Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dragging Wings by Jennifer Caress

Dragging Wings
Jennifer Caress
Publisher: Stone Garden
ISBN: 1-60076-117-8
Release date: TBA

Dragging Wings is book two in the Perverted Realities series, but it stands as a single, separate book.

This book took me by surprise as it is a collection of stories all interlocked by two characters: Sammy and Frankie, who seem to be trying to understand the world they live in and try to make connections with people they come across.

Jennifer Caress has brought together an interesting book with an interesting format. This book is a marketer’s worst night as it contains the genres: science fiction, horror, and dark fantasy. But together, as a whole, this book is simply: good.

The book kicks off with a great story (the best in my opinion) Take me with you, Thomas Manner. This story flows so smoothly it’s over before you know it. I cleaned this story in one sitting. The second story I struggled with, really not my cup of tea. Dandi is struggling with a her past and ends up battling her demons -- actually battling them to get back what she had lost. The third story is Noble the energy sucking vampire...and there are more amazing characters in this book. I’ll leave the rest for you to discover, but look out for Iliad, I liked this one as well.

There is a strange feel to this book as it touches several genres without choosing one and sticking with it.

Dragging Wing encompasses SpecFic full on and takes the reader on a ride into realistic characters and the lives they live.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bloodline by Michael Green

Bloodline by Michael Green
Copyright 2008
An earlier edition first published 2006 as The Crucial Gene
An Arrow Book
Random house NZ
ISBN: 978 1 86941 980 6

First off, Michael Green can tell a story. The tag line of the book is: What if your family was the last left alive? And this story is about the Chatfields and their family is the last left alive after a ‘super-SARS’ virus ravages the planet. It kills quickly and with the advent of worldwide travel, it has no borders.

The book kicks off right in the middle of the action. Mark Chatfield and his wife are aboard a plane after visiting relatives in England, when the wife gets sick. Other people on the plane are sick as well and as the plane comes to land in Singapore, the passengers are not allowed off. The plane is refuelled and sent to New Zealand.

Mark’s wife gets sicker and sicker. By the time they land, many passengers are ill and on the ground the army is in full swing. No one is allowed to leave and as Mark is the only person not sick, he is constantly tested; blood, temperature, etc.

Everyone around is dying. Mark makes a daring escape and reaches his daughter’s house in Auckland. Jane is alive and well. His son Steven is also there and the two kids. All partners are dead.

They escape the army and road gangs as they looked for somewhere else to live and decided on Gulf Harbour.

And that’s just part one. It’s hard out, full-on, and uses a lot of flashbacks. I’m not a fan of flashbacks but to get a grip on the storyline, they are needed. There are four parts to this book. Part two is a search for a relative living in Wellington. Part three is heading to England on the premise that if they survived the English branch of the family may have survived as well. But the community they find on the other side of the world is a very different one, based on the rule of fear. Not only does it look impossible to take anyone back to New Zealand, but it may also be impossible for them to escape themselves.

It is from part three that the book gathers amazing speed and really kicks into gear. I won’t describe that happen from here, suffice to say: It’s one hell of an idea and executed well.

As I have mentioned, Michael Green can tell one hell of a story and it seems almost plausible as pieces of the jigsaw come together. But I must say I wasn’t impressed with ‘tell’ style employed to ‘tell’ this story. This happened and then this happened and so forth. Quote: He fell back in fear. Would something a little more intimate be better? For example: The knowledge burned into his soul forcing him back a pace as wide eyed, he stared at... In all the writing books and all the courses writers are told not to do this. Show don’t Tell is yelled at every new author the moment they hit the block. Was Michael told? Also there was a few terrible to read pages at the start of part four. These were told in omnipresent view and destroyed the mood of the story. It didn’t last long and I think it was the only way to let the readers know the story had passed through winter.

Once I had become accustomed the Michael’s style, I found the book fast paced, and enthralling and was a little disappointed in the ending. It came too soon!

Bloodline is a book that you are either going to love or hate. I don’t think there is a middle ground. I also think this book will appeal more to men.

Michael Green is noted for his humourous book: Big Aggie sails the Gulf and for a non-fiction book: Successful Speechmaking.


Monday, April 13, 2009

The Kill Crew by Joseph D'Lacey

The Kill Crew
Joseph D’Lacey
Publisher: Stone Garden
Format: Novella 80 pages
Release date is August 10th from www.stonegarden.net
ISBN: 1-60076-141-0

This is Joseph’s first US release and it is a kicker. Usually I am not fond of first person, and present tense makes me feel like an observer, but Joseph has executed this piece of writing artistically and with grace. It didn’t read like most first person accounts and being character driven the story moved at a quick pace.

The kill crew are a group of survivors who search the city at night killing Commuters, a term given to those who didn’t survive but are still alive in a way. They are not zombies, they don’t eat flesh, and they weep as they reach for you.

Sherri is a member of the crew and she loves it, going out almost every night. And the one who narrates this story.

No one knows what happened to the world, there are theories but no one has any concrete evidence or knowledge, most just speculate. The number of survivors has dwindled to roughly two hundred and those numbers are going down but not in a way you’d expect, Joseph touches on subjects I haven’t read in most other books of this nature.

Sherri has a boyfriend, Ike, she doesn’t really like him. He was the in-between guy, the guy she was with until someone else came along. Only no one is coming anymore. Never. Sherri also has a young charge Trixie who is damaged and Sherri is trying to help fix.

In this new world, nothing works: computers, electricity, cars, watches, anything with a battery died. Then, one day out in the city (daylight is safe) looking for games for Trixie, Ike sees a Hi-Ace and for the hell of it, he climbs in...and it starts up.

This evolution of the story comes across so smoothly it seems almost natural. Joseph is an excellent story creator. I wanted to say ‘story teller’ but nothing is told in this book, everything is created around the characters, thoughts, emotions and needs.

Joseph’s style will sit well with everyone and the 80 pages will just fly by.