Saturday, December 31, 2016

Short Story Review - A Queer Trade

K.J. Charles
Reviewed by Nancy
5 out of 5 stars


Apprentice magician Crispin Tredarloe returns to London to find his master dead, and his papers sold. Papers with secrets that could spell death. Crispin needs to get them back before anyone finds out what he's been doing, or what his magic can do.

Crispin tracks his quarry down to waste paper dealer Ned Hall. He needs help, and Ned can’t resist Crispin’s pleading—and appealing—looks. But can the waste-man and the magician prevent a disaster and save Crispin’s skin?

My Review

Loved this charming, magical, sexy, and suspenseful story by a new to me author. Apprentice warlock Crispin Tredarloe’s master, Hepzibah Marleigh, was hit by a bus. He left Crispin his books and documents, but the real important papers left on the floor were cleaned up and sold by the Burfords to waste-man Ned Hall who in turn will sell the paper to butchers, florists, or anyone that can use it. No one but Crispin knows what the magical words and symbols on the paper are capable of. Once a sheaf of the paper gets into the hands of the untrained citizenry, strange things start to happen. Crispin and Ned must work together to retrieve the papers and stop the illegal magic before Crispin gets in trouble. Though the two men are as different as night and day, their interactions sparkled and chemistry sizzled, leading me to believe they will indeed be magnificent together. I look forward to reading the series!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ultimate End

Ultimate EndUltimate End by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The heroes from the main Marvel Universe (Earth 616) and the Ultimate Universe have been placed into one battleworld and have to coexist with their counterparts.
It isn't going well and it looks like it will get worse.

Ultimate End started well, but at the end it felt as though the author lost interest. Seeing the two major Marvel Universes having to ineffectively share the same space was interesting especially as many of the Ultimate Universes heroes are unstable. One big complaint I had was they showed Miles Morales Mom as a white red head...she's a Latino. I mean do these two women
even resemble one another?

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and ClydeGo Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

”We're going down, down in an earlier round
And Sugar, we're going down swinging
I'll be your number one with a bullet
A loaded god complex, cock it and pull it

We're going down, down (down, down)
Down, down (down, down)
We're going down, down (down, down)
A loaded god complex, cock it and pull it.”

---Sugar, We are Going Down by Fall Out Boy

 photo bonnie-and-clyde201967_zpsadv8m2vy.jpg
The first time I met Bonnie and Clyde, they looked like this. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty 1967.

John Dillinger has always been my favorite Depression Era gangster. He was cool, suave, charming, and organized. He was made for Hollywood. Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, and Machine Gun Kelly had the best nicknames, evoking danger and romance just by letting their names trip across your tongue. Alvin “Creepy” Karpis was the only one of the Big Four named as Public Enemy #1 (Sorry Machine Gun Kelly, you didn’t make the cut) to be captured alive. I’ve always sort of been dismissive of Bonnie and Clyde because I’ve always perceived them as just a couple of bungling, murderous kids who never really became organized enough to be true gangsters.

Jeff Guinn completely changed my mind.

They were not criminal masterminds, not even close to the same class as say a John Dillinger, who planned and did careful reconnaissance before committing to any bank job. Dillinger was always after the big score. Get enough in one job to not have to work for a while and at the same time minimize risk. Bonnie and Clyde were much more likely to knock off a gas station or break into a hardware store for just enough money to keep them in gas and food. Just a couple of inept kids, right?

That case can be made, but these inept kids killed somewhere in the neighborhood of nine police officers and numerous civilians. They squeezed out of more tight spots than Houdini and led law enforcement on a merry chase from Texas up to Minnesota and back. Two years of sleeping in stolen cars and constantly moving like a pair of murderous gypsies kept them just out of reach of the law. They had no illusions about how all this was going to end, but until then they were going to sell a lot of newspapers.

 photo Clyde20and20Bonnie_zpsg4vabmuu.jpg
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. The real ones.

”Thanks to the media. Clyde and Bonnie had quickly come to be considered the epitome of scandalous glamour. But in person Clyde was short and scrawny, and Bonnie’s looks were ordinary. They were both crippled, Clyde from cutting off two of his own toes in prison and Bonnie as the result of a car wreck nine months earlier in which her right leg was burned so badly that bone was visible in several places. She hopped now rather than walked. Clyde often had to carry her. They had little in common with the glittering images of themselves that mesmerized the public.”

Soaking wet, Clyde might have weighed 127 pounds, which made him an easy target for bullying while he did a stint in prison. A fellow prisoner by the name of Crowder made his life a living hell. He was much larger than Clyde and had no problem overpowering him and raping him repeatedly. Prisoners were also expected to work long hours on the prison farm in debilitating heat. It was not unusual for men to choose to disfigure themselves rather than work the grueling hours for the prison farm. Clyde was no exception and cut off two toes, including his left big toe. He had no idea that his mother had arranged clemency for him, and he was released within a few weeks. This kind of bad luck, bad timing, followed Clyde around for the rest of his short life.

 photo Clyde20Barrow20Mugshot_zpsnmczvpf6.jpg
They put Clyde Barrow in prison as a petty crook and sent him out as a gangster.

It is no surprise that Clyde swore he’d never go to prison again, which changed the game. With the option of surrender eliminated from consideration, Clyde became a very dangerous man to try to apprehend.

Clyde and Bonnie both grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in West Dallas. The one thing they knew was they would do anything to not be poor. When Clyde got out of jail, he tried to go straight, but the local sheriff and his deputies made it impossible for him to keep a job. Any time there was a car stolen or a burglary, they would come haul Clyde out of work to question him. It didn’t need to happen twice before an employer was telling him to hit the bricks.

What’s a guy to do?

The public should have been afraid, not enamored, with Bonnie and Clyde, but the Depression Era was a time when people were becoming very aware of the difference between the haves and the have nots, and Bonnie and Clyde represented a thrilling, romantic rebellion. For people trapped in their honest but meager lives, they could live vicariously through them by just buying a newspaper or, for those who wanted even more sensationalized stories, by picking up a copy of True Detective.

When some undeveloped pictures were confiscated in a raid on a Barrow gang temporary abode in Joplin, the press and public went wild. Most were just pictures of them goofing around, but those pictures did as much to shape their legacy as the true stories about their exploits. ”The Joplin photos introduced new criminal superstars with the most titillating trademark of all--illicit sex. Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were young and unmarried. They undoubtedly slept together--after all, the girl smoked cigars. Whether they’d even heard of the term or not, the Freudian implications did not escape journalists or their readers.”

They were demonized and deified in equal measure.

 photo Buck20and20Blanche20Barrow_zpskgtipvgr.jpg
Buck and Blanche Barrow. Blanche was sultry and naturally more glamorous than Bonnie, which caused some friction.

Clyde’s older brother, Buck, and his lovely wife, Blanche, were part of the gang off and on. Other members came and went, too. A Raymond Hamilton had the best influence on Clyde. He brought planning and organization to the gang and allowed them to knock off more lucrative targets. Unfortunately, Clyde and Raymond were in a constant power struggle for control that insured they could not get along for extended periods of time. Clyde had the same problem with his older brother, Buck. It was going to be his show or no show at all.

 photo Bonnie Parker_zpspbrbhlvn.jpg
Bonnie Parker

Bonnie was a poet. You won’t be confusing her with T. S. Eliot or Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson, but there is a poignancy in the fact that she felt the need to express herself, to make sense of her life with words.

The End of the Line

You've read the story of Jesse James
Of how he lived and died;
If you're still in need
Of something to read,
Here's the story of Bonnie and Clyde.
Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow gang,
I'm sure you all have read
How they rob and steal
And those who squeal
Are usually found dying or dead.
There's lots of untruths to these write-ups;
They're not so ruthless as that;
Their nature is raw;
They hate all the law
The stool pigeons, spotters, and rats.
They call them cold-blooded killers;
They say they are heartless and mean;
But I say this with pride,
That I once knew Clyde
When he was honest and upright and clean.
But the laws fooled around,
Kept taking him down
And locking him up in a cell,
Till he said to me,
"I'll never be free,
So I'll meet a few of them in hell."
The road was so dimly lighted;
There were no highway signs to guide;
But they made up their minds
If all roads were blind,
They wouldn't give up till they died.
The road gets dimmer and dimmer;
Sometimes you can hardly see;
But it's fight, man to man,
And do all you can,
For they know they can never be free.
From heart-break some people have suffered;
From weariness some people have died;
But take it all in all,
Our troubles are small
Till we get like Bonnie and Clyde.
If a policeman is killed in Dallas,
And they have no clue or guide;
If they can't find a fiend,
They just wipe their slate clean
And hand it on Bonnie and Clyde.
There's two crimes committed in America
Not accredited to the Barrow mob;
They had no hand
In the kidnap demand,
Nor the Kansas City depot job.
A newsboy once said to his buddy;
"I wish old Clyde would get jumped;
In these awful hard times
We'd make a few dimes
If five or six cops would get bumped."
The police haven't got the report yet,
But Clyde called me up today;
He said, "Don't start any fights
We aren't working nights
We're joining the NRA."
From Irving to West Dallas viaduct
Is known as the Great Divide,
Where the women are kin,
And the men are men,
And they won't "stool" on Bonnie and Clyde.
If they try to act like citizens
And rent them a nice little flat,
About the third night
They're invited to fight
By a sub-gun's rat-tat-tat.
They don't think they're too tough or desperate,
They know that the law always wins;
They've been shot at before,
But they do not ignore
That death is the wages of sin.
Some day they'll go down together;
And they'll bury them side by side;
To few it'll be grief
To the law a relief
But it's death for Bonnie and Clyde.

 photo Bonnie-and-clyde-2_zpsvbjktfft.jpg
The Death Car.

We all know how it ends. Guinn writes that final scene in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, the best I’ve ever seen it described. It is gruesome and heartless, born out of a real fear of these outlaws who had proven themselves to be as dangerous and unpredictable as trapped animals. 130 rounds were poured into that 1934 Cordoba Gray, 8 cylinder, deluxe sedan Ford with the greyhound radiator cap, which had been stolen in Topeka, Kansas, and forever now known as THE DEATH CAR. When the legendary Texas Ranger Frank Hamer walks up to the car and puts one final blast into Bonnie, a few expletives escaped my lips. I felt a flare of anger that attests to the difference between knowing people and just knowing they existed. Last night, I heard Bonnie’s screams in one of my nightmares, and the men who were there that day heard them for the rest of their lives.

If you want to really meet THE Bonnie Parker and THE Clyde Barrow, then the only way you are going to do it properly is to read this book.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Stars are Legion By: Kameron Hurley

The Stars Are LegionThe Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First and foremost, thanks to the robot overlords at Angry Robot for this ARC. hear that boom? thats Kameron Hurley, she just dropped the mic on scifi for 2017. No spoilers but this story is beautiful, brutal as fuck, giant space opera. Weird, with just touchstones to the world we know and massive in scope. It is how Science fiction SHOULD BE DONE. Show me new worlds and things I never seen, put the bizarre in my face and make me beg you for more.

The bar has been raised, have been warned.

Don't request this ARC, come the release date, go throw money at your book seller, THIS is a winner.

90 out of 5 stars, and no....I wont explain that to you.

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Monday, December 26, 2016

A Holiday Gone Wrong

Brighton RockBrighton Rock by Graham Greene
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'd just finished a book about 1940s/50s Cuba, in which Graham Greene is mentioned as having visited and enjoyed a place where "one could obtain anything at will, whether drugs, or women, or goats". Since I've been meaning to read more Greene, I figured now would be a good time for Our Man in Havana.

A couple days pass, things come up, apparently my memory is shit, and for some reason I start reading Brighton Rock. Hey, why the fuck not?! I'm an idiot...

This book has very little to do with Cuba. Zero actually. It's set in beach-resort south England in which some young hoods roll a newspaper man for his holiday money and have to spend the rest of the time looking over their shoulders, because some random and tenacious woman won't let the matter rest even though the police have dropped the case.

Greene created some great characters here. I wanted to wring their necks, the violent little brutes. His wastrel criminals remind one of Fagin's children from Oliver Twist, but with a touch more dimension to the focus gangster than say the Artful Dodger receives. It's that fold of character that makes you see Greene's creation as human, pitiably human.

At times the novel seems simplistic, especially to mystery readers, who easily can suss out the herrings and what seems like heavy-handed foreshadowing. But Greene should not be underestimated. His work is solid in Brighton Rock.

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The Mob in Cuba

Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba & Then Lost it to the RevolutionHavana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba & Then Lost it to the Revolution by T.J. English
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do you like The Godfather II? Then read this and learn about the real gangsters behind the mob's 1950s invasion of Cuba.

TJ English packs in a lot of information regarding a relatively thin sliver of time, creating in Havana Nocturne the perfect time-capsule history lesson, both exciting and captivating.

English lays out the twisted web that was 1940s/50s Cuba, including the US Navy's WWII deal with Luciano that got the mobster released from prison, Cuban President Batista's friendship with the US and the mob, the CIA's assistance of the Castro/Guevara revolution against the US-backed Batista regime, and more deceitful good times!

I've had a fascination with gangsters and the mafia since first seeing the Godfather movies, which are heavily-based on real life criminals and incidents surrounding them. In Coppola's sequel, the setting shifts to the burgeoning hotel casino and club nightlife of Havana, Cuba just as it did for mob leaders like Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano, and Santo Trafficante. How they seized control, paid off the Cuban government and essentially overran an entire country is amazing.

With this book I got so much more than just unbelievable stories about gangsters. The people's revolt, led by the then little-known Fidel Castro, whose bumbling and poorly outfitted attempts by all rights never should have succeeded, is an incredible life-or-death fairytale. The anything-goes party atmosphere upon the island nation rival the so-called sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. The United States' tourists, wealthy businessmen and politicians like JFK throwing their money and bodies into the carnal fray, while its government looked down its nose and cried "SHAME!" is best.

That any of this ever happened is astounding. The way English tells the tale is outstanding.

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Sunday, December 25, 2016


Carnifex: A Portent of Blood (Legends of the Nameless Dwarf Book 1)Carnifex: A Portent of Blood by D.P. Prior
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Carnifex Thane is a member of the guard in the dwarven ravine city of Arx Gravis. When the Scriptorium is robbed and a sacred text goes missing, the unchanging way of life in Arx Gravis is threatened and Carnifex Thane's life soon spins out of control...

Confession time: While I played Dungeons and Dragons back in Hyborean Age, I'm not a fan of today's kitten squishing epic fantasy. However, pulp-style fantasy in the vein of Leiber/Howard/Moorcock? Sign me up!

Carnifex is a tragic tale of loss, fate, destiny, and cultural stagnation. Arx Gravis is a stifling Dwarf city where outsiders are forbidden. No one gets in or out. The lower one goes in the Ravine City, the rougher things get. Baresarks and pit fights are commonplace at the bottom. Carnifex Thane is the son of a miner and a member of the Red Cloaks, the guards who never see much action. Things change when a thief steals an ancient text.

Carnifex's life soon circles the drain. The way of life in Arx Gravis is questioned, a golem attacks, and a dwarf who had very little loses what little he has. And that's just the beginning.

D.P. Prior crafts a tragedy in the Elric mold. The writing reminds me of Moorcock, David Gemmell, and other fantasy writers who know how to tell a complete tale in less than six kitten-squishing tomes. The world building is very well done, seamlessly worked into the text, revealing the culture of the dwarves of Arx Gravis without beating the reader over the head with dwarven marching songs and things of that nature.

I knew nothing of The Nameless Dwarf or D.P. Prior before I entered the giveaway for this and that's a shame. Carnifex is a throwback to the days of Ace paperback fantasy and bloody good fun. Four out of five stars.

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Short Story Review - Swift & the Black Dog

Ginn Hale
Blind Eye Books
57 pages
5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed by Nancy


When Jack Swift killed a tyrant and won the revolution he became a national hero. But someone in the new government prefers dead heroes to living, swearing, cynical wizards. Caught between bullets, revenge and desire, Jack had better be swift indeed.

My Review

Rich, dark and mesmerizing, cleanly written and uncluttered, full of lush imagery, healing and harming magic, and featuring a cast of distinctive, unforgettable characters. As much as I would have liked to spend a lot more time with Jack Swift and Owen Finch as they right the world’s wrongs, I felt satisfied with the length of the story and its resolution.

Originally published in the Charmed and Dangerous anthology.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Spider-Man 2099, Vol. 4: Gods and Women

Spider-Man 2099, Vol. 4: Gods and WomenSpider-Man 2099, Vol. 4: Gods and Women by Peter David
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If things weren't crazy enough for Miguel O'Harra, one of his employees is a latent Inhuman and gets exposed to the terrigen mist.
The Inhuman villain Lash also comes to claim her leading to a showdown with Spidey 2099.

Do you like Spider-Man, but dislike his laughter filled optimism?
If so read Spider-Man 2099 because Miguel O'Harra makes Peter Parker look like Mr. Rogers. He has super strength and anger problems luckily he doesn't get stronger the angrier he gets. It's rough, I'm surprised Peter hasn't suspended Miguel's Spider privileged.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Eagle Has LandedEagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

”The slab slid to one side, tilting on the slope of the mound, and all was revealed. I suppose it was one of the most astonishing moments of my life, for it was a simple stone with a German cross at the head--what most people would describe as an Iron Cross. The inscription beneath it was in German: Here lies Lieutenant-Colonel Kurt Steiner and 13 German paratroopers, killed in action on November 6th, 1943.”

 photo Mussolini_zpsnwzhslnp.jpg
Colonel Otto Skorzeny with Benito Mussolini after the successful rescue attempt.

Really this story begins with Operation Oak or the San Gasso raid, in which commando paratroopers led by Lieutenant Colonel Otto Skorzeny rescued Benito Mussolini after he was overthrown and imprisoned by the Italian Government in 1943. It was a daring, bold move that gave some hope to a war effort that was already beginning to crumble inward.

Hitler, invigorated by this success, demands an even more audacious mission to capture Winston Churchill and bring him back to the Reich. Admiral Wilhelm Canaris thinks this idea is absolutely insane, but then his loyalty to Hitler has transformed into a more deeply felt loyalty to the future of Germany. Heinrich Himmler, also present during this meeting, is suspicious and threatened by Canaris, and decides to support the plan more for political reasons, in a bid to undermine Canaris, than out of any real interest in the plan. Jack Higgins does a wonderful job showing the struggles within the party and the doubts about the viability of the war that were starting to afflict all but the most loyal of the inner circle.

 photo Robert20Duvall_zpsjtygj6zp.jpg
Colonel Oberst Radl played by Robert Duvall in the movie

Unfortunately, Canaris assigns the project to a very efficient staff member named Colonel Oberst Radl, who promptly discovers a way for such an intrepid plan to succeed. It all comes together when a deep cover agent in a small community in Norfolk reports that Winston Churchill is scheduled to visit their little hamlet for some much needed R&R to paint some of the idyllic countryside.

Joanna Grey is a fascinating character. She lost her family during the Boer War in South Africa and, through a series of events, ends up living in the very country she despises the most. She has become close, bedsheet close, to the local aristocracy, and in a bid to impress his mistress, he can’t help but tell her the biggest news he’s ever had bounce around in his noggin. I have to say I’m impressed that a 68 year old woman can still twitch her skirt and catch the eye of a man who normally would be chasing after women decades younger than himself. She must have that something something that allows men to see beyond the iron gray hair and the wrinkles and see that inner flame that, with just a touch, sparks their pilot light.

She is too old in the minds of the men in Berlin to handle this mission, though frankly, I think they sold the old girl short. Luckily, they have the man they need right there in Berlin, teaching English Literature at the University, a Trinity graduate and an IRA member named Liam Devlin. Embracing the Nazis has been difficult, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend makes them...allies??? Devlin thinks the plan is a bit daft, but he is bored and wants to get back into the action. Any way that he can twist a thumb in the eye of the British helps the cause in Ireland. He is more of a lover of women, a drinker of Bushmill’s Irish whiskey, and a reader of poetry than he is a soldier, but he can handle himself, and nobody gets into Trinity College with just a wink and a bit of wit.

 photo the-eagle-has-landed_zpsv2sqcmmq.jpg
Donald Sutherland is Liam Devlin in the movie. That is Jenny Agutter looking lovely perched on the back of the bike.

Radl finds his man to lead the mission, the disgraced Lieutenant Colonel Kurt Steiner, son of a German general and an American mother. He is a man who readily admits that, if his parents had switched nationality, he could easily have found himself fighting with the Americans. Steiner is in the Channel Islands sitting on manned torpedoes, attempting to blow up Allied shipping. Remember Slim Pickens riding the bomb down to the surface of the Earth in Dr. Strangelove? Similar level of risk.

All the pieces are in place; now it is just a matter of pulling the trigger.

 photo Eagle20Has20Landed_zpssqkwqecy.jpg
1976 Movie Poster

This was a huge best seller that spawned a very successful movie, released in 1976, starring Donald Sutherland, Michael Caine, and Robert Duvall. I look forward to watching the movie to see how closely it follows the book. If you are going to read one Jack Higgins book, this is the one. The publisher states that 50% of the book is absolute fact, and it is up to the reader to determine what of the rest of it is true or merely speculations by the writer. This book is a page turner. The characters are well developed, even the female characters. We really get a chance to understand motivations, even when Radl or Devlin or Steiner or Grey find themselves questioning the meaning of what they do. There is a doomed romance, adding a bit of poignancy to the thrilling aspects of what seems to be an ill-fated quest. There is courage, treachery, humanity, and cruelty, each working to squeeze the resolve of those involved. All of this leads up to one final epic attempt to accomplish the impossible.

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Monday, December 19, 2016

The Corporation Wars: Dissidence By: Ken Mcleod

The Corporation Wars: DissidenceThe Corporation Wars: Dissidence by Ken MacLeod
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this alot, A fun hard scifi that's right up my alley, I love it when space and future stories aren't pretty. They are brutal affairs. A great mix of military style science fiction and space opera.

This is worth your time, I am in the middle of the second book of the trilogy now

The ideas come hard and fast in this book, if you like deep scifi that makes you think, go get it

and Merry Christmas!

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Herriot For A Christmas Read

James Herriot's Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales by the Author of All Creatures Great and SmallJames Herriot's Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales by the Author of All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't always read a Christmas story this time of year, but when I do, I like it to be gushingly heartwarming, perhaps naively innocent, and if you want to throw a moral in there for good measure, by all means!

Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales by the Author of All Creatures Great and Small has all that and more to spare! How can it not? I mean, just look at that title!

Does this shout "Christmas" to you? Perhaps not, but at least one of the stories happens during Christmas and others have a winter-time setting. And besides, stories don't have to be about Christmas to feel like it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd like to digress...

Is this real life?

I often find myself asking that whenever I read a James Herriot book.

James Alfred "Alf" Wight, aka James Herriot, wrote some lovely stories based upon his career as an animal vet in the Yorkshire Dales up there in northern England. Not all of his stories are true. Clearly in this collection of shorts at least one is a complete fabrication of his own design. However, it's also clear (to me anyhow) that most of what happens in these charming tales quite likely could have happened to a country vet and quite likely did happen to Herriot.

Why is this important? Search me, but I guess it maybe has something to do with my need to attach significance to the subjects, the animals. In all of his books there is life and death, and it's important to me that these things contain all the weight and importance they deserve.

Digression Over!

In summary, if you're looking for an uplifting read this holiday season, you can't go wrong with this one, or honestly any of Herriot's books! Don't let the "...for Children" part of the title throw you. This book is for young and old...hell, it's even for us grumpy middle-aged farts!

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A Tasty Drop of Block

A Drop of the Hard Stuff (Matthew Scudder, #17)A Drop of the Hard Stuff by Lawrence Block
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's high time I started on book one in Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series, because I am LOVING what I'm reading so far!

Scudder is a once-cop, once-private investigator cum investigator (just seems to depend on the day and his finances) who's battling alcoholism. (view spoiler) He's forced into a case somewhat close to his hardened heart, so he ends up looking into it just as much for the pay as for his own conscience.

In fine Block fashion, the reader is left wondering "Is this the guy who done it?...No wait, it's gotta be this guy! Or maybe..." almost right up to the end. I might've figured it out sooner, but I got stuck on this one character and having made up my mind it was him, I spent a third of a book looking for clues specifically for this one guy, thus missing any clues that would've pointed to the real killer. I swallowed the red herring bones and all. The clue that I was on the wrong track came when my killer got killed. Doh!

Folks that are looking for a straightforward mystery or crime story won't get it in A Drop of the Hard Stuff. Nope, and that's the beauty of it for me. I prefer books with some literary merit (SNOB ALERT!) and this has it. I'm not talking about highfalutin poetical bs, I'm talking about a little more character development than what you usually get with the genre stuff. You get plenty of character in this one! Scudder is working on his first year of sobriety and so many of the scenes take place in AA meetings. Block described some dynamite scenes of temptation and inner turmoil that really made you feel for these sad sods.

Even though I felt like this book provided some great insights into that world, of course not everyone's going to be down with reading about depressing AA meetings. Even I got a tad bored a time or two. There isn't a lot of action in this one, but when it heats up, it gets intense.

Now, it's time for me to start from book one. I am completely ready to get to know this Scudder fellow from the beginning!</["br"]></["br"]></["br"]></["br"]></["br"]></["br"]></["br"]></["br"]></["br"]></["br"]>

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Man From Primrose Lane

The Man from Primrose LaneThe Man from Primrose Lane by James Renner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Widowed writer David Neff is at rock bottom when his agent drops the tale of The Man From Primrose Lane into his lap. Will a new book to work on bring him out of the funk he's been in since his wife's death or will his obsession kill him?

Before I get down to business, let's all be honest with one another. Most of the books we read are of average or less quality and are just an entertaining way to pass the time. This book is not one of those. This one grabs you by the genitals and infects your thoughts while you aren't reading it.

The Man From Primrose Lane is one hell of a crazy read. The titular character is a local eccentric who was known as The Man with a Thousand Mittens to the cop who found his corpse, complete with fingers in a blender. In life, he was always seen wearing mittens and had a closet full of them when he died? Interested yet? What if I told you the MFPL had a painting of David's dead wife in his basement? Or that he has a notebook about another woman's daily habits that just happens to resemble David's wife?

This is one of those books that I cannot divulge the plot of without ruining it. Suffice to say, it is a cleverly written mind bender. Part detective story, part bat shit crazy. Your brain might fold in on itself like a black hole before it's finished.

What the hell else can I say without spoiling things? I like how Renner uses David going through the withdrawals for his depression meds as a good way to reveal his back story using flashbacks. I had a feeling who The Man From Primrose Lane was about 30% into the story but I had no idea how complex things really were.

That's about all I'm prepared to reveal at this time. If you like genre-bending, thought provoking reads, you could do a lot worse than this. This is in the top two or three books I've read so far in 2016. Perfect score.

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Friday, December 16, 2016

A Frost of Cares

Amy Rae Durreson
Dreamspinner Press
Reviewed by Nancy
5 out of 5 stars


Military historian Luke Alcott leaps at the chance to live in the seventeenth-century country mansion of Eelmoor Hall, home of the Royal Military School of Medicine, after being offered a job cataloging the school’s archives. Luke believes he chose the perfect place to start a new life and put his broken past behind him. But soon after settling into the old house, he hears strange noises—like footsteps—and he begins to suffer from terrible nightmares.

The only person Luke can turn to for help is the taciturn caretaker, Jay, a veteran of the Afghanistan war who carries an old battle wound. Together they try to understand Eelmoor Hall’s history and decipher what could be causing the haunting. As the weather grows colder and snow dusts the countryside, a child goes missing. Luke needs to deal with his own demons and learn to trust in love again if he hopes to face down the angry spirit and find the missing girl.

My Review

A delightful read by a new to me author that left me breathless and charmed in equal measure. This is a modern gothic novel set in England replete with a haunted country mansion, dusty archives, an unhappy ghost, an aloof caretaker, and a lonely man looking for a fresh start.

Jay McBride lost his leg in Afghanistan. Luke Alcott is losing hope that he will find his missing lover. Luke is offered a job by the Royal Military School of Medicine that involves cataloguing the school’s archives stored at Eelmoor Hall.

This story was interestingly told from Luke’s perspective a decade after the story’s events. Though he has achieved closure after learning what happened to Danny, and moved on to have a very loving relationship, Luke is still haunted by the Mistletoe Bride. His husband, Jay, believes that writing the story down will excise the ghosts in his head.

The men don’t like each other at first. Their friendship starts tentatively with lots of conversation, a home-cooked meal and lots of heat, including that caused by the green chilies. I loved how Luke and Jay work through their struggles together and develop trust and love.

“I don’t think it’s the things that happen to us that decide whether we’re broken. I think it’s how we choose to live with the things we can’t control.”

This is a romance first, and a beautiful one that takes its time developing. Luke and Jay may drive each other crazy at times, but there is no denying the chemistry between them. This is also a chilling, tense and satisfying mystery that wraps up neatly in the end.

I gobbled up this book in one sitting, flipping pages well into the night. It was beautifully written, dark, atmospheric, and as comforting as a warm blanket.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super FamousMs. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kamala Khan is busy. She has the normal teenager stuff like school, homework, and family obligations to deal with,
but then she's also the superhero Ms. Marvel. Did I mention she's an Avenger now too?
Ms. Marvel is facing off against an evil entity that is using her likeness to turn people against her while they take over Jersey City.
So Kamala and Bruno come up with a great plan to make clones of Kamala. I mean what could go wrong?

I like Ms. Marvel. I want to say that before anyone gets the wrong idea. My issue is I'm 1.) a guy, 2.) Over 30, and 3.) Not a Muslim. I say that because much of what makes Kamala special is lost on me because I don't relate. She's a fun character and her powers are interesting. She's massively powerful and even though she mostly just grows and shrinks, she can actually do far more. In Super Famous Kamala is just plain run down dog tired. School and family all day with superheroing all night will burn anyone out. Kamala is hanging in there, but it's not going that well. To top it all off Bruno has moved on and started dating just as Kamala was accepting his feelings for her. Sometimes it's no fun being a hero, but Kamala wouldn't trade it for anything.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Hard Rain FallingHard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

”He was legally a fugitive from the orphanage, and in that sense he was ‘wanted’. He did not feel ‘wanted’---he felt very unwanted. He had desires, and nobody was going to drop out of the sky to satisfy them. He tried to milk a little self-pity out of this thought, but it did not work: he had to recognize that he preferred his singularity, his freedom. All right. He knew what he wanted. He wanted money. He wanted a piece of ass. He wanted a big dinner, with all the trimmings. He wanted a bottle of whiskey. He wanted a car, in which he could drive a hundred miles an hour. He wanted some new clothes and thirty-dollar shoes. He wanted a .45 automatic. He wanted a record player in the big hotel room he wanted, so he could lie in bed with the whiskey and the piece of ass and listen to….That was what he wanted. So it was up to him to get those things.”

Those are not big dreams, right? I mean a guy should expect to have a slutty girlfriend, a gun (it is America after all; there are more guns than people), decent clothes, good music, a fast car, a big meal once in awhile, and be able to spin the cap off a fresh bottle of whiskey when he needs to forget how shitty his life is, even when he is walking around in his thirty dollar shoes. For Jack Levitt, who has never had anything, those dreams are so big they seem like millionaire dreams.

His parents came to violent ends at very young ages. Jack was not cute; in fact, even when he was little, he was kind of tough looking. It is hard to find adoptive parents when you look like a future felon at eight. He is in the system so long he becomes part of the system.

Jack meets a pool shark by the name of Billy Lancing, and though they only intersect for a few hours, before Jack is hauled back to juvie, that meeting will prove fateful. They don’t meet again for decades. Jack might be white, and Billy might be black, but there is no color barrier for poverty, desperation, and the feeling that there has to be more than this. ”But I don’t want to be a negro; I don’t want to be a white man; I don’t want to be a married man; I don’t want to be a businessman; I don’t want to be lonely. Life seemed to be a figure eight. It terrified him, sitting on the bus, as if time had opened black jaws and swallowed him.”

Jack has a similar epiphany about his life. He meets up with an old friend, Denny. ”Lived in half a hundred arid furnished rooms, pretended the vacuum was freedom, wakened almost daily to the fear that time was a dry wind brushing away his youth and his strength, and slept through as many nightmares as there were nights to dream. He just sat and smiled at Denny and saw what time had done to him and wondered, now comfortably, why he was so bothered by time. It happens to everybody this way, he thought, we sit here and get older and die and nothing happens.”

Anybody who has ever been to a high school reunion knows about the ravages of time. I’ve never been to one, but someone always sends me pictures from the latest reunion as enticements, I’m sure, to come to the next one. I’m getting old enough now where people have warped, melted, and expanded to such an extent that they are becoming unrecognizable. Little Tommy has become BIG Tommy, and there is barely a glimmer left of the beauty that made the prom queen the lead actress in a series of pornographic dreams.

I find myself having to agree with Jack and Billy...this is it? This is where we strive to arrive? I’ve had a much better start, middle, and hopefully, finish to my life than what Jack and Billy experienced. Regardless, life is a heartless, cold blooded witch, and no one gets through life unscathed. The scale is constantly tilting back and forth between bitter experiences and sweet experiences. I try to focus on the good memories and blur the bad memories, but the older we get, the battle scars start to show.

We become unrecognizable at high school reunions.

Billy and Jack end up incarcerated in the same prison and, in fact, the same cell. They have both failed at almost everything in life. Jack spent some time boxing but discovered he is too thin skinned and bleeds too easily, but he can take care of himself physically. Billy made it briefly into the middle class, but he felt trapped by the responsibility that proved too heavy, and all he could think about was running away from... the weight. He is smaller and gets the wrong kind of attention in prison. (Never die protecting a virgin asshole.) They forge an alliance that becomes built on more than friendship.

This book is hardboiled with a capital H. Once institutionalized, it is hard for people to ever not be institutionalized. They don’t teach you how to survive outside the system. Is it any wonder that too many orphans of the state end up being wards of the state in prison or halfway houses? They have no blueprint to achieve their dreams. They struggle, and when they fail, there is always some judge willing to put them back into the system. They understand life inside. They don’t understand the real world. After all, isn’t it just as hopeless with more responsibility on the outside? Well written, clipped, hard prose with philosophical musings that will have you nodding your head as you realize that the difference between us and Jack and Billy is the fickleness of fate.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Medieval House-keeping

The Empty Throne (The Saxon Stories, #8)The Empty Throne by Bernard Cornwell
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Like books four and five in the GoT series, much of this book feels like housekeeping. Perhaps I should say, hallkeeping or castlecleaning.

I thought maybe in The Empty Throne our half-Dane, half-Saxon hero Uhtred of Bebbanburg might finally regain his lands and castle, but instead the story veers away from what it seemed to be leading up to and turned its focus on the bigger picture. That's annoying, but perhaps it's for the best. The get-my-castle-back storyline was getting stale. Besides, if he got the castle back, that would be the end. In the very least, it would take a lot of wind of out this series' sails.

Like any and all Bernard Cornwell novels, there's fighting and at least some skirmishes, but this one was low-key compared to others in the series. There's a lot of discussion. Hell, there's essentially what adds up to a court room drama at one point. The fighting that does take place feels inconsequential to the bigger picture.

The book starts with a narration by Uhtred's son, which is done to keep up the suspense created at the end of the last book. However, I think Cornwell might've had a two-fold reason. I believe he wanted to give the son a try-out in the lead role. After all, Uhtred's no spring chicken. If Cornwell wants to keep this series rolling, sooner or later he's going to need a replacement for his hero. I know I'm ready for a change.

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Friday, December 9, 2016

PsyCop Briefs: Volume 1

Jordan Castillo Price
JCP Books, LLC
Reviewed by Nancy
5 out of 5 stars


Victor Bayne sees dead people for a living…and he sees them off the clock, too. After all, ghosts don’t confine their appearances to a psychic medium’s work hours.

From the macabre to the mundane, from titillating to tender, these PsyCop shorts feature stolen moments between the novels. Get a glimpse of Vic’s life with Jacob between cases, from both men’s viewpoints. Gain new insight on their psychic talents by accompanying them on odd jobs, shopping runs and family visits, or simply enjoy some downtime in the cannery.

The twenty short works range in length from flash fiction to novelettes, woven together to create a novel-length narrative of Vic and Jacob’s relationship from a fresh perspective. The stories are gleaned from various sources: anthologies, newsletters, and web, with four all-new pieces to tie the collection together and delve deeper into your favorite PsyCops' domestic life.

My Review

If you love Vic and Jacob in the PsyCop series, this is the perfect collection of stories to get your hands on!

While some of the stories stand well alone, others are better appreciated if you are acquainted with the characters from the series. I have not read all the books in the series yet, so it was a surprise to encounter characters I didn’t know, get a glimpse of the future, and see psychic abilities further developed. A few of the stories were familiar, but it was more fun to read them a second time as part of a collection.

Coffee O’Clock – Early on in their relationship, Jacob has spent nearly a week at Vic’s apartment, and while Jacob seems perfectly comfortable there, Vic is experiencing some anxiety. It’s fun to see Vic get all flustered when Jacob replaces his powdered creamer with half-and-half. I like being in Vic’s head, privy to all his neurotic insecurities and conversations with dead people. A little sad, but funny too.

Thaw - This sweet, humorous, short story shows a brief glimpse into the lives of Vic and Jacob, when they are not busy fighting crime. Who knew ice-skating could be so fun and sexy?

Mind Reader – Even though Crash is Jacob’s ex, he is still very much a presence in their lives. His friendship with Vic starts awkwardly, but I love their banter while they’re on a museum trip discussing mummies and ghosts. Crash is slutty and unpredictable, and fortunately for Vic, his empathic abilities are not nearly as honed as Vic’s abilities to communicate with the dead, allowing Vic to stuff his feelings under his belt.

Stroke of Midnight – This is one of few stories where the reader gets Jacob’s perspective on events. It’s Vic and Jacob’s first New Year together, and they are planning to attend a party hosted by Jacob’s ex, Keith, but work calls and Jacob goes alone. It was nice getting into Jacob's head and knowing how strong his feelings for Vic are. I never knew Vic had a cleft chin.

No Sale – The flirtatious salesman and his fancy knives don’t have a chance with Jacob, not while Vic is seeing ghosts. I love Vic’s self-confidence in this one.

Most Likely To… – A nice little glimpse into 80’s hairstyles and Vic’s past.

Jock Straps on Sale – Vic needs some Florida water and Crash needs a ride. I love how Crash unsettles Vic and never fails to make me laugh.

Piece of Cake – Another short featuring Crash, this time while Vic is trying to bake Jacob a cake.

In the Dark – Vic is far more comfortable stuffing himself with meat pastries than making small talk with Jacob’s friends. An encounter with a ghost and a chat with Jacob’s ex, Keith, leads to mutual understanding.

Let the Chips Fall – Before I met my husband, my home was a mishmash of eclectic pieces I picked up at flea markets, yard sales, and from friends. I feel Vic’s pain. Why agonize over paint colors when white goes with everything?

Memento – Old t-shirts, yard work, and sweet lovin’. Told from Jacob’s point of view, his tenderness and desire shines through their relationship. Vic is so lucky!

Impact – I haven’t read the stories beyond Camp Hell, so seeing Vic help Jacob explore his own abilities was a nice surprise.

Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns – A creepy, unsettling story that is just perfect for Halloween. Vic and Jacob are out buying painted pumpkins for another party that Vic is not thrilled about attending. Jacob becomes curious when Vic recalls his first experience seeing a ghost clown in an old movie theatre. Instead of going to the party, they are off to hunt ghosts. Clowns are not the only scary things!

Waiting Game – Loved this short told from Vic’s partner Lisa’s point of view. She uses her precognitive talent to read between the lines, causing Vic and Jacob to blush.

On the Road – Vic and Jacob are planning to head out to visit Jacob’s parents. Jacob is very focused on his trip preparations and attention to details, while Vic is worrying about getting there too early. Hilarious little story that shows even Mr. Perfect can make mistakes.

Wood – Vic and Jacob are helping Jacob’s Uncle Leon put together some bookshelves. I love the stories that focus on lighter moments between the two men. This was fun, humorous, and sexy.

Off the Cuff – As much as I love clothes that fit well, I don’t envy Vic’s experience with the tailor. Still, it was a thoughtful gesture on Jacob’s part and Vic really needs some new clothes.

Locked and Loaded – This started out a little tense, with both guys on high alert. Jacob didn’t have his sidearm, but proved that a strong voice and confident stance goes a long way.

Inside Out – This is a fun little prequel to the PsyCop series and one of a few stories told from Jacob’s perspective. He and his partner, Carolyn, are going to his first PsyCop meeting. While he’s excited about it, Carolyn is more interested in fixing Jacob up with a new man. As Carolyn is a telepath, Jacob has to be very careful what he says to her. As much as I enjoyed this story, I think it would be better appreciated by gaining some familiarity with the characters and their world. Vic’s misadventure with a jelly donut is hilarious!

Witness – This story packs a punch! What starts as a dull training exercise that Vic has absolutely no interest in, turns into a satisfying mystery and further solidifies the bond between Vic and Jacob.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Death of X

Death of XDeath of X by Charles Soule
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cyclops and his X-Men get a distress signal from Muir Island and they head there to investigate.
What they find terrifies them.
The terrigen mist clouds that were released into the atmosphere can kill mutants. Cyclops and Emma Frost warn the world.
Then they formulate a plan to destroy it.

Death of X suffered from it's year long build up. I expected something excellent after such a lengthy wait, but it was mediocre. The series simply fills in some minor details to information that seemed more than obvious after a year of Inhuman and X-Men comics talking about it. All that being said I have to agree with the mutants on this issue. I can't imagine respecting someone's holy cloud if it would kill me. It was a matter of destroy or be destroyed so the actions Cyclops X-Men took were easily warranted.

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Extraordinary X-Men Vol. 2: Apocalypse Wars

Extraordinary X-Men Vol. 2: Apocalypse WarsExtraordinary X-Men Vol. 2: Apocalypse Wars by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The future of mutantkind is in danger. No new mutants are being born due to the terrigen mists, but then suddenly hundreds appeared in the same location. The X-Men investigate only to find Sugarman from Age of Apocalypse with 600 mutant embryos.
As they attempt to rescue the embryos, Colossus and some of the young X-Men are teleported to the future.
A future where Apocalypse has taken over and mutants are extinct.

Have you ever made a colossal mess? I mean like breaking a shelf full of glasses that sends shards all over the place. So far in fact that you know regardless of what you do, some won't get cleaned up or found until someone steps on it. That is the Extraordinary X-Men's Apocalypse Wars.

First off Sugarman shows up, no it seriously was Sugarman, with mutant what was that. Yeah mutant embryos because you know that's totally a thing now. For some reason he wants to smuggle them to the future to play nurse to 600 mutant babies I guess. He must not have seen Jack Jack Attack in the Incredibles because that's a terrible idea.
Anyway so if that's not random enough when they reach the future Apocalypse is alive and running things. It was just bad, bad all over.

Extraordinary X-Men: Apocalypse Wars was a disappointing and confusing mess.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Frankenstein UnboundFrankenstein Unbound by Brian W. Aldiss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

”The monster at my feet said, ‘This I will tell you, and through you, all men, if you are deemed fit to rejoin your kind: that my death will weigh more heavily upon you than my life. No fury I might possess could be a match for yours. Moreover, though you seek to bury me, yet will you continuously resurrect me! Once I am unbound. I am unbounded!’”

 photo frankenstein-unbound1_zpswnxgi35k.jpg
Original cover art from the first edition in 1973. I like it.

Joe Bodenland is living in the midst of a dying Earth in 2020. A nuclear war in space has torn the fabric of the universe, and now everyone is experiencing timeslips. The future and the past are now blending. He might go to bed in 2020 and wake up in 1984 or 1432. The timeslips are unreliable. He might be in 1776 for an hour or twenty hours before he is snapped back into the present in 2020.

”By seeking to control too much, we have lost control of ourselves.”

When Bodenland finds himself in 1816 Switzerland, he can’t help but explore. He drives his 21st century nuclear powered car out from his temporarily relocated house to take a look around. Before he can return, the timeslip...slips again... and he is stuck in the 19th century. He is not that unhappy about it; in fact, he is rather giddy at the thought of meeting the Romantic poets who just happen to be vacationing in Switzerland at this very moment in time. Byron, Shelley, and his soon to be wife, Mary, are welcoming, but after meeting Victor Frankenstein over a stein of beer, Bodenland realizes that there is a mashup of the real and imaginary happening as well.

He sees the creature, the fiend, the Frankenstein’s monster, and feels that something must be done before this beast, already a murderer, kills again. He goes to Mary Wollstonecraft, hoping that she can give him insight into a book she hasn’t even written yet. She is not yet eighteen, a young mother, but at the height of her beauty, and at an intriguing stage of her developing intellect. Bodenland is starstruck. ”Seen in the soft green light of the window, speaking with her serious calm air, Mary Shelley was beautiful to behold. There might be a melancholy here, but there was none of Shelley’s madness, none of Byron’s moodiness. She seemed like a being apart, a very sane but extraordinary young woman, and a slumbering thing in my breast woke and opened to her.”

Bodenland knows more about Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley than she knows about herself at this point in her life. He is enamored with the woman she is going to be, as much or more as he is of the young girl she is at this moment. ”Let your sunlight and my moonlight mingle!” She says, which means exactly what you think it does!

 photo Mary20Wollstonecraft20Shelley_zpskgwuan2j.jpg
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Doesn’t a woman look sexy writing a novel?

I can think of a number of literary crushes I have on writers: Marguerite Duras, Clarice Lispector, or Daphne du Maurier to name a few. I may have to add Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley to the list.

Bodenland becomes obsessed with stopping Frankenstein before he creates another creature. Frankenstein feels compelled to comply with the Monster’s request, due to his own guilt and the very real fear that, if he doesn’t supply the Monster with a woman, he will be torn to shreds. Bodenland finds himself desperately chasing these creatures, taking the role that Frankenstein fulfilled in the original book. ”Nothing could refresh my soul; I was a Jonas Chuzzlewit, a Raskolnikov. I had lied, cheated, committed adultery, looted, thieved, and ultimately murdered; henceforth my only fit company was the two brutes who journeyed somewhere ahead of me, my only fit surroundings the frigid hinterlands of hell which I now entered.”

He has become worse than those he feels must be destroyed.

Will he himself be unhinged, unbound, unfit?

Brian W. Aldiss is a huge fan of the novel Frankenstein. He ”has argued that it should be considered the first true science fiction story because, in contrast to previous stories with fantastical elements resembling those of later science fiction, the central character ‘makes a deliberate decision’ and ’turns to modern experiments in the laboratory’ to achieve fantastic results.” He certainly felt respect, maybe mingled with a bit of lust, for Mary Wollstonecraft, which I find to be charming and only slightly pervy that he fulfilled a sexual fantasy in fiction through a surrogate character. I wish that Aldiss had developed the interactions with Shelley and Byron more thoroughly. They are such dynamic, fascinating characters that I felt shorted by the drive-by moments that they appeared in the novel. It reminded me of how much I enjoyed Tim Power’s book The Stress of Her Regard

Interesting concept, so interesting in fact that I wanted more. I felt the idea of the book was sold short and could have been a terrific book if Aldiss had drilled down deeper into the thoughts and feelings this situation inspired. Recommended for fans of Frankenstein and his monster.

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