Friday, February 16, 2018

Dust City

By Robert Paul Weston

Henry is a wolf, an anthropomorphized  wolf. He usually walks upright but can also go on all fours. His front paws are hand-like and he talks.  That is true of all the animalia of his world. Frogs, fox, goats, ravens, cats, hedgehogs, they all are people. They have jobs, live in houses, drive cars and such.
Henry's dad is in prison and Henry has been sent to a reform school for breaking a window. He finds out that his father has been sending him letters, but the letters were never given to Henry to read.
Dust is fairy dust. The fairies used to live in their fairy city above Dust City. Fairy dust is powerful magic and can be used to do virtually anything. But the fairies have disappeared and no one knows why or where they have gone. But in the letters, Henry's dad says that the fairies are being held captive and harvested for their fairy dust by the illegal fairy dust suppliers. And the dad wants his son to find out where the fairies are and expose the  conspiracy. But how can Henry do anything locked up in reform school?

This was an OK story. The fairy tale connection was at times a little overbearing. Cinderella is an administrator. Snow White is a hard-boiled detective. Rumplestiltskin is a gangster. Jack and the beanstalk are there too. It was all a bit much.
Basically it is the story of a teenager who infiltrates a drug operation and discovers that the truth about a big business and its connection to organized crime, dressed up in a fairy tale setting. Also, the ending was a bit weak.

Review by Kirkus Reviews.

An Ice Cold Grave

By Charlaine Harris

Harper Connelly has a talent. She can locate dead bodies and tell how they died. She is helped in this by her stepbrother, Tolliver, with whom she is madly in love but won't tell him because she fears he only sees her as his sister.
They have been asked to investigate the disappearance of several teen boys in a small rural town. Paid by the wealthy grandmother of one of the missing teens, Harper soon locates the burial site of the boys, putting herself and Tolliver under suspicion by the local law enforcement.  Even though they couldn't possibly have had anything to do with the crime, the fact that Harper knows where all the graves are and exactly how they died has to be investigated. So, stuck in the small town by the demands of the police and then by bad winter weather, it isn't long until the killer seeks Harper out and tries to add her to the long list of victims.

This was a pretty good story. However, the subject matter is very gross and disgusting. So much so, that I very much doubt I will be reading another story in this series. This just went too far for my taste.

The Copy Shop

By Evelyn E. Smith

Ted is a weird guy. For one thing, he glows in the dark. For another, his dad is an alien who communicates with him through his computer monitor. The dad is also the one responsible for the disappearances and deaths of several people in the neighborhood. According to the dad, humans were put on this planet to serve as a food supply and a "terraforming" force to prepare the planet for its eventual owners by polluting the air and water and putting radiation into the environment.
His neighbors have their doubts about Ted. The cops have their doubts about Ted. His "girl friend" has her doubts about Ted. His new girl friend has her doubts about Ted. They all suspect Ted is some how related to or involved with the deaths. The reader has their doubts about Ted, as he is a very suspicious character. Even Ted admits he is a suspicious character and he begins to dispose of certain items that might reflect badly on him if they fall into the wrong hands. Like all those checks for old, dead guys. And his mother's clothing and the wigs and makeup.
Yes, Ted is a really squirrelly fellow. But all he really wants to be is just another regular guy.

This was an enjoyable read. The mysteries of Ted are amusing and fun and, even though he comes off as rather sinister, he turns out to be not a bad fellow at all.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

The Family Plot

By Cherie Priest

Dahlia is in charge of the salvage of an old mansion. It is a make or break situation for her father, who owns the salvage company. If it isn't successful, then the whole business is going under. So it is really important that Dahlia and her team of three men do a really good job of removing anything of value before the mansion is demolished.
Problem is, as they all soon discover, the mansion is haunted. There are four ghosts and one of them is crazy and evil. It fastens its sights on Dahlia because it identifies with her. Dahlia is recently divorced. She and her ex were friends from childhood and the collapse of their marriage came as a surprise to Dahlia who apparently never picked up on her husband's discontent.  The divorce left her feeling angry and it is her anger that has attracted the deadly lunatic ghost.
But Dahlia and the crew soldier on and strip the old mansion of all its most valuable and beautiful features, trying to cope as best they can with the uncanny occurrences plaguing them, mostly at night. But before it is all over, blood will be shed and lives nearly lost.

This was an OK story. Kind of a slow starter and the ghostly occurrences are few and far between until the last quarter of the story. Truly, just a typical ghost story, nothing very special at all and not really all that scary. But it does give one a good look at the salvage business, if that is what floats your boat. It didn't float mine.

Review from Kirkus Reviews.