No. 4 in this great series; if you haven't read the other 3, then don't start with this one! You won't have a clue!
Hex and The City welcomes the readeNo. 4 in this great series; if you haven't read the other 3, then don't start with this one! You won't have a clue!
Hex and The City welcomes the reader back to the Nightside, hidden among the London city center. In this installment, our hero, John Taylor, a sort of PI, is hired by none other than Lady Luck to investigate the origins of the Nightside so that she can figure out why fortune lies more with some than others. He will earn more than money on this one...he will learn the identity of his mother in payment. But this is a tricky one; he is led from one to another of the oldest beings of the Nightside, each of whom has his own ideas about the Nightside's origins and about who John's mother may be. Reminiscent of an Arthurian quest (in more ways than one!), Taylor has to go back in the past, into the deepest depths of the Nightside and face not one but several challenges in his quest before he learns the truth about his mother.
Very good installment; I absolutely love this series!...more
First of all,let me say that you absolutely MUST read the Nightside series in order or you're going to be incredibly LOST by the time you get to thisFirst of all,let me say that you absolutely MUST read the Nightside series in order or you're going to be incredibly LOST by the time you get to this one. To me, each book in the series was worth waiting for, and I looked forward to each new release as much as I look forward to each new installment of the Harry Potter series. I absolutely love the Nightside books and they started me on the whole steampunk/fantasy/sci-fi road of books that I had never read before I picked up the first of the Nightside stories. If you are at all into any of those 3 types of fiction, you're going to really enjoy these books. Horror readers may also like these books, to a point.
Now on to this installment, #6 in the series. The hero of this series is John Taylor, PI in that hidden area of London called the Nightside. At the beginning of the series, John travels in a timeslip where he has a nasty vision of the Apocalypse that somehow he has brought about, and sees his friends as his enemies or worse. He also knows this has something to do with his mother (I won't say more about that in case you haven't read the other books). Suffice it to say, she's back and she's in the Nightside, and has decided to recreate it the way she wants it, and screw everyone else. So now John Taylor has a dilemma: how does he defeat her, but not bring on the apocalypse that he has seen in his future?
Absolutely LOVE the author's writing, often a cross between really bad joke-type humor and the old-fashioned noir type PI novels. You have to love an author who doesn't take himself so seriously that he makes the reading fun!
If I had to classify this novel in terms of genre, it would be somewhere along the lines of British police procedural meets the X-files. I was thinkinIf I had to classify this novel in terms of genre, it would be somewhere along the lines of British police procedural meets the X-files. I was thinking while I was reading this that it would make a fun movie, but I countered that thought with the knowledge that some screenwriter would just screw it up, so better to leave it in book format.
What a cool book! I originally bought this book in mass market paperback format eons ago, but never got around to reading it until I saw the same book in trade paper size (which I really prefer), and I pounced on it. I picked it up last night and didn't look back until I finished it this morning. If that's not a recommendation, I don't know what is.
brief summary; no spoilers here: Arthur Bryant, a most eccentric partner in detection of John May, was revisiting the pair's first case together some 60 years later, and the lab he was working was blown to kingdom come, taking Bryant with it. John May, of course, whose friendship with Bryant has lasted throughout their career as detectives in the Peculiar Crimes Unit (started during the Blitz in London), is devastated, and realizes that to solve the case of Bryant's death, he has to go back in time to re-examine their first case, since that was what Bryant was working on. It turns out that this case involved a very bizarre production of Orpheus in the Underworld, complete with can-can and high French knickers by the dancers at the end. They were assigned to the case when a pair of feet were discovered on the charcoal brazier of a Turkish street vendor - leading them to the death of a dancer in the theater staging the production. After that, the show was plagued with problems that required special assistance from the Peculiar Crimes Unit -- for example, a medium whose cat channeled the spirit of a dead pilot, along with other, shall we say, more unorthodox methodologies of crime solving. But back to the future: May will not rest until he solves Bryant's death, so he tries to put the missing pieces together to do so.
The book weaves both past and present together to get to the root of the modern-day tragedy, and does it well by examining the original case back at the time of the Blitz. The characters, however, make this novel what it is. Bryant and May are very well suited to each other, and the rest of the characters are not droll toadies relegated to the background, but have lives of their own here. I'm very big on the use of place & setting as a character of its own within a novel, and here Fowler has done that -- the darkness of blacked-out London during the bombings has its own personality. Fowler's descriptions of how people coped and how society worked during the Blitz was also very well done.
I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes British mysteries, and to people who like mystery spiced with a bit of the fantastic & paranormal, but done so in a way that doesn't turn silly and take you off on ridiculous tangents. I already know I'm going to really enjoy this series and can't wait to get to the others. ...more
I very highly recommend this book. This is my first experience with Rechy's writing but it will certainly not be my last. What a talented writer! TheI very highly recommend this book. This is my first experience with Rechy's writing but it will certainly not be my last. What a talented writer! The book is very short but extremely powerful. And he describes Los Angeles so perfectly -- not the LA that most people know, but the neighborhoods. If you've ever been in East LA or the "other" side of Hollywood, you will recognize it immediately. I did some teaching work in East LA for a while at a school of predominantly Latino children, and his descriptions of the houses, the people and the atmosphere were right on the money.
In the middle of the book Amalia Gómez is watching a semanal and identifying bits and pieces of the conflict being televised with events & people in her own life. At the end of the show, one of the characters notes
"'O Dios, O Madre Sagrada! Is there no way out of of this nightmare, O God, O Sacred Mother?' ... 'None except ---' She gazes at heaven" 'Only a miracle can save us now! Give me a sign that you understand!" (104)
And that is precisely what Amalia Gomez thinks she sees one Saturday morning, looking up into the sky. She thinks there is a silver cross in the sky, a sign sent by God, "by way of the Blessed Mother." (105) And poor Amalia could use a miracle just now. Her eldest son, Manny, died while in jail under some mysterious circumstances, her younger son Juan has been acting weird and her daughter is much too young to be dressing and acting so maturely. There are a lot of pressures facing the family as they are living in the neighborhood and the pressures of being Mexican-American. She has to face the present while remembering her own past, and on this day, everything seems to be coming down on her all at once.
The book is very well written and pulls at your heartstrings. Don't miss the introduction -- it will offer some good insight into Amalia's character. I very highly recommend this one....more
In this book, the author has compiled and analyzed a vast amount of research to make the case that racist practices toward African-American people froIn this book, the author has compiled and analyzed a vast amount of research to make the case that racist practices toward African-American people from slavery onward, in the name of science and medicine, have created an atmosphere of distrust among African-Americans toward the medical profession. As a result of this distrust, and often fear, this group of people may not be getting proper medical care when necessary.
I won't go into a major discussion here, but I thought the author did a fine job in terms of research and presentation. I'm not a scientist, nor am I conversant enough in the topic to judge her research, but this book really opened my eyes to some less than professional and less than ethical practices. I must say that I'm not surprised -- earlier I read the book "Bad Blood" about the syphillis experiments at Tuskeegee -- but that was probably the extent of my knowledge on the topic. Washington's book makes that study seem like only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I have to say that sometimes she was a bit repetitive, but not enough to distract from the main points of her work.
I truly hope her work does some good. I'd recommend it to people who are interested in the topic, especially people like myself who have only a limited knowledge, or to people who want to add yet another dimension to their understanding of African-American history....more
First published in 1955, Vanishing Point is still a fun read. In fact, #24 in the Miss Silver series I really like these old mysteries. They have lotsFirst published in 1955, Vanishing Point is still a fun read. In fact, #24 in the Miss Silver series I really like these old mysteries. They have lots of suspects, lots of motives and are really good in the detecting department.
In this installment of the series, Miss Silver is asked to go and do some surreptitious investigating in a small town where 2 women have disappeared and some spying is being investigated. Whether the two are related is what Miss Silver is to find out. When she gets to the little village of Hazel Green, Miss Silver meets the various townfolk: Mr. Craig Lester, a publishing agent, Florrie, a maid who seems to know all the gossip in the town; Miss Rosamund and Miss Jenny Maxwell, two sisters whose parents died leaving them to be raised with their domineering aunt, Lydia Crewe, the Cunningham family and the list goes on and on. As Miss Silver knits, the facts of the case become clearer to her until she is at last able to solve the mystery.
If you want an easy read, don't pick this one up; it is written in the old classic mystery fiction style, so can get rather winded, but if you want to read a good mystery novel, then try it. I enjoyed it very much, but then again, I tend to like the older mystery novels more than the current ones! ...more
sigh. Once again I hoped for something decidedly different from the other books in this series and was once again disappointed. The formulaic nature osigh. Once again I hoped for something decidedly different from the other books in this series and was once again disappointed. The formulaic nature of the series gets to me sometimes. So, you may ask why I continue to read these books, and the answer is because I own the entire series and have a thing about reading the books I own. Plus, as much as I can't stand the same thing over and over, I've never yet guessed the whodunit so I keep reading them.
If you've been following the series, then you have basically read this book as well. Dillman and Masefield are once again on duty; this time on White Star's ocean liner the Oceanic. As the voyage gets underway, there is a theft, and that branches out into multiple petty thefts on board. As the detective duo works to solve the recurrent rash of robberies, someone goes and murders the bodyguard of JP Morgan. Morgan is a passenger on the cruise, alone in his room except for the bodyguard and a stash of objets d'art and some very valuable paintings, which also get stolen. Finding the murderer and finding the thief push the detectives almost to their limits.
I have one more book in this series so I can only hope!
Who would like this? Anyone who is following the series, definitely; fans of historical mysteries may also find it a bit interesting. if you're just embarking on the series, do not start with this one -- there's too much background info you need before you get this far.
Under the Skin is really kind of a cross between horror and sci-fi done as a work of literate fiction. This is one book that you cannot really synops Under the Skin is really kind of a cross between horror and sci-fi done as a work of literate fiction. This is one book that you cannot really synopsize without giving it away, so I'm not even going to try. If you like the less scientific type of science fiction, if you like horror, then this book is definitely one you'll want to read.
There is a word that fits the tone of this book: macabre. Yet, you could also see it as a look at segments of humanity -- and what the definition of "human being" really means. At first confusion will set in, then as the author slowly reveals a little more detail in little pieces at a time, things become very clear. The book is very well written, very cleverly constructed and just downright scary after it jells in your head. I hope you'll come away from it like I did, thinking about what the term "humanity" really entails.
Right away, let me tell you that this book is not really "active," in the sense that it is purely psychological. So if you're looking for an action-paRight away, let me tell you that this book is not really "active," in the sense that it is purely psychological. So if you're looking for an action-packed mystery, this is not the one for you. A large number of people totally panned this book because there was very little action between its covers. But, if (like me) you are okay with exploring psychological motivation behind a person's acts, then you'll like this one.
The Metropolitan Police District is investigating two linked murders: a young girl and a middle-aged man. They have a suspect, but for some of the investigators, the suspect just doesn't feel right. So they keep digging, and find that the dead man was keeping up a regular Internet correspondence with three other people, known only as Mom, Minoru and Kazumi. As it turns out these four people were playing at being a "family" on the internet...the "shadow" family of the title. The police want to put the remaining "family" members together to take a look at them individually and as a group to see what they can discover not only about the dead man, but also to take a look at why 4 people would keep up this bizarre relationship.
Miyabe's last book, For All She Was Worth, took on predatory credit practices in Japan and the concept of identity; this one takes a look at alienation within families there, as well as the separate lives people lead in cyberspace. At first you may be a little in the dark, scratching your head going "huh?" but do NOT stop reading -- there is a very nice twist at the end of the novel which plays out in a way I haven't seen before in a mystery. Sadly, I figured out who the killer was long before I got to the end, but the ride was fun.
I liked this book, but it may not be for all mystery readers....more