The Child In Time by Ian McEwan

The Child in Time The Child in Time by Ian McEwan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Two stars stands for "It was okay" on the Goodreads scale, and for Ian McEwan authored fiction, this book really was only okay. He can do so much better. McEwan's strength, characters tormented in one way or another by their past, are out in full force in this book, but with non-linear story telling that nudges up against sci-fi, why bother? The reader knows all the choices before the situations are revealed, and throwing in a well written but unconnected political plot does nothing but weaken the personal arc of the main character. The sense of place was wonderful, as good as any McEwan story set in contemporary London, and that's all that kept me reading when I long stopped caring about the characters and their drawn out for drama's sake troubles.

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Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror

The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror, Version 2.0 The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror, Version 2.0 by Christopher Moore

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Christopher Moore is the mockery master. His books are genius when he's making fun of the people (small town law officer who has every reason to fear the DEA) and places (tourist town residents that are anything but visitor friendly). Moore proved that he'd hold nothing as sacred in his hilarious book [Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal], so there should be no surprise that when Raziel, the possibly intellectually challenged angel from that book shows up in a small coastal California town a few days before Christmas, things go wrong. A simple directive from God isn't so simple when the local crazy woman goes off her meds, a divorced couple has one argument too many, a short term visitor wants to make long term plans and kids say the darndest things. There are a few more colorful characters with their own subplots, all very entertaining, but with so many people milling about this town, there's not a lot of room for Raziel. Remember him? From the title of the book? He disappears for chunks of the book, and despite the town constable showing passing interest in discovering who he is, he's a fringe character in his own story. Perhaps that is the way of angels. Either way, this is a very funny book when it's looking at what goes on off of Main Street, so-so funny when it's trying to follow its own plot line.

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Lake Overturn by Vestal McIntyre

Lake Overturn: A Novel Lake Overturn: A Novel by Vestal McIntyre

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Vestal McIntyre is a master of character driven fiction. I suspected as much when I read his short story collection, [You Are Not The One:], and this novel goes beyond what he accomplished in that book. The residents of Eula, Idaho are as light as they are dark, they are as happy as they are angry. Not one of them is a caricature, they are flesh and blood and the craziness that lives in all of us. Beyond giving us characters that will make you second, third, and fourth guess your opinions on the people you know in your real life, McIntyre's use of setting makes this a story that will have you looking at your own surroundings with a new eye. This is Southern Gothic without the southern but too modern to be simply gothic, and it is one of the best books I've read this year.

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London Boulevard by Ken Bruen

London Boulevard (Bloodlines) London Boulevard by Ken Bruen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A contemporary noir re-telling of Sunset Boulevard with characters that would have been a perfect fit for Guy Ritchie's RocknRolla. The dialog is perfectly sharp, the violence is brutal and over the top, and the setting is perfectly, grimely London. This is derivative fiction in the hands of a very good writer.

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