Greetings from The Raven!

Feb. 16, 2017

Mister Memory by Marcus Sedgwick

My thanks to my contacts at Pegasus Books, Iris Blasi, Katie McGuire, and Maia Larson, for my advance reading copy of this book! Rock on!

1899. Marcel Despres is arrested for the murder of his wife, Ondine. After catching her in the act with another man, Despres shot his wife dead. After Marcel was arrested, he spent two days in custody at the Commissariat de Police. Then something odd happens.

Laurent Petit of the Sûreté, the man assigned to the case, suddenly finds that he has been asked to drop the case. Marcel is packed off to Salpêtriére asylum, having been declared insane. Inspector Laurent Petit is informed by the Chef de la Sûreté the case is over. He lines out a solution to the crime.

Odine Despres was a woman who traded on sex. She was a topless dancer and her willingness to appear totally nude in private parties has been difficult for Marcel to process. Surprising her in the act in his own home tipped the balance. Unable to deal with Odine’s betrayal, Marcel shot her down in cold blood.

In the asylum, an interesting thing is discovered. Despite Marcel Despres’ social awkwardness and inability to hold down a job, Marcel is not stupid. But he is acting under a tremendous strain. Marcel Despres cannot forget—anything. He had been doing a stage act as Mr. Memory. Just a glance at columns of numbers and he can recite them all in any order. Days later and after more testing, he can still recite the original test along with the new ones. He can even recall his birth and being in the womb!

But is Odine even really dead?

I found the story interesting. I thought the plot was rather solid, and yet I am going to ding the book two stars, both of which are personal opinion. I found the narration tense to be odd, and a bit difficult to read. Then there is the descriptions of Odine’s dirty little secrets. While not vividly explicit, they still were a bit much for my taste.

I give the book three stars.

Quoth the Raven…

This book is not yet available for purchase…

 

Feb. 11, 2017

King Kong VS Tarzan by Will Murray

The story of the Beast-God Kong begins on a remote Indian Ocean island—Skull Island. There Kong is a giant ape the last of his kind and ruler of all he can see. The humans on Skull Island have built a great wall to keep Kong away from their village. There is a gate in the wall used to make offerings of a young woman to the beast-god.

When the crew of the good ship Wanderer follow the mad plans of Carl Denham to this unknown paradise, Ann Darrow becomes Kong’s plaything. First Mate Jack Driscoll leads the party to reclaim Ann from her horrible fate. As Kong pursues Ann, Denam makes his move.

He has brought gas bombs and mercy bullets filled with knockout drugs. He becomes fixated on bringing Kong back to America as “The Eighth Wonder of the World.” Denham follows only one law—his own.

Unable to return through the Suez Canal without a lot of questions, their only choice is to circle the Cape of Good Hope and sail the Atlantic back to New York. But Kong needs a lot of provisions, and he has stirred several times. As the ship nears the coast of African, Kong escapes to the jungle.

But this isn’t Skull Island, it is Africa. Here Tarzan is the Lord of the Jungle—and Kong is an intruder! Overall, the book is the adventures of Kong, so Tarzan is relegated to a minor supporting role. Both Carl Denham and Jack Driscoll have more screen time than Tarzan.

For once in my reading of Will’s books, I had to put the book down at times. That may be due to the fact that I have a collection of books on Kong, and the story cannot help but follow a familiar path. Adding the invasion of Tarzan’s home was brilliant, but I was hoping for more Tarzan than I got.

I give the book three stars. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Quoth the Raven…

BuyItHere>

Feb. 9, 2017

The Adventures of Doc Daye-Death Means Little-Book One by Tommy Hancock (Kindle® Edition)

I have waited a long time t read of the third hero of Sovereign City! I have thrilled to all the adventures of Barry Reece’s Lazarus Gray and Derrick Fergusson’s Fortune McCall. Yet I have wondered when we were going to get anything about Doctor Tempus Daye…

Doc Daye is finally here in this tasty tidbit, likely chapter one of an on-going story. (Fingers crossed!) To say that the death of a wealthy man in Doc Daye’s building Daye Tower in Sovereign City is macabre is an understatement! Doc’s front man Tommy Pariah and his “secretary” Malcolm “Peaches” McCoy are both ready to spring into action.

There are things I read that made little sense to me until I went Here

This is something I recommend to people reading Doc Daye for the first time. It will enhance the reading pleasure.

I will give this short foray into Doc Daye’s adventures five stars in anticipation of more to come. Don’t let me down Tommy!

Quoth the Raven…

Buy it Here>

 

Feb. 5, 2017

Cat Flap by Ian Jarvis

Mixing detection, humor, and the Supernatural

My thanks to Steve and Timi at MX Publishing for my review copy of this book. You guys have been most generous.

Bernard Quist is a modern consulting detective on Baker Avenue in the city of York. His sidekick, Watson, is a young black man just nineteen years of age. Quist has a walk-up office across from a collection agency whose major-domo collector Kevin Selden is a skinhead with a dog named Klansman. Go figure…

The book opens with the murder of Lisa Mirren. There are things a bit odd about this death. It will not be the last. Three chemists die in odd circumstance. The firm is hired by the fiancé of one of the chemists only to discover they have been had. The girl’s death is being considered a suicide, and the man is not her fiancé.

The story is too much of a farce to really appeal to me. The humor is sometimes rather crude and seems forced into place. The detection part isn’t all that bad, but it still lacks focus since Bernie Quist is being directly compared to Sherlock Holmes right on the back cover. People talk of comparing apples to oranges. This is comparing apples to onions—that much of a difference.

The action is in a series of very short choppy chapters, seventy-three in total! Jump perspective is one thing, this is something else. I don’t really get it; all I know is that I don’t like it. Those who like humor may find this engaging, as a mystery lover I just can’t. Sorry.

I will give the book two stars for the obvious labor the author put into writing this novel.

Quoth the Raven…

BuyItHere>

 

Feb. 4, 2017

The Pulptress Volume 2 by Richard Lee Byers

Prose Se press presents three more tales of the slender blonde in the striped shirt, black skirt, fedora and domino mask! Scion of heroes, trained by the best in the business, and totally fearless, the woman known only as Emily takes on more of the evil that people do…

“The Air Loom” by Richard Lee Byers tells of Richard Knight, one of the heroes who trained the Pulptress. Over one hundred years old, he was still in top condition until someone scrambled his mind. Others have also fallen victim to a mysterious foursome and their device. Problem is, the stories of these four and the “Air Loom” go back over 200 hundred years—unchanged!

“Demented Diamonds” by Ethan Nahté finds the Pulptress on vacation in Hawaii. While sunbathing on the black sands of Punalu’u County Beach Park she witnesses the taking of a yacht by pirates, who burn the ship and take the prisoners towards Kīlauea. There in caverns she encounters beings not quite of this world and a demented genius with a fatal taste for diamonds…

“A Perfect Doll” by Nancy A Hansen deals with a pharmaceutical magnate who has rather unique ways of testing his products. Young, beautiful women are turned into deformed hags by unrefined doses of various medicines in the works. Someone is making dolls that portray this process. On one side the lady’s face is the essence of beauty. The other side is a horrible distortion. On the beautiful side the hair is perfect. One the deformed side the hair is ragged and hanging in clumps. Sometimes the case goes beyond knowledge of who is guilty; it is also a matter of proving the guilt and rescuing the victims…

I liked all three stories. They show the character in three different situations, pretty much different pulp genres. The first is supernatural horror, the second syfy, and the last a more grounded mystery. Each is a fine example of the writer’s art. I would love to see a much larger anthology starring our heroine!

I give the book five stars!

Quoth the Raven…

BuyItHere>