Read this book. It was very enjoyable.. Now – With that stated…. ————-
The following public service announcement was NOT brought you by Robin Spano andRead this book. It was very enjoyable.. Now – With that stated…. ————-
The following public service announcement was NOT brought you by Robin Spano and ECW Press (Though they did provide me a free review copy of this book).
The mixed reaction people feel to a train wreck is commonly kept a secret. Publicly, you say ‘Oh gee, how terrible, I hope no one got hurt’. Internally you have a rapid blink response to the tail lights ahead of you, initial reaction being ‘Ooh! Was that blood? I hope that is Blood!’. You know that things are not as they should be, that problems are occurring, that someone has thoroughly screwed the pooch. You keep looking, craning your neck hoping for a glimpse of the problem while ambivalently hoping everyone is safe. This book is like a spectacular and awesome train wreck.
So what is it about? What did I think? In Death’s Last Run, Vengel who was recently made a US FBI Agent, is pulled back to Canada to work a dual RCMP/FBI case. This Case is set in a Canadian Ski town, tracking the dead daughter of a US Presidential hopeful. It is a toss up between murder and suicide, with Clare integral to infiltrating a close knit group of stoners, drunks, ski bums and acid heads. She rooms with some suspects, does some drugs and breaks some rules. She takes up snowboarding, drinks micro brews, sniffs out clues and takes ridiculous risks to get the job done.
The overall plot was solid, flipping back and forth in classic Spano style from the perspectives of suspects, police, and alternate characters. As per the norm, whodunnit spoilers do not exist and the novel is crafted well and allows you to enjoy it with out having the entire plot handed to you on a platter. I grew to like and understand the bad guys,and “understood” the motives better than I ever could in a Sherlock Holmes book.
But enough about the novel, let’s get back to Clare herself..”The Trainwreck”-
Clare Vengel of the ‘Clare Vengel Undercover’ series is a spiteful, clumsy, juvenile, backward, unreasonable, messed up woman with literal daddy issues. Her inability to exist in the world and share a grain of truthful emotion is frustrating. She treats her boyfriend like an enemy; her FBI and RCMP colleagues similarly, with unbridled unprofessional distaste; her family and friends are ignored because she cannot get over.. Never mind, you get the point.
When I saw this wreck, there was no stopping me driving by. I wanted to see it. I opted to pick up the novel and lovingly gawp at the greatness of another Vengel story. For readers of the previous novels, you will find that Clare is seemingly worse than before, uncontrollably juvenile at points, taking pages from all of the world’s angsty teenage stereotypes. She drove me CRAZY. I wanted to see blood. Externally I cared to see Clare succeed in her current case; Internally I really was scoping for blood at the crash site, wanting to see a body part or two and red clotted snow.
I kept hoping for her to falter, hoped the universe would slap a cluepon down onto her lap. In the end, as with the train wreck, when i see that she comes out okay in the end, i forget about the instinctive need to view a corpse and am instead glad to see she came out on top, as always.
Clare Vengel.. I hope you continue to succeed in your escapades, regardless of the desire to see people line up and smack you to sense like on the 1980 movie Airplane!.
Was this novel suspenseful, difficult to put down, and overflowing with intrigue? Yes. Definitely. Was it entirely tooThis is not a novel for everyone.
Was this novel suspenseful, difficult to put down, and overflowing with intrigue? Yes. Definitely. Was it entirely too realistic regarding stalking, abuse, rape, abject terror causing crippling OCD? Yes, in my limited experience, i would say so.
A little social commentary: I held off on writing a review for a few weeks after reading ‘Into the Darkest Corner’. The violence was raw and I didn’t want to revisit it so soon. While the review was on hold however, I forgot the protagonist, the victim.. I barely remember her face, and during conversation i could eventually remember her name though i have lost it right now. I can however tell you pretty much anything about Lee, the antagonist, the rapist, the violent and obsessive boyfriend. Even in fiction the victim is mainly forgotten and the aggressor is spotlighted as noteworthy. Just a thought.
In short review, ‘Into the darkest corner’ details a woman both on the decline and during recovery. Both threads occur simultaneously via journal style chapters in varying years. The pendulum ticks from 2003 where she meets a bouncer and falls in love. It tocks back to 2007 where she is frightened to the point of paralysis spending hours in ritualistic process to help keep her false sense of safety intact.
I found the thriller aspect of the novel intense, and was anxious to get past the rough storyline, which was bound to be uncomfortable. Very enjoyable.
Though enjoyable, the ending did leave me a bit wanting. this was a shared opinion with others i know who read it. With so much build up, it felt rushed and rang a little untrue. This should not deter folks from reading it, but could leave you with a bit more of a ‘ho-hum’ feeling than you might prefer.
Not sure if this mediocre ending is an artifact if being a nanowrimo novel,’
Please note, this review is neither positive or negative regarding this work. There is a glaring need for improvement and the author would be wise toPlease note, this review is neither positive or negative regarding this work. There is a glaring need for improvement and the author would be wise to take these points in stride. Hopefully future readers will find none of the faults, and all of the benefit of an application of changes to a new revision of this work. As this is available in a published paperback edition, I doubt any action will be taken. –
The funny thing about being approached to read a book about recovering from Schizophrenia is that you expect it to be insane and that you will be unable to be focus on the details. Eugene Uttley’s (pseudonym) long form essay is exactly the opposite of expectations. Posed in a free form essay format, it held my attention too well. Too well meaning the book was about 25% longer than was healthy for it.
This book was eye opening and answers via Uttley’s perspective, some of the long standting questions people may have about the illness. The book creates a construct of modern Eugene, reflecting on himself and his view during times of break. It strongly references scripts and information written by him in years past. During non-remission times, he kept fairly detailed chapbook diaries. These chapbooks contained conversations he had (with/with out other people), personal insights into various daily elements, and ultimately a solidly unreal worldview. The interesting bit here is this unreal worldview.. It wanders too and fro, consistently pointing out fitting and germane elements of life that many of us take for granted.
Holy Conversational Narrative Batman.
Uttley discusses everything in this book. I am not exaggerating, he discusses everything. From consumable and logical descriptions of his religious perspectives, to homelessness in Korea; No category seems to be off limits. Due to the stream of consciousness formatting of some sections, the thoughts are not ever completed, as a reader you are left wondering if he will ever return to the subject. In other cases, thirty pages (and a handful of subjects) later you are given the conclusion you were waiting for. At many points I was considering putting the book down for good, only to be wrapped up in a new thought I found great interest in.
Certain sections I reread with additional fascination as they were conversations with aspects of his own schizophrenic brain, where portions of himself are hording information and other portions were truly “learning” from the other via open debate.
There are a few glaring problems with this book that, though I highly enjoyed it, will keep most readers from finishing it. These same points make it difficult to justify a positive review and limit my ability to recommend it to others on the grounds of reliability.
The primary concern is length. At one point about three quarters in, he advises that even his own father advised he made his point “then just went on making it for quite some time”. This is an unfair statement in the fact that the myriad of discussion topics take time to flesh out, and in the format used they are tough to nail down. His father’s statement rings true in the fact that the final quarter of the book has absolutely zero point except for Eugene to wax poetic on his desire to write a long book.
The secondary concern may potentially cause Uttley legal issues as well, but the legality is not where he should be concerned. Uttley chooses to display the book with out any form of care for other copyright holders. He blatantly quotes entire song lyrics and sections of prose with little concern for copyright.As stated “I say again, how freeing it is not to have to cite one’s sources”. Surely I agree with him, but a simple bibliography, combined with proper notation, would handle most of this. He would do well, as an author, to recognize the rights of those he references, if nothing else than to provide proper respect for those he finds quote worthy. As an author, he should be giddy to tie his name to the work of those he respects, and hopeful that others would provide him the same courtesy.
The legal and respect perspective is not the true issue here however.
As I read the book, I found myself astounded by some prose that is purely genius, absolutely incredible thoughts that I would like to share with others I know. I highlighted and prepared a number of items I wanted to quote in this review. Fairly sizable sections were isolated, and I spoke about the fascinating points with a couple people who shared my interest. HOWEVER, due to the wanton lack of copyright acknowledgement, I did not feel confident that what I was quoting was truly his own work. Uttley openly discusses his omission of notation as well as his liberal use/paraphrasing of Wikipedia (as well as other authored works).
This second point overshadowed any other concerns I may have had with The Boon, as it invalidated my ability to trust the work I was reading. It made me angry and felt as if my time were being wasted.. It is a real shame that the author’s ego regarding length and citation will harm his work this badly. Even the photograph on the front cover comes into question.
NOTE: If Uttley releases a new revision, I will save my notes and add an addendum to this review, though the original text will remain, it can be amended with the prose that I would love to share, but not at the risk of applying credit where it is not due.
I am a SUCKER for alternate history stories. Dale Cozort has filled this genre need for me twice now, though it is not technically alt history. Both CI am a SUCKER for alternate history stories. Dale Cozort has filled this genre need for me twice now, though it is not technically alt history. Both Cozort novels I have read deal solidly with people in our world stepping into a side dimension where tandem time is running like a river, but diverted by a single, but critical change in the historical record.
In "All Timelines lead to Rome", the empire never left the European continent. Expansionism was stopped dead in its tracks. The Americas were never 'discovered', plague never overtook the Western Hemisphere. It was a mass cascade effect of changes, pretty much removing all semblance of a world we would recognize.
In our world, we have found that the membrane between our timelines is malleable, with the right science, weaker spots can be temporarily opened allowing access to Timeline X. The difficulty here is that any involvement with timeline x could devastate it. An organization has been built to keep the purity of the timeline. Said org has found evidence of a huuuge breach in protocol, putting the entire timeline at risk.
Did I enjoy this book? Hell yeah I did. Would I read it twice? Unlikely. The reread value of this was low. The possibility of a sequel is also low, it was written in a way that I am unsure how it could expand. Too many loose ends conveniently tied up. I dunno.
There were a couple character elements that had me rolling my eyes, but over all they didn't diminish the novel, they simply didn't add to it.
Overall, a favorable and enjoyed read. Everything else is just me being nitpicky.
---------- Much as with the book itself, about three quarters of the publisher description is hand fed to you with answers contained within the first quarter of the book. It introduces one character, then references a second by name with no explanation.. It is overly fluffy and confusing by proxy. I think they dropped the ball on this and made the book less accessible, by being harder to get off the shelf. The cover is interesting and a good choice.
Here is my take- ReBlurb--
"In an alternate earth timeline, Rome never spread it's wings. The Romans never great their empire outside of Europe, they just lollygag around home and portions of Europe. Horrific Euro plagues never spread.
Native North Americans are never impacted by the bevy of terrible problems that expansionism brought our world.and thrive with the paradigm provided. A single human cold from our world will destroy theirs.
So what could justify a corporation's decision to bypass timeline quarantines and blatantly pollute the time streams? What could be worth the potential of becoming the shepherd of xenocide in someone else's history?
Government experts Darla and Scott are going to find out, and it all starts with a dead woman's cellphone."
Publisher's description: "A dead woman's cell phone chip leads to a mystery spanning the U.S. rustbelt, a surviving Roman empire and a North America without Europeans.
A unique alternate history: Newly created portals lead to an alternate reality where prehumans survived on a Mediterranean island, enslaved by local farmers. Alternate history Rome rebuilt their culture around the slaves, preserving the empire but causing it to stagnate. As a result Europeans never discovered America and American Indians still control the alternate New World.
Intertwined mysteries: When Detective Darla Smith investigates a picture of an alternate reality Roman scroll concealed on a murder victim, she is dogged by her past and other mysteries. Why did alternate timeline Rome stop changing? How did Roman slave-raiders get to alternate reality North America? What does software giant Burgen Industries want in the alternate reality?
Powerful forces headed for a violent collision: A wealthy, idealistic business woman and her menacing security chief try to sidetrack the approaching investigation. An Indian town is attacked by raiders with modern guns. The trail leads Darla and Scott through cyberspace, decaying rustbelt towns and an Indian-controlled alternate North America toward a final confrontation."
Would you risk your entire career for the chance to save a city? If the only proof you have that your efforts will have impact is the rantings of an oWould you risk your entire career for the chance to save a city? If the only proof you have that your efforts will have impact is the rantings of an old man, seemingly coherent, and 35 years out of work?
In ‘Strange Attractors’, this is the situation faced by undergraduate Heller Wilson when he bases his thesis on 35 year old theories by Dr Spencer Brown. Reclusive Brown is a self proclaimed custodian of New York City, making minor and major adjustments to keep the big apple from decaying and imploding. Brown tutors and molds Wilson in his forte “Complexity Math” and it’s use in mapping the health of the city as it teeters on the edge of destruction.
Clocking in at 144 pages, the plot was enjoyable and adequate. Though it felt a little rushed at points, the graphic novel was ultimately satisfying. Taking math from Pi, juvenile pranks from Fight Club, and the obvious Butterfly Effect references, Strange Attractors kept me motivated to finish reading, though it took a few pages to initially grab me. The authors could have opted to leave the bow off the wrapped up package plot, it may have helped add weight by allowing this to hint at a continued story line, instead, tied with a nice bow.
Artwork was not a problem here, with vivid colors reserved for certain scenes and muted tones prevailing. Hard crisp lines appearing throughout many pages were stunning, and those that were not were industry par with solid details and clean presentation to compensate.