Category Archives: dogs

INSIGHTS 187 — Run to Freedom

As I am getting ready to publish another Jack Brandon action mystery novel, Quiet Justice, I want to call your attention to my last novel, which I believe was my best written story with complex interwoven plots. For some reason beyond me, this novel never got the same attention as the other three. When I started writing fiction, I searched for a plot where I could use my experience as the  CIA station chief in Moscow in the early 1970s. Run to Freedom is that story.

Barry Kelly's fourth novel

Barry Kelly’s fourth novel

Below is a review from someone who has read and commented on all my Brandon action/mysteries.

Run to Freedom, July 12, 2014, by Debbie Merlo

Run to Freedom is the story of John Brandon, grandfather of Peter Brandon, the man on whom the series is centered.

Run to Freedom begins in 1919 with Lieutenant Brandon on a train that’s bound for Siberia.

There follows the story and the struggle of the Brandon family as they try to escape the Soviet Union to find freedom in America …

If I had to choose which book of Barry Kelly’s was my favorite of Justice Beyond Law, Justice Without Mercy, Shades of Justice and Run to Freedom, I’d have to say “all of them.”

Run to Freedom, however, was an amazing read and probably the one I was able to enjoy most.

Run to Freedom was most enjoyable for a couple of reasons: not only was it a clever way to catch readers up to speed then wanting for more, but it connected and completed the story of the Brandon family so well that whether a reader chose to start with Run to Freedom or work their way through the series as I did, it wouldn’t matter.

Kelly is an equal-entertainment author and knows how to keep a reader on the edge and wondering.

For example, from the train wreck in Siberia in 1919 when we first learn of the life of Lieutenant John Brandon, grandfather of Peter, did (his life) end the way or even when we think it did?

That alone is reason (and hope) to believe Kelly considers his fans first and keeps his pen poised to many possibilities.
Reading all four/in order isn’t a requisite either.

With more than enough action and adventure in each, all are able to stand alone as a single story, however, as any avid reader knows, it’s a “more is better mindset” that keeps us in books and turning pages.

Reading the series though, is most definitely recommended as it’s an all-inclusive adventure that delivers what is promised: fast breaking action, suspense and drama.

Kelly’s writing is refreshing, enjoyable and hard to put down.

The biggest challenge for me began as I got started with Justice Beyond Law: I spent a great deal of time wondering (while I read) exactly how ex-CIA agent Kelly was able to take his experiences and turn them into fiction without giving away any government secrets.

Needless to say, I was captivated with questions but not for long: I soon found myself too enthralled to worry.

That Kelly also found a way to use just the right mix of humor was one of those pleasant surprises that, stereo typically speaking, isn’t normally associated (for me anyway) with a person who’s spent his entire career submerged in the serious and secret nature of government operations.

Of course, by the time I made my way to Run to Freedom, I was left longing for more and hoping Kelly has plans to continue intriguing fans with future adventures for the Brandon family.

I’d recommend Run to Freedom — and the other three books by Kelly — to anyone who’s a fan of mystery, intrigue and espionage.

And for anyone who argues they aren’t? Be assured: read just one and that will change.

These four books should be a must have for everyone who enjoys a good read — or several.



Filed under Action thrillers, Barry Kelly, Books, bouviers, dogs, Intelligence & Politics, Russia, Spy novels, Terrorism



A few weeks ago I held my beloved Cinderella in my arms as she was freed from pain to cross the Rainbow Bridge. Her story began 11,12 or maybe 13 years ago. We just don’t know much about her first two years or so of life in a cruel puppy mill. We do know that she had been beaten, had her vocal cords cut and had no understanding that all humans wouldn’t hurt her.

My wife is an active member of the Bouvier Rescue organization. In fact she will stop whatever she is doing to rescue any animal or bird or amphibian needing help. She got an urgent call that a terrible puppy mill had finally been closed by the Florida authorities. Several Bouviers needed foster care until a “forever” home could be found. There were also Giant Schnauzers but their rescue league had already taken all of them into foster care. The Bouviers had been moved to a home on the outskirts of Jacksonville until foster homes could be found. The huge fenced in back yard was running wild with breeding Bouviers and their offspring. A mother and daughter were pointed out to us. The daughter had one ear standing straight up and the other flat on her head. My wife named her Palmtree. The temporary foster care host had to catch the daughter so we could see her up close. As soon as I looked into Palmtree’s eyes, I knew we were going to foster daughter and mother. Only we are incapable of fostering. Once a dog crosses the threshold they are home. Anyway I did not see how I could write a persuasive ad that would get Palmtree adopted. She was not a Bouvier poster dog.

When we got the dogs home, my wife and two of her best friends worked for hours on Saturday morning to clean the dogs up. Coats matted with feces. Nails that had never been trimmed. Encrusted eyes. They were a mess. But patiently mother and daughter put up with all the indignities of being made presentable. One of the cleanup ladies named Palmtree, Cinderella, after she was cleaned up. In all honesty she was a very scruffy looking Bouvier, too tall and too long. Being my usual stubborn self I tried to make Cinderella look like a Bouvier. Meanwhile my more astute wife said more than once, all most daily, “Cinderella is not a Bouvier.”

A year later we accepted an invitation to visit with one of my wife’s college friends in Pensacola. Dropping our dogs off at a new kennel, I noticed they offered grooming for Giant Schnauzers. I was asking some questions and the groomer asked if I wanted our Giant Schnauzer groomed while we were gone. I got over my shock and decided it wouldn’t hurt and said, “sure.” When we returned three days later, we were met at the kennel by a beautiful Giant Schnauzer with her eyes flashing while she pranced up to us. “See look I’m beautiful and I am Cinderella. And she was still gorgeous when she pranced across the Rainbow Bridge.


Filed under bouviers, dogs, Giant Schnauzers, Intelligence & Politics, puppy mills, Rainbow Bridge