritty one tinged with truths that may well be very close to what is going on behind the scenes in boardrooms, government offices and cushy palaces around the world. This is a timely and pertinent book. If it should get into the hands of George Clooney, he may be able to do a lot with it on the screen.

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Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author of This is the Place and Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, Tracings and The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s first novel, This is the Place, the winner of eight awards, is also of current interest because of the recent arrest of FBI’s most wanted Warren Jeff’s, a latter-day Mormon cult leader. Her practical and detailed how-to book on promotion, THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOU’RE PUBLISHER WON’T, won USA Book News’ Best Professional Book award and the Book Publicists of Southern California’s Irwin Award. Learn more at: http://carolynhoward-johnson.com.

Contact Reviewer: hojoreviews@aol.com

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