June's Literary Blog

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Doctor Who: The Book of Whoniversal Records

Knock, knock… Now you ask, “Who’s there?” And I reply, “That’s right!” Doctor Who, of course, the BBC iconic time traveler with the long rainbow scarf and mop of curly hair. I am referring to Tom Baker who played the fourth Doctor Who (1974 to 1983), appearing the most times in 42 stories that spanned the 174 episodes. He is the one I liked and remember the best… and because of him, those were the nine years I was totally addicted…

Setting aside Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, Doctor Who may have been one of the original science fiction televisions shows that captured the hearts and minds of the nerdier set. It was – and still is – one of the most creative and imaginative shows that spanned, literally thousands upon thousands of years; with literally hundreds of impossible feats and plot lines. Although, when Tom Baker’s Doctor was transformed, I lost interest… and moved on to the various permutations of Star Trek, falling deeply in love with the younger Scotty [who could have beamed me up anytime

Still, I sometimes wondered… Whatever happened to Who? And then a mysterious package bearing the HarperCollins Design imprint appeared in my mailbox… Doctor Who: The Book of Whoniversal Records: Official Timey-Wimey Edition by Simon Guerrier, the prolific English writer of countless Doctor Who books, comics, audio plays, and documentaries; although not – as far as I can tell – of any of the Doctor Who television scripts. The most prolific screenwriter was the late Robert Holmes who penned 64 episodes from 1968 to 1986, about the same era as Tom Baker. Regardless, what Guerrier has done in this glitzy graphic book is compile into a virtual Guinness-like book of records the best of Doctor Who – what, when, where, and why. Replete with color photographs, outtakes, quotes, and little known but quite interesting and often amusing facts about the world’s most famous – and often implausible – purveyor of timeless adventures.

I was, needless to say, a bit overjoyed… Now I can catch up on Doctor Who doings in bits and snatches without having to binge-watch all ten seasons with 840 extent episodes. Which would have taken me an eternity, at the very least [And, if I did, who would have written my next two novels?] Anyway, now I can relive the best and most exciting of the glory days; learn behind the scenes facts about Daleks, stranger than strange aliens, travelling companions; wonder at special effects; and, pardon the intended pun, while away my time perusing the best of the best.

And if you are or ever were a fan of Doctor Who, you can, too.

So, wrap yourself up in that long rainbow scarf, curl up into your Tardis, and take an adventurous flight or two between the pages of this wondrous and wonderful book.

Enjoy the read!

2:18 pm est          Comments

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Beneath the Mountain

A Special Note: I began June’s Literary Blog seven years ago… First writing about books in my extensive library that affected my – our lives. A few months later, a few publishers took notice and books began appearing on my doorstep. And now, 240 book reviews later [approximately 34 posts per year], I start year eight with number 241. But before I do, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for and to my following of kind fans, fellow bibliophiles, friends, and family, as well as the generous publishers who over the years have supplied me with an endless array of sometimes so-so, often good and great, and, occasionally, excellent literary offerings. Thank you! May we all continue to “Enjoy the read!”


There are thrillers… and then there are thrillers. The former are written for pure sensationalism – a frightful tale merely for its own sake. No real substance; no moral message; no deep, complex memorable characters. Just fear for the simple emotional effect. The latter, however, embody complete opposites. Oh, sure, there is a frightful tale and the edge-of-the-seat sensationalism, but the book – nonfiction as well as fiction – to be a great thriller goes a whole lot deeper. And that is precisely what Beneath the Mountain: A Novel, by Luca D’Andrea’s, [just released yesterday] is. One of the best thrillers I’ve read since I started this Literary Blog seven years ago…

Jeremiah Salinger was once a hot-shot American screenwriter, the literary half of a documentary team. He and his partner, Mike, were well on their way to the pinnacle of success when, while filming about a rescue attempt in the Dolomite Alps of Northern Italy, Jeremiah falls into a glacial crevasse… And watches with horror as the rescuers and those they saved are killed. And then… He hears the Beast. That’s enough to send chills up and down any reader’s spine… But there’s more. D’Andrea, as he out bests the best [including Stephen King, Dean Koonz, and Steig Larsson], pits his main character against several internal as well as external monsters: anxiety and guilt-ridden PTSD resulting from his accident; aloof residents of Siebenhoch, his [Annelise’s] wife’s small mountain home village where they settle with their beloved daughter, Clara; the Bletterbach itself, with its subterranean caves harboring eerie, inexplicable enigmas; and the secrets surrounding an unsolved, twenty-year old murder – was it? – of three of its young adults.  

Salinger, of course, is hell-bent-for-leather to solve the mysterious murder. With or without the help of Werner, his reluctant father-in-law and Chief Max Krün, the taciturn local lone law enforcer – and stubbornly against Annelise’s strong protestations – he takes it upon himself to play detective. With dire and dangerous consequences that prove to be both his downfall [again] as well as his salvation. Well, maybe… But this is the hard grist of a truly exceptional thriller cum horror tale that, I must admit, keep me awake for two nights straight reading and wondering who really killed Markus, Kurt, and Evi? The Beast described as a large spider scorpion? A villager? A rescuer? Poachers? I can rest easy now because I finally found out the deliciously complex – and intellectually stimulating – solution. But – no spoilers here – I am going to leave it up to you to discover it for yourself.

First published in Italy as La Sostanza del Male in 2016 to modest acclaim, Beneath the Mountain, now translated into more than twenty languages, is yet another HarperCollins winner. It is a no-holds barred insight into the complex and convoluted culture of a small, heretofore unknown region of Northern Italy, once a part of Austria. D’Andrea delves into the sociological, geographical, historical, and psychological multi-dimensions of the region, probing into the depths of not only the mountainous area but the mountain people themselves. And nothing is lost in translation. Each turn of phrase, sentence, description is a well-tuned, talented brushstroke as this modest author paints a vivid portrait of characters and landscapes… All enmeshed in a thrilling narrative that, most certainly belongs on every bestseller list – if not on every thriller lover’s bookshelf.

Enjoy the read!

2:38 pm est          Comments

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June J. McInerney, the host of this Literary Blog, is an author, poet, and librettist. Her currenty published works include a novel, a book of spiritual inspirations, two volumes of poetry, stories for children (of all ages) and a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:

Columbia Hotel: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Early 1900s
the Schuylkill Monster: A Novel of Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville during World War II
Rainbow in the Sky
Meditations for New Members

Adventures of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Spinach Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A Collection of More Spiritual Poems

We Three Kings

Beauty and the Beast


Noah's Rainbow

Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding Hood



Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She is currently working on her fifth novel.

June's novels can be purchased at amazon.com, through Barnes and Noble,
at the Historical Society of the Phoenixville Area,
the Gateway Pharmacy in Phoenixvile, PA

For more information about her musicals, which are also available on amazon.com,