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Showing posts from 2010

Unpretty (Sharon Carter Rogers)

Picked up for less than a dollar at one of the local Goodwill thrift shops, I mainly bought this book because of it’s cover image. My attention was grabbed and I pulled the book from it’s shelf and dusted it off. The novel itself is the second written by Sharon Rogers. It covers a small suburb that is fraught with disappearances, and a seemingly increasing drug problem. An unassuming household in the burbs holds a cult faction who reveres the work of Michelangelo as perfection. The leader of this group is capturing individuals and torturing them to get models for a reproduction of one of Michelangelo’s lesser works. It is a non-standard book of good vs evil, with the cultists on one side pitted against secretive urban monks and police on the other. I actually rather enjoyed this book. It is a nice standalone thriller/suspense novel with well fleshed out characters and an interesting premise. Give it a shot. It surprised me and though not best-seller quality, it did not disappoint. ~~ This…

Let's all kill Constance (Ray Bradbury)

I have never been one who fancied Ray Bradbury’s mystery novels. Reading “Let’s all kill Constance”, third in this particular series, I was kind of lost. Essentially, an unnamed protagonist is pulled to his front door on a dark and stormy night by Constance, a wayward movie star who lives just down the beach. She is distraught, pushed over the edge by two “books of the dead”. The dead and nearly dead in these books are all know by her and seem to be harbingers of her own impending doom. the protagonist, along with a detective pal of his begin an informal investigation to help save her life, leading them to a priest, a psychic, a tomb and the ghosts of Hollywood past. all in all it was a decent story. I would suggest it to others and found that it was very enjoyable. The problem was the delay I experienced putting myself in the story line. The clumsy (yet precise) speech and the conversations the characters had were the problem. The characters are all witty and seem to share constant ins…

The Godmakers (Don Pendelton)

I really hated enjoying this book. Do not confuse it with the collection of short stories by Frank Herbert. Likewise it is not the religious expose book about the Mormon religion. This is just a lowly 70′s sci-fi filled with bizarre ethereal dreams-capes and group sex… Don Pendleton’s novel (originally published under the pseudonym Dan Britain) revolves around a government investigator names Patrick Honor. Honor has been roped into driving out to a research lab in the sticks by his boss and a lovely lovely lady (who works in a research lab). The lab is researching the harnessing of PPS (Psychic Power Sources) the ultimate energy. Strangely, the head of the lab has gone a bit loopy and started babbling about the power of nine (9), he has scrawled a series of strange names and dates, each separated by eighty-one (81) days. Looking at the names, they can see that see that the first seven (7) are either dead or incapacitated on the dates associated. The eighth name is the president of the U…

All Those Moments (Rutger Hauer)

“All Those Moments: Stories of Heroes, Villains, Replicants and Blade Runners”, Rutger Hauer’s autobiography, is a damned enjoyable book. It is no masterwork, but neither will fans be disappointed. Hauer himself has always been a favored actor of mine. I was a big fan of many of his films when I was growing up, LadyHawke and Blade Runner being two on the forefront. Rutger always plays fantastic characters, but off screen, I never heard mention of him. As such, he has always been kind of an elusive celebrity. He never really made “A-list” ranking, but he was never B either. He is that temper-mental in between that the celeb rags and new organizations rarely pay attention to. This book touches on his life, pre-Hollywood. The first few chapters detail his life as a child and teen, his wayward actor-parents, and his indecisive career. The depth of his history is kept minimal, covering most of his early years in a matter of a third of the book. I was left a bit wanting, feeling that i knew hi…

The Evil Shepherd (E. Phillips Oppenheim)

Ever wonder what it would be like if good met evil and then was invited over for dinner and drinks? If evil were interested in the politics and ethics that good was endeavoring to employ? how about if good fell in love with evil’s daughter after her husband who was also evil commits suicide? Welcome to 1922 and E.P. Oppenheim’s ‘The Evil Shepherd. Francis Ledsam is one of London’s brightest and most successful defense lawyers.After successfully defending and proving the innocence of his latest client, Ledsam learns from his client that he in fact had committed the heinous murders he had been accused of, and others. Feeling pain at the thought that this monster is on the streets still because of him, Ledsam swears off taking clients that he cannot prove factual innocence of. It seems that he may have stumbled into a much larger nest of criminals than he was aware. His murderous client’s father in law hunts down Ledsam in a restaurant and advises him that with in the evening, a crime would…

Game of Thrones (George R.R. Martin)

People who want to read the Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin a have to be some of the most self-torturing bastards on the planet.. I am proud to say that i will be one of them, waiting (what could be) a decade for the remaining books to become available. I started reading the first book in the Fire/Ice series, about a month ago. It took me a little while to actually get into it. Martin introduced what seemed to be at least fifty characters in the first quarter of the book. For a hundred and fifty pages, I was inundated with back story and history for people I should have had no care for. I set the book down at least 3 times and had to come back to it. The problem was that each time I thought I could handle no more of it, some small character point would suck me in just enough to keep moving forward (or return to reading). After that first hundred and fifty pages, the character introductions dwindled and I was mid stride in one of the greatest series I have had the hono…

Rise of Endymion (Dan Simmons), Hyperion Cantos book 4

I hate to see good things come to an end. Simultaneously, I feel that a well crafted conclusion to a great series is one of the highlights to reading. There was no disappointment to the Hyperion Cantos. Warning to readers, this book is far more dense than others in the series. You have to expect as much considering that there is so much to discuss. The religious, technological, and philosophical merge in this novel. The far flung planet of Hyperion has been left behind. The palindromic character Aenea and her partner Endymion begin on Old Earth. Rise of Endymion (book 4) picks up a few years after the close of Endymion (book 3). With the death of The Architect, the crew is forced to leave the relative safety of this Magellanic Cloud which hides the stolen planet earth from the Catholic Pax monstrosity. What is the Shrike? What’s the real purpose driving the Techno-Core? What are the lions, tigers, and bears? etc. To avoid spoilers, I will just advise that your questions will be answered. …

The Demolished Man (Alfred Bester)

‘The Demolished Man’, set in the 24th century (2301-2400), pre-meditated murder has been abolished. It is not that people do not have murderous thoughts, crimes of passion still occur. Mankind has begun to harvest latent abilities in the human mind. Telepaths, known as Espers, are globally recognized and have formed a society inside our own. It is the existence of these telepathic individuals that deters murder. How can you avoid being “demolished” if the details of the murder you commit are easily read by a man standing next to you? How can you commit the murder in the first place, if someone walking down the street can hear your mind as you plan the details? Ben Reich, owner of Monarch Enterprises, contacts his rival businessman Craye d’Courtney and requests that they merge corporations. It would be of benefit to them both, and makes sense. Unfortunately, after d’Courtney responds, Reich misinterprets the coded positive reply. In a fit of anger, Reich has decided to find a way to kill…

Draw the Dark (Ilsa J. Bick)

Shelved as a Young adult novel, I feel it is incorrectly categorized, instead it should just be standard dark fantasy. The only aspects of this that make it YA is the 17 year old protagonist and the heavy handed coming-of-age vein, other wise it is “King/Koontz-lite”. Winter, Wisconsin. Murder. Nazis. Dead Bodies. Ghostly visions. Fatal fires. A boy who can draw people’s nightmares. All of these topics are discussed on the cover liner notes. What is not discussed is how well put together it is. It was surprisingly enjoyable from a number of perspectives. Detailing the events around social outcast Christian Cage. Dark opens with Christian, being investigated for graffiti on a local building, red spray paint with swastikas and eyes. Christian does not remember vandalizing anything. This isn’t the first time that Cage has been in trouble with the law. The suicide of a school teacher brought him into the limelight when much younger. Cage is an obsessive artist, falling into a near hypnotic g…

The Little Prince (Joann Sfar), Graphic novel adaptation

This classic has been translated into just about every language you can think of, from original French to Martian (just venturing a guess). It has now crossed another communication barrier, into the world of comic art. As a graphic novel, Antoine de Saint-Exup?ry’s ‘The Little Prince’ received a really fantastic treatment. It should be noted that the Saint-Exup?ry drew the original art,which was pretty amazing. So readers should try NOT to compare against it, lest they may lessen the experience. It is a different beast, treat it as such. When I first mentioned that I would read this, I got a couple bizarre looks from friends. “Wasn’t the Little Prince already basically a graphic novel?” was the most common question asked. These were obviously people who have either no clue (love you guys!) or never read the book. An illustrated novella.. That was the term you folks were looking for. Joann Sfar’s graphic novel redux holds true to the original. The tale of a man lost in the desert, his air…

When Blood Calls (JK Beck / Julie Kenner)

When Blood Calls (JK Beck) – Vampires, Were creatures, and Litigation? How in the world does this even happen? People often refer to Lawyers as vampires? (and blood suckers, etc) but rarely if ever have the two plot elements actually met. Luke is old as hell. He is a vampiric assassin for the shadow underworld just beneath the surface of our own. He is also incarcerated and going to court, being tried for the murder of another shadow dwelling individual. This will not be the first time he has had throw down fights with the law. Over the centuries, he has been involved in a number of conflicts, investigated and exonerated. Everyone knows he is guilty but evidence is always lacking. The difference this time is that the murder was of an underworld Judge… and enough evidence to damn him is practically white glove served to the cops. Sara is an “up and coming” prosecutor in the real world. After pushing a difficult mass murder case through the courts and winning, she is offered a new job in …

1632 (Eric Flint)... Screw paradox, lets start a war!

1632 is part of the “Alternative History” genre of Fantasy/Science Fiction. A flash of light kicks off the plot in this novel. In what is initially interpreted by everyone as a nuclear blast, light blinds the residents of Grantsville, West Virginia. When they realize they have not all been reduced to ash, they step outside and determine that something very wrong has happened, their town is no longer on the east coast of North America. Grantsville is now in the year 1632, residing in the Black Forest (what will later become Germany). They are smack dab in the middle of the 30 years war. As readers, we all have the same paradox questions. The characters also recognized these potential issues, and they are addressed very quickly (first or second chapter).? They came to the conclusion early on that there are only two real theories to work with. - Time travel Paradox =”The world ends”
- Time Travel Paradox = “Multiple time streams make paradox irrelevant” As they are all still breathing, they l…

The American Alarm Clock (Glen Wright), Historical fiction

The American Alarm Clock. An alarm to “[...] wake these people from their sleep!”. Historical Fiction, published in 1972, detailing the overhaul of Central American social structures. In 1810, Mexico was an unsettled country. Manhandled and abused by Spain, they were in the midst of a hostile takeover by the Napoleanic French. Spain was relatively powerless. 300 years of oppressive rule had left the people (native born, immigrants, and those in-between) restless for a change. The Gachupine, those born in Spain, were blamed for most wrongs, including the national famine, high taxation, and violations of basic Human rights (referred to as the “Rights of Nature”). This aptly sets the scene for the first Mexican revolution. The American Alarm Clock (source of the book’s name) was the newspaper that was the primary voice for this revolution. Edited by Padre Francisco Severo Maldonado, it chronicled the ideas and core beliefs of the freedom fighters. The Clock was the first independent newsrag i…