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The Fact of a Body
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Progress: 158/326 pages
Night Force by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan: The Complete Series
Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan
Progress: 203/360 pages
The Big Book of Jack the Ripper (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original)
Otto Penzler
Progress: 171/848 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 158 out of 326 pages.

The Fact of a Body - Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

still lots to ponder--an interesting approach by the author to dedicate so much time to her own family, and personal, history, juxtaposed with the sections all about Ricky Langley's life-story and crimes, but it's working. highly recommended.

Reading progress update: I've read 134 out of 326 pages.

The Fact of a Body - Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

incredible book--but full of things that are painful to read about, painful to ponder. shaping up to be a must-read True Crime experience.

Some Night Force Artwork by Gene Colan, Penciller

These pages don't have the gloss and beauty of the nice paper in the new hardcover, but here they are anyway--Enjoy!

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 38 out of 326 pages.

The Fact of a Body - Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

riveting--but the murder of a little boy in 1992 is the crux of this material, as well as chapters that are filling in the author's early life. obviously the 1992 chapters are more compelling than the 1983 chapters, but it's all pretty engrossing, and of course the author's world is going to later mesh with what Ricky Langley did. not for the squeamish, or those who don't want to read cases of child killers.

Reading progress update: I've read 203 out of 360 pages.

Night Force by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan: The Complete Series - Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan

feeling over the moon and loafing on cloud nine--totally in love with my crazy Night Force hardcover, full of comics I haven't read in over 30 years! I confess, I was a wee bit worried that disillusionment would bushwhack me with every page, and sure, this series is probably not for everyone--I've got nostalgia and blast-from-the-past vibes galore coursing through me--but far from being disappointed, I loved all over again the first, epic, multi-part story presented here!

 

the Soviets want "psychic battery" Vanessa Van Helsing, and will stop at nothing to take her to a secret fortress in Siberia designed to harness her power and win the supernatural "arms race". Baron Winters hurries to assemble his Night Force, little realizing that reluctant recruits Jack Gold and Donovan Caine are unknowingly interacting with Soviet spies, in and around Washington D.C. who will kill to keep the Vanessa Van Helsing mission on track. meanwhile, Vanessa's psychic episodes from within an mental asylum seem uncontrollable, and people in the streets are, at first, only seeing strange, phantasmagoric beings appearing from nowhere...and then the demonic creatures achieve physical form, and people start dying.

 

my take on this, during my re-read, is 24 meets Quatermass and the Pit. gradually, though, the spy elements are reduced, as the Horror elements take precedence, and Vanessa, pawn to everyone wanting to control her--pawn, even, to those trying to save her--blossoms into a bitter and unstoppable supernatural force. I had so much fun watching Gold and Caine chase after her, encountering creepier and creepier flesh-and-blood villains, plus ever more powerful creatures from beyond (or just from inside Vanessa's damaged mind?), until it all explodes in an over-the-top finale. note: this may not be Gene Colan's absolute best artwork, but it's still gorgeous, perfect for this tale, and looks great on the nice paper used in a hardcover like this.

 

meanwhile, Wolfman's plot and writing--okay, the Soviet Union angle feels old, but this is hardly a Political Thriller, and it doesn't really matter which super-power wants Vanessa for her Earth-shattering psychic potential. all mad scientists and sadistic killers are well-conceived, and Wolfman, unlike many comics from this era, gives it more of a cinematic feel by avoiding "thought-balloons"; and he wisely leaves out his standard wise-ass, jokey character that, in other Wolfman efforts, may lighten things up, but here would undermine the Horror flavor and feel forced. therefore, no bad puns and old Henny Youngman jokes, and scariness remains the priority. Soviet baddies aside, the feel of the series competes well with similar modern material, IMO.

 

so I probably should have saved some of this jabber for an upcoming review, but I'll think of something else to say (if I do a review, mind you). it's just that...a wave of enthusiasm, immediately after reading story # 1 in this book hit me hard. looking forward to the other two multi-part, creepy-crawly yarns left in this thing. (note: in previous remarks to Grim, while describing this series, I said that the first story stretched for 6 and one-half issues of the original series--but, on re-reading, I have rediscovered that the story ran 7 and one-half issues, Epilogue in issue # 8; anyway, a minor point, and it's all here regardless).

 

maybe no one would love this forgotten series lately dusted off and spiffed up in a pricey hardcover more than goofy me...but I'm having a blast!

Reading progress update: I've read 8 out of 326 pages.

The Fact of a Body - Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

my Nonfiction pick for the month is this True Crime book. a law student becomes involved in the retrial phase of a death row inmate, and in the course of her studies, and interviews with the convicted man, undergoes crisis and personal pain, as her anti-death-penalty stance begins to shift. I've read the Prologue, and probably I will pause and read Night Force later today, but that's not official yet, and certainly I'm excited to get to this as soon as possible.

Reading progress update: I've read 202 out of 356 pages.

The Punch Escrow - Tal M. Klein

still humming along nicely--very entertaining, amusing. shall finish it tomorrow. then, either Nonfiction, or perhaps my first Donna Leon novel! (plus there's always Night Force, and those Jack the Ripper tales.)

"Teleportation killed the *Mona Lisa*.

More specifically, a solar storm during the teleportation of da Vinci's masterpiece was to blame. It happened on April 15, 2109. The painting was being teleported from Rome to New York City for an art exhibition when a huge flare erupted from the Sun, sending something called a coronal mass injection on a collision course for Earth....That solar storm hit Earth with such force, it ionized the sky, creating a vast cloud of hyperactive electrons that bounced around the atmosphere above Italy. Anything electronic in Rome got fried. That included thousands of implants, automobiles, drones, city buses, and those cute little Italian scooters zipping through the city. One hundred and thirty-five people died. Hundreds more were injured in collisions and fender benders. But the greatest loss, as perceived by the worldwide community, was the disappearance of a six-hundred-year-old portrait of a woman with a mysterious smile"

The Punch Escrow, by Tal M. Klein (copyright 2017; quote is from page 3 of the Inkshares, Inc., trade paperback edition, 2017).

Reading progress update: I've read 139 out of 356 pages.

The Punch Escrow - Tal M. Klein

well, I love it--but this month has consisted of me saying "I love it", 50 to 100 pages into any book, and then winding up not loving the complete package all that much, and bottoming out in the 3, or 3.5, star area. so, we'll see. but this tale of teleportation gone wrong in 2147 seems like the author would have to make a major detour to wreck this wonderful novel. a bit like Version Control in terms of subtly commenting on how committed we are to the wrong future, but lighter in tone--I get the Douglas Adams comparison. I'm also reminded of anything from Seconds, to Rogue Moon, to Echo Round His Bones, to Up The Line, but this book has flecks of all of those ingrained in it, with a unique plot that is none of those. I am at the point where the whole thing could just devolve into a routine Chase scenario--fleeing victim of soulless corporations of the future--but I trust the author will keep it imaginative, and the trimmings of this fascinating future, plus the humor, will make it more than just a running-person set-up. I would love to give out a 4.5 or 5 star rating early this year; The Punch Escrow has what it takes, up to this point.

Reading progress update: I've read 4 out of 360 pages.

Night Force by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan: The Complete Series - Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan

oh my gosh there's a big beautiful hardcover graphic novel of the original Night Force series by Wolfman and Colan, two of my favorite comics geniuses! I never thought I would see the day. forgotten series, ran for 14 issues (plus a mini-preview wedged into some issue of Tales of the Teen Titans; that's included here)--would they expect to sell many of these things?! who is this for, besides me?!

 

who cares!

 

TV show next, please!

Reading progress update: I've read 2 out of 356 pages.

The Punch Escrow - Tal M. Klein

I don't think I'll be reading very many books in my life with the word 'Escrow' in the title--but this one, yes.

Reading progress update: I've read 102 out of 285 pages.

Arrowood: A Novel - Laura McHugh

since I read Hostage at the start of the New Year, I've decided that for every ten Crime & Mystery novels I read, I want ten different locales--countries. so, I want the author to be from somewhere different than the other nine books selected, or failing that, I at least want ten different countries as settings. so far, it's been a blast, globe-trotting. this book means I finally go to the United States, and Iowa along the Mississippi is giving me a great story! probably Venice next--but I don't just do Crime & Mystery reads, of course--so actually, Venice after some SF, or Fantasy, or whatever. anyway, I'm enjoying my little project, but let's see if I can hit more 4 or 5 star books soon. this one is looking good, on that front.

Reading progress update: I've read 22 out of 285 pages.

Arrowood: A Novel - Laura McHugh

only got a small start on this, before duty calls--but that's okay, because overall my reading pace has been supercharged lately, books flowing by. two chapters of Arrowood, and I'm anxious to get back to it; Arden's return to her grand childhood home, on the Mississippi, is for her a respite from what has scarred her--mentally and physically--in the seventeen years away from it. but she does grapple with memories of Violet and Tabitha disappearing from home all those years ago...being taken away, actually.

 

seems like it's going to be an interesting read. a bit sad, and sometimes disturbing and intense.

Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 285 pages.

Arrowood: A Novel - Laura McHugh

love the cover. gonna give this a go next. weird thing is...just as I was coming to the Booklikes website to set this up as my new Currently Reading, someone on my Updates feed was busy marking it as Read and rating it (3 stars, hmmm, but I'm still gonna read it), just moments before. never seen anything like that before--a bit creepy, actually! 

Reading progress update: I've read 153 out of 285 pages.

The Third Squad - Sanjay Kumar

crazy hard-boiled fun with assassins in Mumbai; probably gonna read more of this tonight.

Reading progress update: I've read 48 out of 285 pages.

The Third Squad - Sanjay Kumar

excellent. a perfect, and wonderfully exotic (for me), Noir feel to it all. I love this!