Nov 14, 2017

Into The Drowning Deep, Mira Grant

This isn't my usual read, I'm not a huge horror fan but this drew me in. I mean killer mermaids, c'mon. Well written, plenty of marine science geekery, a disaster movie element, shady entertainment companies, and characters you can root for, or boo.

Here's the review  

Seven years ago Imagine Entertainment sent a ship, The Atargatis, out to the Marianna trench, their mission to find and film what we would call ‘mermaids’. The mission was a disaster, the vessel was lost as sea and there were no survivors. What did survive was the footage which Imagine fought tooth and claw to keep under wraps and which was leaked by a relative of the crew. Depending on who you talked to over the years it was either the greatest maritime tragedy or the greatest hoax of our time.

Victoria ‘Tory’ Stewart’s big sister Anne was among the missing and she has devoted her career to research that might uncover her sister’s fate. Now, seven years later, Imagine are back, offering big incentives to get Tory and her research partner to reprise that voyage. Tory and a massive group of scientists, security ‘experts’, camera crews, big game hunters and Imagine spokeswoman and geek goddess Oliva Sanderson; under the auspices of the enigmatic Theo Blackwell and Dr. Jillian Toth, the expert on ‘mermaids’. Packed onto The Melusine a Disney Cruise line style behemoth. This time Imagine is taking no chances, they’ve built massive shutters into the design that will cut off the open decks of the ship at the first sign of danger. One slight flaw in that plan, the shutters aren’t responding and what lurks at the bottom of the Marianna Trench is centuries old, and very very hungry.

Quantum Spy, David Ignatius

Quantum computing has become the new arms race between China and the U.S. Qubits, decoherrence and quantum annealing are terms flying around Silicon Valley labs. Some of those labs are being targeted by the Chinese as soon as they become US government funded assets.

The FBI are convinced there is a mole feeding information to the Chinese and a small team is put together to flush the mole out. One team member, agent Harris Chang an American born Chinese, is about to learn that there's a murderously thin line between trust and betrayal and that once you cross it coming back is damn near impossible.

Oct 3, 2017

From Here To Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, Caitlin Doughty

Caitlin Doughty looks at how different countries handle death and dying. Let's face it most Americans are petrified of death and wouldn't even have a loved one's dead body in their house, even if their passing was peaceful. It was a different story for our ancestors, as Caitlin reveals. And whilst funeral pyres, 'recomposition’ and natural burials are making slow inroads in the US; countries like Japan and Mexico, amongst others, embrace death, devoting days to commune with their loved ones who have long passed over (although, in Mexico they aren't afraid to take advice from 007!)

A fascinating, funny and kind of spiritual look at how different cultures view the D word.

13 Minutes, Sarah Pinborough

Teens, especially teen girls have so much drama. The whole school is like a beehive, workers, drones, queen bees and wanna bees. So when the queen bee almost drowns...

13 Minutes, that's how long Natasha Howland's heart stopped for. Did she fall in or was she pushed into the icy waters. Natasha feels she's still in danger because with friends like hers...

Sep 26, 2017

An Unkindness of Magicians, Kat Howard

Harry Potter's TriWizard Tournament meets The Night Circus in present day New York City

'Fortune's Wheel has begun its Turning. When it ceases rotation, all will be made new.'

The Turning normally happens once every twenty years. It is a competition where the magical Houses of the Unseen World challenge each other's champions to duels, which become increasingly deadly as the stakes get higher. There can only be one winner and for the last few turnings that has been the House of Merlin.

Now The Turning has come early, it always causes upheaval in the magical world and this time is no exception. Magic is mis-firing. The heirs of Houses Merlin and Prospero have become disenchanted or disinherited, the smaller houses are jockeying for position and into this melee step Sydney and Harper.

Sydney, a real life Hermione Granger comes from the House of Shadows, although she is well aware of who sent her there. Shadows provides the pool of magic which all the Houses draw from because if you use your own magic, as Sydney does, there is a price to be paid. She represents Laurent Beauchamp who hopes to establish his own house by winning the tournament.

Harper is a mundane (a muggle), she can summon just enough magic to her to light a candle and give herself a bloody nose doing it. Her best friend, Rose was murdered for her magic by a man from the unseen world and Harper intends to avenge her and she thinks Sydney can help, if she can find her.

Sep 20, 2017

The Late Show, Michael Connelly

Cops who work the 'late show' in Hollywood CA don't normally close cases, they start them but when night turns to day their investigations are taken over by the day shift. It's not where Renee Ballard would have wanted to end up but after accusing a senior officer of sexual harassment and watching her ex-partner refuse to back her up, this is her life now. Ballard and her new partner, Jenkins catch an assault where the victim was left for dead and it pushes Renee's buttons. She manages to hold on to the case and work it under the radar on her downtime. As she gets closer to nailing a vicious serial attacker her attention is split between her case and a high profile shooting in a downtown nightclub where the shooter remains unidentified.

Detective Ballard is tough, feisty, a little Kate Beckett-esque, this has enough twists and turns to keep police procedural fans happy but still manages to throw a few curve balls into the mix.

Sep 18, 2017

The Sorbonne Affair, Mark Pryor

Hugo Marston, head of security for the US Embassy in Paris is at Isabelle Severin's funeral when he is approached by American romance novelist Helen Hancock. Her story sounds a bit far-feteched; someone has been spying on her, possibly to steal her work. Hugo suggests bringing in the police in the shape of Camille Lerens and a spy camera is found in Helen's suite at the exclusive Sorbonne Hotel. Before Camille can proceed with an investigation a murder occurs at the same hotel and within hours some of the footage from the spy camera, some very revealing footage is uploaded to the internet. Hugo finds himself drawn into the investigation because the bodies stacking up are all Americans and it seems that his involvement has drawn the ire of the killer.

Meanwhile Tom Green is obsessing over the release of convicted bank robber Rick Cofer who swore revenge on Tom and Hugo back when both worked for the FBI. Cofer is heading their way and may already be hunting his quarry on the streets of Paris.