June 23, 2018 - June 29, 2018
Kenneth Johnson’s ‘The Darwin Variant’ is engaging novel
calculate that a comet will impact Earth, chaos reigns, but the worst is
yet to come in Kenneth Johnson’s sci-fi thriller, “The Darwin Variant.”
The vast cast of
characters ranges from scientists to high-school students, and all of
them have a stake in the world-changing possibilities if the celestial
body strikes Earth. Each character tells his or her individual story,
providing depth in all of the players in this scenario.
and some high-tech weaponry provide a solution to the dilemma, the world
cheers as the comet breaks up. Except for some small pieces, the damage
is visibly minimal. Unfortunately, a mysterious virus was encased inside
the cold ice, and when this strange life form encounters the Earth’s
atmosphere, it thrives. A young high-school couple is the first to
discover the strange substance. They become aggressive and ruthless at
the expense of others. Soon animals start exhibiting signs of excessive
violence, and plants exposed to this virus are invaded and overrun by a
new genetic code. It quickly moves past isolation, and if the slow
permutation isn’t stopped, everyone will become infected.
Johnson takes the
scenario of fear of collision with a rogue object from space and turns
it on its head by making things worse after everything seems resolved.
This approach turns the narrative into a contemporary version of the
paranoid classic film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and a dose of the
propaganda film from World War II “Triumph of the Will” by alluding to
the seeds of a new master race. Fans of Johnson will also see echoes of
“V,” his television show from the 1980s.
Johnson has written
another engaging novel. (AP)
June 16, 2018 - June 22, 2018
Action is fast-paced in Laird Barron's 'Blood Standard'
Isaiah Coleridge, muscle for the
Chicago mob's Alaska subsidiary, isn't your typical Mafia hit man.
He's college educated, frequently
alludes to Greek and Roman classics and relishes his underworld moniker
Coleridge kills without remorse
until two of his bosses invite him on a boat ride and blaze away at a
herd of walruses, planning to butcher them for ivory. There, he
discovers that his capacity for violence has limits.
He chops one wiseguy in the throat,
points a gun at the other and flees, turning up at a remote New York
farm whose New Age owners take in all manner of lost souls.
That's where the heart of Laird
Barron's tale begins. "Blood Standard" is his first noir crime novel,
but he's no novice, having won the Shirley Jackson Award three times for
horror and gothic fantasy.
Coleridge is settling in at the
farm when one of its denizens — a teenage girl fresh out of lockup —
goes missing. Coleridge doesn't like her, but nevertheless sets out to
track her down.
His pursuit soon pits him against
white supremacists, a Native American criminal gang, the New York mafia,
a team of former mercenaries, corrupt local cops, a bent FBI agent and
nearly every modern villain short of Voldemort.
Along the way, he is shot, stabbed
and bludgeoned beyond the endurance of mere mortals. But Hercules gives
worse than he gets, and he cannot be deterred.
The action is fast-paced, the
characters well drawn, the settings vivid and the hardboiled prose
quirky in the manner of a writer who cut his teeth on horror and poetry.
Coleridge, son of a special ops
officer who got away with killing his wife, muses about his fate: "Only
a fool believes he can prevail against what has been bred into blood and
June 9, 2018 - June 15, 2018
Cohen hilariously tackles work-life balance in ‘The Glitch’
Shelley Stone is a hard-working CEO
of a Silicon Valley tech company that sells a small device called a
Conch, which helps improve everyday life. The Conch offers helpful
advice and prompts such as “take an umbrella” or “turn left on Main
Street” when worn. Unfortunately, the tiny piece of technology has
recently been known to encourage owners to “jump off the bridge.”
Shelley was struck by lightning as a teenager, so nothing seems
implausible to her at this point in her life. She approaches every
challenge with clear and precise thinking, no matter how absurd the
problem may appear. She’s a master at efficiency and will stop at
nothing to make sure the Conch glitch is handled carefully — even if it
means remaining at work until the early hours of the morning.
Her company is her life. Although blogs and newspaper articles make
her seem like a supermom, the reality is that a team of people help
Shelley care for her family. She doesn’t see a problem with this
lifestyle until her husband volunteers to exit his own rat race so he
can see the kids more often. Shelley feels a twinge of guilt. Should she
want to stay home more often instead of flying around the world
delivering TED talks?
On top of her husband’s highly unusual revelation, Shelley begins to
experience her own Conch abnormalities. When she meets another woman
overseas who looks like a much younger version of herself, her Conch
instructs her to “meet Shelley Stone.” The young girl has the same eyes,
the same scars and knows intimate details of her life. Is this woman a
lookalike? Is she Shelley from the future? Or has Shelley reached a
critical point in her non-stop schedule that has finally resulted in a
“The Glitch” takes a hard look at the definition of work-life
balance. Through hilarious antics and sensational story lines, author
Elisabeth Cohen encourages readers to slow down, take a breath and
consider the perspective of a younger you. Would that person think you
are living your best life?
June 2, 2018 - June 8, 2018
Author unravels new view
of Cinderella story
Have you ever considered the beloved
fairy tale of Cinderella from the perspective of the evil stepmother? What
if she wasn’t wicked at all, but a loving woman who cared deeply for all of
her children? Danielle Teller’s debut novel, “All the Ever Afters: The
Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother,” answers this question with a
fascinating reimagining of the original tale.
Before Agnes was an “evil” stepmother,
she was a laundry girl and a housemaid. Agnes is strong, independent and a
hard worker, but that doesn’t stop her from being seduced by a young man who
has no intention of marrying her once it’s evident that she’s pregnant.
Agnes is asked to leave her housemaid
job and finds sanctuary in a nearby village. Even though her “traveling
husband” is barely around, she eventually makes a home for him and their two
daughters. Her determination to survive pushes her forward in life.
When tragedy strikes on all fronts,
Agnes is forced to send the girls to school while she takes a job as a
nursemaid to the infant daughter of the manor’s Lord and Lady. The child’s
name is Elfida. Everyone calls her Ella.
Agnes develops a sweet bond with Ella
and treats the young girl as her own. She raises Ella to be kind, gentle and
full of compassion. Sadly, after Ella’s mother suddenly dies Agnes is left
running the household, as well as raising the Lord’s daughter. It only makes
sense for the two to eventually marry. Agnes doesn’t want to be a spinster.
The Lord doesn’t want to raise a young girl on his own. With Ella already
attached to Agnes, the union seems logical.
After they marry, Agnes brings her
daughters back to live at the manor. Ella is threatened by the unique bond
between Agnes and her other daughters. She broods in the attic, befriends
rodents and whines when Agnes suggests that Ella isn’t grateful for all her
father has given their family. As punishment, Agnes makes her do laundry for
an entire day. Soon after, rumors begin to swirl that Agnes forces Ella to
live in the attic and do the cleaning for the entire manor. What’s worse is
that Agnes has refused to let Ella go to the king’s ball.
“All the Ever Afters” provides a unique
view of Ella’s circumstances and how the young girl was far from perfect.
Readers will feel empathy for Agnes, consider various misunderstandings and
think twice before labeling her as wicked.