In six months, earth is going to be hit with an asteroid, estimated to destroy over half of the population of Earth, and Detective Hank Palace thinks he’s probably the only cop left that cares anything about solving cases. Concord, New Hampshire has come to be called “Hanger Town” in reference to the overwhelming suicide of choice of its citizens. When he’s called to the scene of a man that has supposedly hung himself in a McDonald’s bathroom, something just doesn’t look right, and Hank Palace is determined to get to the bottom of it. They’re still not sure where the asteroid will land, but justice must still be served, right?
End of the world scenarios in fiction aren’t hard to come by recently, but out of all of them, the asteroid/meteor/large thing falling out of the sky is one that fascinates me more than others. I imagine getting the news that in a year, or maybe six months, something big is gonna hit, and I’m in the blast zone. Would I go on with life as usual, or would I throw caution to the wind and live out the rest of the days like there’s no tomorrow (which may or may not be true)? Hank Palace is one of the ones who decide to go on as usual, doing his job, and doing it to the best of his ability. All Hank ever wanted to be is a cop, and he pursues this case with a single minded doggedness that is almost unheard of in these strange new times of self-indulgence and wild abandon. He does his job in spite of the quiet snickers and not so subtle ribbing from his colleagues, as things begin to crumble around him. The story is told by Hank, and we follow him as he navigates the trail of the victim, a quiet, socially awkward insurance man. As Hank puts together the clues, following strict procedure, he stumbles onto something much more than a mere hanging, and the body count begins to rise.
The Last Policeman is much more than a police procedural or a pre-apocalyptic scenario. It’s a study of a man determined to do the right thing as society crumbles and hope begins to crumble with it. Hank reminded me a bit of Marge Gunderson, the indomitable police chief in Fargo, and as the case unfolds, so does Hank, and so do the little ins and outs of Concord and its inhabitants. Things in this book are so subtle and understated that the bits of violence can be jarring, even though the violence is never over the top. I think Hank was as surprised about it as I was, yet he perseveres with dignity, and even a bit of off kilter grace. I suspect part of what drives Hank in his investigation is that he sees a bit of himself in the victim, and following through is really the only choice he has. Ben Winters’ writing is nuanced, lovely, sometimes poignant, and a pure pleasure to read. I hope that The Last Policeman gets the attention that it deserves, because it’s a hell of a book and about as close to perfect as it gets for me. I hear that it will be a trilogy, and I can’t wait for the next one!...more
Juno Mozambe is gonna take KOP (Koba Office of Police) back, and the first step is taking over protection of a brothel that Emil Mota (Juno’s arch enemy) has already claimed. With a motley crew of dirty cops, and an ex-prostitute/bodyguard named Maria, Juno takes a stand against the nightly riots that accompany rolling blackouts that plunge the city of Koba into darkness. When Muto gets wind of this, he’s not amused, and Juno’s intimidation tactics aren’t working against him anymore. When the men of Juno’s crew begin turning up slaughtered in the most brutal ways, Juno knows he’s up against someone, and something, bigger than Muto. Along with his former partner (and honest cop) Maggie, he vows to get to the bottom of it, before another man dies, and KOP is corrupt for good.
There were a few times when I thought I knew where Kop Killer was going. I so didn’t. Really didn’t. Kop Killer is the third in a series featuring Juno Mozambe, but if you haven’t read the first two, that’s ok, because the author does a great job on catching you up on events without info dump, although you might miss out on some of the emotional resonance gained from reading the first two. Kop Killer is a wonderful mashup of police procedural, (very) dark noir, and some of the creepiest sci fi you’ll ever read. There’s humor here too, of the blackest kind, and you may find your mouth twisting into a slow, grim smile, since it kind of creeps up on you. Koba is a humid, sticky, fly and lizard ridden, leafy green mess of a city and it’s such a part of the narrative, it’s almost its own character. As Juno gets deeper into the gruesome murderers that seem to stick to him like flies (couldn’t help it), even the jaded ex-cop can’t believe how depraved this killer is. We’re talking shape shifters (not what you thinks), a creepy doctor performing the most awful of experiments (just…ugh), and a group of cops so corrupt your mind will spin. I love my gray heroes, and Juno fits firmly in with the best of them. His heart is in the right place, even as things fall to pieces around him, and he’s fiercely loyal. It will certainly take someone like Juno to bring down KOP and make things better for the people of Koba, and I promise you’ll enjoy this dark and scary ride!...more
I am a HUGE fan of this series, so of course I was anxious to dig in to #5! It’s been a couple of years since Document #4 (The Spellmans Strike Again), and Isabel (Izzy) Spellman a PI with her families private investigation firm, is (somewhat) settled in with her boyfriend (aka Ex-Boyfriend #13) Henry Stone, her much younger sister Rae is still up to no good, and her parents are acting strangely, particularly her mother, who all of a sudden seems very interested in taking as many pottery/language/crocheting etc. courses she can fit into her schedule, and the dreaded Grammy Spellman has dropped in for a visit. All of this is pretty normal for the Spellmans, but if you’re familiar with this series, you already know that, with them, nothing is ever what it seems.
In The Trail of the Spellmans, Izzy’s smart, dry humor is still on full display, but there is a sadness about her in this one that seems more prominent. Izzy has always been a bit aimless, but at 34, she’s watching everyone around her get on with their lives, whether it be job, family, etc. Her brother David, always so perfectly put together (not so much these days), is now a stay at home dad to his 18 month old daughter Sydney, and his lawyer wife, Maggie (Henry’s ex) seems a bit frustrated with his obsession with Sydney’s learning, and there’s a rift between David and Rae all of a sudden. Izzy has been with Henry for a while and knows that he’s got something serious on his mind, but, being the queen of avoidance and evasion that she is (seriously, it’s a talent), Izzy tries to make sure she’s anywhere but the house that they share, much to my frustration! I want so badly for Izzy to find love, and the author is amazing at stretching out the tension to handwringing levels. Don’t worry, she keeps you plenty distracted with the goings on of the Spellman clan, and the cases they’ve taken on. You think your family is weird? Trust me, they’re nothing compared with this group.
The Spellmans can be a frustrating group, but they’re also a loving group. Through everything (and there’s plenty), you never once doubt their love for each other, and their hearts are as big as their propensity for snooping (ie huge.) The clients and cases are entertaining, as always, but it’s the Spellmans that are the stars of this series. This one felt like a turning point, maturity wise, for Izzy, and our favorite hard drinking PI certainly does a bit of dreaded soul searching. Where this will lead, who knows, but I do know for sure that I’ll always be along for the ride. If you haven’t discovered this series yet, I suggest you start at The Spellman Files and work your way up. You don’t have to, but you will get attached to these characters (all of them), seriously, and it makes each book that much richer, better, funnier, you name it. And yes, you will laugh, loud and often. I drive my husband crazy reading aloud to him from these books. They’re just too damn good not to share, and you should do just that. Snag a copy of each one, read them, then share them. You don’t have to love mysteries to love the Spellmans, and you’ll identify with at least one member of this crazy family. Packed with great writing, biting wit, fun mysteries, and the utter, chaotic joy that is the Spellman clan, this is a series you don’t want to miss!...more
I should totally be ashamed. I read Midnight Reckoning before reading Dark Awakening, the first book in the series, but it turns out that’s ok! There are characters in Midnight that are from Dark Awakening, but the book certainly stands on its own, so no worries. The stars of Midnight Reckoning are Jaden Harrison and Lyra Black. Jaden is a Cait Sidh and a vampire, so yes, that makes him a shape shifting vamp who spends a bit of time as a rather large cat. Purrrrr. Lyra, on the other hand, is a werewolf. So, both are shapeshifters, but that’s where the similarities end. When Lyra is attacked by an overly amorous were with a mean streak, Jaden happens to be on hand for a rescue, but Lyra is less than thrilled. See, it’s time for Lyra to be matched to her mate (weres bond for life), and her dad, the Thorn Pack’s Alpha, is determined to find her the perfect strong match, but Lyra has other ideas. Lyra is determined to compete in the Proving, which could give Lyra a chance at Alpha. However, were packs aren’t so forward conscious in their thinking where women are concerned, and the chances of this happening are slim to none. Lyra is stubborn though, so her father hires Jaden to teach her his fighting moves, in order to give her a better chance of survival. I think we both know where this is going, don’t we?
I loved this book. Flat out loved it. I couldn’t stop thinking “Romeo and Juliet” while reading it, and I fell in love with both Jaden and Lyra’s characters almost immediately. Jaden is a 200 year old vampire that cooks, and there’s a vulnerability about him that is just heartwrenching, especially since he’s spent quite a bit of time as a slave in the hands of the Ptolemy. Speaking of which… There are hierarchies of vamps, with each being able to change into different animals (cat, bat, etc), and the leader of the Ptolemy, Arsinoe, is one mean mamma, and she’s a little ticked that a bunch of her cats have run off with a new leader (Book 1 covers this, I promise). She’s not above sending assassins out for any wayward kitties that she may want back, and this provides a nice subplot (not to mention some pretty nifty fighting scenes.) Lyra is stubborn, smart-mouthed, and strong of will, but there’s something about Jaden that she just can’t resist (this won’t be hard for you to believe, trust me), but it’s kind of like that line in Ghostbusters, remember? Something about dogs and cats living together? In the world of the weres, it’s Just. Not. Done. Vampires aren’t so picky about it, but if Jaden and Lyra’s relationship is revealed, she pretty much might as well sign her own banishment papers. Kendra Leigh Castle creates a fascinating world populated by some of the coolest cats (literally), the toughest weres, and the wiliest vamps that I’ve read about in a long time. She keeps the pace up, and you’ll keep wanting to read “one more chapter.” I mean, come on…shape shifting vamps? Yes, please!! Like I said, I started with this one first, and the author does a great job of bringing you up to speed on the events so far, but it never hurts to start with Dark Awakening. I finished this one, and immediately reached for it-that’s how much I wanted to dive back into Kendra Leigh Castle’s awesome world. Paranormal romance fans will love this, but urban fantasy fans will like it too, I think, since it has enormous crossover appeal (in my opinion). Snag a copy as soon as you can, seriously, and grab Dark Awakening while you’re at it!...more
Ephraim Scott’s life could be better. He comes home to find his mother unconscious with pills all over the floor, and realizes that she thinks he’s dead. A trip to the hospital confirms that a boy his age has indeed been killed in a bus accident; a boy that happens to look just like him, and has a library card with his name on it. Ok, maybe the library made a mistake, and hasn’t it been said that everyone has a twin somewhere? Ephraim could live with these explanations, until he finds the coin, and the note telling him to flip it and make a wish. What can possibly go wrong, right?
The ways that things can go wrong are pretty much endless in Fair Coin, author EC Myers’s debut novel. At first, after Eph makes a wish on the coin, things seem to be better. He wishes that his mother wasn’t so messed up, and waking up to the smell of bacon and coffee, his mom in the kitchen getting ready for her office job (instead of a job at the local ShopRite), is most certainly a step in the right direction. Then there’s the girl he’s crazy about, the geeky cool Jena. Maybe wishing she’d like him would help steer things in the right direction, yes? When things start changing for the worst, namely some alarming (and violent) changes in his best friend Nathan, Ephraim decides to get rid of the coin, with disastrous results.
I liked Eph. Really, I did. In spite of him being a pretty horny teen (a nice pair of, um, lungs, could distract him like you wouldn’t believe), he really did try to do the right thing, even when things started going to hell. And boy did they. Let’s put it this way, the coin is no monkey’s paw (you know, magic talisman, three wishes?), although it may remind you of one. Actually, the coin is part of something much bigger, and much more complex than Eph could have imagined. Ultimately, he learns that every time he uses the coin, he’s transported into a parallel universe. Yep, we’re talking multiworlds and quantum physics (and doppelgangers!). I love stories like this that deal in some pretty fascinating science, while throwing in a ton of adventure. Things move very, very fast, and once Eph and the gang start hopping all over the place (parallel universes!), it can be a bit difficult to keep up with. I did find that, instead of stopping to try to collate everything , just go with the flow of the story. Seriously, it totally works. It really gives you no chance to catch your breath, and even though Eph is the main character, that Jena is a scene eater, and she doesn’t take Eph’s crap. Kudos to strong female characters! But I digress… A truly scary, psychotic villain rounds out the cast of characters and this is one ride you won’t soon forget. Things never get too deep with the characters, but if you’re looking for a fun, nonstop read, you’ll enjoy this. Good thing Quantum Coin, the 2nd in the series, comes out in October, because if this crackling debut is any indication, it’s gonna be a humdinger of a sequel!...more
Hurricane Katrina is coming, and Drusilla Jaco is battening down the hatches. Well, as much as she can. She’s gone to stay with her grandmother, out of the danger zone, but her mentor, Gerry St. Simon has stayed behind to weather the storm. When she finds out that he’s gone missing, she heads back to New Orleans to find him, and gets much more than she bargains for.
Drusilla is a junior wizard, and her specialty is physical magic (potions and such). As she combs through the wreckage of her mentor’s house, she’s at a loss as to how to go about finding him, and when the handsome and very capable Alex Warin shows up, claiming to be her new partner, all bets are off. Royal Street managed to surprise me in almost every way, which in an increasingly crowded genre, is getting harder and harder to do. Drusilla reminded me very much of Sookie Stackhouse (minus the mind reading.) She’s empathic, and does have quite a bit of magical talent, but in this first book, she’s still very much finding her way. When Alex bursts onto the scene, in the midst of a battle with undead pirate Jean Lafitte, you’d think that sparks would immediately fly and a romance would be inevitable, yes? Well, not so fast. Alex is undeniably hot, and his protective nature is certainly attractive, but there are more important things to worry about, namely some decidedly voodoo tinged murders plaguing the city and of course, the search for her mentor, Gerry. Then there’s Alex’s cousin Jake, who owns the local bar, is ex-military, and is refreshingly “normal”, which is an undeniable attraction for Drusilla. And Jake is certainly attracted to her too.
The setting of post Katrina NOLA is also a character in and of itself, and adds nicely to the atmosphere of this sparkling debut. Ms. Johnson’s writing is very polished and the pace of the novel is compelling without being too urgent. The characters get to know one another, and genuine friendships are formed, and one-sidedness is not to be found. Even the seemingly diabolical Jean Lafitte has a “better side”. I loved her concept of the Beyond, where the undead, the dead, and other supernatural beings make their home, and it will provide plenty of material for future novels. I, for one, want to explore Old Orleans more and get to know its colorful inhabitants better. Add to the mix characters right out of NOLA’s jazz age, shape shifters, plenty of magic, and compelling storytelling, and you’ve got the recipe for a great read! I identified with Drusilla immensely and can’t wait to follow her on her next adventure!...more
Since the events of Green-Eyed Demon, Sabina’s twin sister, Maisie, is still reeling from her horrific ordeal and Sabina is having issues dealing with it as well, not to mention her new resolution not to drink blood from humans. However, Sabina is happy with her mage boyfriend Adam and is relieved that she’s not on the run anymore from her nasty grandmother, and super-vamp, Lavinia Kane. Maisie’s issues aside, life should be good for Sabina, right? Wellll, not so much. See, for the sake of her and Adam’s relationship, Sabina has put aside her vamp nature to concentrate on her newly discovered mage talents. That in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, but denying her dark side is beginning to take its toll. When Adam and Sabina are asked by the powers-that-be to find out who has killed a human and a mage, Sabina reluctantly admits (to herself), that the challenge is just what she needs to get out of her rut, until she finds out that Alexis, former vamp Enforcer (what Sabina used to be) will also be helping them out. Alexis is a walking cliché and there were plenty of times that I wanted to slap her (you’ll see what I mean), but she certainly provides some color. See, it’s suspected that someone is challenging Slade (remember Slade? Hotness INC?) for control of the New York area, and conflict involving Slade is most definitely stress that Sabina doesn’t need, especially after their last tryst (which was super hot, btw). I’ll admit, Adam is nice, and he loves Sabina, but damn that Slade is the hotness and sometimes I’d love to be able to pull Sabina aside (you know ,in urban fantasy bookland), and whisper “Slade. Slade. Slade”…but I digress. What all of this amounts to is a ton of stress for Sabina, and also constant worry for Maisie, who is expected to deliver a prophecy at the upcoming peace treaty signing (and is acting rather strangely, even for someone that’s been through the kind of trauma that she has). Remember, the peace treaty that will assure peace among the dark races? Yep, it’s a huge thing, and everyone is under pressure to produce and perform, and Sabina is no exception.
On the bright side, Giguhl, our favorite demon minion is always by Sabina’s side, and his unshaking devotion to Sabina is one of the most enduring things about this series. He’s dealing with some stuff of his own though, namely involving one cross-dressing, cabaret singing fairy, but he’s also organizing a roller derby team (since the Demon Fight Club snafu), which offers some levity to the story, and many giggles (heh, giggles for Mr. Giggles:). The author puts poor Sabina through the emotional ringer in this one, and some twists will cause your jaw to drop (at least, they did mine). There are lots of changes for our heroine and her friends, and Ms. Wells doesn’t hesitate to pile the conflict on. But Sabina is up to it, even as she fights her own guilt and personal demons, not to mention her constant struggle to find herself. This series just keeps getting better and better, and you’ll find yourself turning the pages of Silver-Tongued Devil with the speed of a blood thirsty vamp (sorry, couldn’t help it). Trust me, by the time you finish this one, you’ll be more than ready for Blue-Blooded Vamp to hit the shelves in 2012!...more
Abby Sinclair has her hands full. She’s taking care of Moira’s half angel/half faerie son Benjamin while Moira is off on the Queen’s business, her bodyguard Talivar (also Moira’s brother) is showing more than a passing interest in doing a little more than just guarding Abby’s body, she’s becoming more and more proficient in the Dreaming, while also fielding “Dear Abby” letters from the OtherFolk of Portsmyth. See, Abby is Moira’s TouchStone, which gives Moira the ability to stay in the mortal world without limitations and travel the CrossRoads of Faerie at will. Abby is also a KeyStone, which means that she can be TouchStoned to someone without a contract, just by physical contact. Abby’s also still reeling a bit from her breakup with Brystion (incubus and full on hottie.) Full plate! Things start getting really weird when a kidnap attempt is made on Benjamin by a woman claiming to be the new Protectorate of Portsmyth. That’s a big problem, since the current Protectorate is Moira. So, where exactly is Moira?
Unfortunately, that’s not all that’s gone wrong. The Queen is not acting like herself, and some pretty severe steps have been taken, which are taking their toll on Faerie, and war may be brewing between daemons and faeries. I really enjoyed A Brush of Darkness, but Allison Pang really brings the awesome with this one. Still have questions about Abby’s past ( I know I did)? Don’t worry, lots of those will be answered here, and then some. Were you hoping for a sweeter love story for Abby, as well? Talivar certainly fits that bill. I could go on a bit about Talivar…but I digress. I mean, Ion was hot, but fickle, and sometimes a bit of a jerk, but what do you expect from an incubus? If you love Faerie, again, you’ve come to the right place. The author’s world building is nothing short of excellent. Seriously, it was good in the first book, but it’s awesome in this one. Abby will not only have to navigate her new and delicate relationship with Talivar, but she’ll also have to do it while navigating the labyrinthine intrigues of Faerie, including a rather memorable trip through the outskirts of Faerie and some sticky negotiation with the Unseelie. Court intrigue abounds, and the author is expert at weaving in some pretty cool pop culture references while tying together multiple plot strings with some pretty intricate knots. I mean, she references Portal…how cool is that?
Abby is one of my favorite characters in urban fantasy right now, and her supporting cast is almost as awesome. Phin, your favorite wee, ass-biting, panty wallowing unicorn is back in all his glory, and shockingly enough, you get to see a more serious side of that rude little guy in this one. It’s kind of…disconcerting, yet also very cool. Allison Pang actually takes the time to really flesh out her minor characters and you find yourself caring about them almost as much as her major players. How she does it, I don’t know, but she’s captured magic in a bottle twice, and I’m also counting on the third time being a charm. Trust me, at the end of this one, your jaw will drop and you’ll begin the countdown for the next book. Very, very highly recommended!...more
When 14 year old Everett Singh watches his father’s kidnapping in front of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, he doesn’t quite know what to do. He’s very sure of what he saw, but the police don’t seem to believe him and his own mother is not even quite sure what to believe. See, Everett’s dad is a theoretical physicist, and it’s possible that he’s discovered something that some people will do anything to get their hands on. When Everett receives a mysterious file on his computer (which he calls Dr. Quantum), he realizes that things are about to get bad, and it will be up to him to save his dad.See, Tejendra Singh has discovered the multiverse; many, many universes running parallel to our own, different versions of Earth, or “planes” (hence the name Planesrunner.) Everett has unlocked the secret to mapping the universes (the Infundibulum), and using an invention called the Heisenberg Gate, scientists are able to travel to these alternate planes. There are 10 (E1-E10) main planes (including our Earth, the newest member) that have been deemed safe for travel, and it turns out that back and forth travel has already begun. Emmissaries from E3 are determined to capture Everett, and he knows that he must travel to their plane to get his father back.
There is really nothing about this book that I didn’t like. As soon as Everett jumps to E3, he heads to the library, where he does a bit of brushing up on this new, alternate London, and finds out that oil has never been used, and electricity is king. Everett calls it Electropunk. He describes E3 as what people in the 30’s imagined our time looking like, and immediately notices the smoky, chemical smell that envelopes him on the streets. After securing some funds by way of a pawnbroker, he takes to the trains, where he meets feisty, beautiful Sen Sixsmyth, who immediately tries to pilfer Dr. Quantum. Sen really means no harm and overwhelmed with loneliness, Everett confides in Sen. It’s soon after that we meet her adopted mother Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth and the crew of the airship Everness. Yep, I said airships. I’m kind of a sucker for a book with airships, and if you are too, you’ll LOVE Planesrunner. When Everett and Sen meet, the book takes off like a rocket. Don’t let the idea of multiple universes scare you. I admit, when I start thinking about stuff like countless parallel universes, my brain begins to ache just a bit, but kinda in a good way, because the thought of it is frankly awesome. In Planesrunner, Everett only explores one, but I’m hoping, and suspect, we’ll get more in the next book. Sen’s world is one of brutality, living by one’s wits, and the hustle and bustle of an alternate London that’s very different from Everett’s, but it’s also one of fierce loyalty, friendship, and swashbuckling adventure. I fell in love with the charming Sen from the get go (and I suspect Everett did too). However, as fun as hanging with the crew of the Everness is, Everett’s ultimate goal is to rescue his father, and he’ll call on his new friends to help. Hampering his efforts is Charlotte Villiers, Planepotentiary (sort of like an ambassador), and stone cold killer, and her cadre of thugs. They’re after Everett at every turn, but Captain Sixsmyth is larger than life, as is her crew, and they’ve got a few tricks up their sleeves. Will Everett rescue his father from the evil Charlotte Villiars, and keep the Infudibulum out of the wrong hands? If I told you, that would spoil all the fun of this wonderful book! You certainly don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy this book, and lovers of sci-fi, adventure, and steampunk won’t be able to put it down! Not to be missed!...more
I love zombies, but I’ll admit, lately, I’ve been kind of on a kick, and I’m almost to the point where I’m zombie’d out. This was good news for VacatiI love zombies, but I’ll admit, lately, I’ve been kind of on a kick, and I’m almost to the point where I’m zombie’d out. This was good news for Vacation, though. I’m a fan of Matthew Costello from way back, so when Vacation was brought to my attention, I was quite excited to dive into it. Vacation has “zombies” of a sort, called Can Heads (cannibals, see?), and they’re driven by an unknown virus, possibly brought on by the terrible world conditions. Drought, famine, and economic collapse are a part of Jack Murphy’s life, and as one of the few remaining NYPD cops, he works hard to keep the streets safe for the people scraping by in this dangerous new world. He and his family live in relative, if tenuous, comfort, in a walled off section of the city and rarely venture outside. ‘Cause, baby, it’s nasty outside the walls, and increasingly clever Can Heads are finding their way inside the walls with alarming frequency. After an incident that leaves Jack’s partner dead, and Jack himself clinging to life, his boss urges him to take a vacation, suggesting the Paterville Family Camp, high in the Adirondacks, as as a getaway option. So Jack packs up his wife, Christie, and their son and daughter, and they hit the road.
The opening scenes in Vacation were exciting in their visceral, violent action, but really, it’s when the Murphy family hits the highway for the drive to Paterville that really brings the creep. Papers had to be filed and fees paid in order to pave the way through the official checkpoints and Jack is fighting increasing stress, while his family is eager to get out of the confines of the walls they’ve lived behind day in and day out for years. Jack just can’t put the cop away and relax, but trust me, this turns out to be a good thing. A nasty incident at a deserted rest stop doesn’t help to allay Jack’s fears, but he puts aside these feelings, hoping that Paterville will offer his family a little bit of freedom and happiness, if only for a short while. They manage to arrive at Paterville without further incident, but among the lake swims, fireworks, and admittedly good food served in the dining hall, there’s always a sense of “wrongness”, and the author does a great job at building dread. What I really appreciated about these characters, is when the proverbial “sh*t” finally hits the fan, and the nasty (really, really nasty) truth about Paterville comes to light, Jack’s wife, Christie, doesn’t question her spouse. She trusts him implicitly and shows an amazing resilience and toughness in the midst of a terrible situation. Too many times, in novels and movies, spouses (men and women both) show disbelief and hesitation when confronted with a situation that requires swift action. Christie is no slouch in the courage department, and she’ll do anything to protect her kids, and she never questions Jack’s devotion to his family. And make no mistake, he’s devoted. This is a horror story, to be sure, but at the forefront is Jack’s love for his family, and his determination to do anything possible to keep them safe. Vacation was unputdownable, and I read it in one evening. Never too gruesome, leaving just enough to the imagination, it will raise the little hairs on the back of your neck and keep you glued to the pages until the shocking end. Fans of zombies, creeping horror, and just plain good writing will eat this one up (pun totally intended.)...more
It’s the perfect time for a zombie read,isn’t it? Halloween is just around the corner,spooky decorations are going up,and AMC’s The Walking Dead’s Season 2 premiered on Sunday night. Yep,perfect! If you’ve been following the blog for a while,it’s no secret that I’m a pretty rabid Jonathan Maberry fan,so when I got a copy of Dead of Night,it was all I could do not to drop my current read and dig in. Dead of Night is a zombie novel. It even says so right on the cover,but don’t expect your usual zombie fare. Dr. Herman Volker has been on a mission:a mission to punish those like the heinous killer that ravaged his mother and sister so many years ago. A retired government project called Lucifer 113 fit the bill rather nicely,so it’s a good thing that Volker had a hand in its development. When a savage serial killer is set to die by Dr. Volker’s hand,he sees an irresistible chance for vengeance. Lucifer 113 is injected into the killer,and his body is set to be buried in a pauper’s grave. This isn’t quite what happens though. An aunt no one knew existed orders the killer’s body be returned to her for burial,so Homer Gibbon is sent back to the small town of Stebbins. This will turn out to be a very unfortunate turn of events,first not only for mortician Doc Hartnup and his cleaning lady (who’s timing is just terrible,seriously),but for the entire town of Stebbins. A nasty,nasty virus is on the loose,and it’s turning its victims into rotting,slavering spitting corpses that just want to eat,and eat,and eat. Homer Gibbon isn’t quite like the other monsters though… He’s much,much worse.
Dead of Night’s narrative mainly goes back and forth between Officer Dez Fox and her partner J.T,and reporter Billy Trout and his camera man,with some interludes involving military and the upper levels of US government. Dez and Billy have a longtime,fiery,on again,off again relationship,and Billy would like nothing more than to be back with the woman he loves,yet Dez has spent her life pushing away anyone that really cares about her. Both of her parents died very young,and J.T. is very much a father figure to her. Dez is one tough cookie,though,and when the government begins to turn on the inhabitants of Stebbins,Dez may be their only hope. Meanwhile,Billy Trout is uncovering the horrible truth about the virus that is taking over the townspeople one by one. Dead of Night has man of the traditional zombie elements that fans have come to expect,but with Jonathan Maberry’s deft touch and relentless pacing,the story jumps off the page and takes a bite out of you from page one. These aren’t your run of the mill zombies,either. These are far more horrible than the usual mindless,ravening creatures. I won’t tell you why,because that’s a big part of the story,but suffice it to say that Maberry brings humanity to Dead of Night,just like he does in his Joe Ledger series,and some parts are simply heartbreaking. Zombie and horror fans won’t want to miss this,and even if it’s not your usual fare,I urge you to give it a try,because,in my opinion,it’s really hard to go wrong with anything that Jonathan Maberry writes. Horror and thriller elements combine explosively in a book of zombie apocalypse that you won’t soon forget!...more