Sunday, January 31, 2016

Easy Innocence (Georgia Davis #1), by Libby Fischer Hellmann

Kindle Edition, April 2008 (original publication 2002)

This is the first of the Georgia Davis mysteries, which of course I read after having read the fourth, the most recent. This is not generally the order to read a mystery series in, but it worked out well this time.

Georgia is a Chicago cop, currently suspended for egregious violations of procedure, and working as a private investigator. Her former and perhaps future boss, Dan O'Malley, refers a client to her, Ruth Jordan, sister of Cam Jordan, a mentally challenged man charged with murdering a high school girl in the woods, during an unofficial high school party.

Cam is a registered sex offender, but his past offenses are public masturbation, and he's never done anything remotely violent. Yet the case against him is moving strangely fast--a few weeks for things that normally take months. What's going on?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Two of Us, by Andy Jones

Atria Books/Washington Square Press, ISBN 9781501109515, February 2016

William Fisher and Ivy Lee meet and embark on a nineteen-day, sex-filled fling that, in the end, seems not to be just a fling. They've realized they're meant for each other.

And that is the start of a roller coaster ride over the next year. Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is more challenging. Can they manage it?

This is literary fiction, so plot isn't really a factor here. That said, the characterization is very good. Fisher--he prefers to be called Fisher--tells the story in first person. He's struggling with issues from his own past; he's struggling to understand things Ivy says and does, including her divorcing brother's extended stay in their flat.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Maximum Security (Dog Park Mystery #3), by C.A. Newsome (author), Jane Boyer (narrator)

Carol Ann Newsome, June 2014 (original publication November 2013)

Lia Anderson is back, and her current foster dog, Max, is a canine Houdini, a genius at finding gaps in the dog park fence. And one fine day in October, Max returns from her solo exploration of the adjoining woods carrying a human femur.

And it's not very old.

Max is easily able to lead Lia and Jim back to the body, or rather, the bones, almost entirely stripped of its flesh. And once the bones are identified as George Munze (spelling is a guess; I listened to the audiobook), Lia is looking for his missing dog, Daisy, while her boyfriend, Cincinnati homicide detective Peter Dourson, is looking for a killer.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Baen Books, February 2016

It's three years after the death of Aral Vorkosigan, and Cordelia, having spent those years grieving and serving solo as the Vicereine of Sergyar is starting to work out plans for the next stage in her life. Those plans include eggs and sperm she and Aral had frozen many years ago, when they did not yet know that Miles would be damaged in utero in ways that would make the existence of any other sons a threat to him.

But Cordelia always wanted a large family, the many children she could never have had on Beta Colony. Now, Miles is in his forties, the unquestioned Count Vorkosigan, and if she has only daughters, by Barrayaran law they will be only hers. And Aral's will made it unambiguously clear and certain that disposal of both sets of gametes, his sperm and her eggs, was entirely hers.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean, by Jackson Galaxy (author, narrator), Joel Derfner (author)

Tantor Audio, May 2012

Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet's My Cat From Hell, is an unlikely cat behaviorist; he looks like a biker gang member, and begins his story as a down-and-out rock musician with a drug problem. But during that period, he got a job at an animal shelter, to keep money coming in while leaving his mind free to write songs, and he unexpectedly connected, with the animals and with the work.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ghost Ship (Liaden Universe #15) (Theo Waitley #3), by Sharon Lee (author), Steve Miller (author), Eileen Stevens (narrator)

Audible Frontiers, September 2012 (original publication January 2011)

Clan Korval's relocation to Surebleak can't go without bumps, and of course there are those who think the new power on the Port Road will be as easy to take out as any street boss from the old days. Meanwhile, Theo Waitley is adjusting to finding herself a member of a large extended family, with siblings and cousins and aunts--none of whom grew up in the "safety" culture of Delgado, and whose reactions to her range from delighted to appalled.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Lilith, by Christine Emmert

Dante's Heart, January 2014 (original publication April 2011)

Evelyn is a graduate student doing her thesis on the mythical figure Lilith, Adam's first wife. At first all is going well, until Evelyn meets Lilith in the form of a barn owl in her barn. She becomes obsessed, first with the fear that Lilith will steal and devour her infant son, and then that her husband will succumb to Lilith's wiles.

Is the danger real? Who and what is Lilith? Is Evelyn, as her husband fears, losing her emotional grip? The tensions and stresses are growing, between the couple and within Evelyn. And then her husband tells her to paint Lilith.

This is a creepy, atmospheric, very effective novella. Recommended.

I bought this book.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Tell, by David Brin

Published in Future Visions:Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft, edited by Elizabeth Bear, Melchior Media, November 2015

Our narrator is a Las Vegas stage magician with a sideline in identifying fakes, frauds, and the self-deceived making seemingly major scientific "breakthroughs." He's good at it, and enjoys it, and when Sophie Van Took,a regular contact, asks him for help with a related but different job, he says yes.

The immediate goal is finding out if a particular casino has made a major breakthrough in prediction of events or if they've only made an incremental improvement. Predicting the future (whether politics, weather, economic developments, or human behavior) has been a major interest as long as we've been human, and has been getting increasingly scientific and technological in the last century or so.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Nun's Dragon, by Christine Emmert

Dante's Heart, January 2014

As a young girl, gathering mushrooms for her family in the woods near their village, Margaret stumbles upon a sleeping dragon. Contrary to his kind's ferocious reputation, the dragon, whom Margaret names Wyver, befriends her. Eventually, her father having died, her mother takes her to a convent to become a nun, and Margaret becomes Sister Agnes Dei.

But Wyver continues to visit her.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Wonderment in Death (In Death #41.5), by J.D. Robb (author), Susan Ericksen (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, ISBN 9781501223778, September 2015

Dallas, Peabody, and friends and colleagues are back for a novella about a case that strikes a bit closer to  home than most. Dallas and Peabody are called to the scene of an apparent murder/suicide--it appears that Darlene Fitzwilliams came to the home of her brother Marcus after an argument earlier in the day, stabbed him to death with sewing shears, and then went out to the balcony of his 52nd floor apartment and jumped to her death.

But the siblings' friends insist that Darlene could not have done either thing--and despite clear evidence that she was high, they also insist that she was not a drug user.

And those friends include Louise Dimatto and Charles Monroe.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Ghostly Paws (Mystic Notch #1), by Leighann Dobbs

Audible Studios, December 2015 (original publication March 2014)

Wilhelmina Chance, former crime journalist, after a painful divorce and an even more painful car accident, has returned home to Mystic Notch, New Hampshire. Willa has inherited her grandmother's beautiful Victorian house, as well as her bookstore, specializing in used and antique books.

But one side effect of her near-fatal accident is that she sees ghosts. And when she finds Lavinia, the town librarian, lying dead at the foot of a flight of stairs, Lavinia insists that Willa has to find her killer.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Forgotten Room, by Karen White (author), Beatriz Williams (author), Lauren Willig (author)

Penguin Group/NAL, ISBN 9780451474629, January 2016

In 1893, Olive, the daughter of an architect who killed himself after a falling-out with a client, takes a job as a maid in the mansion her father designed. She hopes to find proof of the owner's perfidy to restore her father's name.

In 1920, Lucy is looking for the truth about who her father was. Was it the man who raised, the man she loved as her father, or someone her mother knew before marrying Hans Jungmann?

In 1945, Kate, a young doctor, is working in the private hospital that was once the women's boarding house her mother lived in, and before that the grand mansion of the Pratt family. Badly wounded Capt. Cooper Ravenel is brought to the hospital, and for lack of any other place to put him, he's installed Kate's room under the eaves. She can sleep temporarily in nurses' quarters.

And Capt. Ravenel has a portrait miniature of a woman who appears to be--Kate.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Devoted in Death (In Death #41), by J. D. Robb (author), Susan Ericksen (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, September 2015

Dallas is back from a warm, sunny vacation, in the frigid, wet cold after the New Year. And very early on her first morning back, she's called to the scene of a dumped body.

Dorian Cooper was a cellist with the symphony orchestra, popular, respected, and well-liked. There's no apparent reason for anyone to kill him--but someone has. And not just killed; Cooper was tortured over the course of two days before he died. It's not long before Dallas and Peabody realize they're on the trail of a potential serial killer--or a pair of them.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Looking for Gordo, by Robert J. Sawyer

Published in Future Visions:Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft, edited by Elizabeth Bear, Melchior Media, November 2015

It's 2030, and a long-anticipated event has finally come to pass: We have confirmed contact from an intelligent alien species. It wasn't recognized immediately; its discovery had to wait for the resources to search the stored data from years of recording everything picked up by the SETI radiotelescope arrays. But when that happened, they found that intelligent beings 47 Ursae Majoris had sent, not just a contact signal, but the Reticulum--the entirety of their equivalent of the World Wide Web.

From that, Emily Chiu has developed an AI representing an individual of the Ursae majoris species. And now, a mock trial is being held to publicly debate the question of whether humanity should respond in kind, or whether it's simply too dangerous to confirm our existence. Maybe the reason it's taken so long to find intelligent life is because intelligent species that announce themselves get invaded! The AI avatar of one of the aliens that Emily Chiu has created is an important witness in the "trial."

This is a slight but interesting and fun story. Definitely worth the few minutes of your time needed to read it.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Interim Errantry (Young Wizards 9.3, 9.5, 9.7), by Diane Duane

Errantry Press, October 2015

This is a collection of three shorter Young Wizards stories.

Not On My Patch is a Halloween novella. It's a fun holiday for the wizards, because it's one of the few occasions on which they can be relatively open with their magic--and this year, it's Tom and Carl's turn to host the "haunted house" that rotates among the local senior wizards. At the start of the story, Nita is reluctant to cut into the pumpkin that is supposed to be the Callahan family's jack o'lantern, but she finally does what any wizard would do: asks it. Jackie has an entirely different perspective on life and death than animal life, and is happy to be a jack o'lantern. Nita's wizard friends are a little amused when they realize she's named it, slightly concerned when she refers to Jackie as "he," and of course it's inevitable that Jackie will become a key factor in resisting a sneak attack by the Lone Power, who tries to make Halloween really scary again. This was a lot of fun.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1), by Genevieve Cogman (author), Susan Duerden (narrator)

Audible Studios, April 2015

Irene is a staff librarian of the Invisible Library, and when we meet her, she's just completing a mission--the retrieval, or more bluntly theft, of a unique manuscript on magic from a magic-dominant alternate reality. She winds up having to face down gargoyles and hellhounds to escape with her prize, but escape she does, back the Library.

And her reward is to immediately be sent on another urgent mission, to retrieve a  unique edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales from a world where both magic and technology work, and which is also contaminated by Chaos. The Chaos contamination means that this alternate world is quarantined and normally off-limits to the librarians. This is a dangerous assignment.

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #16),by Alexander McCall Smith (author), Lisette Lecat (narrator)

Recorded Books, October 2015

Precious Ramotswe's friends and family decide she needs a holiday. One clue she really does need a break may be how ready she is to suspect Mma Makutsi of a wicked desire to take the agency away from her. Sanity prevails, Rra Polopetsi, now working part-time as a science teacher, volunteers to help out while she is gone, and Mma Ramotswe commits to a two-week holiday.

But she's staying home, and the idea is to "do nothing," which Mma Ramotswe is of course incapable of.