AJ Speaks

Really, I do! I also read a lot. A whole lot. I had a bookshelf at my old shop. Customers were constantly amazed that I “really read ALL those books?”, said in a tone of disbelief like I had told them I had eaten a small car for breakfast. How much of a problem could reading a few books be? I got harassed all through school as a ‘bookworm’. Turns out I had a depth perception problem that wasn’t found until I was 18. So, I couldn’t catch or hit a ball, but I could read, so I did. It can always become a problem in my relationships. I have learned to judge the viability of a possible girlfriend by the initial reaction when they catch me reading while waiting for them. The ones that just whip out their own book and sit down next to me are the long term ones. And thankfully, you find constant readers everywhere.

I read out of the local public library nowadays, I can’t afford to buy even book club books anymore. This is why I talk about books being tagged Sci-Fi or Florida, for instance. They don’t have these tags at the bookstore, they have sections, which may work just as well.    You also won’t see too many bad reviews here, I only review the the books I finish and if I don’t like it, I don’t read it. So if it’s that bad, it’s not here.

 

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Chasing Midnight by Randy Wayne White

Chasing Midnight by Randy Wayne White

Another Doc Ford thriller. A bit more Ford – Super Spy than Doc Ford – Interesting Marine Biologist. But highly readable with a twisted plot that works pretty well. Randy White has local knowledge of the Sanibel area that always lends a aura of believability to his stories. This one is no exception. 3 Stars.

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Summer Doldrums

Well, it’s hot and sticky in Florida. No Duh! I have been reading some old Asimov’s Science Fiction magazines from 2002 – 2005 (or so) that a friend gave me. Talk about a blast from the past. The stories are not necessarily dated, but the fact and comment articles are, a bit. It’s fun to read these older articles. These will be for sale when they are done, I also have a big box of Analog and Fantasy and Science Fiction magazines, already read, that are for sale. Analog – 45 Issues Dec 2004 – May 2009 ~ Fantasy & Science Fiction – 47 Issues Aug 2004 – Oct/Nov 2008 ~ Both have 11 Issues a year, OCT/NOV is a Double Issue. Make an offer for some or all of them. Update April 2013, these were sold on eBay.

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Intruder by C. J. Cherryh

Intruder by C. J. Cherryh

I have read many of C.J. Cherryh’s novels. And a few of this ‘Foreigner’ series that feature the alien Atevi universe and the human diplomats that live with them. Though interesting in the well formed alien universe, there is, in my opinion, entirely too much internal dialogue. You may like it, I find it distracting. But yet, I still read this and enjoyed it and will read more when offered. Cherryh has created a very believable alien race and universe which is harder to do than it seems. 3 Stars

 

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Blood In The Water by Jane Haddam

Blood In The Water by Jane Haddam

A wandering whodunit that takes a while to settle down. Arthur Heydrich is accused of his wife’s murder. The scene is decribed from the point of view of many neighbors, all kind of odd. The star detctive, Gregor Demarkin shows up and solves the case by sleight of hand (apparently). I found this story a bit hard to follow. 2 Stars.

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Unnatural Acts by Stuart Woods

Unnatural Acts by Stuart Woods

Another Stuart Woods story of Stone Barrington, retired NYPD detective turned lawyer. Now that Stone is an actual partner in the law firm that he has been ‘of consul’ to for years he is getting more important cases and has underlings to delegate some of the work to. All in all, this is more of what we love about Stone, suave, always the ladies man and smart enough to usually be on top of the next plot twist. I will read anything Mr. Woods writes, and I have never been disappointed. 4 Stars.

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Bloodland by Alan Glynn

Bloodland by Alan Glynn

Journalist Jimmy Gilroy lives under his famous journalist father’s shadow. He has uncovered a possible worldwide conspiracy involving many people including a famous pop singer and various politicians. Well written, a real page turner. 3 Stars.

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The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher

The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher

This starts as an historical novel, set around 1910, about Sebastian Becker, a British detective who tried to make a go of it in the States as a Pinkerton detective. Due to murder he witnessed while undercover and the resultant threats, he and his wife have returned to England, alive and well, but rather diminished financially. he has taken a job as an investigator for London’s Bethlehem hospital (Bedlam). His task is to investigate wealthy eccentrics whose questionable mental health may render them unable to properly manage their affairs.

He has to juggle investigating Owain Lancaster, a Amazon explorer who took and lost his whole family in the Amazon jungle, his autistic son and his lack of funds while searching for a killer. Locals think it’s Owain Lancaster and they may be right. Pretty good read, with some interesting characters. 3 Stars.

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The Rock Star in Seat 3A by Jill Kargman

The Rock Star in Seat 3A by Jill Kargman

Not sure why I started this, it’s not my usual sort of read. A bit too chick-lit for me, but I enjoyed it anyway. Some interesting lessons about wanting and needing. And maybe you already have what you need but need to be shown that.  3 Stars

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Justice Deferred by Jeffery Ashford

Justice Deferred by Jeffery Ashford

A story of an poor artist, a rich but unhappy lady and her now dead (from a fall from his balcony), but previously slightly brain damaged husband. Was it accidental? Was he pushed? Who knows? Maybe you know. An OK ending, a bit different, not as satisfying as I might want, but after reflection, I liked it. 3 Stars.

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That’s How I Roll by Andrew Vachss

That’s How I Roll by Andrew Vachss

Andrew Vachss writes some dark stuff, interesting novels, but dark. This story is about Esau Till, a abused, crippled, but very smart kid who overcomes in the only way he can. He spends his time protecting his younger brother Tory, who is big, strong and healthy, but not the brightest. You need to read this yourself, not hear my version. 4 Stars.

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Three A.M.by Steven John

Three A.M.by Steven John

Another good first effort. Seems like another post apocalypse at the start and a good one. Fifteen years of mist, so thick you can often only see a few feet. Everyone left after the plague and fog set in is trapped in the city. The Army blew all the bridges in and out of the city to keep the infected out of the city. John helped as he joined the Army right after his parents died and he survived the sickness. That’s all you get out of me except that the Three A.M. of the title is because no matter how much Thomas Vale self medicates, he always wakes up at three a.m., if he stays up, he finds no reason why he wakes. Odd. I’ll be on the lookout for John’s next story.   4 1/2 Stars.

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White Horse by Alex Adams

White Horse by Alex Adams

This apparently the first novel in a debut trilogy. If this is the first, the next will be great. I really liked this book, it’s an post apocalypse novel, one of my favorite genre’s. White Horse is a virus that twists your genes unless you are immune. It can cause all sorts of mutations, most non viable, causing many deaths. Some are annoying, but survivable, some are hard to detect.

This is Zoe’s story, told in a back and forth between Then (before and during the beginnings of White Horse) and Now, Zoe’s present day, post White Horse. Don’t want to tell too much of the story as I will spoil it. Zoe is trying to get to Greece to meet her love, Nick. Not an easy task in these trying times. Many plot twists all artfully done. On the cover it says: BEFORE: I took life for granted. AFTER: I’ll do anything it takes to survive. She does. And I have a new favorite author. Can’t wait for the next one, hurry Alex! 5 Stars.

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The Bodysurfer’s Guide To Life by Mark Wollard

The Bodysurfer’s Guide To Life by Mark Wollard

A story about finding your way through life based in Daytona Beach. Wish I had met Fin when I moved here. 3 1/2 Stars.

 

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The Skeleton Box by Bryan Gruley

The Skeleton Box by Bryan Gruley

Apparently there is a series of ‘Starvation Lake Mysteries’, who’d a thunk it? Starvation Lake, Michigan that is. Even though it’s a dying newspaper investigation story, it’s OK.   Gus Carpenter is a local boy back home after not doing so good in the big city. Running the Pilot, the local paper. It’s being closed sooner rather than later, but Gus and his reporter are still going to investigate the ‘Bingo Night Burglaries’ during which nothing seems to be missing. Soon Gus’s mother’s best friend is killed during a break in.  Investigation and self introspection ensues. A bit too much for me sometimes, but the story kept moving pretty well and the plot is trickier than it seems. Well worth the trouble.   3 Stars.

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Body, Inc. by Alan Dean Foster

Body, Inc. by Alan Dean Foster

Part 2 of  The Tipping Point Trilogy, part 1 was The Human Blend. I had already read the first one and when I saw the name Whispr (I remembered this from the first story) I grabbed this.

Some time in the future. Ocean levels are rising worldwide. Savannah is covered with boardwalks and stilt houses, just like many other low lying places around the world (Most of Florida is gone, underwater.). Body melding is common with outrageous and sometimes useful body mods common. Dr. Ingrid Seastrom, a Natural, meets Whispr (Modded so thin, he almost disappears when he turns sideways, excellent camouflage for a sneak thief.) when he is dumped at her office to have a tracking device removed. Whispr and his partner have rolled and robbed a guy, stealing a ‘thread’ and in the resultant police chase Whispr gets the tracker and his partner gets killed. The Dr. removes the tracker and gets curious about the ‘thread’ and while trying to figure it out finds implants of the same strange otherworldly material in teenagers recovering from bad melds. She has decided to find out what this is all about and finds that some powerful folks want her to stop. Great chase scene evolves and the books tapers to a dangling end.

That was the last book, cut to this book.

Pick up Whispr and Dr. Ingrid in the South Africa Economic Combine (SAEC or SICK, as it is commonly pronounced) looking for the makers of the ‘thread’, still being chased by the assassin from the last book, Napun Molé, a older, but extremely competent killer.

Although I tend to not like series books, these are written so they are stand alone readable. You want to read the next one, but just because it will be good, not because you have to as the author left the story hanging. Read these, they’re worth your time. 4 1/2 Stars.

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Earthbound by Joe Haldeman

Earthbound by Joe Haldeman

Here is Joe Haldeman’s new entry in his Marsbound series. This is tagged Florida as Joe Haldeman lives here, at least part time. Though most of this book is ‘NASA’ based, it is set in California.

The ‘Mars Girl’ Carmen Dula is back on Earth to a not so nice reception. The Others are cracking down and it’s not pretty. The story is good though and left me wanting more. As usual. Hurry Joe, we’re waiting for the next one. 4 Stars.

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Strange Flesh by Michael Olson

Strange Flesh by Michael Olson

James is a Harvard dropout hacker working for RedRook Security, ten years ago the female half of a set of rich kid twins, Blythe Randell broke his heart. Now Blake and Blythe want to hire him to find their half brother, Billy, a billionaire multimedia artist. Billy seems to enjoy embarrassing his siblings and the rest of the family with increasingly crazy and violent art installations and events. The games move into a massive online video game. This is a great read, if you are a bit technical or can read through it. I liked it though the protagonist was a bit, I don’t know, mainstream? for my usual tastes. But the story was good and the plot twists and turns to a reasonably satisfying ending. And eventually I found I liked james, or maybe he started liking himself. 3 1/2 Stars.

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The Next Right Thing by Dan Barden

The Next Right Thing by Dan Barden

A sort of a rollicking AA investigative adventure. When Randy Chalmers’ sponsor Terry Elias dies from a heroin OD, Randy, an Ex Cop has to find out if it was murder or just a junkie falling back to old habits. Even if it kills him or ruins his life more than it already is. An interesting story with truths that hit close to home. 3 1/2 Stars.

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Cliff Walk by Bruce DeSilva

Cliff Walk by Bruce DeSilva

Liam Mulligan is an investigative reporter for a dying Providence, Rhode Island newspaper. Prostitution is legal in Rhode Island and Liam suspects the governor has been taking bribes to keep it that way. Then body parts start showing up in the trash, never a good thing. Sort of an investigative reporter procedural. Good plot, moved right along. good story and characters, too. Attila the Nun is the states attorney and a old friend of Liam’s, for instance. Lots of local Rhode Island history and info. 3 1/2 Stars.

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The Wind Through The Keyhole by Stephen King

The Wind Through The Keyhole by Stephen King

One of Kings gunslinger series, a series both I and Mr. King thought was over. He says so in the forward. I have never gone for the gunslinger stories as much as his other works. I have read many of them as short stories or novellas in the various Fantasy and Sci-Fi pulps I have subscribed to. The gunslinger stories are fantasy but King makes them so much more than sword and sorcery in the same way he makes his other stories more than just horror stories (the category they are usually put into). So well written, with such great characters, what can I say, it’s by Stephen King. 4 Stars.

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