Gangland: A Novel

Thornical Press Review

August 11, 2022

Chuck Hogan’s Gangland is a fictional portrayal of the very real burglary of Chicago’s “Outfit” mob boss Tony “Big Tuna” Accardo’s suburban home in 1978.  The story is told through the point of view of the fictional “Nicky Pins” Passero, a mid-level wiseguy in the Chicago Outfit and bowling alley operator.  Passero guides the reader through the dirty paranoid world of Accardo and killings that follow the burglary.  

Passero gains the confidence of Accardo and is tasked with seeking out the burglars, yet Passero has secrets that place his own life in peril if exposed.  As the bodies pile up and secrets boil to the surface, Passero desperately tries to right himself but finds it is difficult to escape the life of blood he has chosen. 

Gangland is a first rate thriller set in the often ignored mob world of Chicago in the late 1970s.  Readers will sympathize with Passero much the way audiences would with Henry Hill in the film Goodfellas. 

Author: Chuck Hogan | Publication Date: August 2, 2022

ISBN: 9781538751756| Page Count: 352 | Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

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The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats’ Crypto-Socialist?

Thornical Press Review

June 6, 2021

Some call Joe Biden a “a socialist in sheep’s clothing” and that is what George Neumayr presents in The Biden Deception.  Neumayr exposes “Ordinary Joe” as not the unifying moderate the media presents but is rather a radical socialist that intends to forever change America economically, socially, and culturally.  Some argue that Biden will bend with the wind just to stay in power as has been seen by his many flipflops on policies over the decades he was in Washington. 

Neumayr writes that Biden supports radical left ideology including the Green New Deal, 2nd amendment restrictions, suppression of Christians, and constitutional rights.  Neumayr presents the argument that Biden wants to model American socialism on Venezuela and will accomplish this by undercutting law and order, eliminating the border, repealing Trump tax cuts, treating China as an ally, aggressively “remake” America according to the socialist agenda, and ushering in the next generation of Democrat Socialists.   

Neumayr presents a solid and comprehensive argument of what the Biden administration and Democrats wish to accomplish.  Some will argue Neumayr is biased but reading the news one can interpret true motives are emerging.  Law and order is being undermined, a convenient border crisis implemented, higher taxes, easy policies toward China, emerging cultural revolution and punishment for those that don’t comply, higher inflation, and all this in less than one year.  It should be interesting if Neumayr’s argument plays out over the next four years.  The book is worth a read for die-hard Trumpists, independents, and those looking for possible alternative viewpoints never mentioned by mainstream media.

Author: George Neumayr | Publication Date: September, 2020

ISBN: 9781684511310 | Page Count: 256 | Publisher: Regnery Publishing

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Malibu Raising: A Novel  

Thornical Press Review

June 2, 2021

Malibu, August 1983.  It is the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer bash and almost everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one of whom is a champion surfer and the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit.  The only person who is not looking forward to the year’s biggest party is Nina, who has never wanted to be the center of attention and has recently been publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband.  Hud is also troubled because the past is catching up and feels he must confess to his brother Jay.  Unlike Nina and Hud, Jay can’t wait to spend time with the girl of his dreams at the night’s festivities.  Little sister Kit also has secrets and invites a mysterious guest on her own accord.  As the booze flows and the party rages out of control throughout the night, the love affairs and secrets will come to the surface as the events of the night burn down the Riva Mansion.

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Malibu Rising is a story about family bonds, love, secrets, and breaking free from the past.  Reid’s story is cleverly written and will keep you captivated from beginning to end.  If you enjoyed Daisy Jones & The Six, you will not be disappointed by Malibu Rising.

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publication Date: March 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9865-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Ballantine

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The Last Thing He Told Me: A Novel   

Thornical Press Review

May 30, 2021  

Newly wedded bride Hannah Hall is madly in love with her husband Owen Michaels, but also must win over her new 16-year-old stepdaughter, Bailey, who lost her mother as child and refuses to have anything to do with Hannah. Yet, when Owen goes missing, his wife and daughter join forces to search for him and his true identity.

Despite the strained relationship between Hannah and Baily, the book begins with an idyllic family living on a houseboat in Sausalito, California.  Hannah is a skilled woodworker that sells artisan furniture to wealthy clients; while Owen works for a highly successful computer startup that is about threaten the Michaels’ peaceful family life.

A peaceful day is shattered when Hannah receives a cryptic message from Owen with the chilling two words “Protect Her”.  Hannah frantically tries to reach Owen but sickeningly realizes her husband has disappeared.  Unsuspectingly, Bailey discovers a mysterious bag full of cash in her locker, only increasing the suspense to follow. 

As Hannah and Bailey begin to search for answers, Owen’s boss is arrested by the FBI and the company is accused of investor fraud.  When federal agents raid their Sausalito home, Hannah at first believes Owen is innocent, yet it becomes clear that Owen’s true identity is in question.  Torn between love and trust, Hannah and Baily must put differences behind them to find out the truth and find Owen, whom they both love.

Alternating between the past and present, Hannah’s story covers her early days with Owen as well as her and Bailey’s suspenseful search for answers.  The Last Thing He Told Me is a novel of suspense that takes time to develop.  Readers will not be disappointed but should be prepared for twists and turns that create a thrilling storyline.  

Author: Laura Dave | Publication Date: May 04, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7134-5 | Page Count: 320 | Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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Zero Fail: The Rise And Fall Of The Secret Service 

Thornical Press Review

May 28, 2021  

Carol Leonnig tells the history, scandals, highs, and lows of the United States Secret Service which is responsible for the safety of United States Presidents, government officials, and high-profile political candidates.

The origin of the Secret Service began after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln but would become fully responsible for protecting presidents in 1902, one year after the assignation of President William McKinley.  The failure to protect President Kennedy in 1963 ushered in an era of reforms that created an elite corps of agents willing to take a bullet for those under their protection.  The highest point of the Secret Service since 1963 was the thwarting of the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.  As it is said, with the highs comes the lows, and by the 2000s the Secret Service would be plagued by prostitution scandals, connections with drug cartels, and security breeches threatening the lives of the ones they serve to protect.

Loennings meticulous interviewing of current and former agents sheds light on the Secret Service’s moral corruption, low morale, and ineptitude in carrying out its duty.  Just as in 1963, there have been calls to usher in reforms to re-establish a positive esprit de corps. 

Carol Leonnig has been an investigative journalist for The Washington Post since 2000.  Loennig has covered city corruption in Washington D. C., political officials, and federal agencies.  In 2014, Loennig was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for covering the NSA’s growing effort to spy on United States citizens.

Author: Carol Loennig

Publication Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-399-58901-0

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Random House

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Antitrust: Taking On Monopoly Power From The Gilded Age To The Digital Age

Thornical Press Review

May 25, 2021 

Senator Amy Klobuchar presents a detailed history of trustbusting and how the United States government must continue to be vigilant on preventing the formation of powerful monopolies with modern antitrust policies.

The free enterprise system provides upward mobility and self-reliance for millions of US citizens.  Yet this freedom is threatened by the concentration of corporations and industries, such as the likes of Google and Facebook; both of which control 90% of the industry and ruthlessly control the flow of information.  Just as in the days of railroad and oil monopolies, modern monopolies stifle competition and bring economic disadvantages to consumers and entrepreneurs.

Senator Klobuchar writes a detailed history of the most powerful 19th century monopolies that includes John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil and Cornelius Vanderbilt’s New York Central Railroad.  Both industry giants reaped in fortunes as industrialization spread across America and kept competitors pinned down through control of the market.  

Klobuchar depicts the origins of the “Trustbusters” that fought to counter growing power of the Gilded Age’s most powerful monopolies.  In 1890, Ohio Senator John Sherman introduced the first federal law to break up trusts and end restrictive trade practices.  The law was rarely enforced until Theodore Roosevelt took office and tried to deconstruct the Northern Securities Railroad monopoly.  Despite Roosevelts renown as the “trustbusting” president, Howard Taft would be credited with breaking up many more trusts and monopolies, such as Standard Oil in 1911.

Senator Klobuchar explores monopolistic power in the digital age, mergers in the high tech and health care industries, and litigation made against Google and Facebook.  Not only do digital age monopolies dominate and control markets, but they display an alarming fascistic control of free speech and thought.  At one time, American companies honored the American cultural acceptance of First Amendment Rights.

Klobuchar discusses Big Pharma price gouging practices, as well as the tech, media, entertainment, and agriculture sectors, to see how a market with few participants, or one business controlling distribution, may affect consumer costs and hamper innovation. 

Senator Klobuchar is the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights.  Klobuchar’s knowledge of antitrust laws and mission to improve them in the face of modern monopolies is presented as a path to safeguard Americans from monopolies limiting competition and acquiring large amounts of information.

Publication Date: April 27, 2021 | ISBN: 978-0-525-65489-6

Page Count: 624 | Publisher: Knopf 

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American Republics: A Continental History of the United States, 1783-1850

Thornical Press Review

May 22, 2021

Alan Taylor’s American Republics presents a new look at a young United States boldly marching down a path destined for glory yet also a nation headed for civil war.  The newly formed United States was a small, fragmented union of states that still had to compete with great European powers and other sovereign republics on the continent of North America 

Slavery in the United States became more powerful and widespread among southern Democrat held states.  Many Democrat politician supported a thriving trade in Black Americans dividing parents from children and husbands from wives.  Elites that favored strong government were pitted against others, including Democrat president Andrew Jackson, who advocated for a nationalist populism for white males. 

The United States occupied Canada, Florida, Texas, most of Mexico, and forcefully resettled Native Americans remaining east of the Mississippi.  At the turn of the century, the United States was internally divided, with occupied territories touching the Pacific and growing sectional animosities over Democrat support for slavery.

From George Washington to the eve of the Civil War, Taylor’s exquisite history of this turbulent time provides indelible miniatures of main characters.  It depicts the high-stakes political drama that erupted over Democrat support for slavery, a national bank, the resettlement Native Americans, and national expansion.

In many ways American Republics mirrors our current fragmented politics and social tension.  Taylor fills the void in United States history that is often forgotten and brings the post-revolutionary birth of the nation we call home to life.  

Publication Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00579-7

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Norton

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