Friday, July 22, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - The A, B, C Murders by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie Mile Trail Torquay, English Ri...Image by iknow-uk via FlickrIt's hard to believe that these mysteries were written almost a hundred years ago but let me tell, you, they do stand the test of time. If you've read my reviews or even just seen the types of books that I read, you can tell that I have a taste for the fantastic. Whether they be zombies, wizard detectives, or British exorcists, the stuff that's right up my alley tend to be a little out of the ordinary. The Agatha Christie mysteries are fairly ordinary mysteries on the surface. No zombies or wizards or vast governmental conspiracies but they are all out of the ordinary in how well done they are and how they keep you wanting to finish the mystery and see if you've had it pegged all along.

My first encounter with an Agatha Christie mystery was back in the 80's when my family just got cable and Evil Under the Sun was on HBO almost every day it seemed. That was where I was introduce to Hercule Poirot, played by Peter Ustinov, and has drawn me to read the Poirot mysteries almost thirty years later. Now the premise of The A, B, C Murders is one that you may be familiar with since it has been copied in some form ad nauseum. Poirot is taunted by a killer who sends him letters proclaiming Poirot cannot catch him as he murders people according to the alphabet. What I really liked about this Poirot mystery was the feeling that Poirot was a bit helpless and and was stumped. From the other Poirot books that I've read, and from some other mystery books, shows or movies, you can fall into the lull of knowing the good guy is going to prevail and in the end you know Poirot will figure it out but Christie does a masterful job of leading you along with Poirot wondering how long he will be stumped.

No spoilers here so read her books, I command you! Another excellent entry into the series and it has even gotten me to add some Miss Marple mysteries to my read pile.

My Grade: A-

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - Monster Nation by David Wellington

Cover of "Monster Nation: A Zombie Novel&...Cover of Monster Nation: A Zombie NovelI finally made it Monster Nation on my read pile after reading a few other David Wellington books in rapid succession a while back, the books being Monster Island, Plague Zone and 13 Bullets. I have a soft spot for Wellington who got his start writing chapters and posting them online and then finally got a book deal to publish his online serials, so while I could have read Monster Nation online for free, I decided to show my support with my wallet and plunk down my twelve bucks and but the book.

This is a prequel of sorts, taking place during the outbreak (if that's what you want to call it) and causes of people turning into zombies. It follows two main characters that are on a collision course (cliche, zing!), one a women who doesn't quite die, much like Gary of the first book, and a by the numbers military man, trying to figure out what is going on and how to stop it. That's pretty much it. Since you know where things head from the first book, the fun from the book comes from how we get there. There is some fun in there but it's at times slow going and the feeling of inevitability of getting to a world overrun takes over and I found myself at times just waiting to get there.

The end product is mixed for me. Like I said, there is some good stuff in there and is an interesting twist on the genre in that the cause is not the ever popular viral outbreak but something else which I won't spoil. To sum it up, solid but not as good as Monster Island.

My Grade: B-

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