Review: The White Light of Tomorrow, by D. Pierce Williams

About the book, The White Light of Tomorrow The White Light of Tomorrow

 

  • Print Length: 277 pages
  • Publisher: D. Pierce Williams (May 1, 2017)

In a future dominated by the Church and defended by the sword, one piece of forbidden technology may change all the rules.

Adrian of Tarsus is a veteran Knight Hospitaler. His adopted daughter, Mariel, serves as his squire, and together they travel the galaxy aboard the ancient merchant ship Miranda. Adrian uses his position as a Church enforcer to provide cover for his real quest: a cure for Mariel’s mysterious and painful illness, which worsens every day.

Trouble is, Adrian’s certain the cure requires Machina Infernus, heretical technology forbidden by the Church, and not even a Knight can hide from the Holy Office of the Universal Inquisition.

When the Miranda’s crew are ambushed while acquiring such an object, Adrian turns to Sabine Adler, an old flame and specialist in Machina, for help.

But once on the planet Bethany, Sabine’s home and the seat of Christendom, assassins come out of the woodwork and everyone seems to want Adrian’s relic –mercenaries, cultists, thugs, politicians, even the Inquisition. Most troubling of all are a pair of unusual nuns who claim to know the location of the lab where the relic originated, and the fact that one of them bears a striking resemblance to Mariel.

Adrian has survived galactic crusades, skilled assassins, and Church politics, but these women may be the death of him.

Buy, read, and discuss The White Light of Tomorrow

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords


About the author, D. Pierce Williams D. Pierce Williams

I am a computer geek, history nut, aviation enthusiast, and very efficient procrastinator. I play tabletop role-playing games (Dungeons & Dragons, Shadowrun, White Wolf, etc.) like it’s 1989. I like to listen to Bach, Van Halen, and Snoop Dogg in that order. I loves dogs. All of them.

I studied history in college and graduated cum laude with a BA in 1997. The focus of my study was modern European history with emphasis on the period from approximately 1850 to 1950, covering industrialization, the rise of nationalism, fascism and communism, and the world wars.

I entered a History Master’s program in the fall of ’97. For reasons having everything to do with money, I left the program and instead completed an MBA focusing on information technology management. I graduated from this program in 2000. From 1999 onward I’ve pursued a successful career in IT, and worked as a network and systems engineer for a Fortune 100 life-insurance and retirement services company for the past ten years.

Since 2013 I’ve been working hard on this, THE WHITE LIGHT OF TOMORROW, my first novel, which draws on my interest in science fiction and my love of history and technology.

Connect with D. Pierce Williams:

Website | Facebook | Twitter


My Thoughts

“I’m reading this great book,” I told my husband. “It’s got elements of history, science fiction, and high fantasy.”

“Oh, really?” he asked, his entire face lighting up with interest. “It sounds like something I might enjoy.”

And so even before this review goes live, I’ve put this novel, The White Light of Tomorrow into another reader’s hands. Go, me!

Seriously though, D. Pierce Williams’ debut offering is a compelling read.

The tone is best described as Firefly meets the Renaissance, but that’s an over-simplification, because the author, a self-described history nut, has clearly done a lot of research to make the world of this book feel, not just vivid and dimensional, but wholly original. When Sabine was complaining about her shoes, in the first scene where we meet her, I was so into the story that my feet hurt in sympathy. I could hear the noise of her pub, and, in street scenes, I could feel dirt roads beneath my feet. At the same time, when I realized the ship that Adrian and Mariel call home was a space-going vessel, I was pleasantly surprised (this despite having read the description and the marketing materials for the book).

I really liked the mix of historic society – swords and cloaks and taverns – with bits of technology – space ships and DNA drives, and I found that the author meshed these seemingly disparate cultures into a cohesive one very believably. I also appreciated the diversity of his characters. Not only were women well represented, but not every major character was a middle-class white guy. Instead, there was a realistic and plausible blend of people from all levels of education, wealth, and nationality. This is something that contemporary speculative fiction often has trouble with, and there’s a line between having believable diversity and making the cast of characters feel like a Very Special Episode of some drama.

I don’t generally tell people who my favorite characters are, but something about Mariel, who is roughly fourteen when we meet her, really resonated with me. I think it was the combination of her spunk, and the way she essentially created her own family.

As aspiring writers, we are often admonished to ‘write what you know,’ which is difficult when you’re writing a piece that doesn’t take place on contemporary (or near-contemporary) Earth. With The White Light of Tomorrow, it’s clear that author Williams has taken all the things he knows and loves – history, science fiction, aviation – and woven them together into a story that tickles the imagination and makes you beg for more.

It’s implied that this book is meant to be the first of a series; I eagerly await the subsequent volumes.

Goes well with pub food: fish and chips or shepherd’s pie and a pint of ale.

 

 

 

Star Trek: New Frontier – The Returned, Part 3, by Peter David #quickreview #netgalley

About the book, Star Trek: New Frontier – The Returned, Part 3 Star Trek New Frontier: The Returned, Part 3

 

  • Print Length: 171 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books/Star Trek (September 7, 2015)
  • Publication Date: September 7, 2015

 

The final installment in a brand-new three-part digital-first Star Trek: New Frontier e-novel from New York Times bestselling author Peter David!

Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and the crew of the U.S.S. Excalibur are back, picking up three months after the stunning events depicted in New Frontier: Blind Man’s Bluff. Calhoun’s search of Xenex has failed to find any survivors, and now he is bound and determined to track down the race that killed them—the D’myurj and their associates, the Brethren—and exact vengeance upon them. His search will take the Excalibur crew into a pocket universe, where he discovers not only the homeworld of the D’myurj, but another race that shares Calhoun’s determination to obliterate his opponents. But is this new race truly an ally…or an even greater threat?

Buy, read, and discuss this book.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads


My Thoughts

Peter David has long been one of my favorite writers of professional TrekFic – there’s a line he wrote decades ago about human male chest hair being for traction that has stuck with me for decades – so when I saw the last installment of the ebook trilogy in the New Frontier universe on NetGalley earlier this summer, I had to read it.

Very quickly, I realized that my habit of only reading TNG novels meant I had no idea what was going on, so I bought parts I and II of this trilogy and binge-read all three volumes. I was not disappointed. This series is phenomenal, and Peter David’s storytelling reminded my why I love his take on Trek. Captain Mackenzie Calhoun is a great addition to the Star Trek universe, and both his family and his crew (which includes someone I can only describe as a demigod) are people I wish we could see on television.

So good is his writing – and this trilogy in particular – that I didn’t mind a completely unfamiliar set of characters, although, technically, Robin Lefler (whom we met in Season 5 of TNG) was familiar, though this is a much matured Robin, one whose personal laws have had to be adapted to address things like lost love and motherhood.

Like all good Trek stories, The Returned (all three parts) isn’t just about space battles and meeting new aliens. It’s also about loss – the loss of home, the loss of family, the loss of love – and how we cope with it – do we commit acts of revenge, or do we rebuild ourselves, or do we allow ourselves to die a little every day, as we wallow in apathy? In the case of the characters in this trilogy the answer is “a little of everything,” but it all fits together in a way that resounds with emotional truth.

(Plus, there are cool aliens and space battles, after all.)

Goes well with sparkling Altair water and oskoid salad.

 

 

The Art of Short Stories, by Rebecca Adams Wright (@rvleeadams) – #GuestPost #Bibliotica

The Art of Short Stories

a guest post from Rebecca Adams Wright

I love little things. Shiny things. Broken bits of larger things. I am a human magpie, tucking crumbling robin’s eggshells or eye-catching pebbles into my pockets when I find them on the street. I cannot walk past a dropped coin even if it turns out to old be an old button. I like old buttons.

 

My husband laughs when he sees me pick up these treasures, because, of course, I almost never find a use for them. But they are food for the imagination, my beautiful scraps. I hoard them in little boxes and cluster them in drawers. I stumble upon them later, having completely forgotten their context, not at all sure where they came from, but still admiring. I turn them over in my hand as if for the first time and marvel at the sheen on the feather, the perfect divot in the stone.

I am a collector of odds and ends. I appreciate when the edges are ragged or the provenance unknown.

 

This love of small and cryptic things is one of the qualities that make me a natural short story writer.

 

Necessarily more compact than novels and more prosaic than poetry, short stories both speak our language and plunge us into mystery. They will present some kind of familiar anchor (though that anchor can be as small as the recognizable tweed on a button), but they may well make no other explanations. Novels unfold before you—they offer you an entry hall, a place to hang your jacket, they take you on the grand tour of all the rooms in the hotel. Novels want to offer you a whiskey and soda. Novels, even aggressive and fast-paced ones, want to be with you for a while. They want to take time.

 

Short stories cannot and will not offer you this. Short stories do not expect you to stay the night and order room service in the morning. They are likely to introduce you to the world by handing you a bag of untraceable gemstones and they may never get around to explaining the origins of the one-eyed ravens. Short stories can be many things: elegant, expansive, brutal, humane, lyrical, piercing, inventive. But they are never long. That means they always leave at least one thread dangling on the loom, a little spot of mystery trailing behind them.

 

Producing a delightful sense of mystery is not the same thing, of course, as leaving important aspects of narrative untold. The best stories are as tight and complete as nautilus shells. They create a sense of fullness precisely because they contain all that they need, and nothing more. These stories are not mysterious because they are vague. Rather, the specificity of the text’s images, characters, and situations compels the reader to keep asking questions, to imagine more than is on the page. Short stories are often compared to snapshots, and we all know that some of the best photographs manage to imply whole worlds in a space no larger than four inches by six.

 

The other great appeal of short stories, at least to me, is the fact that they allow for such a diversity of themes and topics, investigations and explorations. From the writer’s perspective, working in short form means that (usually) a story can be finished and shared in a fraction of the time of a novel, and without as much editorial input. Individual stories, because they do not have to represent the trajectory of a career, can take more risks, push more boundaries, wander out of comfort zones. Serious authors can be silly, mainstream authors can go genre, authors of timeless novels can engage with current events.

 

From a reader’s perspective, short stories can offer new angles from which to view well-known authors. Even more importantly, they create opportunities to explore new voices, unfamiliar genres, or nontraditional narrative structures without the commitment of three-hundred-plus pages. Short stories allow both writers and readers to take risks that sometimes pay enormous dividends.

 

All this is not to imply that I myself won’t release a novel someday. Novels offer their own set of rewards, among them the great pleasure of long immersion. I am, in fact, at work on a novel right now. But I cannot imagine ever turning my back on the short story, just as I cannot imagine walking down the street without stopping when a glint in the road catches my eye.

 

Look, I just found something breathtaking. Hold out your hand—I’m offering it to you.


About the author, Rebecca Adams Wright Rebecca Adams Wright

Rebecca Adams Wright is a 2011 graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop and a former University of Michigan Zell Writing Fellow. She has an MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan and has won the Leonard and Eileen Newman Writing Prize. Rebecca lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with her husband and daughter.

Connect with Rebecca

Website | Facebook | Twitter


About the book, The Thing About Great White SharksThe Thing About Great White Sharks

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Little A (February 10, 2015)

In this collection’s richly imagined title story, our brutal and resourceful protagonist is determined to protect her family from a murderous, shark-ridden world—at any cost. Elsewhere, an old woman uncovers a sinister plot while looking after a friend’s plants (“Orchids”), and a girl in the war-torn countryside befriends an unlikely creature (“Keeper of the Glass”). In “Barnstormers,” a futuristic flying circus tries to forestall bankruptcy with one last memorable show. At the heart of “Sheila” is the terrible choice a retired judge must make when faced with the destruction of his beloved robotic dog, and “Yuri, in a Blue Dress” follows one of the last survivors of an alien invasion as she seeks help.

Extending from World War II to the far future, these fifteen stories offer a gorgeously observed perspective on our desire for connection and what it means to have compassion—for ourselves, for one another, for our past…and for whatever lies beyond.

Buy, read, and discuss The Thing About Great White Sharks

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Goodreads


Rebecca Adams Wright’s TLC Book Tours Tour Stops: TLC Book Tours

This guest post is part of a tour organized by TLC Book Tours. For my review of this book, click HERE. For the complete list of tour stops, see below. For more information, click HERE.

Friday, February 13th: Book Snob – author guest post

Monday, February 16th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Monday, February 16th: Bibliophilia, Please

Wednesday, February 18th: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, February 19th: 5 Minutes for Books

Thursday, February 19th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Monday, February 23rd: Conceptual Reception

Tuesday, February 24th: Bibliotica review and author guest post

Tuesday, February 24th: Savvy Verse and Wit – author guest post

Wednesday, February 25th: Bibliophiliac

Thursday, February 26th: The Relentless Reader

Monday, March 2nd: A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall

Tuesday, March 3rd: Patricia’s Wisdom

Thursday, March 5th: Guiltless Reading

Monday, March 9th: Kahakai Kitchen

Thursday, March 12th: The Book Binder’s Daughter – author guest post

TBD: Bound by Words

TBD: Life is Story

The Thing About Great White Sharks, by Rebecca Adams Wright (@rvleeadams) – #Review #Bibliotica

About the book, The Thing About Great White SharksThe Thing About Great White Sharks

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Little A (February 10, 2015)

In this collection’s richly imagined title story, our brutal and resourceful protagonist is determined to protect her family from a murderous, shark-ridden world—at any cost. Elsewhere, an old woman uncovers a sinister plot while looking after a friend’s plants (“Orchids”), and a girl in the war-torn countryside befriends an unlikely creature (“Keeper of the Glass”). In “Barnstormers,” a futuristic flying circus tries to forestall bankruptcy with one last memorable show. At the heart of “Sheila” is the terrible choice a retired judge must make when faced with the destruction of his beloved robotic dog, and “Yuri, in a Blue Dress” follows one of the last survivors of an alien invasion as she seeks help.

Extending from World War II to the far future, these fifteen stories offer a gorgeously observed perspective on our desire for connection and what it means to have compassion—for ourselves, for one another, for our past…and for whatever lies beyond.

Buy, read, and discuss The Thing About Great White Sharks

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Goodreads


About the author, Rebecca Adams Wright Rebecca Adams Wright

Rebecca Adams Wright is a 2011 graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop and a former University of Michigan Zell Writing Fellow. She has an MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan and has won the Leonard and Eileen Newman Writing Prize. Rebecca lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with her husband and daughter.

Connect with Rebecca

Website | FacebookTwitter


My Thoughts

Short stories are a great way to get to know an author if you’re unfamiliar with her work, or if you don’t have the time to really sink into a novel. (Personally, I like to keep collections of short stories in the bathroom. Oh, come on, you all know you read there, too.)
I’ve come to think of them as a textual sampler platter. You get all sorts of characters and voices, and you don’t have to choose one to stay with.

Rebecca Adams Wright’s collection of short stories, The Thing About Great White Sharks (and Other Stories), is a prize among short story collections, because it’s fresh and unique, and just a little twisted in places…all things I appreciate.

While the title of the book (and the eponymous short story within) are what drew me to this collection (because I do have a ‘thing’ about great white sharks), and while that story – a whole new way to look at post-Apocalyptic society that (thank you, Ms. Wright) does not involve any humans shambling around or moaning for brains – was compelling, and dark, and even a little dangerous, it wasn’t my favorite of the fifteen.

That honor went to “Orchids,” which starts out as a simple little tale of a woman watering her neighbors plants and turns into something that would make Hitchcock sit up in his grave and demand to film, were that possible.

I also want to give a shout-out to “Sheila” which was sweet and sentimental without being sappy, and reminded me of both the questions that will start to come up as AIs become more widespread and more advanced (Siri has some growing up to do) and of the contemporary, and very real, issue of Breed-Selective Legislation (the laws which ban people from owning “bully” breed dogs like American Staffordshire Terriers, and other ‘pit bull types’).

But those are just three of the collection, and there are twelve others that take us back in time to World War II, and forward to when aliens are a real presence, and span many years and moods in between.

I would say that I’d love to see Ms. Wright give us a whole novel, but I’ve enjoyed her short stories so much, that my greediest self wants to demand another volume.

Goes well with Tapas and sangria or sushi and plum wine – anything that involves small bites of diverse flavors.


Rebecca Adams Wright’s TLC Book Tours Tour Stops: TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a tour organized by TLC Book Tours. For a guest post from the author, click HERE. For the complete list of tour stops, see below. For more information, click HERE.

Friday, February 13th: Book Snob – author guest post

Monday, February 16th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Monday, February 16th: Bibliophilia, Please

Wednesday, February 18th: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, February 19th: 5 Minutes for Books

Thursday, February 19th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Monday, February 23rd: Conceptual Reception

Tuesday, February 24th: Bibliotica review and author guest post

Tuesday, February 24th: Savvy Verse and Wit – author guest post

Wednesday, February 25th: Bibliophiliac

Thursday, February 26th: The Relentless Reader

Monday, March 2nd: A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall

Tuesday, March 3rd: Patricia’s Wisdom

Thursday, March 5th: Guiltless Reading

Monday, March 9th: Kahakai Kitchen

Thursday, March 12th: The Book Binder’s Daughter – author guest post

TBD: Bound by Words

TBD: Life is Story

 

 

The Heart Does Not Grow Back, by Fred Venturini (@FredVenturini) – Review

About the book The Heart Does Not Grow Back The Heart Does Not Grow Back

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Picador (November 4, 2014)

EVERY SUPERHERO NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE…

Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.

When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise? The Heart Does Not Grow Back is a darkly comic, starkly original take on the superhero tale, introducing an exceptional new literary voice in Fred Venturini.

Buy, read, and discuss The Heart Does Not Grow Back

AmazonBarnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Goodreads


About the author, Fred Venturini Fred Venturini

Fred Venturini grew up in Patoka, Illinois. His short fiction has been published in the Booked Anthology, Noir at the Bar 2, and Surreal South ’13. In 2014, his story “Gasoline” will be featured in Chuck Palahniuk’s Burnt Tongues collection. He lives in Southern Illinois with his wife and daughter.

Connect with Fred

Website | Twitter


My Thoughts

As a digital diva and comicbook (Stan Lee says it should be one word, and you do NOT argue with Stan Lee) geek, I love a good superhero story no matter what the format is.

With The Heart Does Not Grow Back Fred Venturini has given us not only a good superhero story, but a just plain good story. I would happily have read about Dale’s life even if he hadn’t been able to regenerate most of the vital bits of his body (hint: there’s one he can’t; spoilers, sweety: it’s in the title).

While I confess, the first chapter was a bit difficult for me – I have a hard time reading about kids being bullied, despite the fact that I was never bullied myself – but I stuck with it, and I’m glad I did, because ultimately, this story is funny, poignant, and comes from a place of emotional truth.

As I learned as an improvisational actor, if you start from truth, you can do anything you want, no matter how implausible, and your audience will take the journey with you.

I enjoyed my journey into Fred Venturini’s world immensely, and I recommend it for anyone who has a taste for superheroes, sci-fi, or underdogs saving the day.

Dear Mr. Venturini: MORE PLEASE?

Goes well with A foot-long chili cheese dog, crinkle cut fries, and a cherry Coke.


About the Tour

TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a blog tour sponsored by TLC Book Tours. For the list of tour stops, see below. For more information click HERE.

Tour Stops

Monday, October 13th: Benni’s Bookbiters

Tuesday, October 14th: Books a la Mode – author guest post

Wednesday, October 15th: Read a Latte

Thursday, October 16th: Benni’s Bookbiters – an unofficial soundtrack

Monday, October 20th: Bell, Book & Candle

Wednesday, October 22nd:  My Shelf Confessions – Wonderfully Wicked Read-A-Thon Giveaway

Thursday, October 23rd: Saints and Sinners

Monday, October 27th: A Fantastical Librarian

Wednesday, October 29th: In Bed with Books

Tuesday, November 4th: Read-Love-Blog

Thursday, November 6th: Sweet Southern Home

Friday, November 7th: The Steadfast Reader

Monday, November 10th: Fourth Street Review

Monday, November 10th: Guiltless Reading

Tuesday, November 11th: Bibliotica

Wednesday, November 12th: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, November 13th: More Than Just Magic

Friday, November 14th: The Feminist Texican [Reads]

Monday, November 17th: A Book Geek

Thursday, November 20th: Bibliophilia, Please

Monday, November 24th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf

TBD: Book Marks the Spot

Review: A Case of Spontaneous Combustion (Displaced Detective #5), by Stephanie Osborn

About the book, A Case of Spontaneous Combustion A Case of Spontaneous Combustion

Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Print Length: 344 pages

When an entire village on the Salisbury Plain is wiped out in an apparent case of mass spontaneous combustion, Her Majesty’s Secret Service contacts The Holmes Agency to investigate. Unfortunately Sherlock Holmes and his wife, Dr. Skye Chadwick-Holmes, have just had their first serious fight, over her abilities and attitudes as an investigator. To make matters worse, he is summoned to England in the middle of the night, and she is not — and due to the invocation of the National Security Act in the summons, he cannot even wake her and tell her.

Once in London, Holmes looks into the horror that is now Stonegrange. His investigations take him into a dangerous undercover assignment in search of a possible terror ring, though he cannot determine how a human agency could have caused the disaster. There, he works hard to pass as a recent immigrant and manual laborer from a certain rogue Mideastern nation as he attempts to uncover signs of the terrorists.

Meanwhile, alone in Colorado, Skye battles raging wildfires and tames a wild mustang stallion, all while believing her husband has abandoned her.

Who — or what — caused the horror in Stonegrange? Will Holmes find his way safely through the metaphorical minefield that is modern Middle Eastern politics? Will Skye subdue Smoky before she is seriously hurt? Will this predicament seriously damage — even destroy — the couple’s relationship? And can Holmes stop the terrorists before they unleash their outré weapon again?

Buy, read, and discuss A Case of Spontaneous Combustion

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Add to Goodreads

Please note: at this time, this title is only available in digital formats. A print edition is planned.


About the author, Stephanie Osborn Stephanie Osborn

Veteran of more than 20 years in the civilian space program, as well as various military space defense programs, she worked on numerous space shuttle flights and the International Space Station, and counts the training of astronauts on her resumé. Her space experience also includes Spacelab and ISS operations, variable star astrophysics, Martian aeolian geophysics, radiation physics, and nuclear, biological, and
chemical weapons effects.

Stephanie holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in four sciences:
astronomy, physics, chemistry and mathematics, and she is “fluent” in several
more, including geology and anatomy.

In addition she possesses a license of ministry, has been a duly sworn, certified police officer, and is a National Weather Service certified storm spotter.

Her travels have taken her to the top of Pikes Peak, across the world’s highest suspension bridge, down gold mines, in the footsteps of dinosaurs, through groves of giant Sequoias, and even to the volcanoes of the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest, where she was present for several phreatic eruptions of Mount St. Helens.

Now retired from space work, Stephanie has trained her sights on writing. She has authored, co-authored, or contributed to more than 20 books, including the celebrated science-fiction mystery, Burnout: The mystery of Space Shuttle STS-281. She is the co-author of the “Cresperian Saga,” book series, and currently writes the critically acclaimed “Displaced Detective” series, described as “Sherlock Holmes meets The X-Files.” She recently released the paranormal/horror novella El Vengador, based on a true story, as an ebook.

In addition to her writing work, the Interstellar Woman of Mystery now happily “pays it forward,” teaching math and science through numerous media including radio, podcasting and public speaking, as well as working with SIGMA, the science-fiction think tank.

The Mystery continues.

Connect with Stephanie

Website | Twitter


My Thoughts

Sherlock Holmes and Skye Chadwick-Holmes are back in the fifth installment of Stephanie Osborn’s fabulously entertaining Displaced Detective series, and while this story is complete in one volume (unlike the others which were pairs of companion stories), it feels just as meaty and satisfying as its predecessors.

What I really love about this series is that Osborn bases her mysteries in real (if sometimes theoretical) science, and that she relays the science in ways that are easy for people like me, who were music and theater majors, to understand. From the moment the mass disappearance (death) of an entire town was described, I was able to make reasonably accurate guesses about the technology that caused it, but this in no way spoiled the story, because knowing the cause wasn’t enough, the real mystery was as much in the “why” as in the “how.”

As well, I love that, a year into their marriage, Skye and Sherlock are evolving as individuals and as a couple. While they are separated from each other for much of this story, when they do come together, the reasons for their separation explained, we see two people who have become better because of their relationship. Anyone can write “falling in love” reasonably well. Writing about a couple who can stay in love takes finesse, which Osborn has in great amounts.

Over the last several years, Sherlock Holmes has been reintroduced to us in many, many guises, and the beauty of the character is that there’s room for every version, and enjoying one doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy others. Regular visitors to this blog know that I’m a massive fan of Laurie R. King’s Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series, and that I especially love that she’s incorporated early feminism and the art culture of the early twentieth century into her work.

This doesn’t mean that I like Osborn’s work any less. In fact, I think these two series make really good bookshelf buddies, because both give us a glimpse at Holmes as a married man, and both do it in unique ways.

Back to Stephanie Osborn’s latest offering, though, I’ll confess that at one point I, who was an original viewer of Sex and the City felt that Skye and Sherlock’s relationship was a bit too restrained, even when they were out of the public eye, until Skye herself reminded one of their friends, and we readers as well, that Holmes is from a more restrained time and culture. It’s worth noting, also, that the relationship they have is absolutely true to the characters Osborn has created, and that these are genre-defying science-fiction/mysteries and not romance novels.

While A Case of Spontaneous Combustion is best enjoyed after reading books 1-4 of the Displaced Detective series, fast reads all, it also has enough backstory to be a satisfying standalone.

Goes well with: Falafel, with extra-garlicky tahini sauce, tart strained yogurt and cucumbers, and a side of tabouleh, with mint tea.