A teenager who longs for freedom from her overbearing parents finds herself inheriting powers from the mysterious Terrigen Mist that spreads throughouA teenager who longs for freedom from her overbearing parents finds herself inheriting powers from the mysterious Terrigen Mist that spreads throughout Jersey City.
The new iteration of Ms. Marvel centres around Pakistani-American Kamala Khan, Marvel’s first Muslim character to headline her own series. That being said, series’ author G. Willow Wilson isn’t about to take this ground breaking character and put her ethnicity and religion on front street. Sure, it helps flesh out who she is but it isn’t all she is, which is incredibly important to the development of the series and the character. Kamala’s relationship with her faith is similar to that of Daredevil’s relationship with Catholicism – it adds a lot but it’s only a small piece of a bigger puzzle.
I thought this was a great coming of age story that somewhat mirrored a young Peter Parker. With Ms. Marvel, Wilson has crafted a comic filled with rich, diverse, funny characters. It feels fresh and new, which is certainly welcome with me.
As great as Matt Fraction’s work on Hawkeye has been so far, I can’t help but feel this was all a part of a plan to have the character’s name changedAs great as Matt Fraction’s work on Hawkeye has been so far, I can’t help but feel this was all a part of a plan to have the character’s name changed to “Hawkguy”, which I’m 100% in support of.
Oh, and to also introduce Pizza Dog as the next Avenger.
At the urging of Spider-man and Wolverine, Clint Barton (a.k.a Hawkeye/Hawkguy) decides to take some time to himself over the holidays to repair his battle-damaged personal life. Unfortunately, when you’re an Avenger, time off is more of an abstract concept than a real option. It isn’t long before he’s tangled up with a gun-toting, tracksuit-wearing mob with a penchant for using the word “bro”.
While Fraction has been doing some excellent work with Marvel’s often overlooked Avenger, I feel the real star here is David Aja. Aja’s work isn’t flashy, it’s not over the top, it’s almost minimalist in a way. He’s not trying to wow audiences with loud colours or inventive two page spreads; he’s dialing it back to a point where it’s refreshing. Now, if I could only get my hands on some prints..
Little Hits is another strong entry into Fraction’s acclaimed Hawkeye series. If you haven’t been reading this, you’re missing out.
After the brutal events at the close of The Wolf in Winter, Charlie Parker rents a property in the small beach side Maine community of Boreas, in an eAfter the brutal events at the close of The Wolf in Winter, Charlie Parker rents a property in the small beach side Maine community of Boreas, in an effort to heal his wounds in peace. However, knowing Parker, trouble seems to follow him no matter where he lays his head.
Parker’s neighbours, Ruth and Amanda Winter, are in hiding, although they refuse to admit it to Charlie. Evil men whose origins are rooted in the operation of a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War have their eyes set on the Winter’s demise. Does Parker have enough left in the tank to protect them or will the years of abuse put upon his body finally prove to be too much?
The thirteenth book in Connolly’s acclaimed Charlie Parker series is upon us (well, upon the UK anyway – North American release is set to hit shelves on September 29th, 2015). First thing you’ll notice is that unlike the majority of the Parker series (The Reapers being a Louis/Angel novel), it’s written from the viewpoint of a narrator rather than through words of Charlie himself. While this was jarring at first, it quickly became clear that Connolly had a much grander vision in mind, something that would be difficult to do through the eyes of Parker alone. Using this style, Connolly crafted a rich history as well as compelling characters that combined to keep me glued the whole way through.
Seeing as Parker is taking some much needed “me-time”, Connolly threw in more than enough characters to pick up the slack for his signature sleuth. Louis and Angel aren’t far from Parker’s doorstep as they keep a watchful eye over their friend and as always, they provide some laugh out loud moments through witty dialogue that has become a trademark of the Parker series.
What would a Parker book be if it didn’t have a few dangerous men lurking in the shadows? A villain dubbed The Jigsaw Man? Sign me up. And while these evil cronies aren’t the scariest adversaries Parker has had to combat, they’re certainly some of the more desperate ones. These men have spent years running from their past so with their anonymity threatened, you can bet they’re going to fight back.
For the longest time, The White Road had been my favourite Parker book, but I think A Song of Shadows may have eclipsed it. The events at the conclusion of A Song of Shadows have reinvigorated the series showing readers that Connolly has a lot left in the tank.
Lately I’d been going through a bit of a reading slump. I picked up and put down a number of novels before deciding on King’s latest short story colleLately I’d been going through a bit of a reading slump. I picked up and put down a number of novels before deciding on King’s latest short story collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. While I skipped Uncle Stevie’s most recent release, “Finder’s Keepers” – I wasn’t big on its predecessor Mr. Mercedes – I trusted in King to snap me out of my funk. Luckily, my trust was not misplaced.
Within King’s latest short fiction anthology are twenty tales featuring everything from a mystical Kindle that acts as a window to alternate dimensions (UR), to a man with the ability to kill people through writing obituaries (Obit), to a man who finds out what awaits us after death (Afterlife) as well as many other chilling stories. It should be worth noting that only two are previously unpublished (three if you count the fact that Bad Little Kid had yet to be published in English). Luckily for me, I’d only read three of them (Blockade Billy / Mile 81 / Morality), so there was not a lot of overlap.
A few of my favourites include the above mentioned Kindle-centric story UR – which despite initially turning me off due to its blatant product tie-in (first published as a promotional story for the Kindle Singles brand) it managed to shine as a truly original bit of storytelling. I also loved Bad Little Kid, a tale about a bastard of a child who shows up at different points in the life of a man, causing psychological harm to those the man cares about. The final story, Summer Thunder, was a very difficult read as it detailed both the heartbreaking loss of a pet as well as the horror of nuclear war.
I was delighted to see Drunken Fireworks included as it was originally released as an audiobook exclusive this summer. I had downloaded it a few months back but could only stomach a little less than five minutes as I strongly disliked the narrator.
Overall, I was happy with the collection and I think King’s introductions about how each story came to be, added quite a bit to the overall experience. If you’re a fan of King’s other short story collections, I can’t see you walking away disappointed....more
If you’ve ever met Shane Bishop, chances are someone out there wants to get rid of you. Bishop isn’t a killer or hit man per se, he’s more of a profesIf you’ve ever met Shane Bishop, chances are someone out there wants to get rid of you. Bishop isn’t a killer or hit man per se, he’s more of a professional set-up artist. If a company wants you out the door, he might plant drugs on you, frame you for breach of contract or any number of illegal activities, then call the cops and off to jail you go. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.00.
However, when Shane himself is the victim of a set-up, he’s blackmailed into doing the dirty work of a powerful corporation. Can Shane succeed in his mission and save his own ass in the process or will years of bad karma finally catch up with him?
I can’t say I’ve ever read a book where the lead character overrules and badmouths the narrator. The style chosen by author Bryce Allen was completely alien to me and while it was jarring at first, I believe it worked – especially where Shane was completely unlikeable throughout, a bold choice to make when you’re asking your reader to stick with this guy for nearly two hundred pages. In fact, there were occasions where Bishop almost seemed too offensive, like Allen was turning up Shane’s personality to eleven in an attempt to piss off just about everybody who picks up this book. However, despite more than a few suspect and off colour remarks, there were still moments where I found myself laughing out loud.
The Spartak Trigger is an interesting experiment and something I’d recommend if you can handle hanging out with a misogynistic, racist jerk who speaks like a YouTube commentator for a few hours. Allen seems like a fun writer who isn’t afraid to take chances and I’m interested to see what he’s got planned next.
Deadpool and his new wife Shiklah are forced to fend off the aggressive forces of Shiklah’s jilted lover, Dracula. While they are off making quick worDeadpool and his new wife Shiklah are forced to fend off the aggressive forces of Shiklah’s jilted lover, Dracula. While they are off making quick work of the vampire horde, Deadpool’s friend, S.H.I.E.L.D Agent Preston, discovers a terrible secret that threatens her relationship with Deadpool himself.
Look, I’ll be the first person to admit that while I enjoy comics, I'm not exactly current when it comes to big crossover storylines. This particular volume of Deadpool occurs within the time frame of the Marvel Comics event “Original Sin” and it left me feeling a little lost in the grand scheme of things as I didn’t quite understand what was going on. There’s also a weird wibbly, wobbly, timey, wimey thing going on involving an afroed Deadpool and a lesser known super heroine, Dazzler.
I don’t mean to be harsh, but the artwork in this volume was flat out terrible. Maybe I’m just not a fan of John Lucas, who knows. At times, it almost looked like it was bordering on John Kricfalusi territory, which is the wrong fit for superheroes (unless you’re talking Powdered Toast Man). I hope that they bring back Scott Koblish for the remainder of the series, his work has been excellent.
Volumes five and six haven’t been as strong as the first four and it has me worried in regards to the series going forward. Duggan and Posehn have proven to be excellent writers, so I hope they find their footing and get things back on track.
Following a failed government-funded program that involved rolling out a fleet of robots to do dangerous jobs, Raymond Electronica is the last metal mFollowing a failed government-funded program that involved rolling out a fleet of robots to do dangerous jobs, Raymond Electronica is the last metal man standing. Fronting as a private detective, Raymond keeps himself busy working as a hitman. Up to now, all of his jobs have come through his companion computer Ada, a large boxy machine that takes up residence in his office. However, when a young woman approaches Ray with a request to track down and take out a Hollywood actor, his interest is piqued when she dumps several solid gold bars on his desk. Can Ray track down and eliminate his new target?
I received a free copy from the publisher via Net Galley for review.
Adam Christopher’s Made to Kill is a truly original bit of writing – a robot detective sleuthing in the 1960s? Sign me up! And if the amazing cover doesn’t hook you, the fact that it’s described as Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe meets Lawrence Block’s hit-man for hire Keller should.
Despite the fact that Made to Kill features a giant robot working a case, Christopher’s story doesn’t allow itself to get bogged down in the gimmick of the “robot detective”. At its core, it’s a smart and funny thriller that knows when it should take itself seriously and when to play it up for laughs. Whether Raymond is synthesizing laughter that he says sounds like an old Buick backfiring or declaring that he has the world’s best poker face as he’s literally without features, the absurdity of the plot kept me reading along with few breaks.
Raymond has a built-in memory regarding basic functions and knowledge but he relies on magnetic tape to store information learned within a twenty-four hour period. Once the day ends, the tape is removed and stored and he turns to his computer companion Ada to fill him in. It gives him a timeline for how long he can stay on a case per day; this way he isn’t working constantly without breaks, in a way humanizing him. There’s also the fact that he’s designed to look somewhat like a man but Christopher reminds the reader that he weighs about a ton and stands at least seven feet tall, so there’s only so much he can do to blend in.
As the story moves on, it switches from a simple missing person’s case to something altogether different; something that I did not see coming. I think that if you’re a big fan of the period in which Christopher is playing, you’ll like the twist and enjoy where things go.
Adam Christopher is proving to be an incredibly versatile writer. The man is all over the place with novels ranging from superhero stories to space-opera epics to straight up noir mysteries – he does it all, and he does it all well.
Daredevil’s secret identity has fallen into the hands of The Kingpin. Rather than a quick and brutal strike, Kingpin elects to take a slow, punishingDaredevil’s secret identity has fallen into the hands of The Kingpin. Rather than a quick and brutal strike, Kingpin elects to take a slow, punishing measure of revenge against a man who has been a thorn in his side for years. Stripping away everything Matt Murdock holds dear, Kingpin leaves Daredevil a shell of his former self. However, a man without hope… is a man without fear.
In the late 1970s, when Daredevil was on the ropes, Frank Miller took over as corner man and willed the Man Without Fear back into the fight. So in 1986, when writer Denny O’Neil was set to leave series, Marvel asked Frank if he’d be interested in returning to the character in which he had achieved tremendous success. Miller agreed but only if long time collaborator, artist David Mazzucchelli, could accompany him as the two would team up to write what many consider the definitive Daredevil story.
When I read this for the first time nearly six years ago, I remember appreciating it but not being blown away by it. However, given the rising popularity of the character due to the recently released Netflix series, I thought it was time to give it another shot.
The first three quarters of the story is nothing short of excellent. With Kingpin in possession of Daredevil’s secret identity, he begins a ruthless and systematic destruction of Matt Murdock’s life. The IRS freeze Matt’s accounts, the bank forecloses on his apartment and he becomes disbarred as a practicing lawyer. When Matt is at his absolute lowest point, Kingpin demolishes Matt’s apartment leaving the shredded remains of the Daredevil costume atop the rubble.
While Miller isn’t credited with first exploring Daredevil’s Catholic roots, he’s definitely one of few to first use it to great effect. In Born Again, Daredevil’s “resurrection” is due in part to help from Sister Maggie, a nun within the catholic church. Throughout Murdock’s rehabilitation, Mazzucchelli produces a few excellent panels showing Matt in a number of Christ-like poses.
As great as the majority of the story was, the last quarter or so involving Captain America and the patriotic villain Nuke felt like overkill. What seemed like a very intimate story involving two enemies in Daredevil and The Kingpin, exploded to include The Avengers, government conspiracies and destruction on a massive scale. It seemed like Miller tried to include too many characters and events, making what’s meant to feel like a big deal, fall flat.
Over the years, Daredevil has become one of my favorite comic book characters and while Born Again is considered the measuring stick, I’d throw Kevin Smith’s Daredevil, Vol. 1: Guardian Devil up against it any day.
After his dust-up with the syndicate, Parker heads to Nebraska to see a doctor about a new face. After his features are flip-flopped, Parker heads norAfter his dust-up with the syndicate, Parker heads to Nebraska to see a doctor about a new face. After his features are flip-flopped, Parker heads north and falls in with a few felons planning an armoured truck robbery. Being a perfectionist, Parker doesn’t like the plan and after making a few adjustments, he comes to suspect one of the players isn’t on the level.
On top of all this, the doctor who played Mr. Potato Head with Parker’s mug winds up taking a dirt nap and Parker is the prime suspect. Will the robbery succeed? Will Parker prove his innocence in the doc’s death? Will Parker punch someone in the kidney? Probably.
Westlake’s (Richard Stark is a pseudonym for Donald Westlake) Parker is such a well-written character; his methods are straightforward and brutal – simply put, Parker doesn’t have time for your nonsense. He’s been living a life of crime long enough that he can smell a rat from a mile away, so when a scheme seems fishy, Parker doesn’t sweat it, he simply comes up with his own game plan.
My only complaint is in regards to the amount of time Westlake’s devoted to hashing and rehashing the plan. It felt at times like I was reading blueprints rather than a story. Would the story still have worked without such detail? Hard to say. However, Westlake could have moved it along a little faster.
US Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke has been dispatched to Wayward Pines, Idaho to investigate the recent disappearance of two fellow agents. Just aftUS Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke has been dispatched to Wayward Pines, Idaho to investigate the recent disappearance of two fellow agents. Just after crossing the city line, Ethan and his partner are t-boned by a transfer truck leaving Ethan rattled and his partner dead. Missing his badge, wallet and gun, Ethan struggles to find his footing in his new surroundings. Unable to reach his wife or his commanding officer, Ethan suspects the town is out to get him. Is Ethan really doomed or has his sanity begun to unravel?
I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Say what you will about this story but Pines is anything but boring. Once Crouch does the heavy lifting in establishing the town, the characters and his protagonist Ethan, he slams his foot down on the gas and speeds ahead. As the mystery of Wayward Pines unfolded, I’d be lying if I said I could have ever guessed where the story ended up going.
I think the less you know about this story, the better. I had read a few reviews before I decided to grab it from Netgalley and luckily, not a lot was spoiled. If you can, I would suggest staying away from the trailer FOX put together for the upcoming TV series as I feel it gives away more than I’d feel comfortable telling you. I will say that it looks like they totally nailed the feel of Wayward Pines and the madness Ethan is subjected to.
I’m interested in checking out the following two books but in all honesty, I think Pines itself is strong enough to stand on its own. Crouch leaves a lot at the end that’s definitely worth exploring, so the curiosity is there but it’s a really strong effort. Hopefully it doesn’t go off the rails.
Want to make a novel feel current, but not too current? Set it roughly ten years in the past before the rise of smartphones, Facebook and Twitter. WhaWant to make a novel feel current, but not too current? Set it roughly ten years in the past before the rise of smartphones, Facebook and Twitter. What you’re left with is a world that’s both familiar yet far enough removed to feel periodic.
Before Halifax and his best friend Mickey Montauk go their separate ways – Hal to graduate school in Boston and Mickey to the front lines of the second Iraq war – they vow to stay in touch, making sure their friendship does not suffer due to the distance. The duo creates a Wikipedia page dedicated to their epic parties thrown in Seattle. Throughout the story, the authors insert screenshots of the fictional Wikipedia page as both Hal and Mickey edit it during their time apart.
I received a free copy from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.
Robinson and Kovite juxtapose the irrelevant first world problems of Hal against the daily life of Mickey as he fights a brutal and vicious war abroad. Despite the uneven gravity of each friend’s situation, they work well with one another. When Mickey’s wartime experiences get too intense, there’s a deflating period when the narrative shifts back to Hal.
Both Hal and Mickey are genuinely likeable characters and although I wouldn’t say I’m as self absorbed as Hal, but I found him to be the one I identified with the most. War of Encyclopaedists was a nice break from what I normally read and one that I recommend.
While recovering from injuries suffered on the job, Inspector Alan Grant is searching for something to occupy his mind. Having an affinity for faces,While recovering from injuries suffered on the job, Inspector Alan Grant is searching for something to occupy his mind. Having an affinity for faces, Grant is given a stack of portraits and photos of men and women to study. After coming across a photo of historical villain Richard III, Grant recalls the murder of Richard’s two young nephews and despite never being proven guilty of the crime, history has written him as a murderer. With little to do, Grant becomes obsessed with examining the evidence against Richard in an effort to solve a five hundred year old crime.
With The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey (a pseudonym used by Scottish writer Elizabeth Mackintosh) wrote a mystery novel where the protagonist never leaves his bed nor is in any real danger. Not only that, but Grant has nothing to gain from solving the mystery nor does anyone seemingly care if he does. I can’t imagine anyone pitching this to a publisher today. So, why was it voted the best mystery novel of all time by the British Crime Writers’ Association (second being The Big Sleep, I might add)?
I guess you could say that while the story is first and foremost a mystery, it’s also an exploration into how unreliable history can be or how opinion is often accepted as fact. Almost everyone that Grant speaks to in the course of his investigation believes Richard to be guilty as that’s what they've been told through history books despite Richard’s guilt seemingly being based on hearsay and less on cold, hard evidence. You ever hear that old saying, history is written by the victors? Grant’s main argument hinges greatly on this fact in pointing out that Richard did not have a sufficient motive, nor did his character leading up to the suspected murder dictate the killings. The succeeding Tudors, however, had everything to gain by dragging Richard through the mud following his death.
While I don’t put a lot of faith in the study of physiognomy (the assessment of a person's character or personality from his or her outer appearance), the resulting investigation by Grant proves to have some merit. The Daughter of Time is an interesting read that examines the way history had been recorded and the way justice was dealt before the age of forensics.
n 1915, the Great War was in full swing and the luxury ocean liner Lusitania was set to sail from the U.S. to the U.K. Despite Germany declaring the sn 1915, the Great War was in full swing and the luxury ocean liner Lusitania was set to sail from the U.S. to the U.K. Despite Germany declaring the seas surrounding Britain to be a war zone, passengers and crewmen alike were strangely at ease. Lusitania’s captain, William Thomas Turner, placed a great deal of faith in the ship’s speed as well as the gentlemanly rule of war that kept civilians safe during transport. However Walther Schwieger, the captain of a German U-boat, seemed more than willing to throw away the rule book and take down any civilian ships that dared to enter his war zone.
While at its core Larson’s Dead Wake is about the collision course involving the Lusitania and Schwieger’s U-boat, he attempts to humanize the conflict by expanding the story to include the crews of both vessels as well as several of the passengers. In doing so, Larson adds another layer to what history paints as a simple act of war. He also asks the questions: could Britain have done more to keep the Lusitania safe or did they only do enough to ensure the United States joined the conflict following the deaths of hundreds of US civilians?
Dead Wake is the third book of Larson’s I’ve read and while his intense appetite for research is front and centre, I felt this particular book became bogged down with excessive detail. I didn’t much care for Woodrow Wilson’s pining nor did I find the day to day activities aboard the Lusitania all that interesting, especially his penchant for describing the various attire of different passengers at random points.
It takes roughly two hundred and fifty pages for the ships to meet and while the horror of the disaster was compelling, the journey was exhausting. I started this book shortly after its release this past March but put it aside when I found I just couldn't get into it. I picked it up again last week and finished it but it didn't take long for me to remember my dissatisfaction.
Larson is a terrific writer and while his intense research is something to behold, he’s certainly written better books – Devil in the White City and In the Garden of Beasts to be exact – so, I’m not about to write him off. Do yourself a favour and check out the aforementioned stories first before picking up Dead Wake....more