Sidney Sheldon’s Mistress of the Game By Tilly Bagshawe
Eenie, meenie, meinie, mo. Remember when playing games was a pastime? Shake the dice with two fists and move the appropriate number of squares. If you can’t bluff, fold ‘em. Whoever gets to 500 points loses. Or wins, depending on what you’re playing and whom you’re playing with, because games have rules that you can change if you want.
But sometimes, the rules of grownup games are strictly set and the stakes are more than mere bragging rights. In the new book, “Sidney Sheldon’s Mistress of the Game,” by Tilly Bagshawe, the loser of this skirmish may end up penniless.
As Kate Blackwell’s coffin was lowered into the ground, Alexandra Templeton and Eve Blackwell Webster stood sobbing over their grandmother’s remains. The iron-fisted Kate had ruled over internationally trading Kruger Brent for decades. She made the corporation the giant that it was, and now her only remaining heirs were grieving. But just one face had authentic tears.
Identical at birth, Eve and Alexandra were completely different now, physically and otherwise. Alexandra, glowing with pregnancy, was her grandmother’s favorite and heir to the company. Eve, the victim of plastic surgery gone awry, was as disfigured inside as she was out. Though she, too, was pregnant, the glow emanating from her face came from burning anger.
Seeing Kate Blackwell’s remains underground made Eve smile. She hated her grandmother and she hated her sister. So, when Alexandra died giving birth, Eve rejoiced. There was one less bother on her quest to regain Kruger Brent.
Despite a traumatic kidnapping when she was a child, motherless Lexi Templeton grew up to be a beautiful media darling, and rumor had it that she would be the next CEO of Kruger Brent. Handsome, dark-eyed Max, Lexi’s cousin, inherited his father’s looks and Eve’s hatred for the other side of the Blackwell family, but his intelligence made him a valid contender, too. Both Lexi and Max had their supporters and detractors at Kruger Brent, and neither trusted the other — with good reason.
Max was fueled by his hatred, but he severely underestimated his cousin. Kate Blackwell was ruthless in growing the corporation — and Lexi very definitely had her great-grandmother’s blood in her veins.
Following author Sidney Sheldon’s death in early 2007, it was inevitable that his family would hire someone to continue writing under his name. Readers should rejoice in their choice of Bagshawe.
With over-the-top wealthy characters who jet to other countries as easily as most of us cross the street, furtive financial wars and barrelsful of scandal, it’s easy to develop a love-hate relationship with almost everyone in this book — yet the story wasn’t predictable and the ending was satisfying. While I’m generally doubtful of these “writing under the name of” kinds of sequels, I’m happy to say that “Mistress of the Game” is very, very close to being vintage Sheldon.
Scandal-lovers should buy this book or take their turn at the library, because it’s a great deal of fun. In fact, missing “Mistress of the Game” could be dicey.
A Priest in Hell By Randall Radic
There was no way you wouldn’t get away with it. Nobody would ever know if you broke that law. It was a stupid law anyhow; probably unconstitutional. Nobody paid much attention to it in the first place, so you reasoned that if everybody else was breaking it, you could, too. There was no way you’d get caught.
But you were wrong. And so was author Randall Radic when he thought he could get away with embezzlement. In his new book, “A Priest in Hell,” he writes about the crime, the time and dropping a dime.
Like most churches, the Congregational Church in Ripon, Calif., owned a parsonage. In this case, it was just a tumbledown house in need of maintenance, but it was where Randall Radic, the church’s pastor, lived.
Radic, with his preacher’s salary, was tired of watching other people buy the finer things in life. Greed got the better of him. Forging some documents, he took out two mortgages on the house and sold the church, neither of which were his. The banks got suspicious. Accounts were closed. Investigations were launched. Radic was arrested. Bail was set at $1.5 million. He was convicted and sent to prison for embezzlement.
Arriving there, Radic was strip-searched, groped and given regulation underwear, flip-flops and blaze-orange pants and shirt. With no toiletries, no books or writing material, and no idea how to get anything, he was locked up, ashamed and embarrassed… and very, very scared.
Throughout his almost six-month incarceration, Radic dealt with boredom, filth and inedible food. He learned to kowtow to the OCs and to speak another, “foreign” language. As an OG (old guy), he befriended other OGs, but was largely shunned by the more-predominant younger prison population. He tried to get along and not call attention to himself. His nights were spent sleeping in a freezing-cold cell on a three-inch mattress with a sweatshirt as a pillow, and his days were spent eating meals next to child molesters, rapists and killers.
One of those killers had a big mouth and couldn’t stop bragging about his cold-blooded crime. Seeing opportunity for early release, the Rev became a rat.
These days, it seems we all want to be tough on crime, especially when it comes to swindlers and embezzlers (think Bernie Madoff). But even the most vocal proponents of “Lock ‘em up and throw away the key,” will cringe reading this book.
Filled with gut-wrenching fear, desperation, edge-of-your-seat danger, squirmy anticipation and an incredible account of coping through confusion, Radic tells the story of a smart man who did something very dumb. Fully admitting to his crime, Radic is blunt when writing about his experiences in paying for his theft, so much so that it’s sometimes painful to observe. Still, readers will have a hard time pulling themselves away from this book.
If you’re a true-crime fan or if you’re up for a uniquely absorbing memoir, you’ll want to read “A Priest in Hell.” It’s a book to do time with.
The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.