Inspector of the Dead by David Morrell

Another in the murder mystery series featuring the historical figures of Thomas De Quincey — the English Opium Eater — and his daughter Emily.

Another strong novel. I recommend it.

The year is 1855. The Crimean War rages. The incompetence of British commanders causes the fall of the government. The Empire teeters. …

This killer targets members of the upper echelons of British society, leaving with each corpse the name of someone who previously attempted to assassinate Queen Victoria. The evidence indicates that the ultimate victim will be Victoria herself. … 



Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell

An excellent story well written. Historical crime fiction.

David Morrell:

Murder As a Fine Art is the first in my three-book Victorian mystery/thriller series. Each novel has a backdrop of a real 1800s crime that paralyzed England …

Long before Jack the Ripper, the shocking Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811 were the first publicized mass killings in English history. Never fully explained, they paralyzed London and all of England.

Click to enlarge

Forty-three years later, the equally notorious Thomas De Quincey wrote a ground-breaking essay “Postscript: On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts” in which he meticulously reproduced the Radcliffe highway multiple murders in blood-spattered detail, making readers feel they’re both the murderer and the victims.

In Murder As a Fine Art, shortly after this terror-drenched essay is published, a family is killed in the same horrific way as the earlier murders. It seems someone is using De Quincey’s essay as an inspiration—and a blueprint. And De Quincey himself is the obvious suspect. Aided by his brilliant daughter Emily and two determined Scotland Yard detectives, he must uncover the truth before more blood is shed and London itself becomes the next victim.

Click PLAY or watch the trailer on YouTube.

Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko

Washington Post called this book the “anti-Harry Potter you didn’t know you wanted.”

It is a little bit like Hogworts University … with sex and vodka.

But more than anything else this book is weird. It’s long. And by the end I still had not much idea what was happening to the students at the Institute of Special Technologies.

It seems this is the first book in the Metamorphosis cycle, three unconnected novels addressing themes of transformation.

Overall, I can’t enthusiastically recommend.

Vita Nostra is a novel by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko (Maryna and Serhiy Dyachenko) first published in 2007 in Ukraine.

The novel tells the story of Alexandra (Sasha) Samokhina, who is forced by an unknown man to attend a remote and mysterious university.

The Dyachenkos hail from Kiev and currently reside in California.

Elevation by Stephen King

Elevation is a an odd novella by American author Stephen King.

I like King but don’t like horror. Happily this is not at all a horror story, rather an engaging tale of how a man learns to live with a new puppy.

Scott Carey is losing weight but not mass. On the outside, he appears the same as always — an athletic 42-year-old man who looks about 230 pounds. But every time he weighs himself, the scale says he’s lighter. What’s weirder, it doesn’t matter what he’s wearing — or even what he’s holding. His weight just keeps dropping. …

WaPo review 

Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Like millions of others I read  Eat, Pray, Love and saw the 2010 Julia Roberts film.

I assumed that hit was a lucky home run by Gilbert who seemed to be some kind of self-help guru.

To my surprise I find that Elizabeth Gilbert is an excellent writer.

Gak. She’s the author of The Last American Man (2003), a superb book recommended to me by the late, great Rob Glaser. I loved it.

I hadn’t connected that book with in any way with Eat, Pray, Love.

I highly recommend Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2013 book The Signature of All Things.

Gripping historical fiction. Original. Superb in every way.

The story follows Alma Whittaker, daughter of a botanical explorer, as she comes into her own within the world of plants and science. As Alma’s careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she starts a spiritual journey which spans the 19th Century.

Alma is a contemporary of Charles Darwin and independently comes up with something similar to Darwin’s evolution by natural selection. Sadly, Alma never published.

Click PLAY or watch the author’s inspiration on YouTube.

Guardian review:

… her second work of full-length fiction, is quite simply one of the best novels I have read in years. …

Barbara Kingsolver’s review for the NY Times is even more glowing.

Delta-v by Daniel Suarez

Daniel Suarez is the favourite author of many geeks.

I’ve read all his books:

Delta-v is the weakest so far, I’d say.

Daemon the best.

Delta-v deals speculates on asteroid mining and the privatization of space in the year 2032.

As usual, the science was the best part. The technology seems believable.

How would we mine astroids?

But there were too many characters. I didn’t care much about any of them.



I’m giving up on Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn is a BIG success.

Flynn has published three novels, Sharp ObjectsDark Places, and Gone Girlall three of which have been adapted for film or television.

I’ve now read two of three. But her writing is simply too dark for me.

Sharp Objects is worst so far.

I’d concur that her work is misogyny. If she was male, there would be protests.