epiphany_maria (epiphany_maria) wrote,

Book Reviews: Irredeemable2 +The Shadow of the Rat/The Tangled Skein +Murder My Dear Watson & more

Irredeemable Vol 2 Created and Written by Mark Waid

The saga of the ultimate superhero turned ultimate super villain continues. There are mad killer robots, flashbacks of happier times that weren’t really so happy, hints of the Plutonian’s past and the revelation that his former Paradigm team-mate Bette Noir is a slut. Also the Plutonian gave a scientist a piece of recovered alien technology to study. There were consequences, bad consequences.

This was good. There’s poor Volt the hero whose mentor the Plutonian did something cruel. One of the Plutonian’s former team-mates gets really, really angry and we see how the Plutonian got more and more annoyed by entitled humans until one day, he had enough. But was he ever really sane to begin with? What did the Plutonian do to Encanta the supervillian? Is another Paradigm team-mate flipping out?

Best Lines:
“Wow, population is really down.”

“This is bad. This is Pandora’s Box bad. Don’t.”

“Modeus could make a Death Ray out of an iPod and a shaving mirror.”

“Very few people on the other hand, can be comfortable inside a live volcano. Resist any urge you might have to open a window.”

“It was the kind of the thing that could give nightmares to the devil.”

“We might as well be handing out hand grenades to orang-utans.”

“It was sort of the textbook definition of a hollow victory.”

“What made you turn this city into a river of blood? Some five-year old flip you off?”

The Shadow of the Rat & The Tangled Skein by David Stuart Davies

Two novellas of supernatural Sherlock Holmes adventures are gathered together for camp enjoyment. In ‘The Shadow of the Rat’, Holmes and Watson come up against the Giant Rat of Sumatra, plague and a villain who is a very obvious copy of Irene Adler. ‘The Tangled Skein’ is a sequel to ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ and sees Holmes and Watson face off against a villain who isn’t dead as well as a villain who is undead, Dracula.

This second novella is pure Hammer as Holmes and Watson chase a vampire count and vampire brides in white nightdresses over Dartmoor. This is good but you do sense that Davies thinks Watson is stupid.

Murder My Dear Watson edited by Martin H Greenberg, Jon Lellenberg and Daniel Stashtower

This is a good collection of tales about our favourite duo. However we also get some dull essays and one is hideously outdated.

The Adventure of the Dying Doctor
A credulous Watson falls prey to a con while elsewhere a super villain-in-waiting plots. This is good.

The Adventure of the Young British Solider
The man who saved Watson’s life in Afghanistan is in peril. Holmes and a poem by Kipling save the day. This I okay.

The Adventure of the Mooning Sentry
Various types run around an English country house. This is okay.

The Adventure of the Rara Avis
Holmes and Watson meddle when a bejewelled flacon is found in an ancient barrow. This is good.

The Adventure of the Agitated Actress
An actor playing Holmes in a play has to solve a crime. This is okay.

The Case of the Highland Hoax
Holmes and Watson face off with Moriarty in Scotland prior to ‘The Final Problem’. This is good.

The Riddle of the Golden Monkey
Holmes and Watson help out a man who is being threatened by the real life inspiration for Fu Manchu. This is okay.

The Adventure of the Curious Canary
Holmes unmasks gold-diggers in this okay tale.

Mind Games by Carolyn Crane

This is a somewhat bizarre urban fantasy novel. Justine Jones is a hypochondriac who has an annoyed boyfriend and a past hurt involving a con man who wrecked her family. Then one night she meets Packard who says if she joins his vigilante team, she can weaponize her neurosis and free herself of it. Free herself by inflicting it on criminals.

Justine agrees and is free of fear and her near madness, until she learns the price she has to pay. Motivations become shady and the enemy lurking in the shadows is not who she thought. This is good, bizarre but good.

A Bouquet of Barbed Wire by Andrea Newman

The infamous tale originally published in 1969. Peter loves his worthless, ungrateful daughter Prue and cannot abide the loutish thug she has married. Peter’s wife Cassie tries to keep the piece while the manipulative Prue plays her father off against her husband Gavin.

As unspoken truths begin to tear the family apart, Peter has an affair, Cassie admits a secret, Gavin would rather eat dirt than put up with his wife and Prue sows the seeds of her own destruction. This is a good somewhat unnerving novel about the dark desires that can lurk in people’s souls. Never admitted, never acted upon, but those desires can squat inside a person and destroy them.
Tags: book review, bouquet of barbed wire, dracula, irredeemable

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