If you’ve ever been faced with the agony of knowing something is very wrong with you physically, but no doctor can figure out the problem even after doing a batch of the usual blood and other tests, after which they treat you for something that is similar, but not the real issue, or even suggest it’s all in your head, you know how devastating that is both mentally and emotionally. 

That’s the horrible reality Dr. Barbara Cordell and her husband Joe faced when she and others saw him stumbling and slurring his words as if he were totally drunk first thing in the morning. And yet, he hadn’t had a drop to drink! As Dr. Cordell writes in her important book, My Gut Makes Alcohol, Joe is one of hundreds of people who suffer from the little recognized Auto-Brewery Syndrome, and believe me, this almost inexplicable malady is one that nobody wants to live with as either a patient or caregiver spouse. 

I believe My Gut Makes Alcohol has been written to enlighten both sufferers and healers. To make that work for both, Dr. Cordell has included a fascinating and eye-opening collection of first-hand patient accounts interspersed with very detailed medical information on what happens in our guts after eating and drinking anything, not just alcohol. Regardless of whether you are a patient, a spouse or doctor, what you thought you knew about digestion seems grossly inadequate once you read the author’s very comprehensive breakdown. 

You see, as simple as I can make this, it is indeed completely possible for some people’s guts to turn into an alcohol brewery, depending on how their guts handle carbs, sugars, even the smell of solvents, chemicals or stress of any kind, just to name a few triggers. There are many more. And what do brewers use in making alcohol? Yeast!

 As the author points out, when our guts go haywire, as in Joe’s and other cases Dr. Cordell shares, it’s an overgrowth of yeast in our gut that can make us act, speak and vomit as if we were dead drunk. Just imagine how that can affect people in their jobs! Or imagine being pulled over for drunken driving, or worse yet causing an accident, and insisting you have had nothing to drink. Who would believe you, especially when you end up blowing well over acceptable limits in a breathalyzer test. Auto Brewery Syndrome, ABS, is no joke and not as rare as you might think. Victims’ lives have been turned upside-down and inside out after losing their jobs, draining their finances and still having no easy solutions, even medication, to relieve or end their suffering. 

How can you know if you or a loved one has ABS or is just a “closet alcoholic? Well here are some of the symptoms of yeast overgrowth:

“...itchy, flaky skin, toe fungus, vaginal or jock itch, athlete’s foot, dandruff, fatigue...gastric upset such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, belching and flatulence.” 

Wait, you or your doctor might say. That sounds like symptoms of a dozen other illnesses e.g. Diabetes. Exactly. And that’s why it’s so hard to nail down the real problem: your alcohol-producing, yeast-infected gut! And that’s also the reason you and doctors everywhere need to read Dr. Cordell’s eye-opening book. You’ll find yourself shaking your head at the heartaches suffered by the handful of patients’ stories shared in My Gut Makes Alcohol. You will also discover possible solutions to this crippling syndrome that include diet and lifestyle changes, along with some more effective meds that have been used to keep symptoms under control, if not fully eradicate the problem. 

Dr. Cordell includes copious references to reading materials and resources, her own website at www.autobrewery.com, and mentions Facebook groups you might wish to look into for more information and support.  There are also several other links to ABS you will find on Google, but I recommend beginning your investigation into this syndrome by reading this book. Doing so could save someone’s life, possibly your own. Pick it up today. 

“I would love to hear readers’ comments concerning this book, both positive and negative. It was my first attempt...”

So writes John W Long, author of Red Blood on White Cotton at the end of this incredible novel, and right off the bat I’d like to tell him that I could only wish my first book had been half as good as this one! Not only is the plot superbly developed, but the characters and what happens to them are unforgettable.

Long has chosen to move back and forth between the present and the past to tell this story. In the hands of a less-skilled writer, this can be a quick way to lose readers. But in Red Blood on White Cotton it is necessary, since what happened to the protagonist, John Reynolds, as a child, has everything to do with who he is when we meet him at his father’s funeral: Calvin Reynolds, a wealthy plantation owner, was one cruel father.

It is finding out why John grew up hating his father that is the most memorable part of this story, even more engaging, perhaps, than the investigation on which John embarks in the present. This investigation is to solve the mystery of his beloved brother’s death 30 years earlier. What he finally uncovers about what was going on in his father’s life when John was just a youngster would have ruined his family’s standing in the community. It exposes corruption and criminal activities at all levels of society and politics, and makes for exciting reading as we wait for the crooks to get caught.

Red Blood on White Cotton is rich in historic detail re the hardshipsl endured by farming families and their workers. Long’s descriptions are eye-opening, graphic, never boring and definitely  unforgettable. Dialogue is realistic and expertly handled, and thankfully, the author knows the value of more showing and less telling, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions about all characters and their motivations. This is great writinI am really looking forward to what John W Long has in store for us next. Red Blood on White Cotton might be a tough act to follow! really looking forward to what John W Long has in store for us next. Red Blood on White Cotton might be a tough act to follow!

Book Review: TOUGH BLOOD by Susan Tuttle

OK all of you female private eyes out there! Move over. There’s a new P.I. on the block with an unusual first name, Skylark, and an even more unusual personality. She’s feisty, funny, snarky, and somewhat psychic. She’s also a thorn in the side of the lead detective on the trail of an especially horrific killer in Tough Blood, the first book of a new series by Susan Tuttle.

Now tracking down serial killers isn’t what Skylark normally does, but when this Neanderthal detective gets it in his head that Skylark is the killer, what’s a girl supposed to do but find a way to defend herself. She needs to find this brutal killer and prove to both him and the cop that she doesn’t take second place to any man. 

Like a dog with a bone between its teeth, despite the advice of her  devoted lawyer, Skylark won’t let this pursuit go. As horribly mutilated bodies keep surfacing and Skylark’s efforts land her in hospital more than once, Tough Blood moves forward at breakneck speed that leaves readers with only one thought: give us some more Skylark!

I can’t remember when I have enjoyed suspense fiction more. Enjoy is the best word for this novel: it has such a fascinating cast of well-developed and contrasting characters, not to mention the subtle irony of having a lead detective mirror many of the traits of the killer. There’s blood and gore, graphic and frightening, but there’s also so much humor, especially in the character of Skylark. What a wonderful blend Susan Tuttle has put together here. I, for one, can’t wait to read whatTuttle is cooking up for us  and Skylark in book 2. Grab this one and keep your eyes open for the next one!