Breakthrough: The Adventures of Chase Manhattan by Stephen Tremp is a fun, modern day science fiction story. As all described seems to be practically possibly, it left me with the eerie feeling that such events could happen right now, even though many people would quickly dismiss the story as nothing more than fantasy.
Although they run together, the story seems to come in two parts; at first it is described how a small group of sinister scientists at MIT are using stolen technology to manipulate events in their favor and cause crimes, even murders at the highest levels of government. Next, we watch as Professor Chase Manhattan, from southern California, is pulled into the mess by Dr. Nicholas Fischer, who is asking Chase to prove it is not he who is responsible for the misuse of his work.
I enjoyed this book. It has the right mix of what seems real and what seems like fantasy to make me step back and look at the world in a different light. I am somewhat interested in taking a look at this Book’s sequel.
Golden Mane by SJB Gilmour (book 1 of The Adventures of Sarah Coppernick) is a fun book about a young girl learning she is a werewolf and that the world around her contains more magic than she ever would have dared to believe. This realization doesn’t only bring fun, however. She also learns that her parents whom she had been told were dead are really being held captive by the evilest of sorcerers who has plans to come after her as well.
You see, what it boils down to, is that Sarah is the rare type of werewolf called a Golden Main. This unusual type of werewolf can more easily control the magical forces than most so her potential enemies simply want to eliminate her as a threat before she’s the chance to become adept at her magical control. This is why her aunt and uncle (brown coat werewolves) have attempted to keep magical knowledge from her for as long as possible. They don’t want her probable hunters to simply pick her off when outsiders chance to notice she’s not quite human.
Although, keeping one’s very nature away from her own eyes can have it’s consequences. When standing up to a school-yard bully, Sarah finds she has begun to maul the stuck up girl before even realizing she could become a wolf. Her guardians realize the time has come where all the secrets now must come out.
Sarah is introduced to the magical world with a full load of new situations and new friends. Most importantly, she begins on the quest to save her parents. It may be a long hard road, but with the allies she now finds she has, even the dire situation appearing around her isn’t enough to make her lose her hope.As a final note here, I just have to say I love the story of Sarah’s ‘uncle’ Benjamin. How he was born fully human, yet through bravery earned the highest werewolf gift, that of the ‘Silver Shroud’ and became a werewolf himself; one with unsurpassed fighting abilities.
Birdie Down by Jim Graham is an interesting side story that takes place in Graham’s Scat universe. In 2210, rebels led by Sebastian Scatkiewicz (known as ‘Scat’) are protesting the corporate rule of space. As his team is reaching out to cause trouble on one of the worlds owned by the enemy Lynthax corporation, a ship containing the rebel and former police officer Andrew Goosen (known as ‘Birdie’) goes down and must be abandoned for the good of the rebellion.
Birdie now has the enjoyment of trying to run with/rescue a friend and college (Tillier Bing) who was hurt so that he doesn’t remember knowing Birdie, the entire rebellion he was fighting for, or even what he had claimed was his own name. If that wasn’t enough, the two of them are stuck in a swamp swarming with giant lizards and horrible spider-rat creatures so sickening that you wouldn’t even leave a hated enemy to fend with them.
For everyone who loved the first one, this book is not to be missed. As the story is slightly set aside from it’s predecessor, it should stand alone well enough, but as the two works fit together into an elaborate, well put together tail, there is no real reason to miss either one. I hear Jim has a third story in the works; I am eagerly awaiting getting the chance to read it.
Detachment Point by Paul Winters is a quick, eerie story where someone’s death in no way ends their influence upon the world. Where a wife who sees her only option left to be raising an ax against her abusive husband (Del Kenner) once his back is turned, is unintentionally setting free his primal spirit and violent impulses to possess and take command of other people’s lives.
What exactly happens when a person dies? What say Del doesn’t ‘move on’ but instead sees his chance to live again trough someone else’s body?
And then, what would happen to that possessed person?
Peter Barnett is a happily married man anticipating a possible promotion at his job in a business firm. When he suddenly starts picking up the habits and attitudes of the former auto mechanic Del Kenner, Peter’s friends just get uncomfortable, not understanding why he acts and speaks so differently.
Is there any way for things to return to normal?
As useful as it may be to suddenly gain another person’s set of skills, would it be worth suddenly finding your mind latched onto a new style of behavior?
The Last Love Story (The Reversal of Time Series) by S.B. Santiago is an interesting short novel that explores the ways in which the world quicklyfalls apart when people suddenly have modern technology they take for granted pushed off beyond their reach with little warning. A mysterious force from somewhere west of California is slowly spreading forth over the US and Canada (and for all anyone knows elsewhere in the world) that is destroying all long-distance means of communication as it comes.
Without TV, phones, and internet normal society begins to fall apart. It isn’t long before mail stops being delivered and even newspapers are discontinued. And to make things even better, the government doesn’t really seem concerned with finding answers.
When people start to disappear, finding a reasonable answer for what is going on doesn’t even seem as important as simply getting away. Now I’m not talking something like one or two people going missing. Huge numbers of people, like the entire city of Portland are suddenly not there.
When 17 year-old Rayne suddenly finds that her parents do not return from work, it isn’t long before Lorna, a girl that used to go to school with Rayne before she moved, shows up. Lorna’s home city of Seaside was devastated by the disappearances as well, leaving her alone too. She is now traveling with a couple other young people who have watched most everyone they know get taken away. They take in Rayne and continue on their own personal search for safety.
But just how dangerous has the world become? What dangers lurk just out of sight? With ‘friends’ holding on to their own secrets, will life ever be ordinary again?
Wild Blood- Vampire in the City by Donna Ansari is the sequel to New Blood that continues the story of Emma the new vampire. In this book, her werewolf roommate David is attempting to help a group of werewolves who want to establish werewolf control of New York by forcing the vampires to leave. David has no problem with Emma herself, it’s just that vampires and werewolves are supposed to hate each other.
As the story goes on, Emma learns of the personal stake her sire’s sire holds in the fight involving the invading pack’s responsibility for his late wife’s demise. In fact, the invading lupines proudly claim responsibility for clearing the west cost of all vampires.
Emma befriends one vampire who fled from California, but he (James) is a little weary about meeting up with the vampire leader of New York (Michael). It seems these two have a slight bit of history.
Just like how all vampires may not get along, there could be some resentment and mistrust held by the wolves for their annoying, third person talking leader.
And, to top it all; if vampires and werewolves aren’t enough, by the end of the book there’s some strong evidence of witchcraft. If you liked the first Vampire in the City, you will probably like this one.
Skeleton Key by Jeff LaFerney is the sequel to Loving the Rain in which the main character is blessed (or possibly cursed) with an assortment of psychic powers. Because Clay Thomas is a lonely man who blames himself for the death of his wife, his friend, psychiatrist Zander Frauss gets him to meet with Erika Payne, an office-worker who likes to help people have experiences that lead to their trusting in faith in her free time.
Zander set the two of them up together not only because he knows that Erika can probably help Clay with his grieving, but because he believes that Clay can use his powers to help Erika solve the mystery of her missing husband.
The husband’s name is Adrian Payne and Clay is quick to find out he is not a well liked man. No one was mourning when this man disappeared amid-st the chaos and confusion that came, following a train wreck. As he was one of the owners of the train company and may have even been driving the train at the time of the wreck, people who weren’t involved find little reason to doubt he may have simply run off into hiding after the accident.
The only reason that Clay doesn’t latch onto that assumption himself is simple: more than one person close to Adrian sincerely believes that they are responsible for his death. Clay is left to try and solve the mystery even though in every direction he turns he can hear another ‘thought confession’ of someone who finds themselves responsible for Adrian’s death.
And the final problem? Clay is left with his powers allowing him to hear the voice of Adrian’s ghost. He may have been annoying without trying in real life, but as he is dead and almost no one can hear him, he has no reason not to be irritating while haunting someone.
New Blood- Vampire in the City by Donna Ansari is the story of a girl who finds that surprisingly little about her life has to change when she becomes a vampire. She is also quick to learn that several of the ‘facts’ that people always claim when sharing superstition about vampires are nothing more than happy disinformation spread by the vampires themselves to stop humans from ever attempting their extermination when learning just how strong these un-dead are.
Emma lives alone and works nights for an advertising agency in New York city. One night (or early morning) as she walks to her home in Queens she manages to stop two delinquents that look to be trying to beat an innocent man with sticks and crosses. Her walking home is never peaceful; the next day she missteps into traffic and is killed by a car!
Except she isn’t quite killed, the man she saved the night before is really a vampire who turns her to prevent her death out of gratitude. From here on we watch as Emma gets pulled into the world of vampire politics, the different actions and laws of the differing clans. For one thing, she must prove herself worthy to stand among the Queens vampires by taking specific actions against their Brooklyn rivals.
As the story goes on, Emma finds her relationships with others (sometimes necessarily) changing. As her whole world is thrown upside down, it is interesting to watch how she intends to keep her life from getting any more out of her control.
Loving The Rain by Jeff LaFerney is the first book in a trilogy about a father and son who both have nearly supernatural mind-powers stemming from difficult births. This book is also a story about the anger and importance that some people can’t help but put into high school athletics. As cool as mind control power might seem, would you really want to be the one who has it?
Before you answer, let me bring up a couple of large problems addressed in this book; would you really want someone to love you if you were left forever questioning whether or not the feeling came from their own free will? Is it worth it to win a game if it only happens because you unfairly made your opponent fail?
And if you were left to watch your best work come to nothing as good rained upon another person, might it not engender a slight amount of hatred, even if you didn’t know your opponent’s full responsibility?
That’s not to say that knowing would make it any better. Could you trust someone if you knew that any feelings of trust might just be what they want you to feel?
I like this book. The characters felt real, and the story left me thinking.
The Unwanted: The G6 Chronicles by Daniel L. Carter is the surprisingly good mixture of crazy, off-the-wall mad science experiments and believable, un-exaggerated faith. If, like me, you like the explanation of ‘science’ to come up with crazy fun it doesn’t seem should be possible or don’t want to be preached at when another’s belief is shown; this is a book worth checking out.
The story follows the early lifetimes of 5 children who were produced as part of an experiment in a secret genetic lab in Chicago. There were actually several of these labs, yet wanting to keep the project a secret, the company funding the project has taken to destroying the labs and killing their non-central workers in the unwanted facilities at any time when they looked to be in danger of falling under public scrutiny. As one of these laboratories is being covered up, two nurses are able to load a car with newborns and escape before they are all killed.
It also focuses on the investigation led by two FBI agents who are trying to figure out what is happening to cause the sudden seemingly-unprovoked killing of these workers. At least in Chicago it doesn’t look like infants were killed, yet investigators are simply baffled as to what the purpose of these deaths could be.
Of course, let’s not forget the great Dr. Tibon Agha here; his wonderful psychotic mind is responsible for a good bit of the fun. A large part of this story is the recounting of past events in his life. While these may not actually give him the right to act as he does, they certainly develop him into an interesting character.
Overall, I’d say this is an enjoyable story. While in a couple of places I was worried it my be ready to go ‘fantasy-religious’ on me, it never did. If we can just ignore the super-human science for a moment, the characters handled situations the same as real people may do.