August 10th, 2014

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

While having lunch yesterday, I finished reading a recent novel by Mike Resnick called The Doctor and the Dinosaurs that manages to mix his brand of Weird Western fiction with the true tale of the rivalry of two paleontologists that advanced said science by a hundred years in our non-fiction world. As have all the books in this series (shown through the eyes of Doc Holliday), this was an amusing read.

Book 151: Birdman by Mo Hayder

Book 151: Birdman (Jack Caffery #1).
Author: Mo Hayder, 1999.
Genre: Police Procedural. Crime. Thriller.
Other Details: Paperback. 398 pages.

Greenwich, south-east London. Jack Caffery - young, driven, unshockable - is called to one of the most gruesome crime scenes he has ever seen. Five young women have been ritualistically murdered and dumped on wasteland near the Dome. Subsequent post-mortems reveal a singular, horrific signature linking the victims. Soon Caffery realises that he is on the trail of that most dangerous offender: a serial killer. Beset by animosity within the police force, haunted by the memory of a very personal death long ago, Caffery employs every weapon forensic science can offer to hunt him down. Because he knows that it is only a matter of time before this sadistic killer strikes again ... - synopsis from author's website.

After recently reading her latest in this series, Wolf, I dutifully returned to the beginning of the series. Birdman proved very strong stuff in terms of the level of violence and graphic details of torture and death. Actually, the descriptions were almost too much at times though I did enjoy it for the many twists and turns of the investigation.

I plan on sticking with this series as I want to follow more of Caffrey's story and see how he continues in his quest to unravel the mystery of his brother's disappearance. Strong but riveting crime fiction.

Book #39: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

Number of pages: 784

I was keen to read this book shortly after watching the second season of Game of Thrones, which is based on it.

Ned Stark and his fate are something that we are constantly reminded of throughout the book, and at times I thought maybe this was referenced a bit too much, although it
The title of this book comes from the main plot regarding the number of claimants to the iron throne of Westeros, following on from the first book:

[Spoiler for the first book]
In A Game of Thrones, King Robert Baratheon died, and asked his hand, Ned Stark, to be king until the heir, the obnoxious Prince Joffrey, was old enough to be king. Joffrey had other ideas, and became king anyway, having Ned Stark executed.
made sense for the story to look at the effect his death had on his widow, Catelyn Stark.

So, in this book, there is a sense that a large confrontation is going to take place, and that leads to the book’s climactic battle of Blackwater Bay, which described in vivid detail.

Like with the previous book, the story does not actually have a lot of fantasy elements, with the story focussing mainly on politics, which sets this apart from other fantasy series. The only supernatural elements here are Danaerys Targarean’s dragons and a chapter involving a supernatural shadow (and a mention of a ghost later on).

The one thing I noticed a lot more than with the first book, was that the TV series took some artistic license, mostly with the order of events, presumably for dramatic reasons and finding the best way to translate it into a ten-part serial.

In particular, I noticed that there wasn’t as much of Danaerys as I had expected, and that she hardly appeared in the first half of the book, whereas she seemed to take up a significant part of the TV show. Her dragons seemed to be less significant than they were on the show too, and her storyline (which doesn’t really seem to connect much with the others at this stage) seemed a bit harder to follow; the sequence where she enters the mysterious tower near to the end actually seemed a lot darker than it appeared on screen.

As for the other stories, I remember there was a good storyline towards the end involving Jon Snow and one of the Wildlings, which the TV series made a lot more of than it is portrayed in the book. I particularly enjoyed the sections involving Arya Stark, who spends her time pretending to be a boy and who ends up serving Tywin Lannister in Harrenhal.

Overall, I thought this book was an enjoyable sequel, which made me want to keep reading the series (as well as watching the TV show), despite the usual grittiness and unflinchingly violent scenes that make George R.R. Martin’s work a lot more adult in nature than other fantasy books I have read. The book has a good way of hinting at things that are to come, with references to “the dead walking” and one mention of the phrase, “White Walkers” (someone has explained to me what these are now). I noticed the concept of “Wargs” introduced here, which I initially found confusing, mainly because in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, a Warg is a wolf-like creature; I did find out from the DVD special features that this means a person who can spiritually inhabit the body of an animal, and from what I’ve seen of the third season so far, they play a greater part further on in the series.

One other thing I noticed was that compared to the TV series, the ending seemed a bit abrupt; it is actually a good chapter, following on from atrocities committed by the psychotic Theon Greyjoy, but I was expecting it to have the same ending as Season 2 of Game of Thrones, which was absolutely epic, and chilling. I am assuming this was more creative license on the part of the TV show, and that this was in fact from the next book: A Storm of Swords Part One: Steel and Snow.

Next book: Does God Believe in Atheists?: How past atheist and agnostic thinking shapes peoples' thinking today (John Blanchard)
smirk by geekilicious

Book 69

Specters In Coal DustSpecters In Coal Dust by Michael Knost

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I met the editor of this anthology in a booksamillion in Barboursville WV and I hate to say it, it took me a while to work this into the reading pile. I was more interested in chatting with him than paying attention to the blurb. I thought this was a collection of real hauntings but it's actually an anthology of coal mine ghosts.

That's fine. My grandfathers were miners. I've lost family members to the mines like many of the protagonists to be found in this anthology. The one thing I did have to do was read one story then go find something else because sometimes in anthologies the theme is hewned to so closely the stories begin to feel like they're all the same.

The authors in this vary wildly from the well known ones like Christopher Golden and Michael Bracken to authors who were completely new. The stories vary in quality like most anthologies but over all the quality is high. One of my favorites was a very short one about a miner using the hair of his newly dead wife as bowstrings (mostly because it was different than most) and the Shoogling Jenny with its hints of Scotland. Like I said most were good and no real clinkers.

If you have an interest in coal mining, appalachia and ghosts you might like this.

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