Dave Conifer, a fitness fanatic who lives in Southern New Jersey, has authored seven books including three YA, three thrillers and a satirical comedy.
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Smashwords book reviews by Dave Conifer
- Besserwisser: A Novel (The Know-It-Alls)
on Feb. 14, 2010
A Hilarious Romp Through Bavaria
Besserwisser was a complete blast. Since I'm not a professional book-commenter-on guy I'd have just kept my mouth shut if I didn't like it, but I did like it. At the risk of using a cliché -- I LOLed on every page. The voice of the author worked perfectly, dropping lines like "...looking like a grinning, oversized Alfred E. Neuman look-alike (but more handsome) in Converse high tops and brown leather (okay, vinyl) bomber jacket."
When Gordy Ford's book deal collapses he finds himself alone in Germany with no means of support. Shortly thereafter as he looks for a solution he backs into a most accidental dilemma that gets more and more complicated as he tries to talk his way out of it while interacting with colorful locals. The story is laced with priceless cross-cultural jabs:
"You Americans, you have it easy, don't you?"
"What? I don't know, not all of us. You got it good too. We don't all get health insurance. Our beer sucks. And our coffee? S***."
And there was the hilarious characterization from an 'Ossi' (East German) perspective of 'Wessis' (West German) as "a smart, rich and lucky people, somewhat like Americans but not as smiley."
I don't want to pass out spoilers so I'll just say the dilemma revolves around some intrigue based on Germany's past, enhanced by some present day buffoons with whom the protagonist gets tangled up with. The plot was zany but had solid enough foundations that it didn't seem contrived. There were times when I wondered if the author could sustain the plot and humor all the way to the end but he did it (I'm still not used to the Kindle and although I understand percentages I never really get the feel for where I am in the book).
It was all wrapped up neatly in the end, with no cheating. I actually had that sad feeling that many of us get when we finish a good book and lose some new friends.
Nice job, highly recommended.
- Canary (a short story)
on Oct. 13, 2010
Nice story that resonated with me, as it probably will with many readers. This writer has a gift for dialogue -- it was tight and edgy and best of all, believable. I'll definitely check me out more Michael Crane...
- October Breezes
on Oct. 20, 2010
October Breezes is written for a YA audience but this is a story so thought-provoking that it makes good reading for their parents as well. Just about every painful adolescent dilemma imaginable -- some routine, others life-altering -- is thrown at Skye Williams. Some she handles well and others she botches. The strength of the story is in how Skye picks up the pieces and who she turns to when life goes badly.
The characters are alive, and, more importantly, realistic. I remember all of them from my high school years and I think most YA readers will recognize them too. One character in particular, somebody who probably won’t even be on the poster when October Breezes hits the big screen, resonated with me because he is the kind of quiet hero that really exists but is seldom written about.
Parents who check this book out will be reminded of serious issues that teenagers must deal with. Ultimately, though, it’s a book for teens. The complexity of issues presented in such an entertaining and gripping storyline leads me to declare October Breezes to be a YA masterpiece that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.