Fatal Music by Peter Morfoot

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Captain Paul Darac of the Brigade Criminelle arrives at a crime scene to find a woman’s mutilated corpse. Initially routine, the case deepens and darkens into a complex enquiry that threatens to close in on Darac himself. But allegiances past and present must be set aside to unravel a tale of greed, deception and treachery that spans the social spectrum. It is among the winding streets of his own neighbourhood in Nice’s old town, the Babazouk, that Darac faces his severest test yet.

This appears to be the second book of a series surrounding Captain Paul Darac. I enjoyed the setting quite a bit as it was easy to get lost in Morfoot’s descriptions of France because I’ve never been and have always wanted to go. I typically like to read the first book in a series first, but after I picked this (second) book up first instead, I realized that it wasn’t necessary to enjoy them in order, although it may be preferred. It’s a wonderful mystery, quite cozy, though possibly not intended to be so.

I would recommend this book to those in search of a good thunderstorm read, those in search of a series to sink into, and those in search of a good crime novel hero to get to know. Paul Darac isn’t what I expected in a police captain character, but I say that with respect and admiration. Four stars from me.

The only gripe I have in this story is that sometimes Darac and other characters were a bit unreal and unbelievable. I very much wanted Morfoot to give me something extra, some little thing to hang onto that would flesh these people out just a bit more. It won’t stop me from reading more in the series, but the little tad extra would have gone a long way.

To buy your own copy of FATAL MUSIC by Peter Morfoot, you can go to Amazon.com or Titan Books directly. To read about more books by Peter Morfoot, visit his page on Goodreads.

 

Netherspace by Andrew Lane and Nigel Foster

Released: May 2, 2017 from Titan Books.

I have to admit that when I first opened the box containing this book, I immediately yelleNetherspace.jpgd out, “Oh, so it might be like the movie Innerspace!”

It is not like the movie Innerspace. It’s like this:

Aliens came to Earth forty years ago. Their anatomy proved unfathomable and all attempts at communication failed. But through trade, humanity gained technology that allowed them to colonise the stars. The price: live humans for every alien faster-than-light drive.
Kara’s sister was one of hundreds exchanged for this technology, and Kara has little love for aliens. So when she is drafted by GalDiv – the organisation that oversees alien trades – it is under duress. A group of colonists have been kidnapped by aliens and taken to an uncharted planet, and an unusual team is to be sent to negotiate. As an ex-army sniper, Kara’s role is clear. But artist Marc has no combat experience, although the team’s pre-cog Tse is adamant that he has a part to play. All three know that success is unlikely. For how will they negotiate with aliens when communication between the species is impossible? ~From Titan Books

Picture a world forty years after first known  contact with aliens was made. Now, stop picturing it because it’s not going to be anything close to how Andrew Lane and Nigel Foster have imagined it to be. But, you fine people know that I don’t go into long details about the books I’ve reviewed and I won’t give spoilers. I will say that I quite enjoyed this story and I am really looking forward to there being more books in the series. Like, really looking forward to them.

The writing is nicely blended. I don’t know how author teams usually split authoring duties when two people work on one novel because I, personally, couldn’t do it. But, it appears that the duo has managed to bring out the best of abilities in each other and pour it into a wonderful, original story. Kudos, fellas. Characters in the story are believable, real, well-fleshed, and Sometimes just really easy to get to know. Descriptions of time and place are great, but not overwhelming or ridiculously long.

I would gladly recommend this novel to friends and family. If you would like to buy your own copy (because I’ll be keeping mine), here are the links you’ll need:
Buy NETHERSPACE from Amazon.com.
Buy NETHERSPAC from Titan Books.

 

Mike Hammer–The Will To Kill by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins

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“Mike Hammer is an icon for our culture.” – The New York Times

Every now and then I like to toss a crime fiction novel into my to-be-read pile and this one fell into my lap. Most people already know that there are already several Mike Hammer books available. I, however, was unaware because crime novels are actually not my meat and potatoes. Crime novels are more like a delicious foreign delicacy for me. I discover new crime authors about twenty years too late, but I’m okay with that as long as you, as my blog readers, understand that it’s not my everyday. Since I have read The Will To Kill, though, I have been checking into buying the others and I made it a point to buy and read some of the really old Mike Hammer books before I wrote this review. I can’t stand the idea of having just one book from a series, set, or group. It drives me mad. I also couldn’t see writing this review not knowing anything about Mike Hammer or Mickey Spillane’s vision of his character.

 

Taking a midnight stroll along the Hudson River, Mike Hammer gets more than he bargained for: a partial corpse on an ice floe. The body is that of a butler who spent the last years of his life working for a millionaire—also now deceased—and his notoriously privileged children.

Were both master and servant murdered? Captain Pat Chambers thinks so. But to prove it Hammer must travel to upstate New York to investigate the dead man’s family, all of whom have a motive for murder, and one of whom who has a taste for it.

-Blurb from Amazon.com

I wasn’t disappointed with this book, but I wasn’t blown away, either. It was everything I enjoy in a crime novel. There was a murder mystery to solve, complex and believable characters, crisp, clear language, and someone even says, “Jeez Louise!” somewhere in the story. The real amazing feat within the pages, however, is not in the story itself, but in the writing. Somehow, Max Allan Collins was able to take Spillane’s Mike Hammer stories and create new ones to match seamlessly. He was able to mask his own writing style as Spillane’s, making the two authors of one voice.

I can’t think of one single thing to gripe about with this novel. And, if we’re being honest, I always look for something to gripe about because I want to be sure to give my own readers the honest truth about the books I read. THE WILL TO KILL is one case where what you see is truly what you get. You buy the book looking for a great Mike Hammer story and that’s what you will receive.

To buy THE WILL TO KILL by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins on Amazon, click here! 

To buy THE WILL TO KILL by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins from Titan Books, click here! 

The Dragon’s Legacy By Deborah A. Wolf

Release Date: April 4, 2017

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Blurb from Amazon: 

The last Aturan King is dying, and as his strength fades so does his hold on sa and ka. Control of this power is a deadly lure; the Emperor stirs in his Forbidden City to the East, while deep in the Seared Lands, the whispering voices of Eth bring secret death. Eight men and women take their first steps along the paths to war, barely realizing that their world will soon face a much greater threat; at the heart of the world, the Dragon stirs in her sleep. A warrior would become Queen, a Queen would become a monster, and a young boy plays his bird-skull flute to keep the shadows of death at bay.

The Dragon’s Legacy is a book I will quite easily give my recommendation for. I won’t even blink when I suggest this tale to friends and blog readers. It’s not every single day a book like this one crosses my desk. You all know that I will not ever give away an entire story in my reviews, but I have given a blurb (above) and will tell you what I think (below). I will give this recommendation with a warning, though. Please take a moment to go through the map and index of names at the beginning. I was halfway through the book before I realized either was there because I, on my good days, am a goober.

Deborah A. Wolf is a wonderful story teller. At no point whatsoever in this story did I lack a description, nor did I ever grow bored by a lengthier than necessary one. More importantly, her characters are well fleshed, believable, realistic, and somewhat savage. The language used by Wolf and her characters is beautiful, almost rhythmic, but sometimes meanders and leaves a reader looking for an explanation. Those explanations, I assume, should be answered in the next two books of the trilogy. However, I dislike when a book that is part of a series leaves too many questions unanswered or leaves on too much of a cliffhanger. Each individual book should leave a reader satisfied with the ending, or at least satisfied that the ending is realistic, final, or final for now.

The book is heavy on the dark fantasy side of science fiction. You won’t find any aliens, but you might bump into some other creepy creatures in there. Do open the book with the intention to stay a while. It’s quick paced and sometimes difficult to put down. I look forward to more from this author and will patiently wait on the other two books in the trilogy.

To buy THE DRAGON’S LEGACY on Amazon, click this link!

About the author: 

Deborah A. Wolf was born in a barn and raised on wildlife refuges, which explains rather a lot.  As a child, whether she was wandering down the beach of an otherwise deserted island or exploring the hidden secrets of Alaska with her faithful dog Sitka, she always had a book at hand.  She opened the forbidden door, and set foot upon the tangled path, and never looked back.

Deborah attended any college that couldn’t outrun her and has accumulated a handful of degrees.  She has worked asan underwater photographer, Arabic linguist, and grumbling wage slave. Throughout it all, she has held onto one true and passionate love: the love of storytelling.

Deborah currently lives in northern Michigan with her kids (some of whom are grown and all of whom are exceptional), an assortment of dogs and horses, and a pair of demons masquerading as cats.
*From Amazon*

Check out Deborah A. Wolf’s website! 

For more reviews, watch this space! I have several science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, and historical romance reviews coming very soon. Maybe even some horror, too. Who knows. ~Rhiannon xoxo

 

 

Relics by Tim Lebbon

Relics

Relics by Tim Lebbon, Titan Books 2017

Release Date: March 21, 2017

SYNOPSIS FROM TITAN BOOKS:

Beneath the surface of our world, mythological creatures and their artifacts still exist—corrupt people pay fortunes for a sliver of dragon bone, a basilisk’s scale, or an angel’s wing. Angela Gough is an American criminology student in London whose fiancé Vince disappears, and her investigation leads her into a black market specializing in arcane relics. She meets Mary Rock, a criminal of mythic status who also wants to find Vince… to kill him. Angela and a growing team of adventurers must stop this horrific trade, yet they face a growing menace as the hunted creatures begin to fight back.

 

To start, the characters in the story are lifelike and believable, but I don’t like them. If they were real, they wouldn’t be my kind of people at all, so they were hard for me (personally) to relate too, particularly female characters. The fact that I didn’t particularly like Vince or Angela made it really hard to follow their story. Thankfully, I do enjoy science fiction much more when there are characters and beings written into the story that are not human and that is what you will find in RELICS.

Unfortunately, the black market aspects of the story felt almost like something found in a late night cartoon or as a made for TV movie on Syfy channel. The idea was exciting, but the execution of which left much to be desired. Much of the story meandered because there were times I felt like I was reading the same scenes or themes over and over again.

I would recommend this book to the right kinds of readers if I felt it was what they might be looking for, but for most, I’d say it’s a three star read from me and maybe something else by the same author would suit because I hear he’s written some excellent books. This one isn’t one of them.

But, if you’re brave and bored…

Buy Relics by Tim Lebbon on Amazon.
Buy Relics by Tim Lebbon from Titan Books.

How It Began

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Yes, I am always this attractive…

I was nine years old when I decided I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t really know what the job entailed, but I had wonderful examples available to me whenever I chose to have them.

My mom took me to the library often. We lived in Winchester, Indiana at the time and I remember those library trips well. Winchester had a great library, too, but it wasn’t cold like small town libraries often are. I was always happy to shed my coat to wander between shelves and decide on my reading material for the next two weeks. Somewhere, there would be a coffee smell wafting around, though I never discovered the source. Happily, I discovered a sincere love for books and the people who created them.

Particularly, I learned to enjoy Anne Rice. I was young, but I was always ahead in my Reading classes. I could comprehend far ahead of my level and that was in part due to boredom in my earliest years. The film adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview With A Vampire came out that year and I got a VHS copy. I don’t remember who bought it for me or when I first watched it, but I do remember being completely enamored with the world of the undead, possibly because Brad Pitt was in the movie. And, in a move I now detest, I read the book after I watched the movie, rather than the other way around. I discovered thick and thorough description and how words can be beautiful if you string them together in certain ways.

From there, I learned of other vampires and monsters. Vivian Vande Velde became another favorite author quite quickly. The young adult section at the Winchester public library never knew what hit it. I was wide open and those characters were more than just intriguing. I couldn’t figure out why I, like so many other people out there, was so drawn to them. By the time I was eleven, I knew all of the folklore associated with the creatures of the night.

Of course, it was not just vampires. I also read werewolf stories. I read classic literature, beginning with some of Shakespeare’s very best tragedies. Before I knew it, the reading material at school bored me to no end and I had surpassed the expectations of my teachers. I still enjoyed reading the required novels in classes, but it wasn’t the same as reading the books I chose myself at the library. I began to wonder if there was ever going to be more to learn or if I was just going to flounder around in search of new books, new concepts.

Along with the reading material I spent hours with, I kept journals and notebooks full of words strung together that probably only made sense to myself. I looked at sentence structure only when doing homework. But, in the safety of my bedroom, the words I scrawled on notebook paper were written only to please me. They had meaning and were often thrown together in haste because I learned that writing when angry or upset was the best medicine for anything.

And, I was angry and upset an awful lot. There was little going on in my life that I didn’t take issue with. I wanted to ask why a lot. Every day. I questioned everything because I was stubborn–where most kids my age just accepted their lot for unchangeable, I wanted to know why.

Why do I have to live in a place with a shit economy? Why couldn’t I go see my dad when I wanted to? Why was everybody voting against Bill Clinton when he obviously knew what he was doing? Why are adults so grumpy all the time? Why can’t I live somewhere closer to town so that the library and stores to shop in would be just a skip away? And, most importantly, why doesn’t anyone ever listen to me? Do I even exist?

At some point at this period in my life I even wrote an entire short story about why I hated living in a house surrounded by corn fields.

Everything always came back to vampires, though. There was a young adult book by Annette Curtis Klaus called The Silver Kiss in which the hero doesn’t exactly get the girl.  Most vampire books I had read up to that point had involved a vampire hero who always turned the girl of his dreams so she could be his mate forever. Or the head vampire was killed so that he could be human again and be with her. Or, maybe they just ran away together. But, not The Silver Kiss’s hero.

In the book, the main character’s mother is dying of cancer. The girl is at a very impressionable age, going through very real situations. The vampire in the story doesn’t whisk her away to a better life or make her forget her problems. Instead, his immortality forces her to face her mother’s impending death. She is shown what a life cycle really is. Everything that is born must die one day. It is the natural way of things. And, of course, the vampire’s day comes too. He doesn’t turn her into a vampire. He doesn’t tell her flowery, beautiful things about being undead. He is killed. He dies. And, the main character, Zoe, is forced to go on with her life without her mother and without Simon, the vampire she once knew.

Something about reading a story about a creature who obviously couldn’t exist and being able to pull a small, but immensely strong, sliver of truth out of it really hit me. Life isn’t pretty. Life is not about the hero impressing a girl or saving her from her own boredom. Life is messy and dirty and gut-wrenching. Truth is most certainly stranger than fiction, as they say. The feeling I got when I read about Louis and Lestat living as the undead or about Simon dying even though he’d been given immortality is one that I still, to this very day, cannot describe in a way which would be sufficient to another person. No matter which words I chose, it would not be enough to portray the twisting in my guts and stalling of my heart. Life is short and pain is inevitable, so I write as a buffer between the two.

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Escapology by Ren Warom

I’ve never read anything by this author (probably because it’s her debut novel), but I gave this book a good, fair shot because all books deserve a fair shot and I don’t believe in sticking to the same authors all the time. It’s not good for the soul. Let’s move on to my thoughts, shall we?

There are a few big points to remember when reading this book.

  1. It’s very fast paced.
  2. There is a SHARK on the cover. Who doesn’t like sharks? Keep up!
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Release date: 6/14/16

Shock Pao is not just any Haunt—he’s the best. There isn’t a system that he can’t crack into, no virtual lock he can’t pick, nothing he can’t steal for the right price. Outside virtual world the Slip, though, he’s a Fail—no degree, no job, no affiliations to protect him from angry ex-customers. Of which he has quite a few. So when his ex brings Shock a job which could help him escape his miserable existence, he accepts, little realizing that it will turn out to be his most impossible, illegal and insane assignment yet.

Amiga works for Twist Calhoun, one of the toughest crime lords in the Gung, as a Cleaner—assassin. Trapped in a world of kill-or-be-killed, she wants out. But when Shock’s war comes to her, she doesn’t have a choice: it’s her job to bring him to Twist, dead or alive—or it’ll be her head in a bag in Twist’s vault.

See?  There’s a thing called the Slip (which is sort of described in the blurb above) and all of these people doing all of these crazy, great things. Very fast paced, as advertised.

The story is told through the points of view of a handful of characters, though I am partial to the story line of one in particular, Shock Pao. Shock is every bit the character I want to read about when I pick up a book to read. There is something deep and needed in a character who has been well fleshed out—let’s face it, we (as readers) don’t always get that. Shock, I think, is one of those figures we always want to read, but can’t find. One of the best things I can say about Shock Pao is that he is not perfect. He has problems that could stack up as high as the Eiffel Tower, but he keeps going, perhaps because he has little choice. In that way, I think a lot of readers can probably relate to him, if even on a smaller scale.

But, wait! There is another character from this very same novel I like even more and I am disappointed I didn’t get to read more from or about him. His name is Cassius Angel and he’s the captain of a land ship called Resurrection. Those blog readers who know me know I have a weakness for all things nautical. This particular captain needs his own book. I want to read about the life and times of Captain Cassius Angel and his ship, the Resurrection. The more I read about him in Escapology, the more I wanted to know. While reading the novel, my own unmet whim to hear more from Cassius Angel began to overshadow my need to give a hoot about the other characters. This actually became a big problem for me.

Amiga was the one character I couldn’t really relate to on any scale whatsoever and, more than that, I just didn’t want to read what she was doing. I couldn’t force myself to be interested in Amiga no matter how hard I tried and, believe me, I did try.

This book is great for some people. It wasn’t really my bag, though, because I’m not into cyberpunk at all. I didn’t choose this book, it chose me. Honestly, I’m glad it did. As I say often, it’s good to read something you wouldn’t normally read. The story is well written and the characters are well fleshed and well placed. I am disappointed that Cassius Angel doesn’t have his own book, but there is always time for that and here’s to hoping! Ultimately, I found it difficult to bounce from one character’s point of view to another to another. Some folks have no qualms with this, but I have a hard time with more than two POVs, especially toward the beginning of a story because the beginning is where the reader is supposed to be hooked.

I will not be including a star rating in my blog for this book because I don’t think it would be fair of me to do so as this story wasn’t for me. This does NOT mean Escapology isn’t worthy of any stars. I simply don’t want to be unfair to the author or the book and I feel that by rating a book that just wasn’t what I’m into, I’d be slighting a writer because though this story wasn’t something I’m interested in, the writing and storytelling abilities are very there and I’m just not Ren Warom’s audience  for this title. Maybe the next one.

If you happen to be into cyberpunk, futuristic sort of things, please head on over to Titan Books and buy a copy by clicking here.   

If you feel like this genre simply isn’t for you, I’ve made a note in my stash of notes to keep up with this author. I want to see what she does next.