The Cuts that Cure

“Intriguing Inevitability”

Review by Joey Madia

Authors, publishers, story analysts, reviewers, and readers often speak about a book being a “real page-turner.” Rarely do we elaborate on what that means. To me, having decades of experience in these areas, it’s about two things: (1) posing and answering Big Questions (without doing so too quickly), and immediately posing (and answering) new ones and (2) taking full advantage of the human mind’s tendency to think in terms of inevitability.

In the case of Arthur Herbert’s page-turner (I got up early or stayed up late most days while reading it), The Cuts that Cure, the inevitabilities lie in the trajectories of the individual characters (based on their considerable flaws) and on how masterfully Herbert keeps storylines separate and motivations secret for so long. That’s precisely how the posing and answering of Big Questions also serve to keep the reader engaged.

The opening scene finds the protagonist, Dr. Alex Brantley, “deep in the weeds,” in writer’s parlance. A highly skilled surgeon, he works exhausting hours, is up to his eyeballs in college loans, and is navigating the destruction of his marriage. After saving a life that a less skilled surgeon might have lost, Alex wants nothing more than to go home and hang up his doctor’s coat. Fate, however, intervenes. He is summoned to attend to a child who is the victim of obvious and brutal parental abuse. Understandably (and our understanding of how good people can do less than good things is key in this novel), Alex loses control, which serves as the inciting incident, leading him to the position of “stranger in a strange land” or taking the first step in the Hero’s Journey—Separation. Continue reading

Mysteries of Honolulu

“Vampires, Ghosts, and Hawaiian Island Lore”

Review by Joey Madia

Originally published in 2012, this collection of eight spooky tales combines the author’s considerable skills as a storyteller specializing in ghost walks with the intimate knowledge he has of Hawaii’s legends, myths, language, and lore. Having been the creative director of a ghost walk on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina for several years, I deeply appreciate the amount of work that goes into researching, memorizing, and performing sometimes as much as ninety minutes’ worth of material on a walk or tour. True storytellers also have much more than that in their heads, waiting for the opportune moment to share a particular story that is perfect for that moment in time.

Kapanui’s writing holds the energy of the master storyteller that he is. I had the pleasure of seeing him on a podcast several months ago, where he shared several Hawaiian legends and I was quick to book him on my own weekly show for June 2021.

Mysteries of Honolulu begins with a story that could very well be true. “Ke Ala Mehameha: The Lonely Road” is a classic Woman in White tale complete with a traveler who picks up a young woman by the side of the road, only to realize that she is a ghost. This one has an interesting revenge component and an extra layer of haunting that gives it a refreshing twist.

The second story, “‘Aina Hanau: Land of My Birth,” begins with the death of the main character’s brother while the former is on vacation in Hawaii. Coming from a close-knit Irish family, the main character, Daniel, helps them prepare for the wake by phone (all agree he should finish his vacation), before talking to a friend about possible communication with his dead brother. Continue reading

The Rainbow Bridge: Bridge to Inner Peace and to World Peace (4th ed.)

“Thinking Big to Save Humanity”

Review by Joey Madia

Scanning the nine pages of blurbs at the start of this important handbook for making a difference in a dark and troubled world, you will immediately notice the names: His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Neale Donald Walsch, Arun Gandhi, Louis Gossett Jr., Ervin Laszlo, and Edgar Mitchell, among many others. This, and the fact that it is now in its fourth edition, creates big expectations for The Rainbow Bridge, and, to me, it meets them.

To those who have been doing social justice and spiritual work for any length of time—for me it is more than two decades—you will find the age-old wisdom very familiar and the continually quoted names to be in many ways your standard fare. In balance, however, with this abundance of the familiar are sections of the book that are very original, profound, and most importantly, ambitious. Perhaps some readers might even think they are naïve.

For this reason in and of itself, I highly recommend this book. Because they are not naïve, and the wisdom and quotes presented by the author, as familiar and ubiquitous as some of them are, are worth reading, over and over again, each and every day. Every chance we get. Because they do not only operate in the same manner as prayers, sutras, and koans—they are the fuel of Hope. And, in order to participate in the activities underway and recommended in The Rainbow Bridge, one must have abundant Hope. Continue reading

Beyond Ever After: A Heart-to-Heart Journey Through Death and the Afterlife

“A Love that Outlives Death”

Review by Joey Madia

Once upon a time, and to a horrific and violent degree, anyone who was able to mediate between a Higher Power (God, the Source, etc.) that was not sanctioned to do so by one of the established, patriarchal religions was subject to exile, imprisonment, or even execution. The witch trials and purges of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries went a long way toward weakening the remnants of the matriarchal society and strengthening the patriarchal system of medicine and religion that keeps personal experience of healing and understanding at arm’s length, regulated by Big Pharma and the fear of some eternal punishment in Hell.

Thankfully, we are living in a time when those with the ability to tap into the Source, the Superspectrum, the Field, God/Christ Consciousness, the Holographic Universe, or however you wish to term it, are no longer vilified to such a degree. On the contrary—they are sought out and consulted in increasing numbers for help with life insights, to help people make decisions at crucial times in their lives, with healing, and above all to aid in grieving the death of a loved one—up to and including serving as a channel through which that deceased loved one can communicate.

I am married to and work closely with a psychic medium who is also able to channel higher powers through automatic writing. Given our 24-year relationship and the hundreds of people she has helped with her gifts, I am always interested in learning about others who can communicate and mediate with those beings—formerly human and also nonhuman—that exist on different dimensions and whose vibrations and frequencies are much higher than ours. Continue reading

Court of the Grandchildren

“Pay Attention: This Could Happen”

Review by Joey Madia

What a fifteen-month journey it’s been. I have detailed the sociopolitical dog and pony show and all its many components in recent reviews of books about a dystopian future, so I won’t take the space to reiterate them here. Unless you are living in a cave at the top of some mountain—which would make it impossible to read this review—you know what they are.

As I wrote in those reviews, what seemed before March 2020 to be distant, to be able to be pushed away with a bit of Hope and dash of Belief that Humankind can get its act together, is closer than ever. This, in turn, means that dystopian writers—at least the talented ones—are giving us a handbook, a not-so-distant early warning, about what is almost assuredly to come.

Court of the Grandchildren certainly meets these criteria. Well written, with a variety of modes of information delivery that made it an excellent candidate for a stage play (which the authors took advantage of with a virtual staged reading of an adaptation they penned last year), this novel about the dual rise of flood waters due to climate change and AI as a dominant, directive force in people’s lives (even more so than now) is one you should not only read, but heed. Continue reading