The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu

The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu

The Dark Forest is amazing. While the first book in the series, The Three-Body Problem, explains the history of how contact was made with the Trisolarians and their intentions, The Dark Forest details how humanity is trying to prepare for an unknowable future and what extent will we go to for survival. Let me just say, some of the ideas in this story, while being brilliant, are also scary. Sometimes simple solutions are the best answers. But, when dealing with time and space the answers can take decades, or even centuries to show themselves. There is a mix of old and new characters in this installment. Da Shi, a planetary defense officer, has returned. He is cunning, with street smarts that a lot of the more intellectual characters lack. However, our main character, Luo Ji, is new. He is an astronomer and sociologist who is tasked with becoming part of a UN project known as The Wallfacer Project. He is lazy and somewhat self-absorbed,...
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Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan

Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan

Altered Carbon is compulsively readable. It's fast-paced, full of sex and violence, and just grabbed my attention. Kovacs is our rather hard-boiled detective. He's is a loner with a tendency to violence and a willingness to do whatever he needs to, legal or otherwise. He is also more than willing to take "justice" into his own hands and wracks up a body count to prove it. He also has a softer side that only shows up rarely. He was killed on another world and re-sleeved in Bay City in the body of a disgraced cop. People's personalities, souls, consciousness, whatever you want to call it, are digitized and can be downloaded into new bodies with the right reasons or enough cash. Kovac's has one mission: find out who killed Laurens Bancroft, a Meth (short for Methusaleh) billionaire. Bancroft is offering Kovacs some money and more importantly his freedom as a reward. Only a lot of people don't seem to want...
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The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths

The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths

Magician Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are headlining at the Hippodrome Theater in Brighton, the first time they've done a father-daughter act. DI Edgar Stephens, engaged to Ruby, is called to the murder scene of a young florist found posed and dead in her room at a boarding house. Also staying in the house are two young women who are in the show, a part of the tableaux of nearly-naked "living statues." As the bodies begin to multiply, Edgar and his team, are under pressure to find the killer. I hate to admit that I like Max better than Edgar. Edgar is a good guy, hard-working, honest, a bit guilt-prone. Max is just more interesting. His view of the world is often clearer, even when it comes to Ruby. He's willing to make decisions that are perhaps morally dubious. He loves Italian food and the changes in the world are affecting his career more than Edgar's at this point....
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The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths

The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths

The Blood Card is the third in the series featuring DI Edgar Stephens and the magician Max Mephisto. This is a wonderful historical thriller located in the world of theatre variety shows and the gypsy community. It is the third in the series but the first I have read and it works very well as a standalone. It is set in the period leading to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. In London, Max is performing at the Theatre Royal, while in Brighton, Edgar is looking into the death of Madame Zabini, a fortune teller on the pier. Max and Edgar are summoned by General Petre who takes them to the murder scene of their old wartime commander, Colonel Peter Cartwright. There is a playing card left with the body, the Ace of Hearts, known in the theatrical community as the blood card. Petre asks them to look into the murder discreetly. Max and Edgar are horrified at...
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This Body’s Not Big Enough for Both of Us by Edgar Cantero

This Body’s Not Big Enough for Both of Us by Edgar Cantero

Loved, loved, loved This Body's Not Big Enough for Both of Us. In San Francisco, there’s a dingy little office that bears the names of A. Kimrean and Z. Kimrean Private Eyes, but anyone who walks into the office will be surprised to see one androgynous person sitting there, and nowhere near enough space for a second detective. Adrian and Zooey Kimrean are brother and sister, conjoined twins, who share the same whole body and brain. Adrian is all logic and little emotion, able to jump to deductions like Sherlock Holmes; Zooey is wild, carefree, and a bit of a nymphomaniac. Together they make an excellent team, when they aren’t trying to figure out a way to push the other one out of consciousness so that only one can be in control… but what siblings don’t have their little squabbles? So, we've got a Private Investigator who is hired by the SFPD to stop a gang war and get an undercover...
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Clammed Up by Barbara Ross

Clammed Up by Barbara Ross

In Clammed Up, Julia Snowden, our amateur sleuth, has a legitimate reason to investigate the crime. Her family's business, the Snowden Family Clambake, was already having financial difficulties, but finding the dead body on the island has shut them down, and each day of business missed is one day closer to the bank calling their loan. Oh, and the guy she has a crush on seems to be one of the main suspects. Julia and her family are easy to like. They stick together, even when they fight. The small town feel was well-done too. The locals all know each other and know how much the tourist season means to the town. Old friends are loyal, but know each other's backgrounds too. I also loved the Maine setting. It's nice to visit other places while we're all stuck at home. I went to Maine with my family once when I was younger. Pretty much all I remember was cold and gray, so...
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