Mr Mercedes (Bill Hodges #1) ★★★☆☆

mrmercedes

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Mr Mercedes
Series: Bill Hodges #1
Author: Stephen King
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 449
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis: Spoilers!!

A madman runs through a crowd of jobseekers, using a stolen Mercedes. He is never caught and the detective in charge, Bill Hodges, retires and always regrets that he never caught Mr Mercedes.

Then Mr Mercedes sends a letter to Bill, taunting him. And the chase is on. Mr Mercedes wants to break Hodges and make him commit suicide while Hodges wants to catch Mr Mercedes. Other people get involved. Things get personal for Hodges with the death of a lady friend. Mr Mercedes decides to go out with a bang at a teeny bopper concert put on by the nations latest and greatest boyband.

Hodges, with help, prevails and Brady, aka Mr Mercedes, ends up in a coma.

* very weak cheering *

Yay…?

 

My Thoughts: Spoilers!!

Did a buddy read of this with BookCupidity. Unfortunately, due to life circumstances, BC wasn’t able to participate as much as hoped in the back and forth. However, I was able to do a couple of updates as I read this, so this review is pretty much a compilation of those updates.

First, and most importantly in my mind, there is NOTHING supernatural going on in this book. This is just a detective thriller about chasing a madman who is halfway intelligent. I read King, once a year in October, for his supernatural, other worldly, stuff. So that was a huge disappointment for me.

Second, the whole relationship between Brady the villain and his drunk mom. It was incestuous and while they never actually had sex, it was clear that they toed that line. It turned my stomach. Also, being inside Brady’s mind was not a pleasant experience nor was it one I ever wish to repeat. Which leads into the next point.

Third. I am done with King now. Every year I vacillate about whether I’ll keep reading him. He can write a heck of a story. He draws me in every time and makes the characters and situations come to life. But this? It was just filthy and disgusting and I am done using my brain as a filter for that kind of thing. In some ways that is a relief, as I don’t have to wonder every year what I’ll be exposing myself to in my next King read, but there is also a tinge of regret as I know that King has some great stories that I probably would have really enjoyed. But there are things that are not worth desensitizing myself to just for entertainments sake.

And the ending, where Brady wakes up from his coma, caused by being bashed in the head multiple times to prevent him from blowing the plastic explosives at the concert, was just lame. That should have happened in the 3rd chapter and he is then possessed by supernatural powers and Hodges goes toe to toe with Evil Incarnate. THAT is what I expect from a King book. This was like a weak version of the Strawmen Trilogy by Michael Marshall, in tone.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

 

  1. Bookstooge’s Mr Mercedes Posts
  2. BookCupidity’s Mr Mercedes Posts
Advertisements

The Compleat Bolo ★★★★ ½

compleatbolo (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Compleat Bolo
Series: ———
Author: Keith Laumer
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 320
Format: Digital Scan

 

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories and whatever you call a 50page story, not really a short story but not a novella either. Anyway, stories about the evolution of the tanks known as Bolos. From their mechanical beginnings to their self awareness to their “we’re smarter than humas so lets help them out”ness.

Bolos are loyal, brave, determined, nigh unstoppable and better representatives of humanity than any human. In other words, they are great mechanical main characters without the Skynet vibe.

 

My Thoughts:

I really needed this read. After The Punch Escrow I needed something to remind me that not all humans are bastard baby killers. So of course, I read a book where tanks are the main characters.

The humans in these stories are props for the most part. While they figure more prominently in earlier stories, as the stories progress the Bolos take center stage more often than not. Honor and duty are big points in these stories and I actually teared up at one story about a bolo sacrificing itself to save the humans. Sometimes I’m so weak.

This is probably more of an actual 4star book, but when compared to Punch, it rockets up. Some of the problems might be insurmountable for some. While this book was published in 1990, the stories come from the 60’s through the 80’s. In places, it shows. Word plays making fun of a politician’s name [McCarthy anyone?], communications, the 40 people in the one town on one world all talking like Jeb Clampet. I read more “hick talk” in this short book than I have in a long time.

Having read this in the 90’s soon after it came out and then during college and then again in ’01, I can’t say that I’m exactly unbiased. I like this collection of stories. I’ve never been tempted to try the full length spin off Bolo novels by other authors though. This book I recommend. Those others, try them at your own risk.

★★★★ ½

bookstooge

 

  1. The Compleat Bolo [2001 Review]

The Punch Escrow ☆☆☆☆ ½ DNF@42%

punchescrow (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Punch Escrow
Series: ———-
Author: Tal Klein
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 333
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things
 yet to be
among those who come after.

Ecclesiastes 1:8-11

English Standard Version

 

My Thoughts:

 

SYLVIA
“I had an abortion, Joel.”

….

“I guess about a month later , I realized I was pregnant. Keeping it was never an option. I had career plans, and my dad wasn’t well,so I…”

….

“I’m sorry I never told you.”

….

 

JOEL

“I love you, Syl. You made the right choice.”

That “you made the right choice” killed this book completely. Between the, once again, complete lack of originality [go watch the movie The Prestige, or read some foundational science fiction] that I moaned about in Dark Matter and that complete disregard for the most helpless of human life, I am done.

☆☆☆☆ ½

bookstooge

 

The Night Parade (Forgotten Realms: The Harpers #4) ★☆☆☆ ½

nightparade (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Night Parade
Series: Forgotten Realms: The Harpers #4
Author: Scott Ciencin
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 310
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Myrmeen, ruler of a successful city, is approached by her ex-husband. He tells her that their only child never died but that he instead sold the baby girl into slavery to pay off his debts. After lopping off her ex’s head, Myrmeen calls together some of her former compatriots, who are all Harpers.

Their research leads them to the conclusion that every so many years a hideous group of supernatural beings kidnaps children for nefarious purposes and said group is known as the Night Parade. The group finds Krystin, Myrmeen’s daughter but in their rush to leave the city, things happen, people die and the Night Parade is no longer content to let them be.

The Myrmeen and Co group meet up with a vigilante who has a magical item that he uses to kill the Night Parade. They all start hunting down the badguys, For The Children, and the Night Parade hits back, hard. Harpers die left and right, betrayals happen even after death and hardly anybody is who they say they are.

Krystin was a plant to lure in Myrmeen, the Night Parade are barren creatures from another realm that they can’t return to and through the Power of Luv, Myrmeen and Krystin rack up a serious body count of all their friends and tear away the shadow hiding the Night Parade. The Night Parade is prevented from ever recruiting more members and Myrmeen finds out that her biological daughter is being raised in a neighboring kingdom as a Poet Princess. Myrmeen lets her go and sets off on living life with Krystin as her stand-in daughter.

 

My Thoughts:

Wow! And here I thought Red Magic bad. This is the kind of Forgotten Realms book that gives the series its b-class, sub-standard, fantasy is crap, kind of reputation.

I suspect that Ciencin was told to write for horny 13 year old boys, as there were lots of descriptions of generic cleavage and legs and beauty and desire and crap. Sadly, the rest of the writing I’m not sure that even a 13 year old boy would put up with. Maybe?

Myrmeen. Where do I even start? She doesn’t think, she reacts at all the wrong times, she doesn’t consider anyone else but herself and then the eyerolling, gag inducing saccharin sweetness of her desire to be a mom. It was done wrong and it was done lazily and it was done stupidly. It doesn’t help that she seems to be attracted to every male she comes into contact with and that every single one of them dies. Seriously, she’s worse than a black widow.

The only reason I’m not complaining about the other characters is because except for Krystin, they ALL die. That’s just laziness to me. Don’t know how to handle someone’s future? Easy, kill them off. Don’t know how to engage your readers on a gut level? Easy, kill off a trusted companion. Don’t know how to even write effectively? Easy, kill somebody.

If you stuck a gun to my head and forced me to answer the question, which was worse, this book or Bloodwalk I would be really hard pressed to know what to say. I have had a recent string of bad books in the Forgotten Realms and I have to wonder when it is going to end. This Harpers series is on life support and it’ll only take 1 more stinker to sink the ship. I just hate wasting my time on trash.

While I rated this 1/2star higher than Bloodwalk, I am giving this book the “Worst Book of the Year” tag as its Mother/Daughter thing was so badly done that I felt nauseous. Bravo! And it turns out that this is the FIRST book to ever have that dubious honor. Double Bravo!!

★☆☆☆ ½

bookstooge

  1. Red Magic (Book 3)
  2. Elfshadow (Book 2)
  3. The Parched Sea (Book 1)
  4. The Wizards series
  5. Threat from the Sea trilogy
  6. Return of the Archwizards trilogy

 

Line War (Polity: Agent Cormac #5) ★★★☆ ½

Linewar (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Line War
Series: Polity: Agent Cormac #5
Author: Neal Asher
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 580
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Erebus, the rogue AI that has been corrupted by Jain nodes, is on the path to destroying the solar system. With fake attacks and whatnot, he manages to clear the way to Earth itself. Standing in his way is the haiman who committed murder for a jain node and Ian Cormac.

Cormac has been running all over the Polity, ostensibly chasing down Erebus but in reality picking up clues that lead him to only one conclusion. ECS, the Head Honcho AI, colluded with Erebus right when Erebus first found jain nodes. Its justification was that humanity was stagnating,but with millions and possibly billions dead, Cormac puts the smack down on that particular AI and kills it. A submind takes over but with the spectre of Cormac haunting it should it ever decide to go so outside of bounds.

The Dragon Sphere takes Mika and allows her access to Jain AI, which in turn allows her to deal with the gabbleduck/Atheter AI, possibly.

 

My Thoughts:

Nothing from my original review from 2010 has changed. This was a particularly wordy story and there were a lot of details that just didn’t need to be there. It really bogged the story down. Instead of an adrenaline filled gorefest of robots and monsters I got an indepth tour of things I didn’t care one whit about. That’s why I knocked half a star off this time.

There is still a lot of action but sometimes it felt like it was really hidden away. Also, Cormac played a MUCH smaller part. The biggest thing he did was at the end when he killed ECS. I guess this just didn’t stand up to a re-read as well as some of the previous books. The ideas were really cool the first time around and covered up all the weak points. This time around, I was seeing the weakpoints.

I had forgotten that the Atheter memcrystal came into play so early in the Polity books. I just read a big part of it’s conclusion in the Polity: Transformation trilogy last year. That is one nice thing about re-reads, seeing various threads that you’d forgotten about being more deeply woven into the story.

I do wonder if we’ll ever see Agent Cormac again. He hasn’t shown up, that I’m aware of, in later Polity books. But if we don’t, I’m completely satisfied with how this 5 books sub-series ended.

★★★☆ ½

bookstooge

 

  1. Line War (2010 Review)
  2. Polity Agent (Book 4)
  3. Brass Man (Book 3)
  4. The Line of Polity (Book 2)
  5. Gridlinked (Book 1)
  6. Polity: Transformation Trilogy

 

Bane of Malekith (Warhammer: Tyrion & Teclis #3) ★☆☆☆ ½ DNF@27%

baneofmalekith (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Bane of Malekith
Series: Warhammer: Tyrion & Teclis #3
Author: William King
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

DNF @ 27%

 

My Thoughts:

Nothing was happening. I was not in the mood for some b-quality fantasy book to give me a modicum of entertainment. This was no worse than the previous 2 books but that is damning praise. It was like eating spaghetti but without any sauce or meatballs or spices.

I am really not having good luck with the Warhammer universe. Savageddt has suggested I try some Gotrek and Felix. My only reservation is that those books appear to also be written by William King and I’d really like to try someone else. Guess I’ll be spending some time this weekend checking some other Warhammer series out.

★☆☆☆ ½

bookstooge

 

  1. Sword of Caledor (Book 2)
  2. Blood of Aenarion (Book 1)

Redemption (Omega Force #7) ★★★☆☆

redemption (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Redemption
Series: Omega Force #7
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 304
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Taking place 3 years after the previous book, Omega Force has fallen apart due to Cristoff abandoning one of the Omega Force members when they can’t fulfill one of his missions. Jason tries to keep the team together but when he can’t, he gives up, moves to a beach front world, becomes a delivery boy with Lucky the robot and pretty much lets himself go. He also completely burns his bridges with Kallea when rescuing Crusher.

When the princess for another galaxy spanning Empire, rivaling that of the ConFed, is kidnapped, it appears that war is going to happen and billions could die. The princess’s handmaid escapes, on Jason’s old delivery ship, he’s involved whether he wants to be or not. The only way to rescue the princess and prevent interstellar war is to get the gang back together. But when one Super Power wants you dead and a clique within the other is plotting to take over, things might be harder than expected.

But Omega Force always gets the job done. And with this job, they have the thanks of the King of an Empire, with “mysterious” problems along its other borders. And a princess that has the hots for Cap’n Jason. * wolf whistle *

Almost like Dalzelle is setting up future story installments.

 

My Thoughts:

This starts off with a barely functioning Jason, drunk as a skunk getting helped along by Lucky. It was rather disconcerting, as we don’t get WHY Omega Force fell apart until some time later.

In many ways, this felt like Dalzelle ran out of ideas for within the ConFed and so kind of rebooted the whole Omega Force thingamajig. I didn’t feel that it was handled real well, especially with how things with Kallea went down. Relationships, even fake ones in books, shouldn’t get treated like a drama prop.

Other than that, this was exactly the same in tone as all the previous Omega Force books. If I was in a cranky mood like I was when I read Dark Matter I’d probably rip into this more. But I don’t expect much from these, so I don’t have to give much in a review. These are like Forgotten Realms for Science Fiction.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

 

  1. Secret of the Phoenix (Book 6)
  2. Return of the Archon (Book 5)
  3. The Enemy Within (Book 4)
  4. Savage Homecoming (Book 3)
  5. Soldiers of Fortune (Book 2)
  6. Omega Rising (Book 1)