Wednesday, July 20, 2016

2 new book reviews

Christopher, Adam, 2012, Empire State, Angry Robot books, ISBN 978-0-85766-193-7.

The Empire State is an alternate New York City. It is a lot like New York, with superheroes, and without the rest of the world, and the story all takes place during Prohibition. Oh, and the people who live there think it's the entire world. Everything is gritty, dark, but kind of cool, at least until detective Rad Bradley discovers a deadly secret.

I really loved this book. The writing is great, and the complicated plot unfolds with the inevitability of sunset. Things start strange and get weirder, more frightening, and also more and more fun. Fun, that is, until Bradley, and the readers, start to see what is coming down the pike. Soon, you can’t put it down.

If you like science fiction, fantasy, and murder mysteries rolled into one, you really should read this book. PS: this is part of a series, but stands alone.


Cotterill, Colin, 2016, I Shot the Buddha, Soho press, ISBN 978-1-61695-722-3.

This is the latest offering in a wonderful series about retired coroner Siri Paiboun. Paiboun lives a sometimes precarious existence in Laos with his wife Mme. Daeng. I have to admit that I don't know how accurate the book's portrayal of life in Laos is, but it feels authentic.

This is a murder mystery, set in a world in which magic most definitely works. Most people in the story don't believe in it, but it's real, and the protagonist is in it up to his eyeballs.

Paiboun and his wife have never been able to turn away strays and other misfits looking for a home. One day, a Buddhist monk they have taken under their wing rides out on his bicycle and never returns. Paiboun goes looking for him. Paiboun is dogged and smart, but between government agents and supernatural beings, not to mention just plain crooks, he's going to need all of his skills and wit stay alive, much less to find out what happened to the missing monk.

I could not help getting deeply involved with the characters and it was hard to put the book down. I recommend it to anybody who likes murder mysteries, especially if you like stories about magic. One of the best things about this book is that, if you fall in love with it, there are a lot more waiting for you. I have read two books in the series now, and I plan to find the rest of them soon.

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