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Linda Kolhagen--Best Critic: Comments and Reviews "Forty Days to Armageddon " Thriller

Updated on October 29, 2014
White House Situation Room
White House Situation Room | Source
Political Thriller
Political Thriller | Source

Interview with a reader of “Forty Days to Armageddon.” And “Lean against the Wind.”

This is an interview with one of the inner circle “readers” Linda Kolhagen. She reads around 100 books a year and had finished reading “Forty Days to Armageddon.” I called her on the phone while everything was still fresh in her mind for this interview. Readers are an important part of the writing team as they often spot plot defects and make suggestions that improve the final novel. Linda was top notch and I always ended up making revisions based upon her input.

The day Usama Bin Laden died, she said, "You must be a prophet to predict this event in "Seeds From Heaven!" (She had just finished the fifth installment. ) "The hidden fortress, the guards, the women, the Blackhawks landing inside the compound. The detail is uncanny and to think you wrote this a couple of years ago is quite amazing!"

"Yeah," Jed Fisher ( another reader) told me the same thing in an email this morning. "Seeing the photo form the situation Room with Obama surrounded by his Whitehouse team while the Blackhawks land in the compound is right out of "Seeds from Heaven" and "Watchdogg" as well."

Linda said, "It makes one wonder what the backlash will be too. Retaliation from his family with bombings and mayhem...all that is predicted in your novel."

Let's get back to the original interview.

“Hi Linda—I’m thinking I could use this interview for my readers at HUB. Is that OK with you.”

“Yes, let’s get started.”

“What books have you read in the last year and enjoyed the most?”

“I like the John Sanford series, “Rules of Prey.” All are mystery suspense stories in Minnesota and follows the exploits of a detective. They are well written and fairly graphic.

“Any others?”

“Dean Kuntz writes similar books that I enjoy. Oh, and let’s not forget David Baldacci.”

“I’m familiar with Baldacci. I think I read three or four of his books in order to get a feel for the whole political thriller concept. I would say we are both fans of his. What rating would you give these books on a scale of one to ten?”

“Seven or eight. They were very good and I have read them all.”

“Have you read some stinkers?”

“Tammy Hiag. And I would giver her a “one.” It was the kind of thing where you would read a little of it and end up not reading it about half way through.”

“You read my book first called, “Lean against the Wind” and what rating would you give that?”

“Ten—It is unquestionably one of the finest books I have ever read. When you talked about it to me, it sounded like I might enjoy it and it was better than I could have ever imagined. In retrospect, I did not know what I was letting myself in for.”

“It is not a mystery story at all and then you simply found it a “good read” then?”


“Was there any particular thing you liked about it?”

“It had everything one could hope for, humor on one page and then very sad the next. I hated the villains doing such hateful things. Of course, there was not the kind of violence you see in the mystery novels.”

“Let’s move on to “Watchdoog.” Of the two novels, “Watchdogg” and “Lean against the Wind,” which did you enjoy the most?”

“I enjoyed them equally. You are comparing two very different genres here, kind of like apples and oranges.”

“I find that interesting and flattering. If someone told you that the two novels were written by two different authors, would you have agreed?”

“No, no. It would be clear that you were the writer as your “voice” is clearly there on every page.”

“I can tell you that I am surprised. You could tell who the author was, then?”

“I think anyone reading anything you write will know they are reading a Reynold Jay novel.”

“Here’s the big question for “Forty Days to Armageddon.” What rating would you give it on a one to ten scale? I’m holding my breath….”

Forty Days to Armageddon

Sequel Continues the story: The last 7 days


“Ten—It really is difficult to tell others just how wonderful a read both books are.”

“That makes my day. I can uncross my fingers now. What political thrillers have you read? How did they compare to Watchdogg?”

“Duddici gets an eight rating—about the same for David Baldacci. Not a page turner like your book. You covered it so completely. It was apparent that a lot of research went into it. Everything was so real, down to the tiniest of details.”

“The internet helps a lot and I did spend hours researching every little thing as I wrote it. I don’t think I could have wrote it without being hooked up to the internet. Let’s move on. Did you enjoy the love subplot in Forty Days to Armageddon?”

“Yes—I loved it. It was funny, too.”

“Did the antics of Carol Turner (the love interest) and her friend keep your interest?”


I worried about that as most every political thriller I have ever read really didn’t seem to provide much of a personal life for the main character. I worked hard to turn Watchdogg into someone who was believable, the living at home with his ill parents—the mother with Alzheimer’s— the early childhood in Michigan.”

“RJ—it was truly wonderful to add those scenes.”

I could not have written any of it two years ago. Both my mother and father passed away then and I imagine the heartbreak of it all came through. Good, I’m glad that worked for you.

How about the scenes that mentioned Jimmy Durante? I can always write it differently, but I thought it gave the entire novel an unmistakable flavor. It was a risk.”

“Those were touching scenes and I would not change a thing. Even if a reader did not know who Jimmy Durante is, they would relate to it in some way. Anyone who has ever seen Jimmy Durante will appreciate the homage you did for him.”

“One of my goals was to keep the intensity of the action very high throughout, not just the beginning and end. Did you get that feeling as you read, that, ‘This is not letting me take a rest’?”

“It did more than that. I’d plan to set time aside to read two or three chapters and end up reading around six at a time. I sat around reading whenever I could. It was a page turner from cover to cover.”

“Does any particular scene stand out in your mind?”

“Yes—the death of Watchdogg’s father was very touching. Something one does not forget easily.”

“The Admiral and his team boarded the Russian aircraft headed for Columbia. Do you think they arrived in good order or were they murdered by the Russians?”

“They died.”

“I left that open to interpretation and I imagine it will be a point of debate as to what their fate might have been.”

“Of course, you know don’t you?”

“Of course, but I’m not telling. It is sometimes best to leave some of it open to interpretation. Thank you for helping me today, Linda.”

“You are welcome.”


Forty Days to Armageddon at Amazon

RJ discusses Forty Days to Armageddon in a short video.

Critcal Reviews of Fantasy books by Jenny ( and now reading Watchdogg)

"The Carrot and publishing your novel." RJ's experiecne with publishing a novel will make you laugh and weep.

Read more about “Forty Days to Armageddon” at RJ's internet site which is also available worldwide.


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    • Reynold Jay profile imageAUTHOR

      Reynold Jay 

      8 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Thank you, Lucky Karma for the kind words. It looks like I have a new fan on the other side of the world. I gotta send Watchdogg over there to clean up whatever mess may be delveloping at this very moment. I'll take that award now--thank you to the academy, thank you, very much...

    • luckykarma profile image


      8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      “Forty Days to Armageddon” by Reynold Jay

      This novel by Reynold Jay is a remarkable story, one which I found congruent with our own more recent happenings around the world today.

      The characters, behaviors, conditions and places are very graphic, written with such depth and imagination. A tremendous amount of research has gone into publishing this work of art.

      From the beginning the author gets straight to the point with his characters, a somewhat unorthodox style I felt, but he lets us enjoy the adventure of his synchronistic perceptions; guiding us through a daring search for the remaining insights in the unfolding chapters.

      The author formulates his scenes and characters immediately, and reduces his readers into this abscess of another world, place and time, allowing the reader to witness disturbing emotions.

      I think the author should be nominated for best book of the year! His tenacity to research in-depth, difficult details with such clarity and timing keeps the reader wondering what’s coming next. He makes the story authentic in its disguise.

      A brilliant book, one that deserves great acknowledgments. I loved it!

    • Reynold Jay profile imageAUTHOR

      Reynold Jay 

      9 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Sligobay: Virtually everyone agrees that this book is a big winner. My offer of money back guarantee will continue. There will soon be a chorus of HUB reviews that indicate I have a great book on my hands. I'll do interviews with Hubbers too. Why not cross the line and be a part of it? Hubbers need someone to rally around and this may well be it. RJ

    • sligobay profile image


      9 years ago from east of the equator

      Great reviews. My interest is piqued.

    • Reynold Jay profile imageAUTHOR

      Reynold Jay 

      9 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Hi Anita and thanks for the comment which Linda will be reading too. Thanks for reading the novel and ( and more) as you are a true gem. I'm happy that women as well as men are enjoying this book.

    • Anita Sue profile image

      Anita Sue 

      9 years ago

      To All,

      All I can say is: BUY THE BOOK! I just finished reading it, I highly recommend it to anyone, & Linda's score of a "10" was spot on! When you told Lady Wordsmith that you would refund her money if she hated the book RJ, I had to smile...we know your money's safe. To quote the Great Charlie Sheen, This Book is: "WINNING!"

    • Reynold Jay profile imageAUTHOR

      Reynold Jay 

      9 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Hi Chris, Thanks for reading and the chance that you might make a purchase. RJ

    • MPChris profile image


      9 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Interesting. I may have to pick up your book for myself.

    • Reynold Jay profile imageAUTHOR

      Reynold Jay 

      9 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Thanks for checking this out. My Linda is turning into a pro reader and to prove it she gave me an average grade on another novel I'm working on and I gotta make edits to upgrade it! That's why we need readers--to keep us at our very best. RJ

    • lctodd1947 profile image

      Linda Todd 

      9 years ago from Charleston

      This is an excellent review. You obviously have a talent that many do not have or cannot ignite.

      Thank you for sharing and I will of course read more and follow to see what your next inspirations are.


    • Cindy Phillips profile image

      Cindy Phillips 

      9 years ago

      Well this is exciting news. I look forward to reading your full length work as I have your Hubs. Linda's reviews have made me want to dig in.

    • Reynold Jay profile imageAUTHOR

      Reynold Jay 

      9 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Hi Mowtown...I appreciate your comment. I'm excited to know you are reading this...I don't want any sugar coating either with your critic as that don't help, however if you think it is a pulse pounding thriller that was a page turner, I do want to hear that too. I'm holding my breath!

      Speed bird--Yep I have the lowest score ever and hang my head in shame. However, now that I'm headed in that direction ( down like a sinking rock) I may as well set the record and see if I can hit zero! WHY? I had an 80 score last week! I think the word SOMALIA in my headings have something to do with it. Talk about an unpopular word! It's like a poison pill! I'm determined to be a "lost voice in the wilderness" for the unfortuneate citizens of Somalia and that means more to me than the crappy score.

      Lady Wordsmith: It would make me jubilant if you purchased the novel and gave it a try. I'd even refund your money if you hated it. Hey , that's a money back guarentee and a pretty safe bet for me. You'll be a BIG fan very quickly. I'm posting a new article today about CARROTS and it tells you why there are going to be a lot of writing talent popping up like never before. Talent ( not just me) that will knock your socks off!

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 

      9 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Wow, excellent reviews indeed. Your novelis not usually the kind of reading material I choose, but since you left such a kind comment on my own hub, I am tempted to give your book a try!

      I'll let you know what I think - in time: I am currently reading about pirates!


    • speedbird profile image


      9 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hey RJ, you writing is anything but wonderful. I have read several of you hubs and they are really great. Why is your hubberscore low?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Mr. Jay, I gotta admit...these comparisons to Baldacci have me REALLY excited! If Linda is even half right, I'm going to be through it fairly quickly. Can't wait to dig in tomorrow. Will keep you posted, and get out a review as SOON as I'm finished, while it's all still fresh in my mind!


    • Reynold Jay profile imageAUTHOR

      Reynold Jay 

      9 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Hi Anita...With any luck, you'll be a fan soon and understand what all the exitement is about. I have an article coming out next week that mentions a CARROT. Be sure to check it out as it really lays out well, as to what is going on for writers with novels. RJ

    • profile image

      Anita Sue 

      9 years ago

      Wow RJ! These reviews were so outstanding, that I was extremely excited reading them!! You must be so proud to receive 10's and such high compliments!! I am duly impressed. Kudos to you. Can't wait to eventually read these myself.

    • Reynold Jay profile imageAUTHOR

      Reynold Jay 

      9 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      I'm rough--I'm tough--fastest draw in the West--ready to take on all commers. However--I may not be better than you and I am smart enough not to get you mad! RJ

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      9 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      RJ. If you are better than John Grisham. you must be really good. I hope you continue to prosper.


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