Book Review: Touch A Trilogy (Series)

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Touch: A Trilogy by A.G. Carpenter
Of Lips and Tongue: A Touch Trilogy Novella (Book 1) by A.G. Carpenter
Of Shade and Soul: Touch Trilogy Novella (Book 2) by A.G. Carpenter
Of Flesh and Bone: Touch Trilogy Novella (Book 3) by A.G. Carpenter


Unexpected. Awesome.

This Southern Gothic mixes together urban fantasy elements, a little bit of horror, and some of the police procedural/CSI/mystery genre. Sprinkle in a little romance. Mix together completely and the book stands on its own – gripping, entertaining, … loosing you a bit from the real world.

And as with all my highest ratings on Goodreads, the worldbuilding is spot on. The magic being integral is never explained. Everyone living here knows how it works; it isn’t something new because of a break in reality. And a reader learns about it as they sink into the bones of the story and world. It sneaks in the little crevices of the mind, like a cold air into a plank house. No need to build a bright info dump fire; the shadows in the corners hint at everything and reveal nothing.

Available as a collection (Touch: A Trilogy) or three novellas – Of Lips and Tongues; Of Shade and Soul; and Of Flesh and Bone. Each title perfectly fits the story. Also out in audiobook.


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Of Lips and Tongue: A Touch Trilogy Novella (Book 1) by A.G. Carpenter


Delaney Green is one of them that don’t burn. Possessed of the Touch – with the ability to not only see the future but manipulate it – she’s been kept in an institution for most of her life. When the Salesman, a murderous entity with a connection to Delaney’s past, starts burning girls to death, FBI Agent Percival Cox gives her the chance to leave the asylum behind. But he presents an even greater threat and she must risk flesh and bone in order to keep him from becoming a Power more destructive than the Salesman.


Unexpected. Awesome.

This Southern Gothic has a little bit of urban fantasy elements (in that it has monster bumping about in the contemporary world – but the setting is about non-urban as you can get and still have people everywhere), a little bit of horror elements (people die in not nice ways), and bit of the police procedural/CSI/mystery elements. Mix together completely and the book stands on its own – gripping, entertaining, … loosing you a bit from the real world.

The characters each stand by themselves and in their relations to others, different motives, reasons, and goals. The language and descriptions are beautiful.


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Of Shade and Soul: Touch Trilogy Novella (Book 2) by A.G. Carpenter


Delaney Green might be dead, but she don’t mean to stay that way. As she searches for a way back to the realm of the living, and the man she lay down flesh and bone for, Percival Cox and his team investigate a series of deaths and stolen souls. But Percy is not the man he used to be. If Del can’t find a way to stop him from waking his past, he could destroy everything, including himself.


Nice Southern Gothic to spook the corners of your mind.

Continuing the Touch Trilogy, this time the monster isn’t quite as bad, the world is a bit more unreal, and the voice of the story isn’t as strong. The “sagging” middle of a trilogy – cleaning up the ends of the last book and setting up for the cooking of the next meal, this snack satisfies but doesn’t fill.

On its own, a solid story but works much better within the trilogy. The CSI/mystery component is an appropriate investigation for the FBI group, but I miss the original community with the sheriff and cast of characters in the rural area. Suburbia has its share of eccentrics, but the constant pruning of rubbing shoulders with lots of people keep them from reaching the full heights found in the rural setting of the first book.

Jumping into the third book now because Delaney needs her Bones, ’cause she ain’t good at staying dead, and Percy could use some pruning before reaching the full heights of his Power.


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Of Flesh and Bone: Touch Trilogy Novella (Book 3) by A.G. Carpenter


Delaney Green may have found her way back to the living, but her new body isn’t going to last. Without magic, and still separated from Percy, she is forced to rely on the tangled memory of what might be to find a way to reclaim her bones. With the help of an old ally, and the reluctant assistance of new enemies, Del must take the final steps down a long road home.

The Touch Trilogy is a series of Southern Gothic novellas, short novels with a lyrical style and eerie tone, perfect for fans of True Blood or Flannery O’Connor.


Tell me a story.

“Well, just set yourself down a spell,” says the author AG Carpenter, setting the rocking chair creaking on the old porch. 

I take up the painted blue rocker beside the writer and start sipping the sweet tea which has appeared in my hand. Outside in the darkness, the cicadas chirp and the mist start rolling in as the heat of the day dissipates. I hear the moths and bugs fling themselves at the overhead bulb, searching for a fiery death. In my other hand appears a book “Of Flesh and Bone”, the third of a series of novella and I get dragged into the Southern Gothic with a comfortable fearfulness.

Knowing the unknowable of those Touched. 

I try not to look sideways at the chair set in motion by the wind and assure myself that the voice I heard – still hear strongly from the story – is just a story.

Yeah, the book is exactly like that.

A comfortable fearfulness.

Flash: Twilight Hours

Photo 241261581 © Georgiy Georgiy |

The strip mall was typical, herb seller and cigarette store anchoring one end and pizza delivery anchoring the other. Packard remembered when the food anchor had been Chinese, but COVID chased the Panjins back across the ocean. In between drugs and food were a tax prep place, cursed vacations, and a title loan store. Darkness skittered away from the police spotlights, scattered furthered by the falling rain. Flipping the metal flask in her hand, Packard tucked it unopened back into raincoat’s deep pockets on the left side; the right pocket held her wand. The apple schnapps was getting low, and she would need a drink after seeing another damn dead body today.

Dashing from her compact, the contracted specialist ducked under the police tape and edged into the ten-by-ten shelter the cops had placed over the body. The drenched uniform who should have been by the tape nodded at her and stepped into the downpour to make room for her. They had met this morning shortly after dawn.

The camera kids were tucking their expensive equipment into bags, leaving only chalk marks behind. The rest of the parking lot was a wash, literally, as whatever evidence remained from the killer ran into the gutters. A detective had his badge clipped to the outside of his raincoat, trying, ineffectually, to keep the water dripping from his coat outside the chalk marks.

“About fucking time,” he muttered loudly to be heard over the rain hitting the plastic above them.

“Nice to see you too, Smithers,” Sabine Packard, Magik Consulting and Investigations sole employee, nodded at the detective. “Some of us haven’t slept yet.”

“Chief is pissed the Twilight killer is doing back-to-back days.”

“I’m too.” She walked around the body, belly open crotch to midchest on the young male, crouching down, quickly measuring the tear with her hands midair above the body. “It gets bigger each time.”

“By about six centimeters according to the lab geeks.”

She nodded, having heard this from Smithers day counterparts this morning. “What’s the bets for tomorrow’s morning location?” she asked standing in the space now clear of the forensic crew. The Twilight killer always killed one person at nightfall and another in the morning. The first death nearly four months ago. Nine days of her getting a call shortly after sunset and another just past dawn.

Eighteen, now nineteen bodies. Tomorrow, twenty, unless they figured out how to stop him or her or it.

“Monroe in statistics is improving the data and says West Side.” Smithers shrugged. “My guts says the Mall.”

Packard rotated the big onyx ring on her thumb she had inherited from her father. “Mall.” She did another rotation and then another, staring at the body. “But one of the strip areas like this one across the street.”

“Treebranch or Goody Goods?”

Packard shook her head. “Don’t know. Killer hasn’t decided … no, wait, the killer doesn’t decide.” Her eyes hazed over and Smithers pulled out his notebook and turned on his recorder.

“Doesn’t decide?” All the detectives in homicide and missing persons had been taught how to deal with a tranced clairvoyant.

Packard’s hard words softened, taking on a sing-song property. “Things escape where they wilt, crawling out into the time between. A killer feeds. A hand pets. Grow monster, growing yet. Feed me belly tum tum tum, swirling world come undone.” The consultant collapsed as though someone cut her strings.

“Oh shit,” said Detective Matt Smithers, dropping his notepad and rushing forward to keep her body from tipping over onto the dead man.

The woman looked up at the man holding her head above something stinky. “Joy,” she snarked, “something finally came through.”

“Yeah, some half-assed poetry.”

She let him move her until he laid her down, rain pouring down the edge of the tent onto her shoulder and back. Packard looked him a question and he nodded, indicating she was clear of the body and evidence contamination. “Sorry, only a quarter elf. My dad was capable of whole-ass poetry.” Placing her hands on the cement parking lot, Sabine pushed herself to standing. “Did you get it on tape?”

“Everything but ‘the killer doesn’t decide.'”

“Great, because my body tape ran out of juice sometime around noon.” Sabine wiped her hands on her raincoat. “I would have had nothing.” She nodded at the body, “Let’s have the body snatchers do their jobs, forensics must be getting bored, and you can drive me to the station.”

“Can’t you drive?” The detective asked as they walked away from the murder site through the rain, waving over the morticians and indicating the uniform had the scene until the higher levels who were canvassing the area came back.

“After being up thirty-nine hours and having a trance?”

The officer looked down at her, as he opened up the passenger side of his unmarked. “You are going to be snoring before we pull out, aren’t you?”

“If you don’t like my snoring, stay out of my bed Matt.”

He closed the door and walked around the vehicle. Sabine was already snoring before the car even turned over. “I’m trying, girl. I’m trying.”

(words 856, first published 11/1/2023)

Book Review: Series – Central Galactic Concordance (1-3)

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Overload Flux (Central Galactic Concordance #1) by Carol Van Natta
Minder Rising (Central Galactic Concordance #2) by Carol Van Natta
Zero Flux (Central Galactic Concordance #2.5) by Carol Van Natta
Pico’s Crush (Central Galactic Concordance #3) by Carol Van Natta


A rousing combination of science fiction space opera and romance, Central Galactic Concordance has a bit of everything without burying the flavors. In addition, many of the characters have diverse racial and ethnic traits, something Ms. Van Natta strives for. This series is a hidden gem, and should especially appeal to fans of Sharon Lee and Steve Millers Liaden Universe. Each of the books within the series works well as a stand-alone.


Book Cover from Amazon

Overload Flux (Central Galactic Concordance #1) by Carol Van Natta


Two loners fighting to stay alive discover they must now save the galaxy.
The only vaccine for a deadly galaxy-wide pandemic is missing … and the only ones who may be able to find it are a powerful talent on the verge of a meltdown, and a security specialist hiding her extraordinary skills in a menial job.

Brilliant investigator Luka Foxe must act fast if he’s going to save the civilized planets of the Central Galactic Concordance. For as a pandemic sweeps across the galaxy, someone is stealing the vaccine. To make matters worse, Luka’s hidden mental talents are out of control, leaving him barely able to function in the midst of violence and a rising body count. The convoluted trail leads to a corrupt pharma industry and the possibility of an illegal, planet-sized laboratory. In the face of increasing threats, he must rely on an enigmatic, lethal woman who has secrets of her own.

Mairwen Morganthur hides extraordinary skills under the guise of a dull night-shift guard. The last thing she wants is to provide personal security for a nova-hot investigator, or to be plunged into a murky case involving sabotage, treachery, and the military covert operations division that would love to discover she’s still alive. Worse, she knows that two more deaths won’t bother their enemies one bit. Their only hope for survival is to share their darkest secrets. With everything in their universe at stake, can they learn to trust one another?



A Science Fiction Romance combined with Police Procedural, and the first book of the ongoing Central Galactic Concordance series made up of stand-alone stories, some concentrating on romance and some concentrating on the police procedural. The series is at four manuscripts at this time of this review and growing – three novels and one novella.

The books has a solid mix of the typical well-loved tropes of Sci-Fi and Romance. Two damaged people not looking for love but finding love which may heal them. Bonus – The love interest couple never had a moment of “should I share my feelings” angst or a moment of staged arguing to keep them apart – the circumstances of the book provide enough barriers the author does not go with the very annoying brainless high-school angst in full grown adults. This is not an instant love romance but a slow discovery with the investigation into a murder taking the primary stage. In addition, both of the adults are intelligent but have different forms of intelligence to support each other in the Police Procedural part of the story.

Other tropes include one of the romantic leads having military background, an interstellar conspiracy which will continue to unfold as the series continues, and one of my favorite tropes of psychic powers (with unique worldbuilding in how this universe deals with and uses those blessed/cursed with the powers). About halfway through the book, another beautiful sci-fi trope is added with a trip in a space ship – both the combination of the long boring travel between the stars where the romance has a chance to grow further and then the flaming reentry to the next portion of the dangerous investigation into murders on the new planet.

Ms. Van Natta has taken a lot of the typical stuff we all love about science fiction, romance, and murder mysteries, and blended it well to create a new universe for what is a promising series based on the debut novel.


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Minder Rising (Central Galactic Concordance #2) by Carol Van Natta


A covert agent asked to train a prodigy telepath discovers he must first keep the boy and his mother alive in a gleaming city full of danger.

An injured agent on the galactic capital planet must evade whoever is killing off his covert interrogations unit and make an impossible choice–save his own skin, or save an innocent woman and her prodigy son. Can he discover who is subverting the mission of the Citizen Protection Service, before they fulfill their dark plans?

A millennium into the future, the Citizen Protection Service tests all children for minder talents, and recruits the best. Injured agent Lièrén Sòng is recovering from a near-fatal crash in Spires, the gleaming capital city of the galaxy. He should be preparing to return to interrogating criminals for the Citizen Protection Service, but he’s made unexpected friends with a woman and her son. The boy has strong telepathic talents similar to Lièrén’s, and his attractive mother makes Lièrén long for the stability of family.

Imara Sesay works hard as a road crew chief in Spires and part-time bartender to provide for her son Derrit. For him, she even breaks her ironclad rule never to get close to a customer, when she trusts Lièrén to teach her son how to control his growing telepathic talents.

However, new fatalities in his covert unit make Lièrén suspect he isn’t a lucky survivor, he’s a loose end. He should pull away from Imara and Derrit to keep them safe. But when the local CPS Testing Center shows a more than usual interest in the boy, Lièrén must make an impossible choice–protect the boy, or run for his own life. Can he stay alive long enough to save Imara and her prodigy son?



A science fiction romance with political thriller mix in. The romance takes time to develop (no Instalove here) – the hero is recovering from a major injury and is staying at a hotel until he recovers enough for his next assignment, and the heroine does not do transients for love interests because of her son. It takes forever for their first kiss, but the wait of this sweet romance is worth it.

While waiting for the romance to develop, the political thriller sci-fi plot holds center stage. The second book of the Central Galactic Concordance, Minder Rising works great as a stand-alone. With very little overlap with the first book, Overload Flux, the story introduces an entirely new group of characters giving a reader a new place to stand while looking at the political issues within the Concordance universe.

I really love and identify with the hero Lieren because of his naivety and trust. He believes the best about the universe and it has bit him. I hope we see more of him as he recovers from having the blinders removed from his eyes. He is a hero worth meeting.

And the heroine is awesome as a single mother working two jobs – one at a hotel bar and the second as a construction gang leader. The description of the see-through walkways and roads for the crystal capital city (tourist attraction) which she works on as part of the road construction crew set this firmly in the sci-fi area while also grounding the fantastic with a dose of reality.

Diversification – Hero is Asian descent and Heroine is African descent (sci-fi situation).


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Zero Flux (Central Galactic Concordance #2.5) by Carol Van Natta


A couple investigating murder on a cold planet discovers their first challenge is staying alive. Forensic investigator Luka Foxe has begun a new life with Mairwen Morganthur (Overload Flux), and left his troubled past far behind. Only a plea from his old friend and mentor can lure him back to investigate a violent crime scene frozen in an ice cave. Unfortunately, Luka’s old friend knows far more than he’s telling, which could get them all killed, even with security specialist Mairwen on their side.

An unexpected ice fall reveals a hidden lab buried deep in a mountain and the find of a lifetime. Now someone is trying to make sure those secrets stay frozen in time, even if it means more deaths …

Hang on for a space opera murder mystery in the far reaches of deep space.



The novelette, Zero Flux, from the Central Galactic Concordance series revisits the characters introduced in Overload Flux. I think the novelette works as a stand-alone, but since I read this book the day after I finished Overload Flux I can’t really judge.

A science fiction police procedural with some action-adventure on the side and a breath of romance (our main characters are still deeply in love).

This time the murder mystery centers around a cold case – literally and figuratively – the murder happened over 20 years ago and has been frozen in-situ thanks to the ice planet. Several red herrings keep the reader guessing as the story unfolds, combine nicely with the danger of working in the ice and snow. Winter doesn’t like its frozen vignette being investigated and dumps several additional challenges on our hero and heroine; the cold is only the beginning.

Ms. Van Natta is doing a good job of slowly introducing readers to the Concordance universe; the worldbuilding is getting better each manuscript.


Book Cover from Amazon

Pico’s Crush (Central Galactic Concordance #3) by Carol Van Natta


Trouble comes to paradise when a serial killer chooses a galaxy-famous college campus for his hunting ground. A galactic security specialist expects a quiet vacation visit to his daughter’s college campus. Instead he finds himself in battling for the safety of the students, with old friends and an ex-military squad-mate fighting at his side. Can they find a cunning serial killer before he finds his next target?

When ex-military sniper and current personal security specialist Jerzi Adams visits his daughter Pico’s quiet college on the paradise-like planet of Nila Marbela, he doesn’t expect emergency evacuations and rogue robots. Nor does he expect to renew a friendship with former squad-mate.

Explosions, sabotage, and assaults used to be Andra De Luna’s daily routine, but she gave it up for a professorship at a prestigious university. Now she’s flung back into that world, with an entire floating campus of students to protect.

When the hunt for a cunning serial killer leads Jerzi’s old friends Luka and Mairwen (Overload Flux) to town, there’s trouble in paradise as the body count starts to rise. Either the world of academia has gone from merely cutthroat to downright deadly, or more sinister forces are in conflict, with the campus as a battleground. Without an improvised miracle or two, no one’s going to make it out alive.



The third novel (with a side trip of a novellette as 2.5) in the Central Galactic Concordance has two romances – one older couple and one younger couple, plus both couples from the previous novels of the series. While this book could work as a standalone, I found the multiple story threads hard enough to follow knowing the complete background.

I think Ms. Van Natta bit off a little more than her present authorship skill set allowed her to work. The battle scene focuses in on each of our various characters at least once – so the battle jumps around between the seven main characters plus one of the villains. Also several minor characters are tracked, though their POV is not used. A very ambitious attempt by Ms. Natta and comes just shy of actually pulling it off seamlessly – the seam definitely shows on this one. It’s still worth buying the story even with the clunky – because she keeps the battle action constantly moving.

On the plus side, the series has had four couples and I love the fact all of the characters are different people. Even with the massive battle scene, each character’s strength and weaknesses are used. Ms. Van Natta uses each character well. Even better, some of the couples have the female be the strong, military member of the couple with the male being the thinker, and other couples have the male being the protector and the woman being the brain. And for every romance in the Concordance Universe, even with the psychic powers, we get to see the romance develop – no Instalove.

Oh and I *love* the practical engineering class and the related projects … plus the real world applications during the battle. This added bit perfectly brings the science fiction to the fantastic forefront while simultaneously grounds the story in reality.

I look forward to reading more of Ms. Van Natta’s Concordance Universe. Each book has been a different emphasis, a different romance, and another slow reveal of the worldbuilding in the Universe.

Book Review: Welcome to Outcast Station

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Welcome to Outcast Station by Jeanne Adams and Nancy Northcott


Welcome to Outcast Station where even outcasts deserve a shot at redemption.

The Accidental Plague by Jeanne Adams
Outcast Station is a backwater, but for BVax Scientist Ravinisha Trentham, any posting is better than washing dishes. Ravi is top in her graduation class, but only Outcast would hire a McKeonite. Someone on the station wants her dead, but when a plague breaks out, Ravi may be their only hope. If the murderer gets to her first, everyone will die.

The New Badge by Nancy Northcott
Deputy Marshal Hank Tremaine crosses the wrong person and lands at Outcast Station, the armpit of Terran space. His hostile boss promptly assigns him to a backcountry murder. Solving it will help redeem his reputation and get him posted somewhere more civilized. But failing to find the killer will bury his career once and for all.



Welcome to Outcast Station is two stories in one. One on the station above the planet and one in the planet’s port and outback.

Jeanne Adams’ The Accidental Plague is a medical thriller in space, a race against time because “Plague knows no class, category, or status”. The new transfer has to take over when the senior scientist and half the staff succumbs over the very beds of those they are trying to save.

Typical of Ms. Adams, the story pops with relationships and action. I love her work and have read two novels by her.

Nancy Northcott’s The New Badge also finds the “new guy” in over his head real quick with a murder. The police procedural shows adding alien races to the mix doesn’t make police work any easier, DNA evidence depends on how a species sheds their DNA body bits and whoever killed the foreman in the agro-community didn’t leave much behind. Working against a no-waves supervisor, a too interested government official, and a local population where is he an outsider, the New Badge has his work cut out for him.

My first story by Ms. Northcott finds her effort a good example of the sci-fi police procedural.

Outcast Station may be where careers go to die, but promises to be an awesome place to sustain a share world.

Book Review: A Time & Shadows Mystery Series

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The Day Before: Time & Shadows Mystery (Book 1) by Liana Brooks
Convergence Point: A Time & Shadows Mystery (Book 2) by Liana Brooks
Decoherence: A Time & Shadows Mystery (Book 3) by Liana Brooks


Any long-term readers of my blog know one of my favorite authors is Liana Brooks. I read everything she writes, I attend book launches long-distance, I stalk … um … follow her on Facebook. Why does she have to be a West Coast writer – forever 3,000 miles away? I adore her writing so much I’ll even read a series on time travel if she writes it, my least favorite sci-fi variation. And, you know what?, I loved it. She actually came up with a mechanism I liked – giving agency to the characters.

That is my normal problem with time travel.

Option A: You can’t change time. Characters have no agency; when they go back in time, they get blocked at every turn trying to make changes. The only option available is an emotional journey and I’m not into soul-searching for it’s own sake after the first version of this time travel option. I get it – the character goes from angry, to frustrated, to acceptance, and returns home a changed person. Great the first read, not the fortieth.

Option B: You can change time, but then you can’t return to your original point because your future timeline has disconnected because of your actions. The character becomes lost in the sea of infinite timelines, a Dutchman never again making home port. In this option the characters appears to agency, but they don’t. Because, really, that previous timeline the character wanted change is still out there, moving forward without them. Sure they have created a “happy” timeline, but it doesn’t erase the other line.

Ms. Brook twisted the option B with a dash of energy-wave-cycle science, crashing together a theory where agency exists for characters between the cycles. And she mashed it up with a murder mystery and political thriller.

Did I mention she is one of my favorite authors?

See the book blurbs and my individual book reviews below.

Book Cover from Amazon

The Day Before: Time & Shadows Mystery (Book 2) by Liana Brooks


A body is found in the Alabama wilderness. The question is:

Is it a human corpse … or is it just a piece of discarded property?

Agent Samantha Rose has been exiled to a backwater assignment for the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, a death knell for her career. But then Sam catches a break—a murder—that could give her the boost she needs to get her life back on track. There’s a snag, though: the body is a clone, and technically that means it’s not a homicide. And yet, something about the body raises questions, not only for her, but for coroner Linsey Mackenzie.

The more they dig, the more they realize nothing about this case is what it seems … and for Sam, nothing about Mac is what it seems, either.

This case might be the way out for her, but that way could be in a bodybag.

A thrilling new mystery from Liana Brooks, The Day Before will have you looking over your shoulder and questioning what it means to be human.



Wow, I knew Ms. Brooks could write – her superhero romance is fantastic – but wow.

A police procedural with sci-fi time-travel mix. The procedural is set in the near future – about 50 years from now. 25-ish years ago half of humanity was lost to a plague and the survivors joined nations and moved forward, so Samantha, the main character, works for the North American government. Ms. Brooks has done an excellent job of creating a new culture from the fallout, plus a pretty interesting scientific possibility for time travel.

I highly recommend reading the chapter teasers. The stuff at the start of chapters 8, 13, and 23 give the motivation for Iteration 1 and lays the groundwork for the series.

Full Disclosure: Received free from author as part of an on-line book launch. No mention of review in the transaction. Attended launch because loved her other books.


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Convergence Point: A Time & Shadows Mystery (Book 1) by Liana Brooks


Agent Samantha Rose has already died once…and knows the exact date she’ll die again.

Having taken down a terrorist organization bent on traveling through time to overthrow the government, Sam figured she was done dealing with the unbelievable. Finally out of backwater Alabama, she’s the senior agent in a Florida district, and her life is back on track.

Until a scientist is found dead. And then an eco-terrorist. And then a clone of herself…again.

As the pieces start to fall together, they paint a picture that seems to defy everything they know about time and physics. But the bodies are all too real, and by partnering up with Agent MacKenzie once more, they might just figure out what’s going on. And when.



Is it possible for Convergence Point to be even better than The Day Before of the Time and Shadows series? Yes, I believe it is.

First off, we get a little more romance this time. Not center stage, but nicely worked into the story. Second the mystery-procedural investigation and as much legwork and slow reveal as the last time. The on-edge feeling continues throughout the book of who may die next. Police officers call in, warrants are retrieved – you really feel like these are officers doing their jobs. Too many books have officers breaking the law to bring criminals in – this one makes you feel that these are real officers who really believe, obey, and enforce the law.

I do dislike how men still treat women poorly – I had hoped 50 years in the future to see better of humanity. But after a plague wipes out half the population and women become breeding machines in some areas of the planet, I expect some backsliding would occur from our “enlightened times”.

I should note there were a couple places where characters seemed to act out of character. Not always sure the change was because of an Iteration crossing over.

But the reason why this is amazing is the worldbuilding. As my other reviews indicate, I LOVE good worldbuilding. Ms. Brooks brings to the table several layers to the clone world – including Sam having to deal with other Iteration versions of herself dying in this one. The initial fallout from the Yellow Plague – both the crumbling of nations and the rebuilding. And, of course, time travel.

Ms. Brooks, with the Time and Shadows, has come up with a comprise to time travel which returns agency to the time-travel stories, plus gives one of the best motivations for murder I have ever seen. What would you do, who would you kill, to keep your reality alive instead of collapsing into a dream? For creating a viable, to me at least, time-travel-multiverse thread I have to give Ms. Brooks five stars!


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Decoherence: A Time & Shadows Mystery (Book 3) by Liana Brooks


Samantha Rose and Linsey MacKenzie have established an idyllic life of married bliss in Australia, away from the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, away from mysterious corpses, and—most of all—away from Dr. Emir’s multiverse machine.

But Sam is a detective at heart, and even on the other side of the world, she can’t help wonder if a series of unsolved killings she reads about are related—not just to each other, but to the only unsolved case of her short career.

She knows Jane Doe’s true name, but Sam never discovered who killed the woman found in an empty Alabama field in spring of 2069. She doesn’t even know which version of herself she buried under a plain headstone.

When Mac suddenly disappears, Sam realizes she is going to once more be caught up in a silent war she still doesn’t fully understand. Every step she takes to save Mac puts the world she knows at risk, and moves her one step closer to becoming the girl in the grave.



I want to sit down and create a timeline … line?, woven cloth matrix folded in parts, wibbly-wobbly time knot … anyway, I would like to try to create a iteration and people tracking tool to follow this story through the three books of the series. I am totally going to do this sometime – likely in three or four years. If I come back to books (and I will with this series), it usually takes me around half a decade.

This is not a stand-alone book. Read books one and two before reading book three.

The third of the series science fiction world-building isn’t as strong as the first two, which isn’t surprising since by this time the world has been defined. The romance established in the second book has been solidified by the third. The police procedural isn’t quite as clear cut to follow as the first two books as the world(s) spiral toward decoherence. 

So the story didn’t knock my socks off as much as the first two – on the other hand, I still can’t find my shoes.