Book Review: Duplicate Effort (Retrieval Artist #7)

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Duplicate Effort (Retrieval Artist #7) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

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Retrieval Artist Miles Flint has a mission: take down the law firm of Wagner, Stuart, and Xendor. He enlists the aides of old friends and old enemies. But as the mission gets underway, one member of his team dies horribly.

Flint can no longer take on the entire universe. He violated the rules of his Retrieval Artist mentor and now has a lot to lose. But he can’t reverse the events he set in motion—and the crisis he caused might destroy everything—and everyone—he loves.

International bestselling writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch has won two Hugo awards, a World Fantasy Award, and three Asimov’s Readers Choice Awards. IO9 called her six (so far) bestselling, award-winning Retrieval Artist novels, inspired by this novella, one of the top ten science fiction detective series ever.

 

MY REVIEW

First off, love.the.book.title “Duplicate Effort”, which has more than one meaning in the story.

This is the first of the fifteen-book “Retrieval Artist” series I read and it is the 7th of the series and works well as a stand-alone, though I believe it would work better if read in order. The author does provide good insight to the other books like a universe building on itself.

Second, I love the initial premise. What is a cop to do with a self-cleaning crime scene? How do you save the evidence before it is destroyed?

Each layer of the book get more and more interesting. I’m not going to go any further so I don’t give any of the mysteries away. 

Book Review: Death Warmed Over

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Death Warmed Over (Dan Shamble, Zombie PI Book 1) by Kevin J. Anderson

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Ever since the Big Uneasy unleashed vampires, werewolves, and other undead denizens on the world, it’s been hell being a detective—especially for zombie PI Dan Chambeaux. Taking on the creepiest of cases in the Unnatural Quarter with a human lawyer for a partner and a ghost for a girlfriend, Chambeaux redefines “dead on arrival.” But just because he was murdered doesn’t mean he’d leave his clients in the lurch. Besides, zombies are so good at lurching.

Now he’s back from the dead and back in business—with a caseload that’s downright unnatural. A resurrected mummy is suing the museum that put him on display. Two witches, victims of a curse gone terribly wrong, seek restitution from a publisher for not using “spell check” on its magical tomes. And he’s got to figure out a very personal question: who killed him?

For Dan Chambeaux, it’s all in a day’s work. (Still, does everybody have to call him “Shamble”?) Funny, fresh, and irresistible, this cadaverous caper puts the PI in RIP … with a vengeance.

 

MY REVIEW

A typical urban fantasy detective – the twist on this one is the PI is a Zombie and one of his cases is investigating his own death.

What I loved about the story: This PI doesn’t work just one case, but a dozen cases at a time. He isn’t a down-and-out Noir PI trying to climb into or out of a bottle. He just happens to have been killed recently. Other than that, he has a good set of friends, a solid job, and a smart girlfriend. Unlife promises to be as good as living had been.

With the dozen or so cases, Mr. Anderson doesn’t need to create false trails and red herrings. There is so much going on, of course Dan Chambeaux has a time uncovering the big bad’s case since he also has to work on all the other cases which pay the bills. I think this particular aspect of the story is more real than most detective stories I have read.

What I didn’t like about the story: Several times the author repeats information from the chapter before. About 1/6th of the book is repeats. Now in order to do the investigation, the PI does have to review the evidence to see if he is missing anything. Sometimes going over the information with friends lets him see the problem from a different perspective. If I was editing the book, I would recommend cutting about half of the repeats.

The chapter endings usually complete a mini-story within one of the PI’s cases, which makes picking up and putting down the book easy. If you read about 2 to 3 chapters at a time during a commute or between errands, the repeats may not bother you at all. I tend to swallow books whole – in this case I bought and finished the book the same day.

Overall a good story and solid start to a new series. Also works fine as a stand-alone.

Flash: Predator-Prey

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Where were the other two? Aminah thought as she surveyed the area. The perp she had been following for the last hour stopped to smoke under a streetlamp. Maybe he was signaling the others to stay back? Had he made her?

 

She needed all three to stop the conspiracy.

 

The guy tapped twice with his left hand. A signal, definitely. The man was right-handed. The officer slipped deeper into the shadows to discover they were already occupied. 

(Words 77 – first published 9/18/2013; published in new blog format on 10/1/2017)

Book Review: I, Zombie

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* Someone is Murdering the Dead. *

I, Zombie by Doris Piserchia under the pen name of Curtis Shelby

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When the girl from the asylum drowned in the lake that night, she thought it was the end of her life, but she was wrong.

With robots at fifty thousand dollars a unit, it was far more economical to use corpse labour – all it took was a two-thousand dollar animating pack in the brain, and a zombie worker, under the direction of a helmeted controller, could do just about anything except think.

Or so everyone said. But in the zombie dorms at night, with only the walking dead for roommates, things were not as they should have been. The girl from the asylum seemed to have more mental ability, not less, and someone was trying to kill her. Kill a dead girl?

Maybe there was more to heaven than an afterlife of manual labour in the company of a bunch of stiffs!

 

MY REVIEW

One of my favorite books of all time, I don’t know how many times I have read it. Picked it up back when it was first released in 1982 at an airport to keep from getting bored on a plane. (now available on kindle – yeah! … because my original paperback is Beat Up(tm).)

Interesting psychological study. Pretty cool worldbuilding with the Frogs and the Zombies (deceased humans with brain packs to work them). Actually excellent worldbuilding, the layers to the Zombies and the world trying to translate that over to the mentally disturbed. Layers upon layers with the brain pack technology and the Frog culture.

Then the action adventure with fights in front of a furnace and problem-solving mysteries with someone murdering the dead and the ice world melting, keeps everything moving at a fast pace.

This book is one of my happy places.

NOTE: Curt Selby is the pen name of Doris Piserchia, so “Curt Shelby” appears on the cover but you will now find the book under Doris Pierchia’s real name for the kindle.

Flash: Diamonds Hiding

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The diamonds fell from her hands, scattering like stars in the night across the black marble. And as uncaring as the cold stars looking on from the sky, they reflected her falling, winked red as blood pooled out, and hid in the shadows when daylight came.

***

Younger did not know why he was here. The cops never called him. Yet this time they did.

DJ and Jeffery grunted greeting as they lifted the police tape. He nodded to the officers, debating talking to them. Spotting the detectives, he decided against it. Lance and Paul were assholes. Which made him being called in even more strange.

Not his normal strange, but the WTF?!? strange you get when your mom compliments your death metal tattoo.

Though he knew if those two called him in … his normal strange would be happening soon enough.

(words 141 – first published 5/1/2013; republished in new blog format on 4/2/2017)