Monday, April 19, 2021

Dust of Lies receives 5 star reviews



Readers’ Favorite

Review of Dust of Lies: 5 Star Reviews by 4 reviewers


Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite

             When the old jail in Barber, Arkansas, was being demolished, Kay watched the event. She was the only reporter for the local weekly newspaper and planned to write an article about it. She and her husband Darrell moved to the small town a few years earlier to care for his elderly mother, and this job kept her busy. Kay spotted some writing on a piece of stone wall; it was a mysterious poem and appeared to be decades old. The jailed man named a woman as the cause of his problems. Kay was intrigued and felt compelled to figure out what the cryptic message meant. Her professional quest soon became enmeshed in her personal life. In Dust of Lies, written by G.K. Davenport, a complex tale is unraveled. Using a combination of true historical facts and modern-day fictional characters, an engrossing plot unfolds.

The author’s storyline engages the reader from the first page to the last. Historical facts are illuminated through complicated current relationships. As Kay works through old information, she has to determine who is telling her the truth, and who is lying. The author skillfully places clues within the context of Kay’s discoveries as to who is trustworthy – and who is not. This entanglement between the past and the present is at the heart of the story. Another interesting aspect is the natural settings that are essential to the plot – from the Ozarks to the Texas plains. Author G.K. Davenport has penned a fascinating historical mystery, peppered with facts and fiction, in Dust of Lies. For those interested in a unique mystery, this book is not to be missed!      

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Dust of Lies is a southern mystery novel written by GK Davenport. Kay writes for the Barber Gazette. While witnessing the destruction of an old and abandoned county jail, she stumbles upon a block of plaster on which a poem is inscribed. Convinced that the poem had a story behind it, Kay dives headfirst into solving the mystery. Kay's investigation leads her to the door of her mother-in-law Viva, a woman with secrets who reveals far less than she knows. Viva’s old friend Bessie helps Kay discover that the famous outlaw Jesse James's illegitimate son Jesse Cole, a.k.a., Cowboy might be the key to solving the puzzle. As Kay and Vivo follow the breadcrumbs spread throughout the past, Kay unearths secrets about her husband Darrell's family that may change their lives forever.

Dust of Lies is an enrapturing tale of lies, betrayal, and lost treasure soaked in history and rich in suspense and intrigue. The characters feel flawed yet human, with well-thought-out backstories provided by GK Davenport that make them realistic and compelling. Even though the pacing of the plot is a bit slow for my taste, the character-driven narrative makes up for it as I found myself thoroughly absorbed by the characters as well as the story. I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between Kay, Viva, Bessie, and Granny, with each of them having distinct quirks and personalities. I adored Dust of Lies, and I would recommend it to readers who love southern-flavored novels. 

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

In Dust of Lies by GK Davenport, Kay and her husband Darrell moved to Barber, Arkansas a few years ago to care for his elderly mother, Viva. As a reporter for the Barber Gazette, Kay is sent to report on the demolition of an old prison. She discovers a century old poem written by a young man called Ezra Hacker who committed suicide, blaming a teenage girl, Ora, for his fatal decision. Kay faces strong opposition when she begins to ask questions about the poem from many people, including Darrel, who want to forget the past. But she is determined to solve the mystery behind the poem and Ezra's chilling message. Her investigations reveal the town's shocking links to legendary outlaws and buried Confederate gold. Kay's search for the truth takes her from Arkansas to Texas on a historical journey revealing dark secrets that involve the people closest to her.

Dust of Lies by GK Davenport is a gripping novel that captured my interest from the beginning. I loved the intriguing layers to the plot and how they were revealed gradually. The relationship between

Kay, Darrell, and Viva was brilliant and the development was perfect. The storyline was a flawless mixture of historical events and fiction and there were also many strong sub-plots that were masterfully entwined to support the main story. The author also had an exceptional ability to create fantastic backstories for the main characters which highlighted their values, thoughts, and beliefs. The novel is filled with extraordinary female characters who possess strength, determination, and courage. There are brilliant areas of conflict throughout which made the novel even more compelling and the constant plot twists were outstanding. I cannot recommend Dust of Lies highly enough, a fantastic read.

Reviewed by Deborah Stone for Readers' Favorite

            Dust of Lies by G. K. Davenport is about a mystery uncovered by Kay, one of two reporters at the Barber Gazette in Barber, Arkansas. While covering the demolition of an old county jail, Kay uncovers secrets from the past that many would rather she leave buried in the rubble. Some encourage her to uncover the truth and others warn of the dangers if she proceeds with her inquiries. Somehow these warnings seemed more like threats. Kay’s mother-in-law, Viva, begs her to find the truth about the past, but she isn’t telling everything she knows. The search becomes entangled with family history and Darrell, Kay’s husband, is not happy with her intrusions into the past, so she and Viva move forward without him.

Local lore and historical facts begin to merge, but it is getting harder to tell the truth from fiction. Always up for solving a problem, Kay forges ahead and finds allies and enemies in unlikely places. While her investigation takes her to Texas and back, she is never out of sight of those who monitor her progress. Who can she really trust? Who knows more than they are telling? The biggest question is, who is willing to harm her if she doesn’t stop?

            Dust of Lies by G. K. Davenport is a journey through truth and lies, trust and fear, hope and hopelessness. G. K. Davenport unravels a convoluted family story that branches out to include historical figures, some benign, some infamous. Each twist and turn takes the reader deeper into the maze of lies where truth is hard to recognize. When you think you know where G. K. Davenport is taking you and you have figured out how this all ends, you will discover that the journey isn’t over yet. Filled with probabilities and possibilities of the past, this well-written novel offers intrigue, danger, mystery, and a few surprises along the way. G. K. Davenport’s style of writing and command of the English language makes this a very enjoyable read and well worth your time. While you try to unravel the mysteries.

            Copies of Dust of Lies can be found on gk-davenport.html, from bookstores and from other online stores.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Review: The Adventures of Planetman: The Case of the Plastic Rings by Karen Cioffi


The Adventures of Planetman: The Case of the Plastic Rings
by Karen Cioffi, illustrated by Thomas Deisboeck
Review by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

When Thomas hears an animal crying for help, he knows its time for Planetman and his cohorts Recycleman and Clean-it-man to get to work.

In this fun adventure, three kids become superheroes in order to make a difference in the world around them. This is a perfect book to celebrate Earth Day, but the lessons it teaches will last for years to come. Extra information includes tips to recycle, reuse, and reduce and fun ways to help our planet. With colorful artwork by Thomas Deisboeck, The Case of the Plastic Rings is sure to entertain readers. 

The Case of the Plastic Rings and other books by Karen Cioffi's books can be found at and other online book stores. 

Review: Burnt Offering




Burnt Offering by Vivian Zabel

Review by Connie Arnold

         Burnt Offering is a thoroughly researched and well-written book by author Vivian Zabel. It contains facts from the Old Testament describing the horrors of sacrificing babies and small children to a terrible burning idol during the reign of King Ahaz. These details are woven through the author’s imagination into a compelling story of people who are willing to risk everything to save those precious lives. It draws the reader in with excitement, suspense, action and romance, and I highly recommend it.


           Copies of Burnt Offering and other books by Vivian Zabel can be found at, from bookstores, and from other online stores.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Review: Hello, Wigwam



Hello, Wigwam by L. John Lawrence

Reviewed by Bob Jasper


            In Hello, Wigwam, L. John Lawrence pulls together a dozen or so intriguing stories in this fictionalized memoir based on his experiences in Vietnam. In a short 150 pages, Lawrence captures the reader and endears him to his alter ego, Private Albert Costas.

            Costas arrives at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon in the scorching heat of August 1970, just 10 weeks after graduating from high school and fresh out of Army boot camp. He’s immediately thrust into the insanity of war. Though not assigned to a combat unit, Costas gets a good feel for the “Absurdities of War” (the first section of the book). Assigned to MAC-V (Military Assistance Command – Vietnam), Costas faces such grave questions as whether or not President Herbert Hoover is still alive and who is the “Phantom Shitter” and what about the “Dead Bed?” Lawrence entertains with the humor of Catch-22, and the excitement of expeditions behind enemy lines.

Costas, who has no experience as a journalist, wonders why the Army assigned him of all people to a unit that writes press releases and provides information to other military units.

Each of the twenty short chapters of Hello, Wigwam relates an incident with humor amid the pathos of war building up to several climactic chapters in which Costas joins a Special Ops unit headed north of the DMZ on a Top-Secret mission.

Even while on R&R in Honolulu, Costas manages to get himself into a jam so threatening it has him yearning to return to Vietnam, and the reader wondering if he’ll make it.

The only drawback to this delightful little book is its shortness. Like any good book, it leaves the reader panting for more.

L. John Lawrence had an interesting career in the Air Force. After that, he joined NASA and became the voice of the Space Shuttle program for the first 24 Space Shuttle flights. He’s earned several awards for his writing.

For more information on Lawrence and his other books, visit his website:

This book can also be obtained direct from the publisher, 4RV Publishing, 35427 State Highway 58, Hydro, OK 73048, or

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Which Comes First, Characters or Story?

 Many articles about writing for children and other genres suggest knowing your characters inside and out before beginning the story. In fact, information suggests that the author build the story around the characters after they are fully developed.

While this is good advice, and many experienced authors recommend this technique, there are some authors who occasionally watch their characters unveil themselves right before their eyes.

This is such an interesting method of writing. 

Your character introduces himself and gradually reveals bits and pieces, and blossoms as the story moves along. Sometimes a story doesn’t begin with this intent, it just happens. This is known as the seat-of-you-pants method of writing.

You do need to be careful with this method though - you may lose track of all the bits and pieces that make up the character. 

So, a good way to keep track of those quirky telltale marks, expressions, behavior patterns, and physical features is to note them on a separate page or character card as they become unveiled. You wouldn’t want your character to have brown eyes in one chapter and blue eyes in another - unless of course, it’s a science fiction or paranormal and part of the storyline.

So, is there a right or wrong answer to the question of which comes first, characters or story? That depends on the writer.

While it may be important to know your characters, and even have a family and background established for them, even if they are not used in the story, you can also become acquainted as you go along.

As your story develops you may find out if the character is fearful in certain situations, or if he is heroic. Sometimes it’s impossible to know this about a person, let alone a character, until circumstances create the possibility of the question.

It is one’s environment and circumstances that help develop his or her characteristics, fears, hopes, and so on. The same holds true for your character.

Using an example:

How would a child who never saw a mouse before react to one? 

There’s no way to answer that question until it happens. So, having the story help develop the character can be a useful tool. But, again, be sure to keep track of all the new features your character unveils along the way. 

Karen Cioffi
is an award-winning children’s author and a working children’s ghostwriter/rewriter and writing coach. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move as well as an author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

You can follow Karen at:

You can check out Karen's books at: