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The sixth Cormoran Strike book, in which bloated is actually better.

The Ink Black Heart

Mulholland Books, 2022, 1024 pages

When frantic, dishevelled Edie Ledwell appears in the office begging to speak to her, private detective Robin Ellacott doesn't know quite what to make of the situation. The co-creator of a popular cartoon, The Ink Black Heart, Edie is being persecuted by a mysterious online figure who goes by the pseudonym of Anomie. Edie is desperate to uncover Anomie's true identity.

Robin decides that the agency can't help with this—and thinks nothing more of it until a few days later, when she reads the shocking news that Edie has been tasered and then murdered in Highgate Cemetery, the location of The Ink Black Heart.

Robin and her business partner Cormoran Strike become drawn into the quest to uncover Anomie's true identity. But with a complex web of online aliases, business interests and family conflicts to navigate, Strike and Robin find themselves embroiled in a case that stretches their powers of deduction to the limits—and which threatens them in new and horrifying ways...

Yes, yes, let's talk about the elephant in the room first...Collapse )

Also by Robert Galbraith: My reviews of The Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm, Career of Evil, Lethal White, and Troubled Blood.

My complete list of book reviews.
Potus #12: "Old Rough and Ready" wasn't ready for the White House.

Zachary Taylor

Times Books, 2008, 192 pages

The rough-hewn general who rose to the nation's highest office, and whose presidency witnessed the first political skirmishes that would lead to the Civil War.

Zachary Taylor was a soldier's soldier, a man who lived up to his nickname, "Old Rough and Ready." Having risen through the ranks of the U.S. Army, he achieved his greatest success in the Mexican War, propelling him to the nation's highest office in the election of 1848. He was the first man to have been elected president without having held a lower political office.

John S. D. Eisenhower, the son of another soldier-president, shows how Taylor rose to the presidency, where he confronted the most contentious political issue of his age: slavery. The political storm reached a crescendo in 1849, when California, newly populated after the Gold Rush, applied for statehood with an anti- slavery constitution, an event that upset the delicate balance of slave and free states and pushed both sides to the brink. As the acrimonious debate intensified, Taylor stood his ground in favor of California's admission—despite being a slaveholder himself—but in July 1850 he unexpectedly took ill, and within a week he was dead. His truncated presidency had exposed the fateful rift that would soon tear the country apart.

The man who could have prevented the Civil War?Collapse )

My complete list of book reviews.
Cast out of his village, Handry learns the true origins of their world and why he's been "Severed."

The Expert System's Brother

Tor.com, 2018, 167 pages

After an unfortunate accident, Handry is forced to wander a world he doesn’t understand, searching for meaning. He soon discovers that the life he thought he knew is far stranger than he could even possibly imagine.

Can an unlikely saviour provide the answers to the questions he barely comprehends?

A very good author reworks a familiar story.Collapse )

Also by Adrian Tchaikovsky: My reviews of Children of Time, Children of Ruin, Empire in Black and Gold, and Dragonfly Falling.

My complete list of book reviews.

Nophek Gloss, by Essa Hansen

A sleek space adventure that tries so hard not to be YA.

Nophek Gloss

Orbit, 2020, 408 pages

Caiden's planet is destroyed. His family gone. And, his only hope for survival is a crew of misfit aliens and a mysterious ship that seems to have a soul and a universe of its own. Together they will show him that the universe is much bigger, much more advanced, and much more mysterious than Caiden had ever imagined. But the universe hides dangers as well, and soon Caiden has his own plans.

He vows to do anything it takes to get revenge on the slavers who murdered his people and took away his home. To destroy their regime, he must infiltrate and dismantle them from the inside, or die trying.

A little bit of Star Wars, a little bit of Final Fantasy.Collapse )

My complete list of book reviews.
The twentieth book in the Leaphorn/Chee series, or the second book in the Leaphorn/Chee/Manuelito series.

Rock with Wings

Harper, 2015, 322 pages

Navajo tribal cops Jim Chee and Bernadette Manuelito and their mentor, the legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, investigate two perplexing cases in this exciting Southwestern mystery from the New York Times best-selling author of Spider Woman's Daughter.

Doing a good deed for a relative offers the perfect opportunity for Sergeant Jim Chee and his wife, Officer Bernie Manuelito, to get away from the daily grind of police work. But two cases will call them back from their short vacation and separate them - one near Shiprock and the other at iconic Monument Valley.

Chee follows a series of seemingly random and cryptic clues that lead to a missing woman, a coldblooded thug, and a mysterious mound of dirt and rocks that could be a grave site. Bernie has her hands full managing the fallout from a drug bust gone wrong, uncovering the origins of a fire in the middle of nowhere, and looking into an ambitious solar energy development with long-ranging consequences for Navajo land.

Under the guidance of their mentor, retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, Bernie and Chee will navigate unexpected obstacles and confront the greatest challenge yet to their skills, commitment, and courage.

Tony Hillerman's legacy is in loving hands, but it's just not his.Collapse )

Also by Anne Hillerman: My review of Spider Woman's Daughter.

My complete list of book reviews.
The second volume in a big fat epic fantasy series that might actually hold my attention for all ten books.

Dragonfly Falling

Tor Books, 2009, 673 pages

Every hero must be tested....

The Wasp Empire’s armies are on the move – and the city of Tark will be first to feel their might. Salma and Totho prepare for battle, alongside their Ant-kinden brethren. And within Tark’s walls, they’ll face a force greater than any Lowlander has ever seen. Stenwold Maker predicted this threat, and the Empire's secret service now deems him too dangerous to live. So he’s to be eliminated, and his beloved city of Collegium destroyed. For if this centre of learning is lost, it will crush Lowland resistance.

As the Empire's troops continue their relentless advance, their young Emperor pursues another, even darker goal. And his success would trigger a reign of blood lasting a thousand years.

The war against the Wasps continues.Collapse )

Also by Adrian Tchaikovsky: My reviews of Children of Time, Children of Ruin, and Empire in Black and Gold.

My complete list of book reviews.

AQATWA ebook and print versions available

I have at long last finished creating the ebook and print-ready PDF for Alexandra Quick and the World Away. You can find them both in my downloads folder.

I'm quite proud of my ebooks and PDFs. I think I do a professional job of creating them and frankly, most print and ebooks I see from indy and small presses aren't as good-looking as mine. That said, there may be errors, so if you spot any typos or formatting/layout issues, or you have an ereader that does not display the ebook correctly, please let me know. I do occasionally update my ebooks to correct typos and other errors people find.

Someday, these will be fully illustrated. (My personal reward when I finish this series is that I am going to splash the money for a complete set of hardcovers.)

AQATWA ebook cover
Frontispiece for AQAWTA print version

Alexandra Quick and the Wizard War

Here are the latest numbers:

339,552 words, 57 chapters completed, 65 chapters outlined.

Now, that may not seem like much if you compare it to my last update. I finished one more whole chapter. But notice what didn't change? The number of chapters outlined!

Until now, almost every chapter I've written has ended up splitting a planned chapter into two or more new chapters, which means the end of the book keeps looking a little bit like the target of Zeno's Arrow. But I am maybe finally approaching the actual end.

Of course probably the next chapter will become three chapters. We'll see.

Anyway, the chapter count is certainly just an estimate, because right now some of the divisions are arbitrary, and I will surely end up merging/splitting/deleting chapters before the final draft. But I'm getting there.

Book Review: Worse Angels, by Laird Barron

The third book in the Isaiah Coleridge series.

Worse Angels

G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2020, 320 pages

Ex-mob enforcer-turned-Private Investigator Isaiah Coleridge pits himself against a rich and powerful foe when he digs into a possible murder and a sketchy real-estate deal worth billions.

Ex-majordomo and bodyguard to an industrial tycoon-cum-US senator, Badja Adeyemi is in hiding and shortly on his way to either a jail cell or a grave, depending on who finds him first. In his final days as a free man, he hires Isaiah Coleridge to tie up a loose end: the suspicious death of his nephew four years earlier. At the time police declared it an accident, and Adeyemi isn't sure it wasn't, but one final look may bring his sister peace.

So it is that Coleridge and his investigative partner, Lionel Robard, find themselves in the upper reaches of New York State, in a tiny town that is home to outsized secrets and an unnerving cabal of locals who are protecting them. At the epicenter of it all is the site of a stalled supercollider project, an immense subterranean construction that may have an even deeper, more insidious purpose....

Evil rich cosplaying cultists, a weird ventriloquist archvillain, and Coleridge meating his way through one fight after another.Collapse )

Also by Laird Barron: My reviews of The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, The Croning, Occultation, Blood Standard, and Black Mountain.

My complete list of book reviews.
How a nobody became the new Czar and the West got played.

Putin's People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took On the West

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020, 640 pages

Interference in American elections. The sponsorship of extremist politics in Europe. War in Ukraine. In recent years, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has waged a concerted campaign to expand its influence and undermine Western institutions. But how and why did all this come about, and who has orchestrated it?

In Putin’s People, the investigative journalist and former Moscow correspondent Catherine Belton reveals the untold story of how Vladimir Putin and the small group of KGB men surrounding him rose to power and looted their country. Delving deep into the workings of Putin’s Kremlin, Belton accesses key inside players to reveal how Putin replaced the freewheeling tycoons of the Yeltsin era with a new generation of loyal oligarchs, who in turn subverted Russia’s economy and legal system and extended the Kremlin's reach into the United States and Europe. The result is a chilling and revelatory exposé of the KGB’s revanche - a story that begins in the murk of the Soviet collapse, when networks of operatives were able to siphon billions of dollars out of state enterprises and move their spoils into the West. Putin and his allies subsequently completed the agenda, reasserting Russian power while taking control of the economy for themselves, suppressing independent voices, and launching covert influence operations abroad.

Ranging from Moscow and London to Switzerland and Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach - and assembling a colorful cast of characters to match - Putin’s People is the definitive account of how hopes for the new Russia went astray, with stark consequences for its inhabitants and, increasingly, the world.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.Collapse )

My complete list of book reviews.
The fourth book in the Fem!Harry fan fiction series.

The Awful Truth About Forgetting

Wisecraft Publishing, 2017, 452 pages

What she knows, she dare not tell. Rachel Griffin should be having an amazing freshman year. She has the Princess of Magical Australia and crazy orphan Sigfried the Dragonslayer for friends and a handsome sorcerer boyfriend romancing her with charms magical and otherwise. But otherworldly forces conspire against those she loves. While all others can be made to forget the truth, Rachel cannot. When she runs afoul of the hidden force responsible for hiding these terrible secrets, Rachel must face her most desperate hour yet. This on top of winter fairies, missing friends, Yule gifts, flying practice, and a rampaging ogre…oh, and schoolwork. Then there is the matter of a certain undeniably attractive older boy…

Rachel finally finishes her first semester, and has two hot boys and an angel competing for her affections.Collapse )

Also by L. Jagi Lamplighter: My reviews of The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin, The Raven, The Elf, and Rachel, and Rachel and the Many-Splendored Dreamland.

My complete list of book reviews.

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