Charles Stross, "Overtime"


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Review: Rivercreek Crossing

Rivercreek Crossing Rivercreek Crossing by C.L. LeMay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Really weird storyline: I don't remember ever encountering so many twists and turns, since 1961's THE LIST OF ADRIAN MESSENGER. RIVERCREEK CROSSING, the first of a series, contains about everything a reader would want packed into a mystery-suspense-thriller. Unraveling the numerous convolutions is equivalent to trying to untangle the coils of a python, but far more rewarding. This is a one-session read, because stopping prior to the end is simply unthinkable. Hope the sequel arrives soon!

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Review: The Ninth Life

The Ninth Life The Ninth Life by Clea Simon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE NINTH LIFE by Clea Simon

First in a new series by prolific author Clea Simon, THE NINTH LIFE is a departure from cozies and a venture into the territory of urban noir, an unusual kind: noir with compassion and hope. First in the Blackie and Care Cat Mysteries, THE NINTH LIFE is first-person narrative, from the viewpoint and through the voice of Blackie, an older, near-drowned cat. He is named by his rescuer, a street child named Care, herself both unique and an enigma. Together they form an odd partnership, constantly in danger but constantly caring.

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Review: The Skeleton Friend

The Skeleton Friend The Skeleton Friend by R.C. Johansen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


An exciting and engrossing mystery with an unusual, different, fresh voice, THE SKELETON FRIEND captured me immediately and held me close. Meredith Carlyle ("Carly") is a Seattle EMT. She hasn't the further training to paramedic, due to finances, but years of intensive reading have incurred deep forensic knowledge and intuition. Raised by her mother since her father's literal disappearance when she was six, Carly remains an introvert, an individual who follows her path no matter. When that path results in a job suspension, she inadvertently stumbles (quite literally) over a skeleton, her passion for Truth lands her directly in the crosshairs of killers who won't stop at anything to maintain their cover-up.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Review: Tumbled Graves

Tumbled Graves Tumbled Graves by Brenda Chapman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review: TUMBLED GRAVES by Brenda Chapman
(Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery #3)

A heartwrenching Canadian police procedural, TUMBLED GRAVES is the third in the Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery series. A parent's worst nightmare, a spouse's deepest dread, leap to life when a shy, gangly accountant in a quiet town discovers his lovely wife and cherished three-year-old daughter inexplicably absent from their rural home. Then the nightmare intensifies. Betrayal becomes the overweening theme of this suspenseful mystery.

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Review: His First His Second

His First His Second His First His Second by A.D. Davies
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: HIS FIRST, HIS SECOND by A. D. Davies

I love this super mystery-suspense-thriller-British crime-police procedural-FBI-overseas crime-family drama! I love the dual, triple, more plotlines; the multiple killers, unknown to each other; the "class war" aspects; British police procedural vs. rogue ex-FBI; nearly-manic Detective Sergeant Friendly contraposed with glum middle-aged Detective Chief Inspector Murphy... The entire novel was a roller-coaster, "I can't stop reading" page turner adventure. Definitely one of the top crime novels of the year.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Review: The Sentinel

The Sentinel The Sentinel by Jeffrey Konvitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review: THE SENTINEL by Jeffrey Konvitz

Originally published in 1974, and later adapted as film, THE SENTINEL relates the tragic tale of model Allison Parker, an Indiana native living the dream in Manhattan. The death by terminal illness of her long-estranged father should finally free her from the traumatic chains of her past. Certainly, the serendipity of discovering an affordable renovated brownstone apartment is an external indicator of her new good fortune. But "too good to be true" often has a gritty underside. How could psychologically disordered naif Allison expect that the brownstone is a virtual portal to hell?

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Review: The Damaged

The Damaged The Damaged by Simon Law
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE DAMAGED by Simon Law

"IF ONLY....." Throughout this book, the phrase chimed in my mind like a church bell tolling a funeral. "If only.." the 1987 Great Storm had never damaged Britain. If only George hadn't opened the door. If only Tammy didn't drive intoxicated. If only Matthew had remained asleep. The novel is a tragedy of errors, in which individuals mostly well-intentioned jump on the road not taken, the sure downhill path to misery.

As in all good horror, the inevitability is subtle, yet implacable, kind of like watching a car crash in the making, with characters who become vividly real and promise to linger in the mind.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Review: 2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY by Arthur C. Clarke

I've been reading science fiction since I learned to read, but I had never read 2001, nor have I seen the film. Arthur C. Clarke was a genius: the heights he attains in Parts 5 and 6 literally boggle the mind. I think 2001 ought to be reread annually.

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Review: Children of the Dark

Children of the Dark Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: CHILDREN OF THE DARK by Jonathan Jana

Jonathan Janz is a veritable authorial genius. That's not flattery, Gentle Readers: that's fact. He is a genius of prose, and a genius of literate horror. I don't know how much time he spends on a book, but each gem is freshly polished and perfect. In my mind is a virtual library of Mr. Janz, because once I've read one, it remains forever with me. [Take, for example, THE CLEARING OF TRAVIS COBLE. I read it in 2013, and it STILL wakes me, terrified. ]

CHILDREN OF THE DARK, quite simply, is going to be

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Review: The Sick House: An Occult Thriller

The Sick House: An Occult Thriller The Sick House: An Occult Thriller by Ambrose Ibsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE SICK HOUSE by Ambrose Ibsen
(The Ulrich Files Book 1)

I've been reading Horror and Supernatural for over 6 decades. You think I'd be jaded. Maybe so--but THE SICK HOUSE absolutely blew me out of the water. It has horror plus implacability [you know, you can run but you can't escape], a feckless antihero P.I., a really evil villain, and multiple breathtaking frights. I love it, I bought it, I'm eager for the next!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Review: Northwoods

Northwoods Northwoods by Bill Schweigart
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

REVIEW: NORTHWOODS by Bill Schweigart

NORTHWOODS, like its predecessor, THE BEAST OF BARCROFT, is a cryptozoologist's dream, and ditto so for those fascinated with Native American folklore. The intrepid trio of Ben McKelvie, Department of Defense analyst, Lindsay Clark of the National Zoo, and Alex Standingcloud, Ph.D. and native of a Northwoods reservation, combine once again under the auspices of cryptozoologist Richard Severance, to hunt a hodag on an island in Upper Michigan. Meanwhile, Border and Customs Agent Davis Holland uncovers what he expects to be a drug pipeline in the Minnesota countryside--but which instead is a portal for otherworldly creatures.

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Review: Night Road

Night Road Night Road by Brendan DuBois
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

REVIEW: NIGHT ROAD by Brendan Dubois

I fell in love with Brendan Dubois' exceptional Lewis Cole series a few months back when I reviewed FATAL TIDES, and immediately determined to peruse the entire series. NIGHT ROAD commences a new series, with.protagonist Zach Morrow, a former career Coast Guard sailor working in covert operations. Morrow is a true hero, one who values honor above orders--hence his discharge. That's also the impetus for accepting the new covert job: infiltrating a criminal operation in far Northern New Hampshire, one allegedly importing a shipping container going missing from a Canadian harbour, containing a cargo incredibly dangerous--and terroristic.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Review: The Girl Who Couldn't Come Up With an Orignal Title

The Girl Who Couldn't Come Up With an Orignal Title The Girl Who Couldn't Come Up With an Orignal Title by The Behrg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Every time I turn to a story by The Behrg, I am guaranteed a surprising, challenging, literate read. I truly believe this author, like Lovecraft, channels other universes. [Highest praise, here.] Like the protagonist in Adam Nevill's NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE, the girl is a feckless, downtrodden heroine who for the life of her, just can't catch a break. Like Stephanie in Nevill's book, mostly it's not the girl's fault: it's a failing economy, parental loss, inability to "get ahead" or do anything more than stand still, and often, to regress. Also, like Stephanie, the girl has paranormal talents.

This is not a story only of what awaits many in an era of collapsing economics. It's a story of depression. It's a story of suicidal ideation. It's a story of life failure, and of "bad luck" tuned up. It's a story not to miss, and to share.

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Review: Retreat

Retreat Retreat by J.F. Gonzalez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The last novel completed by author J. F. Gonzalez, RETREAT has just been posthumously published. I leaped to get it and am immensely gratified. It's a wonderful horror-suspense-mystery story, full of superbly drawn characters, a tautly-defined plot, some really despicable (and frightening) individuals--and plot elements that are amazing. It's also rife with class distinctions: further proof that "the Marie Antoinette Syndrome" didn't die with her. I think if Countess Erzbet [Elizabeth] Bathory, the "Blood Countess," could return to life in the 21st century, she would be a happy, active, member of the upper tier at Bent Creek Country Club & Resort. If you've ever pondered whether the 1 Percent are really like the rest of us--read on.

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Review: The Doorkeepers

The Doorkeepers The Doorkeepers by Graham Masterton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE DOORKEEPERS by Graham Masterton

I always expect super stories from this accomplished author, and I am always satisfied. But THE DOORKEEPERS is especially exceptional. In that wonderfully arcane London urban fantasy category that so capably encapsulates Paul Cornell's LONDON FALLING and THE SEVERED STREETS; Christopher Fowler' s RUNE and ROOFWORLD; Neil Gaiman' s NEVERWHERE; and Michael Moorcock' s MOTHER LONDON, Mr. Masterton, a most excellent tour guide of the outre, shows us London in parallel, where history is different and although without world wars, evil readily abides, both individual and communal. A 17th century Mother Goose rhyme points the way. Some venture in accidentally; others are summoned, often for nefarious reasons. Many don't survive. Some prosper. Only the reader consistently benefits.

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Review: SouthWyck

SouthWyck SouthWyck by Christina Waymreen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: SOUTHWYCK by Christina Waymreen

SOUTHWYCK is a delightful magical (literally) fantasy starring young Kar Homely of Wyck. Kar, who has a happy home life and sentient furniture, turns 13, the age at which Wyck citizens discover "What's your magic?" Kar can't wait! Unfortunately, neither can evil, and Kar and his best friends and classmates must undertake the hero's journey and quest to save Wyck.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Review: The Perfectionist

The Perfectionist The Perfectionist by Simon Duke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE PERFECTIONIST by Simon Duke

A totally "wow factor" novel, and definitely one of the year's Best. The author has a finely-tuned grasp of American geography and culture, of human psychology (normal and abnormal), of the FBI and local law enforcement; and perhaps most importantly in the context of the story, the creative imagination to develop a "new" kind of serial killer, innovative and basically untouchable. I am reminded of a psychiatrist's study purporting that sociopaths are a new form of human evolution. Certainly the subject of this novel is a different breed of human entirely, and in the denouement, that difference is definitely borne out. I'll say no more, in order to maintain the incredible suspense level. I read this in one sitting [all day and all evening].

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: A Head Full Of Knives - A Supernatural Mystery

A Head Full Of Knives - A Supernatural Mystery A Head Full Of Knives - A Supernatural Mystery by Luke Smitherd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: A HEAD FULL OF KNIVES by Luke Smitherd

This was my first title from Luke Smitherd, but definitely not my last. A HEAD FULL OF KNIVES is a literate, engrossing, metaphysical novel, with a totally creative view of the afterlife--definitely not any of the traditional afterlife expectations or expressions. For the animal lover, there are 2 dogs, a cat, birds, and foxes. For those of a metaphysical or philosophical turn, there are the various (both pleasant and unwieldy) afterlife levels. Author Smitherd takes on a tough subject and polishes till it shines. This was definitely a Best of Year (2014).

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: Dastardly Bastard

Dastardly Bastard Dastardly Bastard by Edward Lorn
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

This is one of Edward Lorn's more outre horror pieces, and I love it! This and TRAILER are my favourites from Mr. Lorn. He juggles a fair number of characters in this story, gently amassing their backstory and drawing each into his story net. Then, of course, is the creatively imagined horror element (new) and its assured implacability. Not to mention, even the righteously dead need to tune in.

A fast and very entertaining read. I particularly enjoyed Mr. Lorn's characterizations: very insightful.

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Review: The Halfling

The Halfling The Halfling by H.D. Gordon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: HALFLING by H. D. Gordon

Readers of YA fantasy and urban fantasy will flock to H. D. Gordon's new Aria Fae Series, which offers a half-fae, half-human, young female whose life until recently has been sort of superheroic, serving with the Fae Peace Brokers.

Another reader segment who will cheer are those who've been adversely affected by bullying. Granted, not all of us have the rescue capabilities of Aria Fae, but we can all root for her!

I predict HALFLING and its series will be a very popular YA choice.

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