Saturday, March 12, 2011

Trio of Leather-Works

A friend recently brought a British author to my attention. His name is Stephen Leather. Until hearing about his science fiction novel Dreamer's Cat, I had never heard of Stephen Leather. Now I've read three of his books, all on Kindle under the eBook format, naturally, and I thought I would take the opportunity to review these three stories here.

The first is Dreamer's Cat, since I read that first. If you have ever read any of Larry Niven's Known Space stories then you're familiar with the concept of being a wirehead, a person who has been fitted with an electronic brain implant to stimulate the pleasure centers of the person's brain. Stephen Leather has gone this concept a step further by creating a world where psi-discs are the most popular form of entertainment. People known as dreamers are hired to create the reality experienced within the psi-disc's embrace that has created a multi-billion dollar entertainment venue that puts the modern day craze of video gaming to shame. In this novel dreamers are dying or being killed while making their discs and another dreamer, the oldest among them, is chosen to discover why. This novel is filled with action, entertaining characterization and dialogue and enough sexual content to keep any youthful libido engaged throughout the length of the read. An excellent story.

In the second offering I read, Once Bitten, the author takes liberties with the vampiric mythos by introducing a psychologist who works for the Los Angeles Police Department. His job is to test recently apprehended suspects in order to decide whether they are sane or insane before going to trial. This role moves along fairly easily until the psychologist encounters a female brought in under suspicion of murder - with the victim's blood on her lips. Unfortunately the psychologist finds himself falling for this suspected murderer who may also be a suspected vampire - at least from his point of view. Learning the truth about her in every way may mean a complete disruption in this proper Englishman's life. A definite plus for those with an eye for the Gothic horror story. Leather treats this tale with enough imagination wrapping about the existent legends and tradition to spin a story well worth reading, regardless of the outcome.

In his third offering, The Basement, which was far too short for my tastes, but only because I wanted to continue reading when the story was nearing its ending, the author delves into the realm of crime drama by bringing us a story of a down-on-his-luck-would-be-writer living in New York City who becomes the prime suspect in a series of serial killings. The two detectives assigned to head up the task force searching for this killer, who has been abducting young women, begin looking at the erstwhile playwright, feeling as though he might fit the bill, seeing as how the profile on the unsub begins sounding more like him the deeper they dig. This story is well-written and like the previous two is very easy to follow with Leather's fluid approach to writing. The twists and turns in all his stories prove he has a frim grasp on how to conceive of, plot, and execute a beautifully scripted tale in any genre.

There is only one point I feel I must make that to some may be a detraction to Stephen Leather's writing - he seems not to be a proponent of the happy ending. Yes, I know, happy endings are a must for a perfect story - or are they? Leather certainly seems to feel otherwise and proves his point triply as he weaves his tales and brings each of these stories to a close quite efficiently and applaudingly satisfying and not one of them ends with a classically happy ending. The first one shocked me. The second one mystified me. The third one left me grumbling, "He must not have had a happy childhood". Regardless of the reason for Leather's penchant for ending his stories in the most twisted, wretched manner possible, he does so magnificnetly and leaves the reader with a sense of fulfillment and yearning for yet another of his treasures.

Let's see - what's the next book on his list..?

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eBooks You May Enjoy Reading

Freedom's Sword by J. R. Tomlin. $0.99 from
In 1296, Andrew de Moray fights to defend his country against the forces of the invader, King Edward of England. After a bloody defeat in battle, he is dragged in chains to an English dungeon. Soon the young knight escapes. Seizing his own castle, he raises the banner of Scottish freedom. Now he must lead the north of Scotland to rebellion in hope of defeating the English army sent to crush them.

Surviving The Fall by William R. Potter. $0.99 from
James Goodal has spent his entire life avoiding uncomfortable situations. This safe and easy existence has left James lonely and facing divorce. Everything changes when he takes in a young street girl named Ashley. The pair finds comfort in their unorthodox friendship until her violent world returns forcing James to fight for Ashley and for his very survival.

Doom Cows from Outer Space by Richard Alan Dickson. $0.99 from
The space cows are coming! The space cows are coming! For years, the evil alien space cows have looked upon your world. For years, they've plotted; for years, they've schemed. You've never known they were there. In all those years, they never showed themselves. Humans eat cows. This is a bad thing. But now, the time to strike is finally near. "Puny humans, prepare to die!"

Ouroboros by K. H. Koehler by K. H. Koehler Books. $0.99 from
Corporate crime boss Joey Costello hires the mysterious assassin known as "O" to hit one of the biggest hitmen in the business. For O, it's just another job in a long, bloody line of work. Then O's past catches up with him--a past that stretches back not years but centuries. Most men are in it for the money. O is in it for the meat...

Double Take by Kerri Nelson. $3.99 from
After growing up the laughing stock of the town drunk and humiliated by the hottest guy in school, Kennedy Wolfe planned on never stepping foot in Greece, New York again. Now a highly decorated agent for the FBI, Kennedy learns of the abduction of her best friend from high school. The news comes just days after the invitation to her class reunion was received and tossed.

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From Jacob M. Drake

Superion (A Coming of Heroes)

March 21, 2010
$4.95 $2.99
Dark Angel: Fallen

June 1, 2010
$6.95 $5.99
The Complete Book of B.A.B.E.S.

February 28, 2010
Parallels: Book One - Heroes Enjoined Series (Heroes Enjoined - The Many Worlds of the Solarian)

February 20, 2010
Darkness in the Light (Forever Darkness)

November 29, 2010
Forever the Dark Grave (Forever Darkness)

December 22, 2010
Forever Undead (Forever Darkness)

March 14, 2010
$5.95 $4.99
Rebirth of the Gods: Book One - The Powers That Be

March 12, 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars(1)
Pumpkin Jack Skull and Other Tales of Terror

February 27, 2010
XKALIBUR (Heroes Enjoined)

February 25, 2010

From Jackson Williams

New Life by Jackson Williams (Kindle Edition - Feb. 4, 2011) - Kindle eBook
Buy: $6.99

Meri XXXMas Cherry by Jackson Williams (Kindle Edition - Dec. 27, 2010) - Kindle eBook
Buy: $2.99

NecroTales by Jackson Williams (Kindle Edition - Jan. 1, 2011) - Kindle eBook
Buy: $2.99

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for featuring my books! When you get the chance, take a look at Bangkok Bob and the Missing Mormon, which I hope will be along-running series!