BOOK REVIEWS

The Comisario’s Band

“This one will make you smile from the heart.”

In the same vein as the films Mr. Holland’s Opus and Music of the Heart, the novella,“The Comisario’s Band” is a feel good and inspiring tale about people who walk through serious adversity and come out on the other side as better musicians-and as better people.

Set primarily in Mexico, the book tells the story of Severo Lopez, the Mexican Police Chief (“Comisario”) of a small village in Mexico, who for several months holds four down and out American jazz musicians prisoner in the hopes that they will agree to teach their craft to the town’s musically gifted young teenagers. The quartet eventually learns that the “Comisario” intends to coerce them into fulfilling his seemingly ridiculous personal dream of creating an American styled Big Band. Along the way, relationships are formed and fractured and they all learn that that music not only feeds the soul, but can also teach other important life skills.

The story, which alternates between present day and flash backs, includes a varied and well written cast of characters that immediately draws the reader in. While reading the book, I became emotionally invested in Frank, Morey, Charley and Scat’s journey; and the love story that Lopez shared with his true love Margaret is heartbreaking and provides the reader with a better understand of the motivation behind the Police Chief’s bizarre requests of the four Maestros.

The author’s intended audience appears to be both Young Adult and American & Mexican musicians, however; though it includes mild profanity, references to violence and some sexual situations, the story is entertaining enough to cross all generational and cultural lines.

You don’t have to be a lover of music for this charming and inspiring novel to hit all of the right notes. This one will make you smile from the heart.

Todd Rutherford

The Comisario’s Band

“This is wonderful news!

I am thoroughly enjoying the novel at the moment.  Chapter 4 – “When It’s Over, It’s not Really. . .” was incredibly moving and powerfully written.  Rest assured, I will be promoting the novel and the website.  Thanks for allowing me to be a part of the experience.

Best,
Andrew”

The Thule Girls

An Uplifting Story of Frolicking Fun

‘Mizz’ Shirley Peterson’s The Thule Girls is a riveting and spirited story of eight young female musicians who are selected to entertain a group of three thousand military personnel at Thule Air Base, Greenland.  Thule Air Base is in complete seclusion from society, located only a few hundred miles from the North Pole.  What initially begins as a somewhat apprehensive situation quickly turns into a desire for male companionship.  The highlight of the text is Peterson’s cinematic writing style, which breaks the book into a multitude of episodes and lends credence to a potential television production of The Thule Girls.

The main female characters of the book are the jazz trio: Kerry, the drummer, Shelly, the pianist, and Rhonda, the bass player; along with a country music quartet consisting of Lulu, Linda Rose, Lainie, Thelma, and the solo pianist/vocalist, Maria.  A series of comedic run-ins with their male counterparts and their presence in dangerous situations such as the Arctic blizzard teach the Thule Girls much about themselves.

There are numerous intriguing episodes that embody the spirit of the book; however, Episode 21 is the one that does it best, and is essentially the turning point in the Thule Girls relationships with each other.  The passage that captures this truce best is when Lainie states, “Last night, we all realized how foolish we’ve been.  There are eight of us girl musicians up here.  The nurses don’t like us, and we have no other friends.  We’re ‘off-limits’ to the men. We’re all we’ve got. We need each other.”

Isolated from the rest of the world, the mindset of these girls moves from undue apprehension, brought on by the seemingly daunting Base Commander, to frolicking fun with their display of flair and resolve.  Episode 26 depicts the transformation from a nervous and intimidated bunch of girls to The Thule Girls, women intent on pursuing male companionship with their style, charm, and seemingly reckless abandon.  This playful spirit is reflected in the scene where Lainie is preparing for her date.  “You don’t know how soon it will be,” Shelly reminded her.  “Work on him.  As you’re leaving, go to him and look into his eyes.  Let him get the scent of your perfume.  Take your time.  Tell him you know he must be terribly busy with all the responsibility he has.  Be sympathetic.  Then smile and ask him if he ever has a moment to relax.  Does he ever take any time off?  Blah… blah… blah….  You’d love to have him show you around the base.  Blah… blah… blah….  Now he has your scent and….”

This book fascinates on many levels, and author Shirley Peterson does an exceptional job using realistic, seductive, and pinpoint dialogue to bring depth and life to each character—particularly when the girls are “hunting” for their male companions.

The Thule Girls, by ‘Mizz’ Shirley Peterson, is the lasting memory and spirit commemorating the experiences at Thule Air base and, on a grander level, the life of Shirley Peterson, who succumbed to a sudden bout with Leukemia.  The Thule Girls fits into the young adult genre and will appeal to fans of romantic and racy fiction, music aficionados, and military vets who “did time” at Thule Air Base past and present.

Todd Rutherford

The Comisario’s Band

The law is often bent to serve certain needs.  “The Comisario’s Band” tells the story of a band that finds themselves locked away in Mexico as a lawman doesn’t inform them of why they are being detained.  As time passes, the truth comes out and isn’t what they’d expect.  Drawn from author Shirley Peterson’s own experiences, “The Comisario’s Band” is a fine and recommended read.

The Midwest Book Review                                                                                        James A. Cox,Editor-in-Chief

The Thule Girls

I just finished reading The Thule Girls and all I can say is WOW!! What an incredible book. It almost made me want to jump on a C-141 and fly up to see how much things have changed since 1975 when I was there. The book really brought back a lot of memories for me. I had heard stories when I was there that some years earlier a bus full of people had been stranded by a Phase between base and J-site and that some windows had been knocked out. Did that happen when Shirley was there? It was very easy to believe since Phases were routinely “downgraded” when I was there so shift changes could be made and reduce overtime costs.

Was Shirley the character of Shelly in the book? There were times in the book when tears would be running down my face because I was laughing so hard.

This will definitely be one of my treasured books. Thanks for your efforts in getting it published.

Mike Dunn

The Comisario’s Band

What an incredible book this was! It was definitely hard to put down once I got started on it. I loved the character development and the detail put into the story. I only wish I could have had the honor of knowing Shirley. Just judging from her two books, she was an incredible lady.

Thanks for sharing with me.

Mike Dunn

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