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Book Review: The Devil in the White City

by Robert McCool

First posted on the Icon September 10, 2020.

Welcome to the White City - Chicago in 1890-1893.

It's been a while since I've written a review, as my wife had an emergency back surgery and an extended stay in the hospital that has kept me busy doing other things than writing.

But even as immediate as my time has been recently this book has been on my mind quite a bit. Once again, it comes recommended by a member of the Ada book club, and is justified as a good read.


Did the 13th Amendment end slavery?

By Amelia Alexander

Alexander is an Ada High School student and a regular columnist for the Bluffton Icon.

I have been learning many things in school that have inspired me to write about them. In government, we are memorizing the amendments. Even the early amendments to the U.S. Constitution that trace back to the 1800s are still extremely relevant. I wanted to write about the 13th Amendment because it pertains to things that the media does not always cover.


What is the 13th Amendment?


Book Review: Cloud Cuckoo Land

By Robert McCool

Let's celebrate librarians.

Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Doerr's (“All The Light We Cannot See”) 2021 release, Cloud Cuckoo Land (Scribner, ISBN 978-1-9821-8967-9) is dedicated to librarians: past, present, and future. Some of the novel occurs within a library in whatever time and location is being reported in these joined stories of five distinctly different characters. 


Book Review: Blind Tiger

By Robert McCool

In her twenty-sixth novel Sandra Brown takes us back to Prohibition era Texas in order to present an ambitious story about a couple bound to come together over illegal whiskey making. It is also about 1920s societal norms for women.

Blind Tiger  (Grand Central Publishing, Hatchette Book Group; ISBN 978-1-5387-5196) is a big five-course dinner that fills you completely up and satisfies your appetite for action and romance. Really, it is a big book with room for each character's development into a fully fleshed human with a human's desires and drives.


Book Review: The Stranger in the Lifeboat

By Robert McCool

And now a brief word about the Lord.

Mitch Albon's new novel “The Stranger in the Lifeboat” (Harper Collins: ISBN978-0-06-288834) is a conundrum and mystery. Is it a discussion about God, or is it a study into the human condition? It is both.

A $200,000 yacht explodes in the middle of the ocean. All that's left behind is a raft containing ten people. They are a mixed group containing men and women and a young girl named Alice.


Book Review: Billy Summers

Billy Summers (Simon and Schuster ISBN: 978-1-9821-8966-2) is the latest release from Stephen King, and at 528 pages it tells the story of the complex man that Billy Summers becomes. As a child he sees his little sister stomped to death, then kills the man who hurt her. Having an alcoholic mother, he was removed to live in a group home, which is all that you've heard about and more. When he comes of age he joins the Marines and becomes a deadly sniper. When he leaves the service he becomes a sniper for hire.