Author Archives: Scott Dyson

Mini Reviews

After I finished GARDEN OF BEASTS, I read two more books, and I wanted to make a few comments on each.  I sort of read them simultaneously, so I’ll start with the one I just finished and move on to the other after that.

The first was THE BRIDE COLLECTOR by Ted Dekker.  We’ve all read this book before, in some form.  It was a serial killer thriller featuring an FBI team hunting a killer who is kidnapping beautiful women and killing them by draining their blood through their heels, then posing them by hanging them off of dowel pegs placed in the wall and gluing their shoulders to said wall.  As usual, there is a bit of discussion of forensic evidence and a lot of talk where the investigators discuss the killings and try to come up with a profile of the killer.

It wasn’t great, but it was good, and kept me reading.  Actually, toward the end, I really wanted to know what was going to happen, not so much because I was into the solution to the crime but because of the characters.  They were the most interesting thing about the book.  Dekker’s FBI guy, Brad Raines, is a troubled man who is, apparently from the reaction of all the women he encounters, really really really good looking.  (Yeah, I used three “really’s” there to emphasize the point because Dekker really emphasizes it.)   His psychologist/teammate Nikki Holder is also really really really beautiful, and they have a connection, and maybe even some sparks are going to fly between them.  But they never get started too much, because the evidence points to a private mental health facility called CWI (Center for Wellness and Intelligence), where high-IQ mental health patients live and receive treatment.  There they meet Paradise Founder, a young woman who has some issues, and her little clique of savants.

Those characters are the most interesting in the whole book, in my opinion.  They’re quirky and original, and I liked reading about them.  In fact, I’d love a whole book about them.  Brad Raines, who is sometimes referred to as “Rain Man”, finds that he has some things in common with the individuals housed in CWI, in that he’s a bit of a mental case himself with plenty of issues, and he’s quite obsessive/compulsive when it comes to his investigations.

Dekker took a few risks with the way the story played out, and I have to admit that there was a point where I was almost sort of put off by what happened.  But overall, it was a fairly typical serial-killer thriller novel, with the plus that it had some non-stock characters who added a lot to the narrative, in my humble opinion.

***

The second book I want to write a little bit about is one called NIGHTMARE CHILD, by Ed Gorman writing as Daniel Ransom.  This one was a fairly stock horror novel as well.  In it, a young 9-year-old girl is murdered by her sister and her sister’s husband (for her inheritance), and they get away with it.  That sounds like a typical thriller, right?  But then little Jenny, the dead 9-year-old, comes back.  She first encounters her neighbor, who she always called “Aunt Diane” and who lost her husband and is childless, though not because she doesn’t want or can’t have children.  Then Jenny returns to her sister’s house, where things begin to get strange.  (As if having a girl return from the dead isn’t strange enough.)  Diane is inclined to believe that the sister and brother-in-law are abusing the little girl, but is that the case?

This one is a well-written and well-constructed horror novel, and I wouldn’t expect less from Ed Gorman.  Everything I’ve read by him in the past has always been really engrossing.  This one is good, but I dont know…maybe I expected more when I saw that Ed Gorman wrote it.  One problem is with the ebook formatting.  There are chapter breaks, but within chapters the sections where point of view shifts and they aren’t separated in any way; they just run into each other.  After I got used to it, I was able to immediately figure out that there should have been a break in a specific place, but at first it threw me and pulled me out of the story as I struggled to figure out who was where and who they were interacting with.

All in all, it was a good read, worth the $2.99 I spent on it in the Kindle store, but not up there with the best of the genre, or even with the best of Ed Gorman.

My four cents (two for each book)…

*****

Review – GARDEN OF BEASTS by Jeffery Deaver

I purchased this novel in hardcover when it came out, at Sam’s Club (the reason I know is because it still had the sticker on it)  probably circa 2004, and then I shelved it and never read it.  Why not?  Well, I have to say that I’m not a big historical fiction reader, and when I re-read the blurb on the dust cover, it just never grabbed me, never made me want to pick it up next.  There was always something that grabbed me a bit more.

Recently I’ve been reading a lot on my Kindle, but I still have stacks of hardcover books I’ve picked up off of the bargain tables at various bookstores, especially Barnes and Noble.  Recently I’ve been making a bit of an effort to clear some of those that have been staring at me the longest, and this one jumped out at me.  I’d read something on Steven M. Moore’s blog praising the novel, and I thought, “That one has been sitting there a long time…why not give it a try?”

I’m very glad I did.  GARDEN OF BEASTS:  A Novel of Berlin 1936 was a first-rate thriller with world class villains — the Nazis.  Hitler, Goering, and Himmler (among others) all make appearances as American “button man” Paul Schumann agrees to go to Berlin with the Olympic team in order to hit, not Hitler, not Himmler or Goering or Goebbels, but a fictional character (I think) named Reinhard Ernst.

This Ernst fellow seems to be a different sort than those others, a more rational man who is motivated by a love for his country, not a blind adherence to the politics of hate and racism.  But he is the “architect” of the German military buildup, and the Americans feel that he needs to be eliminated, and in a public manner.  Schumann is dispatched to kill him in return for having his record expunged and being paid a large cash sum, which will allow him to “go straight”.

Once there, however, things are not as simple as they are laid out.  Ernst, involved in a project called the Waltham Study, has to outmaneuver Goering, the air minister, and deal with family issues as Schumann stalks him through Berlin.  Schumann and his contact collect the information and the weapons that he will need to carry out his assignment, and meets up with a German con man named Webber and the manager of his boarding house, Kathe Richter.  Oh, and along the way, he falls in love — with Ms. Richter.

Plenty of intrigue and misdirection follow as Schumann tries to finish his job and get back to the United States.  The ending was satisfying and somewhat unexpected.  I only wish I had not waited over ten years to read it.  What other treasues are waiting for me among those stacks?

*****

Watch this blog for announcements about my next novella, a 37000 word work I call THE INN.  It will be available on Amazon for Kindle by the end of the week.

*****

New title coming out…

I finished up my final editing pass over the weekend, and I think it’s time to post the cover for what will be my most recent and my longest published work to date:  THE INN.

THE INN is about a high school band who takes a school trip to a music festival in Alabama, and focuses on their student-teacher, a 22-year-old college senior named Kimberly Bouton.  But this inn has some strange goings-on, and both the teacher and the kids experience that strangeness first hand.

I haven’t written the blurb yet, but I’m working on it.  This is a serial-killer-horror type of novel (or is it still a novella at around 37000 words?  Probably…) with the standard trappings of horror novels of this type.  I wouldn’t call it “extreme horror” — there are no graphic descriptions of — well, anything, really.  But it’s full of mature and disturbing occurrences, like most horror novels.

I’ve alway been a fan of horror movies, even the slasher-type of movies (though I think it’s been really overdone and I haven’t seen many in the last several years), and I recently read some novels by indie horror writer William Malmborg , especially one called TEXT MESSAGE and one called NIKKI’S SECRET.  After I read them, I thought that I could probably write something like those stories, and this is my attempt.  I’d like to think that it has my usual level of character development (for better or worse) but I don’t think it is for every reader.  If you don’t care for this sort of horror novel, take a pass on this one.  OTOH, if you liked RED DRAGON or SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, you might not be totally put off by this one.

THE INN, a horror thriller which clocks in at about 37000 words and contains a sample chapter of THE CAVE as well.  Here’s the cover:

The Inn Book CoverI’ll be posting links to it on Amazon in a day or so…

*****

Kindle Unlimited – how’s that workin’ for you?

I really don’t know yet.  I enrolled all my books in KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited about a month ago — maybe it’s two months, I don’t know.  But I did notice that, after day after day after day of zero pages read for Kindle, my novella THE CAVE (see it over there to your right?) all of a sudden had 318 pages read over the course of a couple of days.  And my short story DEAD OR ALIVE (it’s not over there on the right, but it is part of THE STRIKER FILES, which is) had 50 pages read.

I looked, and THE CAVE has a KENPC (Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count) of 166, as opposed to its stated length of 88 pages.  DEAD OR ALIVE has a KENPC of 56.

Now, that doesn’t sound like much, but basically it’s two full reads of the novella and one full read of the short story.  For me, that’s fine.  Those sales would have earned me 35% of $0.99, which is little over a buck.  The KU reads paid me more than that; a bit less than two bucks.

(Yeah, that’s the sort of life-changing money I’m earning right now from my writing.  :-)  )

Couple that with a few purchases of THE CAVE, one of DIE 6, and one of my non-fiction DOING DISNEY quasi-guidebook, I’ll have done okay.  Maybe I’ll sell a couple of copies of my new one, THE INN, when it comes out.  Crossing fingers.  (Watch this space for announcements.)

The way I see it, the more people who grab my stories and read them, the better chance I have of actually getting noticed.

And that’s the state of the state right now.

*****

Fiction and Non-fiction

I finished two books yesterday.  (I didn’t start either of them yesterday; the non-fiction title I started a couple months ago, in fact.)  The fiction title was Invasion by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt.  It is an alien invasion story, and this one starts with a family in New York trying to get to their bunker near Vail, Colorado.  When people learn that some sort of alien spaceships are approaching Earth, society begins to break down and the trip across the country becomes a very dangerous thing indeed.

It, like all of the Realm and Sands guys’ titles, was a fast, decent read.  I received the book for free for becoming a member of their mailing list/newsletter.  (I have the second to read, also.)  There are important themes tossed into the mix, but I never felt that any of them were handled in more than a superficial manner.  The characters are interesting but we don’t really learn that much about them, partly because there are five of them (Meyer, Piper, Trevor, Lila and Lila’s boyfriend Raj) traveling from New York, and another (Meyer’s ex-wife Heather) coming from Los Angeles.  The point of views shift too often to really get a great feel for any one of them.

I will be reading the second (Contact) sometime relatively soon, but it will have to grab me a bit more than this one did for me to continue reading on in the series.

The second book was called Rosewater, and it is the book that the Jon Stewart film was based upon.   It was written by Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-born Canadian journalist for Newsweek who was reporting on the second election of Ahmadinijad (I’m sure I mangled the spelling but you know who I mean) when the Iranian young voters felt that the election was stolen from the rightful winner.  Bahari was jailed and this book is the story of his imprisonment and his treatment while in Evin, a well-known political prison in Iran.

The book was a depressing read, even though you know that Bahari survived the ordeal.  His despair comes through in the narrative, as does the cruelty and callousness of his jailers and torturers, especially the one that Bahari refers to as Rosewater (because of the scent he wears every day — that is how Bahari recognizes him at first).  I kept putting it down, because frankly, I didn’t need more things depressing me than I already had.  But I’m relieved to have finished it.  It shines a bit of light on the Iranian theocracy and its strong-man tactics to control its populace, and I think it is important that people read it and understand more about the majority of Iranians, and also about Islam as it is believed by the vast majority (in Iran and in other parts of the world as well) and how it is used as a tool for brainwashing and control.  I didn’t see the movie, and probably won’t, so I can’t comment if Stewart’s adaptation is faithful to Bahari’s narrative or if he goes his own way (politically or dramatically) in the film.

So I’m going to tackle one from the TBR pile, and start Jeffrey Deaver’s Garden of Beasts today.  If it doesn’t depress me too much, I’ll plow through it and move on to something else, maybe Kellerman’s Killer or King’s Revival.

*****

FLASHBACK by Dan Simmons

My first exposure to Dan Simmons’ novels came through the horror genre — Carrion Comfort and Summer of Night were two excellent novels that seemed, to me, to be very original takes on themes found in the genre.  I followed those readings with his work in a different genre — science fiction — by reading his works Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, and The Rise of Endymion.  Those reads blew me away, and I kept going, reading more SF, horror and mystery.  Everything was enjoyable.

When I saw that Simmons had written a dystopian novel titled Flashback, I had to give it a try.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the blurb told me that the United States is in a state of collapse and that 85% of its population are using a strange drug called Flashback, which allows them to enter a dream-like state where they can relive moments of their lives of their choosing.  That sounds like a pretty cool premise to start with.  Follow that with a former police officer, Nick Bottom, who lost his job after the death of his wife, and has now lost his son as well because of his addiction to this drug.

Nick is hired by a Japanese businessman who is serving as one of the US Government’s “Advisors” to investigate the murder of his son.  It’s a crime that Nick investigated as a police officer, and he knows that nothing much is going to happen, but he figures he can milk it for a good payday, which will assure him of a supply of his drug.  But there’s more going on, and Nick actually does make progress; actually is motivated to solve the crime.

The story is about Nick’s investigation and discoveries, as the world around him is revealed to him (with more clarity for him) and to us readers (for the first time).  There is a value in considering this potential future as Simmons foresees it.  So much politics is there, so much of the rhetoric we are hearing today is extrapolated forward to come up with the pessimistic future that is depicted here.  Do I see it happening?  Not at all.  But I think it’s worth considering so that we can think about the worst case scenarios as depicted by the Tea Party and conservatives every day today.

So what did I really like about this book?  Well, it’s a good story.  The trouble comes from being too close to events referred to in this book as sorts of “trigger events” and seeing them from a different perspective.  The book looks back at Obama’s elections, the federal debt, entitlements, the lack of military response, the way the administration is dealing with Iran, etc etc, and depicts them as the first steps in becoming the society that the book describes.  I look at those same things and don’t see things the same.  I look at Simmons’ depiction of Islam and Arabs and Iranians (notice I separate the two — Iranians are not Arabs, racially) and see fear primarily informing the story’s (and I’m assuming, HIS) view of them.  I look at his depiction of Israelis as victims who have no responsibility for their own fate in this story, and I find myself disagreeing.

In the context of this story, of this world, however, these things all work really well.   They set the table for an engrossing tale where the Japanese are looked at as a stable and sensible race with the proper goals — except for maybe it’s not exactly as it looks.  I liked the idea of a “g bear” kinetic energy weapon fired from satellites in space.  (The weapon’s name is a nod to the SF writer who imagined such a weapon.)  I liked the way drones are incorporated into the story.  I also thought that some of the video technology was imaginative and plausible.

I”ll point to some reviews of this book that focus more on the politics:

Amazing Stories Review

Science Fiction World Review

Goodreads Reviews

SF Signal Review 

Some of them are pretty negative; they cannot seem to separate the politics from the novel.  I found that I was able to do that, and I found FLASHBACK to be a pretty good dystopian story.  Dan Simmons set out to write a dystopian piece, and he did so from his own perspective.  I thought it worked.

*****

Who’s my competition?

Chuck Wendig wrote a blog article called “100 Random Storytelling Thoughts and Tips” in which he lists…you guessed it…one hundred thoughts on how to write a good story, or make the story you are writing better.

One struck me as I read it, not because it had anything to do with writing.  Here it is:

35. There’s always something else for the reader to be doing. You are not competing against other writers or other books, but you are competing against the infinity of options open to your audience: games, toys, social media, sex, sex toys, sex games, corn murder, bee wrangling, monkey punching, gambling, sex gambling, exotic drugs created from household cleaners, falcon training, sex falcon training. Treat your reader as exalted. They have given you money and time. Do not punish them for their choice.

Yeah, Chuck’s writing style in his blog is a little…silly at times.  Remember, this is written for his audience.  Not mine, or not just anyone.  But his point seems to be one we forget often.  Other books are not our competition.  Choices for entertainment other than reading books ARE our competition.  All of our competition.  If you write, you are in competition with all the things Chuck listed.  (Okay, probably not those things.  But certainly we’re in competition with Netflix, with Wii and X-box and PS4, with computer games and websites, with someone’s smartphone or iPad, or any number of other things.)

The point is that reading good books is something we writers all want to do (or we wouldn’t be writing) and something we writers want all of our readers doing.  If today that good book is by me, great!  Better than great!  But if today you’re reading something by another writer of horror, or mystery or SF/Fantasy or thrillers, and it’s a good story, that’s great too!  (Just not as great as if you were reading that good book by ME!)

When I read a good book, it triggers something in me…I usually want to read MORE good books, MORE good stories, of the sort I just read, maybe, but maybe something else…the important point, and the relevant point, is that it is a good story and I want MORE!  So I’m thrilled to tell someone about a great book I’ve read, an interesting and/or thought-provoking story, an inspirational tale.  I find those often in SF stories, in thrillers, and even in horror, which I believe focuses so much on the characters and the settings, which are two things I love to see come alive.

No, as a writer, I’m not in competition with other writers.  We all have the same self-interested goal of promoting reading in others, and so much the better if it is in readers who love the kinds of stories that we tell.

Why did this hit home with me?  Because I’ve been sitting at home reading Flashback by Dan Simmons, and my kids are on YouTube watching videos about games that they play.  Meanwhile there are good books just laying there that I thought they wanted to read.  But they aren’t.  I’d prefer they read, but they’re old enough to take my strong suggestion that they read instead of watching  (and my criticism of the stupidity of watching videos about video games) and chuck it out the window.  They work very hard during their school year (dare I say harder than I work at my job?) and right now they’re both working hard, with long days, in band camps.  So they can ultimately do what they want with their limited leisure time, at least to a degree.  But it doesn’t stop me from being dismayed.

Orson Scott Card, David Price, and and dozens, no, hundreds, of authors are in competition with YouTube for their leisure time.  They’re not in competition with me as an indie author, or with each other as traditional published authors.

We all need to do what we can to promote reading, and we shouldn’t worry about whether we’re in competition with each other.  Because we’re not.  No way.

*****

 

Two SF Novels: MORE THAN HUMAN and TIME HOLE

I read two hard SF novels back-to-back, which is something I haven’t done in a while.  (Read two hard SF novels in a row, that is…)  The first was TIME HOLE by Mit Sandru.  (I received this book as a gift!)  The second was MORE THAN HUMAN:  THE MENSA CONTAGION by Steven M. Moore.  (I received this book as a gift as well!)  The books have similarities, although they tell very different stories in terms of subject matter and scope.

TIME HOLE tells the story of an odd discovery on the Moon, where international teams are working at mining and exploratory operations.  A piece of equipment breaks down and a pair of generalists, DeeDee and Arno, are sent to drive the new equipment to the outpost.  On their way they encounter a large crater…but this crater isn’t made by a meteor impact, and it had not been noted before along this road.

When Arno falls in, DeeDee uses the truck’s winch to pull both of them back to safety, and they make a startling discovery.  They aren’t on the same moon that they were on a few minutes ago.  Or, perhaps it’s the same moon, but where in time are they?  Things are much different.

This short novella (47 pages, according to Amazon**) read a little longer than this.  It told a lot of story in those pages, and I came to really care about the two main characters as they tried to get back to their own reality, then find themselves “out of phase” and basically invisible as they return to their base and solve a mystery of what caused the huge time hole on the Moon.

(** ETA:  The author pointed out that it is 119 pages, not 47, and now Amazon reflects this length.  I thought that it seemed a lot longer than 47 pages and was wondering why Amazon said it, but I took them at their word when I looked…)

This is smart science fiction, that requires the reader to think as he reads, and that works around some more advanced scientific concepts.  I enjoyed it quite a lot, and if I have a criticism, it is that the first chapter seemed a little dry, too expository perhaps.  Once the characters are introduced, the story kicks into a higher gear and it became a very good read. The writing is very good, and it was a clean ebook, few errors in terms of things to be caught by a proofreader.  (I don’t really remember seeing any.)  I liked the cover, too.  Intriguing image.

The second book, MORE THAN HUMAN: THE MENSA CONTAGION, promised to be really good and right in my wheelhouse in terms of describing an apocalyptic-type event (disease, one of the standard cataclysms that affect humanity in that sort of book).  But It became a lot more than that.  It became a far-reaching “history” ala Dr. Asimov and his FOUNDATION/EMPIRE future history.

In this story, a meteroid strikes Earth in South Africa, and it carries something with it:  a virus.  It is quickly determined that the virus is a.) bioengineered, and b.) deliberately aimed at Earth.  The story starts with an airline cleaning crew finding a dead body with green sludge oozing from his orifices.  The CDC and the government quickly act to lock down the passengers and crew and anyone associated with the plane, but of course, it’s not enough and the virus gets out.  Others die before the virus mutates — again and again — into something more benign and even beneficial, perhaps.

The virus wakes up the world to the possibility that there is something more out there — and the second part of the book deals with man’s colonization of Mars as a response to a perceived threat by aliens who would target the planet with a virus, even if the virus is meant as a gift.  The third part of the book deals with the discovery of the aliens’ ship found in the vicinity of Saturn, and the resulting recurrent xenophobia brought on by humanity’s first contact with life from somewhere other than Earth.

A lot of packed into the 231 pages of Moore’s novel, which begins to read like a series of short vignettes rather than a continuous story; this style is made necessary by the many jumps in time between significant events.  I was reminded of Heinlein stories as far as the flow and pacing of this story.  With its cast of hundreds (it seemed; I really didn’t count them), this was a novel with an incredibly broad scope and a quite optimistic, if realistic, take on the future of humanity.

As always, this is a well-written and well constructed SF tale, again with a pretty clean job of copyediting and formatting.  Steven M. Moore has something like twenty novels out there, and while I can’t rank this as his best, it’s right up there.  (As an aside — when you’ve read a lot by a particular author, you can’t help “grading” them against their own output, or at least I can’t.  For example, when I read a Stephen King novel, I often think it’s only a “B” effort, but that’s because I’m judging it against King’s best works and not against “all” books.  If that same book had been written by a different, new  (to me) author, I might give it an “A”, if that makes sense.  I think I’m doing that with Steve Moore’s works now.  There have been several that I’ve liked so much that other good stories might suffer a bit in comparison to those.)

In conclusion, I’d say that these are both worthwhile reads for anyone who likes their SF to be of the “hard” variety.  I’d grade them both as “A”.

Happy reading!

*****

Why I write – a flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig

I often read Chuck Wendig’s TerribleMinds blog: I find it to be informative and always entertaining, and the comments are often fun as well.  So when I saw a “flash fiction” challenge that didn’t involve flash fiction, in his post titled “Today’s Flash Fiction Writing Challenge Is Not About Fiction,” I thought, why not?  Let me give it a try!

It’s not really a question I’ve often asked myself.  The short answer, I suppose, is that I really enjoy it.  Why do I play piano or guitar?  Because I enjoy it.  I’m good enough on both to play in, like, amateur bands and such, with an occasional appearance on a CD or something, but I’m not massively talented on either one.  Plus, I don’t put in the work to take full advantage of the talent I do have.  I was, at one point in my life, able to supplement my income by playing music.  Not by much, but still…

So I write for the same reason.  I like to write.  I think I do it well.  I’m no Stephen King, but I think I’m as good as a lot of people writing fiction today.  I know what I like when I read, and I try to write those same things, in that same style.  Why do I think I can do it well enough to publish stories?  For the same reason that I was able to take the stage in front of a house full of bar patrons or wedding guests and feel comfortable playing a rip-roaring solo on a rock and roll tune on piano.

There’s a longer answer.  When I read some of the other entries to Chuck’s challenge, I noticed that mostly, they had deeper thoughts on this issue.  So I thought, there must be a deeper reason for me as well.  And I thought about it some more, and came up with some other stuff.

I’ve been writing since I was in grade school.   I watched a Disney episode on some wild animal or another, with the folksy narrator who personified the cute little bugger, and I wrote my own story in the same vain, about a bobcat in New York.  I read some non-fiction about Native Americans and the trains that traveled through the plains with the passengers shooting cows, er, ah, bison who were meandering on the prairies, minding their own business and munching away.  Then I wrote a short story about something like that.  I loved baseball as a kid, and made up my own fictional team (The Joliet Argonauts) and wrote three long-ish stories that detailed their championship run.  (My teacher told me that I might have a future as a sportscaster or a sports journalist.)  My friends and I had a snowball fight and I fictionalized that.

I always wanted to describe the world the way I thought it should be, or maybe the way I wanted it to be.  So I wrote.  When I read stories by Heinlein, by Asimov, by Clarke, then later by King, Koontz, McCammon and so many others, I saw worlds that inspired me to think about my own worlds…and it seemed natural to write about those worlds.  Even more, I saw characters that drew me in, that made me feel like I knew them.  And I pictured my own characters, and again, it seemed natural to put them into situations.

These situations are called stories, and I write them for the same reason I read a lot – because I want to see what happens to these characters as they explore these worlds.

That’s my own story, and I’m sticking to it.

*****

What I’ve been reading – Kindle edition

I’ve had some good reads lately.  I’ve been reading more and more on my Kindle, just because it’s so darned convenient.  I have tons of books by the likes of Stephen King, Jeffrey Deaver, Michael Connelly, CJ Box, Robert Crais and others on my stacks, sitting there unread, but since I’ve been reading when I’m in bed after lights out or in situations where I don’t have great lighting, the Kindle’s been the go-to source of stories.

Anyway, here’s a few things I’ve been reading recently.  I’m not going to make too many comments, just say whether I liked them or not.

  1. DON’T LEAVE ME, James Scott Bell.  Liked it a lot.  Four to five stars.
  2. SEASICK, Iain Rob Wright.  Good horror story, set at sea.  4 to 5 stars.
  3. UNDER THE EMPYREAN SKY, Chuck Wendig.  Neat fantasy set in a cool world.  A little slow on the uptake.  4 stars.
  4. SLOW BURN 6:  BLEED, Bobby Adair.  Zombie fiction, pretty good, lots of action.  4 stars
  5. SLOW BURN 7: CITY OF STIN, Bobby Adair.  Zombie fiction, sorta slow with not as much happeniing.  3.5 stars
  6. VLAD V:  VAMPIRE, Mit Sandru.  A relatively short introductory novel, good enough that I want to read more.  4 to 5 stars
  7. COLD MOON, Alexandra Sokoloff.  Satisfying third book in a series.  Very fun and tense read.  5 stars
  8. HEART OF STONE, H. Lynn Keith.  Very good thriller with SF elements and interesting characters.  5 stars.
  9. SPOOKED, Tracy Sharp.  Good horror story with great pacing and characters.  4 to 5 stars.
  10. INTRUDERS: THE INVASION, Tracy Sharp.  Another zombie story, but this one has aliens as well.  Great first book in a series.  Looking forward to the rest.  5 stars.

That’s enough for now.  Interestingly, all of the above are indie authors.  Something there for everyone!!!

On the docket:  VLAD V: THE DEATH OF A VAMPIRE RIP by Mit Sandru, I, LAWYER FRAT PARTY by John Ellsworth, MORE THAN HUMAN:  THE MENSA CONTAGION by Steven M. Moore, TIME HOLE by Mit Sandru, INVASION and CONTACT by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant.

Have a great day!

*****