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CHEW Smorgasbord Edition Volume 1 HC
John Layman

Police procedural set in South London – very good plot on the whole

Let the Dead Speak (Maeve Kerrigan Novels) - Jane Casey


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is the seventh in the Maeve Kerrigan series of detective novels but my first. It involves the disappearance and possible murder of a single mother in Putney and the police investigation into her death. This involves many of her neighbours, her daughter, her ex-husband and his new family. Many twists and tuns along the way make this an intriguing novel although one “coincidence” didn't ring true for me.

The writing is engaging as are the characters although it's hard to warm to any of them with their flaws. Some humour is injected successfully and I enjoyed the story and would recommend it to all lovers of detective fiction.


A series of interesting and thought-provoking essays by a top journalist

Moranifesto - Caitlin Moran



This is a book that is easy to dip into as it is a series of essays on a huge variety of topics. Many are entertaining and/or serious but they are worth a look. Caitlin Moran can be controversial (the point really) but I really enjoyed reading these with some laugh-out-loud moments. She covers a lot from feminist issues to other ways to change the world for the better: some are deeply personal, others less so. Worth a look and good for dipping into for a change from fiction reading (my main love).


Cannibalism exists in this Florida backwater – interesting concept

Cannibal Vol. 1 - Matías Bergara, Brian Buccellato, Jennifer Young



This comic collection assumes that cannibalism (caused by a virus) is sweeping this area of Florida. The local characters are more involved in the disappearance of Jolene. There's a fair amount of violence and death.


In light-brown tones, the illustrations are well-conceived although I had difficulty keeping track of who is who and the plot moves along at a reasonable pace. The lettering in the digital edition is tight and therefore a bit hard to read. Good collection – more to come in another volume.


A young chemistry graduate goes to work for a “mad” scientist

Blood Stain Volume 2 - Linda Sejic

A young woman struggling to find a job eventually gets hired by a “mad” scientist. The plot again takes its time in this second volume as it ends as Elliott – our heroine – settles in and begins work at Dr Stein's lab and deals with her neuroses.

With humour and fine cartoony illustrations, this volume is entertaining and fun.
Some white lettering on black background which is not easy to read in the digital edition.


Financial crashes explained – the truth at last?

The Black Monday Murders Volume 1 - Jonathan Hickman


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This comic book collection deals with various financial crashes (which does not sound very exciting, I'm sure) but we discover that supernatural/alien elements are involved in keeping the wealthiest firms buoyant. The ruling families are often at loggerheads and murder is committed.

As one has come to expect from Jonathan Hickman, the atmosphere is dark, laden with threat and violence. It is thoroughly engaging, if a bit long, and well-illustrated with all sorts of nebulous characters. It is sometimes difficult to remember who is who but, in the end, it doesn't really matter. Reminiscent of much of his other work, it is still interesting and well-written. Another volume will follow.


Good enough for what it is

Black History in Its Own Words - Ron Wimberly

Interesting enough - a short series of quotes by black activists over the years, all illustrated with portraits. Good enough for what it is.

A cold case dominates this Icelandic detective novel.

Rupture (Dark Iceland) - Ragnar Jónasson

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This detective thriller takes place in Iceland and involves investigations by Ari Thor, the main detective, and Isrun, a Reykjavik journalist into a cold case from 50 years earlier as well as more recent up-to-date cases both locally in northern Iceland and in the capital. There's sub-plots to intrigue the reader as we discover more about the main characters. The whole thing is engaging and well-written as the characters are developed and fleshed out. I enjoyed this and ploughed through it quite quickly which is always a good sign. It's the second of these novels by Jonasson that i've read and I preferred it to Blackout.

Fantasy tale which is not always clear on plot but quite pretty looking

Arclight - Brandon   S   Graham



Arclight works for the bloodless Lady Kinga who has lost her body to an alien being. Blood is used to create magic. Others discover that the false Lady Kinga is not what she seems. Other than that, there's not a lot that goes on.


It is not always clear what is going on but it's nicely-produced. A little too esoteric for my liking


Interesting tale of a girl who goes to other worlds while she sleeps

Afar - Leila del Duca



With an Arab-type setting, a brother (Inotu) and sister finds themselves running away from their homes. Boetema visits other worlds in her sleep, taking over alien bodies to interact with the locals. Meanwhile the two of them find obstacles in their quest for a stable life.


The script is a bit stilted in places in my opinion but the plot is original and the collection is well-illustrated with plenty of colour. It's enjoyable and may lead to another volume but it's worth a look.


Fantasy comic collection about magic continues with more adventures

The Autumnlands Volume 2: Woodland Creatures - Kurt Busiek



The anthromorphic animal races practising magic find that it’s fading and the Great Champion who, it turns out, is a human called Stephen T Learoyd and Dusty, an anthromorphic dog and apprentice magician, are on a quest to find out what is going on: they encounter many strange creatures. We discover the origins of this world and of the problems facing it.


Nicely illustrated and written, it flows well and engages the reader. A good read and recommended but a little long-winded in my opinion. A third volume will follow.


Classic post-war tale of life in wartime Detroit

The Dollmaker - Harriette Simpson Arnow



Not being familiar with this classic book, I was amused to find, after reading the first harrowing section, that I'd seen the film version with Jane Fonda many years ago. Our lead character, Gertie, has dreams which are shattered by the events of the Second World War. She moves with all her children to Detroit for her husband's war work. Drama and tragedy invade their new unusual urban way of life.


The dialogue is an interesting read, especially for a non-American, with its Appalachian country drawl and simple sentence structure. Characters are well-developed and the book is compulsive reading. It is well worth a look although as the afterword tells us: it is depressing.



The Aryan Brotherhood hit Eden – good volume

Postal Volume 4 - Bryan Hill



This volume deals with the people of Eden confronting members of the Aryan Brotherhood. As you would expect from this team, there's bloodshed and a body count and the relationships between the now-familiar residents of Eden get developed further.


I enjoy this series and, like many others, I hope that the creators know when to stop. The next volume might be the last but the series is well worth investigating. Good writing and artwork make it worth the bother.


Small town events in the USA continue with a good deal of violence

Postal Volume 3 - Bryan Hill



This continues the story of Mark, the autistic postman in Eden, a small town in the USA, son of the Mayor. A victim of bullying, he gets involved with a new arrival who is hiding out from Armenians but all is not what it seems to be – as usual!


The concept is interesting as is the writing. The artwork is well-produced and clear. It’s entertaining and engaging with gore and violence enough for those who like that sort of thing. A good volume and well worth a look.


Another version of this ancient tale – well-illustrated

Beowulf - David Rubín, Santiago García



A new rendering of the story of Beowulf and Grendel and the events subsequent to Grendel's defeat, this works well. Bloody and with a high body count, it tells of the Norse legend with a lot of illustrations of battle and fighting.


Not bad at all for what it is.


Fantasy novel with original ideas

The Sin Eater's Daughter - Melinda Salisbury



I'm not sure if this is aimed at the female YA readership or to the general fantasy-loving public but I found this tale interesting. It deals with a young girl, Twylla, living in court whose touch can kill and who is used as executioner. As the tile tells us, she is the daughter of a Sin-Eater whose job is to eat symbolically the sins of the recently-died so that they can pass on peacefully. However Twylla's life is about to change radically as she discovers many uncomfortable truths.


Well-written and quite engaging – and short – this novel is reasonably interesting and original with a few surprises along the way. Characters are well-defined and not too extreme. Fantasy lovers will find this worth a visit.

Beautifully-made fantasy story – without words

A Land Called Tarot - Gael Bertrand


With illustrations in the French/Belgian “bande dessinée” tradition, colourful and detailed, this collection tells a series of wordless stories taking place in fantasy landscapes with fantastic creatures, extravagantly clothed.


A feast for the eyes, this is thoroughly recommended to all lovers of excellent artwork.