August 27th, 2015

smirk by geekilicious

Books 91-92

Pawn Takes Rook (Checkmate, #1)Pawn Takes Rook by Lex Chase

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pawn take Rook is a lot of fun. I’m really enjoying this new surge of Superhero fiction. I haven't seen that since George R.R. Martin's Wildcards series way back when. Pawn, Hogarth Dawson, is on the fringes of the superhero world. He wants to be a member of the Power Alliance and he used to date their leader Captain Chivalry who is deep in the closet.

A crime brings Hogarth into Rook's path, i.e. Garth is being mugged and Rook takes out the muggers before the cost of his powers renders him unconscious. Garth can’t just leave Rook lying in the street and takes him home. There begins their relationship. Memphis Rook puts me in mind more of the gritty Watchmen sort of metahuman. He has an impressive power set and it has kept him young. So he's been around for a while. Garth’s affiliation with the super humans is long too. His grandfather was counted among them once upon a time. And it seems like many people have super abilities but some aren’t as super as others. Garth can kitbash while allows him to affect and change mechanical/computer based things.

As Garth and Rook go out superheroing and getting to know each other, their relationship builds. There is a lot of snark and action. I had fun with this. Looking forward to future adventures. It’s a quick funny read.

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Except the Dying (Detective Murdoch, #1)Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I went into this backwards of my usual pattern. Usually I fall in love with a mystery series, watch it get adapted into a TV show and hate what they did with my beloved characters (Looking at you Bones and Rizzoli & Isles). But this time I've watched several seasons of The Murdoch Mysteries before coming across the book series. I expected the book to be very different. I figured that it might not have the strong female characters on the show or the steampunk-esque forensic acumen Murdoch possesses. And I was right though it's hard to judge how accurate the TV series is by just one book (that's shockingly nearly 20 years old already).

But none of that really matters. It doesn't change the fact that this was good, very good. It reminded me of Anne Perry in the early days. I did get a chuckle over the fact that both Murdoch and Crabtree are tall, over six foot and the actors are less than average in heights. Be that as it may, Murdoch was still an intriguing character. Crabtree doesn't say much and Brackenreid is probably the most changed from the series as he's rather lazy and would rather arrest the easy suspect rather than do the work.

Murdoch lives with the Kitchens and tries to help them as they have few boarders thanks to Mr. Kitchen's tuberculosis. He gets called out on the case where a young maid has been found frozen to death. She is also naked. The autopsy proves she had been dosed with opium and she was pregnant. Murdoch quickly finds the two prostitutes he believes stole Therese's, the maid, clothing and might have seen more than they're telling.

The case bounces between the poorer side of town and the wealthy. Therese was the maid of a wealthy doctor's wife. Everyone in that household has a secret Donalda Rhodes, Therese's boss, felt close to the girl but she too has secrets as does her husband and her son, Owen and even her other servants.

Murdoch has to unravel ball after ball of lies even as the killer is erasing possible witnesses. His personality shines through as he does. He's also at a disadvantage because he is a Roman Catholic in a very protestant city in a time that sort of thing truly mattered. He might as well have been a Satanist as far as some of them are concerned. Therese shared his faith so that helps spur him on.

The ending is satisfying. I'm going to look for more of these books.

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