Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Classics and Others
47 North, Mar 20 2012, $13.95
Metropolitan Police CO19 armed response unit Negotiator Inspector Jack Nightingale works a crisis at Chelsea Harbor. Apparently nine year old Sophie Underwood sits on a locked thirteenth floor balcony talking to a doll while her father works at a bank and her mom shops; Inga the Polish au pair called for help. He talks to her to try to get her inside, but she jumps anyway as the only means to escape her pedophile dad. Raging he visits Mr. Underwood who falls through a twentieth floor window to his death. Refusing to defend himself or for that matter speak with anyone, Jack leaves the force.
Two years later, Jack is a private investigator who works cheating spouse cases. His office assistant is Jenny McLean though he has no idea why this beautiful brilliant woman stays with him. Solicitor Mr. Turtledove informs Jack he inherited his late father’s estate, which confuses him since his parents died a decade ago. The solicitor explains that the Nightingales were his adoptive parents, but his biological dad is the late Ainsley Gosling. His father leaves Jack a DVD in which he explains he sold his son’s soul at birth and a demon from hell will collect on his upcoming thirty-third birthday. As he follows the enigmatic mystical trail, he finds out Gosling committed suicide and there is useful information in a new mansion’s customized library. Meanwhile; death pursues people he knows.
This is an exciting horror noir starring an unlikable individual who inherits a place in hell. Fast-paced from the moment the little girl leaps and never slowing down, readers will enjoy Nightingale’s nightmare as he realizes chain smoking will no longer be the death of him. Harriet Klausner
The Star Beast
Robert A. Heinlein
Baen, Mar 6 2012, $13.00
Generations ago, a starman ancestor of John Stuart Thomas XI brought Lummox back with him from space. Over the decades in Westville, Lummox has grown from cute to humongous. Everyone assumes Lummox is a moron as he speaks at the skill of a child. People would be partially right with their assessment of the eight-legged beast as in terms of his species he is a child and sounds ignorant because English is a light-years different second language.
John is with his friend Betty Sorenson arguing over college. To battle ennui and hunger, Lummox takes a stroll that destroys property. Police Chief Dreiser sends Sergeant Mendoza to get John to control his pet. The Department of Spatial Affairs Permanent Under Secretary Henry Gladstone Kiku sends his top aide Sergei Greenberg to take control. Not trusting the Fed or any authoritative figure, John and Betty vow to keep Lummox from becoming a lab rat. They flee Westville though hiding their trail might prove difficult; while aliens arrive demand the return of an infant abducted by an earthling decades ago or face planetary annihilation.
This reprint of a 1950s satirical science fiction is a fun young adult read as Robert Heinlein mocks know-it-all political appointees running agencies they cannot spell (that is why we use acronyms) and the teen eternal revolt against former teens. Lummox challenges the neurotypical definition of intelligence in a comedic slapstick way; while the rotation of lead perspective among four characters remains sharply relevant (Mr. Heinlein would have enjoyed mocking vagina politics). Although the storyline never quite settles on an overarching premise between incarceration of ET and lampooning the socially correct determinants, fans will enjoy The Star Beast. Harriet Klausner
Baen, Mar 6 2012, $12.00
Forerunner. On Kuxortal, Sims worked as a scavenger for Ferwar until the old woman dies. She, like many of the Guild, lives off the ancient ruins and burrows of the Forerunners. However, she is unique with her blue-black skin coloring and with her telepathic connection to Zass the zorsal and her children. Off-worlder Thom arrives from space seeking his missing brother. He realizes Simsa is more than just different. They explore the Forerunner caverns where she was first found as a baby. However, neither is prepared for what they discover.
Forerunner: The Second Venture. Simsa escaped Kuxortal, but now the off planet scientists imprison her as a “guest” but she feels more like a lab rat as they want to extract what she knows about the highly advanced technology of the Forerunners. Her companion Zass the zorsal enables her to escape, but Simsa crashes on another world in which the Forerunners impacted. While sentient natives want the outsider dead, something inside her wants control of her. However, neither understands how resolute Simsa is to live free.
This reprint of the entertaining first two Forerunner science fiction thrillers is a fun collection. Simsa is a great protagonist surrounded by a horde of villains (too many) in both novels as ethics mean nothing to the interchangeable Guild, archeologists and scientists. Still readers will appreciate these exciting outer space tales as Simsa refuses to sit idly by while others use her for their personal gain. Harriet Klausner
Beside a Dreamswept Sea
Bell Bridge, $15.95
New Orleans widower Bryce Richards takes his three young children to Seascape Inn hoping that the B&B will help them move on from the death of their mother photojournalist Meriam. He and resident ghost Tony Freeport especially worry about nine years old Susie suffering from nightmares that has her dad sleeping outside her room and the spirit entering her nasty dreams to help her survive them. Their father is less concerned with his son Jeremy and his third child Alyssa the baby.
In Biloxi, Caline Tate, divorced emotionally abusive Gregory, feels an abiding obsession to visit Seascape Inn. There she meets her former husband’s lawyer Bryce. Though attracted to each other, neither embraces relationships love after their dysfunctional marriages. Tony and innkeeper Hattie Stillman agree Cally is perfect to nurture three children in need of maternal love, and the adults are a terrific couple if they only moved on passed their previous relationships.
The reprint of the third Vicki Hinze (written as Victoria Barrett) Seascape contemporary Maine romantic fantasy is a whimsical engaging tale as the paranormal matchmaker and his human partner must do much more than just work their magic on the commitment phobic couple. Susie draws Tony’s attention as he fears for her life and she brings to him something he has not felt in five decades. Although the story line stands alone thanks to a strong cast, fans will want to read Ms. Hinze’s entertaining previous entries (see Upon A Mystic Tide and Beyond the Misty Shores – both written as Ms. Barrett) and The Perfect Stranger and other Seascape novels by Rosalyn Alsobrook to enjoy the magic of this coastal Maine B&B. Harriet Klausner