Archive for June, 2012

The Girl’s Still Got It-Liz Curtis Higgs

June 30, 2012

The Girl’s Still Got It

Liz Curtis Higgs

WaterBrook, Jul 10 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9781578564484

 

In circa 1200 BC (give or take a century or two) in Moab, three women stand by graves grieving the deaths of two brothers.  The widow mother of the deceased Naomi has decided to travel to Bethlehem.  One daughter-in-law hysterical Orphan selects to remain in Moab; the other Ruth chooses to accompany her mother-in-law on her journey.  Impoverished, the two women meet Boaz who takes both of them into his home and soon weds Ruth.  Their great-grandchild becomes the King of Israel.

 

This is an excellent retelling of the biblical tale of Ruth using contemporary idioms and metaphor to tell the backstory while also extracting line by line the Old Testament entry; for instance Liz Curtis Higgs explains how Naomi the Jew ended up in Moab not explained in the bible.  The three prime stars are fully developed as readers will understand their motives and their beliefs especially in the Lord.  Though some fundamentalist might take exception as heresy this entertaining breezy treatment of the story of Ruth, I found the tale refreshing, insightful and lighthearted yet reverent to the Lord.  Ms. Higgs takes her audience back over three millennia ago (without a DeLorean) as she provides a unique way to tell the Lord’s message.

 

Harriet Klausner

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Suzy’s Case-Andy Siegel

June 30, 2012

Suzy’s Case

Andy Siegel

Scribner, Jul 10 2012, $26.00

ISBN: 9781451658781

 

In New York City criminal lawyer Henry Benson has given work to personal injury and medical malpractice attorney Tug Wyler that four times has led to the latter being called before the Disciplinary Committee.  Once again he is slapped with an ethics violation and a fine of $25.00 as Judge Howell knows Wyler was right.  Observer Judge Piccone warns Tug he will throw the book at him if he oversees a lack of zealousness defending a client regardless of cause.

 

Benson asks Wyler to handle the Suzy Williams tragedy.  In a Brooklyn hospital, six years old Suzy went into cardiac arrest; a seizure left her “a spastic quadriplegic with severe brain damage.”  When Benson’s medical expert claims the child’s sickle cell anemia caused the seizure rather than staff negligence, Tug knows there is no complaint.  However, Suzy’s single mom June persuades him to represent her daughter in their multimillion-dollar lawsuit.

 

Wyler will remind legal thriller fans of Joseph Teller’s Jaywalker (see The Tenth Case), as he thrives to do the right thing regardless of personal costs.  The engaging storyline is fast-paced though there are too many happenchance incidents.  However the cast is top rate starting with the wisecracking Wyler who enjoys busting the chops of righteous shitheads in power, the caring mom and especially Suzy.

 

Harriet Klausner

Suzy’s Case-Andy Siegel

June 30, 2012

Suzy’s Case

Andy Siegel

Scribner, Jul 10 2012, $26.00

ISBN: 9781451658781

In New York City criminal lawyer Henry Benson has given work to personal injury and medical malpractice attorney Tug Wyler that four times has led to the latter being called before the Disciplinary Committee.  Once again he is slapped with an ethics violation and a fine of $25.00 as Judge Howell knows Wyler was right.  Observer Judge Piccone warns Tug he will throw the book at him if he oversees a lack of zealousness defending a client regardless of cause.

Benson asks Wyler to handle the Suzy Williams tragedy.  In a Brooklyn hospital, six years old Suzy went into cardiac arrest; a seizure left her “a spastic quadriplegic with severe brain damage.”  When Benson’s medical expert claims the child’s sickle cell anemia caused the seizure rather than staff negligence, Tug knows there is no complaint.  However, Suzy’s single mom June persuades him to represent her daughter in their multimillion-dollar lawsuit.

Wyler will remind legal thriller fans of Joseph Teller’s Jaywalker (see The Tenth Case), as he thrives to do the right thing regardless of personal costs.  The engaging storyline is fast-paced though there are too many happenchance incidents.  However the cast is top rate starting with the wisecracking Wyler who enjoys busting the chops of righteous shitheads in power, the caring mom and especially Suzy.

Harriet Klausner

The World Between- Belva Rae Staples

June 30, 2012

The World Between

Belva Rae Staples

Tate Publishing, Mar 27 2012, $22.99

http://www.tatepublishing.com

ISBN: 9781617779633

 

Georgie O’Dell was eight years old when his elderly neighbor Miss MacAlpin began to tell him the tale of evil Alex Edgecomb, a boy with a dark soul.  Instead of paling with his friends, Georgie is hooked on the story and visits next door frequently to hear more. 

 

Young Alex hated everyone including his family but especially his sister.  The wicked Alex tries to overthrow the kingdom of Kriterion.  However, to Georgie’s delight, Alex’s coup d’état fails.  Unremorseful Alex awaits punishment for his murders of other children and additional atrocities.  Georgie soon learns a stunning truth about his hostess; who has asked him to one day write her fable.

 

The first Kriterion Saga (see the sequel: Tide Walker) is a superb morality fantasy as the villain’s amoral actions impact his family, neighbors and the kingdom.  The entertaining metafiction storyline will remind readers of Michael Ende’s Neverending Story; as Georgie learns that if he does not change his attitude and behavior towards others like his brother, he will be the next Alex.  Fans will enjoy journeying with Georgie to The World Between.

 

Harriet Klausner

Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury-Edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle

June 30, 2012

Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury

Edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle

Morrow, Jul 10 2012, $15.99

ISBN 9780062122681

 

Paying homage to the late Ray Bradbury, twenty-six authors provide strong short entries honoring the recently deceased superstar whose career spanned decades and many of his works turned into many movies.  Mr. Bradbury added a short thank you to his contributing “children” while acknowledging his “true papa” was originally Poe and then Wells and Verne.  Neil Gaiman sets the tone with his whimsical “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury” as the narrator knows all the stories but not the name of the author.  With a nod to the short story “The Swan”, he met her too late as she is “The Girl In The Funeral Parlor” (by Sam Weller).  “Something Wicked This Way Comes” to BFFs in “Conjure” by Alice Hoffman.  The compilation pays homage to Mr. Bradbury; for instance, Dave Eggers’ “Who Kicks” to “A Sound of Thunder”; Bonnie Jo Campbell’s “The Tattoo” to “The Illustrated Man”; and Bayo Ojikutu’s “Reservation to my personal favorite Bradbury “Fahrenheit 451”.  This is a fitting tribute to one of the great writers.

 

Harriet Klausner

War Maid’s Choice-David Weber

June 30, 2012

War Maid’s Choice

David Weber

Baen, Jul 3 2012, $26.00

ISBN 9781451638356

 

Hradani horse stealer Prince Bahzell Bahnakson met Sothoii leader Baron Tellian Bowmaster on the battlefield when the latter outnumbered him by 30 to 1.  He persuaded his foe to surrender or die; Tellian chose discretion as he knew his opponent was the War God’s Own.  They became friends but the Sothoii are upset with what they perceive as cowardice.  To add insult the gigantic Bahzell takes a Sothoii steed Walsharno and becomes the first Hradani to be recognized as a wind rider (see the Wind Rider’s Oath).

 

Bahzell and Tellian push a public works project to build a canal that connects the Sothoii city Derm with the Hradani city Hurgrum.  The construction symbolizes to too many on both sides a new era of cooperation.  However irate Sothoii deploy assassins targeting Tellian, Bahzell and other leaders of the new alliance made even more insulting by the Baron’s daughter Leanna choosing this Hradani animal; this group choses civil war.  Meanwhile the Dark Gods led by Phrobus try for the fourth time to eliminate Bahzell who is the prime barrier from their taking over Norfressa, but this time they deploy powerful minion but miss the key opponent as they target Bahzell and Tellian; no one would suspect an aristocratic war maid and a one-eyed mare to stand in their way.

 

The latest Bahzell epic fantasy (see Wind Rider’s Oath, Oath of Swords and The War God’s Own) is an engaging tale as David Weber enhances his world though it behooves newcomers to read the backlist entries to understand the social dynamics.  Loaded with action and filled with fun but obvious twists as well as a once taboo romance (fuel for the purists), fans will enjoy the War Maid’s Choice.

 

Harriet Klausner

Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha-Karen Marie Moning, David Lawrence, Al Rio (illustrator) and Cliff Richards (illustrator)

June 30, 2012

Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha

Karen Marie Moning, David Lawrence, Al Rio (illustrator) and Cliff Richards (illustrator)

Del Rey, Jul 10 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9780345525482

 

The Lord Master pulled down the Walls enabling the demonic Unseelie Fae to escape their 500,000 years of incarceration in a wasteland.  They swamped Dublin leaving many humans dead and much of the city eradicated; the world has not fared any better.  However, these malevolent Unseelie and their Quisling supporters made one major mistake in Ireland when they raped but failed to kill Mackayla “Mac” Lane, as she has become the most potent adversary the evil Fae face.

 

However though she has matured due to constant combat and has met twisted allies like Jericho Barrons and V’Lane, Mac has not encountered the deadliest Unseelie; a Fae that the Fae fear as the Fear Dorcha who has brutally hunted anyone in his path on several worlds including the genocide of humans, sometimes out in the open.  He has come to Dublin to collect body parts from fifteen victims that will become him as he mutilates those in Mac’s circle with her being his final target.  Mac, with her Spear of Destiny and Barrons, expects her existential existence will expire once this monster comes for her, but she plans to stand her ground against this invincible fighting machine.

 

This is a terrific graphic comic that apparently occurs just before Shadowfever.  The adaptation by David Lawrence engages fans from the moment the vilest villain in the series to date arrives (hat in hand) in Temple Bar to collect body parts and never slows down as he closes in on Mac.  The colorful illustrations by the late Al Rio and Cliff Richards enhance the “Fecking-A” superb storyline.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Next President: How the Man Defines the Office-Dee J, Rammell

June 30, 2012

The Next President: How the Man Defines the Office

Dee J, Rammell

Tate Publishing, Jun 26 2012, $14.99

http://www.tatepublishing.com

ISBN: 9781620240885

 

This is an excellent timely short primer with the election coming in the fall as Dee J, Rammell gives an overview of each of the presidents including their background, accomplishments, famous quotes, failures, personal lives, and more but does so in context of the era in which they served.  One of the more interesting tidbits is Hayes overcoming “Rutherfraud” and adhering to his contract with America to serve one-term; by the short entry he comes across as transitional at a time when leadership was needed yet ranked by historian polls as 24th.  The death of Pierce’s last living son left his wife blaming his political ambitions as being ungodly and probably led to his oath on a law book not a bible.  The rankings are interesting as there is a consensus that at a time of crisis, the 1850s include three great failures (Google each president’s last name to see when they show up to tell you their contemporary significance).  Including Bush the younger when he was only five years into his term and less than four years since leaving seems invalid as too soon and those like the assassinated Taylor may not have had enough time to matter.  I would have appreciated more information on the survey mechanism (questions), who participates with overarching summaries of personal biases, and comparative rankings over the decades to include theories for why radical changes occur.  Still this is a fabulous quick look at the presidents; summed up nicely by President McKinley with this wry comment over a century before Citizens United: “He who controls the money supply of a nation controls the nation.”

 

Harriet Klausner

All Seeing Eye-Rob Thurman

June 29, 2012

All Seeing Eye

Rob Thurman

Pocket, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451652222

 

Ironically Jackson Lee muses that as a psychic he never saw it coming when he was fourteen years old and he touched the dusty pink shoe in his family’s yard.  The shoe belonged to his five years old sister Tess who told told him she was murdered.  Due to him his family is massacred as well leaving a traumatic Jack left in the Cane Lake County Home for Boys, definitely not for the good.  There he meets bookworm Charlie Allgood.

 

Years later, Jack becomes a carny psychic until he takes out his own shingle as the All Seeing Eye for hire.  He keeps people at a distance except for his assistant and adopted sister Abby, and Houdini the dog.  Fed Hector Allgood tells Jackson that Charlie, who died ten months ago, told him about his friend’s skills.  The SOB blackmails the psychic into working for him on solving Charlie’s murder and on an experiment that turned violent.  Charlie sense déjà vu as he expects his life will radically change just like when he touched Tess’ shoe.

 

This is an exhilarating twisting paranormal thriller starring a troubled soul who struggles with his psychic skill, his knowledge of his sister’s death and his belief he caused the follow-up massacre.  Fast-paced, readers will relish All Seeing Eye as the traumatized protagonist knows you can go home because the truth will never set you free from truly leaving home.

 

Harriet Klausner

Ripper-David L. Golemon

June 29, 2012

Ripper

David L. Golemon

Dunne, Jul 17 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9780312580803

 

In 1887 the British Empire hire American scientist Lawrence Ambrose to create a means to change a civilized person into a berserker war machine.  In 1888, Jack the Ripper murders his last victim.  At the same time, Robert Louis Stevenson visits Scotland Yard with information on the Ripper’s identity that he connects to his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde model, American chemist Lawrence Ambrose.  Queen Victoria ended the project and ordered the secret execution of Ambrose who escaped with his notes.

 

In present-day Mexico, American government top secret Event Group geologist Sarah McIntire leads a team investigating caves where Pancho Villa allegedly stored his weapons.  Anaconda the drug lord sends his vicious army to attack the geologist.  They abduct Sarah. The Event Group sends a rescue team led by Colonel Jack Collins that uses information from General John “Black Jack” Pershing’s 1916 Mexican raid.  However they are unaware that Anaconda has Ambrose’s notes and plans to use them.

 

The latest suspenseful Event Group thriller (see Legacy) is an exciting action-packed tale that deftly links Ripper to the contemporary war on drugs.  Though the villain and hero are stereotyped, fans will enjoy this engaging entry filled with action and a thrill seemingly around every corridor and cave.

 

Harriet Klausner