Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Deadly Grind (Vintage Kitchen Mystery #1), by Victoria Hamilton (author), Emily Woo Zeller (narrator)

Tantor Media, ISBN 9781452617169, October 2013 (original publication May 2012)

Jaymie Leighton, vintage kitchenware collector and cookbook writer, buys an original 1920s Hoosier brand kitchen cabinet/work center, over the objections of her sister and some rather spirited rival bidding. She takes her treasure home, and temporarily leaves it on the summer porch, until she can rearrange the kitchen to make best use of it.

Late that night, she and her sister are awakened by a shout, a crash, and Jaymie's dog, Hopalong, barking. On the porch they find a dead man, a stranger, apparently killed by a blow from a meat grinder pulled loose from the Hoosier.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The God Engines, by John Scalzi

Subterranean Press, ISBN 9781596062801, December 2009

This is a real departure for Scalzi, extremely dark fantasy bordering on horror. Ean Tephe is captain of the Righteous, a space-faring ship whose "engine" is a defeated and imprisoned god. Tephe's own god is the powerful figure who conquered all the lesser gods who now serve as engines in his fleet. That Lord God is sustained, literally fed by the faith of his followers--and something is going wrong. The defeated gods are getting restless, attempting to rebel, and threatening the faith of the Lord God's followers.

But he has a plan...

Tephe is genuinely a man of strong faith, and a good, responsible captain of his ship, loyal to his crew as well as his God.

What happens when they come into conflict?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Burning (Maeve Kerrigan #1), by Jane Casey

St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books, ISBN 9780312614171, March 2014 (original publication November 2010)

The Metropolitan Police Department is chasing a serial killer called the Burning Man. in the Kennington section of London. They have four dead bodies, laid out neatly and then burned, and an increasingly frightened public and the media demanding answers.

It's all bad, but then it gets worse if possible. A young woman accepts a ride from stranger on her way home from a pub, and then becomes alarmed, convinced he's the killer, and when he stops the car nowhere near her home, she panics and pulls out a knife. Briefly, the police think they have the Burning Man and a living intended victim as a witness. Maeve Kerrigan, a young Detective Constable, interviews the victim and discovers that while the man she knifed is probably a creep, he's certainly not the Burning Man. Almost simultaneously, another body is found, dead, burned, apparently a real victim of the Burning Man.

The Neighbor (Detective D.D. Warren #3), by Lisa Gardner (author), Emily Janice Card (narrator), Kirsten Potter (narrator), Kirby Heyborne (narrator)

Random House Audio, ISBN 9780739366622, June 2009 (original publication January 2009)

D.D. Warren, Boston Police Department homicide detective, has a baffling new case. A young woman, a teacher, mother of a four-year-old girl, and wife of a reporter for the Boston Daily, has disappeared from her home. Her purse and phone were left on the kitchen table; there are no signs of struggle except, possibly, a broken lamp that shows no signs of being used as a weapon, nor are there other signs of struggle. The comforter from her bed and her nightgown are found in the washing machine, newly washed. Everyone agrees that if she had left voluntarily, she would never have left her child behind.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Homeland (Little Brother #2), by Cory Doctorow (author), Wil Wheaton (narrator)

Humble Bundle, March 2014 (original publication February 2013)

Marcus Yallow, at just nineteen, already has a past as a cyberactivist, exposing embarrassing secrets of the US government. But now the harrowing events of Little Brother are behind him, and he just wants to enjoy the Burning Man festival and then find a job--job-hunting having been unsuccessful since the previous year's events forced him to drop out of college.

His past catches up with him at Burning Man, though, producing on the one hand an offer of a job as webmaster for the campaign of an independent candidate for the California state senate, and on the other hand, a bittorrent file containing hundreds of thousands of documents revealing the darkest secrets of the US security establishment. And on the last night of Burning Man, he sees the woman who gave him the file and the key to it being kidnapped by a nightmare figure from his past, Kerry Johnstone.

The next few weeks plunge Marcus and his girlfriend Angie back into cyber-intrigue and dodging both government and private sector goons. Along the way, he learns the strength of friendship and the limits of political idealism.

I haven't read Little Brother, but I found I was able to pick up enough about previous events to follow what was going on. Marcus is convincingly nineteen years old, idealistic, still inexperienced in many ways despite past events, very bright, and extremely likable. The independent candidate he goes to work for is almost, but not quite, too perfect. The conflict between working for his candidate, who might make a first step toward challenging the corruption, and getting the secret files out is developed very exquisitely and painfully. Wil Wheaton, who has an excellent and very expressive voice, does the reading.

Recommended.

I bought this book.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dial C for Chihuahua (Barking Detective #1), by Waverly Curtis

Kensington, ISBN 9780758274953, October 2012

Geri Sullivan wants a more companionable pet than Albert, the somewhat dangerous cat her ex-husband left with her when they divorced, so she adopts a chihuahua from the local shelter, which was received quite a few from Los Angeles.

You may imagine her surprise when the little dog starts talking to her. His name is Pepe, and he has an endless supply of stories about his colorful past. They're barely home from the shelter, though, when Geri gets a phone call from Jimmy Gerrard, who interviewed her for a job in his detective agency a week or two ago. He wants to hire her, and oh by the way, would she drop everything and go to the home of Rebecca Tyler, to get information from her about her husband whom she says is missing? Off she goes, taking Pepe with her because he's upset at the idea of being left behind. When they arrive only to find the dead body of Mr. Tyler, followed shortly by the arrival of the police to find Geri standing over the body, it's clear something fishy is going on.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Blossom Street Brides (Blossom Street #10), by Debbie Macomber

Ballentine Books, ISBN 9780345528841, March 2014

Lydia and Brad Goetz's adopted daughter, Casey, is having nightmares she doesn't want to talk about, while an anonymous person is leaving baskets of knitting around Seattle with instructions telling knitters to bring the finished scarves to A Good Yarn for donation to charity. Bethanne and Max Scranton are feeling the strain of their long-distance marriage, while Bethanne's ex, Grant, is trying to break them up, and her daughter Anne is angry and resentful that Bethanne is not falling for it. Lauren Elliott breaks up with tv news reporter Todd and is falling for Max's friend and partner Rooster Wayne, while her employers at John Michael Jewelry, Elisa and Garry Lippincott, are coping with the fact that their nineteen-year-old daughter Katie is pregnant and intending to marry her boyfriend.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Chase (Fox and O'Hare #2), by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

Bantam, ISBN 9780345543080, February 2014

Kate O'Hare is an FBI agent with an unusual partner--Nick Fox, international art thief, number ten on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list. Who says the FBI can't be sneaky and underhanded?

Their latest assignment is very delicate, and has a very tight time frame. As a gesture of goodwill, the US government is going to return to China an iconic piece of Chinese art, a sculpture of a rooster, that has been sitting in the Smithsonian for a hundred years. Unfortunately, the rooster was stolen several years ago, and a very good forgery put in its place. Fox and O'Hare have to steal the original back. It's currently in the possession of Carter Grove, chief of staff of the last president, and CEO of BlackRhino, a security/mercenary corporation.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Raising Steam (Discworld #40), by Terry Pratchett (author), Stephen Briggs (narrator)

Random House Audiobooks, November 2013 (original publication January 2013)

An intelligent, honest, inventive young man has invented the steam engine, and Lord Vetinari has to figure out how to contain and/or exploit it. Naturally this means Moist von Lipwig has a new job--representing the city's modest, but ultimately controlling, ownership share in the new steam engine company. This also means negotiating rights of way for the railway system, as neither the young engineer, Dick Simnel, nor his older and cannier business partner, Sir Harry King, the poop magnate, are well equipped for negotiating for land rights in foreign areas. For instance, Quirm, where the only reasonable route means clearing out bandits and negotiating with goblins.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dog Gone, Back Soon (Cyrus Mills #2), by Nick Trout

Hyperion/Hachette, ISBN 9781401310899, April 2014

Last week, Cyrus Mills, veterinary pathologist, came home after the death of his long-estranged father, expecting to wrap up the business of his dad's veterinary clinic, Bedside Manor for Sick Animals, and return to his own life. Instead, he stayed to take over the practice.

This week, he's discovering what he got himself into.

His new girlfriend, Amy, is acting strange and apparently spending time with a drop-dead handsome guy who seems to have some connection to her past. Money is a major issue for many of his clients, challenging his ability to make diagnoses without running all the tests he thinks are best. A house call for an overweight cat turns out to be a teenager's attempt to set him up with her mother.

And Healthy Paws, the national veterinary hospital chain with a clinic in the next town over, sees an opportunity to put him out of business.