My Novels and Reviews

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Battle for a Soul
By Manuel A. Meléndez

Publisher: Aignos Publishing, Inc.

This book is about a mother, two boys, and three daughters trying to survive in New York after having moved from Puerto Rico. With the encouragement of the husband, who has moved to the U.S. mainland first, the family follows looking for a better way of life only to find much despair and horror.

The family noticeably begins to battle a curse from the past that comes in the form of an evil spirit. The spirit, named Eduardo, once loved the mother from a distance and will stop at nothing to possess her. The evil spirit is determined to possess the mother, destroy her family, and take the youngest son’s soul.

The author has written two novels, two poetry books, and a collection of short stories. His first novel When Angels Fall made The Latino Author’s Top Ten Book List in 2013 because it was so good. This new novel, Battle for a Soul, is another one of his great works.

If you like Stephen King and eerie books that make you jump or give you goose bumps, then you must, and I say DOUBLE must, pick up a copy of Battle for a Soul. This book will keep you awake and will send chills down your spine. Caution, you may not want to read this book at night.

Mr. Meléndez’ style of writing is easy to follow. The plot is intense and his settings are amazing. The author’s characters are so believable that they could almost be part of your family just with how they interact with each other. He makes the reader feel as if he or she is right there alongside the family fighting against the evil spirit(s).

His writing skills are so good that you are quickly drawn into the story. Even when you walk away from reading a few chapters to take a break, the author has managed to get a hold of your subconscious. The story is full of twists and turns and just when you think you may have figured out the story, you find out you were wrong. The author is so attuned to what makes a good book and how to create suspense, action, and great scenes to keep the story moving forward that you lose track of time. On a 10-point scale with 10 being the best, I would rate this book a 12.

I couldn’t wait till the ending to find out what happens with the demon’s battle for the soul, but on the other hand I wanted it to keep going because the story was so intense, so good. This, readers, is a testament to a high quality publication. I can easily see this book made into a movie. As I read the book I kept imagining how it would look on the big screen one day.

I will leave you with just a few last words on this book review – pick up a copy as soon as you can! It’s a book that you will want to have on your bookshelf. And if you lend it out by hapstance, be sure to get it back – an excellent book!!!

Source: Book was provided by author for review. It was reviewed by Corina Martinez Chaudhry.

4.0 out of 5 stars A Battle for a Soul wins!, December 5, 2015
By Arnaldo Lopez Jr.
This review is from: Battle for a Soul (Paperback)
Haunting, poignant and exciting. Manuel Melendez takes the familiar story of a mother moving her family from Puerto Rico to New York in search of a better life and turns it upside down when an evil spirit follows them and wreaks havoc on their lives! Now, not only must they fight to survive in a new place with barriers that must be overcome before they can call it home, but they must also battle the evil spirit Eduardo before he claims the youngest boy’s soul for his own!
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WHEN ANGELS FALL

final cover

 

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Top Ten Best Fiction Books by Latino Authors for 2013

The Latino Author is pleased to announce the top ten best fiction book list for 2013. As many wonderful books came across our desk, it was a difficult process to choose only ten; however, each of the books listed provided great writing, great stories, and great plots. Due to the many talented Latino writers around the globe, this year we created a separate “Top Ten List” for non-fiction Books as well. Thank you authors for making this an exciting and wonderful reading year.

1-  Manuel A. Meléndez – When Angels Fall.

This is a splendidly written supernatural thriller that will haunt you long after you finish reading it. If you love reading about suspense, action, murder and the supernatural, then this novel has it all. You will not be disappointed.

REVIEWS FOR

WHEN ANGELS FALL

Latino / Hispanic Book Reviews

When Angels Fall

By Manuel A. Meléndez

Publisher: Aignos Publishing

As I read the book’s title, I assumed I would be reading a book full of suspense and the author delivered. I was immediately taken into a story filled with intrigue, a twist turning plot, and intricate characters that kept me biting my nails to the very end. Remember that old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover?” It this case, you must. The title is captivating and right in line with the rest of the book. I should have guessed as it appears that the author caught the writing bug by discovering Edgar Allan Poe at the age of twelve.

I have to say that this book has all the characteristics of a great movie. The way the author interweaves the characters and the various clues on what will happen next is amazing. Just when you think you have it figured out, he takes you on another intense journey. Warning! You won’t be able to put the book down because the page turners are powerful.

With every character in the book (Mrs. Drucker, her husband, Ferdy’s brother, Annie, etc.), the author does a FANTASTIC job of making them multi-faceted and the reader will connect with each and every one of them. That’s the beauty to the story, and this is where the twists come in when you least expect them. The protagonist, Ferdy Muñoz, is your average next door neighbor – or so it appears. I won’t say more as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.

The author vividly captures the setting of a New York neighborhood, and its surrounding filled with true ambiance. You feel as if you are right there with each of the characters and you can picture it all in your mind. If the author’s intent was to grab the reader’s attention from the beginning, he did that and more. That intensity was carried throughout the book until the very end. It’s one of those stories that you want to get to the end to find out what happens, but you don’t want it to end because it’s so good.

The intended audience is definitely not for the faint of heart and it’s definitely for adults; however, if you like thrillers with supernatural overtones then you have to read this one. You will not be disappointed. The author’s style of writing is informal and the dialogue captures the characters exactly as you would imagine them to talk. The scenes are all essential and vivid in that they move the story forward – another reason why this story is so great.

So how did the book affect me? I have to admit that I couldn’t put it down, but in addition to this it made me think about the characters, the plot, and the suspense for days thereafter. It’s rare that I come across a book that leaves such an impact. So did the author achieve his goal of writing a great thriller? I would only answer, “Is the Pope Catholic?”

This is a diamond in the rough – a gem of a thriller – a brilliantly written book! What more can I say. If you haven’t yet read this book you must pick up a copy. You will not be disappointed. Actually, I will be reading it again because it is that good.

Source: Book was provided by author for review. It was reviewed by Corina Martinez Chaudhry.

April 4, 2014

BOOK OF THE MONTH:WHEN ANGELS FALL by Manuel A. Meléndez

The Latina Book Club’s goal is to promote Latino authors and literacy by reading at least one  Latino book a month. Thereby broadening our minds and corazones. It’s also an attempt to embrace our Hispanic heritage; make new friends; and have something to read on the subway. Join us! Read Latino! CONTACT US at latinabookclub@aol.com.

  Forgive me, Father, if such forgiveness is still an option for my salvation.  Tomorrow will be another day.  Maybe this time the better me will learn to fight back and the demon within will be gone.   –Your humble son… Your fallen angel

WOW!  From the first page – the first murder! – I was hooked.  I almost missed by train stop because I couldn’t stop reading.

Manuel Meléndez has written an engrossing, fast-paced, suspenseful, pulse-quickening, goose-bump raising thriller, which would certainly gain the approval of the author’s literary heroes – Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King and Alfred Hitchcock!

WHEN ANGELS FALL (Aignos Publishing) is about the eternal battle between good and evil.  It’s about the duality of man’s soul, about the atonement of sins.  It’s about isolation, obsession, revenge and justice.  It’s about friends and lovers, angels and demons.  It’s a must-read!

Readers will be glued to their seats from the start until the bombshell ending.  Meléndez is a promising new voice and definitely an author to watch!   He has a new book coming out later this year, and we are hoping it’s another thriller.

SUMMARY:   The word is insane, but Ferdinand Muňoz is trying to make the best of it.  He’s just an average Joe, keeping to himself and staying out of trouble.  He lives in Sunnyside, Queens, which is a lot like a small town in the middle of the Big Bad Apple.  But evil lurks everywhere.  Suddenly, Ferdy’s idyllic world becomes surreal.  Murder has come to Sunnyside and it ain’t pretty.

The one ray of sunshine is Annie Lopez, an old friend and possible love interest; if her abusive soon-to-be-ex-husband were out of the picture.  When the ex is killed, it is not a blessing but a curse.  Ferdy becomes a suspect immediately since he knew all the victims.  But it wasn’t him.  It couldn’t be since Ferdy has worked hard all his life to keep his mal genio (mean temper) in check.  Now, the police are looking at him; Annie is keeping her distance; and some wimpy Espiritista is communicating with ghosts and giving Ferdy the evil eye.

The killer turns out to be a fallen angel; one who begs for forgiveness even as he rejoices in wiping out abusers, bigots and evil doers.  But when Annie becomes the target, all hell will break loose, and help will come from unlikely places and unseen friends.  For the fight for salvation – and survival!– will be fought on earth and in heaven until the surprising end.###

BOOK REVIEW: WHEN ANGELS FALL

Book by Author Manuel A. Melendez

Posted by: East Harlem Journal
Published March 15, 2013, filed under Arts & Entertainment, Arts & Literature, Living

When Angels Fall

Novel By Manuel Melendez

Posted by: Nikki Moretti
Published February 20, 2013, filed under Arts & Literature, Entertainment

I love to read. Give me a book and I am lost to the world around me, transported to world the author has created in his/her pages. Guiding me through street corners and reminding me that dark alleys are never a good place to be; or making me feel the warmth of the sun at the nape of my neck and lulling me with the dulcet sounds of the ocean. A book is an adventure, a journey and a destination, all wrapped up in emotion. It can bring you to tears, make you laugh or even smile at the sudden “hey, I know a guy like that” feeling.

There are so many books out there for us to read and yet some people choose not to pick one up. It tugs at my heartstrings when I hear people say “I’ll wait for the movie.”Well, for all you movie buffs out there, you are missing out. Manuel Melendez’s book, “When Angels Fall”, is phenomenal. From the first page you are sucked in. You are transported to Queens and in an instant you’re not sure if you want to be in or out.

So much in the book struck a cord with me, the people, the places, the subtle nod to all the city has to offer. It was all there, splashed on paper so my mind could feast. This book is gripping and fascinating. “When Angels Fall” is a supernatural thriller in the truest sense of the word.

The characters are well constructed and believable, the scenery is alive and thriving. I can honesty say I didn’t know what was going to happen next, and if I guessed correctly as to whom, I never really knew the how. I am one of those people that prides themselves in knowing what is next, its the best part of the read for me. Not knowing at times made frustrated and that was quite okay with me.

A brief synopsis, hopefully this doesn’t constitute as a spoiler.

Ferdy Muñoz is a pretty normal guy living in SunnySide, Queens. His life is somewhat unfulfilling and empty, with his slew of colorful neighbors and a potential love interest being his only highlight. When bigoted neighbors start causing trouble with the family next door Ferdy’s seemingly normal life takes an odd turn, leaving him to question humanity and his own life. Then a string of unexplained murders take over quiet SunnySide, can the police solve the case or will they continue to follow the ghosts of allegations against an innocent man?

Pick this book up. Not only will you be supporting a local artist but you will also be thoroughly entertained. “When Angels Fall” is dark, real and fascinating. The writing style is fluid and easy to follow. The energy in this book stays with you and you will be asking yourself questions about who, what, when, why and how so make sure you get a friend to read along with you.

George Colon Book Review of Manuel Melendez’ When Angels Fall

 By George Colon

Teaching literature in New York City schools for thirty years, I always stressed the importance of conflict, the meat of fiction. Manuel Menendez masterful novel, When Angel’s Fall feeds us lots of conflict swimming in a rich sauce of suspense that makes it impossible to leave the table and put down this supernatural thriller. Somebody’s killing people in a quiet Sunnyside, Queens neighborhood unused to murder. But who? A good writer must resolve the conflicts in a plausible manner and the very skillful Mr. Menendez does just that, tying the loose ends at the end when the reader discovers the surprising perpetrator of these crimes. But a good literary dish must be seasoned with other necessary literary elements, the sazon that spices a novel and makes it palatable: strong characters, setting, all sprinkled of course with strong language that further seasons.

We must have strong, believable characters more real than real life. In this respect, the novel doesn’t disappoint as we meet a parade of people that entice us to continue turning the pages. There’s the protagonist, Ferdinand Munoz, a flawed, but at first likeable multi dimensional being plagued by inner conflicts who evolves as we discover his inner demons, figurative – and literal. All along, he deals the memory of the mother who abandoned him, with sibling rivalry and the spirit of a recently diseased father. We admire his support of his Moslem neighbors profiled as terrorist by neighbors not as tolerant of differences as Ferdy, who confronts the neighbors.

There’s the racist, old school Mr. Drucker, alarmed by a changing neighborhood overrun now by Moslems, Hispanics and Koreans. “Now in its place was a Korean fruit store that always smelled like the jungles he once patrolled during the Korean War,” we enter Mr. Drucker’s head. “First we tried to kill them,” he laments. “Now we are giving them keys to our nations’s door.”

And there is Ferdy’s support for Annie, a Puerto Rican who like Ferdy hails from El Barrio and must deal with a jealous, abusive Italian husband and in laws suspicious of her fidelity. But these problems are the least of her worries.

And what would a detective story be without a hard boiled sleuth like Detective Meyer, a cop In the tradition of, Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer or perhaps Sergeant Colombo without the rain coat? The better attired Detective Meyers investigates the murders and delivers great lines and wit. Ferdy becomes a person of interest.

“No, Mr. Munoz,” comes Meyer’s retort. “I don’t get paid to believe. I get paid to get solid evidence and results. The last time I believed in something was Santa Clause, and you can imagine the great disappointment.” More policemen join the investigation.

And let’s not forget setting, both physical and geographical. Sunnyside is well drawn. But even more intriguing is a wonderful world of spirits who reveal secrets, navigated by the spiritualist Eddie, with all the trappings of a Puerto Rican espiritista – but much more. It’s all in the tradition of Latin American magical realism. But it’s not your abuelito’s back home in el campo espirtismo world of cigars, water bowls and of Chango and Santa Barbara. This is magical realism on steroids, complete with astral projection and the like.

If you believe in this world, fine. But even the staunchest rational empiricist can enjoy it – provided he or she brings to the table a willing suspension of disbelief. Either way, do yourself a favor. Partake of this book.

Review: WHEN ANGELS FALL  by Sandra Lopez

Beginning with a captivating prologue, this novel takes the reader on a journey in the life of Ferdy Muñoz as he discovers the prejudices within his own neighborhood. Ever since the tragedy of 9/11, people of Middle Eastern decent are being profiled as world bombers and terrorists, including a dear friend of 10 years. But could the detective be right? Would harassment justify as a preemptive strike against tragedy and disaster?

Mrs. Drucker, one of Ferdy’s neighbors, has distrusted immigrants most of her life and feels that they have been ruining America. Then, one day, a violent confrontation ensues between her and Raj, who has been accused of being a terrorist, sending Ferdy on a penitent journey for truth and righteousness. “His father always used to say that powerful people’s influences could easily dwarf the truth and, therefore, manipulate the media. In every story, there were always three points of view: the views of the two argumentative parties and the truthful view, which many times never made it to the front page or the six o’clock news.” (52) After all, “the world was filled with many Rajs, Annies and Nicks, swimming in hate and false accusations.” (63)

Thought-provoking and narrated by the engaging voices of earnest characters, this story takes the readers through the arduous trials of sin and redemption. Meléndez skillfully renders the gray subtleties of human emotion and combines them into a mystical masterpiece. His words eloquently depict the “devil in stolen angel’s wings.” (102)

The presence of the unknown vagrant filtered throughout the story seems minor, at first, but it is actually quite pivotal; however, I found his maniacal pleas to God odd and a bit superfluous.  Who was the “Fallen Angel,” and what was his purpose?

The intriguing development of a murder investigation beckons you to read on until every tiny morsel is devoured. You won’t want to stop until you reach the mysterious and gripping conclusion.

Well-written and vividly descriptive.

Posted by Chica Latina at 12:42 PM

TAV –

This review is from: When Angels Fall (Paperback)

Disturbing. Unnerving. Grisly. These are the themes I look for when I pick up a thriller. The author of When Angels Fall, Manuel Melendez, did not fall short of my expectations when I sailed through this crime novel. As a lover of mystery, the macabre and chilling story lines, I often find myself disappointed as I read. This is not the case here. Melendez brings me through the seemingly quiet neighborhoods of Queens, the apartment buildings, and the labyrinths of the minds of both victims and criminal in this book. From the beginning, Melendez builds the story until he reaches a shocking crescendo. Most surprising to me is how he managed to catch me off guard with the ending. This is no easy feat as I cut my teeth on mysteries. As a Latina, I especially appreciated how the author wove Latino concepts and ways into the story without being intrusive and explaining. The book is descriptive and graphic, I highly recommend it.

 Carlin –

This review is from: When Angels Fall (Paperback)

What a dramatic and powerful book!! Mystery, suspense, thrills.. It’s like getting into the mind of a psychopath!.. the difference between good and evil,, a very fine line… my thanks to the author and I can’t wait to read his next offering! If you like a bit of Stephen King… this will be quite a page turner for you!

reader 68 (san diego, ca United States)

This review is from: When Angels Fall (Paperback)

If you’re like me you’ll figure out “who done it” very early in the story. But, don’t be discouraged, about it. The author knows you know and that is what makes this bone chilling, hair raising thriller a winner. Melendez sets his story in a quiet neighborhood in Sunnyside, NY, where characters from all walks of life deal with the challenges of everyday life in. He then skillfully pulls us, with brutal force, out of our comfort zone to entangle us in an amazing plot where the supernatural takes on mind-boggling heights to make the impossible possible. Trust me; you’ll be watching your back from the moment you turn the final page.

5.0 out of 5 stars Sunnyside Noir, October 17, 2014

By 
M. Vega “Manyareader” (Long Island NY)   
 

This review is from: When Angels Fall (Paperback)

I love to read books that take place in the neighborhoods of my childhood and having an author inject Latino experience and culture into the scenario is an added bonus.

Having not read the last chapter first to mitigate the stress of a suspense story, I was very entertained and increasingly drawn into the protagonist’s state of insanity as his life fell apart. The book also brought me back to the science fiction books where the action took place on the astral plane as a state of existence outside of but in tandem with reality and a much more interesting place. The place where we live in our dreams.

Great read!

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