Wednesday, September 17, 2014

#29: Really the Blues by Joseph Koenig

A jazz musician flees New Orleans under mysterious circumstances, and makes the mistake of landing in Paris during the Nazi Occupation in Joseph Koenig's wartime thriller Really the Blues.

Koenig has been an elusive figure in publishing, having written several different kinds of novels before seemingly disappearing for almost twenty years, emerging in 2012 with a very good hard-boiled noir, False Negative, which first got me interested in the author.

Now there's Really the Blues, where our reluctant protagonist would prefer to keep playing his music, but the Resistance, in various forms, keeps crossing his path, with the Nazis dead on their heels.  This is a very solid, engaging thriller that will have appeal to all kinds of readers.

Pegasus Books sent me this out of the blue, and I was glad they did.  I read it quickly and passed it on to another mystery fan.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

#28: All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

A lowly soldier is killed during a relentless alien invasion, on only his first day of combat; but somehow is forced to relive that day over and over until he gets better (with the help of a solider called "Full Metal Bitch") or keeps dying in Hiroshi Sakurazaka's All You Need is Kill.

This sci-fi novel is a whacked-out combo of Groundhog Day, Starship Troopers, and a dozen Japanese anime series, written in a terse, kinetic style that makes this a quick read.  The author is obviously a loving fan of all of the above and then some and doesn't take anything too seriously.

This novel later became the Tom Cruise movie Edge of Tomorrow, a much more vanilla version of the original novel.

I found this at a WalMart while waiting for a tire change and read half of it in one swoop.  A change of pace for sci-fi fans.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

#27: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

A man returns to his childhood home, and suddenly begins to remember an amazing adventure he had with three magical women that lived next door in Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

After writing the definitive comic book series The Sandman Gaiman has become a popular fantasy writer in his own right.  This one definitely harkens back to childhood tales, to me especially influenced by A Wrinkle in Time.  I think it could be enjoyed by young adults, if certain scenes go over their heads.

But it is great for adults, especially those nostalgic for those stories, now infused with adult melancholy and regret.  There are equal measures of terror and whimsy that make it an interesting read.

I listened to this on audiobook, read by the author, an especially rewarding way to enjoy this book.  Recommended.