Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Assassin's Code

Assassin's Code: A Joe Ledger Novel is the first of Jonathan Maberry's Joe Ledger novels that I've read. I do have a copy of Patient Zero on my Kindle, but I haven't gotten to it yet.  Being unfamiliar with the backstory did make things a little confusing, but much of it is hinted at in the book itself.

From what I gather, Joe Ledger is a commando, or something of that nature, who works for a secret government organization called the DMS. He and his team are in Iran, where they have just rescued a kidnapped group of American Hikers. Afterwards, Joe is forced to meet with an Iranian official who ask Joe to find some stolen nukes.  Unfortunately, it turns out that the nukes are in the hands of a cult of vampires.

This leads to a lot of fighting, and shooting, and people getting their throats torn out, which is all very satisfying in a thriller. It also leads to a heck of a lot of phone calls being made. At some points it seemed like Joe would either be calling someone or getting a phone call from someone just about every other page. This slowed down the pace a good bit, but didn't detract from the overall story too much. It's still a very thrilling book.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bizarro Month Is Coming

I tend to be a bit of a slacker when it comes to reviews. I joined the Bizarro Brigade so I could actually get something out of my reviews: free books. The problem is that even with prizes involved, I've still been slacking off on writing my bizarro reviews.

I realized that I had read six bizarro books and not written reviews on them, so I said to myself, "Why don't you read another of the bizarro books you have and make it a bizarro week on your blog?" Then I looked at the bizarro books on my to read pile and the unread bizarro ebooks on my Kindle, and I discovered that I had 18 of them. Now 6+18=24, and that's nearly a moth's worth of reviews, so I decided to try and get six more inexpensive bizarro ebooks and make it bizarro month.

That's right, from April 1st to 30th, I will be reviewing one bizarro book a day here on this blog (with reviews cross-posted to Amazon and Librarything). All of the books will earn me Bizarro Brigade points, and if my calculations are right, I will have just about enough points by the month's end to get four free bizarro books. This makes me a happy yoyogod.

I won't go into detail on exactly what I'll be reviewing, but I will name some authors and publishers. You will be seein a lot of Andersen Prunty, because I have five of his books. I have four by Jordan Krall, and 3 by Gina Ranali. There are two each by Garrett Cook, William Pauley II, Andrew Goldfarb, and Cameron Pierce. There are also quite a few other people, including Carlton Mellick II, Jeff Burk, and D. Harlan Wilson.  There will be several publishers' books being reviewed as well. I have a few from Eraserhea, Atlatl, Grindhouse, Black Rainbows, Afterbirth, Copeland Valley,and LegumeMan presses.

So stay tuned.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cemetery Club

 It's time to take a look at another book from LibraryThing's Early reviewers program: Cemetery Club by J G Faherty.

This book, while not actually bad, does have some problems. For one thing, the whole "a bunch of children stopped an ancient evil years ago and now they have to do it again as adults" plot has been done much better by Stephen King in It. That's not to say that no one should ever use that plot again, but if you are going to use it, you should do a better job of it.

For starters, you should avoid using a bunch of horror (and other) cliches. There's the protagonist who was recently released from a mental hospital and is naturally the first suspect when the murders start up again. There's a recent divorcee whose ex is a local big shot and kind of a jerk, who makes thing harder for the heroes.  There's the tough cop who doesn't believe in supernatural stuff and actively acts against the heroes. There's even one of the extremely lame "you didn't actually think you's won" types of endings, where the monster pops up again after it's supposedly been defeated.

While I found all this annoying, the book wasn't too bad once it got going.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis

I managed to get  a copy of Star Wars: Darth Plagueis from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. Mind you, it wasn't all that early a review since the book didn't arrive until March and was published in December. In any case, I haven't really read a whole lot of the Star Wars novels. I have seen the movies though, and I do like science fiction, so this wasn't totally out of my usual area of reading. Really, it was a pretty good book.

For one thing, after reading this, I found that the prequel movie trilogy made a lot more sense to me. The novel is basically a prequel to the prequels. It is mostly the story of the rise to power of Darth Sidious, aka Palpatine aka the Emperor in the original movie trilogy.

This book explains a lot. We see why the Trade Federation attacked Naboo. We see why there is an army of clones conveniently waiting for the Jedi. We see where Darth Maul came from and why Dooku went over to the dark side. We see how a young girl got elected queen of a planet. We even find the probable reason for why the Force caused Anakin Skywalker to be born with no father.

This was a good book, and it even made me want to go back and read some of the Star Wars novels set even farther in the past so I can get a better grasp of the bigger back story.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Sacrifice by Wrath James White

Sacrifice by Wrath James White is is a pretty darn good horror novel. It's a semi-sequel to his story The Resurrectionist, but you don't really have to have read that one to get this one. I know, because while I have a copy of The Resurrectionist on my TBR pile, I haven't read it yet.

Sacrifice is about a Voodoo priestess named Delilah. She has an evil loa (Voodoo spirit) inside her. It has given her the ability to take away other people's pain.  Unfortunately, she can only hold so much pain before she has to pass it on to someone else. That passing it on has had some unpleasant side effects.

Several children have gone missing and eventually turned up badly dehydrated and nearly comatose. Also, several adults get killed by packs of dogs, cats, rats, insects, and school children. This attracts the attention of the police in the form of Detective John Malloy and his partner Mohammed Rafik.

The book is fairly gory. The story itself is interesting, and I enjoyed the characters themselves. This is one of the few books I've read where I actually feel sympathetic for the villain, because even though Delilah is doing more harm than good, she believes she's helping people. This is a book that's well worth reading.