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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

“Skitter” by Ezekiel Boone

Of the many life forms that have evolved from prehistoric days, spiders are the ones that humans have the most contact with on a daily basis. They’re among the top five most-feared creatures on earth. The Smithsonian Institute says that “typical temperate habitats may support up to 800 individual spiders per square meter…” That means you are always within six feet of a spider.
These little creatures skitter around, rarely troubling humans, who almost always obliterate every eight-legged blob of flesh that appears in their vision. On a personal note, I recently smashed a hundred-year-old milk glass lamp, one of the only things left to my wife from her mother, in order to smash a spider with the rolled-up TV Guide. My wife forgave me, as we both have arachnophobia, and yes, the web-weaver died.
Boone thrusts humans into a plague of spiders that can strip a human of all flesh in thirty seconds. While cities, especially on the West Coast are under forced military quarantine and China has already obliterated most of itself with nuclear bombs to eradicate the beasts, all to no avail. The president of the United States must make the ultimate decision; how much of America can the government abandon or even blast into oblivion, as collateral damage, to save the rest.
Boone takes us on a whirlwind trip from continent to continent as everyone makes the decision on how to either destroy the wee beasties or save themselves from attack and then dumps us into our own oblivion to wait on the third book in this trilogy. I have never felt so uncomfortable reading a novel but anticipating the next one, knowing it will creep me out and give me nightmares, so much!

“A Killer Harvest” by Paul Cleave

Taking the age-old rumor of transference and cellular memory, Cleave leads us through a bizarre story of organ transplant for profit. Police officers on the street are supplying a top eye-surgeon with eyes from criminals. Dr. Toni Coleman is adept at carving out a name for herself in the medical community as the go-to doctor for eye transplants, climbing over the bodies of her victims to get there.
Joshua, a blind teenager, is granted a rare opportunity. His father, a Christchurch cop, is killed in the line of duty and donates his eyes to his son. Through some inept handling by medical technicians, Joshua ends up with one of his father’s eyes and the eye of the criminal that killed his father.
As if dealing with the ability to see for the first time—the wonderful and horrendous sights he can now view—isn’t enough, Joshua is dealing with bullying at his new high school and his first girlfriend. Joshua also must put up with the terror of his dreams and his ability to see visions through the memory transference from both donors.
With a bad guy closing in, Jason must concoct a way to avoid being found while deciphering the secrets to his father’s past life—a path that is dark and full of danger. One police officer is convinced that Jason really is telling the truth but when she’s captured, the question is whether Jason will be able to find a way to rescue them all before it’s too late.
Cleave gives us an exhilarating chase ending in a breathtaking climax. I’m left wondering about all those other patients who were gifted organs from the same evil criminal…

Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart.

In the third novel covering Constant Kopp’s exploits, we find ourselves now fully immersed in the storyline Stewart continues to extract from the first female sheriff’s deputy in the United States. Based on newspaper articles on the infamous stories written about the real ‘Officer Kopp’ Stewart had regaled us the fiction she weaves into the missing pieces of history, in an extraordinarily interesting fashion.
The three Kopp sisters live together in rural New Jersey in the 1920’. Fleurette, the youngest - and actually the daughter of Constance from a dalliance in her youth – and Norma make up the surviving clan. The matriarch Kopp having died a few years prior the girls were forced to look out for each other and Constance, a well-built and tall girl for her age, convinced Sheriff Heath to hire her to look after the female prisoners in the County jail.
Many of the young women in the jail are runaways or imprisoned on alleged morality charges, often trumped up my parents not wanting the young ladies to live at home because they were a little free-spirited. Constance, because of her history, feels emboldened to help some of these girls out and takes on the District Attorney who is determined to put these girls into a reformatory until they turn twenty-one.

While she is watching out for the girls in her care she fails to notice that her daughter/sister, Fleurette, who had recently turned eighteen, had absconded with a dance troupe to entertain audiences all over the East coast. Trying to keep up with her job and determine her family is safe and not in the hands of a flim-flam entertainer makes for an entertaining read and has Constance examining her own moral code. Stewart has another winner on her hands with Midnight Confessions.

Pirate by Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell

An adventure yarn of the tallest order, which although staged in modern times has a well-aged feel to it, starring husband-and-wife treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo who provide a throwback touch, reminiscent of Nick and Nora Charles. Millionaire do-gooders who turn all the profits from their archeological finds over to charity, but are more than familiar with weaponry and martial arts, too.
The novel whisks the reader all over the world with this jet-set couple, beginning with their vacation in San Francisco, where the purchase of an old pirate manuscript puts them into a dangerous battle with a rival treasure hunter, Charles Avery, who will stop at nothing to recover lost family treasure. From Arizona on to Jamaica and finally to England the Fargo’s find themselves beaten to the end result at every turn.
With all their moves scuppered before they get started, the Fargo’s surmise that one of their trusted team members is suspect, but who and why? Caught up in the legend of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest the intrepid couple tiptoe through long lost caves and tunnels and you’ll accompany them, holding your breath alongside.

This is the first novel that these two awesome scribes have collaborated on and I can’t wait to see what adventures they build for us in the future.

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