Reviews of
The Good Neighbors Series

Fate Be Damned

"Fate Be Damned a.k.a. The Good Neighbors: This book is really entertaining… with a highly unique take on the era. I absolutely love the mix of a poor family and the dirty rich mobsters. Just a fantastic plot with dynamic characters. The author’s voice and writing style also well suited for the genre, and this was an easy read from cover to cover.”

—Writer’s Digest Book Award Commentary

* * *

Long Dance Home

Long Dance Home, (aka Irina) is a smart book. That’s my simplest review of a complicated story. At times I was almost overwhelmed by the rich detail and intricate plot… but my most immediate reaction was that the authors truly love and enjoy the era and the subject matter with a passion. And that is always something that leads to an author’s voice that is unbeatable….. The Dacia family is drawn with careful consideration and a depth of character that blew me away. I left the book convinced that they are a real family that I actually know. Their journey both literally and figuratively is, perhaps the strongest part of this book. This writing duo is clearly talented and have produced a literary work of art here. Consider me a new fan.”

—Writer’s Digest Book Awards Commentary Highlights

“Irina is a fast-paced work of historical fiction which transports readers back to the 1930’s, a time when the country was struggling to survive the Great Depression. The characters are well developed, the action is fast-paced, and the writing is superb. While Irina must survive the infamous Iron Guard back in Romania, her family in South Dakota must adapt to a challenging life in America, full of economic uncertainty, Greek and Italian mobsters, drought, famine, and the pressing need to rescue their niece with very limited resources. This is further complicated when the long reach of the Iron Guard follows her across the Atlantic. ”

NorthWest Literary Review

* * *

Debts and Vengeance: Third Volume in the Good Neighbors Series

Debts and Vengeance is a solid find. I really enjoyed the era of his book–the 30s–Great Depression. What a complex time in our country’s history. I appreciate the author’s knowledge of history and their really clever writing style that kept me turning pages well into the night.

It was a great book. The reader cannot help to fall for Josif and his hardships. A precious family who has survived so much and yet has so far to go. The author’s characterization and well-developed cast add another level of professionalism to this entry.

I loved the textures of this book. Just when you think there can’t possibly be another plot twist or sub-plot, the author throws in another one, just to keep you on your toes. Excellent writing and great story appeal. And I must mention the illustrations throughout. What beautiful work! I think this was an unusual element in a fiction novel of this sort, and it really made me smile every time one popped up on the page. This entry was one of my favorites.

Writer’s Digest Judge’s Commentary:

* * *

“In landscape, politics and personal story, Debts and Vengeance covers the vast and often uncharted human territory that creates the history of a country. The big city meets the wild mid-west, individual stories unfurl in rough gales and gentle winds, and unforeseen circumstances–personal, family, cultural and global–set the stage for a gripping read that informs and inspires. With lively writing and perspective insight, Janet Dann brings to life the immigrant 1930s, when up-close and personal relationships were the bedrock of experience–sometimes life-saving, sometimes life-threatening. The vast diaspora of the country is in this book. Read and remember: Life wasn’t always a sound byte away.”

—Janet Thomas author of Battle in Seattle–The Story Behind and Beyond the WTO Demonstrations,
and Day Breaks Over Dharmsala–A Memoir of Life Lost and Found


"Both had been known to kill with little provocation and now both were feeling very provoked."

This third novel in the saga of the Dacia, Wagner, and Epstein families depicts the power of family and community against incredible odds. The Wagner and Dacia families have survived a violent turf war brought into their community by Mafia-supported bootlegging. The victory of these rural families against the criminals has sparked the musical career of August Wagner, "The Fighting Cowboy," who mocks the Mafia members who invaded his town. But Primo Moretti and Zeke Volakis, crime bosses implicated in those events, pine for vengeance. Uniting their efforts to achieve revenge, they launch retaliatory attacks against the families that include kidnapping. When these efforts fail due largely to the efforts of the savvy Dacia women, Moretti solicits the help of Chicago boss Signore de Luca. Will the plots of the Mafia bosses succeed, or will the targeted families somehow manage to escape the mobsters' machinations again?

Filled with beautiful and vivid descriptions, Dann presents an immersive glimpse into rural life in the 1930s. The reader can clearly envision the simple clothes and rustic homes, dry land, and beloved livestock—the trappings of a difficult, yet wholesome, farming life. Thoroughly researched, compellingly written, and flawlessly edited, Dann offers a book that will appeal not only to those interested in the history of the Dust Bowl and the American Mafia but to lovers of family sagas, as well. Furthermore, though replete with well-paced action and excitement, the book presents readers with a tale that is foremost about the power of family. As illustrated in the narrative, some families are bound by blood, others by marriage, and some by loyalty. However, it is the compassion and love people choose to show that holds them together, giving them strength against the most insurmountable circumstances.

—book review by Tracy Kelly
RECOMMENDED by the US Review

* * *

Measuring Up

“Janet M. Dann adds a fourth volume to the Good Neighbors Series and doesn’t lose a step as far as presenting a humdinger of a storyline. She successfully carries on the saga begun by her father, John R. Dann, and takes it to new heights of intrigue and adventure.”

—Lawrence Grieco, retired rural library director, and author of poetry collection, The Dogwood Tree.

“Fans of The Good Neighbors Series will delight in Measuring Up. Not only do we follow familiar characters, getting to know them better, we also meet new ones when the action moves to the Black Hills of Wyoming, near Devils Tower. Janet Dann can be counted on for action-filled page-turners, with plot twists, and humor throughout. And, however rough and raw the action and characters, this book, as do all in the series, demonstrates integrity and moral values. A very enjoyable read!”

Northwest Literary Review

* * *