Monthly Archives: January 2014

King and Maxwell, by David Baldacci

King and Maxwell, by David Baldacci

King and Maxwell, by David Baldacci

Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are ex-Secret Service agents, now turned private eyes. The story begins with a chance meeting with a teenaged boy, running through the streets. The pair follow, as Michelle wants to make sure the boy isn’t in any trouble. Turns out, the boy, Tyler Wingo, has just learned that his father, an Army Special Forces officer, has been killed in Afghanistan. Something about the details of the Sam Wingo’s death seem off to King and Maxwell, and when Tyler gets an email from his dad, sent after he “died,” the young man asks the duo to investigate. What starts out to be a simple investigation turns into something much more when they draw the attention of some powerful government agencies that have deemed Sam Wingo to be a traitor. With the help of Edgar, their friendly computer whiz, and Dana, Sean King’s ex-wife, King and Maxwell embark on a mission to clear Sam Wingo’s name, uncover the true traitor, and keep everyone alive while doing so.

This is my first David Baldacci book, and so this is my first exposure to King and Maxwell. It is the sixth book in the King and Maxwell series, but you can read this as a stand-alone title. I enjoyed the book, as I enjoyed the relationship between the two detectives as well as the fast-paced action of the story. Baldacci’s writing is confident, and he deftly weaves the various political plot threads together in a way they all make sense. The one thing I found lacking was the motivation of the villain…I had trouble believing that this person could hold such a serious grudge for so long. I suspended my disbelief, in this case, as the rest of the story was well-told. I do think I’m going to have to read the previous book in the series, as I would love to read Edgar’s back story; he seemed a fascinating character.


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Archetype, by M. D. Waters

Archetype, by M.D. Waters

Archetype, by M.D. Waters

Emma Burke wakes up in a hospital, with no memories of how she got there and of her life before. As she becomes stronger, her husband Declan and her doctor fill in her past, telling her she was attacked by enemies of Declan. These enemies are fighting Declan’s company, and are against his plan to improve the fertility rates among women in a world where babies are an increasingly rare thing. Declan is handsome and charming, and seems to genuinely care about Emma; surely he cares about others as much as he cares about her. But Emma’s dreams hint of a darker, harsher reality, one where girls are trained in large camps to be wives, and where the world is caught up in the turmoil of war. When Emma picks up a paintbrush and starts painting, it as if she is painting directly from the life of another. A man named Noah Tucker seems to recognize the memories captured on Emma’s canvases, and she is shocked to realize that her dreams may be the key to changing the world.

Archetype is a rare book: it’s a brilliant blend of science fiction, romance, and mystery. The writing is fresh, and the storytelling inventive. You uncover the truth of Emma’s life as she does, and see, through her eyes, as her reality begins to unravel, revealing something new and unexpected. I won’t spoil it by giving away any more than that. Read it and enjoy it. I am already looking forward to the second book, titled Prototype, coming out in July.

My copy of Archetype was provided through Edelweiss at This title will be available on February 6, 2014.

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The Martian, by Andy Weir

The Martian, by Andy Weir

The Martian, by Andy Weir

Mark Watney is a funny guy. A funny engineering botanist guy who just happens to work on Mars. Mark works with five other scientists at the Ares 3 base on Mars. Everything is going swimmingly–experiments are running, scientific data is being taken, and human-type folks are generally learning more about Mars–until one day, a terrible storm threatens to destroy the Ares 3 orbital return vehicle. The humans, under threat of being stranded on Mars without a return vehicle, make a hasty decision to abort the mission. They flee for the escape vehicle, and blast off. And, unfortunately for funny guy Mark Watney, they leave him behind.

“The Martian” is about Mark Watney as he attempts to survive his ordeal on Mars. Mark’s sense of humor comes into play as he tries to figure out how he might live long enough for the Ares 4 team to rescue him. Mark’s role on the Ares 3 team was to “fix stuff,” and boy does he get the chance to do a lot of fixing. In full MacGyver mode, he cuts and tapes and seals his way along, adding to his survival time. As he grows potatoes, listens to disco music, and watches old reruns of “Three’s Company,” we, the reader realize that the real reason Mark Watney continues to survive is that he is a funny guy: his ability to see the humor in all his various situations is the reason he is able to surmount them.

“The Martian” contains all that is good in a story; we have a stalwart hero in Mark, a worthy villain in the living conditions on Mars, and the support of cheering masses of the people of Earth. We have science, we have engineering, we have admirable use of duct tape, and we have lots and lots of humor. Mark Watney embodies all that is best in humanity, and in the attempt to save him, the humans of Earth shine as well. A brilliant story, brilliantly told.

Advanced reading copy supplied by Netgalley. “The Martian” by Andy Weir is available February 11, 2014.

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Snowblind, by Christopher Golden

Snowblind Cover, by Christopher Golden

Snowblind, by Christopher Golden

The New England town of Coventry is no stranger to bad weather in winter, but one blizzard in particular will be remembered for years to come. In this particular blizzard, people die, and under the most mysterious circumstances. Was it natural, or something more? Jake, whose little brother Isaac was killed in the storm, has convinced himself that it was just a natural event, that Isaac simply fell to his death out of his bedroom window during the storm. The icy hands that seemed to clutch at Isaac through the window screen and pull him to his death? Surely those were the nightmare memories of his younger self, images created by his grief in losing his little brother. Detective Joe Keenan was a beat officer then, one who saw two children die in that storm, and who has never gotten over the loss. Sometimes he wonders why one of the boy’s father disappeared in the storm without a trace, but figures his body was simply lost in endless drifts, and never found. And yet, Jake and Joe wonder, in the dark of the night, when they are all alone with their thoughts…maybe, just maybe, events cannot be explained so simply. Maybe, just maybe, something more terrible than the storm came to town that terrible day, something evil and deadly…

“Snowblind,” by Christopher Golden, is the type of story you do not want to read alone. Even if you read it in a room full of people, you will feel the bite of the bitter winter chill, and the menace that taints the blustery blizzard wind. This is a story of something mysterious, something waiting beyond your rattling door and frost covered windows. Something that can turn your nightmares to ice and freeze your screams in your throat.

I’ll admit it–I’m not a fan of horror stories. However, I read this book because I was a fan of Christopher Golden’s other works, namely his Peter Octavian series. (Which isn’t really horror, as anything with vampires I consider to be Darn Fine Fiction.) And this book blew me away. Chris Golden creates characters I care about in this book, characters who are touched by the initial terrible blizzard and changed by it. Twelve years later, the blizzard returns, and these same characters are given a chance to confront their fears from the last storm, and perhaps, for some of them, they can face this new storm so as to change their own fates as they come to understand the fates of the ones they love.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you like the works of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Christopher Golden is a heck of a writer, and I hope that this book gains him the recognition his deserves.

Advanced reading copy provided by Netgalley. “Snowblind” is available January 21, 2014.

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