It all starts with a mummified show dog that’s been kidnapped. Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, troublemakers on the side of the angels, are hired to recover the dog, but they suspect there’s something amiss about this deal, and boy, are they ever right. What’s meant to be a quick trade of cash for canine corpse turns out to be part of a bigger mystery, one that threatens to put Hap and Leonard behind bars.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed this brief outing with Lansdale’s flagship duo, I was hoping it would last a little longer, as Lansdale’s crackling dialogue and the intriguingly peculiar premise were playing together quite nicely. This story had some meat on it, and the conclusion felt rushed.
Also, for anyone who read Honky Tonk Samurai — the duo’s previous novel-length outing — don’t expect any insight into that book’s final twist. Coco Butternut seems to start sometime afterward, with no mention of the events of that book, save for Chance’s inclusion here. I found that omission more than a little jarring.
That being said, this is a fun little visit with Hap and Leonard, though not quite as satisfying a novella as Hyenas or Dead Aim.
Joe R. Lansdale
Kopi is more of a novella rather than a novel, but a brilliant one, given how precise and short it is. Narrated in third person, it follows the life of Kopi, an ordinary man whose life takes an extraordinary turn when he signs up for Virtual Cosmos. With technology advancing beyond our imagination, The Cosmos aimed for a real-life experience in a virtual world, where people could choose what they look like, whom they met, with no limits on what they could experience. One minute they could be waltzing on the rings of Saturn; another moment they could be completing office work in a remote forest. While keeping him connected with the real world, Kopi makes new friends in the Virtual Cosmos, whose interests match his and whose company he enjoys. With his increasing dependence on coffee in the real world earns him the title Kopi, he feels the line between the real and virtual worlds seem to blur for him. With religious groups holding protests and governments against the free-for-all policy, read on as Kopi comes to term with the good, the bad, and the ugly of the virtual world.
Narration in the third person is tricky to execute, but Bohm has done it really well. The scoring point of this book is that it sways from focusing on the main character to talk about the implications of virtual reality on the real world, not just socio-political, but also economical and psychological implications. The fact that this is a short dystopian book makes it ideal for a quick read on the weekend. Novels with such themes make the reader appreciate reality, our relationships with our families and friends, our childhood, and, most importantly, catching the essence of NOW. I highly recommended this novel for the young adult age group.
The Light Who Shines
During the 1600s, the first Vampire was created, bringing about extreme chaos and the beginning of the Red Ages.
Over two thousand years later, Bluebell Kildare, homicide inspector for the Supernatural Investigation Bureau, is faced with solving the murder of a boy found naked, tortured, and beaten near a bar. She is able to examine the emotions and feelings left over in the area, as well as of those near her through the use of her sixth sense; she is Gifted, and very good at her job. By closing her other senses off, she can focus in on the many emotions that permeate the area, so as to center her attention in on evidence and clues that others may miss.
Sadly, despite Blues passion for her job, and the other Daylight Vampires who ensure the safety of the people around them, not everyone during this time is so understanding of sharing the world with people who have come to be so different from themselves. Extremist groups, such as the Dilectus Deo, are constantly protesting the very existence of the Gifted humans among them and the Daylight Vampires that protect them from the dangerous Dark Vampires — beings who have fallen prey to their more base natures and given up their ability to roam in daylight after killing in bloodlust. It is a dangerous world, and it takes only the best and bravest to search after criminals who would do harm to others.
Fortunately, Blue is not only a talented investigator, but she also counts on the help of her boss, Jack Tanner or as she prefers to think of him, quite possibly the sexiest man alive. He exudes danger in a quiet, stealthy sort of way. I often think I should be frightened of him quite possibly because hes a very old and incredibly strong Vampire. But I cant seem to muster any fear, even when hes in an obvious rage. That only makes me question my sanity. Its a complicated and strained relationship but the clear and palpable tension between them only makes watching them work together all the more enjoyable.
In The Light Who Shines, Lilo Abernathy has created an amazing and fantastic world in which normal humans, Gifted humans, Daylight and Dark Vampires must coexist despite the magical dangers, intolerance, and greed that run rampant on a day-to-day basis. The mystery of the tortured boy is the driving force behind this intriguing novel. As clues are discovered, witnesses questioned, and tips followed from one place to another, it becomes progressively more disturbing to get closer to the person responsible for such a heinous crime. Yet, the more we learn about Blue and her commitment to fight for those who have been victimized by this bigoted society, the more we realize she is just the investigator needed to get to the bottom of these kinds of transgressions. She proves to be not only fully dedicated to her job despite any dangers that come her way including her own safety and surprisingly strong-willed for someone whos most prominent gift is the ability to sense emotions. Still, it is her imperfections and limitations that make her an even more likable character we can all relate to especially when it comes to her weakness for Jack.
As the story unfolds, it becomes increasingly evident that there is much more at stake than meets the eye. The torture and death of this young boy leads Blue down a path of unprecedented self-discovery and a much larger role she must play not only at the Supernatural Investigation Bureau, but the world. Furthermore, it brings her and Jack much closer than theyve ever been. The Light Who Shines is a fast-paced, extraordinary, and provocative tale of high stakes and deep losses that demands to be read!
Dream Waters is the first book in the series and I really hope the next one is released soon as this is a must read!
Charlie Oliver is a lifelong psychiatric patient, labelled a schizophrenic who suffers from paranoid delusions due to his visions of the people around him morphing into creatures. The nice ones he can handle, but every so often, he sees a horrific looking creature and passes out with a spine tingling scream. But what if Charlie remembers the world of our dreams and the mysterious calming waters that carry us there, and during his waking hours, he catches glimpses of the dream forms of others in this world? Who could believe something so fantastical?
When new patient, Emma Talbot, is admitted to the ward, Charlie takes an immediate like to her, and offers her a friendship she is too terrified to decline. They soon become close friends, and confide each other’s darkest secrets. On seeing the budding friendship, an elderly patient is concerned for Charlie, so confesses that she, too, has the curse of Dream Sight. This new knowledge opens Charlie’s mind to see what is actually around him, and he notices that a horrendously frightening dragon actually shadows his new friend. Charlie pursues the beast in his dreams in order to find out more about its connection with Emma. On his travels, he makes new friends and realizations about the people he knows in the real world.
Dream Waters will draw you in, and swirl you around in a whirlpool of desire, fantastical beasts, and forever friendships. I cannot wait for the next book in this series. It really is one of those books that you do not want to put down, and once you have finished it, you want to restart it. This is not a book for young readers, due to some adult content, but everyone else should certainly give this book a read.
The Children of Darkness
In this case, you really cant judge a book by its cover. The Children of Darkness is not at all the post-apocalyptic tale that you might expect, based on the cover or the title. It is, in actuality, a delightful sci-fi/fantasy story about three kids trying to find themselves and achieve their potential through understanding their history and, consequently, the history of the world. While not categorized as a YA novel, I think it should be. There is probably more meat here that kids on the cusp of adulthood would find nourishing than more mature readers (although its not an unwelcome trip down memory lane).
Orah (the smart girl), Nathaniel (the strapping leader), and Thomas (the nimble artist) unwittingly embark upon a life-changing journey to find the truth after each has a teaching encounter with the vicars of the Temple of Light. In this post-post-post-modern world with little-to-no technology, defined castes, and isolation between communities, the Temple of Light controls all life functionsfrom how many children may be born to what citizens may think. These three kids bumble into a treasure hunt that will finally lead them to the truth about the darkness.
Litwack has created a gem that incorporates some of the best of the genre: Orah will likely remind many readers of J.K. Rowlings Hermoine (Harry Potter). Elements of the story arch are classic, but will seem particularly familiar to readers of Terry Goodkind (The Wizards First Rule). And while Litwack uses typical archetypes, his characters approach conflict in some ways that diverge from expectation while also providing enough of the familiar, tried and true not to disappoint.
The pacing of The Children of Darkness drags in places; all of the inner dialogue and story setup may not be appealing to every reader, and so you may feel a niggling desire to skip a few pages to get back into the action. But, in general, there is careful craftsmanship at play that endeavors to provide enough description without becoming bogged in unnecessary detailswhich could easily happen as Litwack creates an in-between world that is not quite medieval, but not modern either.
There are also seems to be a bit of a struggle with light and darkness not just in the themes but in the presentation as well; there is a tension in the novel that Im not sure is intentional. Litwack seems to want to convey the darkness of humanity but seems timid in just how much to describe, how dark to go. The story hovers in an uncomfortable realm that suggests horrors, but never truly shows them. There is order, but a sinister element bubbles just under the surface; however, Litwack never really allows us to look at it. Never giving into the grotesque or graphic for graphics sake, Litwacks restrained pen seems to be the balance to contemporary sci-fi productions (Mad Max: Road to Fury , Dredd ). There is something about the seemingly inevitable direction of the story that wants some moment of violence, something explosive in the pot that the three young adults stir.
If it is Litwacks project to complicate the notions of good and evil, he succeeds. In unexpected ways, he shows the fallibility and potential of human beings as a race and as individuals to effect changeperhaps neither for good nor ill. There is much to unpack here and a great deal worth expecting in the sequel.
A good read if you check your expectations at the door.
Finding the perfect man that fits all of your predetermined attributes doesnt always work out. At least thats the case for Gemma. Focused on her schooling and career as an engineering professor has left her love life in a slump. After deciding to focus on her career and let the fates decide her love life, she heads to snowy Chicago for a week-long conference where she will be a presenter. However, once in Chicago her life it turned upside-down. First, she is mugged, sending her to the local hospital with a nasty bump on her head. Her first thought is maybe shell meet a good-looking doctor and fall in love. However, someone else has plans for Gemma that will set her life spiraling out of control. Someone is not all they seem to be and is injecting Gemma with a paralyzing agent unbeknownst to the hospital staff. Unable to alert anyone of this, Gemma is caught between her paralyzed body and in the middle of an out of body experience. She knows that time is not on her side and if she wants to survive she is going to have to use all of her logical thinking as well as some supernatural help from those she meets on the other side before it is too late.
They say you cant judge a book by its cover and this is absolutely true for both the cover and title of Finding Husband. This book is full of surprises and has a variety of genres from science fiction and romance to mystery and suspense. In Finding Husband, author Peri Alexander delivers a fast paced and thrilling novel that will keep you hooked and guessing until the very end. Alexander has created characters that range from every day, likable people to deranged sociopaths that interact in such interesting ways you find yourself intrigued or shocked with every turn of the page and thirsting for more. This is definitely a book you cannot miss. Well done!