Book Reports IV: Watchin’ the Detectives

This is my favorite reading category, and through friends’ recommendations and the wonderful AlsoBot, I discovered some new writers that I’ve been exploring. Here’s the last of my winter book reports.

My favorite new mystery author: Olen Steinhauer.
_Steinhauer
I started with his Milo Weaver series:
The Tourist (Book 1)
The Nearest Exit (Book 2)
An American Spy (Book 3)
… and I’m now am exploring his backlist.
A lot of reviewers will compare him to John le Carré, because of the emotional depth and turmoil of his professional spies, the details about trade craft, and the convoluted plotting. But Steinhauer’s voice is of the next generation. (I’m not dinging le Carré on anything; he’s set a standard almost no one can reach.)
The lead character is captivating, and the criss-cross nature of the stories kept me would up to the very end of the series. Continue reading

Book Reports III: Historical Fiction

Another installment, reporting on my winter’s reading adventures. I write historical fiction (as E.A. Stewart), but I didn’t do a very good job this winter of reading deeply in the genre. Instead, I got hooked on a few series and read compulsively.    

__ChisolmP.F. Chisolm’s Sir Robert Carey Mystery series:
I didn’t stop to breathe while consuming these Elizabethan period mysteries—and generally I loathe reading anything in that period.
A Famine of Horses (Book 1)
A Season of Knives (Book 2)
A Surfeit of Guns (Book 3)
A Plague of Angels (Book 4)
A Murder of Crows (Book 5)
An Air of Treason (Book 6)

Continue reading

Book Reports II: Science Fiction and Fantasy

Another chapter in my winter’s book-reading adventure. Neither SF nor fantasy are categories I read widely in any more. But here are some titles I sampled in the recent reading binge:

__MurderOfClonesA Murder of Clones: A Retrieval Artist Universe Novel: Book 3 of the Anniversary Day Saga (Retrieval Artist series 10) – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
I’ve read the previous books in the Retrieval Artist series, and am excited that Kris Rusch is publishing a book a month right now, having completed the Anniversary Day Saga. The most intriguing aspect of the world in this series is how clones are dealt with—or rather, the difficulty in a civilization to recognize the humanity in specific life forms.

Guy Gavriel Kay’s Sarantine Mosaic series:
__KaySailing to Sarantium (Book One)
Lord of Emperors (Book Two)
In many of Kay’s stories, he takes an historical world, and then twists the world by introducing fantasy elements. In the Sarantine Mosaic takes the basic history of the Emperor Justinian in Constantinople, focusing on the clash of classical and “barbarian” civilizations. The world has two moons, but otherwise seems to have Mediterranean geography like that on Terra. Good characters, a symphony of conspiracy and artistic insights—the main character is a mosaic artist who becomes enmeshed in the politics of a world that is not his own. Continue reading

My Book Reports: Coming of Age Stories

This winter, due to certain complications in my life, I had more time to read than I usually allow. Since early December, I’ve been drowning in other writers’ stories. I’m sharing links to the better stories that I read. Subsequent posts will cover books in other genre categories.

In my reading odyssey this winter, I managed to include some literary fiction amid the deluge of genre fiction I read. (Note that I share the viewpoint that “literary” is just another genre category.) For the purpose of these reviews, I’m labeling these books “coming of age” stories. Continue reading