The Last Murder at the End of the World by Stuart Turton

The Last Murder at the End of the World by Stuart Turton

At some point in the future, a fog, probably man-made, covers the whole globe. The fog is filled with tiny insects that devour any living thing they come in contact with, including humans. The only safe place is an island protected by a some kind of shield where 122 villagers and three scientists/elders live. It's a peaceful place where everyone has their jobs and knows their place. Until one of the scientists is murdered causing the shield to go down. If the murder isn't solved and the killer executed within 92 hours, the fog will engulf the island. The narrator is Abi, the artificial intelligence who knows everything that goes on on the island and controls most of it. She is also the one who wiped everyone's memory. The thing about Abi is that she has a job, she has commands she must follow. So even though she knows all and sees all, she doesn't share everything with the reader or...
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Starter Villain by John Scalzi

Starter Villain by John Scalzi

Starter Villain is just fun, from beginning to end. Charlie is down on his luck. He's divorced, living in a house his half-siblings want to sell, and working as a substitute teacher. All he wants to do is buy the pub downtown, but he has no money and can't get a loan. Then his estranged uncle dies and leaves him his business - parking garages/ villainous empire. Suddenly he's the owner of a top-secret lair (under a volcano, naturally), though the "sinister mission control room" is somewhat lacking. And now some people are pressuring him to join the Lombardy Convocation, a group of supervillainous villains who just happen to be having their annual meeting. This story is laugh-out-loud funny. Charlie is in over his head but has some good guidance, including from his cat, Hera (who I adore by the way). Turns out villany is much more corporate than one would have thought. In addition to explosions, Bond-style bad guys, and...
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Prophet by Sin Blaché and Helen Macdonald

Prophet by Sin Blaché and Helen Macdonald

I loved about 80% of Prophet. It's a slightly creepy sci-fi thriller with a slow-burn romance between the two leads. The end kind of went off the rails for me, but I liked Rao and Adam enough for it not to matter. Wonder if they could get a sequel? Prophet is set circa 2010, in more or less our world, but a sergeant has died in a mysterious fire on a US base in the UK. Around the base, dozens of objects appeared ranging from familiar, nostalgic childhood toys, to a full American-style diner in the middle of an empty field. Enter Adam, a surly American military officer, and Rao, a sort of ex-MI6 spy pulled out of rehab who can tell what's true, whether it be if something's real and not a forgery or if a statement is true - a power that conveniently doesn't work where Adam's concerned. It's up to them to figure out what's going on. Oh,...
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Travel by Bullet by John Scalzi

Travel by Bullet by John Scalzi

The Dispatcher series is set in an alternative present world, except for unknown reasons starting a few years prior 99.9% of murder victims come back to life, their bodies reset to a few hours earlier, reappearing somewhere (usually their home) where they feel safe. Dispatchers are licensed to murder (dispatch) critically injured, dying people to save their lives. This time around by saving a friend's life, Tony ends up in a mess, as always. This time it revolves around shady cryptocurrency and a few ethically questionable billionaires. It's a fun story, with a fast pace, snappy dialogue, and well-used humor. There were a couple of twists and turn I should have seen coming and Tony is very lucky to be on good terms with useful people. Travel by Bullet does take place in post-pandemic Chicago which adds an interesting layer. With most books, I'd rather the pandemic be left out, but here Scalzi uses it well, both as it affects the...
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The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older

The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older

Mossa is an investigator who is in charge of a missing persons case. Or maybe it's a suicide. Or murder. Any which way, a man disappeared from a sparsely populated platform at the edge of the colonized portion of Giant (Jupiter). Turns out the man was on faculty at the University at Valdegeld, as is Mossa's former girlfriend from her college years, Pleiti. So of course, Mossa reconnects with Pleiti and asks for her help. The world was interesting. Humans ruined Earth, so they colonized Jupiter. I liked that it had almost a gaslamp feel. Yes, they're living on platforms above a surfaceless planet, but our characters bundle up against the cold, walk through the swirling storm, have tea and scones on a regular basis. I liked Mossa and Pleiti and their slowly rebuilding relationship. Mossa is our Holmes, brilliant, but a bit emotionally distant and not one to share her theories. Pleite, our narrator and Watson, is loyal and resourceful. I...
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Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Seven years ago a ship, the  Atargatis, sailed to the Mariana Trench looking for mermaids. Imagine Network planned to make a huge amount of money off the planned mockumentary. Instead, the entire crew was lost at sea and only raw video footage to show what happened. They had found mermaids - and mermaids are not friendly. Now, the entertainment company is planning a second voyage. A film crew and a large group of diverse scientists are going back to find out what happened and to prove mermaids exist. Diverse in disciplines - marine biologists, cetologists, chemical biologists, cryptid hunters, and diverse in backstories - sexual orientations, disabilities, financial resources, and cultural backgrounds. Some of the scientists have personal reasons for going, like Tory whose sister died on the Atargatis and Dr. Toth whose life's work has been centered on Sirens. Others are approaching it as a cruise where they get to do their own research, not believing in the mermaids. I...
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