Frappe Today Dead Tomorrow

Frappe Today Dead Tomorrow

Frappe Today Dead Tomorrow is the definition of a ‘cozy mystery’.  It has a crime, in this case an assault that puts a young woman in a coma, the hero who isn’t an investigator but is thrown into the role, and a villain with shady plans, and little on screen violence. I will say this had a nice twist to it, in that Star, the girl in the coma, joins the investigation in a supernatural way by being able to communicate with Emma, the main character, and minimally affect the world around her.  It is sort of like a ghost side kick, with the exception that the person isn’t actually dead.  There is a lot of supernatural/metaphysical stuff in this book that I did not expect when I first started reading it.  Not that it’s a bad thing.  The subject is generally well handled and while a bit to new-age… Read more »

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Rise of the Phoenix

Rise of the Phoenix

Rise of the Phoenix is a fairly standard action thriller that, while it has issues, gets a lot of things right.  You have the two main characters, both excellent in their field, mixing humor and action as they seek to stop a terrorist threat.  Formulaic?  Sure, but it’s a formula that works, so why mess with it. The action is what this book gets right.  Once you get past the setup and introduction, which I will address in a moment, the action is high paced.  For the lovers of adrenaline fueled thriller action, Gibbs hits the right marks.  The main characters are also well developed, but as individuals and with their interaction with each other.  They are believable as characters with enough backstory to keep them from being just stereotypical stand-ins, which is a problem in many books in this genre. I do have two issues with the book, one… Read more »

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Emerge

Emerge

Emerge is a fairly standard young adult novel that hits all the boxes on the YA checklist.  Thankfully it does so competently and with a plot that is interesting.  You have Allie, the girl who is different but even she doesn’t know how different.  Read, hidden special powers.  The guy she meets that accepts her for who she is, and turns out to be special to.  A secrete destiny waiting to be discovered. Formulaic however does not equal bad.  Allie is a completely likable character and has an emotional depth which is refreshing to see.  Her relationship with Aiden is believable and well done. In a genre where relationships are all to often one dimensional or unbelievable, I was happy to see Craven knew how to avoid these pitfalls. The backstory is also well done.  There was a lot thought put into the backstory of the world and while yes,… Read more »

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Ex-Heroes

Ex-Heroes

Ex-Heroes is an interesting mashup of two very different book sub-genre’s, super-hero action and the zombie apocalypse.  What is even more surprising than the mashup even existing is that it actually works. It seems the difficulty level of this is pretty high, but Clines pulls it off. The story is set after the apocalypse has already happened, so naturally Cline has to spend a lot of time in flashback explaining what happened.  Thankfully this doesn’t break up the pacing and works in the narrative fairly well.  Most of the books I have read that relied on flashbacks for exposition it did hurt the pacing, so the fact that this book still flows well is a credit to the writer. I found the use of heroes particularly interesting in Ex-Heroes.  First is the fact that, even with all their superpowers, they were unable to stop the apocalypse from happening.  Superheroes in… Read more »

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The Con Men: Hustling in New York City

The Con Men: Hustling in New York City

When I started reading Con Men I was expecting stories about big time cons in New York.  I was thinking about the classic con men like we see in the The Sting, The Grifters, or Catch Me If You Can.  That really isn’t what this book is about.  This book is about the street level hustler.  The guys paying three card monte and running scams on neighborhood stores. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book.  If you are looking for a behind the scenes look on how someone can talk tourists out of their money, convince a store to let merchandise walk out the front door, or set up Ponzi schemes, then this book delivers.  The authors spend years with scam artists plying the streets of New York and delivers an amazing view into that world you can’t get from reading news accounts or trial transcripts.  They tell you… Read more »

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A Wanted Man

A Wanted Man

The 17th full novel in the Jack Reacher series, A Wanted Man continues the series formula, which has worked for Child so far and works again here.  Reacher is a solid protagonist and you never go wrong reading on of these books. The first thing that struck me in this book is that it carries over some threads from the previous novel in the series, and leaves some threads at the end for the next novel in the series.  This may not seem that odd, but for a Reacher novel it is.  Except for three books early in the series that were also mildly connected, the Reacher novels are fairly stand alone, never referencing the events of previous books.  You could pick up a novel in the middle of the series without ever reading any of the others, and the experience of reading it would be the same.  That isn’t… Read more »

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Star Trek Enterprise: By the Book

Star Trek Enterprise: By the Book

By the Book is the first paperback spinning out of Star Trek: Enterprise, if you don’t count Broken Bow, which was simple a novelization of the 2 part show opener.  Which I don’t.  I have to say I was surprised by this book.  It is far from the best Star Trek title I have read, but it does have one on the most unique angles I have seen so far. The book is split into two parts; the first part is a first contact with an alien species that goes sideways.  The second, and seemingly more important part to the authors, is a role playing game played between five of the crewman that in minor ways affect the first contact plotline. I have to applaud the authors for trying this.  It is a really fresh take on a Star Trek novel.  By the time this book came out there were… Read more »

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Train to Nowhere

Train to Nowhere

Train to Nowhere is set in a dystopian future where people are divided into classes and live completely separate from each other.  In this future world strict population controls are in place and illegal children, those children that were born outside of the new rules of the society, are placed on the trains known as Orphan Trains.  The story follows one of these orphans named Garland, as he strains to see the bigger world outside the train. This book has a lot of good things going for it.  First and foremost are the characters, who are well designed and relatable.  You can’t help but feel for Garland as he fights between the desire to leave the train and wanting to be with his friends.  Or be nervous for him when he finally manages to get into the larger world.  The reader is also given a counter in the form of… Read more »

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The Devil’s Code

The Devil’s Code

I was happy that Sandford revisited the Kidd series even after seeing success in his Prey novels.  Kidd isn’t the normal type of hero you see in these books and that is what I like about it.  With a criminal for a main character, a group of hacker as backup, and a cocaine addicted love interested, Sandford is able to come at the thriller in a unique angle we don’t get from a lot of other books of the genre. The story itself isn’t overly unique, but it is well done.  Evil company CEO has pulled the wool over the US governments’ eyes and is using the technology he sold them to his own end.  To keep his activities from being noticed, he frames Kidd and his cohorts and sic’s the government on them as a distraction.  We’ve all seen this plot before.  Where the story takes a twist is… Read more »

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The Eugenics War Vol. 2 – The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh

The Eugenics War Vol. 2 – The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh

The Eugenics War 2 follows the events surrounding Khan’s ascent to power and his clashes with Gary Seven and company.  While this book is a pretty good read and gives a lot of backstory for the Star Trek universe it doesn’t quite hold up to the promise laid down in the first part of the series. The big thing that works for this book is Khan himself and the relationship between Khan and Seven.  Cox does an admirable job in translating the Montobon version of Khan into book form and then working that back into a younger version of the man for the early parts of the book.  The growth of the relationship between Khan and Seven and their estrangement was also really well done.  You can feel the tension between the two men and the pull of their past friendship.  Overall the entire cast of characters, down to some… Read more »

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