The Peacekeeper – Historical Fiction’s Latest Addition

It’s hard to imagine what life might have been like way back when around 50 AD or so, but if we were to try, it might look a little something like Marcellus’s life in The Peacekeeper, the latest novel by author Jess Steven Hughes. Though his life would have been on the more dramatic side, for sure, Hughes’s latest addition to his Brittania Romanus series showcases ancient Romans in a dramatic and captivating way.

Rome during the extremely early years of around 40 AD – 70 AD, Rome is being ruled by a vast array of emperors who were known for their vicious governing styles. The empire had a large army, the Roman army that was one of the largest and most effective killing machines at the time. Deeply organized, trained, and properly equipped, no other military stood any sort of chance against the Romans.

This is where our protagonist, Marcellus, comes into play. He is hidden away in the thick of the Roman army as a Spanish centurion. His thrilling adventures against his main nemesis, Anicius Pedius Gallus, only add to the story. Marcellus even falls in love with Eleyne, a British/Celtic princess. His tales do not end there, however, as Marcellus’s story is truly only just beginning. This story contains everything needed for a riveting adventure, but set in Ancient Rome so as to add a bit of historical education to the mix as well.

Historical fiction is so intriguing because it shows its readers that drama, mystery, and even other daily, relatable events can happen at any point in time, to anyone. People can get so caught up in their own lives and get the idea that history is simply in the past and irrelevant. However, books such as The Peacekeeper, as well as other historical fiction works, remind us that life hit people just as fast back during the days of the Roman Empire just as much as it hits us now. It connects us to a time that is thought of as long gone and insignificant. True readers, though, know that this is not true, of course. We are all human and all connected, no matter where in the world or what time period you live in.

Ketih Rommel Opens Up on His Thanatology

I had a chance to talk with the author of the “Thanatology” series and learned some interesting background about his books. The series came about because of Keith’s fixation with death. I would venture to say that most of us have questions about death we would like answered as well as fear. Many of us might even try to forget about our inevitable fate and refuse to acknowledge it as often as possible. For someone like Keith, who has experienced multiple brushes with death, the ideas of death and dying have become enigmas. He regards his feelings as an ebb and flow of curiosity spattered by fear. On occasion, he asks the question “how bad could it be” not in a suicidal way, but seeking more knowledge. Because it is impossible to know for sure what death is like, he imagines it instead. His novels create a window into what the other side of life could be. Much of the “Thanatology” is surprisingly based on real events and people. The main character in “The Lurking Man,” Cailean, is based on his own alcoholic grandparents and the theme of an abused child mimics his mother’s unfortunate life growing up.

Each of his books is a challenging read, but Keith knows his audience isn’t a bunch of dummies. Readers will figure it out if they pay attention, though these are not the sort of books one can daydream through. You have to stand on your toes or you’ll wind up confused. Keith describes it as “thinking man’s fiction.” The purpose of each book is for readers to stop and reflect on their own lives so that they ultimately lead better lives than the characters.

Finally, the beauty of the series is that the first three books can be read in any order. This allows for flexibility for potential readers to choose which book sounds most intriguing to them so that they can become better immersed in the fictional world. The fourth book in the “Thanatology” pulls pieces from the first three, so it is easier to understand if those ones are read first.

Check out Keith’s books at:


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A Modern Hester Prynne for ‘The Year of the Woman’


Rachel Sims, an indomitable spirit in an intolerant religious community, is rumored to have left her husband for a man driving an expensive car from another state. Like Hester Prynne in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, she becomes the symbol of sin and adultery. Years later, another young woman becomes convinced that the true story of what happened to Rachel Sims is trapped in her own early life memories.

Book overview:

Rachel Sims, a young Midwestern farm wife, disappears in 1952 under mysterious circumstances while apparently on her way to a clandestine meeting with a man who is not her husband. Some people in a nearby small town claim they saw her leaving the area “with a well-dressed gentleman driving a car with Iowa license plates.” Others assign various nefarious motives to her disappearance. Only Charlie Flanigan, a cemetery caretaker known to the locals as “Crazy Charlie,” refuses to accept the ugly gossip about Rachel Sims. He insists he still sees her walking the riverbanks on Hodges Island on dark spring evenings when the lilacs are in bloom. After the death of her mother twenty-two years later, Laura Fielding, a graduate student with a bonding disorder and a history of broken relationships, discovers that her family may have been living under stolen identities. She also has vague memories and dreams that are unconnected to anything she remembers from her early childhood experiences. With the help of psychiatrist Ned Finley, an eccentric researcher who studies human memories, she attempts to solve the mystery of her lineage by bringing her early life memories to the surface through regressive hypnosis. They are assisted by Finley’s friend Aurther Schlepler, a retired psychic who once helped police departments solve difficult homicide cases, but who has taken up permanent residence in the Farmington State Mental Hospital. Laura eventually visits Point Tyson, where she learns that her mysterious past may be connected to the disappearance of the young farm wife, who reportedly left the area with a wealthy man. Although the townspeople believe Rachel Sims was an immoral woman who abandoned her husband for a better life, Laura suspects the real reasons for the young farm wife’s disappearance might be found in her own early life memories.

Book review:

"Excellent story line which was gripping from start to finish. Great Characters. I would highly recommend this book"

~ Net Gallery

About the author:

Dennis M. Clausen was born and raised in a Minnesota small town near the South Dakota border. His early years on the prairie provided the inspiration for his novels and other literary works that chronicle the struggles of these small towns to survive in modern America. In addition to writing and publishing since the early 1980s, he has been a professor of American literature and screenwriting at the University of San Diego for forty-six years. Currently, he is working with Sunbury Press on several literary projects. The Search for Judd McCarthy and The Sins of Rachel Sims, novels that feature the fictional character Ned Finley’s research into early-life and other human memories, are scheduled for publication in early summer of 2018. The Accountant’s Apprentice, a novel set in San Diego at a time when the homeless population was increasing dramatically, is scheduled for publication in October of 2018. My Christmas Attic, the story of a young boy struggling with dyslexia and the loss of his father in the Korean War, will be published in late November of 2018.

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Dennis Clausen

by Dennis Clausen


Trade Paperback - 6 x 9 x .7


222 Pages

FICTION / Literary

FICTION / Psychological

FICTION / Small Town & Rural


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Coast to Coast Newspaper talks of “R.E.M.F. – Vietnam’s Other GIs”

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Coast to Coast Newspaper publishes a compelling review of R.E.M.F. - Vietnam's Other GIs, written by John VanDevanter Carter.

Roberta Deen, from Coast to Coast Newspaper, recently published her review of John VanDevanter Carter's book, R.E.M.F. - Vietnam's Other GIs. This is a nonfiction, historical novel about the Vietnam war.

She names R.E.M.F. - Vietnam's Other GIs as a "page-turner" after finishing the book herself.

Be sure to check out her review-

CC Newspaper - Review

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The American West Portrayed in Atonement

An American era that has continually existed as a time full of mystery and intrigue is the time period following the Civil War, particularly in the Western frontier. During this time, many Americans did not appreciate large industries taking over the eastern part of the country. As a result, many sought after the land west of the Mississippi River for expansive areas to mine, farm, and ranch. However, as well as being prosperous, the West also became a rather dangerous place. The nineteenth-century American West carries a reputation for being corrupt and violent. This premise is the set-up for Kyle Alexander Romine’s latest release, Atonement.

            In this thrilling historical fiction novel, the protagonist, Christian, is a loner who wanders into the small town of Caster, Wyoming and discovers that it has been overtaken by a dangerous gang. The community can do nothing except live under the disastrous conditions. Christian initially wants to simply get some supplies and then be on his way; however, he cannot help but get pulled into the conflicts of this town. Christian also has a mysterious past that he seems keen on running away from, but that cannot be avoided forever. Staying and fighting off these outlaws will force him to confront the problems he has been trying hard to repress.

This novel is not only a historical fiction tale from the American West, but it is also a captivating thriller as well. This time period is extremely useful for writing a suspenseful horror story. Especially in the years following the Civil War, America was a disheveled nation. Trying to rebuild the country after it had been torn to shreds by its own people is not an easy thing to bounce back from. It is no wonder why the years during Reconstruction were difficult and many struggled during this time. Atonement plays off of this period in history to weave together a compelling story about the chaos and disorder of the West. Kyle Alexander Romines takes this historical period to the next level by using his thorough character descriptions and thrilling story to paint a picture of the American West like it has never been seen before.

Hawley thinks he has proven Dr. Tumblety was Jack the Ripper

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Jack the Ripper, the (unfortunately) famous serial killer of the Whitechapel area, gets a new name in Michael Hawley's evidence-packed book, Jack the Ripper Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety.

Book overview:

Jack the Ripper Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety highlights the most recent groundbreaking discoveries concerning one of Scotland Yard’s top Jack the Ripper suspects in the 1888 Whitechapel Murders Investigation, Dr. Francis Tumblety. Among the discoveries is over 700 pages of never-seen-before sworn testimonies revealing not only a picture of an antisocial narcissist with a single-minded lifelong drive for exploitation but also damning evidence that he may indeed have been the Whitechapel fiend.

Book review:

"...Michael Hawley has outdone himself...this is not just a reprinting of his last book with an extra chapter this is a whole new book with a virtual mountain of newly discovered material (including the discovery of over 700 pages of testimony regarding Dr. Tumblety after his death!!). It paints a much clearer picture of the mind of this unusual but fascinating "man."

Michael gives us an almost complete account of the whereabouts of Tumblety during and after the autumn of terror and paints a compelling argument that it is possible that Dr. Tumblety and Jack the Ripper may be one in the same.


It can be difficult to read about such an un-likeable figure, but Hawley keeps the reader fascinated by not only the style in which he writes (academic yet enthralling) but by the sheer amount of information, so much of it new to even the staunchest ‘Ripperologist’ or true crime enthusiast. This will be a book researchers will keep at their side for years to come....a perfect example of allowing the FACTS and EVIDENCE to tell the story..not the writers personal views...hats off to Michael for that.

This may be the best ‘Ripper’ book in a decade...and that is saying a lot considering the amazing work done by such fantastic writers and historians like A.J Griffith and Tom Wescott..5 stars doesn't seem like enough."

~ Brian Young, five star review on Amazon


About the author:

Michael Hawley has published over a dozen research articles in journals dedicated to the Whitechapel murders/Jack the Ripper mystery, namely Ripperologist, Whitechapel Society Journal, Casebook Examiner, and The Dagger, and published online articles for numerous websites. He was awarded Article of the Year for 2016 for the most popular Jack the Ripper website, which is based out of London, England. He was honored to lecture at the Jack the Ripper Conference (RipperCon) in Baltimore, Maryland, in April 2016, and the Jack the Ripper Conference in Liverpool, England, in September 2017. Hawley is the author of The Ripper’s Haunts (Nonfiction, 2016) with the top book reviewer and author, Paul Begg, stating, “Hawley’s Magnum Opus” is “head and shoulders above the new Ripper offerings in 2016,” and “for that matter, 2015.” He was honored to be interviewed in two separate podcasts for Rippercast. He is also the author of The Watchmaker Revelations, a mystery/thriller fiction trilogy: The Ripper’s Hellbroth, Jack’s Lantern, and Curse of the Bayou Beast. He is also the author of Searching for Truth with a Broken Flashlight (Nonfiction, 2010), which was awarded June 2011 Book of the Month for the mega-website,, and was the subject of an article in the Buffalo Spree, June 2011. Hawley holds a Master’s degree in science (invertebrate paleontology) and secondary science education at State University of New York, College of Buffalo, and a Bachelor’s degree in geology and geophysics at Michigan State University. He was a commander and naval aviator in the U.S. Navy (retired), and is currently enjoying a career as a secondary earth science and chemistry teacher. He resides with his wife and six children in Greater Buffalo, New York.


To purchase:

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by Michael Hawley


Trade Paperback - 6 x 9 x 1


296 pages

TRUE CRIME / Murder / Serial Killers

HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / Victorian Era

HISTORY / United States / 19th Century


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Journey to the Gotham Graves

What better time to visit New York City’s historical side than this July? The perfect tour to pay your respects to three notable figures from the Big Apple fits in perfectly with the anniversaries of their deaths. You’ll want to bring a copy of “Gotham Graves: Famous Graves Found Around New York City” with you for reference. At each stop, you’ll be about to enjoy the stories of three incredible men. Start on July 11 in Westchester County, where the first stop is George Gershwin, resting in Westchester Hills Cemetery.

Next, on July 12, honor and remember founding father, Alexander Hamilton at his resting place in Trinity Church Cemetery. A few blocks away is Hamilton Grange National Memorial where he used to reside. The war hero commissioned an architect to build the home on his 32 acre estate. Unfortunately, the mansion was completed only two years before Hamilton’s passing, so he was not able to enjoy it for long.

The final stop, on July 13, is the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. Though a Tennessee native, Grantland Rice left his mark on New York City as a sportswriter and poet. Sixty-four years after his death, it is time to reminisce on this beloved, upstanding citizen. He is buried beside his wife, Katherine.

The collection of biographies gathered by Joe Farley and Joe Farrell is available in two volumes. Each story is informative and entertaining. These two books are the perfect “travel guides” for New York City. So take off on a trip to NYC and spend some time for an inside look at famous lives. This is a journey that you won’t soon forget.