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Entries from Jun 2009

Steven Johnson: Mind Wide Open

29 Jun 2009 · 2 Comments

Steven Johnson opens his whirlwind tour of modern brain science asserting his intent to deliver a “long-decay” idea in each chapter: the sort of thought that will resonate with you after you finish the book, even possibly altering your behavior.
And he delivers at least a few that stick for me. I learned things about the [...]

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Tags: autobiography · j-author · m-title · science

Charlie Huston: A Dangerous Man

26 Jun 2009 · No Comments

I had an educated guess as to how A Dangerous Man would bring Huston’s Hank Thompson trilogy to full circle: some naif would bumble into Hank’s way in much the same way Hank stumbled into some nasty heavies in Caught Stealing; Hank would understimate the noob as he himself was once underestimated. Hank might manage [...]

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Tags: d-title · h-author · suspense · thriller

Robert Sheckley: The Alternative Detective

24 Jun 2009 · No Comments

I saw it opined in several places that the third of Sheckley’s mysteries featuring Hob Draconian was so good it would make me want to go back and read the first two — and since I’m a “save the best for last” kinda person, I opted to read them in chronological order. I found The [...]

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Tags: a-title · mystery · s-author

Sean Stewart: The Night Watch

20 Jun 2009 · No Comments

I’ve never read anything quite like The Night Watch. It shares a background with Stewart’s earlier novel Resurrection Man, but it’s not a direct sequel; it takes place roughly a century later.
Stewart’s novel is set after the cataclysmic return of magic to the world — the Dream — ended civilization as we know it. [...]

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Tags: fantasy · n-title · s-author · science fiction

Charlaine Harris: Club Dead

17 Jun 2009 · No Comments

I’m still enjoying the Harris’ southern vampire series more than enough to keep reading, but in this third entry in the series, the genre-defying elements that appealed to me so much in the first novel are definitely on the wane. Club Dead does not equally blend waitress Sookie Stackhouse dealing with both normal and supernatural [...]

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Tags: c-title · fantasy · h-author

Steven Johnson: The Ghost Map

14 Jun 2009 · No Comments

The Ghost Map is the sort of book that could be filed in a number of sections of a bookstore or library. Its wide-ranging approach convinced me that I need to read everything else Johnson writes. It’s nominally the history of the London cholera epidemic of 1854, and of the two men who traced it [...]

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Tags: history · j-author · science

Peter David: Sir Apropos of Nothing

10 Jun 2009 · No Comments

I can’t help but think this heroic fantasy parody would be substantially better if it were a lot shorter.
It opens with a rather laborious description of personal combat ending with a gag death. The humor relies on the reader’s visualization, and I think it would have worked much better as a handful of pages [...]

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Tags: d-author · fantasy · s-title

Lee Irby: The Up and Up

09 Jun 2009 · No Comments

Small-time hood Frank Hearn makes it out of Irby’s previous Prohibition-era caper novel 7,000 Clams with his skin fundamentally intact and the love of a really terrific dame, but (no spoiler, really) without enough scratch to give her the kind of life he wants to. So in this sequel he goes straight and tries to [...]

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Tags: historical · i-author · mystery · suspense · u-title

Charlie Huston: The Shotgun Rule

08 Jun 2009 · No Comments

When writing about Huston I have to resist the temptation of tired metaphors: electricity, velocity, whips, blisters. They’re especially inappropriate, because one of Huston’s tricks for avoiding noir clichés is to avoid metaphor and simile almost completely. Huston’s crafts terse, almost reportorial, prose enlivened by a practiced eye for the telling detail, and an ear [...]

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Tags: h-author · s-title · suspense · thriller

Carrie Ryan: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

07 Jun 2009 · No Comments

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is the weirdest zombie story I’ve ever read. And it’s not just because the book never once uses the word “zombie.” It’s not even because the novel is set generations after the zombie’s victory over humanity.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth opens in a small village of humans surrounded [...]

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Tags: f-title · fantasy · horror · r-author · science fiction · young adult