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.



Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Martial Arts Stories Rule

I've always loved stories about martial arts experts. More to the point, I've always liked characters who have displayed unusual talent in many different areas. But they have to be tough. Like the typical Hollywood tough guy from years ago. When I was a kid there were a lot of them.

Clint Eastwood was terrific as "the Man with No Name." Yeah, I'm talking about the spaghetti westerns. He was cool as Dirty Harry, too.

But the list goes on when referring to tough guy actors from the sixties. Sean Connery was tops as James Bond, of course. William Shatner is the one and only James Kirk, and hands down the best ever starship captain. Robert Conrad is the only James West.

Robert Mitchum was a tough guy's tough guy, as was Anthony Quinn, James Coburn, Charlton Heston, and Charles Bronson. These guys make today's wannabe tough guys look like cupcakes.

Of course, you have the classic tough guys like John Wayne, Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, and Kirk Douglas.

Then you have the suave tough guys. Sean Connery would be in this category too. (He's the only one who makes both lists.) But included in this list you have guys like Robert Vaughn, Robert Redford, and Yul Brynner.

 These guys are tough guys that actually LOOK like tough guys. There are other guys who've PLAYED tough guys, but in my book they don't cut it. This might offend some people, but to ME they don't look so tough. They include Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Richard Widmark, and Edward G.
Robinson. Those guys don't look like they can beat up my mother-in-law. But the other dudes? Those guys are badass dudes. I didn't list them in any particular order. It's just that the good old days of real tough guys is over. Today you have softies pretending to be tough guys.

Sometimes they can pull it off. Brad Pitt made a decent Achilles in the otherwise horrible movie Troy. Vin Diesel makes a good tough guy in his movies, and Jason Statham is an authentic tough guy in his movies, but that's about it. I'm hoping Dustin Clare can be a tough guy, too. He was the best actor in the recent Spartacus show, and I've blogged often that he might be a great Trent Smith in my novels, Killer of Killers and Killer Eyes. What does the future hold?
We'll see.


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