When Mavis Mallory, owner and operator of Mallory Mystery Magazine shows up at the home/office of Leo Haig, she has one odd task in mind for the detecWhen Mavis Mallory, owner and operator of Mallory Mystery Magazine shows up at the home/office of Leo Haig, she has one odd task in mind for the detective and his young assistant, Chip Harrison: find out who murdered her.
I was looking for a way to avoid coworkers while eating my lunch and found this Lawrence Block short on my kindle. It was a very enjoyable way to avoid human contact.
First off, Leo Haig and Chip Harrison are Lawrence Block's homage to Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. Haig is obsessed with tropical fish instead of gardening and Chip Harrison is obsessed with chasing skirts.
Death of the Mallory Queen is a satirical throwback to the mysteries they don't publish many of these days. Mavis knows she is going to be killed and wants to make sure whomever does the deed gets punished. The story's primary setting is a mystery convention and all of the suspects are modeled after real people in the mystery genre, like Mickey Spillane, Otto Penzler, and others.
The conclusion was as outlandish as those in the mystery novels it parodies. The case was okay but I really enjoyed the interplay between Leo Haig and Chip Harrison. I'll have to pick up more of their adventures at some point. Four out of five stars. ...more
Someone is gunning for rapper Black the Knife and he hires Isaiah Quintabe to find the killer. Can IQ stop the killer and the people who hired him befSomeone is gunning for rapper Black the Knife and he hires Isaiah Quintabe to find the killer. Can IQ stop the killer and the people who hired him before Black the Knife takes the big dirt nap?
Mullholland denies me for everything on Netgalley so when they sent me an invitation to read this one, I almost passed out of spite. I'm glad I didn't.
IQ is the first mystery starring Isaiah Quintabe and I hope there are many more to come. IQ is a high school dropout who takes cases for whatever people can pay. This book tells two tales, the current case involving Black the Knife and another tale of how Isaiah came to be who he is.
I really got into the book's parallel structure. The twin tales of Isaiah, one in the present day and the other in the past, did a lot to get me behind IQ. IQ is like a young black Sherlock Holmes, although not as much of an asshole. He's got a lot of knowledge and inductive reasoning skills in his cranium but is far from behind a super hero. Dodson, his Watson, isn't a sycophant like Holmes' sidekick either. The two have an adversarial relationship at times and it does a lot to set this book apart from similar ones.
The writing is pretty slick, particularly in the dialogue. East Long Beach felt real to me and the dialogue reminded me of Elmore Leonard or George Pelecanos, authentic and readable. There was also a fair bit of comedy.
The villain of the present day case was fairly believable and more than a little scary. The way Isaiah and Dodson eventually handled things, again, didn't make them look like super heroes. By the end, who hired the hitman to kill Black the Knife was almost an afterthought. I sure didn't figure it out.
Isaiah's not the most sympathetic character until the story delves into his troubled past with his brother and Dodson. By the time the two stories dovetailed together, I knew I was hooked on the series for the long haul.
If you're looking to jump aboard a new detective series at the ground floor, IQ is a little different than most of the crime books on the racks. IQ reads like an episode of Sherlock written by George Pelecanos. Four out of five stars.
Sorcerer Supremes are being killed across dimensions and magic itself seems to be dying. Can Doctor Strange get to the bottom of things?
The Way of theSorcerer Supremes are being killed across dimensions and magic itself seems to be dying. Can Doctor Strange get to the bottom of things?
The Way of the Weird collects issues 1-5 of the current run of Doctor Strange.
First off, I love the art. Since they couldn't get Steve Ditko from the late 1960's to illustrate, Chris Bachalo is the next best thing. I loved his run on Shade the Changing Man during the 1990's and he's a perfect fit for Doctor Strange's dimension-spanning adventures.
The story is pretty good as well. Magic is going haywire and someone is killing off the wizards across the multiverse one by one. The menace of the Emperikul has me jonesing for the next book. I love the Bar Without Doors and the addition of Zelma to the supporting cast. I also like what secret things Wong has been doing in the background.
However, I couldn't justifying giving this more than a 3.5. Structurally, the plot seems really similar to Aaron's plot in Thor: God of Thunder, Vol. 1: The God Butcher. Also, I didn't feel like a whole lot actually happened, mostly setup for future volumes. Some kind of payoff would have been nice.
3.5 out of 5. It was good and I'll read the next volume but I'm not looking forward to it as much as the next Vision trade....more
The Vision builds himself a family and moves to the suburbs with them. Things are great until they aren't.
After reading the first issue of The VisionThe Vision builds himself a family and moves to the suburbs with them. Things are great until they aren't.
After reading the first issue of The Vision via Marvel Unlimited, I knew I wanted to read the rest. Little Worse than a Man collects the first six issues.
The Vision and his family experience prejudice from their human neighbors, Viv and Vin's classmates, and later, the cops. Virginia lies to the Vision once and it snowballs, sending their quiet suburban life out of control. I saw someone refer to The Vision as the Breaking Bad of the Marvel Universe and I can definitely see it heading in that direction.
The subdued art fits the story perfectly, and Tom King is going to be a big name in the future. The story's unknown (at first, anyway) narrator gives the book a tone not often seen in super hero comics. It raises questions about family and what it means to be human.
Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta have produced one of those quirky, powerful books I can't imagine Marvel taking a chance on ten years ago. I can't wait to see what the next volume holds. 4.5 out of 5 stars....more
When a zombie outbreak hits a Star Trek convention, it's up to Jim Pike, hotel manager, to get his sister and her friends out alive...
This showed up iWhen a zombie outbreak hits a Star Trek convention, it's up to Jim Pike, hotel manager, to get his sister and her friends out alive...
This showed up in my ebook deals a couple days ago. I'm a Star Trek fan and I liked zombies before the concept was run into the ground so this promised to be some brain-chomping good fun.
And it was. There are plenty of Star Trek references for the Trekkers and lots of zombie goodness for the fans of the reanimated. When you've got Klingons, a woman dressed like Princess Leia in the bikini from Return of the Jedi, and a red shirt named Willy Makit, you can't help but have a good time. While the Star Trek piece supplies the humor of the book, it doesn't go to a ridiculous level and the zombies still feel like a viable threat.
Jim Pike, a veteran of Afghanistan, denies the depths of his Star Trek fandom until it counts, and he steps into his Captain's tunic admirably. The book wound up feeling like Die Hard with zombies more than anything else.
Night of the Living Trekkies is a fun diversionary read. 3.5 out of 5 stars....more
During a heat wave in the summer of 1984, Fielding Bliss's father invites the devil to town. When a 13 year old boy shows up claiming to be the devil,During a heat wave in the summer of 1984, Fielding Bliss's father invites the devil to town. When a 13 year old boy shows up claiming to be the devil, the Ohio town of Breathed will never be the same again...
I passed on this when I originally saw it on Netgalley, mostly because of Autopsy Bliss's name. Seriously? Autopsy? Anyway, Tiffany McDaniel emailed me a review request, mentioning how hard it was for first time authors to get reviews, and I caved in after my Grinch-like heart grew two sizes.
I honestly had no idea what to expect with this but I knew I'd struck gold right away. I read a lot of books where the prose is nothing spectacular. I could tell this one was special from the first paragraph or so.
The Summer That Melted Everything is Paradise Lost written by Flannery O'Connor, a southern Gothic tale with the power of a hurricane. It's a tale of families, racism, religion, small town mob mentalities, the evil that people hold in their hearts, and a lot of other serious themes.
The Summer That Melted Everything is Fielding Bliss' fall from grace, from being an optimistic 13 year old to be a broken adult decades later. The devil's arrival, Sal's arrival, turns his life upside town.
The Bliss family and their relationship with Sal fuels the narrative. Fielding Bliss and Sal are fast friends. Sal, devil or not, is wise beyond his years. Father Autopsy is a lawyer and mother Stella is a homemaker who is afraid to go outside. Brother Grand is good at everything, seemingly the boy every girl wants to be with. Sal's arrival changes all of them irrevocably.
There is a lot of emotional packed into this book and it sure dredged up some emotions in me. The part with the dog was just the tip of the emotional iceberg. It's thought provoking and has some serious weight to it. As I wrote earlier, it reads a lot like Flannery O'Connor and I felt wrung out after reading it.
The building hysteria of the townsfolk toward Sal reminds me of Needful Things a bit. I had no idea how the book would end but I knew it would be comparable to the destruction of Castle Rock. And it was. The last 20% was like watching the end of Old Yeller four or five times.
The Summer that Melted Everything is a first novel that reads like a lost classic. A bleak, emotional classic. Five out of Five stars.
Note: You can read my interview with Tiffany McDaniel here....more
While the rest of the world toils at their jobs, Ragle Gumm stays at home, his sole source of income a daily newspaper contest called "Where will theWhile the rest of the world toils at their jobs, Ragle Gumm stays at home, his sole source of income a daily newspaper contest called "Where will the little green man appear next?" When odd things start happening, Ragle thinks he may be having a nervous breakdown. Is he or is it something much more sinister?
Of course it is something more sinister. This is a Philip K. Dick novel.
A Dickhead at work has been after me for years to read this. After mindbending reads like The Great Forgetting, Dark Matter, and The Mirage, the road I was on was leading to Dick anyway so I gave this a shot.
First off, the things I didn't care for: The prose was really bland and the pace was a little slow for a 250 page book with huge type. As for the rest of it, I liked it quite a bit. I wish the Goodreads summary and the back cover blurb hadn't spoiled the big twist, though.
(view spoiler)[ Time out of Joint reads like an exceptionally paranoid Twilight Zone episode. Most aspects of Ragle Gumm's life are staged in order to keep him pacified and focused on "Where will the little green man appear next?" It's a conspiracy of massive proportions that safeguards America at the cost of Ragle Gum's day to day life.
When I picked up the book, I had no idea it would wind up being about a war between Earth and its colonies on the moon. Ragle Gum gradually pieces together what's really going on and tries to get the hell out of town. A lot of reviewers mention the Truman Show and it is about like that, only much crazier. (hide spoiler)]
While I didn't think it was awesome, I did enjoy Time out of Joint. It's a literary ancestor to books like The Great Forgetting and Pines. Three out of five stars.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Lion's Pride is the story of New Japan Pro Wrestling.
As with a lot of guys my age who were wrestling fans during the 1980s and 1990s, Japanese wrestliLion's Pride is the story of New Japan Pro Wrestling.
As with a lot of guys my age who were wrestling fans during the 1980s and 1990s, Japanese wrestling always held some mystique. I didn't see a single Japanese wrestling match until the dawn of the internet made it much easier to get tapes and such. Lion's Pride lifts the veil and reveals the inner workings of one of Japan's biggest wrestling organizations.
As with all talk of Japanese wrestling, the book starts with Rikidozan and the Japanese Wrestling Association. From there, it follows the career of Antonio Inoki and his formation of New Japan. The many exoduses of talent are covered and New Japans ups and downs are many. Antonio Inoki, like many owner-wrestlers, booked himself over the rest of the talent time and time again. It's a wonder New Japan survived long enough for him to retire.
The book talked a lot of the creation of stars like Tatsumi Fujinami and Riki Choshu in the 1980s, Keiji Muto, Masa Chono, and Shinya Hashimoto in the 1990s, and Tanahashi and others for the new millennium. The book concludes in 2015, with the rise of Bullet Club and the launch of New Japan's streaming service.
Lion's Pride was really informative, highlighting some backstage stuff I wasn't privy to and expanding on a lot of things I'd only read about on Wikipedia. The writing was pretty good for a book of this type. I did think the organization was a little weird, deviating from the main narrative to talk about completely unrelated things. For the most part, however, the book did what it set out to do. Three out of five stars.
An amnesiac is given an experimental treatment by a specialist, reading various accounts of a violent sex crime, in order to regain his memories. ButAn amnesiac is given an experimental treatment by a specialist, reading various accounts of a violent sex crime, in order to regain his memories. But is he the killer? And is the treatment for something more sinister? Who is the specialist?
I got this from Netgalley
I'm not really sure about this one. I got it from Netgalley because it sounded bizarre and it was. I'm not precisely sure how to describe it.
Labyrinth starts in a hospital with a patient being given an experimental treatment in order to restore his memories. The bulk of the book is told in newspaper articles, interviews with people who knew the victim and the killer, statements to police, and even fictionalized accounts of a gruesome murder/mutilation.
I'm not sure if the identity of the patient is supposed to be a mystery since pretty much everyone will guess who he is in the first ten pages. The identity of the specialist wasn't overly mysterious either.
Maybe something was lost in translation, it was translated from Japanese, but I'm not sure what this book was trying to be. It seemed to be about identity and the senselessness of some crimes but I felt more confused by it than anything else. 2.5 out of 5 stars....more