Callsign: King 3 – Blackout
by Jeremy Robinson (2012)
Twice before, Jack Sigler has stopped the mysterious ‘Brainstorm’ from destroying all life on earth. Twice before, he’s survived Brainstorm’s assassins. So when the mastermind behind Brainstorm surfaces in Paris, King goes on the offensive.
As the final showdown unfolds in the legendary City of Lights, the villain’s scheme to plunge the world into literal darkness is revealed. But even Brainstorm isn’t ready for the destructive force that has been unleashed…an entity of darkness imprisoned for more than a thousand years, set free now to devour…everything.
Even more intense and thrilling than the last King story. This mashes together everything from crazy megalomaniacs to black holes (not that different ?). Forget every thing you already knew about physics !.
The Dark Lord’s Handbook (2008)
The Dark Lord’s Handbook #2: Conquest (2014)
by Paul Dale
It’s not easy being evil. To become a Dark Lord is hard. The simple ambition to hold dominion over the world and bend all to your will sounds straightforward but it’s not. There are armies to raise, fortresses to build, heroes to defeat, battles to be fought, hours of endless soliloquy in front of the mirror – it’s a never ending job.
So starts this second book of Morden’s rise to dominate all. It’s all from the point of view that ‘evil’ is just another valid point of view. Having someone in charge is the natural way of things. The only question is – who will that be.
There was a great deal of wit and sarcasm in this story, and the author uses many of the classic fantasy swords and sorcery cliches. At 161,000 words the second book is long, but worth the length (5/5 evil laughs).
Quotes from ‘The Dark Lord’s Handbook’
The enemy of my enemy is also my enemy. A dark lord has no friends.
Keep your friends close and your enemies dead.
The Red: First Light (The Red #1)
by Linda Nagata
Lieutenant James Shelley commands a high-tech squad of soldiers in a rural district within the African Sahel. They hunt insurgents each night on a harrowing patrol, guided by three simple goals: protect civilians, kill the enemy, and stay alive—because in a for-profit war manufactured by the defense industry there can be no cause worth dying for. To keep his soldiers safe, Shelley uses every high-tech asset available to him—but his best weapon is a flawless sense of imminent danger…as if God is with him, whispering warnings in his ear.
This is the third of the sword and laser book picks for June I have read. The first two I didn’t finish. But it’s third time lucky. This is military science fiction about tech-enhanced soldiers in the future.
The closest to this I have read is Timothy Zahn’s first Cobra series. Fortunately this is hard-SciFi, the story is heavily dependent on the tech and it drives the story forward. That’s not to say that the characters are badly written, they may be a bit stereotypical, but come across a fully rounded characters.
The only disappointment was the ‘villain’ of book. There is little explanation of the villain’s motivations and not much to understand. The story is told in first person and keeps going at a good pace. There isn’t too much internal monologue that can slow the story. This is the first of a trilogy, so next is the sequel, ‘The Trials’. Recommended.
Dewitched: The Untold Story of the Evil Queen
Unhitched: The Untold Story of the Evil Queen #2
by E.L. Sarnoff
After serving time for Snow White’s attempted murder, the Evil Queen is about to get a makeover. Just not the kind she expected. Thinking she’s been sent to a luxurious spa that will enable her to regain her beauty and recapture her title, Fairest of All, Jane Yvel instead finds herself at Faraway, a rehab center that caters to Fairytalelanders addicted to evil.
The first book was purchased on a whim for about $1 at amazon. Both proved to be well written romps through the fantasy-land everyone knows from Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty etc. In the first book, I became worried that the plot would grind to a halt as the protagonist appeared to be stuck in a rut for almost half the book. Fortunately she gets out and the story picks up and. Written in first person from the ‘evil’ side of the stories we all know from Grimm/Disney these have a very modern sensibility.
With breathless twists some satire and general silliness these are a fun read.
Better known as a steampunk originator and author, K.W. Jeter has recently written a series of thrillers.
No easy answers.
No big international spy secret bank accounts.
No superheroes or magic.
Just her wits, guts . . .
And a very large gun.
Kim is a female Korean-American that gets caught up in the dangerous world of assassins for hire, protection and doing the dirty work for shady characters.
This series of books are fast and fun, despite the subject matter. The best thing about them is the voice of the protagonist, written in first person with wit and and an evil charm.
Great reading, although the last two are not quite as good as the rest.
- Real Dangerous Girl
- Real Dangerous Job
- Real Dangerous People
- Real Dangerous Place
- Real Dangerous Fun
- Real Dangerous Ride
- Real Dangerous Plan
Charlie Fox series by Zoe Sharp
Psychically damaged by a horrendous episode when she was in the British army, an incident that led to estrangement from her parents, Charlie Fox is a biker chick whose conscience restrains her from using her potentially deadly hand-to-hand combat skills.
The first book starts with an endorsement from Lee Child.
Zoe has written of her fondness for Dick Francis and it shows in the first person action and good pacing.
The first few books are set in England and Europe, the later books move to America. At first Charlie is thrown into difficult situations, her army background helps her out. Later she becomes a bodyguard and is involved in a long term relationship.
If you like thrillers, you should enjoy the 10 novels.
- Killer Instinct
- Riot Act
- Hard Knocks
- First Drop
- Road Kill
- Second Shot
- Third Strike
- Fourth Day
- Fifth Victim
- Die Easy
Zootopia is a 3D computer-animated crime comedy adventure film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 55th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. The film is directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, co-directed by Jared Bush, and features the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, Tommy Chong, Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate, and Shakira.
The film details the unlikely partnership between a rabbit police officer and a red fox con artist as they uncover a conspiracy that involves the disappearance of predator civilians within a mammalian utopia.
Five minutes in and I’m grinning and laughing at the jokes and visual humour. About halfway through there is a great action sequence. Then the movie takes a turn for the dark and dramatic.
The characters have to dig themselves out of their problems and solve the mystery. The tone rises to the end and the upbeat conclusion.
Great movie that is an allegory for racism, intolerance and prejudice.
He’s not reliable, he’s …. unreliable
American Hustle is a 2013 American black comedy crime film directed by David O. Russell.
It stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams as two con artists who are forced by an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) to set up an elaborate sting operation on corrupt politicians, including the mayor of Camden, New Jersey (Jeremy Renner). Jennifer Lawrence plays the unpredictable wife of Bale’s character.
Great film about American politics, con artists and the lengths everyone will go to to get what they want. Based on actual operations undertaken by the FBI starting in 1978. (5/5)
Matilda is a sweet and smart six year old with the worst of parents. Dany DeVito and Rhea Perlman ham it up to the max as her parents and are clearly having fun. Danny DeVito directs, and successfully keeps Raol Dahl’s dark humour. Children get tortured, thrown and abused in way only Dahl can do.
It’s a funny, sweet and very entertaining film (5/5)
Mara Elizabeth Wilson, (Matilda) now 28 has been in ‘Gilmore Girls’.
Embeth Davidtz, who plays Matilda’s teacher was in Mad Men (2009-2012).
Pam Ferris plays the Agatha Trunchbull, the tyrannical principal. She starred on television as Ma Larkin in The Darling Buds of May and Aunt Marge in ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’.
This is one of the first artist’s I came across in the 1980’s during my ECM explorations. It was purchased in Christchurch’s ‘Radar Records’ in vinyl, probably the best record store in the city at the time.
It was Abercrombie’s debut album as leader, recorded in 1974 with Jan Hammer (keyboards) and Jack DeJohnette (drums). There is a bit of ‘conventional’ jazz guitar, but with Jan Hammer on early synthesizers it moves to a more European feel, closer to Schulze and the Berlin School of electronics.
The best track is the title track.