After Atlas (review)

There’s little doubt that Emma Newman’s After Atlas will be topping many "best of" lists in the coming year. Sometimes, when you’re reading a book, you just know. And yeah, this is one of those. It’ll be talked about. Just how one knows this is an open question – but one thing I keep wondering…

In Defense of Shannara

A confession: I find The Lord of the Rings slow going. Another confession: I’ve just finished reading The Sword of Shannara all the way through for the third, possibly the fourth, time. The bombshell: I really like The Sword of Shannara. So put that in your pipe and smoke it. The standard-issue complaint about The…

The Night Watch (thoughts pursuant to a review)

There’s that old joke about being a lesbian trapped in a man’s body. Since Sarah Waters is, only two books in, well on her way to being my favorite contemporary novelist, I guess I should wonder if it applies to me? I haven’t read the three "victorian lesbian romp" books yet, but with The Night…

Young Americans (Review)

Since Josh Stallings’ Young Americans seems likely to win a Lefty, I figured I’d better read it. Also, it takes place in the mid-70s, aka "America’s Best Years." Also also, it takes place in the Glam Rock 70s, which was the best part of the 70s. And it’s an Elmore Leonard-style heist novel. What’s not…

Back of Beyond (review)

C J Box’s Back of Beyond reads like a rush project. It has an intriguing premise, a hook that locks in your interest early, but almost nothing else. The plot doesn’t work, the characters are cartoons, the action is filler unconvincing and unnecessary, the solution is unsatisfying and the writing is … I was going…

Death Without Company (Review)

Once upon a time I read Craig Johnson’s The Cold Dish and liked it. It had some rough edges to be sure, but nothing that couldn’t be explained by it being a debut novel. I felt certain the next entry in the series would be better. Unfortunately, I’m wrong about that. Death Without Company has…

It Follows (Review)

Trolling around the internet, I didn’t find many negative opinions about It Follows. It’s notable that the two I did both had the same complaint: it can’t stick to its own rules. That’s what I was fixated on too while watching it: the rules – what they were, and whether they worked. Those reviews, by…

The Changeling – 1980 (Review)

If you were writing a manor ghost story set in America, where would you put the house? Connecticut? New York? Savannah? New Orleans? Everyone will have his own list, of course, but Seattle is at the top of none of them. It’s just not the sort of place you think of for a manor ghost…

The Cold Dish (Review)

Somehow I’ve missed out on both Longmire and the series of books on which it’s based. I was barely aware of the show, and when I picked up The Cold Dish recently, I wasn’t even aware of the connection. I’d just seen a passing favorable mention of the book series on a blog and got…