cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Great technology thriller (think Crichton) with steadily escalating stakes as the main character goes deeper and deeper into the conspiracy. One of my favorite things about this book is the way it introduces us to a huge cast of minor characters and makes each one of them come to life, if only briefly. This is a big fat book, but it reads fast. I haven't read Dean Koontz in ages and ages, and I'm glad I picked the book up.

Story: The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz
Genre: I think it's being sold as a thriller? It's got one significant creepy SF element, too.
Published: June 2017, Bantam
Length: Really long novel.
How I got it: Library
Writer notes: Seriously, self, go back and look at how he wrote minor characters like that. With the PoV and such.
Biases: I'm a fan of the Parasol Universe, and I'm fine with M/M romances.


cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)

Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger is a warm-hearted return to characters that series fans love, and it manages to also have a story of its own (which not all tie-in novellas or short novels do, not by a long shot). Contains estranged but still longing lovers, unexpected babies (not theirs), pivotal curtain dilemmas, and werewolves gaining self-assurance. Too slight to be a strong introduction for new readers, but recommended for fans of the series.

 

Story: Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger

Genre: Historic paranormal romance

Published: November 2017, published independently

Length: Novella or short novel

How I got it: I forked over the cash moneys.

Biases: I'm a fan of the Parasol Universe, and I'm fine with M/M romances.

cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)

Why would a woman no longer be in possession of what should be one of her most cherished possessions? As a point of honor, Jack Reacher must know. The Midnight Line has much of what I love in Jack Reacher books, but with an atypical-for-this-series ensemble of investigators working together. The refusal to give up on a goal no matter what, the hurling of himself into physical danger with the kind of advance knowledge and awareness of his own abilities that makes it not a rash action--the signature of a Reacher story is there. But the mystery in the book takes twists and turns and shows us how people's hopes and fears influence what they find. This one is more mystery than thriller. Recommended.

 

Note: The Reacher books are highly episodic. This can be read out-of-order with no problems.

 

Story: The Midnight Line by Lee Child

Genre: Thriller/mystery

Published: November 2017, Delacorte Press

Length: Sure, it's book-sized.

How I got it: Goodreads giveaway.

Biases: I'm a fan of the Reacher books, and I have been for ages.

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The concept of the Sin du Jour novella series is that there is a catering company that works specifically for the high-powered supernatural set. Yes, the dietary requirements and ingredient quests are as hair-raising as you might imagine. It's also great to see a behind-the-scenes look at a (highly unusual) catering company and what the day-to-day life of the people who work there is like.

 

In Greedy Pigs, the caterers find themselves double-booked for two inauguration ceremonies, one human, one not. They have to adjust on the fly. Meanwhile, one of their own is not acting like himself. It all comes to a head at the inaugurations. There is a certain amount of commentary on our political system, but not to a degree that should push away readers who are sick of the political news cycle right now.

 

This book pays off on a lot of the interpersonal stuff that was set up previously in the series. To which I said, "At last!" The motivation for the main plot depends on it. Although this series is intentionally episodic, you probably want to read at least the previous book (Idle Ingredients) before this one. I recommend the Sin du Jour series if you're interested in something that's funny, dark at times, a little crass, and rooted in the lives of everyday working folks. Most of the books stand alone quite nicely.

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I'm a fan of Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace's Ditchdiggers podcast about writing, so I went into this story hearing his voice reading it and also with a lot of outside context about the author, which changes things a bit.


Read if: You like stories with working class protagonists.
Skip if: You hate novellas or politics.
Length: Novella.
First Published: Tor.com Publishing, May 2017.
Link: https://www.amazon.com/Greedy-Pigs-Sin-Jour-Affair-ebook/dp/B01N5EUN84
How'd I get it: Won it in a Goodreads giveaway.

cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Beautifully written. Time travel, betrayal, revenge, family, love, cybernetics, and multiple identities, linked together into a coherent story that shoots ideas into your skull like bullets.

Read if: You're interested in a multi-layered story, and I do mean multi.
Skip if: You dislike spiral structure stories.
Length: Short story, 5,881 words.
First Published: Clarkesworld, Feb 2017. A good issue, this one!
Link (FREE!): http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/harris_02_17/
How'd I get it: I too clicked on a link.
Where'd I read it: In bits and pieces on the computer.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)
In which I continue reviewing things I have read, especially short stories.

Waiting Out the End of the World in Patty's Place Cafe
Naomi Kritzer--ahem, Hugo award-winning author Naomi Kritzer

This story does what it says on the tin. It is mostly about past events and what people need to get resolution, framed against the background of an imminent danger to the whole world.

Read if: You're looking for LGBTQ warm fuzzies.
Skip if: You only like your end-of-the-world stories extremely apocalyptic.
Length: Short story, 4,743 words.
First Published: Clarkesworld, March 2017.
Link (FREE!): http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/kritzer_03_17/
How'd I get it: I too clicked on a link.
Where'd I read it: Over a breakfast of pancakes, which seemed quite appropriate!
Disclaimer: I know the author.



Of interest: Apparently, when the story was initially posted it cut off at the following paragraph. That ending would have left the story with a very different feeling!

It was dark out. Someone from the town had dragged out a box of fireworks left over from last year’s 4th of July and everyone took turns lighting them off, including me. (Mom had never let us have fireworks when I was a kid, because we might blow ourselves up, but if there was ever a time for YOLO, it’s when there’s a 4.3 kilometer asteroid on a collision

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