George V. Reilly

Review: Fire and Blood

Title: Fire and Blood
Author: George R.R. Martin
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2018
Pages: 736
Keywords: fantasy
Reading period: 28 December, 2018–1 January, 2019

I've been waiting longer than most for George R.R. Martin to finish the A Song of Fire and Ice series: I read the first book when it was newly published in paperback in 1997. Fire and Blood is a new addition to the series, but it is a prequel and does not advance the plot at all. This book is a history of the first half of the three hun­dred–year reign of the Targaryen dynasty, the dragon riders who conquered Westeros with their fire­breath­ing dragons. The Game of continue.

Review: The Heart's Invisible Furies

Title: The Heart's Invisible Furies
Author: John Boyne
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Hogarth
Copyright: 2017
Pages: 592
Keywords: fiction, gay, irish
Reading period: 30 October, 2018

Before I begin to describe The Heart's Invisible Furies with abundant spoilers, let me say two things. Despite what I describe below, the book is very funny, as Cyril recounts his frequent fuckups. You would never know, from reading the back cover or the excerpted reviews inside, that Cyril is gay. Yet Cyril's sexuality is the central theme of the book. I can only assume that this is a marketing decision, with which I strongly disagree.

16-year-old Catherine is forced out of her Cork village by the parish continue.

Review: Skinny Dip

Title: Skinny Dip
Author: Carl Hiaasen
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Warner
Copyright: 2004
Pages: 496
Keywords: humor, crime
Reading period: 18–19 February, 2017

Joey Perrone is very surprised to find herself thrown off a cruise ship on her second wedding an­niver­sary. After a night of swimming, she washes up on a small Florida island in the company of a pre­ma­ture­ly retired in­ves­ti­ga­tor. Joey persuades Mick Stranahan not to report the attempted murder, but instead to in­ves­ti­gate and torment her worthless husband, Chaz, who turns out to be a biostitute for a major polluter of the Everglades, as well as a relentless pussyhound, an inept killer, and an all-round shitheel.

Hiaasen has a lot continue.

Review: I Shall Wear Midnight

Title: I Shall Wear Midnight
Author: Terry Pratchett
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Harper
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 355
Keywords: humor, fantasy
Reading period: 3–5 February, 2017

Tiffany Aching is now the overworked and overly re­spon­si­ble Witch of the Chalk. People everywhere are fearing and dis­trust­ing witches more. When her patient, the ailing Baron dies, she is blamed. Other troubles multiply. Eventually she realizes that the Cunning Man, a long-dead witchfind­er, is seeping poison into people's hearts. Aided by the trou­ble­mak­ing Nac Mac Feegle, she defeats him.

Rec­om­mend­ed.

I Shall Wear Midnight follows The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, and Win­ter­smith.

Review: Gone, Baby, Gone

Title: Gone, Baby, Gone
Author: Dennis Lehane
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: William Morrow
Copyright: 1998
Pages: 256
Keywords: crime
Reading period: 7 January–3 February, 2017

Four-year-old Amanda McCready has dis­ap­peared. Her aunt, desperate to find her, engages PIs Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro to find the child. The mother, Helene, is drunken, slatternly, and neglectful: in short, unfit and un­sym­pa­thet­ic. Kenzie and Gennaro don't want the case—the odds of finding Amanda alive and unharmed are low. They'll go through hell before they succeed.

This book veers from blackly funny to gutwrench­ing. Kenzie and Gennaro come up against the worst of the worst and against decent people doing wrong for reasons that seem right continue.

Review: The Rhesus Chart

Title: The Rhesus Chart
Author: Charles Stross
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Ace
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 359
Keywords: Love­craft­ian spy thriller
Series: Laundry Files, vol. 5
Reading period: 27–29 January, 2017

“Don't be silly,” Bob, said Mo, “everyone knows vampires don't exist!” Thus opens The Rhesus Chart. We quickly come to realize that vampires do exist and we come to wonder why everyone in the Laundry is so dog­mat­i­cal­ly sure that they don't. One of the nest of baby vampires that sets the plot in motion is Bob's toxic ex-girlfriend, Mhari, who manages to convince the Laundry that they should recruit her clutch rather than ex­ter­mi­nate them. But there are old vampires who have continue.

Review: The Apocalypse Codex

Title: The Apocalypse Codex
Author: Charles Stross
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Ace
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 336
Keywords: Love­craft­ian spy thriller
Series: Laundry Files, vol. 4
Reading period: 22–26 January, 2017

A major American fun­da­men­tal­ist preacher has drawn dis­turbing­ly close to the British Prime Minister, and the more the Laundry looks, they more alarmed they become. Hacker/com­pu­ta­tion­al de­mo­nolo­gist/Laundry agent Bob Howard is leveling up with the Laundry and he has been assigned to “External Assets”, the wing that deals with deniable freelance agents. Bob, Persephone Hazard, and Johnny McTavish are sent to Colorado to in­ves­ti­gate Golden Promise Ministries. There they find a hidden cult within the church where the members are possessed by alien parasites that continue.

Review: The Atrocity Archives

Title: The Atrocity Archives
Author: Charles Stross
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Ace
Copyright: 2004
Pages: 345
Keywords: Love­craft­ian spy thriller
Series: Laundry Files, vol. 1
Reading period: 10–12 January, 2017

Bob Howard, Laundry hacker newly promoted to field agent, finds himself protecting a logic professor from rogue SS-Ahnenerbe agents who've been hiding in another dimension since the end of the War. But their biggest problem is the frost giant that was summoned. And later there's the subverted CCTV cameras with the basilisk stare.

To borrow Charlie Stross's own words from his Crib Sheet:

So there you've got the in­gre­di­ents. Love­craft­ian horror; the secret agency [the Laundry] dedicated to protecting us from the scum of continue.

Review: Boiling Point

Title: Boiling Point
Author: Frank Lean
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Arrow
Copyright: 2000
Pages: 432
Keywords: crime, UK
Reading period: 2–5 January, 2017

Dave Cunane is Man­ches­ter's mouthiest PI. He gets tangled up with the wild daughter-in-law of the crooked Carlyle family. Marti wants him to prove the innocence of her father who's doing life for killing a cop. She doesn't go over well with Dave's own half-crazy girlfriend. Neither the Carlyles nor Dave's ex-police father want Vince King freed. It's not going to end well.

Review: Death of a Red Heroine

Title: Death of a Red Heroine
Author: Qiu Xiaolong
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Soho Crime
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 464
Keywords: crime, China
Reading period: 27 December, 2016–6 January, 2017

Chen Cao is an unlikely new Chief Inspector in the Shanghai Police in 1990, as he's a poet, a scholar of T.S. Eliot, and a translator of English detective novels. In Death of a Red Heroine, a national model worker has been found murdered in a canal. The death is po­lit­i­cal­ly sensitive and Chen's in­ves­ti­ga­tion leads him towards the son of a high-ranking cadre, which makes his position even more tenuous.

Qiu is as much concerned with the changes then happening continue.

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