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Smashwords book reviews by Clyde Wisham
- Lethal People
on March 24, 2011
Donovan Creed is an amiable fellow and a borderline sociopath. He is smart; he is strong; he is very tough; there isn’t much he won’t do. What is a man like that to do? Commando and spy come to mind. But, the former is too restrictive and the latter too introspective for Donovan. So, he became an assassin -- killing for the government and for hire. The story is fast and the writing is witty. There are laugh out loud moments mixed in with action, surprises, and sex -- not to mention some very offbeat characters. Looks like I have found a new GotToReadThemAll writer.
- Color Me Grey: Book One of the Alexis Stanton Chronicles
on March 30, 2011
Alexis Stanton tosses in her boring computer job and goes looking for adventure. She finds it. Soon she is a girl spy/commando learning the trade. Color Me Grey features pretty good action and the story moves along nicely. Phelps perhaps isn’t the greatest writing stylist, but I soon forgot about that as I got caught up in the story and found myself reading late into the night. All in all, though somewhat overly introspective and descriptive, its a good book. I’ll read the whole series.
On the negative side, the story could have used another edit. There were some noticeable homophone errors (aught for ought, site for sight, etc.).
- Shades of Grey: Book Two of the Alexis Stanton Chronicles
on April 04, 2011
In the second book of the Alexis Stanton Chronicles, Alexis Stanton (aka Ms Grey) becomes a full partner in White and Associates. She has new training, takes on new cases, and develops into a more rounded special operative. She also delves into the mystery of the super assassin Penumbra. Good stuff -- recommended.
- Reflections of Grey: Book Three of the Alexis Stanton Chronicles
on April 04, 2011
In this the third book of the Alexis Stanton Chronicles, special operative Grey takes on new and darker challenges. As we have come to expect, there is plenty of action and danger. And, Alex is forced to grow in unexpected directions.
This book has the same plot format as the first two books -- short missions clustered around the continuing development of Ms Grey as a special operative. That format results in a series of mini-climaxes which grow as the story progresses. (It is a plot vehicle that has worked well so far, but I wonder if can be sustained much longer. I feel that a more overall story arc may be required for subsequent books now that Alex has rather matured into her job. That's up to J.C. Phelps of course!)
I really like the way Phelps tied in some things from earlier books. I won't give any spoilers, but the reasons for some of Alexis' background elements which were brought out in the first book become clear in this book. The entire story is starting to come together nicely, actually.
The only quibble I have (and it is minor) is that Alex is a bit too emotive and girlie-like at times. She is in a hard business and I would expect her to be tough not only physically (which she certainly is) but also emotionally. I wouldn't want her to be a female Matt Helm, but still ...
The editing of this book (and the second book) has improved over that of the first book in the series (Color Me Grey).
I recommend the entire series and am happily looking forward to more.
- The Crown Jewels (Maijstral I)
on July 13, 2011
The Crown Jewels, the first Drake Maijstral adventure, is a quite enjoyable romp.
My thanks to Walter Jon Williams for re-releasing the trilogy. I somehow quite missed them when they were originally published.
- Deadly Gamble: The First Charlie Parker Mystery
on Aug. 08, 2011
Charlie Parker Mystery #1 is a good read. It is a little light perhaps (no really evil villains, no all-or-nothing desperate situations, just a good mystery to untangle), but light is good fare too sometimes. I like Charlie Parker and will read more of the series.
- Standing Up For Grace
on Aug. 29, 2011
Nice twist on the Cinderella story.
- Days of Atonement
on Aug. 31, 2011
This is an amazing book.
Loren Hawn, Chief of Police in a small town in New Mexico, has a murder to solve. The problem is, it is an impossible murder, because he saw the same man die twenty years earlier. This is a mystery deeper than a small town policeman should have to solve, but solve it he must. Hawn is a strong man, quick tempered, and a fighter with a tendency to rage. But, he also has a strong sense of duty and some uncommon detecting ability.
I will avoid any spoilers. Suffice to say Chief Hawn's investigation into the mysterious murder leads him to a conspiracy involving a nearby research facility. At the same time, he has to deal with unrest due to the closing of the town's main employer, a nearby copper mine, and with escalating local criminal activity. The combination is volatile. The story has a truly explosive finish.
- For Want of a Nail
on Oct. 12, 2011
Quite a good short story. What do you do when you are on a generation ship and an important AI goes awry?
(One accomplishment -- this story has convinced me to read more by Mary Robinette Kowal.)
- Knight Moves
on Jan. 14, 2012
Walter Jon Williams is a very talented writer and Knight Moves is one of his best books. Great SF.
- The Macedonian (Privateers & Gentlemen)
on Sep. 19, 2012
"The Macedonian" continues the story of Captain Favian Markham, USN, that began in Walter Jon Williams' "Brig of War". Things pick up pretty much were they left off in the previous book. (Though you need not have read it to enjoy "The Macedonian".) The war of 1812 continues. While awaiting his next command, Markham becomes involved in chasing down a spy ring that has been signaling the British blockade fleet. Then when a fortuitous storm gives an opportunity to break the blockade, Markham basically steals the frigate Macedonian and heads out to do battle with the British in the Atlantic. (Well, actually, he takes command of the Macedonian under somewhat shaky orders from a senior captain—there being no time to communicate with Navy headquarters.) From that point there is lots of action involving deep water sailing and naval combat. Walter Jon Williams obviously did a lot of research for this book and it shows in his very vivid descriptions of what it was like on an American naval vessel in the early 1800's.
This is a very good book. Recommended for fans of Patrick O'Brian and C.S. Forester.
- Brig of War
on Sep. 19, 2012
I quite enjoyed this book. You will too if you like the sea stories of Patrick O'Brian and C.S. Forester.
- Smoke-Filled Rooms: A Smokey Dalton Novel
on Dec. 20, 2012
Kris Nelscott's Smoke Filled Rooms continues the story of Smokey Dalton, an unlicensed black PI trying to make his way in the turbulent 1960s. This novel picks up shortly after the end of the events in A Dangerous Road. Smokey and his young charge, 10-year old Jimmy, have taken up residence in Chicago. Smokey is trying to keep a low profile in order to protect Jimmy, who witnessed the murder of Martin Luther King in Memphis. But a low profile is difficult to keep as political activists descend on Chicago for the 1968 Democratic National Convention and an old evil from Smokey's past returns to haunt him. To keep Jimmy alive, Smokey has to get into the thick of the action and do some serious detecting.
Very good book.
- Days of Rage: A Smokey Dalton Novel
on March 05, 2013
Days of Rage kicks of in Chicago during 1969, a time of high tension (the Chicago Eight were on trial then). So, Smokey Dalton, being a large and noticeable black man, has to be extra careful in his movements. But, problems have a way of finding Smokey. While doing a routine building evaluation, Smokey stumbles across some bodies behind a brick wall in a basement. This find starts Smokey on an investigation that links early 1900s Chicago gang activity to present day police corruption. This story develops in a more leisurely fashion than is usual in a Smokey Dalton story; however, the story builds as old skeletons come out (both literally and figuratively) and it becomes shockingly violent near the end.
Days of Rage is the final (so far) Smokey Dalton historical mystery. (More please Ms Nelscott! ;-))