Thursday, June 27, 2019

#41: The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag

In late 1700s Stockholm, a drunken watchman and a dying police detective team up to find the perpetrator of an especially grisly murder in Niklas Natt och Dag's dark debut The Wolf and the Watchman.

Even by the gloomy standards of Scandinavian noir, this one is especially bleak; there are many scenes of torture, murder, and rape played out against a background of the disenfranchised being ground down by the squalor of late-century Stockholm.  Brutal and somewhat unrelenting in its depictions of the underbelly of life, I actually felt a little queasy a few times.

But the writing is great, the storytelling vivid, the protagonists compelling. 

This was one of the most interesting reads of the year thus far for me, but can be recommended only to discerning readers.

I checked this out from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library in New Castle, Indiana.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

#40: Bounty Man by Matthew S. Hart

Two Texas Rangers provide law and order in a sleepy town while their friend, the sheriff, is on his honeymoon--but when a bounty hunter brings in a bad man, drawing his dangerous family in his wake, it's all guns at the ready in Bounty Man, in the Cody's Law series from Matthew S. Hart.

Hart was actually James Reasoner in this case, and I keep coming across him in his various incarnations.  I have found that Reasoner writes a very solid, pleasing western that hits all the right notes.

The "Bounty Man" of the title is the uncle of one of the Texas Rangers, and they have a strained relationship that flares up between various gun battles.  Both find time for a little romance as well.

Genuinely enjoyable for western fans, and I will look for more in the Cody's Law series.  This one I found at the Parker City Public Library in Parker City, Indiana.

Monday, June 24, 2019

#39: Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera

The story of a Mexican cartel is given Shakespearean lyricism in Yuri Herrera's crime novel Kingdom Cons.

I loved the last book I read from Herrera, The Transmigration of Bodies, another crime novel set in this case against an apocalyptic landscape.  This novel also featured a lot of interesting writing, but I was not nearly as compelled by the situations.

Herrera is a unique and worthy voice in crime fiction and I have enjoyed seeking him out, even if this slim novel did not resonate with me as much as the last one.

I bought this with a Father's Day Amazon card and read it quickly.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

#38: Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti is a young woman at a school far from her home planet--and being bonded to an alien doesn't help--but troubles grow larger when she returns home in the second in the Binti series, Binti: Home.

Nnedi Okorafor's sci-fi series, suitable for young adults, has fresh world-building and interesting plotting.

The only criticism I have of the slender second volume is that it seems to work best as a bridge between the first and the third novels and doesn't really stand alone.

I would recommend Okorafor's Binti novels as an all-ages read for science fiction fans looking for a different voice in fiction.

I checked this out from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library in New Castle, Indiana and read it quickly.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

#37: Killing Gravity by Corey J. White

A dangerous telepath, on the run from powerful forces, throws in with a ragtag spaceship crew in Corey J. White's Killing Gravity, the first novel in The Voidwitch Saga.

The plotting is sort of television-sized, but the world-building--and a kind of cyberpunk flavor--add value.  The novel is slender but very fast-moving, and enjoyable if unsurprising throughout. 

In fact, in episodic television fashion, it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger as the group goes on a rescue mission for one of their missing members.

I bought this with Father's Day Amazon money and read it in a single day.  I liked it well enough to read the next one if I see it in the wild.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

#36: Death Kiss: The Book of the Movie by Bill Cunningham and Rene Perez

Bill Cunningham and director Rene Perez have gathered up fun anecdotes surrounding the making of a b-movie called Death Kiss, an 80s action homage made with a guy who, quite handily to the production, looks like Charles Bronson. 

For those who, like myself, get a charge out of "how-they-do-it" b-moviemaking books (think Rebel Without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez, X Films from Alex Cox, Feature Filmmaking at Used Car Prices by Rick Schmidt). 

The book includes the full script for the movie as well, for interest. 

In the groove for b-movie fans. Bill Cunningham sent me this to read and enjoy and I read it quickly.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

#35: Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

A cyborg security agent has been set free, and decides to find out where some of his missing memories have gone--only to get caught up helping a naive trio of researchers in Martha Wells' Artificial Condition.

This is the second in her series called "The Murderbot Diaries" and follows directly on the heels of All Systems Red.  In this one, our troubled protagonist heads to a moon-based mining colony where once he was involved in a massacre, though the motivations for the killings are hidden from his sight.  His discoveries, and his reluctant assistance to some people in need, gradually inch him towards humanity, and his next adventure.

The storytelling is breezy and the book slender, but remains enjoyable throughout.  I picked this up at the New Castle-Henry County Public Library and read it quickly.  I will definitely look for the next one when I'm ready for a light sci-fi read.

Friday, June 7, 2019

#34: Cari Mora by Thomas Harris

A young woman tries to piece her life back together after being a child soldier, but house-sitting a mansion that happens to be sitting on a safe full of gold puts her in the crosshairs of some bad people in Thomas Harris' Cari Mora.

Harris is best known for his Hannibal Lecter novels, and often goes a long while between new releases.  This one is a bit of a surprise, much more of a straightforward, sardonic action piece than some of his more creepy-crawly and cerebral works.

But Harris still provides some nightmare fuel, largely in the form of an antagonist who has a side gig providing female slaves to disturbed clients. 

New Thomas Harris books are always welcome, and I enjoyed this one as well.  I checked this out from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library and read it quickly.