"Hemlin's first mystery is a very promising, quite smart, launch to a new series. Neil Marshall is busy enough as a poetry grad student, part-time caterer and soon-to-be divorce. But when Neil's best friend, horse breeder Jason Keys, is murdered and Neil becomes a suspect, he reluctantly adds amateur sleuth, racing analyst and teen psychologist to his resume. This is a Southern-fried tale blessed by an unconventional cast of characters who are at times more reminiscent of Greenwich Village than Houston."
"Tim Hemlin's 'If Wishes Were Horses...' is one of the most entertaining first mysteries I've read in several years, and aspiring writer Neil Marshall is the most engaging amateur sleuth to come along since Jeff Abbott's Jordan Poteet. This novel is so good, I'd like it even if it weren't set in Texas."
~ Bill Crider, Author and resident of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame for If Wishes Were Horses.
Bobby Hawthorne is the son of a witch. His mother, a chef who owns a restaurant, has a secret she hides from her Texan neighbors. She can whip up more than one kind of magic in the kitchen. But Bobby, he's normal. Just another teenage boy, going to high school, crushing on the new girl Angelina, joining his own garage band.
Normal. Nothing out of the ordinary. His life no different than any other teenage boy even with a witch for a mother.
But all that changes when Skip Macintosh walks into his life. He's the new business partner for his widowed mother's restaurant and Bobby's not happy. He's sure Skip's up to no good. With Angelina's help, he'll delve into the truth and discover just what happened to his father.
Oh, and stumble across a centuries old war between the fundamentalist Blackthornes and the witches they want to exterminate. Bobby and Angelina will have to learn fast about the hidden world of magic around them if they want any chance of surviving the darkness rising about them."
~ RJ Reviews -- 5 Stars on Amazon for Son of a Kitchen Witch
Wastelanders is a dystopian novel with a bit of the mystical tossed in. A post apocalyptic world in which major cities are contained in a force field bubble and the driving force behind the government is the water cartel. The area outside the bubble beyond the rim is considered a wasteland and few people live there. Those who do consist of scavengers, peace loving religious groups, gun runners, prostitution rings and the dredges of society.
The plot is very well developed with a battle for control of the nation between the Water Cartel and patriots. There is some level of suspense as the force behind a major destructive event within the bubble is not clearly revealed and is the purported reason for the government strike against those living in the wasteland.
I really liked the characters. The protagonist was a peace loving priest and warrior of necessity. The antagonists, as there were more than one in this three sided war, were easy to hate. I like how the author developed the characters by their belief in reincarnation and the internalized revelation of the historical characters the antagonists believed themselves to be.
I wouldn't call Wastelanders a time travel tale, but, there are characters who are able to bend time to their advantage and that was a talent I found quite unique in the world of fantasy. Others, among both the good and bad, had some level of prescience. These talents definitely made the story interesting with the foreboding foreknowledge that often was related in a very inspecific manner. The type of prophesy that is hidden in vague words until the event happens to make it clear.
An Excellent read; I really enjoyed this tale, it is appropriate for all ages of readers."