Friday, December 11, 2015

MAN IN THE EMPTY SUIT - Sean Ferrell [Book recommendation]

Book obtained from: Library, audio book [2013]

Description: A time travel novel. The main character meets with “himselves” every year in an abandoned hotel in a futuristic dystopian NYC. The only people who come to the annual gathering are current, previous, and future versions of himself, except this year a woman shows up too. One of his future selves is murdered, and he must stop that from happening or everything will unravel.

Plot: This is a murder mystery but not really. Very difficult to explain. The MC has to prevent his own murder, while teaming up with some of his past and future selves and avoiding others. And find out who is the mysterious woman. This author has a seriously bizarre creative streak. The book is mind-bending. I like mysteries because I have to pay attention to try to figure them out, but this book required an extra measure of mental effort because of the time travel element. Very interesting.

Characterization: Most of the characters are the MC at various ages. He has nicknames for the various versions of himself, and each of the individual selves is reasonably well-developed and differentiated, which helps to keep them straight. The MC muses at times about how he has changed over his lifetime, which is an interesting bit of self-reflection. The third quarter of the book contained a POV change into the woman's POV for several chapters, which I didn't realize until quite a bit into it and it threw me for a while until the POV changed back to the MC.

Setting: April in New York City in a dystopian future. The descriptions were good, I was able to picture every scene without it being over-described.

Other: There are a few sex scenes, and all but one zipped by me and only after they were finished did I realize what they were. The book has chapters but they are not numbered. The narrator for this audio book has an interesting, somewhat monotone voice which actually helped with the characterization of the MC.

Overall: I enjoyed this book but it did require a bit of work. I would read more by this author, altho I need a break between books to let my brain relax.

Grade: B

Friday, December 4, 2015

LIFE'S A BEACH, THEN YOU DIE - Falafel Jones [Book recommendation]

Book obtained from: Amazon, free Kindle book [2013]

Description: Max Fried and his wife retire to New Smyrna Beach, Florida [east of Orlando]. Max was a computer forensic examiner before he retired. He meets an attorney who asks him to help find the assets of a deceased client. Max searches the client's computer, but finds more than he bargained for when everyone who knows what Max has discovered, ends up dead, and now the killer is after him.

Plot: Max obtains the deceased client's computer and finds bank info, emails, etc. Quite a bit of description of how to break into someone's computer. In fact, lots of techno info in this story. Someone, presumably the killer, tosses Max's house, spies on him, and assaults him, looking for something. Near the end of the book, Max figures out what the killer is looking for, which leads him to figuring out who the killer is. A bit of humor, a light read.

Characterization: The characters are reasonably developed and had their own personalities. Most characters were described in a similar fashion, height, weight, hair color, etc. Would have been good for a little variety in descriptions.

Setting: Beach town of New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The descriptions were good, I was able to picture every scene without it being over-described.

Other: This appears to be a self-published book, and did need a better editor [a few typos and grammar issues, not too many but sometimes distracting]. But the quality of the story was equal to many traditionally published books, in my opinion.

Overall: A good, light mystery. Funny in places. I would read more by this author.

Grade: B+