Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?

THE VASE

A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart - the brilliant professor from Bethel University - or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.



Thursday, May 15, 2014

Action Movies--Where Are They?

I love action stories, and particularly action movies. It seems that in today's movie environment, it's the superhero movies that are dominating the action movie genre. Which is kind of strange because superheroes were not stories from books. They were almost exclusively COMIC books. Hey, I've nothing against comic books, let's be clear about that. I collected a good number of them when I was a kid, and even added to the collection in high school and college.

But movies used to be based on stories from books. There's even a category for an academy award for it. You know, the Best Adapted to Screenplay Award. (Yeah, there's the Best Original Screenplay Award, too.) But there's no award for Best Adapted to Screenplay from Comic Books Award. And that's because they never used to do that.

Of course, the first Superman movies did that. And there were a sprinkling of other attempts at it. Most were not good. The Phantom was a failure, and I absolutely hated Tim Burton's Bat Man movies.

But lately the superhero movie genre has taken off like a rocket! And they have been surprisingly good. That's because the technology for special effects have made the superhero movies possible. And how! From Marvel Comics, Iron Man, Spider-man, Hulk, Thor, The Avengers, The X-Men, and The Fantastic Four have been superb. From DC Comics, the new Superman and Bat Man movies have also been high quality movies. Tremendous special effects, good stories, good acting, and overall magnificent productions, have paid off big time for the people who've made them.

So what about the non-superhero action stories/movies? Well, there certainly are a number of them in the book medium. But there haven't been many movies in the action thriller genre lately that have made an impact. The Bourne movies were terrific. The Transporter movies were terrific, too, but have there been any other action movies that have made a splash? Well, I can't think of any.

Which brings me to the martial arts action movie/story genre. They always are exciting to watch. There seems to be a steady stream of them from China and Japan. And regular releases from America, too. Even Quentin Tarrantino has had a hand in them. The Kill Bill and Man with the Iron Fist movies were martial arts action movies. And even though Kill Bill was over the top, (a Tarrantino trait) I liked them both. And all were, and have been, successful.

And that is good for me, because my novel, Killer of Killers would fit right in with those movies. It is smack dab in the middle of that genre. It reads easy and fast, it's exciting and includes romance, beautiful women, and a brooding lone hero, who only has justice on his mind. Sure some things distract him. But not for long. Bottom line, Killer of Killers is an action packed martial arts thriller that includes more twists and turns than any of the aforementioned stories.

Check out Killer of Killers today. You'll see.

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