Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Three Recent Reads

1. Phantom- Susan Kay

A book of the life and death of Erik, the deformed man who becomes The Phantom of the Opera. We start with Erik's birth, told through the eyes of his mother, who shuns him. Move on through the teen years, told through both Erik's voice and the voices of the people he encounters. Through his adulthood, his ill-fated love of the beautiful Christine(we get her side through journal entries) and ending, not in his death, but with the idea that a part of Erik lives on.

Great book, 4 1/2 out of 5 stars, a definite recommend.

2. Sisters in Crime 2- Marilyn Wallace(editor)

This is an anthology of mystery stories, all featuring a woman as the protagonist, all written by women. I picked this book up off of the free shelf at the library a couple of years ago, and it has been sitting in my "to read" pile ever since. I opened it a couple of nights ago, and plowed through it in three days. Some stories were better than others, of course, but really the only one that sticks out at me is the first story in the novel, "Death Scene; or, The Moor of Venice," by P.M. Carlson. Our leading lady is a fantastic heroine who goes by the name "Maggie Ryan." Suffice to say, Maggie solves the mystery of some burglaries that happen to coincide with where her theatre troupe is stopped. How she deals with discovering who the robber is, and saving her own life, was a thing of beauty. I actually laughed out loud at the ending, when Maggie does something decisively "unladylike" to conceal her part in what is, technically, a crime. Either way, I liked her enough to go look for other stories, and happily found a series of Maggie Ryan books that I plan to give a go in the near future.

Decent book, 3 1/2 stars out of 5, a recommend if you like mysteries that are centered around female voices.

3. Village of the Mermaids- Carlton Mellick III

Another Bizarro story by CMIII, here. I first encountered him when I picked up his book Apeshit, which was a horribly entertaining read. Environmentally protected mermaids(who feed off humans), a dying doctor whose skin is turning to clay from a weird disease, evolution, toss in a bit of strange sex and we have  111 pages of neato.

Neato-Bizarro book, 4 out of 5 stars, a definite recommend if you like reading weird shit, or if you're interested in another take on mermaids(and you like reading weird shit)

Bonus: Odd Apocalypse- Dean Koontz

Book 5 in the series that features the fantastic character, Odd Thomas. I read this book recently, though it was one I had picked up when it first came out and just hadn't gotten around to(I have Book 6, Deeply Odd, sitting by my bed to read right now) This story circles around the goings on at the Roseland estate, the owner, Noah Wolflaw, having invited Odd and the pregnant "Lady of the Bell" Annamaria to stay there. Time travel, packs of murdering pig-people, Nikola Tesla, and a frantic ghost on a horse. Odd also picks up his new ghost "friend," and I will admit I was tickled by who it was.

Fantastic book, 5 out of 5 stars, a definite recommend, as everyone should give Odd Thomas a try.

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