May 10

Summer Is On The Way

Greetings Po$$e members,

Yes, indeed. Summer is on the way for us here in North America. And it can’t get here soon enough. It was so cold back in February I ran into a moose family at the store from Canada who had finally said “Screw this” and bought a condo in Florida. And for those of you below the equator, as your winter approaches, I certainly hope you don’t experience anything nearly as severe as some of the northern locales did this year.

I’d like to welcome the 1,500+ new Po$$e members who’ve joined the site since the last time we chatted. And of course thanks to the thousands of new Twitter followers and other folks who’ve discovered my work via other social media. I continue to be honored and humbled by your support.

I’m committing to a post at least once a week through the summer since there are a lot of exciting things going on with both my writing as well as some great new books by some of my favorite authors. So stay tuned for upcoming news about my new book, Rubicon, #5 in the Damaged Po$$e series, that will launch sometime this fall as well as some very exciting news about my standalone comedy, Divorce Hotel. It’s been an interesting start to 2014.

But today I’m reviewing John Dolan’s new book, A Poison Tree, the latest in his Time, Blood, and Karma series. If you haven’t discovered John’s work yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. A Poison Tree is terrific! And the fact that I’m actively promoting his work here, as opposed to one of my own books, should tell you everything you need to know about how great a writer I think he is. (The bastard makes me work very hard just to try to keep up.) And he’s a very cool guy as well as you will discover when I do a feature interview with him right here next week.

So enjoy my review and I hope you take a second to click the link below and grab a copy. It’s only $3.99. Four bucks. You kidding me? You can’t even get a decent snow shovel for four bucks. And even if you could, trust me, there’s no way a snow shovel could ever provide the entertainment value that A Poison Tree does.


A Poison Tree (Time, Blood and Karma)

A Poison Tree Delights

A Poison Tree is John Dolan’s third book in his ‘Time, Blood and Karma’ series and is, in a word, fantastic. I make every effort to not overuse superlatives since they lose their effect and can actually dampen the impact of reviews like these. “Oh, come on, B.R.,” I can hear you say. “Fantastic? Really? I bet you say that to all the books with pretty covers.”

So at the risk of dampening this review like a wet, cold mist over Leicester, I repeat; A Poison Tree is fantastic.

I’ve been looking forward to discovering what David Braddock, Dolan’s burned out, anti-hero, private investigator protagonist has been up to since the end of Hungry Ghosts, the second book in the series that, until now, had been set in Thailand. But Dolan, as he is so capable of doing, threw all of us a curve by taking us back in a time to England, 1999. Set against the backdrop of the approaching Millennium, A Poison Tree serves as a prequel to Everyone Burns, the first book in the series. And through the skillful use and mix of alternating character points of view and first and third person narrative, Dolan reveals the sequence of events that drove Braddock to his Asian exile. The book opens with an homage to ‘noir’ storytelling with Braddock and an acquaintance, Jim Fosse, (readers will remember him from Dolan’s short story, Jim Fosse’s Expense Claim) drinking heavily in a local pub. And the opening line sets up the book and hooks us right from the start:

“I’m thinking of killing my wife.”

The stable of characters is fully-fleshed with a world-weariness that sit perfectly, but rest uneasy, within the book’s setting. The Millennium milestone provides great foundational context as Dolan’s themes of ennui, uncertainty, and human frailty, so skillfully woven into the narrative and characters’ interplay, emerge in a (Warning-Superlative Alert) magnificent fashion. The nagging sores of everyday life in the late 20th century have rarely been this exposed, or this well treated.

Dolan’s skills as a writer continue to evolve and he stays true to what seems to be one of his primary objectives: Never use lengthy descriptive phrases when one word will do. I can almost see him, pen in hand, redlining and scratching his head for the perfect word. His attention to this level of detail demonstrates a dedicated commitment to quality writing and respect for his readers. This level of dedication helps separate him from other authors and it’s another trait of his I greatly admire. Here’s a short sample from Braddock’s reflection on desire that rises out of an interaction that has a profound impact on him and the story:

Desire is a chameleon.

He blends into the brickwork and the rocks of those lanes and pathways down which we walk. He lurks like a highwayman at the crossroads of our lives, waiting to rob us of our reason.

And he does so for sport.

He lies on the rooftops of our imagination, armed with a high-powered rifle.

Desire is a tireless hunter.

This is just small example of what awaits readers. Get your copy today. You’ll be glad you did. And you’ll be thanking John Dolan profusely from the comfort of page one.

The Poison Tree ends as Braddock is just beginning his Asian exile. I have no idea where Book #4 will begin; Dolan could simply pick up where this one ends or he could decide to return to the point where Hungry Ghosts let off. Regardless, it won’t matter. One could simply ask Mr. Dolan how his Monday went and, three months later, he could hand you a book describing it that would keep you turning the pages, provide you with tons of entertainment, and teach you something in the process.

He’s that _______ good! (Insert your own superlative)


  1. John Dolan

    Bernie, thank you most sincerely for the plug.

  2. bookfaceguidet72.com

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  3. go

    Outstanding story there. What occurred after?

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