THE MASK OF SANITY by Indie Author JACOB APPEL will have readers on the edge of their seats. A 5 Star Must Read Psychological Thriller!!!

Title: THE MASK OF SANITY        

Author: JACOB APPEL    

Length: 256 PAGES

Type of Book: HARDCOVER   

Received From: FREE FROM THE AUTHOR    

Release Date: MARCH 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-57962-495-8 

Price: $28 USD (Hardcover)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 


On the outside, Dr. Jeremy Balint is a pillar of the community: the youngest division chief poorly, he reveals the depths of his cold-blooded depravity.

At a cultural moment when the media bombards us with images of so-called sociopaths who strive for good and criminals redeemed by repentance,The Mask of Sanityoffers an antidote to implausible tales of evil gone right. In contrast to fictional predecessors like Dostoyevesky’s Raskolnikov and Camus’ Mersault, Dr. Balint is a man who already has it all –and will do everything in his power, no matter how immoral, to keep what he has.


Jacob Appel has a true gift. His vivid descriptions of place are minimal in length but are still somehow able to paint an exact picture in the reader’s mind. His genius shines through mostly with his uncanny ability to get inside the heads of his characters and to take his readers with him. His writing makes each character seem less fictional and more real.

Jacob’s vast educational and life experience and his background in the medical field make this book even nore scary. I can’t help but wonder if this book is based on a past patient or maybe even one of Jacob Appel’s  colleagues. I really hope not.

In this book the protagonist is a respected physician. A married father of two adorable girls, Jeremy Balint seems to lead the perfect life.

However, when he discovers that his wife is cheating on him with a colleague, one he had considered to be a friend, Jeremy does not react out of anger. Instead, he calmly decides that his marriage must be saved at all costs. Instead of confronting his wife, he hatches a diabolical plan. That plan, and his execution of it will both shock readers and have them glued to the book’s pages.

Psychopaths and sociopaths have historically been portrayed as loners. They seemed easy to identify since they were seen to be “creepy” and no one was all that surprised when they found out that he (and it was ALWAYS a he) murdered someone. This gave people a sense of relief. If they stayed away from creepy men, they were safe. The reality is much more terrifying. As author Jacob Appel is aware, true sociopaths do not fit that description at all.

In fact, since sociopaths are masters of both manipulation and of adaptation, it is quite likely that all of us know or live close to at least one of them. This book brings that fact home unlike any other.

If you are a fan of psychological fiction you will LOVE this book. It is a MUST READ and I rate it enthusiastically as 5 out of 5 Stars. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

Jacob M. Appel is the author of the following novels:

Wedding Wipeout (Cozy Cat Press)

The Biology of Luck (Elephant Rock Books)

The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up  (Cargo Publishing)


The short-story collections:

The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street (Howling Bird Press)

Coulrophobia & Fatana Morgana

Scouting For The Reaper (both Black Lawrence Press)  


The essay collection Phoning Home (University of South Carolina Press)

His short fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including:

– Literal Latte

 The Colorado Review       

– The Nebraska Review

– The Boston Review     

– The Greensboro Review

Jacob has taught at Brown University, Columbia University, and the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

He holds a BA and MA from Brown University, an MA and an MPhil from Columbia University, a JD from Harvard, and an MFA in Creative Writing from NYU.

(In other words, this is one incredibly  intelligent and extremely well-educated individual.)    

Jacob Appel teaches writing classes at Gotham Writer’s Workshop which hosts classes both in New York City and online.

All these “jobs” as an author and a teacher would be more than enough to keep a regular person extremely busy, but these are all second (and third, and fourth, etc.) jobs for Jacob.

In a way he is like Superman.

Jacob Appel is a mild-mannered, well-respected Lawyer, Doctor and Bio-Ethicist by Day and he turns into SuperWriterMan whenever and wherever he is needed. (As far as I know, he doesn’t own a cape or do quick-changes in phone booths which is probably a good thing since I am not sure if there are any phone booths left. 

Jacob holds Graduate Degrees from Brown University, Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Harvard Law School, New York University’s MFA program in Fiction and Albany Medical College’s Alden March Institute of Bioethics.

He taught for many years at Brown University and currently teaches at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:





To read my review of Jacob Appel’s fantastic short story collection “MIRACLES AND CONUNDRUMS OF THE SECONDARY PLANETS” Click on the cover below:

To read another of my reviews for Jacob Appel’s Literary Masterpiece and short story collection EINSTEIN’S BEACH HOUSE,” Click on the book cover below:   

This is one of the best short story collections I have ever had the privilege of reading. 

I am a fan of Jacob Appel’s and after reading this book I guarantee you will be too.    

* I received a free copy of this book from the author, however,  this did not effect my review or my rating in any way. 

2015 – TOP 25 – BEST FICTION AUTHORS OF THE YEAR (According to Me)

WOW! I can’t believe it is the end of 2015 already. It is New Year’s Day and the beginning of 2016. 

I wanted to end the year off with a tribute to some of the AMAZING books and authors that I discovered in 2015. 

So, without further ado, here is my list of the TOP 25 Authors from 2015. 

** This list is in no particular order. I love every one of these authors for various reasons.**

If you haven’t read any of the books by the authors listed below, you are doing yourself a disservice. Check them out at the links provided. 

2015 – TOP 25 – BEST FICTION AUTHORS OF THE YEAR (According to Me)

It has been an astonishing year for fiction and non-fiction books alike. I discovered new authors, new series and even entirely new genres. I loved every minute I spent immersed in a good book and I enjoyed blogging about these books. 

I hope that in some small way I was able to help get the word out about the new authors I have discovered, especially the Indie authors whose work deserves to be widely recognized. 

There are not many pleasures in life that can rival the enjoyment of reading a good book. (Of course, I know that getting married, having children, etc are unrivalled joys – but what I am referring to is not these huge, life-changing events). Instead, what I am referring to are life’s simple pleasures and I place the enjoyment of a good book very high on that list. 

Here are some of my favourite new authors that I discovered this year. 

**They are listed in No Particular Order**


Young Adult Author of “The New Agenda” Series

WOW! What can I say about this amazing Young Adult author that I haven’t already said in my reviews of her books. 

If you have not yet read Simone Pond’s “New Agenda” series of books and/or her short story collection: “Voices of the Apocalypse” then you are MISSING OUT. 

I have rated every single thing I have read written by Simone Pond as 5 out of 5 stars and she has earned those stars EVERY TIME.

Check out my reviews of Simone’s books at 


Z. Rider writes horror fiction, but not the stupid kind. It is not slasher-type fiction. Z. Rider’s books will pull you in and you will find yourself invested in the outcome and caring about the characters. 

She has an uncanny ability to take an average person living an ordinary and unremarkable life and turn them into the focus of her story. These people have to face situations that are absolutely terrifying.

Z. Rider’s books will have readers on the edge of their seats and they will find themselves unable to put these books down. 

I have no doubt that if Z. Rider’s books get enough attention and publicity, that she will become a Bestselling Horror Author. 

If you have not yet read any of her books, you need to read them ASAP. I have no doubt that you will become an instant fan, just like I am. 

Click here to read my reviews of Z. Rider’s books: 




Tony Bowman is simply amazing. His books are not only riveting and heart-pounding, but they are eerily believable. 

Every single Tony Bowman book is easily worth 5 out of 5 Stars.

If you have not yet read any of his books, then you are MISSING OUT.

Check out my reviews of all of Tony Bowman’s books: 





 And more books at


Jonathan Maas has more talent in his right pinkie finger than a lot of writers have in their entire bodies.

His writing is not only entertaining and engaging, but readers will also get a sense of just how intelligent Jonathan Maas is. This writer is destined for great things and I will proudly point out the fact that I was an early fan. 

Read my reviews of Jonathan’s books here:





Jamie Thornton is the author of a truly unique and extremely well written Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic series called the FEAST OF WEEDS Series. 

Potential readers can get the first book in the series FREE at



Kelly St. Clare is the author of a truly phenomenal Young Adult series called THE TAINTED ACCORDS. 


FANTASY OF FIRE is due to be released in only 12 days. Click on the cover to pre-order this amazing book.  


Elizabeth Burgess is the author of a truly epic thriller series. This series is not targeted at Young Adults and there are scenes that make these books inappropriate for readers under the age of 18.

Suspense, drama and much more abound in this awesome series. 



To find out more information visit Elizabeth Burgess on her blog at


D.L. Young writes Science Fiction and his short stories will stay with you long after you finish reading them.

He is one of the best science fiction writers that I have ever had the pleasure to read. 



I highly recommend buying D.L. Young’s short story collection, it is Dystopian Science Fiction at its finest. 



Kate wrath is the author of an amazing Young Adult post-apocalyptic, dystopian series known as the E SERIES.

These books will draw you in with amazing world building and believable characters. These are all 5 stars books.



Kayla Stonor writes Science-Fiction erotica for adults. * These books are meant for readers ages 18+.





S.A Softley’s debut novel had me drawn into the story from the very first page.

If you enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction, you need to read AIN’T NO GRAVE. 

Read my review here: 


Brian Robert Smith is a Canadian author who writes in a variety of different genres. 




Joel Ohman is a Young Adult author whose talent is simply mind-blowing. 



I was the winner of a paperback copy of FREND by Jonathan R. Miller in a Goodreads Giveaway and it turned out to be one of my favourite books of the year. It is dystopian science fiction for intelligent reader so.


M.I. Lastman is a Canadian author with strong opinions and even stronger writing skills.

This is one of the best post-apocalyptic books I have ever had the pleasure to read.












5 Enthusiastic Stars for “MIRACLES and CONUNDRUMS of the SECONDARY PLANETS” by Jacob M. Appel – BOOK REVIEW




Type of Book: Softcover

Length: 155 pages


Release Date: June 30, 2015 


ISBN: 978-1-62557-933-1

Price: $15.95 (and worth every penny)

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
~ I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

MIRACLES AND CONUNDRUMS OF THE SECONDARY PLANETS is a collection of eight short stories written by the amazingly talented Jacob M. Appel.

Story #1 – “Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets” starts off like this:

“Zigfrids Imants Lenc did not have a name on his home planet, because names were superfluous, but in Lummings, Alabama, where he operated the Latvian restaurant opposite the abortion clinic, his regulars called him Red Ziggy. The ‘Red’ did not refer to the young man’s politics. Customers at Cafe Riga found the eatery’s proprietor zealously neutral in political matters, as impervious to provocation as the mimes in Twelve Oaks Mall.”

How could you not want to read the rest of this story?

Story # 2 – “Phoebe with Impending Frost” 

In Laurendale, Virginia, William teaches climatology at the local University. Add in an old flame and extreme weather changes and you have a thoroughly enjoyable tale.

My favourite quote from this story is “…I’ve always felt it was internal torment that separates a society’s wheat from its chaff.”

Story # 3 – “Invasive Species”

This story begins with: “While her daughter practices for the afterlife – Celeste’s tumour-frayed body waiting rigid inside the case of the grandfather clock – Meredith watches their new neighbor hacking at the undergrowth with a machete.”

If the opening sentence of this story does not pique your interest, you must not have a pulse. Once again, Jacob M. Appel has managed to captivate his readers with a single well-written sentence. That, is a rare talent!

Best quote from this story: “In his dungarees and black hooded sweatshirt, the long-faced man looks like the Grim Reaper on his day off.”

Story # 4 – “The Resurrection Bakeoff”

– This might just be my favourite story of the collection

– It has everything a reader would want in a great story: love, devotion, hope, despair, betrayal and one heck of a twist. This is a MUST READ!

Story # 5 – “The Orchard”

– This story showcases the extremes to which people will go for happiness.

– It also poses a few questions:

– 1. “Is a lie by omission still a lie?”

– 2. “Is it ok to lie to spare someone from pain?”

– 3. “Where is the line between being honest and being false?

– 4. “Can you ever REALLY know someone?”

– 5. “Are morality and mortality linked somehow?”

Story # 6 – “The Grand Concourse”

– “To celebrate her sixtieth birthday – she is now older than her parents when they died – my mother asks to take a daytrip. She has okayed it with the shrinks, she says.”


– “One man’s professional boundaries are another woman’s enforced celibacy. Did you ever hear such nonsense? I’m suicidal, not syphilitic.”

– “Unlike most of my friends, I haven’t yet reached the point where I’m counting on my children to make up for my mistakes.”

– “When it comes to verbal sparring, she’s Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano and Sugar Ray Robinson all rolled into one…”

Story # 7 – “Measures of Sorrow”

– “You can measure a man’s sorrow, and the world’s, in the number of stories that perish unheard.”
Story # 8 – “Shell Game with Organs” 

– The perfect story with which to end this exquisite collection of tales that will touch your heart and your mind, and that will stay with you Long after the book has been read.
All the stories in this outstanding collection are entertaining and will keep you up at night reading “just one more page” over and over again.

While stories that are entertaining are terrific, that is not all there is when it comes to those contained within “Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets.” These stories are so much more than just enjoyable. They are deeply emotional, multi-layered and poignant tales of the human condition.

Jacob M. Appel is not only a writer, he is also a physician, an attorney and a bioethicist. The knowledge that he has gained through his various professions gives him a unique insight into the human psyche and translates extremely well, enhancing his stories and adding a depth which is often lacking when reading short stories by other, less talented writers.

If you are wondering what to buy for the reader on your Christmas list, look no further. This book has such a wide appeal that it is the perfect gift for anyone who is able to appreciate exquisite fiction. I highly recommend also buying a copy for yourself. This is one of those books that you can discuss at length and always find more and more wonderful things to say about it as well as an almost unlimited potential for moral and ethical debates.

I am not sure that my review does this book justice but I have tried to convey how much I LOVED reading this book. I rate it as 6 out of 5 Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (I know that isn’t technically possible, but a simple 5 out of 5 just isn’t quite enough).

*** ADD THIS BOOK TO YOUR “TO BE READ” LIST ASAP, You will be glad you did. 

Don’t forget to check out his other short story collection: “EINSTEIN’S BEACH HOUSE” and read my 5 Star review of that book on my blog at 

Jacob M. Appel’s first novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, won the 2012 Dundee International Book Award and was published by Cargo. His short story collection, Scouting for the Reaper, won the 2012 Hudson Prize and was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2014. His most recent books include a novel, The Biology of Luck (Elephant Rock, 2013), an essay collection, Phoning Home (University of South Carolina Press, 2014) and a short story collection, Einstein’s Beach House (Pressgang/Butler University, 2014).

Jacob’s short fiction has appeared in more than two hundred literary journals including Gettysburg Review, Michigan Quarterly, Southwest Review, Threepenny Review and Virginia Quarterly Review. His prose has won the Boston Review Short Fiction Competition, the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Award for the Short Story, the Dana Award, the Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction, the North American Review’s Kurt Vonnegut Prize, the Missouri Review’s Editor’s Prize, the Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize, the Briar Cliff Review’s Short Fiction Prize, the Salem College Center for Women Writers’ Reynolds Price Short Fiction Award, the H. E. Francis Prize, the New Millennium Writings Fiction Award on four occasions, an Elizabeth George Fellowship and a Sherwood Anderson Foundation Writers Grant. His stories have been short-listed for the O. Henry Award (2001), Best American Short Stories (2007, 2008, 2013), Best American Nonrequired Reading (2007, 2008), and the Pushcart Prize anthology (2005, 2006, 2011, 2014). In 2003, he was honored with Brown’s Undergraduate Council of Students Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003.

Jacob has been admitted to the practice of law in New York State and Rhode Island, and is a licensed New York City sightseeing guide.
Visit his official website at 

Visit Jacob’s author page on Amazon at