Reviews

If you are interested in writing a review for our website, please contact us at flybynightpublications@gmail.com.  We also encourage you to write your reviews of our books on Amazon, Kobo, Goodreads, and bol.com.

Reviews for The Tales of a Fly-By-Night:

“Fly-By-Night is a delightful book! Each section of the book is centered around different regions of Europe where the author experienced his true life adventures. The chapters are short, stand-alone stories and make for quick, fun reading and qualify this book as a perfect candidate for any bedside table. The stories range from funny to suspenseful to surprising, but always enjoyable. While reading, I found myself easily remembering long forgotten nuances of living in Europe many years ago. Karren expertly details the subtleties of small European villages and large metropolises and their inhabitants. This will have any reader longing to go back for another visit or start planning his or her maiden voyage!”

–Michelle W. Johnson

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“Short stories to touch the heart!

Wonderful read with stories to enchant all. Would love to see all the places Val describes but may only be able to see them through this talented author’s eyes. A must read!!!!!”

–Judy

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“Quirky, harrowing, or moving, all of Karren’s stories are deeply appealing.

I just finished reading Val Karren’s stories of his world travels, some of them quirky, some harrowing, some moving, but all deeply appealing. His fine writing feels to me like the reminiscences of an intelligent and perceptive friend. Well aware of the history of the places he visits, Karren’s background details gave me insight into the meaning he makes of his remarkable experiences. His delight in the ironic, the sacred, and the endearing in human experience is a gift he generously shares.”

–Susan

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“vaak grappig, soms ontroerend met hier en daar een historisch lesje

(English translation below)

“The tails of a fly by night is een leuke, grappige en soms ontroerende bundel kortverhalen van een Amerikaanse emigrant die rond reist Europa. Het is een interessant boek die zich makkelijk weg leest. doordat elk hoofdstukje een kort verhaal op zichzelf is blijft het verfrissend. Mede door deze korte hoofdstukken is reisboek is dus ideaal om te lezen tijdens het reizen. Het geeft een grappige kijk op de Europese cultuur vanuit een Amerikaans oogpunt, er is dus een hoog gehalte van herkenbaarheid in de clash van verschillende culturen die Europa bij elkaar brengt. Ideaal tussendoortje als je wacht op de trein naar je volgende bestemming.”

—apenzaken

“often funny, sometimes moving, and a history lesson here and there.

(Translated from the Dutch version above)

The Tales of a Fly-By-Night is a nice, funny, and sometimes moving collection of short stories from an American immigrant who travels through Europe.  It’s an interesting book that is easy to read straight through.  Each chapter is a short story in itself, which I found refreshing.  And because each chapter is a travel log, the book is ideal to read while traveling.  It gives a hilarious look at European culture from an American perspective, and I found the descriptions of how European cultures clash with each other quite relatable.  Ideal to read on the train on the way to your next destination.”

–monkeybusiness

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Reviews for The Deceit of Riches:

Excellent Suspense and Imagery.

“I very much enjoyed this book. My favorite two things about it were the suspense and the imagery. I love a good suspense novel and this book provided a “don’t talk to me kids, I’m reading” thrill. I also loved the imagery. The vivid descriptions made me feel like I was there in Russia. I loved being able to “see” the towns and the boat but also to feel the wool coat on my back and the furry hat on my head as well as the later sunshine on my shoulders. Bravo! I found myself looking up photos of Nizhny, Moscow and the Volga river boats. Always a good sign that I’m engaged and invested.

“Not being an expert on Russian geography a map in the front cover would have been helpful and fun but having a smart phone handy filled this need.

“I didn’t understand why Mr. P was referred to by an initial rather than his whole name but have since learned that it is a common practice in Russian literature to refer to the protagonist only by an an initial. Good to know!

“I’m looking forward to the sequel!”

—Glasgow

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Good Story.

“This story kept you interested from beginning to end. Well written and the author was very knowledgeable of provincial Russia. There were many twists and turns with quite a few interesting characters.  However, the author left most all of the characters in the story hanging. One minute they were part of the story and the next they just weren’t there any longer. And what was the story with Yulia? The main character Peter Turner was book smart and dumber than a door nail.  Would like to have seen many of the characters in the story with a more detailed ending of their part in the story, not just disappear from the story.  Hopefully there will be a sequel and better characterization.”

—Mike

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Before you know it, the water is boiling!

“Starts out calm and reads like a personal journal of an exchange student, but the heat gets turned up slowly until you suddenly realize Peter is in very, very hot water and is running for his life!!!”

—Kristi

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Exciting, masterful storytelling.

“Gripping story, has a wonderful flowing narrative. The plot attempts no tired tricks and reads as an authentic, exciting story that is difficult to put down.”

—Trent

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Great first book.

“From the moment I opened this books pages I was sucked into the story line. As I got into the novel, I felt like I was there, in Russia seeing everything through Peter’s eyes. Feeling and experiencing the excitement of a fresh start in a new place with an old friend, the fits and starts of new relationships, some adversarial, while others have the innate feeling of dejavu. And just when you feel like you’ve got the story line down pat, the author weaves the tale in a direction you never would have thought of. It quickly became apparent that the author knows a lot about what goes on behind the scenes of day to day life in Russia. I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait for a sequel.”

—Peter

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“Anyone who has spent time in Russia will find themselves transported in time and place when reading this book. I don’t know how much of the story is true but it’s very plausible. Every time I thought the tale had come to an end the author provided a surprising suspenseful turn that caught me by surprise. I think this would make a GREAT movie.”

—Catherine

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Full of suspense, good character development, and scene imagery felt authentic.

“I enjoyed this book very much. The suspense grew while also focusing on character development and scene imagery that seemed very real. Having lived in Russia for 18 months, I appreciated how authentic it felt. The book was a birthday gift from our friends, the Smiths, who also accompanied my husband and me on our return visit recently to Russia.”

—Sami

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“I enjoyed how it was written from the unique perspective…

“This Russian fictional thriller is absolutely captivating. I blew off almost everything I needed to do for the past couple of days because I had to know what happened to Peter Turner! The story is full of suspense and intrigue. I enjoyed how it was written from the unique perspective of a regular American guy who stumbles into the world of the Russian mafia and government corruption. He must distinguish who he trusts and at what point he must save himself. Peter is unique as the protagonist because he’s anything but a cardboard 007 operative or trained assassin, his story is actually believable. I also couldn’t help but wonder how much of this novel could be based on the author’s personal experiences given all the historical and geographical details. It was like a guided tour of the country physically and culturally. The story was well-developed and unpredictable. I certainly look forward to the sequel!”

—Deewurtz

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I don’t usually finish books this quickly!

“I find Val’s writing so easy to read. He doesn’t overdo descriptions and doesn’t make obvious hints, giving the reader credit for being involved and thinking. His ability to gradually build the intensity and intrigue is delicious. I’m inclined to ask, did he actually live this or just make it up? It sure reads like he’s experienced it all. If this came out of his head, I’m even more impressed. Amazing.

“I was very critical as I read, watching for parts I would change. And I just didn’t find them. I wouldn’t change a thing!

“I think Val should focus on getting this made into a movie. The story is so easy to imagine on the big screen. I can literally picture each scene. I would absolutely go see it.

“One of MANY favorite parts: ‘It’s the plumber. I’ve come to fix the sink.’ Classic!”

—Redd Girl

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“This was a great read! It had me hooked from the beginning. The author was amazing at descriptions — I felt like I was right there with Peter Turner. I hope that Val keeps writing!”

—Carrie

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“Excellent book.”

—kb

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“Great book, well written!”

—Amazon customer

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In depth look at Russia in the 90s through the eyes of a unique character.

“My favorite aspect of the book was how the character Peter Turner was a normal guy that found himself in an extraordinary situation and developed during the course of the book. I found him to be more relatable and endearing then a Jason Bourne or Jack Ryan but he was definitely acting much wiser by the end of the book. The author’s perspective on Russia was also fresh and insightful. I would recommend this book for any Russian aficionado, I’m interested to see how the next book plays out!”

—Angela

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“I very much enjoyed this book. My favorite two things about it were the suspense and the imagery. I love a good suspense novel and this book provided a “don’t talk to me kids, I’m reading” thrill. I also loved the imagery. The vivid descriptions made me feel like I was there in Russia. I loved being able to “see” the towns and the boat but also to feel the wool coat on my back and the furry hat on my head as well as the later sunshine on my shoulders. Bravo! I found myself looking up photos of Nizhny, Moscow and the Volga river boats. Always a good sign that I’m engaged and invested.

“Not being an expert on Russian geography a map in the front cover would have been helpful and fun but having a smart phone handy filled this need.

“I didn’t understand why Mr. P was referred to by an initial rather than his whole name but have since learned that it is a common practice in Russian literature to refer to the protagonist only by an an initial. Good to know!

“I’m looking forward to the sequel!”

—Laura
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“I’m deeply impressed with The Deceit of Riches! Mr. Karren’s intriguing story is based on his knowledge of Russia’s history, its people, and the forces there that struggle for power. I wanted more than just a thriller, and I found it in this novel: a fascinating setting, local and international politics, romance, both the charming and the heart-breaking aspects of Russian life, courageous patriots, and deadly danger erupting from all directions. The ending took my breath away! I look forward to more from Mr. Karren!”
—Susan
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“What a fascinating insight into a life which may as well could have been true!

“The description of Russian life and people Peter meets is masterful and magnetic and on a couple of occasions I truly felt like I was there. Again.

“From the beginning it becomes apparent that Peter follows his heart and is guided by his enthusiastic even if somewhat naive nature – something he fervently denies at the time, and only admits 25 years later.

“Whether he was ready for it or not, he finds himself with so many possibilities in front of him. His youth, his intelligence and his inquisitive mind pushed open doors into Russia, but was he ready to make the crucial step forward? Who does he trust to help him make that decision? Is he strong enough to keep an open mind?

“He struggles with the choices he makes. Does he want to prove the society wrong or does he want to please? Will he allow the excitement and the overwhelming possibilities to win over the fear of being a lonely warrior in the unexplored territory? Do you choose to peel those potatoes the way it feels natural to you or do you succumb to the accepted normal ways?

“Exploring the world and sawing the seeds of love was all he wanted to do, but his internal struggles seem to prevent him from seeing the reality. The comfort of what he knows but not necessarily likes absorbs him back.

“And then there was that moment, when my heart skipped a beat, the moment when the author revealed that Peter created a double life for himself. I imagine the self-imposed inability to share his life with the person he loved has made him lonelier than ever…

“It is with much sadness I discover that the author laments the decisions he has made in his own life 20-25 years ago. Perhaps he will find the way to trust his heart more. It’s so important to trust what inspires you and makes you – you, rather then what the society expects from you.

“I think the author would be interested to learn that in June 1995 the US Department of Commerce has established it’s base in Nizhny Novgorod in the form of an American Business Centre. Since then it has been shut for years. Like Peter’s own adventure, the window of opportunity ABC has offered was incredibly promising but brief. Don’t you think it’s absolutely thrilling to imagine what would have happened if Peter would stay in Russia just a couple of months longer?

“I was surprised by how much this book has rattled me.

“From the archives: ‘If every tree which cut down, screamed in pain when we started chopping, we probably would think twice about it…’ Uncanny, don’t you think?”

—Yana

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“I enjoyed this book very much. The suspense grew while also focusing on character development and scene imagery that seemed very real. Having lived in Russia for 18 months, I appreciated how authentic it felt. The book was a birthday gift from our friends, the Smiths, who also accompanied my husband and me on our return visit recently to Russia.”

—Narene