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War between Earth, Mars, and the Belt in the sixth book in the Expanse series.


Babylon's Ashes

Orbit, 2016, 538 pages



A revolution brewing for generations has begun in fire. It will end in blood.

The Free Navy - a violent group of Belters in black-market military ships - has crippled the Earth and begun a campaign of piracy and violence among the outer planets. The colony ships heading for the thousand new worlds on the far side of the alien ring gates are easy prey, and no single navy remains strong enough to protect them.

James Holden and his crew know the strengths and weaknesses of this new force better than anyone. Outnumbered and outgunned, the embattled remnants of the old political powers call on the Rocinante for a desperate mission to reach Medina Station at the heart of the gate network.

But the new alliances are as flawed as the old, and the struggle for power has only just begun. As the chaos grows, an alien mystery deepens. Pirate fleets, mutiny, and betrayal may be the least of the Rocinante's problems. And in the uncanny spaces past the ring gates, the choices of a few damaged and desperate people may determine the fate of more than just humanity.


Another change in the status quo, but still waiting for the big shoe to drop.Collapse )

Also by James S.A. Corey: My reviews of Leviathan Wakes, Caliban's War, Abaddon's Gate, Cibola Burn, Nemesis Games.




My complete list of book reviews.
Detective Sean Duffy is once again in deep with the RUC, the IRA, and MI5.


Gun Street Girl

Seventh Street Books, 2015, 313 pages



Belfast, 1985. Amid the Troubles, Detective Sean Duffy, a Catholic cop in the Protestant Royal Ulster Constabulary, struggles with burnout as he investigates a brutal double murder and suicide. Did Michael Kelly really shoot his parents at point-blank range and then jump off a nearby cliff? A suicide note points to this conclusion, but Duffy suspects even more sinister circumstances. He soon discovers that Kelly was present at a decadent Oxford party where a cabinet minister's daughter died of a heroin overdose, which may or may not have something to do with Kelly's subsequent death.

New evidence leads elsewhere: gun runners, arms dealers, the British government, and a rogue American agent with a fake identity. Duffy thinks he's getting somewhere when agents from MI5 show up at his doorstep and try to recruit him, thus taking him off the investigation.

Duffy is in it up to his neck, doggedly pursuing a case that may finally prove to be his undoing.


More Ireland in the 80s with extra pop culture references.Collapse )

Also by Adrian McKinty: My reviews of The Cold Cold Ground, I Hear the Sirens in the Street, In the Morning I'll Be Gone, Hidden River.




My complete list of book reviews.

Book Review: Death's End, by Cixin Liu

The conclusion of the trilogy ends on a galactic scale.


Death's End

Tor, 2016, 604 pages



With The Three-Body Problem, English-speaking listeners got their first chance to experience the multiple-award-winning and best-selling Three-Body Trilogy by China's most beloved science fiction author, Cixin Liu.

Three-Body was released to great acclaim, including coverage in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. It was also named a finalist for the Nebula Award, making it the first translated novel to be nominated for a major SF award since Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities in 1976. Now this epic trilogy concludes with Death's End.

Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to coexist peacefully as equals, without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But the peace has also made humanity complacent.

Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the early 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings with her knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the beginning of the Trisolar Crisis, and her very presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?


Xanatos gambits, bubble galaxies, sexy ninja androids, and the end.Collapse )

Also by Cixin Liu: My reviews of The Three-Body Problem and The Dark Forest.




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Edward Abbey's essays about wilderness, tourism, the park service, and population control.


Desert Solitaire

Simon & Schuster, 1968, 268 pages



When Desert Solitaire was first published in 1968, it became the focus of a nationwide cult. Rude and sensitive. Thought-provoking and mystical. Angry and loving. Both Abbey and this book are all of these and more. Here, the legendary author of The Monkey Wrench Gang, Abbey's Road and many other critically acclaimed books vividly captures the essence of his life during three seasons as a park ranger in southeastern Utah. This is a rare view of a quest to experience nature in its purest form -- the silence, the struggle, the overwhelming beauty. But this is also the gripping, anguished cry of a man of character who challenges the growing exploitation of the wilderness by oil and mining interests, as well as by the tourist industry.

Abbey's observations and challenges remain as relevant now as the day he wrote them. Today, Desert Solitaire asks if any of our incalculable natural treasures can be saved before the bulldozers strike again.


Ed said if a man can't piss in his own front yard, he's living too close to townCollapse )




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The bloody and terrible history of the Comanche.


Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History

Scribner, 2010, 384 pages



Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son, Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches.

Although readers may be more familiar with the names Apache and Sioux, it was in fact the legendary fighting ability of the Comanches that determined just how and when the American West opened up. They were so masterful at war and so skillful with their arrows and lances that they stopped the northern drive of colonial Spain from Mexico and halted the French expansion westward from Louisiana. White settlers arriving in Texas from the Eastern United States were surprised to find the frontier being rolled backward by Comanches incensed by the invasion of their tribal lands. So effective were the Comanches that they forced the creation of the Texas Rangers and account for the advent of the new weapon specifically designed to fight them: the six-gun.

The war with the Comanches lasted four decades, in effect holding up the development of the new American nation. Gwynne's exhilarating account delivers a sweeping narrative that encompasses Spanish colonialism, the Civil War, the destruction of the buffalo herds, and the arrival of the railroads - a historical feast for anyone interested in how the United States came into being.


The terrible truth is that the Comanche were pretty awful.Collapse )




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In the Morning I'll Be Gone

Seventh Street Books, 2014, 198 pages



A Catholic cop tracks an IRA master bomber amidst the sectarian violence of the conflict in Northern Ireland

It's the early 1980s in Belfast. Sean Duffy, a conflicted Catholic cop in the Protestant RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary), is recruited by MI5 to hunt down Dermot McCann, an IRA master bomber who has made a daring escape from the notorious Maze prison. In the course of his investigations Sean discovers a woman who may hold the key to Dermot's whereabouts; she herself wants justice for her daughter who died in mysterious circumstances in a pub locked from the inside. Sean knows that if he can crack the "locked-room mystery", the bigger mystery of Dermot's whereabouts might be revealed to him as a reward. Meanwhile the clock is ticking down to the Conservative Party conference in Brighton in 1984, where Mrs. Thatcher is due to give a keynote speech.


Irish 80s noir, with bombs, hash, and petty murders over wills.Collapse )

Also by Adrian McKinty: My reviews of The Cold Cold Ground, I Hear the Sirens in the Street, and Hidden River.




My complete list of book reviews.
Death on a High Floor Long Knives Paris Ransom



The series starts with a dry legal thriller, but shifts to intrigue, capers, and hot French girlfriends.Collapse )

Verdict: I'm happy I've discovered Charles Rosenberg's legal thrillers, but I'd have to say that he's best when he's actually sticking to courtroom thrillers and not inventing elaborate justifications for "investigations" that are not actually trials, to accompany a murder mystery. The three Robert Tarza books are all good light reading, but only the first is really heavy on legal drama, while the next two are mostly just excuses for lawyers to run around solving mysteries.

Also by Charles Rosenberg: My review of Write to Die.




My complete list of book reviews.

Book Review: Mine, by Bret Battles

Three friends from summer camp develop mysterious scary powers.


Mine

Amazon Digital Services, 2016, 309 pages



Something happened that night in the woods at Camp Red Hawk. But all Joel and Leah can recall is sneaking out for a late hike with five camp friends - and that only the two of them and their friend Mike returned. They have no memory of what happened to the others. No memory of anything after leaving the camp.

In the years that follow, they realize something has changed inside of them. They are different from others in ways they never should be. In ways that send their lives down disturbing and terrifying paths. As they grapple with adulthood, their only hope for understanding why they've been altered lies with them finding each other again. But how is that possible when their memories of one another have been erased?


Goes from horror to YA romp without a smooth transition.Collapse )




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A murder mystery at a Lovecraft convention. Or: Bimbos of the Death Sun for a new generation.


I Am Providence

Night Shade Books, 2016, 256 pages



For fans of legendary pulp author H. P. Lovecraft, there is nothing bigger than the annual Providence-based convention called the Summer Tentacular. Horror writer Colleen Danzig doesn't know what to expect when she arrives, but is unsettled to find that among the hob-knobbing between scholars and literary critics are a group of real freaks: book collectors looking for volumes bound in human skin, and true believers claiming the power to summon the Elder God Cthulhu, one of their idol's most horrific fictional creations, before the weekend is out. Colleen's trip spirals into a nightmare when her roommate for the weekend, an obnoxious novelist known as Panossian, turns up dead, his face neatly removed. What's more unsettling is that, in the aftermath of the murder, there is little concern among the convention goers. The Summer Tentacular continues uninterrupted, except by a few bumbling police. Everyone at the convention is a possible suspect, but only Colleen seems to show any interest in solving the murder. So she delves deep into the darkness, where occult truths have been lurking since the beginning of time. A darkness where Panossian is waiting, spending a lot of time thinking about Colleen, narrating a new Lovecraftian tale that could very well spell her doom.


In which Mamatas takes loving and not-so-loving potshots at all things Lovecraftian.Collapse )

Also by Nick Mamatas: My reviews of Starve Better and Move Under Ground.




My complete list of book reviews.
The story of the math & finance geek who uncovered Bernie Madoff.


No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller

John Wiley & Sons, 2009, 354 pages



No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller is exactly what the title promises. This is more than another book about the Bernie Madoff scandal, this is a fast-paced, blow-by-blow, true-crime story that you have to hear to believe. In a true David and Goliath tale, the underdog number cruncher uncovers the largest financial fraud in history, and has to fight everything and everyone in the system to bring it down. Harry Markopolos and his team of financial sleuths tell first-hand how they cracked Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme yet, amazingly, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) refused to hear the truth for nearly 10 years. Told from the perspective of the ultimate whistleblower in modern corporate memory, No One Would Listen is bound to be the definitive narrative of this scandal.


Another book about how the biggest boys on Wall Street really don't know WTF they're doing.Collapse )




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