Waldrop, Howard. Horse of a Different Color.

East Hampton, MA: Small Beer Press, 2013.

If Howard Waldrop, the Trout-Hunter, is not officially listed as a bona fide American Institution, he certainly ought to be, and any long-time attendee of ArmadilloCon can tell you why. For years, the Howard Waldrop Show at the con has been SRO, as his friends and fans hunker down to listen to him read a new story. Complete with props and often with dramatic lighting supplied by a flashlight.

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Connelly, Michael. The Crossing.

NY: Little, Brown, 2015.

Harry Bosch was a cop in the LAPD for more for thirty years and a homicide detective for two decades, practically a legend in the Department. He extended his stay as long as possible, but now he’s finally retired for good. His daughter is going off to college in the fall and Harry figures he’ll spend some time restoring an old Harley. But then Mickey Haller calls, his half-brother and a noted defense attorney.

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Published in: on 26 May 2016 at 3:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Lovett, Charlie. First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen.

NY: Penguin, 2014.

Awhile back, I read Lovett’s first novel, The Bookman’s Tale, which also has a bibliographical theme (a lost Shakespeare primary source that time) and quite enjoyed it. This one is even better. The author has been an antiquarian bookseller and he brings that whole slightly strange world very much to life. At the same time, he successfully combines an exciting mystery and detective plot with a believable and non-sappy love story, which isn’t easy.

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Bujold, Lois McMaster. Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen.

NY: Baen, 2015.

The appearance of a new episode in the immensely popular “Miles Vorkosigan” saga is always cause for rejoicing. This fifteenth book is a bit odd, though. It’s been three years since the sudden (and entirely natural) death of Admiral Count Aral Vorkosigan, ex-Regent, ex-Prime Minister of the Empire, and for the past dozen years or more Co-Viceroy with his wife, Cordelia, of the new colony world of Sergyar, which is in a key location between Barrayar and the rest of the universe as regards wormhole gateways.

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Murakami, Haruki. Dance Dance Dance.

NY: Vintage, 1995.

I’ve been working my way through Murakami’s works at the rate of about two year. He’s not the sort of writer whose books you can zip through one right after another. And I was well into this one before it dawned on me that it’s a semi-sequel to A Wild Sheep Chase — but that’s okay. It’s perfectly enjoyable as a standalone novel.

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Castellucci, Cecil & Jim Rugg. Janes in Love.

NY: DC Comics, 2008.

This is the sequel to Plain Janes — though it doesn’t actually say that anywhere, and if you pick it up thinking it’s a standalone graphic novel, you will have no idea what’s going on. As background, Jane Beckles is a high school student transplanted from the big city to a small suburban town following the detonation of a terrorist bomb that put her in the hospital for awhile. Now she’s running a girl gang that creates public art projects at night, which the town’s cops and managers treat as vandalism.

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Nesbo, Jo. Blood on Snow.

NY: Knopf, 2015.

This one is a departure for Nesbo, being a standalone novel and not part of the Harry Hole series. Moreover, the protagonist isn’t even close to being one of the Good Guys, but the author manages to make him sympathetic anyway. Or at least understandable.

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Published in: on 13 May 2016 at 5:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chambers, Becky. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet.

NY: HarperCollins, 2015.

This extremely inventive and beautifully written debut space opera is the most fun I’ve had in some time. The setting is some centuries in the future, when mankind has pretty much ruined Earth and the majority of our species now spend their lives in huge refugee “homestead ships,” the Exodus Fleet, wandering between the stars. The more well-off survivors abandoned the planet early and escaped to Mars, which is now the human center of the Solar System.

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Carroll, Emily. Through the Woods.

NY: Simon & Schuster, 2014.

Carroll is a new name to me, but she is evidently building quite a reputation as a graphic novelist. This one is a collection of five thoroughly spooky stories, all under the rubric, “It came from the woods; most strange things do.”

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Published in: on 8 May 2016 at 4:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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O’Malley, Bryan Lee. Seconds.

NY: Ballantine, 2014.

This is the second of O’Malley’s graphic novels I’ve read and I think I’m becoming a fan. He’s certainly a first-rate writer. This one is about Katie, who’s got things going pretty good in her life — only twenty-eight and already the head chef in her own very popular restaurant, with plans to open another one of which she’ll also be half-owner.

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Published in: on 6 May 2016 at 7:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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