While many of us cannot physically partake in our annual vacations during these times, we still can travel within our imaginations and expand our horizons through literature.

Some of my must-read recommendations offering intrigue, espionage, politics and religion, and quite simply, an escape, include:

Conclave by Tom Davis – Theology and politics collide in reality-inspired Cold War thriller Conclave by author Tom Davis, a retired army officer and corporate executive.

Throughout the decades-long Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union would stop at almost nothing to further their own interests, and were always seeking ways to do so. Would they stoop to interfering in the election of the next pope? Conclave offers an action-packed retelling of what is now viewed as a turning point in the Cold War: the election of the first non-Italian pope in five centuries.  

Conclave has also captured the attention of an independent film company based in Germany and has been converted into a screenplay for future development into a mini-series.

Conclave | Publisher: CreateSpace | ISBN-10: 1534706615 | ISBN-13: 978-1534706613 | Available from Amazon.com and www.tomdavisauthor.com

Hannah’s War by Jan Eliasberg – In Hannah’s Warthe debut novel by award-winning screenwriter and film director Jan Eliasberg, the author seeks to give an unsung, brilliant female scientist, Jewish-Austrian physicist Lise Meitner, her due. Eliasberg’s re-imagining of the race to build the atomic bomb brings cinematic scope, unforgettable imagery, pitch-perfect dialogue, and rich, complex characters to a compelling story full of action and unexpected plot twists. 

Hannah’s War is Eliasberg’s nuanced answer to those and other important questions about scientific discovery, patriotism, morality, love and loyalty. With the book, she hopes to correct the historical record and to enable her own daughter and her peers to see that “history is filled with remarkable women of towering achievement and of deep humanism; we need only look beyond the authorized texts to see them. I wrote to shine a light on one of these women, and I hope Hannah’s War will be a beacon for all women.”

Hannah’s War: A Novel | Back Bay Books | ISBN: 9780316537445

Mackenzie’s Secret by S.A. Williams – S.A. Williams, author of the critically acclaimed World War II epic Anna’s Secret Legacy, has unveiled the suspenseful thriller’s sequel with her latest novel Mackenzie’s Secret.

Set in Europe in 1969, Mackenzie’s Secret begins with the introduction of Anna’s daughter, 20 year old Mackenzie Conyers. Sent to an all-girls boarding school, feeling abandoned, and leaving the boyfriend she loved behind, Mackenzie confronted her new world with little trust. Her home became a French chateau fabled to have been a haven for the French Resistance. The Paris she knew was conflicted by its past and by its future.

Mackenzie betrayed her own belief, falling in love with a man she could never have. This Paris was a Paris full of secrets. The discovery of a hidden passageway and the legacy of a gold coin set off an adventure she would live with the rest of her life. What she found in Paris uncovered a forgotten mystery that haunted the foundation of all humanity. Now she held a dangerous secret – one that could change the world or destroy it. This is ‘Mackenzie’s Secret.’

Williams has plans to adapt the novels as feature films and TV mini-series.

Mackenzie’s Secret | Archway Publishing | A Division of Simon & Schuster| ISBN: 9781480854642 (hc) | ISBN: 9781480854666 (sc) | ISBN: 9781480854659 (e) | Library of Congress: 2017916931 | Available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and other online retailers.

Dealer of Realities

Dealer of Realities by Nicholas Dimitroff  – A smash hit invading the international book circuit and a featured title at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fare, Bulgarian author Nicholas Dimitroff’s futuristic thriller Dealer of Realities will be available in English-speaking markets very soon.

The action of this philosophical cyberpunk thriller takes place in Singapore in the aftermath of the crypto-anarchy еra which has transformed the world.  In the nearest future, little is forbidden and almost everything is for sale. In a world where the meaning of life is increasingly hard to find, even religion no longer offers salvation. Dispirited and desperate for meaning, humanity is on the brink.  And Transferism – a new techno-cult – is on the rise. The creation of a mysterious and powerful corporation, it promises endless pleasure and eternal life in a synthetic tailor-made reality. The messiah is Zoltan Vargo – once a corporate spy, now a ‘Dealer of Realities.’

So apropos for today is,

Yellow by Jeanne Charters – Corruption threatens integrity in the newsroom-based crime story Yellow. Broadcast industry veteran and accomplished author Jeanne Charters skillfully takes readers into a newsroom of the 1980s at the highest-rated television station in Pennsylvania. Finley Smith is its news director. When she learns from her top reporter that the Pennsylvania Governor has hired a mob-owned construction company to repair a bridge in Pittsburgh, she plans to report it. Her unscrupulous station manager orders her to “leave it alone.” But when a reporter’s probe reveals dangerous truths about the construction company’s shoddy work, Finley opts to buck the system and run the stories. This sets in motion a deadly dispute.

Yellow (TV News Corrupted by Political Muscle) |Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press| Released: August 2019 | ISBN-10: 1624205046 | ISBN-13: 978-1624205040 | Available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and other online retailers.

Dancing to the Darkest Light by Soheila Adelipour – Dancing to the Darkest Light, author Soheila Adelipour vows to turn tragedy into something positive to enrich the lives of others with her true story of life, its extreme challenges and triumph over the ultimate heartbreak. Arriving in New York after fleeing the terror of the Islamic revolution in Iran, Adelipour and her family believed the worst was behind them. Life was great for a while; the kids went to college, worked hard and were successful – then one tragedy after another hit and within a relatively short period of time. Soheila had lost her son and two siblings. Determined to survive in spite of unspeakable loss, she established a foundation in her son’s name that provides healing and salvation for those less fortunate.  

Legendary broadcast journalist Barbara Walters comments, “It was so moving and it was a privilege to read it. What a brave and sensitive family. I am so touched by your words.”

Dancing to the Darkest Light | Released: September 2019 | ISBN-10: 173371264X | ISBN-13: 978-1733712644 | Available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and other online retailers.

And for some comic relief:

My Whorizontal Life: An Escort’s Tale by Sephe Haven – A true story of a naive young woman Sephe Haven driven by her desire for romance, who dreams of finding true love and building a successful acting career.  Haven was living in New York City with a degree from Juilliard, a dream of becoming an actress, and a bank account tipping towards zero. Scared, overwhelmed, and alone, she answers a want ad in the Village Voice looking for GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! and offering $1000 a week. In desperate need of a financial lifesaver, she takes the first steps into the world of prostitution. In My Whorizontal Life, Haven takes readers along for the titillating and fascinating journey behind bedroom doors in New York City.

My Whorizontal Life: An Escort’s Tale | Redwood Publishing (Spring 2020), Memoir | ISBN-13: 978-1-947341-43-2 | Available on Amazon.com.

So, until the pandemic passes, let’s delve into these pages and escape our current realities.