Blood Noir (Anita Blake, vol. 15), by Laurell K. Hamilton

Yes, I’m reviewing the 15th (arguably; I don’t count Micah) volume in a series without reviewing the previous volumes. For one thing, everyone else has dealt with the series quite adequately. Second, I can gloss the plot up to this point in about three sentences. Laurell K. Hamilton arguably perfected the genre of the kickass chick with serious emotional issues who sleeps with various supernatural beings (vampires, werewolves, oh my) with a gun under her pillow. She started writing these books in the early-to-mid-1990s and while the last, say, five or six volumes have been of varying quality, there’s still a new one every year or so. This year’s release is Skin Trade (vol. 16).

Here’s the general setup of the series: We have Anita Blake, the short, assertive, overly-weaponed necromancer (zombie-raiser)/vampire hunter. More under the cut, actually, in case there’s a person left in the world who hasn’t read these books who wants to. Continue reading Blood Noir (Anita Blake, vol. 15), by Laurell K. Hamilton

Virtually His, by Gennita Low

Gennita Low is unusual among authors in that not only does she have a day job — she runs her own roofing company — but it’s sort of a working-class day job, and she celebrates it. Her blog is at, and she doesn’t pretend she’s just doing it until she can write full-time, as so many other authors do. A student of languages, she apparently yells at her employees in Chinese and Malay, and is learning German and Russian in her spare time. (What spare time?) She got her start in publishing by entering a lot of contests, and even being a finalist in a good deal of them. She writes primarily in the romantic suspense genre, but she includes some science-fictional themes in her works.

Elena Rostova — now Helen Roston — was a Russian orphan, but she joined the military and eventually was selected as the best candidate for a top-secret experiment, in making a supersoldier-spy. One of her primary qualifications was that she has psychic abilities. The supersoldier part included intense physical and mental training, and the spy part included virtual reality and clairvoyant training — which they call bilocation. Her mentor in this is a man she doesn’t meet; in the virtual-reality world where they see each other, she has designed his avatar. They are very attracted to each other, but will she ever find out his real-world identity? And will the experiment that is her life succeed? Continue reading Virtually His, by Gennita Low

Collected Stories, by Lewis Shiner

Ahh, tooth Lewis Shiner. The man who convinced me that I never want to move to Durham, gynecologist NC (the same way that Slumdog Millionaire made me not want to visit India). Born in Eugene, OR in 1950, he moved around a lot as a kid, and read science fiction and adventure novels. One of Bob Dylan’s first few “Dylan Goes Electric” concerts changed his life utterly, and he became involved in music, which would turn out to be a lifelong love and the inspiration for many of his tales. After a degree in English from SMU, he started writing more and more and although his path wasn’t straightforward (there was some technical writing in there, as well as computer programming and car trouble), eventually he was regularly selling detective fiction and science fiction to short-story magazines. His first novel, Frontera, was a finalist for a couple of major awards, and he has written five since.

This collection of short stories includes apparently 41 of his biggest and best tales, ranging from one of his first published works (“Deep Without Pity”) to three stories that had web debuts within the last couple years (“Straws,” “Golfing Vietnam,” “Fear Itself”). The tales range from a couple of punk westerns, a few pulp-type stories, straight-up science fiction, ultra-short literary fiction, a few that were intended for men’s magazines, and, of course, a few tales about rock ‘n’ roll. I won’t list all 41 titles, as that would take too much time, but interested readers can haunt the Sub Press website until they post the table of contents. This book will be published at the end of November this year. Continue reading Collected Stories, by Lewis Shiner

The Living Blood, by Tananarive Due

Tananarive Due (accent on the second syllable) is married to Steven Barnes, viagra 100mg also a novelist. Formerly a columnist for the Miami Herald, she used to live in Miami, and now lives in Glendora, CA. She received a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern (a very fine journalism school) and an M.A. in Literature, specializing in Nigerian literature, from the University of Leeds (in England). She writes primarily in a supernatural/speculative fiction genre, but she has also written a historical novel and a work of non-fiction about the civil rights movement (of which her mother was a part). She also contributed to Naked Came the Manatee, a humorous mystery novel written by a group of Miami authors some years ago.

This is a sequel, and although I never read the first book, I’m cutting the plot discussion anyway. Continue reading The Living Blood, by Tananarive Due

Underlife, by Robert Finn

Snowbooks was once one of my Small Press Week (II) entrants; when I checked their website the other day, ambulance they had several free short stories and a novel, patient so I downloaded the novel and read it — obviously this one. It’s apparently a prequel to Mr. Finn’s other publications by Snowbooks, which I haven’t read (yet). About himself, he says that he has always lived in London, and that he became a writer to justify his owning of the smallest and most stylish laptops. Due to a relatively common name, I can’t find much else about him, but he very much likes his publisher (always a good sign) and has two books other than this one published with them.

Clipper is a thief, in that way where he normally picks pockets and steals purses, but in a moderately classy way — on the (London) Underground, and wearing a suit. His mentor used to be a man named Gary, but he recently disappeared. Anyway, one day he found the perfect woman for him — an American girl named Rachel, with whom he just clicked. However, the cops appear to be chasing him, so he runs away. Will he ever see her again? And will the cops catch him? Why are they after him in SWAT gear, anyway? Continue reading Underlife, by Robert Finn