Wow. Just wow. I thought “Patient Zero” was amazing. But “The Dragon Factory” is possibly twice as amazing. DMS agent Joe Ledger is having an awful morning. He’s at a cemetery to pay respects to a departed friend when NSA agents attempt to detain him. Within minutes he is on the run with no backup. The entire DMS is being assaulted. A whole team has gone missing outside Denver and Joe’s team is the only one outside the NSA cordon. He’s one man down already, there are Russian mob guys after him in addition to the NSA, there is something worse than the Russian mob waiting for him, and all of this has happened before lunch. This is all before you get to the crazy geneticists that want to destroy the world as we know it. This mission tests Joe and his team beyond what they thought they could endure, and the people who lived through “Patient Zero” can endure a lot.
Walsh captures the Sayer's style in her first standalone sequel to the Lord Peter Whimsey stories. I was terribly excited to see that Edward Petherbridge was the narrator! His performances in the1980's Dorothy L. Sayers Mystery miniseries was definitive. His voice is a bit soft, and and shows his age, but as Peter is in his 60's in this book it compliments rather than detracts from the atmosphere of the story.
When your house has 11,000 rooms it seems utterly unfair that you are sleeping in a broom closet. Even a very nice, cozy broom closet. However, with the butler banished Flora's house is not in the best of shape. The potty disappears sometimes, the front door won't open, and the elevator once kidnapped her father for a week. Nevertheless, when she is running late to return a library book she dares the elevator. The elevator kidnapps her too and takes her to the library where she meets the banished butler. Before she knows it she is forging signatures, planning daring rescues, and sneaking into abandoned houses to steal words of power. She has a limited amount of time to rescue herself and her butler all before her mother gets home. And in the middle of all of this she has to get a dress made and invitations sent out for her birtday party!
I really really wish the second installment, Flora's Dare, had been put out on audio!
I can't seem to get enough of Kerry Greenwood. In the fourth Corinna Chapman book Halloween is in the air and the witches are gathering. Meroe is as nervous as a very cool cat in a room full of rocking chairs. She is a solitary Wicca by preference (and because she doesn't really like other witches). Now there are hundreds of witches flooding into Melbourne for the Samhaine rites. And one of the more eclectic covens is on a purely material treasure hunt that threatens the sanctity of the rites. In the spirit of the season there is also a sudden increase in the number of people going mad in town. Corinna encounters one well dressed man in her alley who thinks that his hands have fallen off. Much as she is shaken by this it is nothing to how she feels when a man jumps to his death from the building next door thinking he can fly. Corinna has other causes for anxiety as Daniel has a friend named George staying with him. He may have forgotten to mention that George is tall, blonde, long legged, and imminently female. And George really doesn’t like Corinna. There is also a new franchise bread shop right down the street from Earthly Delights with unbeatable prices, but no taste (on more levels than one). It’s going to be a difficult spring for or intrepid heroine, but there is bread to bake so Corinna can’t just lie abed and worry.
David Benioff wanted to write a biography of his grandfather’s experience in the siege of Leningrad. However, his grandfather, tired of interviews and questions, and poking and prodding told him simply, “David, you’re a writer. Make it up!” What resulted was something halfway between a history and a fever dream. There are moments that, personally, I would have preferred to leave out. (If you’re an animal lover, I highly recommend skipping from the top of page 110 to the start of the next chapter.) And the story that reminds you just how awful Nazis really were reads like something out of the most recent round of torture porn, because that’s exactly what he is describing. But it’s the rest of the moments that really make the book work. The horror is the leading that holds this stained glass depiction of an experience up where we can see it.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t spend the whole book trying to sort out what was real and what was made up. I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to know what a grandson imagined about the almost hero his grandfather had been. I didn’t want to know because even if it hadn’t happened to him, to Lev Beniov, it happened to someone in Piter that winter. And maybe, in making it up, David Benioff managed to write the story of a city under siege even more than the biography of his grandfather who lives in Florida, as far away from the Piter snow as he can get.
Jonathan Maberry delivers an almost punishingly awesome adventure. Joe Ledger is a Baltimore cop with some pretty bad problems, but usually that's ok. Until the day he has to face down a man he's already killed once. Suddenly he's catapulted into the world of the DMS; Department of Military Science, a shadowy orginazation that answers directly to the president & protects the country from unimaginable terrorist threats. Like, as it might be, zombies. But there is nothing hokey or shambling about the creatures Joe Ledger and his team take down. These are monsters from our darkest nightmares.
Ray Porter provides the voice of our hero and does an amazing job. His ability to slip in and out of the many characters is almost magical. And his characterization of Joe gives me a friendly voice to get me through the terror induced by Maberry's heart stopping plot.
Barbara Michaels excels at the romantic ghost story and in this book she performs to expectation. A graduate student; a handsome man; a beautiful, but disturbing quilt; and a vengeful ghost all tie together into a diverting and enchanting narrative.
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