After reading and thoroughly enjoying Eden Darry’s debut published novel, “The House,” I was looking forward to reading her sophomore effort, “Vanished.” Although after reading its blurb, I realised that it wasn’t going to be a horror story, rather, a speculative fiction, more like. I was intrigued to see how Darry weaved an apocalyptic/dystopia story, even though this particular sub-genre of spec fic isn’t my usual cuppa.
In the first few pages, I realised that this “end-of-the-world” story was going to have a heavy religious connotation throughout. Two words: NOAH’S ARK. Even if you’re not from the Christian/Muslim/Jewish persuasion, I’m sure you’ve heard about it since it’s been so mainstreamed already. Anyway, Darry started off the book with a huge storm and then a massively blinding white light descending upon the MCs (and the rest of the world), which caused the vanishing of just about everyone overnight! Well, except for the select (“chosen”) few including Ellery and Loveday, the 2 MCs, along with their pet dog and cat.
When Carsen Taite releases a book especially when it’s something to do with US criminal law/legal matters, I get very excited because as you may know, Taite’s my official go-to author for all things US criminal law-related. I love all her law-related books because I can always feel this sense of authenticity, the level of detail and knowledge that Taite innately injects into her stories. I love authors who use their other professional expertise to validate and substantiate the realism of the cases/plots weaved. For me, it makes for a better, more convincing, more informed read when I believe in what’s being written and told. But that’s just me, so…!
Anyway, back to Taite’s latest legal romance outing, “Leading the Witness,” which I read it in one short sitting. First off, I was already intrigued by what the blurb revealed about the story, the plot and the MCs. A seasoned prosecutor, a zealous defence attorney hellbent on grilling law enforcement witnesses in all her cases (aka a chip on her shoulder but as a result of very legitimate reasons which readers will get to discover as the story progressed), two attorneys with opposing methodologies in trying criminal cases, a high profile child kidnap case, an old equally high-profile child kidnap case resurfacing that was related to one of the MCs, not to mention, both MCs butting heads in every step of the way whilst also being attracted to each other! Intriguing, innit? But then, as I started reading it, I must say, how this story unfolded from the start was an unexpected one for me because going into the story, mindful of what the blurb alluded to in regard to the plot, I was prepared for what I thought would be Taite’s usual writing structure and storytelling style. Alas, it wasn’t and my intrigue level increased exponentially! For me, this was not the usual style that Taite uses in her writing and story-weaving of a crime-and-law-related plot and romance.
Brenda Murphy‘s latest, “Complex Dimensions,” is the fourth installment of her Rowan House Series (if you haven’t read any of it, you should!). In this installment, although there were characters from two of the previous instalments making appearances, this story was purely about an ex-con trying to make a life of her own after losing everything – her girlfriend, her academia, her future – by signing up as a horse barn manager at the exclusive and elusive Rowan House in Skye, Scotland.
I was intrigued by Murphy’s choice of the title – Complex Dimensions. Complex dimension is a mathematical term used to refer to the dimension of shapes, i.e. the complex manifold or the complex algebraic variety (figures shown below), with real and imaginary points.
Within a complex dimension, you can find strange attractors, which make fractals – infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales, driven by recursion, they are images of dynamic systems – picture of chaos, nonlinear and unpredictable. So expect the unexpected, so to speak. An example of a strange attractor would be the Lorenz attractor (figure below), with a butterfly shape, which the term butterfly effect is derived from. These two mathematical terms, complex dimensions and strange attractors which Murphy briefly used in one scene to describe the main character’s academic interest and research, imo, symbolised the love story between she and the other MC.
Ok, I feel like I owe it to Michelle Larkin to write a little bit of something about my experience with this book seeing that I might’ve been too hasty in relegating it to the bottom pile of my TBR list before! But for some reason, I picked this book to read and it was nothing like I expected. At all!
First, it was funny throughout, with lovable MCs and secondary characters! Never read a shape-shifter MC to be this funny, fun, and adorably likeable all throughout the story! Usually there’d be a layer of darkness in the shape-shifter, but Aspen, who’s also the “Chosen One” of the shape-shifting community, only had light in her. I absolutely loved all the funny, flirty, cheeky, mischievous banters between Aspen and Tora (the awkward, aloof, ice queen doc). In fact I loved the natural chemistry that Aspen seemed to have with everyone, particularly, Tora, Skye and her “pops,” Oscar! Their interactions, when you read the book, were portrayed with such authenticity that I believed they were like family. That was certainly a surprise to me because I didn’t get that kinda chemistry or rapport in dialogues from Larkin’s previous book.
*This commentary applies to all 3 installments of “21 Weeks” (Weeks 1-7, 8-14 & 15-21)*
How do you catch a perfect killer?
R.A. LaShea‘s tour de force of a serial crime saga, “21 Weeks” that spanned out in 3 7-week installments, is prolly the best constructed and executed crime procedural series I’ve ever read in any fic yet! Thanks to an enthusiastic recommendation from one of my GR mates (Cheers, Farah!), I grabbed a copy and never looked back! My goodness! It was like watching the entire case on-screen! So meticulous. So methodical. So absorbing and addictive. In fact, LaShea’s design of the entire case is so ready to be adapted from book-to-screen. imho! “21 Weeks” is truly one of the most original serial crimes created, what with the types of killings constructed and the methodology of solving it.
First off, I was immediately drawn to the aesthetic structure of LaShea’s presentation of her story – dividing it into weeks. Reminded me of the TV series, “24,” but instead of every episode representing one hour, this one was by week. And in each week, starting from “Week 1,” the story began with the day, the location and the time, reminiscent of the TV series, “Law & Order.” With this technique, I discovered that my brain was processing my reading of each Week as if it were a week instead of my usual reading time of x minutes to finish a chapter (Week). In essence, the constant display of the day and time on the pages tricked my brain into slowing down the reading time lapse to match LaShea’s. I can’t explain it any other way, so if you think I’m bonkers, maybe I am! Ignore this! Anyway, it literally brought Beck and Co.’s entire investigation of each homicide to life, for me, making my experience much more acute! In addition to this effective structure of presentation, one of the best bits was that I felt like LaShea gave me, the reader, the opportunity to work through and determine the killer’s modus operandi myself rather than spoon-feeding me, you know? Simply brilliant!
Thanks to one of my GR mates’ HIGHLY recommended read (cheers, F/F!), I finally had the chance to do so. Let’s just say I devoured it! I mean, in the beginning, it was just a normal read for me as I swiped each page like any other book, but something clicked. I noticed just how smooth the language was flowing, the rhythm of the interactions was like a melody playing every movement as the story development progressed throughout the book. It was so organically written and presented, I began to feel like I was on this same journey with Kris and Julianne, observing and witnessing everything they both were experiencing, internally and externally, along with the people around them. Diaz literally wrote a detailed chronicle of two people’s lives in whole. It was literally real-life in words. I have a feeling this story’s a deeply personal one for her. The authentic feel was made even more realistic with witty and humorous dialogues and situations! I could hear the NY dry sense of humour and its accent through Diaz’s incredibly personal conversational dialogues. The monologues were resonating. Needless to say, I was addicted to Julianne and Kris’ story, wanting to know what happened next! I couldn’t swipe and scroll the pages fast enough! Because of the realism that Diaz injected into this story and how she told it, everyone in both Kris and Julianne’s lives was depicted and portrayed with equal fervour, I loved all of them, even the antagonists, because in real life, we DO have these characters around us, don’t we?
One word. Sandman. On the book cover. The text almost translucent, as if trying to hide in plain sight with its colour melding into the sandy beach with an ominous-looking sky looming above the troubled waters.
What is Sandman?
When I first heard about Tammy Bird‘s debut novel, “Sandman,” I was immediately curious. First, the cryptic title, which set my mind whirling trying to ascertain its meaning or symbolism. The aesthetically unsettling cover closed the deal for me. SOLD.
Then, the fact that the revealed plot from the blurb was twofold – a search-and-rescue effort post-hurricane and what was lurking in the sand dunes. I thought that was a fascinating approach to writing in the crime thriller genre in lesfic. Needless to say, I utterly enjoyed the story as a whole. I was glad to discover that there were more than met the eye, beyond the twofold-plotline blurb! Truth be told, I actually didn’t read the blurb before I read the book because I was so intrigued by the title that I wanted to find out for myself including what the case would entail. I must say, I was surprised when I went back to read the blurb afterwards when I saw the revelation of the title’s meaning! I wish the blurb didn’t mention that, though. Oh well, it didn’t affect me because, thank goodness, I didn’t read the blurb before delving into a book this time!