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Tintin in the Land of Fervour by Alain Bernard Marchand
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation ISBN: 1413413706
Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan
Alain Bernard Marchand is a Tintin aficionado- no doubt and his passion for Tintin is clearly revealed in this small work- an easy, but poignant read, running to just 109 pages.
At first when I ordered Tintin in the Land of Fervour, I was expecting a new comic, a parody or a pastiche- but what finally reached my hand was this beautiful tribute to the popularity of Tintin, one that is a must, must read for the Tintin lover, or rather Tintinologists as we are known the world over.
Marchand narrates how Tintin influenced his life, as an adventure traveler, especially while traveling in Asia. The author praises Herge for his total commitment to scientific reality, even when narrating a fictional adventure. This fact is well evinced in Explorers on the Moon, where Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock reach the moon, ten years before Neil Armstrong did it.
A first class read, and an even more worthy buy, and as the author puts it, “the book is a starting point for an intimate experience,” which I fully shared and experienced in Tintin in the land of Fervour. Kudos Eileen Reardon for translating this French work into English, for us fans, in this part of the world to enjoy.
And if the author is reading this review, I welcome you to join www.tintinologists.org, a website devoted for, devoted by and maintained by devotees of Tintin. Highly, highly recommended.
Crossing the Meadow by Kfir Luzzatto
Publisher: Echelon Press ISBN: 1590802837
Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan
Crossing the Meadows is a cross between, rather, a fine blend of the supernatural theme of that in The Sixth Sense, the horror of that in Village of the Damned and Twilight Zone, and the suspense of What Lies Beneath…- If you understand what I mean, well, that’s the theme of Crossing the Meadows. George is back in his hometown, but he finds himself a strange there, past friends, do not seem to know him, in fact they don’t even see him- and further he is haunted by a nightmare which disturbs him a lot. The only person, whom he feels he can talk to is Clara, a prostitute. Slowly he realizes that he is dead, and that he is now living in another dimension, a zone where the ordinary mortals have no access to- a sort of Zardozian style of existence. George begins to question the reasons for such an existence, and slowly finds out that they (George and Clara) are linked to a thirty-year-old murder case. What follows is fine mystery, bordering on occult, culminating in an exciting and romantic finish.
I enjoyed it, and is highly recommended.
Four Blind Mice by James Patterson
Publisher: Little Brown & Company; ISBN: ISBN: 0446613266
Alex Cross returns, this time involving cases of seemingly unrelated deaths of military personnel that soon reveals themselves to be committed by the same source. In a clever plot twist, these murders are so ingeniously executed, that only a brilliant detective such as Cross can tie them all together. Reaching back into the past of the Vietnam war, Cross works his supposedly last case as a detective with skill and style. A little romance, a lot of thrills, this is one of better Cross novels in recent memory.
Almost unwillingly, I ended up thoroughly enjoying Patterson’s latest featuring Alex Cross. And while not the most character driven novel written, its entertainment value ranks high. The perfect distraction on a wintry day, this novel provides plenty of simple fun and chilling thrills. Even its subtle attempt to make us think about the atrocities committed under the guise of patriotism comes off with just the right tone. The romances played out in the background are also written with a surprising tenderness that strikes a chord as well. It’s like meeting up with an old acquaintance with whom you’ve shared some pleasant afternoons, familiar, but with just the right amount of the unknown to keep it interesting.
The Hades Project by Justin Gustaini
Publisher: Brighid's Fire Books ISBN: 0971327866
Justin Gustainis' first novel, The Hades Project, is an explosive
horror/thriller. There is no questioning that Gustainis is an amazingly
talented storyteller. The author knows how to create three-dimensional
characters, intensely plotted scenes, and then maintains a constant,
gut-wrenching pace throughout.
Eve Missing by Ralph Pezzullo
Zumaya Publications 1-894942-37-X (purchasing info to come)
Ralph Pezzullo's debut novel, Eve
Missing, is as hard boiled a noir mystery as hard boiled can get. The writing
is skilled, crisp, raw. The fast pace is constant and rhythmic.
Cityside by Willaim Heffernan
Publisher: Akashic Books ISBN: 1888451475
Cityside, by Pulitzer Prize
nominated author, William Heffernan is a heartfelt novel. It is just as full of
tension, passion and compassion as it is conspiracy, god-like-ego and deception.
Though it takes place in the mid 1970's, it is clearly a timeless piece and
therefore, shamefully reflective of aspects of American society in nearly any
Kisscut by Karen Slaughter
Publisher: William Morrow & Co; ISBN: 0688174590
Slaughter brings back her flawed but immensely interesting characters first introduced in her novel, Blindsighted. Lena, the cop who is still recovering from her kidnapping and rape, and Sara and Jeffrey, the Pediatrician and Police Chief who are working towards revitalizing their failed marriage. They come together when a young girl draws a gun on a young boy, resulting in her own death when Jeffrey is forced to shoot. The further they search for answers, the more apparent it becomes that a large and threatening evil has chosen their small town in the pursuit of new victims. The young and innocent are at risk, and the three must look towards those they trust to find the evil lurking behind the mask.
Simply put, this isn’t an easy book to read. Slaughter unflinchingly and honestly faces the issues of childhood sexual abuse with all the seriousness and rage it deserves. Never patronizing or giving easy answers, she explores the subject ruthlessly and relentlessly, which can leave the reader feeling shattered and angry. The characters themselves are all too human as they face, and attempt to conquer, this insidious evil. Sometimes winning, but more often failing. Their struggles with their own personal demons, and there are many of these as well, remain an important aspect of the novel, making the reader care and hope for a happy outcome. Finally, be aware that the suspense is unbearable, the pacing brisk, and the emotional impact intense. A definite achievement from Slaughter, whom I suspect will be around for a long, long time.
Cold Justice by Jonnie Jacobs
Publisher: Kensington Pub Corp; ISBN
Eight years ago Kali O’Brien helped put a serial killer to death while working for the D.A.’s office. But when the murder of her close friend appears to have striking similarities to those thought solved, she is once again brought into the D.A.’s office to help solve the crime. When other murders follow, she begins to doubt if the right man was put to death all those years ago. Successful, beautiful women are dying, and Kali fears she may be next. With the help of attractive Detective Bryce Keating, and Detective Lou Fortune, they race against time to find the killer before he strikes again.
Although not a single courtroom scene appears in this latest thriller from Jacobs, Kali’s personal connection to the case makes this a far more interesting read than her previous novels in the series. Several false clues are thrown in for the reader to decipher, making this a challenging puzzle to solve as well. The possible new romance for Kali also adds depth to the story, bringing the characters into a little more focus than previous titles, and readers will delight in watching Kali struggle with her growing feelings for a man who may just be Mr. Right, or who may just be a killer. An exciting read, this comes highly recommended.
A Higher Justice by James Scott Bell
Publisher: Bethany House ISBN: 0764226460
Retired attorney, James Scott Bell is an award-winning
author. He has written many thrillers, and has co-authored a handful more with
Tracie Peterson. His latest novel, A Higher Justice, is the second in a series
featuring female attorney Kit Shannon. The story takes place in Los Angeles in
the early 1900's. Filled with history and culture from the times, this engaging
novel is unsurpassable in quality and content by any legal novel being published
today from more known best selling authors.
High Water by Lynn Hightower
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company, Inc.; ISBN: 0805067566 June
When Georgie Smallwood’s mother dies unexpectedly, it raises a red flag for Georgie, who has always distrusted her own father. But when he dies just a few short days later, Georgie is faced with even more troubling questions. Not sure if it relates to her father’s scandalous past, or too a more recent threat, Georgie and her two siblings race to find the answers before more tragedy strikes the family. But once her own sister is arrested for the death of her father, the mystery becomes even more pressing to solve.
I just love Hightower’s voice. Her delicate balance of suspense and emotion always please. Her characters are consistently three dimensional, and in her latest, she once again makes them come alive with ease. The secrets and misunderstandings that often lie behind most family’s facades are easily understood and treated with a startling and realistic touch that makes the rest of the story that much more believable. The reader can easily relate to the tragedies that have shaped these colorful characters, even if they seem to happen to this particular family a bit more than would be considered usual. A tightly woven story, this is a must read sure to make new fans and please old fans alike.
4 1/2 bolts
A BODY IN THE BATHHOUSE By Lindsey Davis
The latest book in Lindsey Davis's Marcus Didius Falco series has a plot as intricate as the mosaic floor in a Roman bathhouse, an apt simile given that the story opens with the finding of a putrefying body under the hypocaust of Falco's father's house.
Nothing in Falco's life is ever simple. Working as an Informer (Rome's version of a private eye), Falco is often called upon by the Emperor Vespasian to handle delicate matters. Working for the emperor is fraught with potential pitfalls, and this time the plot is complicated by the fact that Falco's widowed sister Maia is trying to break off an ill-advised liaison with the emperor's spymaster, a dangerous man to cross.
Falco quickly learns who killed the man under the bathhouse; unfortunately, they've scarpered off to Britain to work on a new palace for a vassal king who is politically vital to Vespasian. The emperor wants Falco to go Britain to investigate cost overruns and slow progress on the project. Aficionados of Roman Britain will be pleased that Davis has chosen a real archaeological site, Fishbourne, on which to base her story.
Falco sees a way to keep his Emperor happy, track down the killers, and get Maia away from the loathsome Anacrites. He packs up his family, including the dog Nux, and shanghais his sister and they're off to scenic Britain. Also along for the ride are Falco's brothers-in-law, young men of dubious intelligence, but whom he is duty-bound to take into the family business, unless he wants to feel the rough side of his lovely wife's tongue. Helena is no shy Roman matron, she's a woman of intelligence, wealth and standing who has married beneath her station, and she's not hesitant about pursuing her own agenda when it seems necessary.
The new Falco adventure has all the twists and turns of plot we expect from Lindsey Davis. Her extensive research into the world of Imperial Rome gives texture to the story without intruding into the reader's consciousness. Successful historical mystery writers convey the flavour of the time without slowing the plot with indigestible lumps of information, and Davis does this as smoothly as a dormouse in honey.
There's a cast of characters only slightly smaller than Ben Hur, which the reader can keep track of with the dramatis personae at the start of the book. It would have been nice to have a glossary to tell us more about some of the places and things mentioned, but that's a small quibble, and easily remedied by consulting a dictionary of classical history. We don't really need to know what a totter is to understand what Falco means when he describes his younger daughter as "tough as a totter's ferret."
As regular readers of Falco will expect, the crimes are eventually solved and the plot twists explained, but not until Falco overcomes a number of difficulties, including unspeakably primitive English inns, a whingeing nanny, hired assassins, snotty civil servants, unreliable allies and an abscessed molar. This book is a lot of fun, with nice touches of (usually black) humour. Falco has similarities to Robert Parker's Spenser; if you like your PI's hard-boiled but soft-centred, try "A Body in the Bathhouse".