“Where Acorns Landed” is literary fantasy with an absurdist fiction flare. Meshing Celtic Mythology with Arthurian Legend, and sprinkled with supernatural elements, the reader follows Lowell and Brighid as they navigate loss, and new beginnings, all while clinging almost too tightly to a sense of normalcy. Under the guise of making a documentary, Lowell and Brighid are thrust together just in time to see their corner of the world succumb to a plethora of supernatural sightings. Neither Lowell nor Brighid know who is orchestrating their mystery project, one that seems impossibly linked to their lives, which gives this novel a dark, and sinister vibe to it that I rather enjoyed. Readers will be kept guessing and in the dark about what is happening and why all the way to the end—just like the main characters.
Picture this: a massive asteroid is careening toward Earth and only one person has the technical know-how in order to save the planet. Then, fast-forward sixty some odd years, to where the world has been saved! Mission accomplished! But now the scientist that saved the world feels threatened, so, naturally, she reaches out to the person who ran her security while she was saving the world. Only problem is, she’s dead when he arrives. Thankfully, in the years following saving the world, our MC (who is unnamed the entire story…) became a detective, so he should be able to handle this, right? Well, sort of. For a book featuring a trained detective, he acts more like a private investigator. A really grumpy, gloomy, cynical middle-aged PI who often wallows in self-pity, but, you know, still a PI. This book sounded so interesting! But I don’t think it delivered on what the synopsis promised, which was a letdown.
“Naked in Death” is my first J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts book, but I’ve been really digging futuristic crime and mystery books that feature actual cops and detectives, rather than amateur sleuths, that I just had to read this! Eve Dallas is a gritty detective who does not stop until she gets justice for her victims. In this case, professional sex workers who are brutally murdered by a client, their last moments recorded and sent to the police. It’s an old-fashioned crime on the backdrop of a futuristic world with flying cars, and where real coffee is a luxury. But for all the developments that this city has, the biggest issue they face is that their advances allow for all DNA to be purged easily. So a violent crime that could have been solved quickly, turns into a mystery and a race to solve before more women end up dead. But the crime itself tends to become secondary to the romance that quickly—and I mean QUICKLY—unfolds between Eve and a potential suspect… Which, and this is probably the first time I’ll say this, would have made this book better if the lead was an amateur sleuth instead of a detective.
“The Trapped Girl” is the fourth book in the Tracy Crosswhite series, and while most of the books in this series focus on one case to be solved, so you don’t necessarily have to read them in order, I always recommend that you do. Dugoni doesn’t overly explain or refamiliarize the reader with certain characters, so you’ll miss some of those nuances if you don’t read these books in order. That being said, much like the rest of Tracy’s books, this one is full of twists and turns, some of which I saw coming, some of which I didn’t. We start by finding a woman in a crab pot. Her identification is hard to decern given the state of the body, and made even more complicated by the fact that the woman has had extensive surgery to hide what she looks like. The mystery starts off complex, and only gets more so as the case unravels. Who is this woman? Why was she running, and from who? And is the person she was running from her murderer? The thing I always enjoy about Dugoni’s crime and mystery books is that it feels like reading an actual police case. As someone who loves true crime, I find that format best for stories like these, but it can read a bit dry, a bit too bland, for some people.
I read “Artificial Condition” in a day as another buddy read. After “All Systems Red” it was impossible for me and my friend not to want to pick the second book up in the Murderbot Diaries immediately. It was a fantastic decision! Even though Murderbot’s favorite humans from the first book are not in this one, new characters more than make up for it, especially in a story that shows how much more “human” Murderbot is becoming. Honestly, for a book and premise primarily around robots and constructs, I was not expecting this many feels.
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