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Recent Reading - 2018


Click the occasional spoiler buttons only if you wish to see plot-revealing material.



Back of Beyond
339 pages
Box, C.J.C.J. Box

Recovering Alcoholic Cody Hoyt is a policeman in Montana. When his AA mentor dies, Hoyt is sure it was not an accident, and it turns out to be part of a much bigger story which might put Hoyt' son in danger while on a trip in the wilderness of Yellowstone National Park.


A Hard Man to Forget
127 pages
Ames, DanDan Ames

Retired FBI agent, Lauren Pauling, now a private investigator, goes off to handle a death in the desert when she gets mail with Jack Reacher's name in it. He doesn't show, but he's good motivation for her.


The Other
127 pages
Peake, MarilynMarilyn Peake

UFOs and time travelers in a short novel. Interesting take on Roswell phenomenon with some writing quirks.
Mildly Recommended


The Midnight Line
368 pages
Child, LeeLee Child

Reacher finds a small West Point class ring in a pawn shop. He determines to find its owner to return it. It just feels like the right thing to do.
Highly Recommended


Into the Fire
462 pages
Moon, ElizabethElizabeth Moon

Ky Vatta and the surviving crew of the space shuttle have been rescued. A little time at the Vatta home in Port Major should offer a bit of relaxation. But then Ky gets the word that her crew has disappeared into the military/medical system for "quarantine". She's not sick, of course, why should they not be home with their families on Slotter Key. Then three of the crew show up and reveal they have escaped from horrible, drugged captivity, not simple, caring quarantine, at all.
Highly Recommended


Red Soil Through Our Fingers
129 pages
Ratnayake, Nalin A.N.A. Ratnayake

Working the land is good, honest work whether on declining Earth or on expanding Mars. Of course, there are different challenges, not the least of which is coping with the corporation which leases you the land, sells you the genetically modified seeds, provides you air, water, and then buys your crops at harvest. As long as the corporation is offering an even playing field, at least, what could go wrong?
Highly Recommended first novel


Collapsing Empire
232 pages
Scalzi, JohnJohn Scalzi


When you are a brand new emperox, what do you do if your entire empire depends on a feature of physics which is failing? Of course, you work your tail off to keep rebel forces from messing up the end of it! What else is there?
Highly Recommended

Karen Memory
277 pages
Bear, ElizabethElizabeth Bear

Karen Memery is a blunt spoken whore. In the 1800s on the US west coast, she's considered a "seamstress" for tax purposes as are all the others working in the profession. The mayor is a friend of the madam, but there's a new candidate for the mayor's office who is a competitor! Another "seamstress" is found whipped to death outside the madam's establishment. Strange, but maybe not, in this well written steampunk novel.
Highly Recommended


The Stardroppers
157 pages
Brunner, JohnJohn Brunner

An agent for the United Nations visits the United Kingdom to find out more about a new device called the stardropper which is causing unrest worldwide with the largest surge of popularity in England.


I Will Find You
275 pages
Kenda, Joe Joe Kenda

Joe Kenda, retired homicide detective writes about his life in the Colorado Springs police department. I recognized some of the cases from "Homicide Hunter", the TV show, but Kenda's language is a bit more direct. He is just as hardass as you might suspect, but it was neat to hear that he never had to shoot anybody.
Highly Recommended


The Night Circus
430 pages
Morgenstern, Erin Erin Morgenstern

This book thoroughly engaged me, at the level of the story, at the level of the characters and ultimately at a personal level.Highest Recommendation


Last Good Man
429 pages
Nagata, LindaLinda Nagata

True Brighton works for a civilian military contractor, actually a part owner of Requisite Operations, Inc., which provides international security, training and an occasional on-the-scene hostage rescue. Times have changed, though. She now has support from armed autonomous drones. They are faster to react than the best human soldier and make all the difference to the success of each mission. Danger to humans still exists. The drones don't always discriminate their targets. This book is full of tense action.
Highly Recommended


288 pages
Stone, HayleyHayley Stone

Rhona has convinced most of the people in McKinley base that she "is" Rhona, though members of the council do know she's a clone. Her value is both as a direct leader of the local human resistance against the machines, and as a figurehead for all of humanity, spread thin around the world.
Mildly Recommended


343 pages
Stone, HayleyHayley Stone

Rhona awakes in a panic, inside a creche where her clone body has developed. Memories are missing, but she feels like "herself". She needs to get out and then get away before the Machines get to her. The machines just won't quit, just like that old movie "Terminator".
Mildly Recommended


After Atlas
386 pages
Newman, EmmaEmma Newman

Carlos solves crimes, but as an asset of the Ministry of Justice, he's more than just a slave to his work. He is actually indentured to the ministry. Solving the puzzle of a crime is his passion, but he is not free to enjoy the passion. Even his food choices extend his indenture contract.
Highly Recommended


The Western Star
306 pages
Johnson, CraigCraig Johnson

Walter Longmire, new deputy sherrif for Absaroka County, Wyoming joins his boss to take the Wyoming sherrifs' annual cross-state trip aboard the famous train, The Western Star. The junket turns sour way too quickly when the president of the sherrifs' association goes missing from the train
Highly Recommended