Silly me, I keep forgetting to link to the reviews which I post over at Splendibird’s blog. Oh well, time to make up for lost time. The most recent was Lauren Beukes exceedingly original and well-paced time-travel thriller, The Shining Girls. Set in an immaculately recreated Chicago it tells the tale of Kirby Mazrachi, a gifted young girl who is visited by a mysterious stranger as a child. Years later, the incident totally forgotten, she finds herself savagely assaulted and left for dead by the same man, aged not a single day. Disturbed in the middle of his attack, he disappears and is never heard of again, not until a grown Kirby starts piecing together various seemingly unconnected murders around the Chicago area spanning back almost a century.
Go check out the full review at Mountains Of Instead!
Splendibird over at The Mountains Of Instead has posted another of my reviews. She politely requested that I cast my eyes over John Green’s debut novel, Looking For Alaska, and I gladly obliged. For once I steered away from sci-fi, fantasy, crime and popular science, delving instead into the heady world of tragic drama and it’s attendant emotional turmoil. Yipes. Looking For Alaska tells the tale of Miles Halter and his transition to life at an American boarding school. You soon realise that events are leading inexorably towards catastrophe and Miles’ world is soon turned upside down, part of his quest for a ‘great perhaps’. Tragic yet warming, sad and funny, always full of life, this is a great book. Thanks for the tip Splendibird!
Read the full review here.
Forgot to link to a couple of reviews I did for The Mountains Of Instead recently.
First up is Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars, a very touching post-apocalyptic tale which threatens to cast you into a pit of depression but instead ends on a wonderfully uplifting note. Ostensibly the story is about Hig, a former pilot who is one of the few survivors of a virulent plague which decimated mankind, leaving only a few groups of stragglers behind. He struggles through his day to day existence with the company of his ageing beagle, Jasper, and survivalist gun nut Bangley. Every day is spent dwelling on the past, the loss of his wife and the dim prospect of continuing like this until a pointless end. However, further tragedy soon leads him to re-evaluate his lot and start making changes. You can read the full review here.
Second we have an entirely different beast, Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig. This is the tale of Miriam Black, a woman drifting from town to town across the USA, leaving a trail of bodies in her wake. Miriam is no murderer, rather she is cursed with the ability to see the precise manner and time of anyone’s death simply by making skin contact. Full of self-loathing and anger, she follows those she knows are about to die, waiting like a vulture in the background before relieving them of their now-superfluous cash. Unfortunately this kind of power cannot remain secret for long and soon she is pursued by some rather dark elements who seek to use it for their own ends. Check it out here.
Been quiet this week because it’s Chinese New Year so I’ve been playing gigs, visiting my girlfriend’s family and diving – I saw a cuttlefish family! Whoop! Normal service will resume as of tomorrow if I can shift my ass back into gear. Coming up between here and The Mountains Of Instead will be The Hydrogen Sonata, 2312, Looking For Alaska, How To Survive In A Science Fictional Universe, The Boy With The Cuckoo-Clock Heart and more. See you soon…
The Mountains Of Instead have published my review for Ben H Winters’ The Last Policeman. It’s an engrossing read about a small-town detective who can’t shake his suspicion that the latest in a string of suicides was actually a murder. The gritty, noir thriller follows his investigation and could be just another cop story except for the reason behind the suicides. An asteroid is on a collision course with earth and is going to wipe out all life within six months. Check out the review here:
The Last Policeman by Ben H Winters