Showing posts from August, 2011

High Heels, Ebony Paws, & Vegas Gold, Baby

When an intriguingly delectable-sounding blend of mystery, sly humor, Vegas glitz, and cats (yes, CATS, people!) landed on my doorstep, it seemed like a no-brainer. There was, however, one small hitch: the book in question--Carole Nelson Douglas’ Cat in a Vegas Gold Vendetta--was actually the twenty-third in a long-running series... of which I’d read nary a one. (In fact, I possessed not even the vaguest general knowledge about it; no handy clues had ever seen fit to make their way into my subconscious via some sort of bookstore osmosis, sadly.) I would be a tabula rasa, trying to get caught up on all the important whos and whats in a hurry... and having nearly two dozen books’ worthof elapsed history to contend with was, frankly, more than a little daunting. Still, that “But this is right down my alley!” refrain kept playing in the back of my mind, so I decided there was nothing to lose... but potentially, a fun, new-to-me series to find.  ~^.,^~   ~^.,.^~   ~^.,.^~ Freelance-public-rela…

Prowling the Streets in Search of Justice: A SuperHero is Born

Growing up, I idolized Wonder Woman. She had it all--awesome strength and beauty, intelligence and kindness. To me, she was female perfection. Ever practical, I knew I’d never achieve that ideal (she was just fantasy, after all), but following her tireless quest to rid the world of evil and replace it with love and peace allowed me to envision a place and time in which women enjoyed real power and respect (and could fix problems without a lot of senseless bloodshed). It's never all about thrilling feats of derring-do, of course. There’s a bit of melancholy attached to any superhero story too--sometimes a sense of loss, and always feelings of loneliness. Nothing comes without a price.  Raymond Benson explores what it would be like to become an all-too-human superhero in his new book, The Black Stiletto. ✒ ~ ✒ ~ ✒ ~ ✒ ~ ✒ Martin Talbot is a just a regular Joe. Ordinary-looking, middle-aged, and divorced (with shared custody of an only daughter), he’s not the sort to inspire second glance…

A Girl, a Boat, a Hero... and the Fate of the Universe?

Showy meteorite displays on opposite sides of the world... a couple of driven scientists, trying to pinpoint the source of a group of unusual gamma rays, located far away in the solar system... the recent influx into the rare jewel market of some beautiful (but deadly) gemstones... a curious (and tenacious) young girl who sets out on a fishing boat from the coast of Maine to find her fortune... and the (former) CIA operative trying to put all these pieces together and make sense of things, before it’s too late for everyone: this is Douglas Preston’s action-packed, sci-fi adventure thriller, Impact. ★ // ★ // ★ // ★ Abbey Straw is a college student like so many of her peers, just going with the flow--but dissatisfied with her options. What she wants is to be an astronomer (which, unfortunately, isn’t what she’s been going to school for), so she drops out one day with only a vague idea of finding some long-buried treasure off the coast of Maine to fund her dreams. When she happens to witn…

The Boy who Was Born a Man (Reacher's Early Years)

You might think that hearing about the continued exploits of a world-weary, tough-as-old-boots hero who’s seen and done just about everything there is to see and do during his five decades of tramping around the earth (and is thus, very rarely surprised by anything or anyone) would start getting a little old, some fifteen books in. You’d be wrong to think that, though--at least, when the heroic fellow in question is none other than Lee Child’s veritable force-of-nature and one-man distributor of revenge and retribution, ex-military policeman Jack Reacher--because, like fine wine, Reacher just gets better with age. Of course, there’s also the fact that age is such a relative concept with someone like Reacher... a point brought home rather persuasively in the newly-released (and first ever!) short story about him, Second Son, which provides a very different look at the stalwart fellow than we’ve ever seen before. This mini-Reacher feature (hehe, couldn’t resist) covers only a couple of day…

Play Us a Song of Death

Things would be tidier if the monsters in our midst were easier to spot. If they were hideously ugly, spoke only nonsense, had atrocious taste in music and art, and were so thoroughly detestable that not even their own mothers could be relied upon to love them unquestionably... then the rest of us would be safe(r) from them. We know that’s not the case, though. Spend a week following the news, and it’s clear that most of the people who commit those heinous acts look and seem like the rest of us. From the inconspicuous wallflower to the movie-star-attractive, the soccer mom (or dad) to the designer-clad, the lover of pop (or rock or country) to the opera buff... oh yes, we’d be hard-pressed to pick the monsters among us out of the crowd. Such is also the case in P.J. Parrish’s latest thriller, The Killing Song.
* / * / * / * / * In his professional life, thirty-five-year-old Matt Owens has it made. He enjoys his job as a reporter for a Miami paper and has a Pulitzer Prize for investigativ…

Deadly Games in the Hollywood Hills

With a nod at the oft-quoted U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stewart (who famously said that even though he didn’t know the precise definition of “pornography”, he knew it when he saw it), I’m not always sure what constitutes “pulp fiction”... but I think I know it when I see it. (Thanks for that go to Quentin Tarantino and his oh-so-helpfully-named cinematic masterpiece... not to mention, pretty much every other movie he’s had a hand in.) Until recently, my exposure to the likes of anything pulp-y was confined to watching such Tarantino-esque films on the jumbo screens at the multiplex. (The sheer outrageousness and larger-than-life everything in a pulp movie is positively tailor-made for a place which proudly serves up jumbo buckets of glistening, artery-clogging puffs of corn and carry-on-suitcase-sized boxes of Junior Mints.) What I’d never done, though, was to read anything in the genre... but, figuring that you never know what’s gonna float your boat until you try it (well, aside from …