Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quicksilver by Amanda Quick

               The Looking Glass Trilogy Book 2

               This is without question my favorite of the Looking Glass stories, although I’ve really liked them all.

               Quicksilver is set in the past as opposed to the other books which are set in the present. I think I enjoy the dichotomy of a Victorian lady being smart, talented and self-sufficient.

               The lady in question is Victoria.  She has the psychical talent of being able to see after images in mirrors. She makes her living doing mirror readings.

               Owen, the male lead, is a member of a family whose psychical talent allows them to see the trail of evil. And, they make their livings tracking it down and eradicating it.

               Victoria runs afoul of an evil doer who wants to kill her. Owen is following the trial of evil left behind, discovers Virginia, and saves her. Together they solve the mystery of the glass talent murders, evil destroys itself, and everybody apparently lives happily ever after.

               I must say that while this is billed as part of a trilogy, all three books leave enough questions, loose ends and fascinating characters to create a much longer series. Maybe Ms. Quick will indulge us with more of these stories. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Micro by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

               Micro is the book Michael Crichton was writing when he died.  It was completed by Richard Preston. That probably explains why this book is not as tightly written as some of Crichton’s others.

               This one had several main characters – none of whom were as vivid as most of Crichton’s usual characters. And, the story started out being told from Peter’s point of view and ended up being told from Rick’s.  This abrupt shift of gears felt clumsy and irritated me a bit.

               Apparently, Crichton wanted this story to be fun, and early on it triggered memories of the trailers for Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Another, later scene caused a similar memory of a scene from The Fly to flash through my head.  So he succeeded there. It was also very informative, in a non-tutorial way, about the flora and fauna in Hawaii.

               I found this book to be a bit disappointing. There is really nothing too major wrong with it. It is simply not quite what I was expecting.  The good guys were a little bland and the bad guy, while really, really bad was almost a caricature. I just didn’t “feel” the evil, you know. I tend to have a hard time with books by multiple authors. It is difficult to smooth the edges where one person’s work butts up against another’s. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Shock Wave by John Sanford

               Virgil Flowers #5

               Virgil Flowers, a very relaxed sort of detective, finds himself on the trail of a bomber.

               Pyemart, a large discount store (think Wal-Mart), has decided to build its next giant facility in a small town in Minnesota.  Before long someone sets off a bomb in its corporate headquarters followed quickly by an explosion at the construction site.

               Virgil Flowers is assigned the case. He hooks his fishing boat to the back of his pickup and heads into town.

               As with all good who-done-its, Flowers follows a myriad of leads, gathering facts and evidence, and at some point puts it all together to nail the bad guy. He manages this all between beers and fishing and naps.

                I really enjoyed this book. I laughed and gasped and had a couple of ah-hah moments right along with the characters. I look forward the Sanford’s next Virgil Flowers adventure.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In Too Deep by Jayne Ann Krentz

               The Looking Glass Trilogy book 1

               I decided to read this book after reading book three in the series, Canyons of the Night. I liked that one so well, I just had to hear the rest of the story.  After reading In Too Deep, I cannot wait to get to Quicksilver, book 2!

               This is a story set in modern times, but with a paranormal twist. Many of the characters have psychical abilities and certain objects are also imbued with power. It is against this background that Fallon Jones and Isabella Valdez meet in the tiny town of Scar Cove.

               Isabella was raised in a family of conspiracy theory believers. She was born off the grid and has lived off it most of her life, moving often and changing names like most women change shoes.  She has psychical talent, but often hides her light under a bushel.

               Fallon is the scion of an old and powerful family of psychical investigators. They have traditionally chaired the Arcane Society, a group who polices the psychic population. 

               Isabella shows up in Scar Cove one dark night and realizes quickly she has found her place in the world.  Not long after, she gets a job as an office manager/investigator at Fallon’s firm.  While investigating a cache of weapons grade psychical artifacts, Fallon and Isabella also discover their love for one another.

               This was a fun who-done-it/love story, with enough twists to keep me interested. And, while this is billed as part of a trilogy, there could very well be lots of stories to tell both before and after the events in these three.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Race by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott

               Isaac Bell #4

               This is book 4 of the Isaac Bell series, but the first one I’ve read. It did fairly well as a standalone. Overall, I was a little disappointed. I’m accustomed to Cussler plots being tauter and the characters being more memorable.

               The Race is set during the early days of flying – later than the Wright brothers, but before Lindbergh and Earhart. A newspaper has set up a cross country flying race. Its entry is Josephine Frost, “America’s Sweetheart of the Air”.  She is not only attempting the dangerous feat of flying cross country (expected to take about 80 days), but her insane husband is trying to kill her. So the newspaper hires Isaac Bell’s firm of detectives to protect her on the journey.

               As the race progresses, Josephine overcomes various hazards that leave her competitors literally dropping out of the race, while Isaac Bell foils her husband’s ever more violent  attempts to murder her.

                This is a fairly fun read that manages to sneak in a good portion of the early history of aviation.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Only Us, by Susan Mallory

        Fools Gold series book 6.1
               Only Us is was a quick read – I finished it in one afternoon- but a fairly fun one. It tells the story of Rina, a dog groomer in the small town of Fool’s Gold.  She is in love with the local vet, Cameron and his daughter Kaitlin.

               Rina’s best friend talks her into revealing her feelings to Cameron.  Cameron does not react well at first.  He has been badly hurt by his ex-wife who left he and Kaitlin shortly after the child’s birth.

               Rina’s heart is broken, and she feels her only recourse is to separate herself completely from Cameron and Kaitlin. Once she begins this process, Cameron realizes that not only is Rina an integral part of their lives, but that he loves her as well. 

               The ending implies that everyone lives happily ever after. 

               I was not as thrilled with this book, as I was with Only His, the sixth book in the series.  The characters were not as well fleshed out and the plot line was very simple, without any side stories or depth.  But this was not intended to be a full-fledged novel, more of a novella or short story.  And as such it works very well.