George V. Reilly

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.

Review: Watch Your Back!

Title: Watch Your Back!
Author: Donald E. Westlake
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Warner
Copyright: 2005
Pages: 345
Keywords: crime, humor
Reading period: 9 January, 2017

Watch Your Back! is one of the last Dortmunder novels, Westlake's comic series about an unlucky crook published between 1970 and 2008. Dortmunder and his crew have a sweet lead on an unoccupied penthouse apartment, but their usual planning space, the O.J. Bar & Grill, has been turned into a bust-out joint by the Jersey mob. So now they have two jobs to pull: rob the obnoxious rich guy's art and save the O.J. Of course, com­pli­ca­tions arise because nothing ever goes to plan in a Dortmunder book.

Enjoyable.

Review: Dr. Strange

Title: Dr. Strange
Director: Scott Derrickson
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Released: 2016
Keywords: Marvel, fantasy
Watched: 7 January, 2017

Stephen Strange is a world-class surgeon whose talent is only matched by his arrogance. His hands are ruined by a car crash, leaving him desperate to regain their use. In Nepal, he finds a temple of sorcerers led by the Ancient One, where he learns new and un­sus­pect­ed ways of dealing with the world. Eventually he takes on the renegade sorcerer Kaecilius, who wants to summon Dormammu from the Dark Dimension to change the world.

Aside from his very odd American accent, Benedict Cum­ber­batch does a decent job with a not-great script of portraying continue.

Review: Basket Case

Title: Basket Case
Author: Carl Hiaasen
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Copyright: 2002
Pages: 336
Keywords: crime, humor
Reading period: 28–31 December, 2016

Basket Case, like most of Hiaasen's novels, is a humorous crime caper set in Florida. Quick-witted but neurotic reporter Jack Tagger has been exiled to the obituary department for mouthing off too often. When Jimmy Stoma, lead singer of the Slut Puppies, dies in an apparent accident, Tagger senses a potential story and a chance for a comeback. But he has to get the story before it gets taken away from him.

Hiaasen, himself a journalist, also uses the novel to explore journalism as a career and to continue.

Review: Watership Down

Title: Watership Down
Author: Richard Adams
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Avon
Copyright: 1972
Pages: 476
Keywords: fantasy
Reading period: 28 December, 2016–1 January, 2017

Upon hearing of Richard Adams' recent death, I reread Watership Down for the first time in many years. I first read it not long after Penguin published it in paperback. I believe that I was given the book for my ninth birthday in 1974, or perhaps for my tenth, but I think it was my ninth. Certainly the giver was my godfather, my Uncle Gabriel, who also gave me The Lord of the Rings and the Titus Groan nov­el­s—other books which I reread many times.

I'm happy continue.

Review: Hunted on the Fens

Title: Hunted on the Fens
Author: Joy Ellis
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Joffe Books
Copyright: 2016
Pages: 291
Keywords: police procedural
Reading period: 14 August–7 September, 2016

DI Nikki Galena and her team have been targeted by someone with a vicious grudge. One copper is dead, another is badly injured, Galena has been hounded out of her home, and civilians have been hurt too. The cops have no idea who's behind it.

The story is over­wrought but the char­ac­ter­i­za­tion was good and the story was en­ter­tain­ing.

Review: Flashman and the Angel of the Lord

Title: Flashman and the Angel of the Lord
Author: George MacDonald Fraser
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Plume
Copyright: 1994
Pages: 400
Keywords: historical fiction, humor
Reading period: 27 August–4 September, 2016
Flashman Papers X: 1858–59

Flashman and the Angel of the Lord finds Flashy back in America where everybody wants him to be the aide-de-camp to the abo­li­tion­ist John Brown, who's plotting a raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry. The Un­der­ground Railroad want him to help Brown to start a slave rebellion; Kuklos (a proto KKK) want Brown to start a civil war to cause disunion; and finally the secret service want Flashman to sabotage Brown so as to continue.

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