Pre-Release Review: 5 stars for Dian’s Ghost by Justine Saracen #FF #Thriller #environmental


Title: Dian’s Ghost
Author Name & Publisher: Justine Saracen (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: March 15, 2016 — 264 pages


Dana Norland shoots two men in cold blood and flees the US for the mountains of Rwanda. Posing as a biologist, she finds herself caring for gorillas with Kristen, Dian Fossey’s successor at the Karisoke research center. She has plenty of time to think about what she’s done, but can she find peace? Apparently not, for the mountain is haunted both by the ghost of Dian Fossey, and by the men who murdered her. Personal vendetta joins with genocide, and to flee the marauding butchers, the women hide in the rainforest. Among the mountain gorillas they once protected, they learn what justice is. And what it is not.

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I found this novel difficult to classify re genre as in all honesty I could not call it an f/f novel. This novel is one of the most special and hard hitting novels I have read in a long time. Ms Saracen, apart from being a brilliant author, has obviously researched her subject extensively.
The plight of not only the Gorilla’s but the rarely mentioned political turmoil that Rwanda was subjected too was told through a mixture of hard facts and history. Facts were clear and those character’s mentioned real the fiction was the loving relationship between Dana and Kristen. This relationship was so entwined with reality that one could not be separated from the other. The fiction allowed the story to be told for the benefit of readers like me whose only knowledge of Silver Backs was from watching the film of Dian Fossey.
This incredible book was a revelation. At times it brought me to tears, at others times it just brought the Silver Backs to life, at other times I was appalled at the way one human can treat another. This fascinating and astounding book is one that anyone who cares about animals, who cares about equality and who believes in morality cannot fail to be impressed by.
The impression this book  had on me will remain with me. Although it covered a very difficult and at times heart rending subject it was told in such a sympathetic and engaging way it was an enjoyable as well as an educational pleasure to read. I for one cannot recommend this book enough and I look forward to reading further book by this dynamic author.


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How a mild-mannered academic went astray and began writing lesbian fiction:
A recovered academic, Justine Saracen started out producing dreary theses, dissertations and articles for esoteric literary journals. Writing fiction, it turned out, was way more fun. With seven historical thrillers now under her literary belt, she has moved from Ancient Egyptian theology (The 100th Generation) to the Crusades (2007 Lammy-nominated Vulture’s Kiss) to the Roman Renaissance.
Sistine Heresy, which conjures up a thoroughly blasphemic backstory to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes, won a 2009 Independent Publisher’s Award (IPPY) and was a finalist in the ForeWord Book of the Year Award.
A few centuries farther along, WWII thriller Mephisto Aria, was a finalist in the EPIC award competition, won Rainbow awards for Best Historical Novel and Best Writing Style, and took the 2011 Golden Crown first prize for best historical novel.
The Eddie Izzard inspired novel, Sarah, Son of God followed soon after. In the story within a story, a transgendered beauty takes us through Stonewall- rioting New York, Venice under the Inquisition, and Nero’s Rome. The novel won the Rainbow First Prize for Best Transgendered Novel.
Her second WWII thriller Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright, which follows the lives of four homosexuals during the Third Reich, won the 2012 Rainbow First Prize for Historical Novel. Having lived in Germany and taught courses on 20th Century German history, Justine is deeply engaged in the moral issues of the ‘urge to war’ and the ease with which it infects.
Beloved Gomorrah, appearing March 2013, marks a return to her critique of Bible myths – in this case an LGBT version of Sodom and Gomorrah — though it also involves a lot of Red Sea diving and the dangerous allure of a certain Hollywood actress.
Saracen lives on a “charming little winding street in Brussels.” Being an adopted European has brought her close to the memories of WWII and engendered a sort of obsession with the war years. Waiting for the Violins, her work in progress, tells of an English nurse, nearly killed while fleeing Dunkirk, who returns as a British spy and joins forces with the Belgian resistance. In a year of constant terror, she discovers both betrayal and heroism and learns how very costly love can be.
When dwelling in reality, Justine’s favorite pursuits are scuba diving and listening to opera.


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