From the start I could tell I was in good hands with Hunted. The writing was surefooted and I was immediately drawn to the character of jockey Eddie MFrom the start I could tell I was in good hands with Hunted. The writing was surefooted and I was immediately drawn to the character of jockey Eddie Malloy.
In another life, Eddie would have been a tough-guy detective right out of Raymond Chandler. He's a good-hearted guy who's been pushed to the edge, and now he's pushing back.
Somebody is murdering jockeys, and Eddie is the prime suspect. Just when his side-railed career is getting back on track, he finds himself hounded by a pair of knucklehead detectives who've already decided on his guilt, harassed by another jockey, despised by a steward's secretary, and pretty soon it looks like he's next on the killer's hit list.
Hunted kept me engrossed throughout. I sneaked out of work for lunch on my own a couple of days just so I could sit and read my book. This is good stuff. I plan to go back and catch the first Eddie Malloy book, Warned Off, though somehow I don't see Eddie being successfully "warned off" anything! ...more
Hanger Stout, Awake! is a novella (approximately 150 pages) about a young man living in a small Ohio town, coming of age as he faces the draft and impHanger Stout, Awake! is a novella (approximately 150 pages) about a young man living in a small Ohio town, coming of age as he faces the draft and impending manhood.
Clyde Stout is an easy-going, car-infatuated eighteen-year-old with no particular drive but to keep doing what he's been doing: working at the gas station, drinking milk shakes, and maybe painting racing stripes on his 1956 Chevy. In short, he's hanging.
Turns out he has a talent for hanging, on a very literal level. A promoter discovers him at the garage and thinks he's perfectly suited to compete in the new sport of Hanging, where a person grabs an overhead bar and hangs until he drops. The promoter sets up a match pitting Clyde against some top competitors in the hanging world...but really, the big match isn't what the book is about at all.
It's about hanging, drifting, call it what you will. Leading the rudderless life. Hence the frustration of others in Clyde's life, delivered with a verbal slap: "Hanger Stout, Awake!"
Hanger Stout, Awake! is a "literary" novel, meaning that (given my biases) plot is thin and the emphasis is on characterization. The prose is easy to read and engaging, as is Hanger himself. Stop by if you feel like hanging for awhile....more
I really enjoyed the first book in Dwiggins' "Forensic Geology" series, and this second book is better!
We start off with our two continuing charactersI really enjoyed the first book in Dwiggins' "Forensic Geology" series, and this second book is better!
We start off with our two continuing characters, Cassie Oldfield and her boss, Walter Shaws, on the way to examine a corpse in the ice at Mammoth Mountain. Someone has murdered the town mayor and dumped the body. Cassie and Walter have been called in to take soil samples from the body and try to determine the site of the murder.
From there we launch into a thriller about dueling egos and murder set against the ticking time bomb of a volcano on the verge of eruption.
Dwiggins has been published by Tor, but she's publishing her own titles now as ebooks. Don't let a low price put you off. This is professional work.
I enjoyed that it was more character-driven than many thrillers, and when you throw in an exploding volcano, it shoots to the top of my list in the genre!...more
As other reviewers here have stated, this is a fantastic yarn teaming Nikola Tesla, Mark Twain, Houdini, and reporters Lillie West and George Ade in aAs other reviewers here have stated, this is a fantastic yarn teaming Nikola Tesla, Mark Twain, Houdini, and reporters Lillie West and George Ade in a pulpish battle with an evil Martian king. It's rousing good fun with the flavor, especially during the team's adventures on the Red Planet, of a 1930s movie serial.
Sesh Heri has apparently conducted a monumental amount of research into all of his subjects. Unfortunately, he seems determined to put every bit of it on the page. We have a meandering opening leading into the heart of the adventure and a lengthy denouement that endures longer than our interest. We also learn a great deal about Twain's involvement with James Paige and their ill-fated development of the automatic typesetting machine, which is totally extraneous to the story.
His scenes play out much the same way, with the camera rolling constantly, recording every move, never slowing, never speeding up, as if on autopilot.
The bulk of the narration comes ostensibly from Mark Twain, which also causes problems. The author himself acknowledges the main problem with this approach as characters debate the authenticity of the manuscript. A character says, "[S]ome of the passages...sound more like someone trying to imitate Twain but doing it rather poorly." I enjoyed the self-effacing humor of the remark but had to agree with it.
Also, much is described in this first-person narrative of Twain's that he was not present to see, let alone describe in lengthy detail.
Still, I'd have given the book a solid three stars as an engaging adventure that you won't take too seriously, but I'm reviewing the Kindle edition and that means looking at the ebook formatting. In a word, it's miserable.
The ebook is clearly scanned from the print version and just as clearly was never proofread in even the most cursory manner. Paragraphs run together. Page numbers interrupt every couple of screens. Hypenated words retain their hyphens and following spaces. And for some reason, every single word containing "fl" inserts a space between the letters so that "fly" become "f ly", "floor" becomes "f loor," etc. You would never believe there were so many "fl" words until every single one of them pops out at you in this way! (Goodreads somehow adjusts the spacing on these words; when I preview this review on my computer, the effect is far less noticeable--and distracting--than it is on the Kindle.)
Between the hyphenated words mid-paragraph and the f lashing "fl" words, if you read with any kind of inner voice, the narration sounds as if it were read by someone with a bad stammer.
Even a breezy adventure tale like this one (which I purchased for less than a buck) deserves far better treatment! Therefore, I've deducted one star for abysmal formatting....more
The Wool Omnibus Edition collects the first five Wool novellas into one edition. It's bargain-priced for ereaders at what you'd expect to pay for a siThe Wool Omnibus Edition collects the first five Wool novellas into one edition. It's bargain-priced for ereaders at what you'd expect to pay for a single novel.
I had some problems accepting the basic premise(s) of the stories, but Howey's skill with characters overrode my objections.
The last two books, however, got bogged down in minutia and the pace slowed to a crawl, while the story bifurcated between a main character I loved and a secondary character I didn't have any emotional connection with.
So, ultimately, a strong start came to a slow finish for me. Still, I do recommend the books and would put Howey on a "writer to watch" list....more
This is Vonnegut before he was "Kurt Vonnegut Jr. the writer of biting satire and wildly imaginative science-fiction-so-good-they-don't-call-it-sciencThis is Vonnegut before he was "Kurt Vonnegut Jr. the writer of biting satire and wildly imaginative science-fiction-so-good-they-don't-call-it-science-fiction." The prose lacks Vonnegut's patent terseness and acerbic wit, but it's still darned fine writing. I didn't find the biting satire that the blurb writer claims, but I did find a great little coming of age story and a softer side of Vonnegut than what one encounters in his later works.
It's a fine novella, well worth the modest Kindle cost, and I recommend it highly, especially to Vonnegut fans eager to peer into the past and take a peek at the author's humble but very promising beginnings....more
This book from 1977 has a great premise that was startlingly original at the time: A comet is headed on a collision course with Earth! That was 1977.This book from 1977 has a great premise that was startlingly original at the time: A comet is headed on a collision course with Earth! That was 1977. Now that you can turn on the television about any day of the week and find a "documentary" or movie about something impacting the Earth and ending civilization, the originality of the premise wasn't enough to carry me through all 600+ pages. I gave up at the start of Book Four (of four).
The prose is serviceable, and the characters are pretty much what you'd expect from a 1970's-era disaster movie, thin and stereotypical. At 63% of my way through the book, I found that I really didn't care who lived and who died or if a new world order was established, so I moved on.
I know that Lucifer's Hammer is considered an s-f classic by many, and I won't argue with them. It just didn't work for me....more
The unusual inspiration for this story--a collection of vintage photographs that were woven into a coherent story--gives the book an engaging unpredicThe unusual inspiration for this story--a collection of vintage photographs that were woven into a coherent story--gives the book an engaging unpredictability. The story is complete and doesn't need a sequel, but it's written in such a way as to practically mandate one....more
This is a book from 1997 in which Roger Ebert answers miscellaneous movie-related questions submitted by readers. It's going on fifteen years old as IThis is a book from 1997 in which Roger Ebert answers miscellaneous movie-related questions submitted by readers. It's going on fifteen years old as I write this review, so some of the questions are getting a little dated. For instance, people and theaters back then were struggling mightily with that newfangled surround sound and the concept of letterboxing, which aren't quite the concern today that they were then. And the current movies that created a lot of buzz are now "oldies": Beyond Sunrise, Forrest Gump, Judge Dredd, The Fugitive, Fargo and others of that era.
Most of the questions, though, are timeless. Why don't previews match the movie sometimes? Should I ask for an actor's autograph? What's a foley artist? Etc.
It's a fun book perfect for "the reading room" or bedtime reading or anytime you're stuck in a line and need something quick and breezy. Or you can do as I did and just sit and read it, telling yourself, "Okay, just one more segment and then I'll get to work...okay, one more...really this time, just one more...."
Mad Money is the first book in a series about amateur detective Madeline Carter.
Due to a brutal murder at her NY brokerage firm, Carter retires to LosMad Money is the first book in a series about amateur detective Madeline Carter.
Due to a brutal murder at her NY brokerage firm, Carter retires to Los Angeles, takes up residence in a cliffside apartment in Malibu owned by a movie director, and settles in for some day trading. Acting on a bit of inside information, she invests most of her money in a "sure thing" that quickly unravels and sends her scurrying for answers about her past life and current life choices.
It's an easy read that kept me interested but also frustrated me with questions like, "Why don't you call a cop?" and "Isn't this a good time to call a cop?" and "Are you really not going to call a cop yet?"
Richards' storytelling is strongest when she's talking about money and investments, which provide most of the suspense in Mad Money. There's one kidnapping subplot too many, the middle is a bit muddled, and the climax is written like an epilogue. I think a good editor would have told Richards to give this basically good story one more pass.
Also, there's a kind of "romance novel" feel to the male/female relationships that, as a guy, left me cold.
This long short story begins a series of tales about Timmy Quinn, who sees dead people. It's creepy, well-written and engaging, and I look forward toThis long short story begins a series of tales about Timmy Quinn, who sees dead people. It's creepy, well-written and engaging, and I look forward to reading more Timmy Quinn stories!...more
West of the Tularosa is a collection of Louis L'Amour western short stories from the late forties to early fifties, including the titular novella.
ReadWest of the Tularosa is a collection of Louis L'Amour western short stories from the late forties to early fifties, including the titular novella.
Reading this stories is like curling up with a Gary Cooper or John Wayne western. You'll find good, straight-shooting, two-fisted heroes and dirty, dastardly villains, and a woman. You'll get gunfights and cattle rustlin' and justice at the end of a rope (at least threatened). In short, you'll get the kind of western stories your parents grew up with and loved--the kind you find on the old-movie channels--that defined "the western" in America for several decades...and for many people, still does.
I read the Kindle version and the formatting was fine....more
Read through the reviews and you'll find that they run the gamut. Some people love it, some absolutely hate it.
Me, I love it and would give it four sRead through the reviews and you'll find that they run the gamut. Some people love it, some absolutely hate it.
Me, I love it and would give it four stars except that I read the Kindle edition and the formatting was terrible. It looks like an unedited OCR job without so much as a bit of extra space separating the two points of view.
Other than that, it's funny and ribald and carries an essential truth that hasn't changed much in the fifty years it was written....more
I checked into Cannibal Nights because of the Penguin controversy. Penguin Books had Kiana Davenport under contract for a print novel scheduled for reI checked into Cannibal Nights because of the Penguin controversy. Penguin Books had Kiana Davenport under contract for a print novel scheduled for release in 2012. In 2011, Davenport self-published this collection of stories, which Penguin had previously rejected, and Penguin had a fit, accusing her of "sleeping with the enemy," their competitor(?) Amazon. They cancelled her novel contract and demanded their advance back.
This expression of woefully misguided publisher pique attracted my attention. After reading a short sample, I ordered Cannibal Nights for my Kindle and started reading. With fervor.
It's hard for me to imagine a better promotional tool for that up-coming novel than Cannibal Nights! It's a solid collection of stories that are, by turns, warm and horrifying. Here are tales of sacrifice and tales of irredeemable cruelty, tales of love found, love lost, love regained and love turned on its head and beaten with a stick.
Not that these are "romance" stories. (Okay, maybe one of them is.) This is love in the real world with all its hard surfaces and sharp edges, told by a skilled author who crafts prose that sings.
I read and enjoyed CLAN years ago under the title "Night of the Werewolf" and re-read the new version on Kindle. Thanks to the magic of aging, it wasI read and enjoyed CLAN years ago under the title "Night of the Werewolf" and re-read the new version on Kindle. Thanks to the magic of aging, it was as fresh and exciting as the first time I read it!
Shannon has updated and revised his previously-published novel and the result is a tight, exciting tale of mystery, suspense, and wolves ripping people to pieces.
I dock CLAN a star for one reason only: This is early Shannon and he's a better, deeper writer now. Still, CLAN delivers the chills! ...more
Connelly's second in the Harry Bosch series lives up to the high expectations I held after reading the first book. Compelling, tense, and ultimately mConnelly's second in the Harry Bosch series lives up to the high expectations I held after reading the first book. Compelling, tense, and ultimately most satisfying, The Black Ice is highly recommended!...more