Swierczynski, Duane. The Wheelman.

NY: St. Martin, 2005.

Overall, this is one of the best noir thrillers I’ve read in a long time. But it’s not the sort of thing you want to hand your grandma who’s a fan of Miss Marple and who believes in happy endings.

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Published in: on 29 November 2013 at 5:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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Watt-Evans, Lawrence. The Turtle Moves! Discworld’s Story (Unauthorized).

Dallas: BenBella Books, 2008.

There are two groups of people who will benefit most from this overview volume: Dedicated fans of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels (of whom I am very much one) and those who are thinking about attempting one of them and are wondering where to start.

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Published in: on 26 November 2013 at 11:46 am  Leave a Comment  

Hobb, Robin. Assassin’s Quest.

NY: Bantan, 1997.

Young FitzChivalry, trained as an assassin, is now on the run from his own death, which was orchestrated by his mentor in order to save him from hanging at the hands of the self-declared King Regal, who insists his older brother, King-in-Waiting Verity, is dead on his quest to the lands beyond the Mountain Kingdom. And it’s mostly all downhill for Our Hero from that point.

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Weisman, Alan. The World Without Us.

NY: St. Martin, 2007.

This fascinating thought experiment began as an article in Discover magazine and won several awards before being expanded here in equally engaging and thought-provoking fashion. The premise is simple: What if all human beings suddenly disappeared from the planet?

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Published in: on 20 November 2013 at 1:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Grant, Michael. Dawn of the Middle Ages.

NY: Bonanza Books, 1981.

The late Michael Grant had a long and widely varied academic career and was a noted author of popular histories of the ancient and medieval world. This one, unfortunately, is not one of his more successful efforts.

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Published in: on 17 November 2013 at 9:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hobb, Robin. Royal Assassin.

NY: Bantam, 1996.

When last we saw young FitzChivalry, the King’s designated assassin, he was prostrate in the Mountain Kingdom, having barely survived an attack by Prince Regal, the youngest of the three royal brothers, who also feels most entitled to run the kingdom himself.

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Published in: on 14 November 2013 at 2:59 pm  Comments (1)  
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McIntosh, Jane. The Practical Archaeologist. 2d edition.

NY: Facts on File, 1999.

When I was an adolescent, back in the late ‘50s, I had two obsessions: The far future and the far past. I guess I just wasn’t interested in living in the present (the mark of the nerd), but I read a great deal about space flight and astronomy (and a lot of science fiction) and another great deal about ancient history and archaeology. In fact, my ambition at that age was to be the Official Archaeologist on the first Mars expedition.

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Published in: on 11 November 2013 at 8:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lethem, Jonathan. Omega: the Unknown.

NY: Marvel, 2008.

I’ve read all of Lethem’s novels and enjoyed most parts of all of them. The thing is, every one of them is radically different from all the others. He’s written a science fiction novel, a noir detective mystery, a psychological police procedural, a roman à clef — you name it, he’s done it. So this is (I think) his first graphic novel.

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Published in: on 8 November 2013 at 8:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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Barry, Max. Lexicon.

NY: Penguin, 2013.

Barry isn’t a terribly prolific author (more’s the pity), this being only his fifth novel in fourteen years. Every one of them is a good yarn and highly original and each has a strong streak of the satirically bizarre — but this one is his best yet, hands down.

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Koontz, Dean. In Odd We Trust.

NY: Ballantine: 2008.

After Koontz’s “Odd Thomas” series started to take off, he went back and did a couple of prequels as graphic novels with Queenie Chan (with whose previous work I have to confess I’m not at all familiar). This is the first of those and it’s not terribly impressive, neither the story nor the artwork.

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Published in: on 2 November 2013 at 7:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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