Joe Schreiber, Eat the Dark: When I found out the author was a friend of Mark Henry’s and an MRI tech, I was interested. Hoping for a medical thriller, I grabbed this book from the library. I should’ve paid attention to the genre sticker: a ghost for horror. I like medical novels because I can believe that the events within them could actually happen in real life. Not so with this one, and I’m disappointed but it’s my fault. Please let me know when the author writes a proper medical thriller. Until then, I’ll be sulking in a corner.
Laura Ruby, Good Girls: I’ve heard authors say they ‘tone down’ their material when they write young adult fiction. What a freaking copout. Which readers do you want to attract: young adults, or those who want teens to believe that everyone has Ken-and-Barbie genitalia? Finally, Laura Ruby has come through with an utterly believable novel that’s realistic of contemporary teen life. There’s no preaching, moralising, or ‘toning down’ of anything. Many thanks to the author for having the guts – and sense – to be honest.
Laurie Faria Stolarz, Blue Is for Nightmares: A quite enjoyable YA novel featuring a hereditary witch who via dreams has premonitions of her best friend’s death. Thus follows a race to keep the teen alive and out of harm’s way, whilst investigating her stalker. Good fun; and Amber is a thoroughly engaging secondary character.
Michelle Gagnon, The Tunnels: An FBI case involving Norse mythology. It probably wasn’t written badly, but it just didn’t spark my interest.
Robert Muchamore, CHERUB #7: The Fall: Another great instalment in this ever-entertaining young adult series. James Adams’ mission in Russia goes horribly wrong, and it doesn’t get any easier back home. The CIA is battling the MI5, and they’re both battling CHERUB, Britain’s intelligence organisation whose agents are kids. Whilst James investigates what his mission controller isn’t telling him, his sister Lauren is undercover in a children’s home in England, investigating human trafficking and forced prostitution. Whether they’re on a mission, trying to get some or fighting, the characters remain realistic and believable, and always make for a fun and intelligent read.
Janet Evanovich, Plum Lucky: In the words of Lurr, Ruler of Omicron Persei 8: ‘Okay; not great.’ It’s flimsy fun with Stephanie Plum’s gang, including someone who claims to be a leprechaun, and a horse that rides in an RV. Not to mention everyone spending thousands at an Atlantic City casino. But this novella’s not a must-buy.
J. A. Konrath, Dirty Martini: A pretty interesting plot involving mass poisoning, but it took me a while to get into it. (I was reading in front of the TV, and while drowsy.)
Greg Iles, True Evil: Divorces are messy, and can cost you millions of dollars. But what if there was a less expensive way to get rid of your spouse? A divorce attorney is in partnership with an evil doctor who kills unwanted spouses, but these are no simple murders: the weapon is a retrovirus that causes cancer. But FBI agent Alex Morse has the opportunity to stop future victims from being killed, but first she needs to convince Dr Chris Shepard that his wife wants him dead…and she’s doing something about it. Medical issues, suspense, a vivid setting and believably flawed characters – Greg Iles knows how to write a cracker of a novel.
Philip K. Dick, The World Jones Made: I read this while the weather was rather hot, and I just couldn’t concentrate. Which is a shame, because this book had some great ideas.
Sisters in Crime Australia (ed. Lindy Cameron), Scarlet Stiletto: The First Cut: As far as anthologies go, this one’s quite good. This is because the short stories within are from circa thirteen years of Sisters in Crime Australia’s annual Scarlet Stiletto Awards. So there are first, second, third prize entries; best police procedurals; and best crime-in-verse stories. Thus the quality is much better than I’ve usually found in anthologies, where the authors are invited to write, instead of earning the right to be there with the quality of their stories. So while I’d only heard of (and only read, incidentally) Tara Moss before, there are still quite a lot of good stories in here. There are, however, numerous typos and other stuff that really needed proofreading before publication.
Margaret Clark, Love Notes: Participants in experiments/studies must be aware that they’re participating in an experiment/study. Thus this book is lame because the experimenters/studiers didn’t go through proper procedure. But this is a novel for sixth-graders, and generally speaking, sixth-graders wouldn’t know this.
Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner (Eds.), Many Bloody Returns: The problem I have with anthologies is the quality of the stories varies greatly. This collection is no exception. The best stories were by Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine and Jeanne C. Stein. Wait until it comes out in paperback, and then buy it – not worth the hardcover price, in my opinion.
Jeri Smith-Ready, Wicked Game: Con artist Ciara Griffin joins a radio station as a marketing intern, and learns that the DJs are all vampires, and the eras of music they play is the only way to keep them from ‘fading’. Ciara’s rivalry with Jolene is so high school, and the author keeps trying to redeem Ciara instead of letting readers accept that we’ve all got something bad inside us. All in all, it’s a fresh take on vampires with some interesting ideas. I’m looking forward to reading Book 2 next year.