Murder in Madrid Reviews
Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite
“The past encroaches on the future” in Murder in Madrid: Reality of Illusion by Betty J. Turk. Louise Devereaux is inspired to publish her novel about a woman who was wrongfully hanged seventy-two years ago. She gives it to Allen Kingsley, a publisher who assumes it’s drivel until he reads a startling section mentioning his great-grandfather’s name. Alan and Beth, his wife, travel to the derelict mining town of Madrid to authenticate Louise’s story with residents. Persons who remember the tragic incident are wary of him because he resembles someone they knew. Beth has recurring visions of past events whenever she visits particular places in Madrid. Obtaining information is difficult, but what Allen has uncovered could jeopardize his marriage if Beth learns the painful truth about the past.
Murder in Madrid: Reality of Illusion is an impressive, poignant story. I thought the plot was unique and characters like outspoken Louise Devereaux, Allen, Sensi, and Harriet stood out. Louise kept an interesting journal and it’s one that will be a success if published. I’m also curious to know about her other unmentioned tales. Betty J. Turk gave an accurate description of the mining community and the harsh working conditions that miners endured before labour laws were passed. The cover illustration is ideal for the novel. The author is imaginative and writes great scenes to let one see exactly what is going on. Murder in Madrid is a sad story, but it’s one that I recommend to persons who wants to read an absorbing mystery.
Melinda Hills for Reader's Favorite 5 Stars
Murder in Madrid: Reality of Illusion by Betty J. Turk is a multifaceted murder mystery with a touch of the paranormal that spans over 70 years and several generations of people. As a young child, Louise Devereaux experienced the tragedy of a mother wrongly accused and hanged for a murder, and the removal from town of the woman’s daughter through the mine owner and a Catholic priest. Life was rugged in Madrid before New Mexico even became a state, and the mine officials had full control over the people who lived in their town. Wanting to bring this miscarriage of justice to light, Louise, who has written her observations, has created a book and approaches Langley Publishing to make her dreams a reality. Alan Kinsley, author and publisher, is drawn immediately to Louise’s story and, ready to head to New Mexico as part of his vacation, decides to visit the old mining town to see if he can verify any of the information Louise has presented. Along with his wife, Beth, Alan feels a strange attachment to the former mining town and the people in it. They, too, have strange reactions to both Alan and Beth as Alan digs for information to back up Louise’s claims.
The two stories intertwine as Betty J. Turk masterfully recreates the past and moves the characters through the present. The more Alan learns, the more questions he has and Beth experiences more frequent moments of déjà vu. Murder in Madrid is a murder mystery with a surprising twist as well as a wonderful tale of searching for one’s roots, another aspect of the story with surprising results. Eerily descriptive and emotionally intense, Murder in Madrid combines tremendous imagination, a unique twist and fantastic depictions of people and scenery in a story that is hard to put down. Although there are some parts that are repetitive and some parts unclear as you wait for connections to be made, the story flows repeatedly from the present to the past and back again, keeping you engaged and enthralled as you gain a historic and emotional perspective. Very enjoyable and exciting story - I could hardly put it down! Well worth reading since you have virtually two stories in one with unique connections and continual revelations.
Sarah Stuart for Reader's Favorite 5 Stars
Murder in Madrid: Reality of Illusion by Betty J Turk opens with what appears to be a delightful cameo of two old ladies, known to each other as Hattie and Wheezy, who “escape” from a retirement home in Queens to have lunch and see a Broadway show with Wheezy’s nonexistent friends from Baltimore. Hattie stops at a book signing, and Wheezy spots the author fiddling with a necklace that identifies her as a descendant of a woman hanged for murder. “Wheezy” is Louise Devereaux, widow of a Secretary of State, and her memories of political injustice span over seven decades. This time, she is determined to see justice done. Will Alan Kinsley, a journalist, be able to find out the truth behind the clues in Wheezy’s Pandora’s box?
Betty J. Turk’s brilliant characterization hooks the reader immediately, and the standard never wavers. Alan, burdened by his wife Beth’s own troubles, jumps off the page, as alive as Wheezy, aka Louise Devereaux. Margaret Connelly, convicted and hanged for murder when Wheezy was a child, comes to life as Wheezy recounts her story, but is she right? Was Margaret innocent? Can Alan discover the truth and free her descendants from shame? Injustice is injustice, from the banishment of the Indians during the Californian Gold Rush to Watergate, but Margaret’s summary trial may have let the true murderer walk free, and Wheezy has childhood memories that refuse to be denied. Murder in Madrid: Reality of Illusion is a true thriller that will intrigue, mystify, and captivate readers through every twist and turn.
A decades-old murder haunts the lives of a young couple with a connection to the victim.
In this debut novel, justice is swift in the rough-and-tumble mining town of Madrid, New Mexico, at the turn of the 20th century. When Chandler Pruitt, the universally disliked mining supervisor, is shot to death, Margaret Connelly, a beautiful young widow, is quickly executed for the crime, though the evidence of her guilt is by no means convincing. The unfortunate events happened long ago, but they still haunt Louise Devereaux, who lived in Madrid as a child. Now elderly, she's written a memoir that includes her recollections of the case. When she shows up at Langley Publishing attempting to sell her book, editor Alan Kinsley is prepared to give her the polite brushoff. But something about the woman and her story captures his attention, and he decides to investigate further. On a vacation to the Southwest with his wife, Beth, Alan tries to get to the truth, digging through old records and interviewing the handful of people still alive who remember the incident. When he discovers that both he and his wife have ties to the killing, it threatens to upend their marriage. Turk's story explores the consequences of family secrets and the ways the past sometimes rudely forces its way into the present. While the book relies a bit too heavily on a convenient coincidence to bring its characters together, the tale itself is engaging, and it's easy to see how Alan could get caught up in solving this mystery. Louise is a spitfire with moxie, while the aging residents of Madrid provide colorful commentary on past events. But the depiction of a Native American woman who is also tied to the murder is straight out of an old Western, and not in a good way. The novel drags at points too, with Alan and Beth repeatedly discussing a side trip to Alamogordo that never takes place and intriguing, but largely irrelevant, anecdotes about local history distracting from the larger narrative. The book is at its best when it stays focused on Margaret, Chandler, and the others involved in their tragic tale.
A charming historical novel hampered by an uneven pace.
Lisa Renae Curd
I recently visited Madrid and was very intrigued. I ordered this book immediately and it was waiting on me when I returned home. This book is wonderful! I loved reading it!
The IndependenT Reviews
Reviewed by Lex Allen for Readers' Favorite 5 Stars
Sam Waters is a small-town construction contractor in Wyoming. Following a city tax increase, he writes a scathing letter to the City Council that not only pushes back on the tax increase but includes just about everything wrong with American politics. His letter finds its way to the internet and from there goes viral. Soon enough, people are pushing him to run for president. Reluctant, but giving in to public opinion, he runs a grassroots campaign that shuns donations from anyone other than individuals donating a mere ten dollars and goes on the campaign trail. He insists on running as an independent… singular independent, not party independent. He wins and what he does as president will inspire even the most jaded and negative thinking political pundit and voter.
The IndependenT by Dana L. Turk is a “what if” story that sails right into the heart of current events in the United States. This is a story of an American Marine, husband and father—one of millions in the U.S. who work hard, raise their families, and as long as the bureaucrats leave him and his alone, all’s well. Step on his toes and there’s hell to pay. Mr. Turk does a great job ensuring that each of his actors are empathetic and recognizable to a large majority of potential readers. From action to dialog, every character is true to life. Turk has also done exemplary research. I thought I knew the political processes of the U.S. pretty well—but I learned a lot from this novel.
The real driver in The IndependenT is the sense of a hopeful reality that a knight in shining armor, or in this case a “caped crusader,” appears to chase away the criminals that have run the country for the past hundred years. There’s so much truth in this story, Turk should win the prize for Stephen King’s quote: “Fiction is a lie. And GOOD fiction is the truth inside the lie.” The IndependenT is GOOD fiction and that’s what makes the story special and a great read. The novel is a stand-alone read, but Turk leaves a tiny cliffhanger at the end and, perhaps, a sign of more to come. I hope so... I’m waiting for it.
Sherri Fulmer Moorer for Reader's Favorite 5 Stars
Sam Waters never set out to be a political candidate. He was a small-town contractor in Wyoming who wrote a letter to the editor regarding local politics. What he didn't realize was the power of the Internet, and its potential to elevate him to the national scene. Soon, people in Wyoming and the nearby communities are encouraging him not to only run for office, but for the Presidency. He scoffs, until support flows in through Internet sources who are interested in supporting a man with no party affiliation or political corruption. This elevates the call to the national level. Sam reluctantly mounts a campaign focused on bringing respect and integrity back to politics - a lofty goal given our country's long history of crooked, insider deals that really run the country. Can a truly independent candidate not only win the top office in the nation, but bring it back to what it was meant to be? Find out in Dana L. Turk's The IndependenT.
This isn't your typical political thriller. It's even better: it's a vision of America that so many of us long to see. I'd love to see this become reality in 2024, when it takes place. It's truly a refreshing and positive vision for our future. How I would love to see a candidate like Sam Waters: truly non-partisan, focused on what's right and respectful for all Americans, and being bold and honest enough to tackle corruption in D.C. from the top down. Dana L. Turk paints a picture of the future that so many of us hope for. The question is, will anybody be bold enough to "walk the walk" and support a new way in politics? The IndependenT gives us a guide. Here's hoping enough of us are willing to follow it!
Christian Sia for Readers Favorite 5 Stars
The IndependenT by Dana L Turk is a great political thriller that showcases the work of a visionary. This book answers the question: what happens if an independent candidate wins the presidential elections in the United States? Sam Waters has never had any great interest in politics. He is a construction contractor who would like to mind his own business and vote for who he wants, but when he notices the abuses imposed by the government on his people, he enters the political game as an independent candidate. And he wins! Now, follow the tension as he moves into the White House. Does he actually have what it takes to compel the parties to forge a common agenda that would serve the people? The stakes are high for him, and there are surprises he never could have anticipated and that will keep readers gripped.
Here is a thriller that fans of the Designated Survivor series will adore, a well-researched and brilliantly accomplished book that features the tension and the drama that readers would expect to find in the White House. Dana L Turk writes with unusual confidence and his unique turn of phrase and tone gets the reader engrossed in the story. The characters are powerful, well fleshed out, and developed to reflect the worlds they come from. The author creates a beautiful, picturesque image of the settings, starting with the imaginative and lucid description of the little town of Buffalo, situated at a junction. The book is rich in history and interesting elements of geography as well as compelling social and cultural commentaries. The IndependenT is an interesting, gripping, and satisfying read.
Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite 5 Stars
Baggage! by Dana L Turk is a spellbinding novel that fans of military fiction will adore. Crafted with a lot of wisdom and compassion, it offers wonderful lessons on courage, loyalty, friendship, family, and pain. This is a beautifully told story that revolves around five friends -- David, Terry, Dizzy, Jonathan, and Kip. The reader is introduced to their world; young people growing up in Colorado and eventually joining the Marines. But what awaits each of them in the Marines is uncertain. In this spellbinding novel, the author explores what binds them together, the choices they make and what drives them,. their joys and pains, and the losses they suffer. Follow them in this exhilarating tale and discover their sense of humanity as they face battles, beginning in Viet Nam and going to the deserts of the Middle East.
I wasn't sure I would read this book beyond the first page when I read the author's comments about life and his allegory of the baggage, but, as I read on, I quickly got the feeling this would be a great story. Yes, the pace picks up pretty fast and the development of the characters becomes something that grabs readers' interest. Dana L Turk writes well, and he has the gift of making readers believe his characters and story. The plot is intelligently imagined and written with great mastery. The prose is beautiful, and it is imbued with a lot of wisdom and insight. Baggage! by Dana L Turk feels real and it is a compelling read. I couldn't put it down. This is a novel with many layers and a philosophical depth that is as astounding as it is fitting.
Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite 5 Stars
What if? is the question that sets the background for the compelling story, Baggage! by Dana L. Turk. We all have a past that contains times in which we wish we had made different decisions. Other times, we wonder how life would have turned out if we had chosen different paths. Baggage! is such a story. The book chronicles the lives of friends from different backgrounds. They all meet while in school and they all come from different social circles, some popular, others, geeks and others just fall in between. The bond between them, however, is so strong and grows stronger as the years pass. They continuously share pain, challenges, and joy as they navigate through life.
In Baggage! Dana L. Turk takes an interesting view of the way we look at life. We wonder how life would have turned out if we had made different decisions, and the baggage we carry as we live through the consequences of the decisions we made in our youth. Turk brilliantly interlaces these consequences with the events happening around us, events sometimes beyond our control. The lives of the five friends, David, Terry, Jonathan, Dizzy, Kipp, and Felecia, are a depiction of society today, a society bogged down by what-ifs and that does not delve truly into seeking the answers to these questions that plague our minds. In conclusion, Baggage! by Dana L. Turk challenged me to get rid of the weight that slows me down and steals my joy, while keeping in mind that every decision I make counts. Truly, a wonderful book!
Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite 5 Stars
I liked Baggage! by Dana L. Turk. I liked it because it is dedicated to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and I am a proud member of that group. I liked it because a lot of the situations eerily reflected similar events, people, and places in my own life. I don't know why, but I like to see that. I like to see what other people might have done in a situation I was in. The writing of Dana L. Turk reflects an ability to deliver strong emotional content. If the author couldn't deliver on those powerful emotions, it would be a waste of time to read this book. But since he can, Baggage! is something most discerning readers won't want to miss. It is powerful in a very modern and American way.
The characters are the chief attraction in Baggage! along with the writing that brings them to us in such an original and glowing format.. These characters have tough lives and they are in tough situations, and Dana L. Turk shows them to us in ways that have us right there on the front lines of their lives, sharing their pain. The plots are taken from real American life. I saw some scenes from my own life in some of these scenarios, and if you have been alive long enough you will probably see some from yours. That is good writing at its best. Showing you your own life and truth through someone else's eyes.