Monthly Archives: June 2017

Crossline

Crossline

By Russ Colchamiro

Colchamiro

https://www.amazon.com/Crossline-Russ-Colchamiro-ebook/dp/B00BSIPRJM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494551855&sr=8-1&keywords=crossline%2C+colchamiro

Plot

Marcus Powell. Astronaut. Testing the newest in warp spacecraft. Out beyond where his mission stated. Encounters another similar spacecraft. Follows into another dimension and end on an alternate Earth in the middle of skirmishes between two cultures. Wants and plans to go home. Meanwhile back on Powell’s Earth, another man has planned and schemed for decades…to go home.

So, a sci-fi with dimensional stories. There’s a bit of action, a bit of Indian lore, a bit of philosophy. A plot that turned out a bit different than what I thought.

Characters

Marcus Powell: astronaut, married with daughter, dad dead.

Harlan ‘Buddy’ Rheams, Jr.: CEO of Taurus Enterprises, former oilman, white receding hair, liver spots.

Dale Aranuke: technician

Keela Amos: long red hair, blue eyes, fit, married

Malcolm Quincy Reno: Nickname is Chill, middle age, pot smoker

Some interesting characters some of which there is decent back story and information. More could have been done in this area but there was a lot of backstory on Harlan that took up a lot of the book.

Dialogue

Good voices. Chill’s came through as well as Keela’s and a couple others. I felt during the backstory part there was a lot of dialogue.

Writing

Titled Parts. Profanity.

Okay, so let me discuss the backstory. It starts with Marcus on his flight and entering the alternate dimension, meeting the inhabitants of the other earth. Then it jumps back to tell the story of Harlan. The problem I had with this was I thought it too long. You know the story already, really. Plus, there’s not much action that happens and by the end of this section I was ready to return to Powell’s earth to get some more of that world. This chunk of story could have been shorter to show more action with Marcus. There are the expected battles with the enemy on the other Earth, but his time in the other dimension could have been developed a bit more.

There was a bit of mental telepathy shared by various characters. There was some Indian aspects which I didn’t quite understand and didn’t seem to fit with Marcus and the other Earth. I thought it might connect up, but instead it was a lengthy bit in regards to his wife.

So, a pretty good sci-fi with some interesting characters and the expected deaths. One minor problem I, encountered was a time problem. Keela, on alternate Earth, mentions her husband has been gone two years. Then we have a section where you see her husband land on ‘real’ Earth in 1953. He, like Marcus, flew through a wormhole but he flew from alternate Earth to get to ‘real’ Earth.) Since the beginning of the story is present day, let’s round off the time to sixty years since her husband has been on ‘real’ Earth. Do the math. 2 years alternate = 60 years real. 1 year would = 30 years. Keep halving that and you have the time Marcus spends on alternate Earth being roughly a week or close to it. That would equal almost 1 year real Earth time. However, the present day story on real Earth doesn’t last a year before Marcus returns. It’s minor, but sci-fi fans will take note of the discrepancy.

Anyway, I’ll give this a:

Green Belt

Green

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One Decent Thing

Front cover jpg

By Michael Wills

MW Portrait 2015 500 pix

https://www.amazon.com/One-Decent-Thing-Michael-Wills-ebook/dp/B01HIH3BAI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493861628&sr=8-1&keywords=one+decent+thing

Plot

1975. Richard Scott would like to reacquaint himself with his daughter. He hasn’t been a role model father. When Scott comes across a beached raft with two IRA men, he discovers some secret plans. Now, Scott is on the run from the IRA, but when they involve his daughter, his goal is to rescue her.

I have no issues with the plot. I think it’s a good premise and brings back some of the 70s thrillers.

Characters

Richard ‘Scottie’ Scott: university marketing agent, smokes, divorced, brother dead

Tina: Scottie’s daughter, long black hair, university student

Ellen: drives a blue Morris Minor

Jean: Scott’s ex wife

There are bad guys and there are college students, the latter of which help Scott through his problems. However, I have a problem with some of the characters. While I like some of the college students, I didn’t think they were distinctive enough. I wanted a bit more personality from each.

I wanted more from Tina. She was kidnapped and I wanted more than one scene with her where POV switched around. Should have been more from her, especially at the end. Especially since she’s on the cover.

The bad guys weren’t bad enough. Here are a group of IRA rebels planning on blowing up several targets, killing and injuring scores of people and yet at least one of them is worried that they shouldn’t hurt their kidnapped victim because she’s supposedly innocent?

Dialogue

Here’s another issue. The bad guys didn’t sound like bad guys. They sounded like executives discussing deals and deciding every now and then to be tough. The college students had some individual voices, but not enough. Jean was irritating because all she did was harangue Scott. If she was so desperate, and didn’t think her ex was going to be reliable, why didn’t she call the police or someone else for help?

Too many people spoke without using contractions and it didn’t seem natural.

Continuity problem with dialogue. In one scene the bad guys are talking and one says she doing okay and eating. A few paragraphs later, another bad guy asks if she’s eating.

Writing

No profanity. Some chapters and scene changes are heading by date.

While the author did a good job of getting around not having cell phones and computers, I thought the scenes with breaking the code were too complex. I enjoyed how they figured out the code, but it didn’t seem tense enough. A lot of the action didn’t seem too intense.

Clean writing with no errors that I caught.

I just had problems with character and dialogue and, though I won’t play spoiler, I thought the ending was a bit abrupt. It might have been drawn out a bit. The way it was written didn’t work for me. I’m not saying the ending wasn’t an interesting way to end the book, but another way of writing might have made more impact.

I considered ranking this a camouflage, but because of the issues with dialogue and characters I must drop it down one.

My Rank:

Yellow Belt

Yellow

The Twitter Troll

SMDA_Color_2500x1563 (1)

By Timothy A. Price

https://www.amazon.com/Twitter-Troll-Social-Detective-Agency-ebook/dp/B06XQSJP4M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492656410&sr=8-1&keywords=the+twitter+troll

Plot

When Kyle King gets fed up with the behind-the-times police department, he quits and starts a private investigations firm with a geeky computer nerd partner. Their first case deals with a troll who is writing vicious statements against an aging actress.

That’s about it and though a good plot, doesn’t fully develop or have much to it because the story is pretty short. (Only 27 pages on my epub version).

Characters

Kyle King: cop (at the beginning before he quits), drives a Chevy, slightly built frame, 30s

Ally: 20s, wears glasses

Jane Lake: 70s, actress, fit

Cherida Lake: Jane’s daughter, 30s, has a daughter

Anthony Lyons: Jane’s manager, 50s, greying hair

Some typical characters. I did enjoy the camaraderie between Kyle and Allie. Kyle is more into the technology side and Ally is more into the self-promoting social media side. It was interesting that as a computer nerd, she didn’t know about Bitcoins.

Dialogue

Pretty standard and each voice fit the character. There were some B-movie bits here and there but for the most part, okay.

Writing

As mentioned, a short story. Little action and not enough computer investigation, not enough drawing out of details, not enough suspects, not enough meat. I won’t play spoiler, but I guessed the culprit from the moment the character entered the story. I think this story could have been drawn out, developed and the result would have been a cooler more enjoyable story. Maybe the next story in the series…

My Rank:

Camouflage Belt

Camo

The Carnival Keepers

carnival keeper_FINAL

By Amber Gulley

profile pic

https://www.amazon.com/Carnival-Keepers-Amber-Gulley/dp/1544115024/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492654283&sr=8-1&keywords=the+carnival+keepers

Plot

1879. London. James Hurlsworthy has accepted a series of bets from a friend to be completed in a day. However, he barely begins his adventure when he is thrown into some weird situations. There’s a carnival in town and magical creatures are roaming the streets with agendas of their own.

Okay, I thought the premise of James and his bets were interesting. When there’s a murder at the beginning of the book, I thought it was going to start getting really good. Then the story took a turn for left field and ended up going in half a dozen or more directions. The plot fell apart and turned into a book of multiple stories, James and his bets becoming a side story that lost ground.

Characters

James Hurlsworthy: has a title of Lord, has an older brother

Eddy Miller: pimp, owns a coffee house, large frame, has siblings

Mr Scraps: owns a curio shop

And more and more and more characters who kept popping up into the story. And very few without magical powers. There is a cat and a rat and spiders and a horse and an elephant and mermaid type creatures coming out of a lake and a girl with butterfly wings and a monster in a basement and too many characters to track and every one is involved with a story of their own and some may cross each other’s paths but there are stories that didn’t seem to develop or lost focus and…whew!

I thought naming a character Arry (get it? Harry without the H, as in one of the British accents dropping the H’s in words?) was a little much.

Dialogue

Mr. Scraps and Eddy had the best voices. There were a lot of internal dialogues and because of the multitude of characters, those threw me out of whatever story might have been happening. Arry and his buds had good accents.

Writing

The book is separated into titled Parts. Some profanity. The scenes with James are 1st person from his POV. The rest of the book is 3rd person from various POVs.

So, where to begin. Let’s start with the carnival having a Ferris Wheel. I did my homework and discovered that the first amusement ride with the term Ferris Wheel was designed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. and was the largest attraction at the Chicago Exposition…in 1893. Yes there were similar type rides throughout the centuries, but the Ferris wheel was until 14 years after this story took place.

Let me discuss the carnival. I thought it an interesting place where the carnies steal souls…and lives of many of the humans who attend. That was a cool aspect. But it wasn’t developed enough to keep my interest. Ditto the monster in the basement. What a creepy, scary THING, but again, it never developed and that early story died early. Then there were a story about one of the magical creatures wanting a necklace back and spent much of the book trying to find it. Another had a girl who wanted to run away and join the carnival. Anther story had the demise of Eddy. Another story had these spiders that bothered a lot of characters. Another included the mermaid type creatures coming out of a lake, but that didn’t seem to go anywhere and never concluded. The book starts with James in a cemetery with someone else and wondering if he was going to get away from the spiders but I didn’t make the connection at the end of the book. His story about the bets fell apart in short order and never really got back on track.

There was too much going on here without a succinct development in any if the subplots. I kept hoping it would evolve and nicely tie up, but I was disappointed.

The rank I give this is because of the above comments and not because there were any grammar/punctuation/spelling errors.

Yellow Belt

Yellow