Thursday, October 16, 2014

Book of the Week - The Last Dead Girl by Harry Dolan

The Last Dead Girl
Dolan, Harry
Berkley 2014

Wow! This knock-your-socks-off thriller set in Rome, New York in 1998 features David Malone who is sucked into several murder investigations after being taken in for questioning when he finds the bloody body of his new lover. He only knew Jana, a first year law student working on an innocence project,  for ten days, but the night he met her, he quit going home to his fiancee. He puts everything aside to hunt down her killer starting with investigating where she got the bruise she was sporting when he first set eyes on her. When he investigates he runs afoul of a police detective. The twists and turns in this creepy, topnotch thriller were unexpected and kept me guessing. This is a prequel to Bad Things Happen that featured David in later years after he has moved away and changed his last name to Loogan which caused the blurb on the back from Stephen King to leave me confused. I don’t know how I missed Dolan’s first two David Loogan books and the original hardcover release of this until now but he is definitely on my radar now.

The trade paperback edition was released last week.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Book of the Week - The Forgotten Girl by David Bell

The Forgotten Girl
Bell, David
NAL 978-0451-41752-7 448p. 2014 - October

Years after leaving Manhattan to move back to his small hometown, Jason, who works in advertising and his wife are surprised when his long out of touch sister Hayden turns up and asks them to take care of her teenaged daughter for forty-eight hours. Hayden has had a difficult life due to addiction so when she drops out of contact and her abandoned car is found blood-speckled up on Heroin Hill, there is substantial reason to worry. Almost three decades earlier, on the night of their graduation, Jason’s best friend disappeared after a fight but continued to send cards to his parents a few times a year. The tension mounts as long ago relationships and conflicts come into focus in this atmospheric suspense novel dealing with disappearances sucks the reader in. It has much the same feel as Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Real Children by Jo Walton

My Real Children
Jo  Walton
Tor 2014

Patricia, suffering from dementia, is in a nursing home. She has memories of two, very distinctly different lives. Covering the years from 1933 when she was seven, to 2015 when she is lying in a bed not wanting to have to decide which was her real life, she loves both her lives.

In both lives she got an Oxford education and had children. In one life she had several pregnancies and four children who lived; in the other life she gave birth to two children but mothered others. In one life she had love, in the other respectability. In one world, peace and cooperation lead to scientific advances; in the other bombings and nuclear fallout affect her life.

As always, Walton’s writing is mesmerizing, pulling the reader into the lives and hearts of the people in the pages. This is very subtle science fiction, mostly taking place in the past but in two very familiar worlds where subtle difference show they are not ours.

My Real Children is one of those books a reader never forgets. One that will echo, with thoughts of it springing into mind unbidden, for many years. Definitely one of the best books of the year.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book of the Week Wood Sprites by Wen Spencer

Wood Sprites
Wen Spencer
Baen 2014

I always find it hardest to write reviews of books I fall in love with. Wood Sprites with its wit, imagination, and humor is fully in this category.

     Just days before their ninth birthday, precocious twins, Louise and Jillian discover they are not biologically related to their parents when their blood type is revealed after they create a huge explosion when filming an episode of their underground video series set in their imagined version of Elfhome. The issue with their parentage is extremely mystifying since they’ve seen the video of their birth and they know they emerged from their mother. In this delightful romp, the twins uncover their true parentage and relationship to Tinker, become celebrities, write and produce a kick ass school play version of Peter Pan, and discover a diabolical plot that could end the accord between our world and its parallel, Elfhome. It is set in the world of Spencer’s outstanding science fantasy Elfhome series where a transdimensional gate catapults a near future Pittsburgh onto a parallel world inhabite by elves  where it stays except for one day a month.