WHO

WHO'S COMING DOWN YOUR CHIMNEY TONIGHT?




Charles Stross, "Overtime"

2018: CTHULHU FOR CHRISTMAS

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Review: The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper's Victims

The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper's Victims The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper's Victims by Robert Hume
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

History often likes to play righteous and forget that the women destroyed by "Jack the Ripper" were real individuals, not just stereotypes or sensationalist corpses. This highly-detailed account uncovers the biographies of these victims, illustrating that economics drove them to act as they did. Reiterating that these women were not low in intellect nor deficient in moral value, but constrained by economic reality to struggle to survive, they are seen as doubly victimized: mirdered brutally, then blamed for their lifestyle choices. This narrative offers a fresh new perspective.

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Review: The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper's Victims

The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper's Victims The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper's Victims by Robert Hume
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

History often likes to play righteous and forget that the women destroyed by "Jack the Ripper" were real individuals, not just stereotypes or sensationalist corpses. This highly-detailed account uncovers the biographies of these victims, illustrating that economics drove them to act as they did. Reiterating that these women were not low in intellect nor deficient in moral value, but constrained by economic reality to struggle to survive, they are seen as doubly victimized: mirdered brutally, then blamed for their lifestyle choices. This narrative offers a fresh new perspective.

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Review: Abandoned: A Ghost Story

Abandoned: A Ghost Story Abandoned: A Ghost Story by Carol McMahon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Scary! Feckless protagonist meets more and more trouble...that's only mildly scary, that this poor well-meaning young woman can't get her life straight, choosing the wrong guys, getting homeless, low on funds....


The really scary is how in a 16,000 word short story, which I foolishly read AT NIGHT, the author manages to tap so many of my phobias! More than once I tried to stop, thinking I would return in the daytime--but my eyes wouldn't turn away and my brain wouldn't stop digesting the scares....the very real, terrifying, perceptions and events.

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Review: A Killing Fire

A Killing Fire A Killing Fire by Faye Snowden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Detective Raven Burns lived through a childhood no one should suffer: at five her father brutally murdered her mother, later her stepmother and many in between, using Raven as both distraction and as a magnet to attract victims. After a stellar several years in the New Orleans Police Department, she returns to small-town Louisiana as a Detective, summoning her NOPD partner as well (who just wants to leave law enforcement and open his own restaurant).


Raven can never eradicate her past-- or her murderous parent--from her psyche and an inexplicable death (How? Who? Why? Is it murder?) teases out clues referencing her father, long since executed on California's Death Row. Raven walks a fine line between revealing and concealing her own secreys, new evidence, and her growing suspicions of those she has trusted, till her mind is a pressure cooker roiling and primed to erupt.

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Review: A Killing Fire

A Killing Fire A Killing Fire by Faye Snowden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Detective Raven Burns lived through a childhood no one should suffer: at five her father brutally murdered her mother, later her stepmother and many in between, using Raven as both distraction and as a magnet to attract victims. After a stellar several years in the New Orleans Police Department, she returns to small-town Louisiana as a Detective, summoning her NOPD partner as well (who just wants to leave law enforcement and open his own restaurant).


Raven can never eradicate her past-- or her murderous parent--from her psyche and an inexplicable death (How? Who? Why? Is it murder?) teases out clues referencing her father, long since executed on California's Death Row. Raven walks a fine line between revealing and concealing her own secreys, new evidence, and her growing suspicions of those she has trusted, till her mind is a pressure cooker roiling and primed to erupt.

View all my reviews

Review: A Killing Fire

A Killing Fire A Killing Fire by Faye Snowden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Detective Raven Burns lived through a childhood no one should suffer: at five her father brutally murdered her mother, later her stepmother and many in between, using Raven as both distraction and as a magnet to attract victims. After a stellar several years in the New Orleans Police Department, she returns to small-town Louisiana as a Detective, summoning her NOPD partner as well (who just wants to leave law enforcement and open his own restaurant).


Raven can never eradicate her past-- or her murderous parent--from her psyche and an inexplicable death (How? Who? Why? Is it murder?) teases out clues referencing her father, long since executed on California's Death Row. Raven walks a fine line between revealing and concealing her own secreys, new evidence, and her growing suspicions of those she has trusted, till her mind is a pressure cooker roiling and primed to erupt.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Review: Combustion

Combustion Combustion by Martin J. Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

COMBUSTION is a heart-in-mouth, can't-catch-your-breath thriller, as human evil and psychosis combine with the ravages of Nature. Well-developed characters, realistic plot threads, reasonable character evolution'--and that Wildfire! Quite suspenseful and frequently scary! I found it especially poignant in view of last year's California wildfire ravages.

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Monday, August 19, 2019

Review: Combustible Punch

Combustible Punch Combustible Punch by Paul Michael Peters
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At first glance, the premise of this novel seems unlikely, almost ludicrous. An adult, survivor of a high school shooting several years ago, "coincidentally" encounters a serial killer--a female serial killer, a sort of self-styled "avenging angel." What are the odds?!


But as I read on, the unfolding of these two unlikely adversaries made more and more sense. Rick Phillips, adjunct professor of writing at a prestigious Virginia university, author of one highly acclaimed book, eleven years ago. Harriet Bristol Wheeler, cold-eyed and cold-hearted, exhibitionist, always planning, 4 or 5 steps ahead of the opposition. Rick, feckless hero that he is, comes to see Harriet and the biography she demands he write, as his sole light in the darkness. This book will redeem him.


Their "acquaintance" bears all the hallmarks of an imminent train wreck. I can hear the brakes squeal, metal clamping against metal, whistle shrieking warning, passengers screaming. Yes, lucky Rick Phillips survived the angry predations of the shooter at his high school, but will he survive the machinations of the Machiavellian, Black-Widowish Harriet Bristol Wheeler?

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Review: Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories

Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories by Ellen Datlow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ECHOES is a top-of-the-line Anthology of Ghost Stories (all new except for three classic reprints) as curated by the inimitable anthologist and editor Ellen Datlow. She has superbly accomplished this collection. Every single story frightened me, made me ponder more deeply, inspired me to check out all these authors (30 in total)....and left me with nightmares and disturbed sleep. I love Ghost stories more than any other type, so I'm in hog heaven reading ECHOES.

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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Review: This Poison Will Remain

This Poison Will Remain This Poison Will Remain by Fred Vargas
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

High praise for this superb French police procedural/mystery! A mark of how excellent it is, is that I read it totally engrossed despite the fact that I am a lifelong arachnophobe and will scream at even a photo of a spider. Yet I immediately became totally involved in the story despite that there were numerous recountings of incidents that would normally be triggers for me. I found this novel so intriguing that I am determined to catch up with the series. What an involved character is Commissionaire Adamsberg of Paris' 13th Arrondissement! Yet, the secondary characters--his squad, numerous crime victims past and present, villains, others on the near periphery of events--are equally complex and intriguing.

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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Review: Demons at War: Urban Fantasy

Demons at War: Urban Fantasy Demons at War: Urban Fantasy by P.A. Minyard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A gentle and inspiring novel set during the horrible tragedy of the American Civil War, literally an ongoing battle between Good and Evil, in the Cosmic sense. Two brothers are both called upon to sacrifice all, not just for country, but to combat demons guised as humans.

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Review: Diverse Similarity

Diverse Similarity Diverse Similarity by Sharon Rose
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A winning combination of well-written and engaging "hard science" and heart, this science fiction novel presents a strong female protagonist with moral integrity and values, with whom readers can readily identify, along with an engrossing plot and wonderfully executed world building.

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Review: Diverse Similarity

Diverse Similarity Diverse Similarity by Sharon Rose
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A winning combination of well-written and engaging "hard science" and heart, this science fiction novel presents a strong female protagonist with moral integrity and values, with whom readers can readily identify, along with an engrossing plot and wonderfully executed world building.

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Review: IQ

IQ IQ by Joe Ide
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm not sure what took me so long to read IQ, but now that I have, I'm eager to race through the series. (Book 2-RIGHTEOUS; Book 3--WRECKED; Book 4-Jan. 2020 release) Isaiah Quintabe (the eponymous IQ) is a protagonist with whom I can strongly identify, despite our external circumstantial divergences. Quite an intellect, Isaiah (like his brother Marcus, himself an admirable character) also has a deep heart and an abundance of empathy. He is also attuned to his senses and in fact his olfactory ability is highly developed and proves essential in his case-solving.


The author thoroughly develops the milieu, a multicultural and divergent one which perhaps has not received enough fictional attention. The story is utterly riveting, a thriller with true heart.

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Friday, August 16, 2019

Review: Ghoster

Ghoster Ghoster by Jason Arnopp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The imagery in this novel is truly different and delightful, as is the subtle humor. The protagonist, though, spins an entirely new illustration to the definition of "feckless." She trashes her smartphone and clings to an old-fashioned Nokia in order to wean herself from a bad case of social media addiction. She "meets" a guy online, then in real life, falls for him despite his odd and elusive (read: suspicious) behavior, then jumps at the opportunity to move in with him, 265 miles distant from home and job. But he gives her no keys, no entrycode to the apartment building, no response to her knocks on his door. For this she has abandoned her flat and her job. Reading this novel is akin to watching two trains on the same track, one passenger and one freight, each running 100 mph, and simply waiting for the inevitable "irrestible force meets immovable object" conclusion. You just know the outcome is going to be deathly, but you can't stop watching.

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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Review: The Leaden Heart

The Leaden Heart The Leaden Heart by Chris Nickson
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

THE LEADEN HEART is #7 in the excellent historical series whose protagonist is a Leeds, England, Superintendent of Police at the end of the 19th century--the late Victorian Era. Harper is a man of sound and strong character and high moral integrity and his wifs Annabelle is a Guardian of the Law who tends to women and children living in poverty or worse. Leeds is a prosperous municipality, but that prosperity is confined to a small minority while a majority are poverty-stricken and even the middle-class must struggle. The suicide of a former colleague and friend lead Harper to discover an ugly conspiracy propelled by greed and cupidity.

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Review: State of Lies

State of Lies State of Lies by Siri Mitchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

STATE OF LIES is a remarkably engrossing political/military/governmental/domestic thriller. Yes, all those categories! I could not break away. This novel is a conspiracy theorist's dream landscape, because what is better than a conspiracy come true? Events in this powerfully impacting story prove the slogan of The X-Files: "TRUST NO ONE." Really, how well can you ever know your friends, colleagues, or family. Sociopathy wears many guises, as does psychosis, and doing wrong things for the right reasons. I seldom view a book as movie potential, but in this case I can see the appeal as film or mini-series.

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Review: State of Lies

State of Lies State of Lies by Siri Mitchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

STATE OF LIES is a remarkably engrossing political/military/governmental/domestic thriller. Yes, all those categories! I could not break away. This novel is a conspiracy theorist's dream landscape, because what is better than a conspiracy come true? Events in this powerfully impacting story prove the slogan of The X-Files: "TRUST NO ONE." Really, how well can you ever know your friends, colleagues, or family. Sociopathy wears many guises, as does psychosis, and doing wrong things for the right reasons. I seldom view a book as movie potential, but in this case I can see the appeal as film or mini-series.

View all my reviews

Review: State of Lies

State of Lies State of Lies by Siri Mitchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

STATE OF LIES is a remarkably engrossing political/military/governmental/domestic thriller. Yes, all those categories! I could not break away. This novel is a conspiracy theorist's dream landscape, because what is better than a conspiracy come true? Events in this powerfully impacting story prove the slogan of The X-Files: "TRUST NO ONE." Really, how well can you ever know your friends, colleagues, or family. Sociopathy wears many guises, as does psychosis, and doing wrong things for the right reasons. I seldom view a book as movie potential, but in this case I can see the appeal as film or mini-series.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Review: Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Historical/contemporary fiction that will tear at your heart, BEFORE WE WERE YOURS is sadly grounded in historical accuracy. Like Colson Whitehead's THE NICKEL BOYS, an ugly historical era is here the basis for a moving story of trauma and success, of the true core strength at the heart of Family, and of the lengths to which some individuals are compelled to satisfy cupidity, greed, and lust for power and control when the end is seen to justify the remains. Suffused with imagery the reader wants to pause to savor, this is a frighteningly realistic work of historical literary fiction.

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Review: Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Are You Afraid of the Dark? Are You Afraid of the Dark? by Seth C. Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? Is the new second novel from Seth C. Adams, author of IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS. ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? is a stunner: deep and deeply involving, heartwrenching yet ultimately, deeply satisfying to the soul. At any given moment I could not be certain what would come next, so I was nearly as om edge as protagonist Reggie. Simultaneously coming of age in the kind of way we would wish on no one, and a marvel of remarkable character evolution, this is a definite re-read. The author excellently grasps the psychology of his characters. An unforgettable story.

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