Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Read: "In the Company of Ogres" by A. Lee Martinez

Read: In the Company of Ogres by A. Lee Martinez, 2006, 9780765315472.

Martinez's second book. A humorous fantasy novel. Never Dead Ned can die but he cannot stay dead. Most of those were accidental, some were murder. Ned is approaching his fiftieth resurrection when he is transferred from the accounting department of Brute's Legion into Ogre Company as it's new commander. While muddling through as commander the Red Witch, who has been the one responsible for bringing Ned back from the dead, tells him his true origin as the Bad Void. The Void was an all powerfull force that destroyed galaxies on whims. After a bit, the Void tired of destruction and decided to "change his nature" by becoming human. A demon arrives to take the Void's hidden power that lies inside of Ned and laughter and destruction ensues.

Funny novel. Martinez adds magic, wizards, orcs, ogres, goblins, demons, elves, trolls, etc. in the mix. Good book. I liked the plot and setting of Gil's All Fright Diner better, but the writing in Ned is improved.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Finished: "A Dangerous Man" by Charlie Huston

Finished: A Dangerous Man by Charlie Huston, 2006, 034548133X.

I finally finished season one of Lost and finished this one.

Another good novel by Huston. Dangerous is the third and last of Huston's Henry Thompson novels. Hank has been working as an enforcer and hitman for a Russian mobster, David, in exchange for the safety of his parents. Based in Las Vegas, Hank has been tutored by experienced hitman Branko. Hank is dependent on a variety of stimulants, depressants, and anti-depressants to get through his work.

After a couple years in Vegas, and turning himself into a total mess, David has Hank act as a bodyguard for an upcoming MLB player in hock to David for lost bets. After defending the player outside a strip club, Hank is asked to be his minder in NYC when the player joins the minor league team in Brooklyn.

Like usual, things go bad for Hank. Hank, for a normal, friendly guy, is incredibly proficient at violence. This book has a much lower body count than the first two. Hank is also out of friends so at least they don't get killed off in this one.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Bailed out on: "The Enormous Room" by E.E. Cummings

Bailed out on: The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings

I saw a reference to this somewhere and Watertown PL had it. I read the foreword which briefly told the whole story. Cummings writing is too much of the happy chums on a lark type writing of English schoolboys. Since I got the précis from the foreword I quit reading.

Basically, Cummings graduated college and went to France to be an ambulance driver during WWI. His best pal in France was suspected by the Frogs of being anti-French and they both got thrown in prison.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Finished: "The Ruins" by Scott Smith

Finished: The Ruins by Scott Smith, 2006, 1400043875.

I finished this at the DMV. I was a couple pages from the end when my number was called so I finished reading the book in the parking lot.

Good book. I read a strong recommendation a week or two ago and received this copy from Watertown.

Recent college graduates on a long summer trip to Cancun make friends with a German named Mathias. Mathias's brother took off from Cancun to chase a girl who was headed to a remote archeological dig in the jungle. When his brother does not return or contact Mathias he gets the four college students to travel with him along with a Greek tourist they have been hanging out with. The six of them travel to the remote site and upon arrival at the hilltop of the archeological site are threatened by an armed Mayan man rushing up on horseback.

Once the six of them step upon the vine covered hillside the Mayan man refuses to let them leave. Soon, more armed Mayans arrive to prevent their departure and the six discover that the vine covering the hilltop is both sentient and hungry.

I spoke to another reader about the novel's plot and characters and she felt that none of the characters were likable. I thought that the reactions of the characters to their "shipwreck" situation of being stuck on a hill with little food and water was realistic. That's all Ruins is, really; a modern, and slightly science fiction, version of six people in a lifeboat.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Finished: "Mad Mouse" by Chris Grabenstein

Finished: Mad Mouse by Chris Grabenstein, 2006, 1786717602

Second novel by Grabenstein featuring NJ seashore cops John Ceepak and Danny Boyle. This story is set only a couple months after the first novel's setting. In Tilt-a-whirl Ceepak and Boyle solved the bloody murder of a famous real estate mogul. The aftermath of that case had their police chief arrested for murder. Now, a new chief is in charge and Boyle is hoping to get hired on from his seasonal baseball-cap-with-polo-shirt status to full time cop-with-a-gun status.

Ceepak is still a "by the book" nut. He tickets his partner, Boyle, for an illegal left turn with, "The law is the law. It should be applied fairly, without fear or favoritism." He says things like, "Then have a cold one for me, partner…But pace yourself. It takes a full hour for the effect of each beer to dissipate." He talks using radio code short hand, says "Roger that" constantly, and his code to never "lie, cheat or style or tolerate those who do" is always referred to.

The mystery is okay. It starts with Boyle and old high school friends on the beach one night getting attacked by a paintball gun. The same thing happens the next night outside a restaurant with Boyle and a pal getting targeted. After the second event Boyle and Ceepak realize that a rifle has been shot at them as well. After Boyle's would be girlfriend gets shot in the chest, and the shooter narrowly misses Boyle, things speed up.

The character interaction and storyline is more important than the mystery. Tilt-a-whirl was more interesting with the characters being introduced. This was good but Grabenstein will have to work to keep things interesting.