Junior Inquisitor

Junior Inquisitor

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Vampire of Rome news, Thanksgiving, and Geronimo Bosch will blow your mind


Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Yes, I know today is an American Holiday, but you can still make yourself a turkey sandwich and think good thoughts. Unless you're a Canadian, they already had their Thanksgiving, and probably just now recovering from L-tryptophan poisoning.

In The Vampire of Rome news, despite several delays, for which I apologize profusely, the print version is almost ready. My proof copy is on the way, and barring any layout issues or my suddenly insisting on revising the slaughter of the stuffed animals scene, I expect that with-in ten days, the print version of The Vampire of Rome will be available for purchase. Also my excellent director is busy working on the book trailer for The Witch's Lair, expect that within a month or so.

 
I am working on two different books, there is a military thriller I am just getting started on, more details to follow, and I am mentally plotting out some key scenes on The German King's Shade, book number five in The Inquisitor Series.
I first read NeroMancer waaay back in High School, yes I am that old, (my Fiftieth birthday is on the 29th buy one of my books for a birthday present, or send me a pony, or a star-ship), and like many, many others was blow away. I have since then read many other pale imitators, but none held the rawness, the deep concepts wrapped around a compelling story the way Gibson's book did, until now.

I've know Geronimo Bosch for a while, I've read his books, they are sublime works of storytelling that pull me in and do not let me go until I hit the words, “The End.” I can not recommend them highly enough. If you want to see how to tell a great story, if you want to see how to explore concepts like “freedom and governance,” or “Where are the limits of power,” or “what defines someone as criminal,” if you want to read a darker version of William Gibson, then The Dominion City Blues Series is for you. You are leading a less fulfilling life if you have not read Geronimo Bosch, but I'll let him tell you himself, take it away Geronimo -
 

Fool's Sacrifice
and


 
BLURB: FOOL'S SACRIFICE

DOMINION: A lawless city of ten million desperate souls. The State ignores the struggles of the dispossessed, but crushes any who challenge its rule.

G-Boy is a delinquent graffiti artist and ace pilot working the airborne auto theft trade who finds his life threatened when he teams up with a slick newcomer, a girl named Spider. She's tech savvy and scopes all the angles, but comes wrapped in a web of secrecy and bad luck. After they lift a haul of booby-trapped vehicles and their partners in crime are blown from the skies, they find themselves under suspicion from their gangland boss and painted as terrorists by the authorities who govern Dominion City.


As the net tightens around them, G-Boy is presented with a dilemma. Face punishment for his crimes or accept a fool's sacrifice by taking the hand of a mysterious stranger offering escape. But, at a price.


Fool's Sacrifice
and


Excerpt:
G-Boy made straight for the Pegasus Speedster he’d clocked on Drum’s Palmprint, disregarding the sham scene of resistance unfolding around him. Once inside, the PACK stick activated the controls. “Good Morning Doctor Uberhalser, please prepare for your journey while we await connection to the Grid.” He looked up in time to see the duo of attendant Crazy 8’s that were monitoring the locale being taken out by Spider; spinning wayward and fried from her Shuriken strike. As she joined him in the vehicle: “Would all passengers please ensure they are securely harnessed before we travel commence.”

Touching the tiny PACK stick into manual override, the Pegasus hummed into life, living up to its name and taking to the air, rising through the green and orange smog of the cityscape before them. “Doctor Uberhalser, while you are considered a priority client,” the soothing female voice of the traffic control network emanated from within the steering stem, “it is to be remembered that use of the manual override facility is not advisable during this busy period of the day.”

Get her to shut the fuck up.” G-Boy demanded as he gunned the Zooter over the tower-top and down into the sprawl and hum of the rush hour below.

Spider went about her work, PalmTex connecting to the PACK Nav in the Speedster itself and Central Bank remotely.

I give it about ninety seconds stat before we’re Buzzed for those Crazy 8’s. Ten seconds longer and Pegasus here realises we aint Uberhalser.” G-Boy was zipping through busy fly lanes on the Good Doctor’s priority.

Who are they calling for Dummies? Like it aint personal; during rush hour??!!?” This was Spider spitting, but without distraction.

Hey, we got a lucky break: A Doctor with a hot ass rocket; Priority clearance. We might just make it - Diagnostics? Security gizmoes..?”

It’s top of the range. Some weird shit I aint seen before: water jettison - override, blister bomb in roof compartment – deactivated. Windscreen will blacken as soon as Doctor Uberhalser gets in touch, which will be before the Buzz arrives. Well weird; unusually rapid communications zipping around about these Wings, mang.” G-Boy banked sharp right and dove down through three lanes of traffic. “Way to get us noticed, soldier.” The windscreen darkened to black in an instant and Pegasus ComsTex filled the void. “Here’s Uberhalser.”

A shiny-faced respectabloid appeared on screen where the outside world had been, replete with a shiny grey smock against a plain beige background; dull, even for a recorded message. His recorded voice was no more inspiring; “Please desist from your actions. They are futile. You have stolen a Class Zero State Vehicle and are currently being monitored as a Priority One Pursuit Target: Report to Central Bank for instruction.” The image flickered and the message started over.

G-Boy flew through a busy junction, VekTex enabled but busting shit to luck, he tailspun an OldsMobile into the ensuing carnage left in the Pegasus’ wake. Ploughing through more grouped Crazy 8’s the Speedster emerged from the raging InCity Spillway into less chaotic routeways.

Weird, weird shit... No. It’s wired like a bomb. It’s basically a bomb.”

Where a traffic stream had slowed entering an OutCity tributary, G-Boy ran the stately rocket into the front end of the lead wagon. Grabbing the PACK stick, he exited the Speedster, leaping onto the roof of the jalopy he’d smashed into with thirty or more stacks of Floaters moving between him and the ground. Reaching round through the window, he grabbed hold of the female passenger by the hair and had almost dragged her through the window when the door came open with her. G-Boy now addressed the driver, “Get out now, or I drop your fucking wife.”

Spider aided in the transition of bodies and, once in possession of the flying shitheap, left the terrified couple on the booby-trapped rocket to their likely deaths.

Spider was unimpressed: “That wasn’t the most intelligent thing I’ve seen you do, back there. I say ‘It’s a bomb’ and you crash us into the nearest available hunk o’ trash.

Calculated risk...” Replied G-Boy tersely.

Calculated?” She couldn’t conceal her incredulity. “We should be dead, mang. Dead as dead is dead.”

...And we’re not. Things are looking up. With a little luck... those Wings blow up... takes the heat off us.” G-Boy pitched the Skymma into a steep descent against Grid regulations and without the Good Doctor’s priority exemption it was a move likely to draw Buzz Cops on their tail. “Time to see if the chute is compatible with this baby, cuz she sure won’t be outrunning no Buzz.”

The parachute provided by Tex threw a blanket of excessive data out to Central Bank regarding their vehicle’s status and position on the Grid, covering everything from code violations to machine override functions; the recently skidjacked auto would appear simultaneously in numerous nearby sectors and its location would require determining prior to being isolated from the Grid. It was hoped this would provide them with sufficient time to earth the wagon and hole up at ground level before the Buzz arrived on the scene. Spider piggybacked the chute onto the owner’s PACK, enabling the chute to open its barrage of techno verbiage and re-direct attention temporarily from them.

Why did that sucker not blow up in our faces,” Spider’s indignation showed no signs of abating. “Is it on a timer? Fuel gauge activated? Or remotely, by the Doc himself...?”

Someone out to kill the Doctor...?”

No. That’s the weird part. The bomb wasn’t rigged up or planted. It was incorporated into the design.”

Maybe it’s a standard feature. I don’t make a habit of lifting State Goonmobiles, so I wouldn’t know...” G-Boy grounded the skidjacked flyer in as smooth a motion as the old zooter would allow and the two emerged onto the causeway in a seedy, half-derelict, semi-industrial MidCity sector.

Thirty storeys above ground level, an explosion carved apart the early morning rush hour, flaming debris cascading earthward in a domino avalanche effect. In Spider’s wider eyes, G-Boy caught reflected fiery pinwheels and secondary explosions. “If this is a set-up, I only hope Drum and the others make it out alive.” Her uplifted gaze contrasted starkly with her deflated demeanour.


Fool's Sacrifice
and
 
 
twitter: @boschgeronimo


Motivations: G-Boy, when we first meet him, is motivated by survival. The Dominion OutCity is a lawless world ruled by gang culture and he's just doing his best to get by. But, he's also using drugs to blot out the trauma of the past. Gradually, G-Boy comes to see that even the underworld, with its cosy little rackets, is in peril. His motivations change as he is introduced to the bigger picture: a strongarm State coming down hard on the largely defenceless, less privileged, inhabitants of the OutCity. G-Boy is enlisted as a member of an insurgent group, standing against the tyranny of State rule. His dilemma then becomes whether or not to trust the motives of the insurgency.

Strengths/Weaknesses: G-Boy's initial strength resides in his reckless, devil-may-care attitude. Needless to say, this also becomes a weakness. Later, he is provided with a tech upgrade; a new piece of kit, a game-changer. This, too, turns out to be a strength which is not without its downside. In terms of other weaknesses, alongside his predilection for narcotics, he would really benefit from being a better judge of character.

Philosophical Issues: Isn't life as a human being all about desire to control and our reaction to control? Isn't the ideal of love really about meeting someone within this framework with whom these desires and antagonisms can find the nearest thing to equilibrium and consensus? Well that's pretty dry and wouldn't be much of a story on its own, right? So, G-Boy is caught up with these issues - but in a heightened reality. And I find it more interesting to confuse who the good guys and bad gals are. Like, is it really ethically sound to encourage someone to endanger their life for political ends?
Offbeat, Obscure References: No 80's references, I'm afraid. It was a cool decade to be a kid growing up though. Real fond memories. There are, however, plenty of song titles scattered throughout my work. Some are from bands that would have been around in the 80's, like Devo certainly. Look out for Captain Beefheart, Pavement, etc.

When/Why: I started writing FOOL'S SACRIFICE in 2008, playing around with the germ of an idea. I got serious about it and knuckled down in 2012, figuring out how to turn it into a novel. While it is a self-contained story, by the time I finished writing it in 2014, I knew there was enough left to explore in a series. I've since published three novellas looking into the backstories of characters from the novel. As for the why: I think we're moving back into a time of greater inequality in the 'West' and seem to think that scapegoating the poor for the failings of neo-liberalism is a rational way forward. I beg to differ. Add in the 'War on Terror' plus the tech divide and you've got yourself some fertile ground for a novelist. Some people say that Science Fiction has had its day, all the tropes are played-out, the future caught up with us - The Future is Now! Again, I beg to differ...
What Next?: The next book in the DOMINION CITY BLUES series is ROGUE'S REVENGE.

Preview: ROGUE'S REVENGE follows Zee, a female operative of the insurgency, in the aftermath of events in FOOL'S SACRIFICE. The OutCity is in turmoil. All the underworld structures are breaking down. The forces of State appear to have their foot firmly on the neck of the insurgency. But the tech advantage which the insurgents possess is developing all the time. Will it be enough...?

Available: ROGUE'S REVENGE will be available Spring 2017. I'll be releasing extracts and running offers through the website prior to release. There's just the small matter of a wedding to look forward to in between. I'm pleased to say that someone is finally making an honest man of yours truly!

Fool's Sacrifice
and
I give the entire series my highest recommendation, if you like a good meaty story to wrap your mind around, this is the series YOU MUST read.
 
You want dark, you need your tales gritty? May I suggest?
Still Free
Goth Witch of Philly

 
Junior Inquisitor Book One  


  
Soulless Monk Book Two  
 Smashwords - https://goo.gl/NXw3Gr
Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/5lCyaX

  
The Witch’s Lair Book Three 
Smashwords - https://goo.gl/MokJnC 
 Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/mJtTf8
The Vampire of Rome Book Four
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Bad news, Good news, The Wanderer Awakens, and Smexy Vampire questions


Bad news - the porch still isn't done
 

Good news - I received, in the mail, my diploma from Advanced Operations Course (Colonel School) so now, not only am I all kinds of educated, I have more writing time.
 

Going to keep this short as I have a guest and some smexy questions about Vampires. First up another solid book by Ken Lange, The Wanderer Awakens. Take it away Ken -

 
Blurb
My name is Viktor Engel Warden, and I’m here to tell you that there’s more to this world than you might suspect.

There are things that slither and pass unseen through the night, and it’s my job to stop them. But sometimes that’s easier said than done. Twenty years ago, I ended a nightmare that would’ve brought the world to its knees. I thought it was over…but I was wrong.

The Cult of Fenrir has returned, and they’re stronger than ever. Now I’m in a race to find the survivors of that day so I can stop them again. Permanently. If I get things wrong…which I wont…but if I do…it might just bring about the apocalypse. But, hey, no pain, no gain, and all that BS. Right? Yeah, I’m not buying it either.

Excerpt

I stow my tablet, and pull an empty shoulder harness out of a drawer. Standing, I slip it on, before going to the nearest bookshelf and pushing it aside to reveal my personal armory. I move the Magpuls out of the way to grab two Beretta special duty pistols. They’re in dire need of replacing, but they’ve seen me through quite a few tight spots over the years, and I hate to fix what isn’t broken.

As I make my way down the stairs, Justine’s stuffing a stack of bills into her desk drawer. Looking up at me, she winks and points out the door. “Your chariot awaits.”

The moment I step out the doors, I wish I hadn’t.

Parked in my driveway has to be the most godawful atrocity ever built on four wheels—a Pepto-Bismol-pink Hummer, with matching cow print seats that are edged in the ugliest blue, fluffy, faux fur fringe I’ve ever seen. It’s like a train wreck—you want to look away, but the horror of it won’t let you. Oh God, are those multicolored rhinestones on the spinners? This is a crime against nature and an abomination to the car gods.

The passenger window slides down, and she yells, “Get in, we’ve got places to go and people to see.”

I wish fervently for nothing more than to pass through the rest of this day unseen, especially if I’m being forced to ride in that…thing.

You’re kidding, right?” Pointing at the vomit-inducing heap of pink, I say, “Please tell me you didn’t pay actual money for this oversized Barbie go-cart.” Shaking my head, I fold my arms and stand my ground firmly. “Nope, not doing it. I refuse.”

After snapping several photos with her phone, she throws back her head and laughs. “Get in, you big baby, or I’m leaving you here.”

Oh God, the shame. The closer I get, the uglier it becomes. How’s that even possible?

With immense regret, I slip into the seat, mumbling, “Your parents did a bad job raising you.”

She backhands me in the chest and points. “Buckle up, buttercup. I’m not paying a $180 ticket ’cause you’re a whining bitch.”

Grabbing the rhinestone seatbelt, I feel nauseated. “You’re a horrible person. You realize that, don’t you?”

She lifts her phone and snaps several more incriminating photos. “Oh yes, yes I do! The look on your face makes it worth every last cent I paid for it on eBay. You look absolutely ill…my life is finally complete.” She looks up at the sky, closing her eyes in prayer. “Thank you, God. This is the best day ever.” She cackles once more and turns into traffic.

God can’t hear you when you’re driving such an abomination.”

She steals a glance at me. “Then we should consider ourselves lucky, since neither of us are on his list of favorite people. You because you’re an ass, and I’m guilty by association.” She holds up her phone again. “Smile.”

 
Interview Questions

What is your main character’s motivation?

Viktor is a complicated guy, but his main motivation would have to be putting one foot in front of the other to get the job done. He’s a fighter in every sense of the word. The man is unwilling to give up, he’s incapable of compromising his core beliefs, and he’ll stand up for what he thinks is right. Of course, ‘what he thinks is right’ isn’t always what’s legal or currently socially acceptable. Don’t expect that to stand in the way of doing what needs to be done.

Then there’s the choice aspect of his personality. He’s a strong believer that everything is choice. While every situation is different and has the ability to limit a person’s choices, it never prevents them from making one. There are times when none of the available options are good, but there’s always a choice, and it’s up to the individual to do the right thing. His entire life is a constant reminder that we are free to make any choice we desire, but we are not free of the consequences.

What is his secret strength/weakness?

The simple answer to both: his moral code. First and foremost, he won’t interfere in certain situations, even if doing so would make his life easier. He’s exceptionally inflexible here, which is why it’s both a strength and a weakness.

If he says he’ll do a thing, he’ll do it, no matter the cost to him personally. There’s a long list of other ethical things he believes in, but those will be touched on throughout the series. Long and short of it is this: he’s willing to fight and die for those beliefs. That’s what makes him a very dangerous man, and at times predictable, but not in the ways his adversaries would hope.

Any philosophical issues in this story?

The story is meant to entertain, but it also shows a man who’s trying to do right, even if it isn’t the easy or polite thing to do. He won’t ignore a problem, he won’t shy away from his responsibilities, and he fully accepts who he really is…not the person others think him to be.

I touch on issues of tolerance and acceptance a few times, but not for the reason you might think. I’m not making a conscious decision to put it in there…it’s just how I see the world.

It doesn’t matter to me what label is placed on you. What matters to me is: are you a decent human being? If the answer to that is yes, we can be friends. That being the case, I know a wide range of people. That’s why I use a diverse set of characters that span the gambit of human nature. I feel that it comes closer to accurately representing the world as it is, and keeps me from confining myself to a narrow margin of the population.

When did you start to write this one and why?

That’s a tough one. It’s been rumbling around for well over two decades in one form or another, but it wasn’t until 2010 that I got serious about it. That’s when I put a lot of it to paper and shared it with friends…it was terrible. The good thing is, all that research, note-taking, and terribleness led to figuring out different elements of the story and retooling the book to actually make sense.

Now as to the why. I’m fascinated with Norse mythology. The description of Odin’s palace, and the other gods’ homes are fantastic. They describe them as gleaming metal palaces that roar through the skies...kind of sounds like the way primitive man would describe a spacecraft.

No, I’m not an ancient alien kind of guy, but I won’t deny that the idea of them not being gods and possibly something extra-terrestrial in nature helped the concept along.

When will it be available?

15 November.

What’s next in this series or in your next book?

Galen’s Peace should be next in the Warden Global Novels. Of course, the title is subject to change, this one’s did. I’m also working on the follow up to my first novel, Accession of the Stone Born…Yes there’s a title, but I’m not sharing it yet since it’s going to take place after Galen’s Peace. Don’t fret, it’s not far off.

Where do you get your ideas?

Reading, art, and music. The reading gets me out of my own head and expands my viewpoint, not to mention the fact that I love it. The artwork can be almost anything, a photo, painting, even a well-done font can trigger an idea. At other times, it’s music that gives me that spark. Once it’s there, it doesn’t go away and rattles around in my head until I do something about it.

When did you start writing?

I started writing in high school, and it’s carried over into this. If I get lucky, maybe I’ll get to do it full time at some point in the future.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve always been fascinated by a great story; it’s my escape from reality into the magical realms of the written word. It’s always intrigued me how scratches made on clay, stone, wood or paper can touch people so deeply. I’m truly an introvert, and this is my way of sharing the worlds spinning in my head with others.

For me, writing heals the heart, rebuilds a broken soul, and gives hope to a failing body. It allows me to walk amongst the stars and go places that otherwise I couldn't, and it gives me the humanity that I've lost along the way.

What is the hardest part about being a writer?

Trying not to ‘good idea’ myself into oblivion. Sometimes, I’m plagued by what I think are fantastic ideas then I write them down and run with it, only to realize that maybe it wasn’t as good as I’d thought. Well, at least not yet. That’s the thing about ideas—they can be used at a later date.

Were there any difficult challenges or special subject matters you came across while writing this book?

The biggest problem I had was getting the tense correct, and making sure that Viktor’s voice was clearly distinct from Gavin’s, the hero in my first novel. Because of those two things, this one is written differently than anything else I’ve ever done. Not only that, it required a complete and total rewrite of every scrap of material in the book.

Which also means that everything else I’ve got written down will have to be totally rewritten to fit the current tensing and mood of the character.

Tell us three things about you—the writer—readers wouldn’t typically know.

I get up stupid early.

I’m a very focused person.

I don’t do small talk or hints. I’m more of a get to the point/have a discussion about something kind of person.

Where did you get the premise for this book?

I was reading a lot of Norse mythos, and because a lot of it has been destroyed over the centuries, I had questions…so this is me filling in the blanks, and retelling some of their stories, along with my own.

What is your book about?

It’s about a lonely man who’s finally found his place in life, remembering a lost past, and trying to do the right thing.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I hope they enjoy the book for what it is, entertainment, but if they wish to take more away, then I hope they take a hard look at the people around them and realize that they’re not so dissimilar.

Are you a plotter, a pantser, or a combination?

A little of both, I suppose. I try to have it all plotted out, but sometimes the story or the characters disagree. For example, I wanted to write Viktor being a little more temperamental, but after getting to know the guy, that changed. I still think it’s a bit strange, but, apparently, it happens.

What was your favorite part of the story to write?

All of it, mostly. I always start by writing the first couple of chapters and then the ending, so I can’t change it up too much.

Was there a part of the story that was difficult to write?

The opening for this book was the trickiest. I actually removed the prologue—you can find it on my blog if you want to see what it originally sounded like—and finished the book, never fixing the part where I actually introduce the character. So that’s why there’s a journal entry now instead of having to wait for several chapters to get the character’s name.

Do you have any quirky writing habits?

Other than the silence? I suppose, if I have to do anything else that day, writing is pretty much off the table. I need to be able to sit with the story and let it move onto the screen. Interruptions, be it errands, going out for lunch or appointments, pulls me out of that space and it’s difficult for me to get anything done.

What advice would you give to other writers?

To be themselves and not try to be someone else. It’s a lot easier that way.

Pre-Order links





I enjoyed this book almost as much as Ken's prior book Accession of the Stone Born: The Vigiles Urbani Chronicles (A Viktor Warden Novel). The only ding I have, is I did not like the main character as much in The Wanderer Awakens, which is kinda minor. Different characters are more or less likable to different readers. You may think Victor is the coolest thing since Gandolf snuffed the Balrog.

Worth your time and money I give The Wanderer Awakens

That's 4.5 stars out of 5, In other words, damn good.
 
 
 
More questions about Smexy Vampires from Laurie Vincent

Can vampires really have sex? Speaking for the male, is he able to "perform" if he is "undead?"

SIGH. No, you're thinking of these kind of Vampires

70's Cheesealicious

The kinds of Vampires Inquisitors encounter are a bit more primal - “Pain was something he'd not felt in centuries, hunger yes. Hatred always, but pain? It was almost a new sensation. Her flesh burned and he almost sighed in contentment.”

If vampires CAN have sex, do they have orgasms?

*Shakes head* Again, you're thinking hot bodied, perpetually horny creatures of the night, like this
I'm going to spend eternity engaging in meaningless sex, 'cause blood gets me hot

In my world Vampires are not pretty, but more repulsive and down right scary

"And the ascension?"

"You are weak," he scoffed. "You would not survive. You know it will cost you an eye, and then there's this—" Rigir let go of his chin, and the lower jaw unfolded.

The two halves spread wide, ready to strike. Arrowhead-shaped fangs, long and sharp, emerged horizontally from either half. When the fangs closed on a neck, they would line up with the carotid arteries and tear them open in a spray of blood. Rigir's tongue, unsupported by the open jaw, hung down his neck and twitched in anticipation of a meal. Spittle dripped from the fangs in slow, fat drops.

Now if you want Smexy, Laurie Vincent has some great books, like this one,
SHAMELESS CAPTIVE
Review is here
http://farishsfreehold.blogspot.com/2016/10/vampires-romantic-paramours-or-vicious.html

However, if you want dark thrills, I suggest -

Still Free
Goth Witch of Philly

Junior Inquisitor Book One  


  
Soulless Monk Book Two  
 Smashwords - https://goo.gl/NXw3Gr
Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/5lCyaX

  
The Witch’s Lair Book Three 
Smashwords - https://goo.gl/MokJnC 
 Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/mJtTf8
The Vampire of Rome Book Four

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Vampire of Rome, Book Trailers, Drinking with Janey Mack and Reviews!


The Vampire of Rome is out!
Small issue with formatting, so expect paperback copies of The Vampire of Rome inside of a couple of weeks. I even have my first review.


Also in the good news department, book trailers for Soulless Monk are now complete.

Here is the short one

 

And the full length trailer

 

I was interviewed by Janey Mack, you can find that over here


Drinks, questions, answered cogently and pictures of me in uniform; what more could you ask for?

I’d like to say everything is perfect, but alas the porch is still not quite done. One day…one day.

 

Reviews

Dead Man on Campus

EM Kaplan
Dead Man On Campus

Everyone who has read this blog knows I’m not much of a fan of cozy mysteries. I do have exceptions, and one of those is the Josie Tucker Series. Josie is a snark filled food critic with an easily upset stomach, who keeps being drawn into mysteries. In this instance, Josie has to go back...No, not to the future, but back to college. Randy professors, provincial mindsets, prison riot quality food and questionable hygiene set the stage. Lots of laughs and winces as Josie tries to find out who is stalking and threatening a professor. There were two references that I did enjoy, Scooby gang, and Monks. My ego insists that this is a reference to my Inquisitors.

My quibbles are mostly in the spoiler zone except for the about face by one character that is never examined. The mental U-turn is fine, it’s real and how you turn a bunch of lines of description into a living entity for the reader. People change their mind all the time. However, if someone tells you day after day they will never celebrate Ground Hog day, and then on that day, they are standing next to you screaming for Punxsutawney Phil to hurry up and look for his shadow, you’re going to wonder why it happened.

Because of that and a few other things that are all spoilerish I have to take a star.

I’m still a fan of the series, and I look forward to the next one. Dead Man on Campus is worth a read, and maybe you’ll disagree and this one will be your favorite.


 

Demon Moon
Brad Magnarella
Demon Moon


I have written about how there are some urban fantasy series which are not derivatives of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series.

RL King’s Alastair Stone
R.L. King's Amazon Page

And Adam J Wright’s  Alec Harbinger, Preternatural Investigator series are two examples.

Adam Wright's Amazon Page
I still maintain that while all three have as the main characters guys who do magic, they are not telling the same story with minor twists. Demon Moon, however, could fit easily into the Harry Dresden universe, a review, not mine, from Amazon –“Main hero possesses a demonic entity living inside of him, is on the outs with the magical order he answers to, plays with churches and Angels, and by the end of the novel is a consultant for the nypd's new special crimes division.

All accurate, all true, but where the above reviewer gave only 1 star I would be kinder and give 3.5 stars. It was derivative, but still a good story over all.

I might buy the next one in the series.




Adam Wright
Dead Ground


Speaking of Adam J Wright’s Alec Harbinger, Preternatural Investigator series, I just finished Dead Ground, the fourth in the series.

I know not all books will appeal to all readers, and that not all books in a series are equally appealing, however, Dead Ground was, to me, just okay. Very uneven, and weak. Maybe I will re-read it at some other date and change my mind, but for right now, I am disappointed. I never found myself subsumed by the story. It seemed formulaic, the plot predictable, the characters wooden, character conflict was trite (does anyone ever actually spontaneously apologize in real life for being a dick, or does ego keep most of us from ever admitting we were wrong?). The physical conflict was bland. It was almost as though he was phoning it in, or rushing to meet a deadline.

I will probably buy the next book when it comes out, but if the next one is not gripping, I will abandon the series.


A Mage’s Gambit

Andy Hyland



 
Mages Gambit



I rather enjoyed this book. Malachi English, the main character was cynical without being tedious, secondary characters were deliciously duplicitous, and a constant question as to whether they would help or hinder Malachi. Anyone who has worked in a shadow economy or with-in criminal organizations will recognize the dark world Malachi inhabits. There are rules, loose bands of people who help each other, but there is always a price, and the constant danger that your customer or boss might decide it’s cheaper to rob than to pay.

Lots of monsters, good dialog, pretty tight and plausible plot, it was worth the money and time. I will be looking for the next one in the series.


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