vic fortezza
3 min readFeb 27, 2024

Self-portrait at the Crossroads Between the Arts of Music and Painting by Switzerland’s Angelica Kauffman, 1794, Royal Academy in London. Photo by Guy Bell/Rex/Shutterstock, posted at the

I made the mistake of reading another modern thriller. The Aztec Heresy by Paul Christopher isn’t bad, it’s simply not for readers other than those who appreciate the genre. The story begins with a bang: the loss of a galleon in a storm in the 1500s. It contains a valuable codex. That is followed by a 1962 military plane crash, the craft carrying two nuclear bombs. The action flashes forward to the present, where a large cast of factions sets out to retrieve the bounties. There are elements of Indiana Jones and The DaVinci Code. There appears to be so much evil going on behind the scenes that it’s a miracle the world doesn’t explode into complete anarchy. The prose is fine, the dialogue a bit too cute. The 346 pages of the standard paperback read like a lot less, as there is a blank after each of the first 26 chapters and the print and the spacing is easy on the eyes. Published in 2008, it’s still selling modestly at Amazon, where 739 users have rated it, forging to a consensus of four on a scale of five. I’ll go with two. The author is keeping a low profile. There is no bio in the book, no Wiki profile, very little personal info on the web. Since I’m not sure who he is, here are some of his other novels. Photo from Google Images:

Crazy. Headline from “The great one? Case of unopened hockey cards that may contain Wayne Gretzky rookies sells for $3.7M at auction.” I believe in capitalism, but sometimes it seems insane. Then again, no one forced the buyer.

Great news on the medical front. From NYP: “Patient cured of HIV and leukemia is ‘extremely grateful’ 5 years after stem cell transplant.”

Scammers rejoice! From NYP: “Fast Talking Linked to Better Brain Health.”

Headline out of Narcoland from “Cartels suspected of gunning down 2 mayoral candidates in same Mexican city.”

From FN: “Japan’s government urges action as country sees lowest number of births since 1899.” According to the article from AP, it’s the eighth straight year of decline. Its replacement rate is 1.4%. 2.1% is needed to maintain population if immigration is not in play. How will this play out? I have no idea. Without a tax increase, revenues will decline steeply. Will the fall in population offset that?

From FN, another one bites the dust: “Apple scrapping electric car project.”

Another gorgeous day, perfect for doing business curbside. My thanks to Marty, NYPD retired, who donated 15 books, fiction and non; and to the gentleman who bought a thin pictorial on Jackie Robinson; and to the woman who purchased The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins; and to the one who chose Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of How the Wildest Man in Congress and a Rogue CIA Agent Changed History by George Crile; and All Souls: A Family Story from Southie by Michael Patrick MacDonald.

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vic fortezza

I was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. I’ve had more than 50 short stories published world wide. I have 13 books in print.