Friday, November 30, 2018

Book Review: 'Treasure' by Vanessa Leigh Hoffman

Florida author Vanessa Leigh Hoffman earned her degree in Romance Languages from the University of Memphis and taught Spanish, German, French, and Etymology. She became a writer and publisher of newspaper articles, television and radio commercials, and popular songs. She has received multiple writing and thespian awards in tournaments, contests and pageants, and has toured the world as a tour guide and translator.
Vanessa’s keen skill and interweaving varying stories, creating one artistic tapestry she wisely labels a trilogy (the three stories are three men’s adventures that cross and interact). Her travels and exposure to many cultures allow her to bring this epic into focus form several vantages – the Irish mafia, jihadists, and high finance. TREASURE consists of three parts – Rear View Mirror, Silk Road to Atlantis, and Subterfuge – and the manner in which she brews this ale of intrigue sow promise of an important new voice in contemporary mystery literature.

Vanessa opens with a terse Prologue that indicates the psychological aspects of her tale – ‘“I love you!” She wanted to scream that phrase over and over again throughout her neighborhood that night, but she didn’t. She knew that she had to free up her mind, so she could start writing in her journal about a heart-wrenching nine month drama, involving two semi-sweet love affairs that should have taken off to new heights. As she looked out her bedroom window at the star-filled sky, she wondered why they weren’t allowed to. She had to come to grips with the strange turn of events in this final chapter of her life. Sitting in her candlelit room, dressing, while watching her new husband pace up and down the front yard walkway, she suddenly knew that her future wouldn't be allowed to evolve into anything due to fate... greed... and... deception.’

The synopsis provided pares down the intricacies of the book well – ‘Three men are each moving within the world of organized crime and subterfuge. Their motivations and desires differ, but each plays a part in a complex dance of corruption and greed. Francis Cranford just discovered he has a twin—a US Air Force General worth $525 million dollars, earned solely because he was adopted into the right family and Francis wasn’t. The general is in debt to the Irish mafia, who plan to replace him with Francis and seize the dead twin’s wealth. They plan to kill off Francis as well, but neglect to let him in on that part of the plan. Ty, the boss of the Belfast mafia, and leader of the Irish Republican Army, exerts influence as far away as the United States and the treacherous Gobi Desert. With plans to become the world’s financier, Ty’s in cahoots with jihadists—when he’s not trying to destroy his sometime allies. He craves world-wide dominance. As for Bert, he’s a shady newscaster on the take. While covering stories on the underworld, he’s also farming acres of high-priced marijuana, used to finance criminal enterprises at home and abroad. Three men, each with their own agendas, have fates that will intertwine, as each falls under the spell of ego, death, deception, and most of all....treasure.’

Few writers, especially when placing a first novel before the public, can succeed in presenting three interrelated stories with the strength of sophistication as Vanessa. In an interview, upon being asked about her stimuli for TREASURE, she stated, ‘I always think of acquisition of power as being one of the most enticing things for many individuals, so I just wrote as I perceived it. World-wide egos abound and always have. It is not far-fetched to believe that one or more of these egocentric-powered men could be in cahoots with other illegal and illicit organizations, while being deceitful and revengeful at the same time. In fiction, a writer can assume anything as real.’ Presenting a fine new author f the thriller genre. Grady Harp, March 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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