Monday, October 3, 2022

At first, I figure I’ve managed to shake him off—until I catch sight of his shadow

 The library doors come to a near-close behind me and, in a snap, I hear a muffled voice from inside. Somebody calls out my name, which is odd. No one is supposed to know me here. Astounded, I double up on my speed. 

Again, he calls me, louder this time, which turns his voice into a sharp, rather unpleasant squeak. Startled, I turn around. This guy—no, not a guy exactly, rather a boy no older than seventeen—is running up to me, his t-shirt stained with perspiration, especially under those scrunchy arms. 

His upper lip glistens with sweat. “You left your library card on the counter,” he says, handing it to me with a misshapen smile that hangs, quivering, over his chin. 

He’s slightly shorter than me, which forces me to look down at him. “Thank you,” I say. 

As I turn to go, he grabs my elbow, clamping it with a clammy hand. “Hey, can I carry your books for you?”

“No need,” I say, somewhat worried about hurting his feelings, but refusing him firmly all the same, so as not to impart the wrong impression. “I’d rather carry them myself.”

“Wait.”

Shall I stop for him? That would invite more unwanted advances, so I don’t. Instead, I walk toward the near-by public swimming pool, where warning shouts of parents are drowned by shrieks of their children as they slip, one by one, out of the mouth of the water slide. One child after another hits the water with a spattering splash.

 Once these cries fade behind me, I notice another sound, the sound of footfalls. It’s much too subtle, too soft. 

I cast a look over my shoulder, surprised to find him at arm’s length. His milky face riddled with pimples, he appears jolted by my sudden attention. 

Slowing down to a shaky step, he starts asking questions—where I live, how old I am, am I new to this place—all of which I deflect with purposely vague answers. 

I talk little, but can’t stop him from telling me more than I want to know about himself. His name is Paul. He works at the library after school. Not that he likes the job, but it’s better than going home to his mother, who doesn’t understand him at all and cares only about herself. Women are just like that, if you ask him, which I don’t. Seeing me, he says, is the best part of his day. 

In spite of myself, I feel pity for the poor guy. But I ask nothing, nothing at all—until he asks me out, which sets me back on my heels. “What?” I cry, not sure I’ve heard right. “You mean, on a date?”

“Yes,” says Paul. “Is that so hard to imagine?”

“I’m at least five years older than you—”

“Oh, that. I don’t mind. Do you?”

Say something, I tell myself. Anything. “Sorry. I’m already dating someone.” Which is not exactly a lie, mind you. The boyfriend I left behind does love me. I love him too, and now that I’m here I long for his presence. I do. But as I told Michael before leaving Irvine, I need some time alone, away from everyone, away from him, too, at least until I figure out who I am.

In my absence, Michael has thrown himself into his work. I can just picture him, in his garage, fine-tuning the virtual reality world he’s created for this or that gaming client. Being alone, he can delve into his work with a greater focus. Even so, he keeps telling me that he needs me by his side, because he finds our closeness inspiring.

“You’re dating someone, really?” asks Paul, with a bitter note of disbelief. “Funny, I don’t see him around you. Where, then, is he?”

 Overcoming an urge to say, “None of your business,” I resort to excusing myself, somehow. I say, “I have stuff to do. I must hurry. Goodbye.”

I rush back to the pool, enter the women’s locker room, and hide there for a while, occasionally peeking out the door to make sure that Paul isn’t waiting for me. 

At first, I figure I’ve managed to shake him off—until I catch sight of his shadow. There it is on the pavement, the outline of a messy shock of hair, creeping in and out of view from around the corner. 



Overkill

(Volume II of Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance)

Paperback Hardcover

Audiobook



The last thing Ash expects when she lands in Clearwater, Florida is to be stalked by a troubled teenager. If that's not bad enough, she is caught in a shooting spree next to the nearby elementary school. The cops think it’s an attempt at mass killing, but Ash wonders if the only victim was specifically targeted by the killer. Will she manage to identify him and have him arrested before he comes after her?

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

5 out of 5 Overdue Stars for this one!

What a meticulous, thought out review by Leonard Tillman,for my thriller, Overdue. Leonard is an Educator, Author, Book Reviewer, Book Blogger, Writer, and most importantly... Animal Lover! Find him at leonardtillerman.com.

Reviewed in the United States on September 28, 2022

This can be a cruel and mixed-up world we live in at times.  Potential danger lurking around every corner, waiting to pounce on its latest, unsuspecting victim.  It can be difficult to ever feel safe in such an unpredictable environment.  In the middle of such chaos, many people will point out that at least we have ourselves and family.  Nobody can take away our family and personal identity they profess.  Oh really???

In her novel, Overdue, Uvi Poznansky clearly illustrates the flaw with such simple logic.  Particularly if you mix with the wrong type of people.  This is a top-notch thriller that packs a powerful punch!

Overdue is Book 4 of the Ash suspense thrillers,  Vlad, the leader of a Russian crime organization, is lying comatose in the hospital after being grazed by a bullet fired by our protagonist, Ash.  However, is he really comatose like he seems?  Or is this a clever scheme to escape and avoid paying the consequences of his actions?  Ash believes it is the latter and is not about to let him escape her grasp.  Unfortunately for her, life has a way of throwing unexpected curve balls our way.  In this case, it comes in the form of a brutal pandemic.  This forces Ash to step away from her plans and "guard duty."  In the process, Vlad (who was indeed playing possum) escapes and is soon back to his evil ways.  Shortly thereafter,  Ash finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a personal identity theft and health insurance fraud scheme.  Having had her identity stolen, Ash, and numerous other individuals who have suffered the same fate, are at risk of complete ruin.  This has Vlad written all over it, and Ash will stop at nothing to bring him to justice.

Without a doubt, this novel puts the word thrill in thriller!  It is full of action, suspense, mystery, and intrigue.  The author does not throw all of this at the reader right off the bat, however.  No, it is gradually unraveled as the novel progresses.  Bit by captivating bit.  This allows us as readers to truly engage in the tale as we try to figure out for ourselves what is coming next.  Just when we think we know...BAM... something nobody saw coming hits us from behind.  Poznansky truly knows how to weave her tale, so the reader becomes part of the entire experience, as opposed to an impartial bystander.

In regards to characters, we are once again treated to a literary gem.  As the protagonist, Ash could actually be any one of us.  She is put into a terrible scenario through no fault of her own.  This scenario is so identifiable for so many of us in today's world.  This authenticity works to draw us in even further to this clever tale.  As an added bonus, the novel presents Michael as Ash's love interest.  He is an entirely loyal and likable character who, in many ways, is the complete opposite of Ash.  He is much more easygoing and lighthearted.  This allows us not only to see his genuinely positive traits but gives us a real glimpse into Ash's vulnerable side as well.  Very intelligent writing!

In contrast to Ash and Michael, Vlad and his team of antagonists are presented as truly despicable individuals.  Willing to destroy and feed upon any poor soul as long as it fits their particular purpose.  I felt an intense dislike for them, which is needed to make a story like this work so well.  Characterization at its best!

Unquestionably, I was really able to identify and relate to this novel.  While it was an explosive fictional thriller... it all seemed so real!  The smooth flow of the writing certainly helped put all the exceptionally great story elements together into one cohesive and enthralling package.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

My doubts make me realize what I already know. I’m in over my head.

I cast a quick look at my bathroom mirror and apply a dab of makeup over the little scar under the corner of my eye. Then I let my golden retriever, Browny, out into the backyard, but instead of rolling happily in the wet grass or sniffing the flowers in bloom, he just stands there, howling, as if to tell me not to leave.

With barely a thud, I close the door behind me and head out for my date with a someone I barely know, except for two critical things. He’s a doctor. Ma would love this little nugget of information, but not the next one. He’s married.

As I said, Michael should be the last to know. But I’m tempted to call back and tell him that love is not what I’m looking for, and neither is the thrill of having a secret affair. 

Dr. Patel, professor of psychology and neurosurgery, is Chair of Neurological Surgery and Physical Medicine in UCI Medical Center. He is world-renowned for his expertise in aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, neuro-ophthalmology, and deep brain stimulation. You don’t know what that last bit means? Neither do I, but if he performed it on me, it would explain feeling over-stimulated at times. Other times, I feel dead. I wish I had someone to blame for that.

Seriously, though: his resume is impressive, and his fame goes beyond mere paper credentials. During my stay at the hospital, the nurses talked about him with great admiration. 

As I recall, they praised not only his skills but also his stable family life. According to them, if there was any vice in him, it was his constant quoting from scriptures. His bible thumping is anything but endearing, especially when it comes with that over-the-top note of authority. It annoyed me even during my coma.

To everyone but me, he seems like a perfect man. Which is a bit odd, because when I’ve decided to get him to ask me out, it’s taken little effort on my part—not more than sitting across from him at the hospital cafeteria and ever so slowly, crossing my legs. 

Dr. Patel has led a charmed life—until now. His good fortune is about to end, because of one thing I’ve recently discovered about him. 

He is a fraud.

I hope I’m wrong.

Working with Michael on several of his software projects taught me a few tricks, especially when it comes to hacking. Yesterday, after a few false starts, I managed to get through the database firewalls of  Duke Institute Department of Surgery, listed as Dr. Patel’s residency on his resume. 

My curiosity was innocent, at first. It was driven by a chance meeting with him when I came back for a visit at the hospital, last week. Dr. Patel didn’t seem to remember me, perhaps because I was no longer wrapped in bandages, no longer represented by fluctuations of body temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure. Somewhat annoyed by being so carelessly forgotten, I needed to assure myself of his observation skills. I wanted to know that his medical insight was indeed as advertised: flawless. 

Breaching the firewalls of the department turned out to be easier than expected, although there was a little nagging feeling of guilt for invading their records, as well as Dr. Patel’s privacy. In the process, my cellphone kept pinging with dual-factor authentication codes. I hope it wasn’t pinging this loudly at the other end, or at least that no one in charge of the database integrity was paying attention to me sneaking inside.

Ignoring the palpitations of my heart, I steeled myself, aiming to glance at his achievements during his training period for just a second. But the exploration extended to several long hours. And yet, by the end of it, there was no mention of anyone by that name during any of the years in question. I checked the information over and again, to no avail. He claims to have trained at Duke Institute, but his name is not listed there. Period.

What am I missing? Have I overlooked some part of the data? If not, why is there such a discrepancy? And what else is a lie in the account of his professional life? 

My doubts make me realize what I already know. 

I’m in over my head.





"About halfway through reading Overdose I got to thinking that it would make a great movie, a thriller to match anything that Alfred Hitchcock ever put on the screen (except maybe Vertigo). And then I thought 'If only Hitchcock were alive now. He would love this novel."
~Colm Herron, Author 

Saturday, September 10, 2022

It may be my last chance to ask him what I need to know

 One way for Vlad to avoid me, avoid paying the price for his crimes, is to play dead; another is to play dying. And who knows, perhaps it’s for real. Perhaps it’s not a game. 

Still, I can’t help but remain on guard, even if to others, it may seem pointless. Last time I saw him—about half a year ago—he lay contorted on the stretched hospital sheet, seemingly immobile, and never once lifted an eyelid to meet my gaze, which brought pity to my heart—but didn’t expunge the fear. 

I keep telling myself there’s no reason anymore to be cautious. I shot him, and now he’s said to be in a coma. About that, I have my doubts. Having spent enough time in his company before the hit, I know him all too well. Vlad rejoices in the pain he inflicts. To him, it means being in charge. He is not likely to relinquish it. Even if his power slips away, it’s not going to be for long.

My brush with his Russian gang is something I’d like to forget. It left me struggling to piece my life together. Like an ink stain, the memory of what happened to me in their hands is somewhat shapeless and yet—indelible. Perhaps the only thing I can do now is give it more definition. If only I can learn his secrets.

I try to think the way he does. What would Vlad do now that the police arrested most of his gang, now that he is no longer in control? He would bide his time until finding the right moment to grab it again. And what better place to lay low than a hospital bed?

My boyfriend, Michael, says I’m overly suspicious. There’s no way to fake being in a coma. I do want to believe that—but having been diagnosed a few months ago as a vegetable myself, I know from experience that faking it is not entirely out of the question. Especially when you start to regain your senses, and no one but you knows you’re already alert.

So I just smile at him and say, “Time will tell.” 

Then, we move on to other subjects such as my job search, which unfortunately is next to impossible during the pandemic. Since my recent move to LA, I’ve been living out of my secondhand Ford Escape. This is merely a temporary measure, meant to reduce my expenses until I get hired. But these days, the job situation looks increasingly dire. Temporary is a tricky term. Who knows how long it can turn out to be? 

Michael has been begging me to stay in Irvine with him for a few months, at least until a vaccine is developed, until it becomes widely available and the pandemic is over. I’m so tempted, not only because being together will make my life so much easier but also because when we’re apart, I miss him. 

Ma doesn’t approve of Michael. For me, that adds a naughty allure to his proposition. She hates that he dropped out of college. In her eyes that’s a sin, even if he committed it to start his own software company. On the other hand, she worries about me living by myself in an unsafe place. So she will definitely understand if I accept his offer.

Even so, I haven’t. Blame my resistance on wanting to make something of myself. Blame it on being stubborn.

Michael is a software engineer who works out of his own garage. His most recent project is nothing short of fascinating. He has fused several types of scans from a real patient to create a view of the brain, which doctors can manipulate in virtual reality from multiple perspectives. The experience feels a bit like flying through a detailed, lifelike organ. 

“Michael,” I say, “what does a comatose brain look like?”

“Please, not that again.” Michael drops his head into his hands. “You’re totally obsessed with that Vlad.”

“I do owe him a visit. It’s long overdue—”

“Sweetheart, you owe nothing to that creep.”

“You’re right. I owe it to myself and to others, too, which I realize whenever I hear stories about survivors like me, struggling to find their way back to normal.” 

For a moment, Michael is silent. 

“All right, Ash, I get it,” he says at last. “I’ll contact the hospital and check on him for you. And next time you come to Irvine, we’ll go see him together.”

“Thank you, Michael.” I blink away tears. “It may be my last chance to ask him what I need to know; his last chance to confess. But I doubt he will.”


(Volume IV of Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance)


"Overdue is an exciting crime thriller with an intriguing plot and bunches of twists and turns that will keep you reading until the very end."
~Tammy, Amazon Reviewer

Thursday, September 1, 2022

A curling effect for each petal of my clover flower


I'm working on a flower arrangement made of giant paper clover flowers, which I design in different sizes for fun and variety. I received many requests to share the process. So here are a few highlights. Each flower is made from a layering of the same 8-petal cutout. I use a crayon to paint the center, then smoosh it with my finger so the color bleeds into the petals.


Then I lay the petal on a sponge bed and press into it with a wooden tool. In fact, any tool will do, fo example the dull edge of a kitchen knife. It creates a curling effect for each petal and enhances the ripple along its outer edges.


The first layer is 8 petals. For the second layer, I glue one of the petals onto another so as to create a 7-petal layer. For the next layer, a 6-layer petal and so on, until the top layer is just two petals curled into each other.


When all the layers are ready, I insert a wire through all of them in order and use it as a flower stem. 

 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

A mystery lover's dream novel

 Love this review for my thriller, Overdose:


Reviewed in the United States on August 12, 2022
Another 5-star mystery thriller by author Uvi Poznansky. Overdose is a stand-alone novel, but it will be much more enjoyable if the first two novels in the series are read first. The medical and technological aspects interwoven in this novel were a stroke of writing genius by the author. Ash is a wonderful MC, full of character and energy. Her rival, Dr. Patel, is one the reader will love to hate. I enjoy Uvi's writing and hope to read much more of her work. Highly recommended for the mystery lover.

Friday, August 12, 2022

For the love of life

 Short and sweet review for my thriller, Overkill:


Reviewed in the United States on August 3, 2022

Book 2, Overkill, is the 2nd Ash Suspense Thriller in the series and a perfect sequel to the first book. Even as Ash has a dilemma of her own to solve, she doesn't allow that to stop her as she helps a little boy live through horrors no adult should be forced to. A heart wrenching story with a twist of an ending. Well thought out with believable characters. Happy to read more of Uvi's work. I am certain book 3 will be as exciting as the first 2.