Review – The Postmortal

The Postmortal

By Drew Magary

Penguin Group

ISBN: 9780143119821

4.75 stars

In 2019, the cure for aging is discovered.  Three shots and you, barring cancer or mortal injury, can live forever.  Utopia has arrived.  Well, not so fast.  John Farrell all of 29 years-old gets the cure.  Always a bit of a self-doubter, but one with curiosity, he’s more interested in seeing if it works as opposed to thinking seriously about his actions and what the cure means for his city, state, country, or the world.

Told through John’s writings, blog posts, random thoughts, and news clips and feeds, readers are left with a unique, if sometimes, completely un-planned story and it’s fascinating.  It’s so fascinating in fact it’s almost believable — to a degree.  Scientific advances are made at astonishing rates and some of the scenarios in this book are not hard to buy-in to and I loved that.  Some of it is hard to read and sometimes John is infuriating but either way you want to see the total destruction you know is coming.  Magary ends the book in the only way possible and you want to thank him for it because you almost feel the world he created should be destroyed.  Over and over again.

John is an everyman who re-invests himself to stay alive — an estate lawyer turned divorce attorney turned globe-trotter turned end specialist.  Yes, he kills people for a living but not before offering them estate planning and tax advice.  It’s a sweet touch, really.  But John’s also a person stuck and even after his numerous years on the planet, still doesn’t know what he wants until the end.  Fortunately, it’s believable from him.

Magary has one freak of an imagination and I hope he keeps running with it.  The Postmortal is a true ride from start to finish but if you prefer less sociopathic behavior from characters, it might not be for you.  However, all that happens here could be attainable in a world with no death, at least not the naturally occurring kind.  That’s what I liked about it.  He goes radical, pulls it back, and goes after it again.

Do we know everything? No.  But neither does the main character so you go with it, sucked in hoping beyond hope he might find his way.  I highly recommend this one.

I requested this book from NetGalley.

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Review – The Dark Enquiry

The Dark Enquiry

By Deanna Raybourn

Harlequin

ISBN: 9780778312376

4.5 stars

First, I have a confession.  I did something I never do — I read a book out of order in a series.  OK, so not a big, earth shattering confession but I felt I needed to say that for readers of this series.  I’ve heard fabulous things about the Lady Julia Grey novels and have been meaning to read one for a long time.  So when I saw this one on NetGalley I requested it and proceeded to read with abandon. Yes, abandon people.

I feel I should warn of spoilers since this is a series so here you have it but since I haven’t read any of the previous books, I can’t be sure that’s an accurate statement.

Lady Julia Grey is now back in London navigating and negotiating her marriage to Brisbane.  While the two are very much in love, it’s Julia’s insistence on being a true and full partner in Brisbane’s life, which includes his work as an investigator and private detective, that’s causing a small wrinkle in their otherwise happy marriage.  He balks but she insists, and being Julia, she wins.  Brisbane does everything to keep her out of his latest case, including building her a photography studio as a distraction, but Julia manages to not only get involved but also nearly get herself killed in the process.

This book was so entertaining and if they’re all like this, I want to read them all now.  Julia and Brisbane are a great couple and for as annoying as she can be, Julia’s delightful.  Obviously, there’s much I missed in regard to the relationship but I didn’t feel lost which is a testament to Raybourn’s.  She gives you enough to go on and lets you fill in the rest, which in a series I don’t mind and was perfectly at home with here.

There’s one more thing I need to mention — I didn’t care who the killer was.  Remember, a mystery is at the heart of this story, and I don’t usually pick up mysteries because I mostly spend my time trying to figure out who did it without paying attention to characters or plot.  Here, I didn’t even care who did it and I didn’t read ahead which is HUGE for me.  A first actually.  Maybe I finally found the right mix for me when it comes to a mystery; I need ghosts and really great characters.  Also, the romance is good.  I must say this because I’m pretty sure from reading this one installment that many readers are invested in this relationship too.

I probably don’t have to say this but I will anyway — I plan to go back and read the four previous books in this series.  If this one was any indication of the goodness I will be experiencing, I will be a very happy reader.

I downloaded an advanced review copy of this book from NetGalley.

Review – The Restorer

The Restorer

By Amanda Stevens

Mira

ISBN: 978-0778329817

4.5 stars

I saw a few mentions of this book around and thought it looked interesting — a woman who restores cemeteries for a living and sees ghosts.  I love characters with odd jobs and well, ghost stories are always for me.  After a slight bit of wrangling between NetGalley and my Nook, I found myself tied to the book until the last page.

Amelia Gray has spent her life in cemeteries.  Her father was a caretaker of several cemeteries in South Carolina outside of Charleston and she would spend her days with him helping to clean, restore, and appreciate the calmness that came with hallowed ground.  When she is still quite young, she sees her first ghost which prompts her father to give her the rules: never look at them, never make eye contact, and never let them in.  Amelia follows these rules closely which leads to a lonely life but one that isn’t plagued by ghosts.  As an adult, she adheres to the rules until the day she meets Devlin — a local police detective working a murder that just happened to take place in the cemetery Amelia is currently restoring.  Unable to pull herself away from Devlin, a man haunted in too many ways, Amelia finds herself breaking one rule after the other until the ghosts begin to close in on her.

There was something so intriguing about Amelia.  She wasn’t a character who made rash decisions but when she can’t pull herself away from Devlin the story starts to get good.  She’s not a trusting person by nature, and even if she can’t say for certain that she trusts Devlin, she can’t reason with herself to stay away.  As for Devlin, there are too many things wrong with him that in some ways you don’t want the two to get together but they have a good chemistry which adds to the story.  Although, this is far from a love story and the love element itself if really narrow which I liked.  Amelia has too much baggage to get involved and frankly a cemetery restorer seems to have more appeal as a lone character and if you read this, you’ll see what I mean by that statement.  Her baggage consists of ghosts and some odd family history which perplexed me when it wasn’t revealed but this is a series so I knew that was going to happen at some point and was all right with it.

The ghosts.  I have to give props to Stevens here because I think she did a fine job in making ghosts creepy again.  I love a good ghost story but sometimes I feel as if every description of a ghost is cold — and yes, she did follow some standards here, icy fingers, hair standing up on the back of the neck — but what got me was the way they looked at her knowing full well she could see them.  Each time Amelia encounters a ghost there is a stare down moment when they wait for her to acknowledge them which she doesn’t do making it all the more tense as she forces herself to look through and purposely not fall into their gaze.

Several loose ends are left hanging by the end but I was ok with it as I usually am with a book in a series.  Although I do think the book can stand on its own which is a plus.  The Restorer is the first book in the Graveyard Queen series and I will be waiting for the others.  I do feel I need to give a fair warning out though — if you’re not a lover of ghost stories, this book can be creepy and may induce wanting to sleep with the lights on if you’re easily freaked out about things like ghosts.  Although, that’s part of the fun isn’t it?  🙂  For those on the creepy side, I recommend this one.

I downloaded an ebook copy of this book from NetGalley.

Review – The Hypnotist

The Hypnotist

By MJ Rose

Mira Books

ISBN: 978-1-4268-5469-9

4 stars

Lucian Glass is an FBI agent with the Art Crime Team, a long suffering artist, and a man damaged by not only his past but his job.  Working though a recent head injury, headaches plague him along with dreams of unknown women and the love of his life — a woman murdered at 19 years of age.  Attacked in the same robbery where his girlfriend lost her life, Lucian lives with guilt over not being able to save her and surviving.  That guilt pours over into his job tracking and retrieving stolen art.  When he is pulled into a case involving his dead girlfriend’s family, his life takes one stumble after the other pulling him into a game with too many players all wanting the same thing.

The Hypnotist is the third book in The Reincarnationist series.  I haven’t read the two previous books:  The Reincarnationist and The Memorist.  As a standalone book, The Hypnotist worked but as a person who loves a series, I wished I had read the two earlier ones but was already into this one when I realized that was the case.

Lucian is a tortured person and one who doesn’t seem to want much help either.  As a character, he can be frustrating but it also lends him the sad artist persona, sketching away in his notebook trying to ease headaches that only cease when he’s frantically drawing women he doesn’t know.  A sculpture with a mythical power that no one understands fully is at the center of the story but the focus is on its heist, however, I wanted to know more about what it could do.  It was a part of the story I started to get into when it ended.  In fact, a few of the story lines ended abruptly for me but also left me wondering if another book is in the works.

I liked this book and moved through it fast.  I’m a lover of museums and staring at art for no other reason than to admire its simple beauty and I found myself getting entranced by that aspect of the story.  I haven’t been to the MET in years (much of the story takes places there) and this book made me want to go back.  It also made me want to pick up the other two books to get the back story

I won this book through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers Program.  The book was downloaded as an ebook from NetGalley.