Saturday, May 15, 2004

Midnight Mass
F. Paul Wilson

Vampires have taken over much of the world but have only recently arrived on America's shores. In a small New Jersey town, Rabbi Zev Wolpin searches for his Catholic friend, Father Joe Cahill, hoping that together they can oust the vampires and strike a blow for humanity. Our heroes wonder why the undead seem exempt from the laws of physics (they cast no reflection in mirrors) and are harmed only by Christian holy objects (holy water)....

Very nice "real" vampire story - real in the sense that they are bad, they follow the rules set down in Dracula. None of this tortured-aesthete business that has fleshed out Anne Rice's bank account. I like the discussions about how it works, and the fact that the Jewish and atheist characters still wrestle with what they believe in the face of vampirism and how the vampires are harmed only by Christian holy objects. I'd love to see a follow up....

Thursday, May 13, 2004

High Country
Nevada Barr

The serene snow country suddenly turns deadly for Anna Pigeon in Barr's riveting 12th novel to feature the intrepid National Park Service ranger (after 2003's Flashback). On assignment to locate four young park employees who went missing in a fierce storm, the 50ish Anna is working undercover as a waitress at Yosemite's Ahwahnee Hotel, where she must deal not only with an exacting supervisor and a surly head chef but also share a dorm with 20-something roommates.

Good and fast-paced. With books like this I kick into high gear, reading chapters in a blur. I'd guess I might miss a nuance or two, but I think it is a measure of success that I just can't stop reading till I found out what happened.

I find a curious mental overlap in reading these and the Kinsey Milhone stories - one urban, one decidely not so... but both strong female characters who

1) are always pondering their age, and
2) the mistakes of their youth, and
3) always putting themselves in fantastic danger....

Fun book! When's the next one coming??

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

The Case of the Fugitive Nurse
Erle Stanley Gardner

The affairs of her husband — financial and otherwise — are what concern Steffanie Malden, the young and stunning bride of a prominent physician killed in a private plane crash...

Whew. Perry yet again comes soooooo close to being disbarred. And what a lot of shenanigans! He sure has a knack for making guesses, and proceeding to bring about justice via hair splitting legal tricks.... A fun story, if a stretch at times with all the twists and turns....

Monday, May 10, 2004

Lost in Space: The Fall of NASA and the Dream of a New Space Age
Greg Klerkx

...Whatever happened to the Space Age? And how do we get it back?...

Well, a tough task, but an interesting excursion through the history and current state of Space Exploration. I recommend Burrow's "This New Ocean" for depth, and also more perspective, but Klerkx does a great job of making clear the terrific possibilities in the "alternate space" community; more power too them!