Book Reviews

Causal Connection

Review by: Judge #96

22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

 Entry Title Causal Connection

Author: W. C. Hatounian

Judge Number: 96

Entry Category: Genre Fiction

 Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking.

 *If you wish to reference this review on your website, we ask that you cite it as such: “Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.” You may cite portions of your review, if you wish, but please make sure that the passage you select is appropriate, and reflective of the review as a whole.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

 Production Quality and Cover Design: 4

 Plot and Story Appeal: 5

 Character Appeal and Development: 5

 Voice and Writing Style: 5

  Judge’s Commentary*:

 CAUSAL CONNECTION by W.C. Hatounian is an excellent story for those who are looking for a police procedural novel with political intrigue that grabs you from the very beginning and never lets go until the end.

The front cover is a bit odd. I had to look closely to see that inside the box is the body of a man. I think the lines are supposed to be the lines of Venetian blinds? And the outside of the box looks like wallpaper. I'm not saying the cover is poorly executed or unpleasant, just unusual. The back cover copy brought a smile to my face despite the grim topic -- "But Milo suspects that anyone depressed enough to commit suicide would be too depressed to get that creative about it." While the blurb is good and I appreciated having an author photo, a short author bio would have been in order, particularly since there doesn't seem to be an author biography anywhere inside the book.

As for the story, it is well paced and the dialogue is such that I felt I could be watching a television program -- and that is a compliment. The author intends to honor policemen and women with his work and I think he succeeds. With his attention to detail and intriguing story, I think Hatounian will find many new readers with this novel. I also think this author has the talent and care about his craft to make this into a successful series of stories. The more books he writes, the more fans he will find, in my view. Nice work.


Causal Connection

Review by: Edie Dykeman VINE™ VOICE

5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced and Riveting! April 28, 2013

Mary Banks was an opportunist who was out to make money in any way she could. She and her workout partner, Thelma Ritter, worked their way into accommodating senators and other higher-ups for money, and also any information they could come across that would help them increase their income through blackmail, extortion,  and other nefarious means. Employed at Wal-Mart, Mary believed the extra income she could earn would come in handy and enable her to continue to live the lifestyle she was growing accustomed to.

Her boyfriend, Andy Montana, worked at Valley Wide Distribution. One night he was found dead in his home. The death was unusual in that he was vacuum packed into a mattress lying on the floor. It was made to look like a suicide, but eventually the police decided it was murder.

Detective Milo Necalli of the Phoenix, Arizona police department’s Violent Crimes Bureau was assigned the case. As the body count rose and the case got more and more bizarre, Detective Necalli found himself tangling with corrupt senators, opportunistic blackmailers, corrupt Politian’s,  and drug smugglers. He also found Valley Wide Distribution and its employees kept coming up during the investigation. Necalli and his team continued to work through the increasingly complicated case that threatened to place his own job on the line, until the surprise ending.

Causal Connection

Review by:

Causal Connection by W. C. Hatounian is one of the most interesting police procedurals I’ve read in quite some time. Mr. Hatounian is a retired Phoenix police lieutenant. Causal Connection is fast-paced and the unique, realistic characters bring this story alive. The sometimes complicated story line is fairly easy to follow because the author uses dates and times to go from one scene to the next. From start to finish, the author provides a riveting read that I literally could not put down. I ended up reading it in one day.

Milo Necalli, the lead detective, would make a great hero in further stories. Hopefully, the author will turn this book into a series. If you want a fast-paced police procedural that will keep you guessing, Causal Connection is the one to read.

The author has also written a book titled Tank Witch with other-worldly overtones that make use of the author’s past experience serving in Vietnam and the Phoenix area army National Guard.

A special thank you goes to W. C. Hatounian for sending me a copy of this interesting detective story. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, it is available at Amazon.com

Tank Witch

Review by: Jerry

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting new Fantasy story, July 16, 2012

This is one of those "Normal guys find their way into a fantasy world' type book (which I am a sucker for) and it's a lot of fun. It reminded me a lot of "Doomfarers of Coramonde' which is one of my favorites reads, but that book isn't all that well known.

Anyway here, a quartet of "Weekend Warriors" are sent into a fantasy world...along with their M 60 tank! Thus the book combines "swords & sorcery" with "clanks & tanks!"

Well characterized with a interesting protagonist and a little romantic interest too. The villain is properly darn nasty.

The author really seems to know his technical facts about the tank too, which will please many readers.

Two minor critiques- sometimes the dialog is a little trite and the cover art is...well next time our author needs to find a good fantasy artist. The dialog will certainly improve with his next book.

What is original and well done is the nature of the fantasy "world' our heroes get sent to save. I am not going to spoil this any further for potential readers, but it works very nice.

I am looking forward to more by this promising new author!

I received an e-mail from an old flight school classmate regarding TankWitch

Bill, I just finished Tank Witch and read Casual Connection earlier. Also just ordered Afgan Deception from Amazon and Will read it when it gets here. I really had no idea that you had the imagination that you conjured up to write Tank Witch. I could see your work in Casual Connection but your comprehension about armor and the workings of a Tank Crew make me wonder if you ever had this type of experience. I wish I had your imagination. Keep writing and I'll keep reading.

- Jerry

TankWitch

Review by: Judge #96

22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

 Entry Title TankWitch

Author: W. C. Hatounian

Judge Number: 96

Entry Category: Genre Fiction

 Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking.

 *If you wish to reference this review on your website, we ask that you cite it as such: “Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.” You may cite portions of your review, if you wish, but please make sure that the passage you select is appropriate, and reflective of the review as a whole.

 Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5

 Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

 Production Quality and Cover Design: 4

 Plot and Story Appeal: 5

 Character Appeal and Development: 5

 Voice and Writing Style: 5

 Judge’s Commentary*:

 TANKWITCH by W.C. Hatounian is a romantic, fanciful novel that is greatly imaginative and entertaining.

The cover art is great. I love all the images -- the tank, the witch sitting on the tank, the dragon, the castle, and the orange color. Very nice and appealing. Potential readers are sure to pick up this book or click on the image on the Internet right away. The back cover copy is very nice and inspiring in its own right. It's great to know that chivalry isn't dead. Okay, well, I know this, but it's nice to see that someone else agrees. However, I do think that lost "on" the young really should be lost "to" the young. I think the author means that chivalry is available to young people today, not just older people. That typo can easily be fixed on future editions. Also, just say "novel" rather than "fictional" novel. The author photo is nice if a tad blurry. I would have enjoyed seeing an author biography, too. How about a web site? The author states inside that his wife supports him as he writes all of his books. The author really should consider making a splash on social media, if he hasn't already. If so, he should definitely let readers know where to find out more about him.

The book takes readers right into the story, showing high stakes and danger right away. The romp through time was intriguing and enjoyable. The old-fashioned dialogue was entertaining to read, in my view. What a great imagination! I like the romantic aspects. I think this author will find and keep many fans with this work.


 

 

The Afghan Deception

Review by: John Penny of the Vietnam Helicopter Piolets Association

The Afghan Deception, by VHPA member William Hatounian who served with D/1/4 CAV 1 INF (Dark Horse) in 67-68 is a historically based, but fictional story of the deployment of the 4th U.S. Cavalry to India to train with a British cavalry unit on the Northwest Frontier, in 1879.   Both units are well commanded by strong willed and experienced officers who, not surprisingly, find themselves in a precarious situation that threatens the survival of both their units.  The U.S. commander finds himself torn between his sense of duty and his orders to stay out of any fighting.

Although this story is fiction, Hatounian has done a great job of researching the public figures of the day and the military tactics, weapons, and history of the U.S. 4th Cavalry and British units that served in India and form the foundation of the story.  He has done a great job of weaving the fictional aspects of his story into the political intrigues of 19th century British ruled India and Russia’s ambitions in Afghanistan at the time.  The story speaks to the issues of honor, courage, and doing the right thing. It is a well written novel which pulls you into a time long ago and is well worth reading.

The Afghan Deception

Review by: Judge #96

22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

Entry Title The Afghan Deception

Author: W. C. Hatounian

Judge Number: 96

Entry Category: Genre Fiction 

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking.
 
*If you wish to reference this review on your website, we ask that you cite it as such: “Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.” You may cite portions of your review, if you wish, but please make sure that the passage you select is appropriate, and reflective of the review as a whole.

 Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5

 Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

 Production Quality and Cover Design: 4

 Plot and Story Appeal: 5

 Character Appeal and Development: 5

 Voice and Writing Style: 5

   Judge’s Commentary*:

 

THE AFGHAN DECEPTION: A FICTIONAL STORY ABOUT THE 4TH UNITED STATES CALVARY by W.C. Hatounian, with its high stakes and epic setting, is an intriguing entry into the military history genre.

The blue and gold on the front cover stand out, although the largely beige picture is a bit bland. I do appreciate the artist's talent and think if the picture were larger, it would stand out more. That is personal preference and would not have kept me from purchasing the book. The back cover copy explains the story very well. Those who are interested in the setting, time period, and what it was really like to be in the military in 1879 will want to snap this book right up. I would have enjoyed seeing an author photo, along with a web site address.

Based on the acknowledgements, it seems the author has a familiarity with the military. However, a good author biography filling in the details of his qualifications to write the book would have added an extra layer of authenticity and credibility to the story, gaining readers' trust even before they began reading. An endorsement from someone in the military or a military historian would have been a nice touch. I appreciate the listing of the complicated cast of characters. It's a great reference to keep readers from losing track.

The story itself starts off very well, drawing the reader into the action. I think men will especially enjoy the story. The characters are all people the reader can care about. I like the overall message of the story. Very inspiring. I believe this author has talent and will develop a loyal fan base as his career progresses.


The Shanghai Extortion

Review by: Judge #96

22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

Entry Title The Shanghai Extortion

Author: W. C. Hatounian

Judge Number: 96

Entry Category: Genre Fiction

 Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking.

 *If you wish to reference this review on your website, we ask that you cite it as such: “Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.” You may cite portions of your review, if you wish, but please make sure that the passage you select is appropriate, and reflective of the review as a whole.

 Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5

 Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

 Production Quality and Cover Design: 3

 Plot and Story Appeal: 5

 Character Appeal and Development: 5

 Voice and Writing Style: 5

 Judge’s Commentary*:

 

THE SHANGHAI EXTORTION by W.C. Hatounian is a wonderful novel for readers who enjoy romantic and entertaining crime stories set in historical China.

The front cover is well done. I don't know what the Chinese writing says, but it's a great way to attract readers interested in Asia to take a closer look. The artwork is appealing. I would have enjoyed seeing illustrations of the characters, but that is personal preference. I realize the author is aware of this, but it's a real shame that his photo is obstructed with part of the back cover jacket blurb. The photo does look as though it would have been nice otherwise. The back cover copy does a great job in ensuring that interested readers will investigate. I wish the author included a web site address. I hope he has established a social media presence, since his readers will want to interact with him.

The essay on the historical background is interesting and enough to bring readers up to date. It also shows that the author took the time to be sure he wrote an authentic story. This care is appreciated by myself, as I'm sure it is also appreciated by the author's readers. The author does a great job in weaving romance, a mystery, and an exotic setting in the plot. A very nice entry to the genre of historical fiction.


The Shanghai Extortion

Review by: Pat Kahl

Read it quickly and think it's the best yet! I would love to see a series as you follow them through their careers. Think you set the history and background very well, most of us have heard of the Boxer Rebellion but not much more, and wove the characters into the fabric of the story without getting confused. Don't know how you think up and design these stories but you do it very well. Good job old chap!! By A. Dent "Aragorn" (Minas Anor, GD) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE) (TOP 10 REVIEWER) (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)

Toltanica

Review by:

Let's try a little Jeopardy: this action hero, much admired by his female students, teaches archaeology and often travels to exotic locales to dig out mysterious artifacts with supernatural characteristics. If your question was 'who is Indiana Jones?' you should be entitled to your $50 but if you said 'who is Austin Tripp?' and the host refused to credit you for the correct question you'd have grounds for an appeal. Well... it wouldn't hurt to try. :)

Toltanica is partly the story of Austin Tripp from the 'boy meets girl' (under unexpected circumstances) moment all the way through the 'and they lived happily ever after' with a lot in-between. And the in-between part has everything from action-packed adventure and exploration, time travel, office intrigue, clash of civilizations, yuppie-style socializing, a little history and archaeology, mystical powers, all glued together by an impossible love story that... I already mentioned that 'happily ever after part' already.

Even with the few lose ends left hanging and the often but not always predictable plot, Toltanica turns out to be a highly entertaining read. Certainly not the kind of literary celebrated masterpiece that children will study in school 100 years from now - my kids are struggling with 'Catch-22' and 'Moby Dick' as I'm writing this - but certainly an entertaining and easy read, perfect at the beach, by the pool or under whatever other relaxing circumstances one can think of. This is not W.C. Hatounian's first book and it shows. He likes to write, he writes a lot and he's good at it. His prose flows effortlessly, the tempo is just right most of the time, he knows when and how to switch locales and twist the plot to keep us readers interested and, in the end, he delivers the kind of satisfying happy-ending that we should expect from an 'action love story' type of book.

There are some bad guys and gals to keep the action flowing but if you are looking for a well-written story that's an easy read and turns out to be cruelty, violence, blood/gore, explicit sex and terror/horror free, then Toltanica should be it.

DISCLOSURE: I had the opportunity to read Toltanica book because the author 'gifted' me a copy after I agreed to read it but I did not promise to produce a review, good or bad.

Toltanica

Review by: Judge #96

22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

 Entry Title Toltanica

Author: W. C. Hatounian

Judge Number: 96

Entry Category: Genre Fiction

 Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking.

 *If you wish to reference this review on your website, we ask that you cite it as such: “Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.” You may cite portions of your review, if you wish, but please make sure that the passage you select is appropriate, and reflective of the review as a whole.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5

 Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

 Production Quality and Cover Design: 4

 Plot and Story Appeal: 5

 Character Appeal and Development: 5

 Voice and Writing Style: 5

 Judge’s Commentary*:

 

TOLTANICA by W. C. Hatounian is an entertaining, imaginative read that science fiction and fantasy readers, in particular those who also like a good love story, will find enjoyable.

The cover is a delightful splash of many colors. The image of the woman is intriguing, and the explosive background, which I am assuming is the vortex, definitely grabs the eye. Nice artwork. The scroll is a nice touch on the back cover. I like the plot summary. However, it should have been a little more of a teaser because it really does give away most of the book. Still, readers should nevertheless be interesting in reading the story. The author biography inside is good, though a photo would have been nice as well.

The story itself is written with a great deal of humor. I smiled many times. For instance, in explaining to Ana what a bra is and why she needs to wear one. The dialogue is compelling and interesting. The story itself is very entertaining and keeps the pages turning. All in all, a nice read for a summer day at the beach, or even in front of a fire with a cup of cocoa during the winter months. This is a strong entry into the genre, and I hope for the sake of fans everywhere, this author plans to write many more books.