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What Fiction Book (other than Science Fiction or Fantasy) have you recently finished?

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Cowman's Jack-Pot  by Frank C. Robertson.  As you might guess from the title, it's a Western.  Chet Calder returns from years in the East to take over his father's ranch.  Unfortunately, his head is up his nether regions, and he makes some very bad choices.  Once he finally realizes how deep the hole is, can he dig his way out?

 

http://www.skjam.com/2015/08/15/book-review-cowmans-jack-pot/

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A Song of Shadows by John Connelly. Charlie Parker is recuperating when a body is washed ashore nearby and the detective involves himself in finding out why the man was killed. This book follows hard on the heels of Wolf in Winter so that one is best read first as several things that occur in that are directly referenced here.

This has some nice eerie moments and it deepens the mystery of the whole series. Better than the previous book but the standard of the series is pretty high.

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The Escape by David Baldacci. Army investigator John Puller has a brother who is locked up in Fort Leavenworth for treason. Something impossible happens and Bobby Puller escapes from the most secure prison the army has. John joins the chase and discovers a plot to render the Pentagon unliveable for decades.

CES

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Reading another Douglas Reeman book. This time it's Strike From The Sea.

 

 

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From the back cover:

 

The Beast. She was the largest submarine in the world, an undersea cruiser with twin turret guns, her own spotter plane, and forty "fish" in her tubes. She was Soufriere, and she was French, but it was 1941 and Hitler's legions held Paris...

 

Ainslie's men. They were the hand-picked best of the Royal Navy and de Gaulle's Free French, armed with Bren guns and revolvers, shuddering through the straits of Borneo on an ancient rust-streaked tramp, steaming for the lagoon where Soufriere lay hidden.

 

Their job: seize her.

 

Ooooh, that sounds fun.

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The Mongoliad Book 3.by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Erik Bear, Mark Teppo, Nicole Galland, Joseph Brassey and Cooper Moo. The Shield Brethren finally engage the Khan. The main narrative ends with this book but there are follow ups.

 

You have to read the first two parts in order to appreciate this. But it takes a momentous year 1241 and dramatises it. The death of the Pope but two major battles at Legnica and Mohi which marked the high water mark of the Mongul advance into the West.

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Headaches Can  Be Murder by Marilyn Rausch & Mary Donlon.

 

Mystery writer Chip Collingsworth has writer's block until he falls off a roof, which gives him an idea for his next book starring neurosurgeon John Goodman.  Gimmick is that we get to see both Chip's life, and the way he incorporates bits of it into the thriller he's writing.

 

http://www.skjam.com/2015/11/16/book-review-headaches-can-be-murder/

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The Monogram Murders.  Somebody other than Agatha Christie writing Hercule Poirot.  There were certainly things in that book that Agatha Christie would never have dreamed of doing, like going into how disturbing it is to look at a murder victim's body or having a vicar's wife (or even a vicar) talking about theology.  Still Hercule is recognizably Hercule so that's the important thing.  

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Deep Six by Clive Cussler. Dirk Pitt is first hired to find the cause of a deadly contagion killing all life and then the President and the next three in succession vanish from the Presidential yacht and he is called in to help find them. Throw in Russian mind control, a double cross between the Russians and the kidnappers and the kidnappers trying to kill Mr Pitt.

it ends in a slow chase in the Mississippi delta and an unusual battle ship.

Entertaining.

 

EDIT: To correct author's name.

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Deep Six by Clive Barker. Dirk Pitt is first hired to find the cause of a deadly contagion killing all life and then the President and the next three in succession vanish from the Presidential yacht and he is called in to help find them. Throw in Russian mind control, a double cross between the Russians and the kidnappers and the kidnappers trying to kill Mr Pitt.

it ends in a slow chase in the Mississippi delta and an unusual battle ship.

Entertaining.

Umm, you mean Clive Cussler, right?  (Though a Dirk Pitt book written by Clive Barker  would probably be worth reading.)

 

Myself, I read Louis L'Amour's The Quick and the Dead, about a pioneer family being pursued by horse thieves, and being helped by a knowlegable drifter.  But what is Con Vallian really after? http://www.skjam.com/2016/01/24/book-review-the-quick-and-the-dead/

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Cocaine Blues, Flying Too High, Murder on the Ballarat Train, Death at Victoria Dock--the first few books in a mystery series about The Honorable Miss Fryne Fisher, amateur detective (and libertine) in 1920s Australia by Kerry Greenwood. Miss Fisher grew up very poor, but the Great War killed off a lot of young Englishmen, and her father inherited a title and fortune as a result. Now she's independently wealthy, and lives in Australia, where she solves crimes (and though the local chief detective is annoyed by her sometimes, he does generally welcome her help--a nice change from the usual relationship in such books). She also takes at least one new lover in each book*, which her personal maid Dot and her servants (Mr. & Mrs. Butler) take in stride. They've all worked for people with far more troublesome habits....

 

They're not classics, but they're enjoyable enough that I started with one from the library, and I've been getting more as I finish them.

 

*And why not? It's pretty common for detectives (especially of the class hardboiled sort) to cimb into bed with at least one attractive woman per novel, so why shouldn't she do the same?

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A Time of Torment by John Connolly.

This is another Charlie Parker book. You need to be well into the series to appreciate this one and how the characters have developed. Another disappearance means Charlie Parker has another case and is tracking down another bunch of people who think they can exist beyond the law. They underestimate Parker and they make bad decisions which in turn rebound on them. From the point of view of the crooks you can understand what leads them to do it but it does them no good.

And you have the continuing build of what Charlie's living daughter is going to become. That and the fact that his dead daughter is working with her is disturbing.

 

I like the books and buy them as soon as I can. There is another one coming this year and one is due next year which I am looking forward to.

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Defender (Book 1 of the Sanctuary series) by Robert J. Crane

 

I I didn't suspect that there are already World of Warcraft novels out there, I would call this World of Warcraft the Novel.  As it stands, I am going to stick with Fantasy MMO the Novel. If there is an MMO genre trope to be found, Robert Crane tosses it in there. The entire story revolves around the protagonist and his buddies joining a guild, organizing and executing raids in order to gain loot, and the standard allotment of MMO roles (Defender, Striker, Controller, Healer, etc.). Mr. Crane comes just shy of calling them that, but describes the purpose of each role so there is no doubt as to its what he means. Many of the other tropes are also represented. At one point, a supporting character describes how an up and coming guild raided in lands controlled by the most powerful guilds and got stomped because of it. Resurrection is so common that one character expressed frustration that other healers did not know the spell. Hell the main plot is about the protagonist using a recipe to craft a legendary sword.

 

The writing itself is not bad but the not-so-subtle callbacks to the MMO thing distracts from what could otherwise be a good story. If you want to read a novel that plays out like a season of playing your favorite fantasy MMO, then this might just be the book for you. If not, then I would avoid it. I'll just go play the MMO myself.

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The boys checked this out from the library. It's actually a pretty good kid's story, and it deals with the subject of death in a gentle and sweet way that kids can understand.

 

But when I read it to them I emphasize the word DEAD every time it comes up in the text, and it's frickin' hilarious. It defeats the purpose of a bedtime story to have the boys cracking up like that, but hey. Little DEAD bird.

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Bridge to Terabinthia wishes. The book --and the movie -- are deeply appreciated by children and parents that have to deal with potential or real bereavement. Death is handled beautifully (no spoiler or anything, but both brothers die in the first chapter), together with bravery and duty.

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I'm rereading some of my Spenser novels by Robert B. Parker (rip). Most recently, Small Vices, where Spenser is almost killed by a hitman and spends the middle of the book recuperating and rehabbing for ten months before he resumes the investigation that nearly got him killed.

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I'm rereading some of my Spenser novels by Robert B. Parker (rip). Most recently, Small Vices, where Spenser is almost killed by a hitman and spends the middle of the book recuperating and rehabbing for ten months before he resumes the investigation that nearly got him killed.

 

Ah yes, the grey man. He returns in a later story.

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