Mickey Wade, a newly unemployed journalist moves into his grandfather's apartment in a run-down Philadelphia neighborhood. One night, after quaffing sMickey Wade, a newly unemployed journalist moves into his grandfather's apartment in a run-down Philadelphia neighborhood. One night, after quaffing some aspirin he finds himself transported back in time to the year of his birth. Back and forth he goes, and then he decides to thwart the kid who would grow up to kill his father. Some fun weirdness ensues and it's a super-fast read. I'm putting more Duane Swierczynski books in my To Read List. ...more
Sometimes it's good to take a break from fantasy set in a faux-medieval world and check out something a bit different. City of Stairs is set in a fantSometimes it's good to take a break from fantasy set in a faux-medieval world and check out something a bit different. City of Stairs is set in a fantasy world that's technologically similar to, say, the 19th-century. It begins with spy/diplomat Shara Thivani sent to the subjugated city of Bulikov to investigate the murder of a historian. Shara is a petite, shrewd woman who brings along her "secretary" Sigrud for muscle. Sigrud is a great character too. He's a big, hulking northener who is scarily good at disarming adversaries (and would think nothing of doing that literally). Bulikov used to be a beautiful, successful city largely on account of its group of six gods (Divinities) who made it that way. But decades ago, a fabled general from Saypur known as the Kaj, killed these gods. But as Shara -- who is also from Saypur -- comes to learn, not all the gods may have died. Although the pacing may at times be on the slow side, this book kept me turning pages and at times was a lot of fun. Things get super interesting in the middle and the ending has some nice surprises too. ...more
This thing been on the hardcover bestseller list for over a year so you may have heard of it. There's a movie coming too, of course. People are ravingThis thing been on the hardcover bestseller list for over a year so you may have heard of it. There's a movie coming too, of course. People are raving about this one. So I gave a copy to my wife who plowed through it and then I read it. I like mysteries, crime novels, what-have-you but this wasn't the crazy page-turner I was expecting. That said, I did read it fairly quickly. The story bounces back and forth from the point-of-view of the two main characters, Nick and Amy. They're a married couple with some serious issues. How serious the issues are are revealed layer by layer like a (rotten) onion. The story begins with the suspicious disappearance of Amy and naturally all eyes are on Nick (who lies a lot). I thought the book was fairly fun but not thrust-it-into-the-hands-of-your-friends fun but definitely oh-these-people-are-bad fun. ...more
Young Nate Tucker moves into the weird, old Kavach building. He begins to notice all manner of strange things: padlocked doors; weird light fixtures;Young Nate Tucker moves into the weird, old Kavach building. He begins to notice all manner of strange things: padlocked doors; weird light fixtures; mutant green cockroaches that don't eat. He begins talking with fellow tenants and learns they all have weird things about their apartments as well. Also, no two apartments are the same. When he investigates further, more and more weird things begin coming to light. And it starts getting dangerous. I was looking for something a little bizzarre, a little horror, a little weird, and 14 delivers on all fronts. Halfway into the story the weird/dangerous factor amps up and then at the end, I'm all "ZOMG!" It was a fun read and the last 40 pages flew by. ...more
I have a fascination for circus stories and this one started appearing on people's top ten lists so I was intrigued. In turn-of-the-century London (19I have a fascination for circus stories and this one started appearing on people's top ten lists so I was intrigued. In turn-of-the-century London (19th to 20th century), a travelling circus billed as the Cirque des Rêves appears and is only open at night. It's constructed entirely in black and white and serves as the backdrop for a contest between two magicians, Celia and Marco. But it's not as straight-forward as it sounds.
The first third of the book was very cool as it established a mysterious, dream-like quality, and you quickly come to understand that real magic is masquerading as illusion. The writing is solid and evocative. But then for me the middle third seemed to meander and by the last third I was impatient for things to wrap up. I thought the first third was fantastic, I loved the writing and the atmosphere. But I get annoyed when something is billed as a love story and you don't understand why the characters fall in love except for it being convenient to the story. I thought the love story in The Time Traveler's Wife was much more satisfying. This story has a "fairy tale" sensibility and many people love it. I just didn't find the denouement as compelling as I would've hoped.
Always on the lookout for a clever crime novel, when this one showed up on the New Fiction table at Bankrupt Megastore, it went directly onto the wantAlways on the lookout for a clever crime novel, when this one showed up on the New Fiction table at Bankrupt Megastore, it went directly onto the want list. Got it for Christmas. (Thank you, Santa!) In this story a man calling himself David Loogan gets involved with crime fiction magazine editor's wife. The editor soon ends up dead and more bad things happen in quick succession. The story hooks you strongly in the first 70 pages and then messes a bit with your expectations as you continue. Cool story, lots of fun, zippy style. I plowed through it. Part of the fun is the way the author pokes fun of or works in the usual mystery clichés, since several of the characters in the book are mystery writers. Also, it's fun to read a stand-alone story, i.e. one not part of a series with a recurring character. Highly recommended. ...more
This book is the second half of the story begun in Volume One. Not sure why it was split into two volumes, together they are about 900-odd pages of aThis book is the second half of the story begun in Volume One. Not sure why it was split into two volumes, together they are about 900-odd pages of a story, on the large side, surely, but I devoured it fairly quickly. Like Volume One, Volume Two has many hair's-breadth escapes, confrontations, and other suspenseful stuff. Sometimes they get a bit too descriptive, but this story holds your interest throughout. The characters both good and bad are wonderful creations. And our three protagonists prove themselves worthy adversaries for the numerous bad guys in the sinister cabal. If the body count in Volume One is impressive, it's nothing compared to Volume Two. Our heroes (and heroine) are deadly! Guns, knives, sabres, glass shards -- and that's just a partial list of the weapons they employ. And the final denouement is an extremely cinematic (and bloody) smorgasbord of good versus evil. And there is one small hanging thread that leaves room for a sequel. I understand that the recently published book, The Dark Volume continues the adventures. Sweet. This was a fantastic story in every sense. Wicked fun. ...more
I first heard of this book from my Swedish step-father-in-law. I had asked him who his current favorite author was last August. Stieg Larsson's threeI first heard of this book from my Swedish step-father-in-law. I had asked him who his current favorite author was last August. Stieg Larsson's three books are very popular in Sweden. His second book is due to be published in U.S. this summer. Shortly after handing in the three manuscripts for his mysteries, he died.
This was a very cool mystery about a disgraced journalist hired to investigate the disappearance of a young girl in the late sixties. The characters are all fully-realized, interesting individuals and story takes several interesting twists and turns. Curiously, the book's title in Sweden was Man Som Hatar Kvinnor which translates as The Man Who Hates Women. I like the English title better. Recommended for mystery-lovers.
(There are a few Swedish words that are left in the text, but you'd guess their meaning from the context. Fröken is one example. It means Miss. And it may help to know that the suffix gatan means street.) ...more
This novella recently got a bit of press and it sounded intriguing so I checked it out. It's a brief story about a family arriving at a large chateauThis novella recently got a bit of press and it sounded intriguing so I checked it out. It's a brief story about a family arriving at a large chateau in France. It's written in spare language but manages to set an enveloping gothic mood. The various characters in this extended family have some serious issues that they are dealing with. The central character, a woman, arrives with a broken arm and covered in yellowing bruises. Her sister-in-law arrives with her stillborn baby cradled in her arms. The whole effect is creepy and bizarre in a good way. It's a dark, poetic story. I'd be interested to see what this author does next. ...more
Crais is best known for his series of novels featuring Elvis Cole but I haven't read any of those. This is the second novel I've read by him, the firsCrais is best known for his series of novels featuring Elvis Cole but I haven't read any of those. This is the second novel I've read by him, the first was Hostage and that was a great page turner, just an excellent story. This one's a page turner as well. Detective Carol Starkey, still recovering from a bomb blast that killed her (for a couple minutes until she was revived), is investigating another bombing. Someone is targeting bomb technicians. About halfway in comes the first big plot twist and from there it rockets along with several new twists thrown in. Naturally things end with a bang. Fun story. This was an excellent crime novel diversion....more
Nothing really sets this crime thriller apart from others. Our hero is Jack Vaughn, an ex-cop from NYC living in Miami and working as a personal trainNothing really sets this crime thriller apart from others. Our hero is Jack Vaughn, an ex-cop from NYC living in Miami and working as a personal trainer. One of his clients offers him $100,000 to sink a yacht anchored off his property that has a dead body on it and when Jack finally assents to do it, bad things happen. For a book under 250 pages, it took its time getting to this pivotal moment. That scene was the most interesting but then it seemed as if our hero knew everyone in Miami. Lawyer? An ex-client — check. Rapper who just happens to have a gun and money handy in a pinch? An ex-client — check. Bouncer at swanky club? Check. This wasn't so bad that I didn't finish it. But it's nothing I would mark as a "to read" either. ...more