|You're supposed to be talking about books, Dad!|
"On the mysterious Well World, the evil tyrant Josich and his dark agents search desperately for the eight scattered pieces of the fabled Straight Gate. Whoever possesses the Gate will wield enormous power, traveling between universes at the speed of light and wreaking havoc across galaxies.
Opposing Josich is a small band of travelers new to the Well World. There is Core, once a machine, now flesh and blood; Ming and Ari, two minds sharing a single body; Jaysu, an angel; and Genghis O'Leary, a lizard being. Unbeknownst to them, they have an unlikely ally; a vengeful entity who is able to clone any person or object with a single touch - and mete out death just as swift..."
"1980: The Democratic People's Republic of Laos is proud to be competing in its first-ever Olympics. Of course, half the world is boycotting the Moscow Summer Olympic Games to protest Russia's recent invasion of Afghanistan, but that has made room for athletes from countries that are usually too small or underfunded to be competitive—countries like Laos.
Ex-national coroner of Laos Dr. Siri Paiboun may be retired, but he and his wife, Madame Daeng, would do just about anything to have a chance to visit Moscow, so Siri finagles them the job of medical oversight for the Olympians. Most of the athletes are young and innocent village people who have never worn shoes, never mind imagined anything as marvelous as the Moscow Olympic Village. As the competition heats up, however, Siri begins to suspect that one of the athletes is not who he says he is. Fearing a conspiracy, Siri and his friends investigate, liaising in secret with Inspector Phosy back home in Laos to see if the man might be an assassin. But Siri's progress is derailed when another Lao Olympian is accused of murder. Now in the midst of a murky international incident, Dr. Siri must navigate not one but two paranoid and secretive government machines to make sure justice is done."
1. The Magdalena - Blood Divine by M.M. (Marcia) Chen. This is one of the graphic novels I chose as part of my UK Book Club September Genre Challenge - Graphic Novels. I've got one on order and may end up reading one more before end September if it arrives on time.
"The Magdalena by M.M. Chen is a well-drawn action-packed graphic novel. I discovered her when I was enjoying various other Top Cow heroines; Lara Croft, Fathom, and Witchblade, to name a few. The Magdalena is a warrior for the Catholic Church. She is descended from Mary Magdalene and supports the Church in its battles against demons and such. She possesses the Spear of Destiny, made from the spear that pierced Christ's side while he was on the cross. She has other powers, such as the ability to determine if someone is evil.
I think in this story they tried a bit too hard. The artwork, while still dark and rich, is often filled with too many people and objects to make sense of who is who. I found the story in this one also a bit convoluted. There were two ongoing story-lines, one in Paris where the Magdalena is investigating the murder of a priest in an orphanage and it looks like 'vampires'. As well, a priest has arrived at the Vatican from Belgium with a discovery; ancient artifacts and a letter from one of the original Magdalena's to her daughter, telling her that the Church is corrupt. Does that mean that the Magdalena is a threat to the Church?? So there you go, that's the basic story; the Magdalena asks for help to kill the vampires and is sent other Church warriors (who may have been part of the original Inquisition.. complex?). Are the vampires actually a threat? You'll have to find that out. Lots of action and interesting artwork.
There is a bonus story at the end, where the Magdalena goes to Central America to contact Angelus, an ancient deity. They really tried to cram too much into this short story. Anyway, I do like The Magdalena, another powerful female comic character, this just wasn't her best story. (3 stars)"
If you are interested in comics / graphic novels, I did write a few threads on the subject back a few years ago. If you scroll down the main page of this BLog, you will note in the right hand column, a topic called Labels. I highlight my individual threads with specific labels. There is one called Comic Books. That will provide all of my threads where I discuss that topic. Or... lol... I guess I could just do it for you and provide a link, eh? So there it is.. Comics
2. Gideon's Week by J.J. Marric (Commander Gideon #2). One of my favorite books of September so far.
"Gideon's Week is the 2nd book in the Commander Gideon series by prolific author, J.J. Marric. In many ways it reminds me of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series. Both are excellent police procedurals. They are concise, well-crafted and grab your attention.
In Gideon's Week, Commander George Gideon of Scotland Yard is dealing with many situations. The main crisis is a prison break in Manchester. Of the 9 men who have escaped was one Syd Benson, gangster, murderer. He was put in prison by Gideon on the testimony of Benson's wife. Benson wants to get down to London to get vengeance on his wife. As they wait to see if Benson and the other escapees are captured or make it to London, Gideon prepares the force, protecting Mrs Benson and her children.
As well, the daily caseload never stops. Bad weather helped the escape in Manchester and kept the day-to-day criminal activities in London down. But the weather is improving and while Gideon's force is stretched thin, robberies are on the uptake as well as other crimes. These must be dealt with as well. There are other cases that take up Gideon's time, including the suspected murder of a young woman by her boyfriend. This case incites the interest of one of Gideon's daughters.
The story is fascinating, moves along nicely and holds your attention throughout. The various cases are all detailed and investigated individually, with Gideon tying them all together. There is intimidation, tension and excellent character development. All in all, an excellent mystery, well worth attempting. (4.5 stars)"
3. The Rose Rent by Ellis Peters (Cadfael #13). I've enjoyed this series immensely. It's one of my regular comfort reads.
"I've always enjoyed Ellis Peters's Cadfael mystery series. The 13th book in the series, The Rose Rent was no exception. Cadfael is one of a few historical mystery series that I have particularly enjoyed; e.g. The Mistress of the Art of Death and also the Matthew Shardlake books. Cadfael is set the earliest I think. This story takes place in May 1142 in the town of Shrewsbury mainly at the Abbey where Cadfael works as a monk. The story is set during the battles between King Stephen and Queen Maud for overall rule of England. While some of the other stories use these wars as key aspects to the stories, it plays relatively no role in this particularly story.
A wealthy widow, Judith Perle, has rented her manor to the Abbey. With the deaths of her husband and child she no longer needs the house and instead lives in the home attached to her factory. In the garden of the manor is a rose bush. On the day of St Winifred's holiday, the abbey were to give Judith one rose from the bush as the annual rent. Currently living in the manor is a widower, a craftsman.
The rose is normally given by a young trainee monk who finds himself attracted to Judith. He asks to be taken off the duty. After this preamble to introduce the plot, the young monk is found dead at the base of the rose bush, which has been chopped but not destroyed. Various reasons are provided for this action. If the rose bush is destroyed, the arrangement Judith has with the monastery would become nul and void. A number of wealthy merchants in the town want to marry her to gain access to her properties.
Cadfael and Hugh (the sheriff of Shrewsbury) begin to investigate the murder. Other events take place that will add to the tension and the urgency of solving the crime(s). It's an interesting story. You will be lead down paths to various possible solutions and then (I hope) to a nice surprise and ultimately satisfying ending. Cadfael is always an interesting, a down-to-earth ex-soldier who found the monk-hood late in life. He is always thoughtful and has a nice knack for working through the clues to solve crimes (probably pretty useful when it comes to crime solving, eh?) The stories never disappoint (3.5 stars)"
4. Jazz Funeral by Julia Smith (Skip Langdon #3). I've read books from all three of Smith's various mystery series. I've struggled with some and this was one of those, unfortunately.
"I readily admit that I struggled with Jazz Funeral by Julie Smith. This is the 3rd book in the Skip Langdon mystery series set in New Orleans. The basic gist of the story is that jazz impresario, Ham Brocato, is found murdered in his home, just before the big party at his home to open the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival. At the same time, Ham's younger sister Melody disappears; a suspect or maybe a witness? Other suspects include Ti-Belle, a singer discovered by Ham and his live-in lover, or maybe his father, Gregory or even his mother Patty.
It's a rambling sort of story with all sorts of main characters; Skip, of course, but also Ti-Belle, Melody and the fore-mentioned Gregory and Patty. Skip is looking for Melody, trying to find her in case she is in danger. Melody has run away from home (for what reason?) and hiding out in New Orleans town center. It's just a disconnected story and there is no real investigation of the murder... other than Skip showing up at peoples' homes and asking a few questions.
The more I got into the story, the better it got, but it was still frustrating. No real police work, just wandering from character to character. Unfortunately, I didn't find any of them particularly sympathetic and some (Melody) were down right irritating. Maybe I just can't relate to teenagers anymore. Even the ending was sort of a throw-in. I do have the next book on my shelf and will read it, but I don't know if I'll be in a particular hurry to grab it. (2.5 stars)"
I've started the following books since my last entry.
1. Blood Noir by Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake #16). It's been a few years since I last explored Hamilton's fantasy world. I've started the book and I guess there will be some sex in this particular story. Yup, definitely some sex...
"A favor for Jason, vampire hunter Anita Blake's werewolf lover, puts her in the center of a full-blown scandal that threatens master-vampire Jean- Claude's reign, and makes her a pawn in an ancient vampire queen's new rise to power."
2. The Last Temptation by Val McDermid (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan #3). I've enjoyed the first two books in this mystery / thriller series. I hope this is as good.
"Coming to terms over her breakup with criminal profiler Dr. Tony Hill, Chief Inspector Carol Jordan plunges into a risky undercover sting: track down a European drug trafficker and gain his confidence. But she's being tracked as well-by a serial killer whose psycho-sexual madness is born out of the darkest corners of history. In quiet isolation, Tony Hill is laying to rest the scars of his past-until he's recruited back into business on a case he can't ignore. An evil is striking uncomfortably close to home, and casting a killer shadow over the life of his long-time colleague and sometimes lover. As the danger closes in, and as Tony and Carol cross paths to navigate the terrain of a shattered human mind, they have no one left to trust but themselves-and fear that there's no place left to run as a killer promises to fulfill his most twisted dreams."
My Ongoing Look at the Mystery Genre - American Cops
a. Eyeshot (#1 / 1986)
b. Flashpoint (#2 / 1995)
c. No Good Deed (#3 / 1998).
"It happened in broad daylight. . .
The pretty fifteen-year-old had saddled up for an afternoon ride and never come back.
She was gone. So was her horse. Left behind was a splintered fence. The tracks of a pickup truck. A discarded riding boot. And a great deal of blood.
As a mother herself, Cincinnati detective Sonora Blair knew she was looking at a parent's worst nightmare. As a homicide cop, she tried not to think about what might be happening to the young girl right now . . . or what the police would find if they didn't get to her in time.
But nothing in Sonora's experience could prepare her for the chilling revelations that would emerge from this case . . . or for the truth about other missing children, a lover's betrayal, and another unthinkable crime. . ."
d. The Debt Collector (#4 / 1999). This was my first exposure to Lyn Hightower and I was very impressed with it. As I recall it was an interesting look at the cheque cashing industry.
"'No survivors,' Sonora Blair said to herself as she passed through the front door of a neat suburban home ... and entered a scene of horror: a family caught in the middle of an ordinary day, caught by a killer’s rage. Then Sonora found the dying mother huddled under her bed, and heard her last words: 'Two men. And the Angel.'
Within forty-eight hours, Sonora’s fellow detectives have two killers in jail and the case neatly wrapped. But Sonora — a good cop, a single mother, and a woman who has been a little too lonely a little too long — believes there is something more to this case. A third man in that house — maybe a killer, maybe a savior. And as she moves further down a trail full of shocking surprises, bitter revelations and unpaid debts, Sonora knows one thing for sure: if 'The Angel' is out there she will find him — and give him his due..."
So there you go. I hope you see some interesting books here. Enjoy and have a great weekend!