A review of the Sharon Marchisello’s novel Going Home

by Barbara Matthews

gh_fcThe doorbell rang…” and in through that doorway Sharon Marchisello issues forth one bombshell after another in her contemporary murder mystery, Going Home.

Michelle DePalma arrives at her mother’s home to find that the door is uncharacteristically wide open. Upon entering, she finds a young woman dead on the floor with her mother hovering nearby—seemingly unaware of what has taken place in the foyer of her home.

As Marchisello weaves her intricate tale, the doorway introduces:

  • Unknown family: “I’m Isabella Rogers, and this is my daughter, Giovanna. I’m your daughter-in-law.”
  • A policeman: “Michelle, I’m afraid the evidence is pointing to your mother.”
  • A man with a raised baseball bat: “Where’s that crazy old broad that killed my Brittany?”
  • A potential suspect who appears in: “The same vehicle I had passed on my way up the street the day I arrived, the day Brittany had died!”

Going Home draws attention to specific issues of Alzheimer’s disease as well as caregiving problems in general:

  • wandering;
  • long-distance caregiving;
  • finding reliable caregiving agencies and personnel;
  • financial exploitation;
  • sibling relationships / shared responsibility; and
  • the difficulties of facing death and dying

wtdam_fcAlthough Going Home addresses important caregiving issues, it does so in a manner that will intrigue a wide-variety of readers. I recommend it highly.

Barbara Matthews is the co-author of What to Do About Mama?: A Guide to Caring for Aging Family Members

Going Home

 Authored by Sharon Marchisello
List Price: $16.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on White paper
284 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064382
ISBN-10: 1620064383
BISAC: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General
For more information, please see: http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Going-Home-9781620064382.htm
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Gentrification of New York City in the 90s subject of Matthew Taub’s first novel

NEW YORKSunbury Press has released Matthew Taub’s first novel Death of the Dying City about the gentirification of New York City in the 1990s.

KUH1989002K655About the Book:
DEATH OF THE DYING CITY is a panorama of New York City’s rapid gentrification and shifting cultural enclaves in the 1990s. Rotating character-driven vignettes are connected by Mark Newstein, a young ethically-imperiled attorney facing additional issues of romantic upheaval.

Excerpt:
It was a rather mundane, almost formulaic way to bring a crushing end to a career, Mark Newstein thought as he waited for his ethics committee hearing to begin. Yet despite this cynical, disengaged assessment, Mark remained paralyzed by fear. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest, every seemingly innocuous sight and sound—of workers gossiping while coming back from their coffee break, or the receptionist’s banter with a postal worker delivering a package—putting him further on edge. Mark was excitably unhinged, but also extremely fatigued—he hadn’t slept properly in several days. He tried to focus on anticipating the questions he would soon face. The committee would surely be asking him about his conduct and the questionable conduct of other members of his workplace over the past few years. It wasn’t every day that a law office boasting multi-million dollar profits, closely affiliated with another highly-visible firm advertising a catchy “1-800” number on every subway car, television channel, billboard, and radio station throughout the metropolitan area suddenly ceased to exist. The committee would want to know why.

Until they called him, the front reception area of Departmental Disciplinary Committee (“DDC”) was where Mark was forced to wait. This Downtown office was a fitting, funereal accompaniment for his demise: lights dimmed too low, blotched stains peppering a shabby carpet, lumpy couches, faded magazines, and a neglected potted plant wilting in the corner. The building itself was of faded stonework, sturdy but otherwise unremarkable. Manhattan’s own Ten Downing Street, this nondescript appearance belied the office’s enormous stature and power. When lawyers are first licensed to practice law, they are approved by a separate committee on Character & Fitness; the DDC was its own distinct entity that, depending on the circumstances, could later find that character to be sorely lacking. The committee had the power to reprimand, censure, sanction, suspend, and even disbar lawyers deemed unfit to continue practicing law. Mark Newstein was their next case to review.

Mark presented himself that morning in proper business attire, but otherwise was completely disheveled—unshaven cheeks brimming with prickly stubble, his auburn hair a shaggy mess, posture edgy, movements discombobulated. Hand gestures twitched with nervousness. The static silence of the waiting room provided little solace. He couldn’t bear to read any of the stale literature while he waited; instead, Mark simply began to reflect on his seemingly short-lived career. A young man at the end of his twenties, he had only practiced for a short period before it all came tumbling down. Shrewd and savvy enough to do well in his industry, he still knew well the ethical boundaries he never wanted to cross, regardless of whether there were repercussions. It was therefore with particular irony, and utter disbelief, that he marveled at the circumstances in which he found himself. The truth was that his fervent commitment to honesty and integrity, rather than saving him from this place, had only ushered him here more quickly.

Asforhisprivatelife,his“relationship”withStephanie, if that was even a proper title, seemed to be approaching its inevitable, crushing finality.Howlonghad itbeensince she stopped returninghiscalls?A partofhim alwaysknewthey weredoomed, but it was torture to think of her reluctant engagement to the man of her mother’s insistence. It all seemed so laughably antiquated for their modern times, yet too real to chuckle away. He thought of the mother, that bossy cow, and her obscene desire for that smiling moron. Mark kicked himself for being so poor a judge of character.

And then there was the city itself, permanently deranged. In the mere half decade Mark worked as a lawyer, the Big Apple was dragged, kicking and screaming, from its former destitute dereliction to present-day, gleaming modernity. While briefly achieving a pleasant homeostasis—that sought-after nexus between ghastly grit and sanitized sedation—it didn’t last. As ever more sprawling middle class and creative havens were reimagined as high-end locales, the new world priced itself out, made unaffordable as quickly as it became accessible, wiped clean of any character and instead morphed into a tourist’s playground, a cartoonish and corporate viewing spectacle. The ephemeral places and faces Mark knew were dying out, knocked over as they were like dominoes. As the dynamic metropolis he knew and loved came to an end, it seemed Mark would follow right along in it.

KUH1989002K655About the Author:
Matthew A. Taub is a lawyer, fiction writer, and occasional journalist living in Brooklyn, NY. His work has appeared in Absinthe Revival, The Weekenders, Red Ochre LiT’s BLACK&WHITE Magazine, The Squawk Back, Schlock Magazine, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, The Fat City Review, Raw Fiction, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle,Greenpointers and Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn.Est. 250 pages

DEATH OF THE DYING CITY is his first novel. Though a work of fiction, the work grew out of the author’s fascination with the traumatic history of New York City’s emergence from the doldrums, and his witnessing truly vexing issues involving the ugly underbelly to the legal profession and wanting more— more from the justice system, and more from the individuals who make a living within it.

Inspiration for the literary style and themes of the novel came many prior works, including Richard Price’s ”Lush Life,” Tom Wolfe’s ”Bonfire of the Vanities,” and Jonathan Lethem’s ”The Fortress of Solitude.”

What Others Are Saying:
“Riveting stuff.”
— Joshua Baldwin, author of The Wilshire Sun

“A compelling mosaic of threatened artistic subcultures and boiling racial tensions in a city on the fast-track for change.”
— Andrew Cotto, author of Outerborough Blues

Death of the Dying City
Authored by Matthew Taub
List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
336 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620063552
ISBN-10: 1620063557
BISAC: Fiction / Legal

Also available on Kindle
For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Death-of-the-Dying-City-…

Cumberland Valley attorney stumbles upon a murder with eerie ties to the past

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa.Sunbury Press has released Sherry Knowlton’s first novel  Dead of Autumn, a murder mystery set in the Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania.

DOA-FCAbout the Book:
Alexa Williams is a successful lawyer, volunteers weekly at a women’s clinic, and has a sexy weekend boyfriend—not to mention an endearing best friend in her giant English mastiff, Scout. But one autumn day, when Scout takes off into the Pennsylvania woods, Alexa discovers a nightmare she’d never imagined. From that fateful day, Alexa becomes entangled in a murder mystery—one that she tries to unravel by linking it to experiences and symbols in her own life.

Dewilla Noakes, a child of the Depression, has recently lost her mother. Her father, packs up the girls—and their attractive cousin, Winnie—and hits the road to look for a job on the east coast. Along the way, money becomes tighter, food becomes scarcer, and relationships become strained. Dewilla’s father fears he’s failing his daughters. Running out of options, he begins to consider the unthinkable to end the misery he’s brought upon his family …

Horrific scene of the "Babes in the Woods" referred to in "Dead of Autumn."

Horrific scene of the “Babes in the Woods” referred to in “Dead of Autumn.”

Alexa soon finds herself amidst violence aimed at the clinic where she volunteers, brought on by pro-life extremists. In a bizarre turn of events, she’s almost raped, ambushed by religious zealots who wish to convert her, then taken by surprise as another romance enters her life. Plus, she seems to be seeing quite a lot of the local law enforcement these days.

No matter what else happens in her life, Alexa can’t shake feeling some sort of connection to the mysterious murder victim. She thinks back to the stories she heard as a child, about the Babes in the Woods, who were murdered close to where the victim’s body was found, wondering if that might be why she draws the connection. But when the murderer strikes again, Alexa must rely on her knowledge of local history and terrain in order to save her own life.

DEAD of AUTUMN ties together the struggles faced by females, young and old, past and present, and the degrees of power they embrace to combat their situations.

Excerpt:
“Last one, Scout,” Alexa warned as she arced the ball high into the air, but her throw went astray. The ball clipped a low-hanging branch, plummeted to the ground, and disappeared over a small hill. The mastiff chased after the ball as it hit the dirt and rolled down the far slope.

For a few seconds, Alexa lost sight of both Scout and the ball. She rushed in their direction, calling out to the dog. She stopped dead in her tracks then sprinted when she heard Scout barking furiously. When the pitch of his bark rose to a high keen, an icy tremor fluttered down Alexa’s spine.

Frantic thoughts of bears, porcupines, and animal traps flew through Alexa’s mind as she reached the top of the rise. She slowed as she caught sight of Scout about twenty yards away. Still yelping, the red ball forgotten at his feet, the mastiff seemed riveted by a bushy area near the small stream.

The dog didn’t appear to be hurt, but she still worried that some wild animal was involved. This state forest saw several cases of rabies every year, and she didn’t want to confront a rabid fox or other animal. She picked up a fallen branch.

Despite repeated calls, Scout would not come to her. Alexa continued to edge nearer, her heart thumping. She glimpsed a bright flash of pink at the far base of the mountain laurel and wondered why Scout would flip out over a pile of trash. Tensed to flee, Alexa tiptoed still closer to Scout and whatever had him behaving so strangely.

A slight, blonde girl lay completely still beneath the mountain laurel, a patch of her torn fuchsia blouse lifting on the breeze. Her legs, clad in trendy blue jeans, skewed at an impossible angle to her waist. Her back rested on a pile of scarlet leaves, right arm flung above her head; blue eyes staring sightless at the sky.

Alexa gasped and let the branch slip from her fingers. She reached out to grip Scout’s collar, and the dog immediately stopped his keening. An abrupt silence fell over the forest. The sudden quiet unnerved Alexa. The small slope blocked any sounds of traffic from the road. She could hear nothing except the muted burble of the creek and the dry rustle of autumn leaves.

The murmur of the dying leaves seemed to whisper a warning. Alexa scanned the surrounding area, but she and Scout were alone.

Alone with a dead body.

sherryAbout the Author:
Sherry Knowlton (nee Rothenberger) was born and raised in Chambersburg, PA, where she developed a lifelong passion for books. She was that kid who would sneak a flashlight to bed at night so she could read beneath the covers. All the local librarians knew her by name.

Sherry launched her writing career with a mimeographed elementary school newsletter and went on to write and edit for her high school and college newspapers. Since then, Sherry’s creative and technical writing has run the gamut from poetry, essays, and short stories to environmental newsletters, policy papers, regulations, and grant proposals. Dead of Autumn is her first novel.

Sherry spent much of her early career in state government, working primarily with social and human services programs, including services for abused children, rape crisis, domestic violence, and family planning. In the 1990s, she served as the Deputy Secretary for Medical Assistance in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The latter part of Sherry’s career has focused on the field of Medicaid managed care. Now retired from executive positions in the health insurance industry, Sherry runs her own health care consulting business.

Sherry has a B.A. in English and psychology from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.

Sherry and her husband, Mike, began their journey together in the days of peace and music when they traversed the country in a hippie van. Running out of money several months into the trip, Sherry waitressed the night shift at a cowboy hangout in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Mike washed dishes in a bakery. Undeterred, they embraced the travel experience and continue to explore far-flung places around the globe. Sherry and Mike have one son, Josh, a craft brewer in upstate New York.

Sherry lives in the mountains of South Central Pennsylvania, only a short distance from the Babes in the Woods memorial.

Dead of Autumn
Authored by Sherry Knowlton
List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
286 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064764
ISBN-10: 1620064766
BISAC: Fiction / Thrillers / Crime

Also available on Kindle
For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Dead-of-Autumn-978162006…