Murder at the Mill
December 6th, 2018 by diane92345

Family secrets abound in Murder at the Mill.

Painter Iris rents a cottage on the grounds of famous mystery writer Dom’s large Hampshire family estate. Iris is deciding what to do about her verbally abusive husband and failing marriage. When Ariadne, Dom’s wife, hires Iris to paint his portrait, Iris is happy to comply. However, when Dom is found dead in the river, the police believe it’s suicide. Iris cannot picture the vain and self-centered author taking his own life so she investigates.

Iris is a refreshingly new detective. She uses her eye for visual details to solve the crime. However, Murder at the Mill cannot be compared to the tightly plotted Agatha Christie books. The author never used one adjective when a ten-word simile could be used. Every character has a multitude of secrets that are repeated over-and-over throughout the book. The plot goes down dead ends without explanation. This is the first book in a new series. I would read another just because of Iris. I pray the editing will be better in the next entry.

Murder at the Mill is recommended for readers looking more for atmosphere than plot. 3 stars!

Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: , ,

The Family Trade Vol 1
April 16th, 2018 by diane92345

The Float is a city floating on the sea of an alternate version of Earth. It originated with a rebel armada from an England-like land. The Float is ruled by the Clans, who are descendants of the original ships’ officers.  The Family, descendants of the original crews, keeps the Clans in line. To attain that goal, they steal, lie and kill.  Jessa Wynn is a member of the Family. When her parents die doing Family business, she is left only with her Uncle Christian. Working by day as a language teacher for the Clans, at night Jessa does missions for the Family. When she learns a secret, the Bookkeeper who is the leader of the Family doesn’t believe her so Jessa decides to find the evidence herself. Oh, and the Bookkeeper speaks to a group of Tom Cats, who also work for the Family.

The Family Trade Vol 1 has beautifully different pen, ink and watercolor artwork. It has a steampunky look of the late 1800s but no date is given.  The plot moves quickly and offers a few surprising twists. Notably, Jessa is an innovative character for comics.  Rarely are female superheroes/adventurers set in a relatively realistic setting, if they exist at all. Jessa is beautiful with her curly dark hair.  She is witty, strong and capable but doesn’t always use the most common sense so I assume she is a teenager or young adult. I also love the Toms. They add a different vibe to the series. They act like real cats: self-possessed to the point of superiority (at least in their own minds) but follow orders. Note that I have two cats so I know how unlikely it is that cats would voluntarily follow orders. 4 stars!

The Family Trade Vol 1 has just begun the story and it is scheduled to be a series. Vol 1 collects issues 1-5. I am looking forward to the future adventures of Jessa and the Toms.

Thanks to the publisher, Image Comics, and Edelweiss+ for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: , , ,

Magnus Between Two Worlds
March 27th, 2018 by diane92345

Dark sci-fi noir set only two years in the future. Magnus: Between Two Worlds pairs fantastic artwork with a unique storyline.

In 2020, Artificial Intelligences (A.I.s) work as butlers, maids, pets and toys. In return, they receive a federally mandated four hours of time off each day. The A.I.s have come together and built a beautiful alternate world called the Cloud where they can live as they wish. But only until their next day of serving humans. Some A.I.s refuse to return to the human world when their four hours are up. The human police send Dr. Kerri Magnus into the Cloud to find and return those rogue A.I.s. Dr. Magnus starts to feel empathy for the A.I.s. She changes professions and becomes an A.I. therapist. She tries to coax AIs to accept their lot in life before they go rogue. However, a mysterious group comes together to fight A.I. oppression. Their methods include murder and mayhem. Can Dr. Magnus stop them before they kill again?

The world building in Magnus: Between Two Worlds is awesome! Two complete worlds of the future are distinct enough to easily tell apart. Dr. Magnus’ back story is slowly revealed as the main detective story is told.

The artwork is innovative with many panes shown vertically rather the standard horizontal layout. Artful blurring and smudging effectively portray the electrical waves supporting the A.I.s’ world.

Magnus: Between Two Worlds is highly recommended for both science fiction and noir fans. It collects issues 1-5 of Magnus. Despite receiving excellent reviews, the series was cancelled so this book contains the entire story of this reboot of the Magnus Robot Hunter comics from the 1960’s and 1990’s. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Dynamite Entertainment, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Mystery & Thrillers, Science Fiction Tagged with: , ,