Sunday, July 31, 2016

“Cut, Paste, Kill” by Marshall Karp – Scrapbooks of Vengeance

Cut, Paste, Kill by Marshall Karp - book cover
Keeping a scrapbook is one of those hobbies accessible to virtually anyone on the planet, regardless of who they are or where they come from. It's a celebration of life, one where all the important moments that had an impact on someone are brought together, immortalised in its pages. For the most part, scrapbooks highlight one's joys and happiness, what ultimately made their life worth living. On the other hand though, there are always those who are capable of spinning things around, turning their scrapbook into something darker, like in Cut, Paste, Kill by Marshall Karp, where it becomes an instrument of retribution.

Now, Cut, Paste, Kill may certainly be the fourth novel in the series, but that doesn't mean you have to read all the previous ones to understand it. Each Lomax and Biggs novel is designed to be read on its own, and being unfamiliar with the other works in the series won't hinder your enjoyment or understanding in any way.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

“A Time to Love and a Time to Die” by Erich Maria Remarque – The Empty Homecoming

A Time to Love and a Time to Die - book cover
When a war ends it seems customary that the light of good be shined upon the victors, while those defeated be relegated to the least pleasant pages of history. Needless to say, this happened at the end of the Second World War and allowed many of those on the Allies' side to get away war crimes, while on the other hand all who lived under the Axis rule were lumped together as murderous animals. Thankfully, we have authors like Erich Maria Remarque who can take a more neutral and moderated approach outlook on war and the different sides that fight it, something the novel A Time to Love and a Time to Die illustrates magnificently.

The premise behind the novel is a rather simple one, as we are presented with Ernst Graeber, a German soldier who nearly spent two gruelling years at the Russian front. By what seems like a miracle, Ernst is granted a three-week leave to do as he pleases. With the war going rather badly at that point, Ernst suspected that his vacation may end up being cancelled and decides to return home without writing to his parents, not wanting to unnecessarily get their hopes up. When he finally does make it back home, he finds most of it bombed to ruins by the Allies, and his parents are nowhere in sight. Searching desperately for some kind of comfort and solace, he reconnects with a childhood friend of his, Elisabeth, also a imprisoned by war in her own way.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

“The Fireman” by Joe Hill – Hellfire on Earth

The Fireman by Joe Hill - book cover
Humanity will most certainly one day be wiped out from existence, and whether that takes thousands, millions or billions of years isn't really all that relevant in the large scheme of things, at least when compared to the rest of the universe. It's a topic that has fuelled the imaginations of authors for centuries upon centuries as they imagined all the possible ways things could come to an end. Today, we've seen zombies, viruses, monsters, natural disasters, nuclear wars, scientific experiments, alien invasions, giant meteors, magical cataclysms... you name it. It's a bit difficult to put a new spin into a genre that's been going strong for so long, but it seems like Joe Hill managed to do so in his most recent novel, The Fireman.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

“The Atlantis World” by A. G. Riddle – Salvation of the Ancients

The Atlantis World by A. G. Riddle - book cover
A little while ago A. G. Riddle started The Origin Mystery series, captivating the minds, hearts and imaginations of countless science-fiction fans around the world, establishing himself as a modern force in the genre. In the first two books in the series he took readers through an extravagant adventure involving human genetic manipulation, a race of ancient aliens, a plague to wipe out humankind by forcing its evolution... in short, never a dull moment. With the third book in the series, The Atlantis World , Riddle finally brings it all to a close as the stakes get raised higher and higher, with the light of salvation dimming ever so quickly.

Before going onwards, I'd just like to say that if you haven't read the other books in the trilogy, then chances are you won't be able to get into this one. The three books tell a continuous story, and it would do you no good to be dropped smack-dab in the middle of it, as you can well imagine.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

“Terminal” by Marshall Karp - Disposable Hitmen

Terminal by Marshall Karp - book cover
We all know that life is the kind of thing that can insidiously flip all of your plans upside down, and pull the plug on your existence. However, we go on day to day without being too concerned by that fact, mainly because the probability of it all ending is one we feel we can neglect... and rightfully so, for most people actually do end up living until a relatively old age without all that many problems. On the other hand, there are those who suffer terrible misfortune, being diagnosed with incurable illnesses, making the clock tick ever faster. This puts them in the most strenuous position imaginable, one a vile criminal takes full advantage of in Terminal, the latest Lomax and Biggs novel by Marshall Karp, the #1 bestselling co-author of the NYPD Red series along with James Patterson.

Before beginning the review, I'd like to mention that even though this book is part of a series, each and every novel in it is written so that you can start wherever you please. While it is true that reading the books in the proper order will help you understand the characters a little better, it certainly isn't required for them to be enjoyed to the fullest.

Friday, July 15, 2016

“The Black Obelisk” by Erich Maria Remarque – Life After Defeat

The Black Obelisk by Erich Maria Remarque - book cover
With us having the tendency to divide our worlds between us and them, we seldom take the time to look at what's happening on the other side of the hill, and that is ever-more true in times of war, where the other side of the front can be populated by nothing but scum (or so both sides tell themselves). Luckily enough, we have plenty of thinkers who recognized the importance of empathizing with and trying to understand those on the bad side of history. Erich Maria Remarque could perhaps be described as such a person, gifting us with some of the most touching and thought-provoking war novels ever written. The Black Obelisk is one of his more famous stories, and rather than being focused on a war itself, it's more about living in the aftermath.

As the book begins we are introduced to Ludwig, a self-proclaimed poet and veteran of World War I... a German veteran. He comes back after the turmoil is over and tries to establish his life in a small city, working for a monument company specializing in commemorative and funeral stones. He feels like there is much more to life than the daily routine he's found himself stuck in, and that's when he meets Isabelle, falling in love with her almost instantly. Together, they try to break free from the bleakness and desolation of a world ravaged by war, but that proves itself to be far from easy; the country and its people have fallen victims to horrible economic conditions, a widespread depression, as well as feelings of humiliation and despair after having lost the First World War. On top of everything, it seems that the gears have been set in motion for history to already repeat itself.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

“The Atlantis Plague” by A. G. Riddle – A Rebirth in Pestilence

The Atlantis Plague by A. G. Riddle - book cover
Genetic manipulation and bio-engineering are topics which are likely to gain quite a lot of traction in the coming years as our technology in those realms expands ever-further. As you might imagine, the ability to manipulate life on a molecular level is a rather heavy proposition, one which raises numerous moral as well as practical questions, especially what it could mean down the line for the race as a whole. A. G. Riddle is the kind of author who certainly isn't afraid to explore these grey and vague areas of modern life, as he does fantastically in the second book in The Origin Mystery series, The Atlantis Plague.

Friday, July 08, 2016

“Have You Seen This Girl?” by Carissa Ann Lynch – The Fallen's Vengeance

Have You Seen This Girl? by Carissa Ann Lynch - book cover
Many of us can certainly identify a few painful and humiliating moments that marked us during our childhood, but for the most part the majority of us are indeed lucky enough not to have suffered the kinds of events that deform our lives forever. Unfortunately, there are some about whom the same can't be said, people who have suffered irrevocable changes at the hands of very real monsters. Their stories go in a number of different ways in real life, but in Have You Seen This Girl? by Carissa Ann Lynch, it goes the way of bloody vengeance.

The book begins by introducing us to two air-headed teenage girls, Wendi and Claire, about to go on a date with two mischievous boys promising them romance and adventure. Perhaps the promise did turn out to be true, but in the worst way possible: the two girls find themselves kidnapped and brought to a place Wendi could only call “The House of Horrors”. There she witnessed the murder of her best friend, was made addicted to heroin, and abused in all the ways imaginable... and then set free. The woman in charge is convinced that Wendi would never be able to find her way back, or identify anyone responsible, and as an additional measure, threatens to kill her family should she open her mouth. And so, Wendi bides her time, spending her youth in the foster care system and detox houses, until the day she grows old enough to move back out into the world under a new identity, and put an end to the monsters who ruined God-knows how many lives.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

“The Atlantis Gene” by A. G. Riddle – Preventing Our Evolution

The Atlantis Gene by A. G. Riddle - book cover
When it come to the big picture behind humanity's evolution, science has managed to leave relatively few blanks for us to fill in, at least when we're speaking generally. However, the closer we look the more we see that certain segments of our timeline have been lost throughout the countless years we've traversed as a race... leaving ample room for imagination to take over. In the worldwide-famous The Atlantis Gene by A. G. Riddle, the author makes great use of that idea, concocting a riveting adventure that begins with a rather unusual quest: to stop mankind from evolving.