Wednesday, July 18, 2012


All my writing time lately has been taken up by a new project I’m working on. Fortunately my reading time is still unsullied. So I’ve got all these books that demand reviewing but no time to do it. The solution? An Omni-Review.

THE FALL by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (Book 2 of The Strain Trilogy)
Surprisingly not full of suck.  The first book in the series was bogged down by seemingly endless pages of unnecessary exposition and convoluted setups. Thankfully, the second book tosses all that mind numbing research aside and just concentrates on telling readers a good story. There are a couple genuine WTF moments that I really enjoyed and on the whole this book feels like a beach read hopped up on speed. This series officially stands at 1:1 in the win:loss ratios.

After a couple chapters Tina Fey’s dogged determination to turn everything in this book into a knee slapper began to undermine my attraction in the story she was telling. I don’t know if she’s afraid to tell a story straight up or just incapable of it. But after endless nudges in the ribs, bald innuendos and blatant double entendres I just got bored with the whole thing. Which is unfortunate, because underneath the endless layers of jokes I got the sense there was a really interesting story hidden inside. I picked up BOSSYPANTS because I wanted to know more about a comedian and writer who is funny, talented and unlike anyone else working in the biz. In the end I put it down, worn about by her inability to know when it was time to switch gears.

KEYHOLE is set inside King’s Dark Tower world, which is always a personal favourite of mine. This book is actually a story, within in a story, within a story. It’s almost Shakespearean. Once you take into account that the core story of the book actually deals with one man murdering his friend so he can marry his wife and take over his business the Shakespeare reference starts to seem more and more apt. KEYHOLE doesn’t really add anything new to the Tower mythos, rather it sort of fills in the blanks around some of the series’ smaller mysteries. But it’s still nice to check in Roland, Susannah, Eddie and Jake nonetheless. If you like King, you’ll like this book. If you like the Dark Tower, then you’ll be thrilled to know there’s more story to tell.

WILDCATTER by Dave Duncan
Stop. Go back and reread any review on this site I’ve ever written about Dave Duncan’s work. Then erase the title and replace it with WILDCATTER. Exploring new worlds and new civilizations is probably best left up to the big corporations. After all they’re the ones best set up to do the job. But what happens when the little guy decides to get into deep space exploration? How do they compete against the Goliaths of the game? Duncan does his typical top notch work here, delivering a ripping yarn in his trademark understated manner. It was nice to see him dabbling in sci-fi again.

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