Upgrade was my first exposure to the writing of Stephen Hise and to be honest I can't even remember how I came across his work although I got it from Smashwords so maybe their FB group. How I guess doesn't really matter because the blurb to "Upgrades" peaked my interest with it's mix of science and ominous consequences when you have the money and the desire to change a fundamental aspect of what makes you well you.
I can't say any character in the book generated any real sympathy, understanding and maybe recognition but apart from perhaps Kim they all had agendas. Ultimately like Twilight Zone (referenced on Stephens site) there is a sting in the tale and you can quite easily supply the Rod Sterling commentary when you flip the last page:)
I've always found Mary's writing to be imaginative and The Rifters was no exception mixing the modern world with the wild west and a portal to somewhere and sometime with beings we have yet to fully understand battling over it or maybe because of it. This is where Darlin Dae Long arrives to stay with her sister and is unceremoniously dumped into the middle of the chaos as a murder spree occurs, the suspect seemingly a nice guy but with secrets and lets not forget the ghost of a hung 1880's stagecoach robber, yes you're gonna get an awful lot going on in this story.
The Rifters is the first novel in the series, it's sequel is out very soon and I'm looking forward to reading that as well because while it took me a little way to figure out what was going on once it clicks this is a fast paced action filled story.