A magical detective dives into the affairs of Chicago’s divine monsters to secure a future with the love of her life. This sapphic period piece will dazzle anyone looking for mystery, intrigue, romance, magic, or all of the above.
Think Crime Noir à la Dashiell Hammett and add some demons, angels and a sapphic romance. Throw in a murder in a dark alley and a disgraced private eye with shady connections. Stir and voilà! One queer Gumshoe with a dash of magic coming right up.
I picked this up, because I read Witchmark (my review here) by Polk and liked it. Not enough to continue with the sequel—the setting didn‘t interest me—but enough to pick up this short Crime Noir offering.
Took me a while to unterstand the meaning of the title. Pretty obvious, once the coin drops. Potential for a sequel and a spin-off! I would read them…
Good audiobook narration by January LaVoy.
I received an advanced audiobook copy of this book from the publisher or author through NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I was not required to give a positive review. Thank you!
“It’s a lousy room in a lousy part of a lousy town. But Marv doesn’t care. There’s an angel in the room. She says her name is Goldie. A few hours later, Goldie’s dead without a mark on her perfect body, and the cops are coming before anyone but Marv could know she’s been killed. Somebody paid good money for this frame…“
This was my third attempt at reading this and I got a third through it. I don’t care. There might be a good story in there somewhere, but I doubt it. I can‘t get past disliking the art. Blocky, black-and-white, flat. Add to that an unlikeable main character, objectified women, pointless violence. Nope. To be honest, after having seen the movie (and disliking Mickey Rourke, as usual), I more or less expected all of that to some extend. I get that this is considered a classic… by men, presumably. I really tried, but I find the whole thing too offensive to finish it.
Some of these stories are more obscure or I have actually never read them. The stories span a good amount of years, including some in which Watson lives away from Holmes, happily married to Mary and running a doctor‘s practice. He very much leads a life of his own, but frequently accompanies his friend Holmes on his cases.
This Holmes, the real one, is never as aloof or downright dismissive of others as he has become on the screen. There are many visuals know from the many screen adaptations though and sentences and remarks that have made their way into the shared consciousness of Holmes‘s fans.
Contains: A Scandal in Bohemia, Holmes & Watson meet The Woman / The Adventure of the Red-Headed League / The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle / The Adventure of the Speckled Band / various other stories
#2) The Sign of Four, Watson meets Mary. And we take a trip to the Andaman Islands. ★★★★☆
#3) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, A Scandal in Bohemia, Holmes & Watson meet The Woman / The Adventure of the Re-Headed League / A Case of Identity / The Boscombe Valley Mystery / The Five Orange Pips / The Man with the Twisted Lip / The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle / The Adventure of the Speckled Band ★★★★☆
– INVISIBLE PEOPLE by Nancy Kress — parents find out that their adopted daughter has been genetically altered as an embryo. Besides the ethical questions this throws up, it‘s a well-written thriller. Great character development for a short story, I was with them every step of the way. ★★★★★
I struggled at first with audiobooks, because I kept nodding off, when sitting still and listening to them. I have to do something else, that doesn‘t engage my mind, while I listen.
I still do more eye-reading, my average for audiobooks is one per month. I always listen to a sample first, it is very important for me that I like the narrator. I even have some favourites and I sometimes even pick a book purely based on who narrates it. Case in point: I am a Sherlock Holmes fan, but the deciding factor for picking up my current audio, Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Audio Collection: it is narrated by Stephen Fry.
I read faster than a narrator usually reads out the books, so I tend to listen to audios at a speed of 1.5.
I have listened to these stories today: A Scandal in Bohemia, Holmes & Watson meet The Woman / The Adventure of the Red-Headed League / A Case of Identity / The Boscombe Valley Mystery / The Five Orange Pips / The Man with the Twisted Lip / The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle ★★★★☆
Some of these stories are more obscure or I have actually never read them. The stories span a good amount of years, in which Watson lives away from Holmes, happily married to Mary and running a doctor‘s practice. He very much leads a life of his own, but frequently accompanies his friend Holmes on his cases. This Holmes, the real one, is never as aloof, hurtful or downright dismissive of others.
There are many visuals know from the many screen adaptations though and sentences and remarks that have made their way into the shared consciousness of Holmes‘s fans.
More reviews to come, as I slowly progress through this audio.
A Study in Scarlet The very first Sherlock Holmes story. John Watson meets Sherlock Holmes. The mystery wasn‘t terribly exciting. Two Americans turn up dead. Obviously there is a back story. Utah, Mormons, romance… ★★★½☆
The Sign of the Four The sequel. Holmes & Watson meet Mary Morstan. And Toby, the dog with the supernose. The backstory takes us to the Andaman islands. I have read this one several times and so far it is my favourite.
I still astonishes me how (relatively) human and social Holmes comes across in the original. TV has a lot to be answered for.
This audiobook monster is narrated by the adorable Stephen Fry, who did his usual stellar job. Some interesting forewords are included.
More reviews to come, as I slowly progress through this audio.
This is my favourite Holmes story. I was fascinated about the description of his drug use, when I read this first as a teenager.
With his long, white, nervous fingers he adjusted the delicate needle, and rolled back his left shirt-cuff. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks.
The plot is (mostly) fun. We meet Mary, Toby, Wiggins and get to read many immortal sentences from the Sherlock Holmes universe.
I know the plot so well that I find it hard to be critical about it. The only part I truly do not like, is Jonathan Small’s story. It drags and I find it a little boring. It’s too long and feels like an afterthought, that got stuck on to inflate the page count.
And from today’s point of view Doyle’s description of Tonga comes across as pretty offensive. But this was published in 1890, so I can acknowledge that and live with it.
And even back then they wrote bad insta-love! It also struck me as strange during this re-read, how jovial Holmes is and how often he laughs. Should I blame the BBC for that?
My first Gamache, but the 13th of the series, so I am most likely missing some context.
Gamache, the chief of police of the province of Quebec, is in the witness stand of a murder trial. The chief prosecutor is pretty hostile towards his main witness. Through the questioning we are told the story of the murder that happened in the village of Three Pines. So much for the beginning. There is more to it, with a pretty modern problem.
Slow. A lot of talking and reminiscing. Set-up for the community that lives in Three Pines and its guests. More talking. Little doing. The murder only happens a third into the book. And the accused sitting on that bench during the trial is never named, which in my opinion is a pretty lame gimmick to create suspense. Of which there was little to none. The last 30% are a bit more speedy, but the wrap-up is quite repetitive.
Some of the characters stay one-dimensional, I struggled to keep them apart until the end. The woman with the duck was just a silly caricature.
Many of my reading buddies love Gamache, but this was way too cozy for me. And the plot was a little silly. It is very unlikely that I will pick up another one of the series or by this author, unless I come by it very cheaply. Maybe #14…
2.5 pine cones, rounded up to 3 for the tears-inducing ending.
PS: – Initially bought for my mum, who did not finish it. I should have listened to her reasons. – I don‘t read many straight mysteries anymore and never in German, so this was a bit of an an uphill struggle. – Reading a novel in German again wasn‘t as much work as I had feared. – This is the first book of the series published in Germany and consequently released books do not seem to follow the original sequence either—I didn‘t check too deeply though. Very odd, why didn‘t the German publishers start with the first book? – The first book of the series, Still Life, was made into a movie and I would watch it. – The English original is called Glass Houses: A Novel, which is more meaningful for the book than the German title „Behind the Three Pines“.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir — Mark Watney in space! And he sciences the sh*t out of his situation… so, yes, very much reminiscent of The Martian. And then some. I loved it and could barely put it down. So much fun!
The Prefect (Prefect Dreyfus Emergency, #1) by Alastair Reynolds — On the surface this comes along as a police procedural in a SF setting. Dreyfus is a cop with a strong moral code of right and wrong, committed to justice. My first association was Miller from The Expanse, with a bit of Blade Runner and minus any projectile weapons. Space opera, ultimately, with the many and very varied habitats of the Glitter Band, artificial intelligences, body modifications, uplifted mammals, many political systems, states of being and an elaborate polling system — fascinating!
David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa — Gods have rained down on Lagos, the capital of Nigeria. We enter the story some time later, into the dystopian society that has developed here in the aftermath. David Mogo, our 1st person narrator, is a demi-god working as an illegal godhunter. An old wizard with dubious morals sends David Mogo off to catch two high gods, Taiwo and Kehinde. David is in need of money to fix his roof, so off he goes, despite his misgivings about this wizard. Obviously things don’t go as expected.
Revelation (Matthew Shardlake, #4) by C.J. Sansom — Historically pretty sound, as far as I can tell. Very homogenous. Full of suspense towards the end, could not put it down anymore. The murders are gruesome and reminiscent of a famous 90s movie. With the context of Henry VIII, his dissolution of the monasteries and the religious upheaval of that time it works well.
The Whale Library by Zidrou, Judith Vanistendael — Pretty watercolours, a mature story about a whale who contains a large library, a postman delivering sea mail, his wife and a smattering of sailors, pirates, fish, sea turtles, octopi and more…
Besides this one I also read some very good more traditional graphic novels. But that probably needs another entry…
In yesterday‘s review of Fated I mentioned other novels with a similar setting and feel. And because I haven‘t posted those review here before (well, ok, pretty sure I talked about Peter Grant plenty), I give you another Blast from the Past…
I struggled a bit in the first third of the book. For an over 2000 years old druid this guy seems to be pretty silly and not very smart or wise. The talking dog is a tad annoying, too. It sometimes sounds very smart and at other times it’s pretty much like I would expect a dog to be. In the beginning you also get swamped with every supernatural being you can think of and you’re pummeled with a ton of complicated, celtic names. The werewolves could do with being fleshed out a bit more. And a tad of world building would not go amiss. Thor? Really? I was prepared to be royally disappointed and give up. But I stuck with it and the action picked up eventually. The fight scenes are well written. The bad guys are pretty stupid, though. And the author is not as funny as he thinks he is, Maybe he is trying too hard. Or I am too old to be that easily amused. Take your pick. But I ended up reading pretty much two thirds of the book in one sitting and I enjoyed myself. Go figure. I might even get the next book of the series.
PS: I threw in the towel after book 7 of the series…
My first re-read, six years later and having read and liked all the other available full-length novel. I liked it a lot better than the first time around, although it still felt a bit slow in the middle. I didn‘t remember much of the plot and it was interesting to see, how much this world has developed with the consecutive books.
I guess the perceived slowness was probably due to Aaronovitch spending time on world building and introducing various characters, which are relevant in later books. The plot suffered a bit for it. It was worth reading this again, though. And if this is your first read and you are maybe not totally sold yet, please give the next book a chance.
April 2012, original review:
Modern day London, a copper takes a witness statement, not realising that he is interviewing a ghost. He ends up working for the last wizard of England in a special police unit dealing with the supernatural.
I read the first 70 pages in one sitting. Fresh, witty, great plot, I laughed a lot and had fun. Murder, sleuthing, magic, talking to ghosts. And then those rivers started showing up and the story wandered off into the distance aimlessly. The plot lost its way and I lost interest. I kept putting the book down for days on end, to read something more interesting. Finally I forced myself to finish it with a fair bit of skimming.
What shame. I really wanted to like this book. There was too much going on that had nothing to do with the actual plot. I wish the author had just stuck to the murder mystery and concentrated on developing the three central characters of of Peter Grant, Inspector Nightingale and Lesley. Instead he sidetracked into the story of Mother Thames, her daughters and the Old Man. Which was a nice plot bunny by itself, but had nothing to do with the murder mystery. In the end it was boring and frustrating, because it was so scattered.
PS: Re-reading the first book spawned into a re-read of the entire series and this is currently one of my favourite UF novels written by a male author. Currently waiting for book #9, due to be published in April 2022! Instabuy / pre-ordered!
Love the Endless Purse, I want one! What an excellent read. Liked it right from the start, Harry is a guy who likes his sarcasm and has a sense of humour. Harry Potter has grown up and moved to Chicago. Thoroughly enjoyable, good suspense story, well fleshed out characters, and the tension just keeps on rising.
PS: I threw in the towel after book #5. There was zero character development and Harry was just too immature for my taste.
I first read this as an online serial on Ilona Andrews’ website, which took most of 2016. I had fun reading the weekly bits and agonizing over them with my reading buddies. However, reading a finished book in one go is a more cohesive affair. It runs smoother, you can read as long as you want, no waiting for the next gripping bit. Also more editing and small improvements on various details. Plus a maturer rating.
“Look, it can be fast, good, or cheap. You can have any two but never all three.”
Great fun! I almost read it in a day. Our heroine is a bounty hunter for all things that go bump in the night. There are shapeshifters, vampires, bridge trolls, the fey… Nothing really unusual or terribly new, but an entertaining read nonetheless, if you like Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs or Carrie Vaughn.
Another attempt to make headway with this series. I got a very nice hardback edition. Starts with chapter 27 of the book, Shelter From the Storm, and ends with chapter 34 of the book, The Last Village.
Very close to the book. The artwork is nothing breath taking, but well done. Especially the cover gallery in the back has some very nice images.
This takes place roughly in the middle of The Eye of The World, which dragged for me. The pacing of the comic is not much different. I liked it, but it didn‘t tempt me to get another volume right away. If I saw some WoT comics in a second hand store at a reduced price, maybe…
Framboise is running a creperie in a small village in rural France. She spent her childhood years during WWII in this village, but nobody knows that. She now lives under another name, to protect a dark secret in her past. One day her nephew and his wife appear at her doorstep, to ask for the use of her name and recipes. When she refuses – to protect her true identity – she quickly realises that they will stop at nothing to get those recipes. But she is not easily defeated. And while she struggles against her nephew, she tells us her story….. Very good book, recommended! Great storytelling.
Unusual, as it is one of the rare books where Jack Ryan is not the main character. John Clark is not as black and white and makes for an interesting character. There is the usual body count and a lot of gadgets, all in all a solid thriller.
I have the seen the movie several times, it is one of my favourite Sherlock Holmes movies.
This is a very close retelling of the story. The dramtic chase and the big reveal of Holmes’ secret at the end are well done, as well as the artwork. An enjoyable read and a surprising take on the life of the great detective. Sherlock Holmes fans should not miss this.
I really wanted to like this, but after spending ages getting past the first 50 pages I decided to give up. The great thing about travel literature is the things that happen on the way. But as far as I got, the main thing was going up the mountain, over the mountain, down the mountain…. And I did not think the descriptions of the most likely stunning scenery were very good either. Very disappointing.
I‘m Groot! Interesting. I liked it, fascinating take on evolution and alien invasion, great character development. I felt with LT and almost cried with him at the end. Not sure if I am a fan of that quasi open ending.
My NetGalley version only consisted of the introduction and the first two chapters: How to get into space cheaply and asteroid mining. Once I realized that, I mostly skimmed and just perused a bit here and there.
Entertaining, amusing style, that borders on slightly silly. Amusing, very simple comic strips—I recommend reading the ebook version on something that allows colour. Easy to understand explanations of complex topics. Space elevators, reusable rockets, Elon Musk and the odd Star Trek joke make an appearance.
It‘s ok, if you are looking for something light to flick through, when you have a few minutes to spare. Coffee table reading, mostly decorative.