Wednesday, April 8, 2020

SIMPOC--Human Remnants, by Ray Jay Perreault (author), Zachary Johnson (narrator)

Ray Jay Perreault, November 2015

Earth has been hit by a sudden, fast-moving, extremely lethal virus, of unknown origin. Most of the human race has been killed, without even the time to identify the origins of the virus.

Now most of the human race is dead, and the survivors are working to pull their remnants together and save the species and hopefully civilization.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Grave Passion (DCI Isaac Cook #12), by Phillip Strang

Phillip Strang, March 2020

Two teenagers out for an evening of teenage sex walk through a cemetery on the way to their destination, and just miss witnessing a murder--the murderer passes them, and they find a body lying on a grave. Despite their panic, they call the police.

DCI Isaac Cook and his team find themselves with a body with no ID, no really unique feature, and only her shoes are new enough that it might be possible to track down where they were purchased. But DS Wendy Gladstone is very good at that, and--she gets a list of names, of the purchasers who paid with credit cards. There are others who paid with cash, so no way to track those.

Meanwhile, the two teenagers, and their families, prove to be an interesting problem in themselves. The kids saw the murderer, and almost the murder; he might be after them. But the boy, Brad, comes from a very troubled family, and his sister, Janice, working as a prostitute, is murdered in her flat--by someone who wrapped the knife in a towel, and then showered afterwards in her bathroom. Oh, and didn't have sex with her first. This is very strange, and doesn't seem to obviously be an angry client.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Roxy Reinhardt Mysteries 1-3, by Alison Golden (author), Honey Broussard (author)

Alison Golden, April 2020

Roxy Reinhardt is, when we meet her, working in a customer service call center in Chicago. It's an awful job for an awful company, but it pays the bills and lets her build some savings--more or less.

Then she loses the job, goes home, and learns she's lost her boyfriend as well. With him moving in with his new love, and with no job, she obviously can't afford the apartment.

In a mad moment of impulsivity, she takes her cat and her few possessions that matter to her, and heads to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. She booked a room in a tiny inn, the only one she could find quickly that she could afford and which would accept her cat. She's not sure what to make of the inn, never mind of New Orleans, and least of all of the staff--the owner, Evangeline; Nat, the tattooed waitress; Sage, the spiritualist who does the inn's website; Sam, owner of a modest laundry business who does the inn's laundry and also any odd jobs needed--and who owns a custom Rolls Royce.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Greatest Host, by Ray Jay Perreault (author), Christopher M. Allport (narrator)

Ray Jay Perreault, January 2016

The Mists are microscopic creatures that exist in a cloud, and seek suitable hosts to occupy and live with. They're benign; they live in harmony with their hosts. Unfortunately, their last planet got bombarded by meteors that rendered it uninhabitable. The Mists had to leave, and seek a new, safer planet with suitable hosts.

The Mists reach a planet that has life, the right kind of life, and is much safer from massive meteor bombardment from space. Now, can they find a good species to be their hosts?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Loveless Ada (A God Complex Short Story): The Luggage Disaster, by George Saoulidis (author), Steve White (narrator)

Mythography Studios, October 2019

Ada is a fifteen-year-old on a school trip to Italy.  She's also an accomplished young programmer. Unfortunately, when their plane lands, it seems the airline has lost her luggage. The group's teacher/chaperone prefers to leave Ada alone at the airport rather than delay the group in order to help her get her luggage.

With her teacher and fellow students gone, and no real help from the luggage claim's help desk, Ada walks out of the cold, air-conditioned airport into the warm, Italian air.

Where she meets a man with luggage that follows him.

And they start talking.

This is just a lot of fun. Recommended!

I received this audio short story as part of a "there's a pandemic; let's do something nice" giveaway, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Nanodaemons: The Fir Smart-Tree, by George Saoulidis (author), Steve White (narrator)

Mythography Studios, April 2019

This is a cyberpunk retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Fir Tree."

This fir tree is an artificial tree, a tree powered by nanotechnology, able to do an amazing range of things that can make it the perfect Christmas tree.

And the fir smart-tree has a very high opinion of itself. It decides it will be purchased only by a person worthy of itself. The right income, the right address, the right tastes, preferences, habits. And of course, a proper family to properly observe Christmas.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Little Match Girl (Cyberpunk Fairy Tales), by George Saoulidis (author), Steve White (narrator)

Mythography Studios, May 2019

This is, just as it says, a cyberpunk retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's story. In this retelling, the "matches" are single-use VR "experiences," created by her now-deceased father. Her father lost his job, and thus all his tools, but he still had the rights to the VR experiences he created on his own time. Then he died, and the girl's mother died, and the only thing she has left to sell now, and survive on, are these single-use VR experiences.

Some of them are recordings of happy experiences at home, before her father lost his job. But since these are single-use experiences, each can only be used once. She can either sell it, or use it for a brief escape into a warm, happy memory.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Who Rescued Who, by Victoria Schade

Berkley Publishing Group, ISBN 9780593098837, March 2020

Elizabeth Barnes's father, a professor of English, died six months ago, leaving a will that required that his ahses be scattered in a particular river in England. This request was a complete surprise to her and she has no real notion of what to do about it. She was also, until quite recently, very busy, as the Chief Marketing Officer of a video gaming company in San Francisco. Now, though, she's unemployed and her reputation is toast, because she was working for a company that run by a completely unethical woman she used to think of as a friend. No one even wants to interview her for a potential job.

And she gets a call from a complete stranger, who claims to be her uncle, her father's brother, and he says that she has an inheritance, some property in the little English town of Fargrove. Reluctantly, she heads off to England, to meet the uncle her father never told her about, and hopefully sell that property to give herself a cushion while trying to rebuild her life.

She's not prepared to like her English relatives, the little town of Fargrovc, a local brewery owner, or the abandoned puppy she finds.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, by Ronan Farrow (author, narrator)

Hachette Audio, October 2019

In 2017, Ronan Farrow began to get hints of a potentially explosive story--one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood was a major sexual predator. As he and his producer worked on the story, finding more and more women willing to talk to them, they got encouragement and support--and obstacles that seemed to make no sense at all. For instance, reporters talk to people bound by non-disclosure agreements all the time; investigative reporting would be impossible without it. Yet Farrow and his producer were being told that this could result in NBC being sued for "tortious interference."

That's just one example of the real opposition underneath the superficial support.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Uncover, by Amanda Linehan (author), Nicole Blessing (narrator)

Amanda Linehan, June 2019

Marissa is a senior in high school, whose best friend, Olivia, was killed in a car crash just a few days before the start of the school year. Marissa doesn't really know how to cope with her grief, and when Olivia's younger sister, Jordan, comes to her with a plan, she listens, and reluctantly cooperates.

Soon, Jordan and a group of Olivia's friends--Marissa, Jaye, Aaron, and Peter--are hiking in the woods, to a site where Olivia often wrote in her journal, and where Jordan thinks she may have hidden it. There's some room for question, whether the car crash was just an accident, or whether Olivia committed suicide, and for Jordan, it's really important to know.