Tag Archives: First in series

A Thousand Yesteryears (Point Pleasant) by Mae Clair

Eve Parrish returns to Point Pleasant fifteen years after the tragic bridge collapse that claimed many lives, including that of her father and her best friend Maggie.

After the accident, Eve’s mother decided a fresh start was needed and she moved with Eve far enough away to help forget the events of that night.

But now Aunt Rosie has died and left her house and the Parrish Hotel to Eve and so Eve has travelled alone back to her home town, to decide what to do with her inheritance.
Her first instincts are to sell and return back to her new home as soon as possible. The town has changed, weighed down under its reputation as a place of tragedy. But there are plenty of people that Eve still knows, the Flynn brothers, Caden and Ryan, .their mother Mrs Flynn and Katie Lynch whose sister Wendy disappeared. Events soon begin to take an ominous turn and conspire to keep Eve back in her old home.

This murder mystery; what really happened to Maggie and to Wendy Lynch, is woven into the paranormal tale of the bridge collapse and the legend of the Mothman, a creature said to roam the swampy area just out of town. Plenty of local people believe in the Mothman and some have seen it. Despite her early doubts, Eve begins to wonder if maybe the Mothman really does exist and if Maggie is trying to help catch a murderer from beyond the grave.

With a bit of romance thrown, in this is a great start to a series and a fluent, easy read.

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Pines by Blake Crouch

I am always attracted by those kind of blurbs that offer an intriguing dilemma and lately that has caused me to dip my toes into the world of Sci-if on more than one occasion.
The pines by Blake Crouch is such a book. Just after I purchased the audiobook, but before I started listening, someone told me they had watched the TV series and it was pretty bad. That put me off and I delayed. But honestly, I have enjoyed so many books that, in my personal opinion, have not been adapted well for the screen, that I knew I wanted to give the book a fair chance.
On the whole, I am glad I did, though, as with much of the science fiction genre, I think it is relatively easy for a good writer to come up with that killer scenario and much harder for him/her to explain all the mysterious goings on and come to a satisfying conclusion.

First though, I would like to say that, though this is the first in a trilogy, I didn’t feel cheated at the end of the book with a no-resolution type ending. Answers are given, a handful of loose ends tied.
Ethan Burke wakes by a river, he is hurt, has been in some kind of accident but he has no memory of it, or how he got there. He has no keys, wallet ID or anything else to identify himself.

He is told he was involved in a car accident, his companion killed and that he staggered out of the medical centre when staff were trying to help him. His belongings are with paramedic staff. So far, so believable, but Ethan is already beginning to worry that something is off kilter with the explanations he is being given.

He asks for the use of a telephone to contact his wife and son, his efforts to reach her are thwarted. As time goes on, Ethan is witness to violence and coercion and the definite knowledge that he and everyone else in the town are not at liberty to leave.

*Warning ! Spoiler alert from this point*

I usually prefer to skirt around the story and make my points without giving anything away but, with this one, I find it impossible to comment on, without touching on the issues that surround the reason for this isolated-town-with-no-way-out.

The basics are that Homo sapiens have died out beyond the confines of the town of Wayward Pines. In fact, everyone who lives there is an import, brought in, unknown to them, to continue the species before the disaster which will befall their fellow humans and see the end of their race.

One man in the 1980’s has had the foresight to see what will happen to the human race, through pollution of the planet. He took it upon himself to embark on the massive project of buying up a town and planning to repopulate it with people he kidnapped along the way and put into stasis until the right time came to introduce them to their new life. This is what has happened to Ethan.

Beyond the town evolution-gone-mad (in thirty generations) has transformed what remains of life into huge, jaw-snapping creatures, intelligent, hungry for human blood and impossible to communicate with. Towns and cities are overgrown and in ruins.

Of course the reader has to accept this crazy, evolutionary fast-forward that produced these creatures in under two thousand years, but this is science fiction, so… so far so good.

What didn’t work for me so well, was that the people were ‘kidnapped’ with such secrecy into the survival programme that even they were not told they were part of it. But more than that, the environmental changes that have been so profound as to wipe out humanity and send life on Earth on a completely different path, doesn’t appear to have affected the plant life. The town of Wayward Pines does not exist in a bubble of pre-disaster air and yet the town looks just like any ordinary old town of 2015, (two thousand years ago). And the surviving humans seem quite able to cope with the changes.

Science fiction is often a disappointment for me and maybe that’s not entirely science fiction’s fault, maybe I just think it out too much. However this kind of fiction is for pure entertainment and I was definitely entertained, I really wanted to know, as much as Ethan did, if he could break out of this weird village where he was being held captive and if he could find out why. I just wish the town had been isolated in some kind of dome, Logan’s Run style, where the environmental changes ‘outside’ could not affect them.

Then again, maybe the environment hasn’t changed? Maybe the Jaw Snappers are the result of some other mad experiment?

I may well have to read the second instalment!

Review Wednesday – The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian

Set in the London of 1882, March Middleton, whose father has died, arrives to live with Sidney Grice who is to be her guardian. Sidney Grice is the most famous and celebrated private investigator of the era but his success is equally matched by his gruff and unapproachable exterior.

March however is not cowed by this bully of a man. She formerly assisted her father who was an army surgeon at the front and has already had a tough education in matters of life and death. When a distraught woman consults Grice on the matter of her son-in-law, who has been arrested for murder, March jumps in to pay the poor woman’s fee for the investigation but insists she must help with the case. So begins the hunt for a killer.

I did enjoy the mystery in the book which was quite convoluted toward the end, but for me, there were some reservations. Sidney Grice is clever, an astute investigator, but also an abominable man, rude and unfeeling. There were some funny moments, he is a dab-hand at a witty riposte and a few of them made me laugh but all-in-all I found the detective to be too unlikeable and his presence actually overshadowed the story. March is an enjoyable character but, I have to say, I was weary of Grice’s nastiness and peculiarities, even his love of tea, by the end of the book.

 

Review Wednesday – To Hunt a Sub by Jacqui Murray

To Hunt a Sub gets off to a great start with the disabling of a nuclear submarine. The vessel is lost to the authorities who control its movements and the consequences for the crew are dire. Being able to locate and control the American fleet of subs would be a devastating terrorist weapon and this is what one group are attempting.

It’s been a while since I have read a book in this genre but I have read enough to know the format and was expecting a lone deniable agent out there tracking down the terrorists or a team from special ops. However To Hunt a Sub takes a different and surprising slant on this scenario into the world of academia.

Kali Delemagente (you do have to get your tongue around some unusual names in this book) is a research student who has developed an amazing programme to track the progress of early man out of Africa. I won’t pretend to understand all the tech science behind this story but it felt well researched and feasible, if not actually possible. When the true power of her research becomes evident to those who would use it for nefarious purposes Kali and her loved ones are suddenly in danger.

There are plenty of good supporting characters, good and bad and as the action hots up each must decide who to trust

This is a thoroughly enjoyable thriller, a great adventure and, a bonus for me, the first in a series.( I often seem to come into them half way through)

The next book in the series, 24 Hours, has just been published and I am looking forward to reading more about Kali and the adorable Zeke Rowe.

Review Wednesday – Whisky From Small Glasses by D.A. Meyrick

This is the first book in the series about Scottish policeman   DCI Jim Daley and is a great start. I read several reviews prior to purchasing the book that refer to the way the Scottish accents are written phonetically and that it made the story a little more difficult to get into. I listened to the book on Audible and can highly recommend the excellent narrator who brought the characters to life for me.

As for the story, Jim Daley is sent away to the remote Scottish town (fictional) of Kinloch where a body has been found in the water. At first it seems that the case will be straightforward and Jim’s biggest headache is the grumpy local police chief. That’s not his only problem though, simmering in the background is his shaky relationship with his wayward wife who, in the midst of everything decides to pay Jim a visit at Kinloch and whilst trying to deal with this development the case suddenly becomes more complex and nasty.

I was lulled at first by the narrator’s dulcet tones and the descriptions of Scottish life into a kind of cosy mystery feel where the murderer would be the last person anyone expected; the vicar or the librarian but actually this turned out to be quite a red herring in itself. The story becomes very dark with more murder, drugs and smuggling at its heart and though not peppered with violence when it does come it is quite graphic and shocking.

This was a good introduction to Jim Daley, his personal life and I really loved the ending!