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!: Aurora(ARC) – Kim Stanley Robinson: A major new novel from one of science fiction’s most powerful voices, AURORA tells the incredible story of our first voyage beyond the solar system. Our voyage from Earth began generations ago. Now, we approach our destination. A new home. AURORA.

2: Mother of Eden(ARC) – Chris Beckett: sequel to DARK EDEN

3: The Dead Lands(ARC) – Benjamin Percy: In Benjamin Percy’s new thriller, a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga, a super flu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary-the remains of St. Louis-a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders. Then a rider comes from the wasteland beyond its walls. She reports on the outside world: west of the Cascades, rain falls, crops grow, civilization thrives. But there is danger too: the rising power of an army that pillages and enslaves every community they happen upon. Against the wishes of the Sanctuary, a small group sets out in secrecy. Led by Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark, they hope to expand their infant nation, and to reunite the States. But the Sanctuary will not allow them to escape without a fight.

4: Whirlwind(review copy) – Rick Mofina: An anguished mother loses her baby in a deadly storm… A kind stranger helps Jenna Cooper protect her baby boy when a killer tornado rips through a Dallas flea market. But in the aftermath, Jenna can’t find her son or the woman who’d been holding him. A journalist under pressure breaks the story… Upon discovering the tragedy, reporter and single mom Kate Page, battling for her career and trying to hold her life together, vows to determine what happened to tiny Caleb Cooper.

and the ebooks:

5: Starship Excelsior – Alan Lockley: It was the dawn of man’s last great adventure, a journey to the stars. Man’s vision for years and now, the starship Excelsior was set to begin its long trip to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star to Earth. The crew of three men and the most sophisticated android ever built, Doctor Wang, were ready to go into the unknown. Professor Jason Ashton was determined the mission would succeed but at what cost? Excelsior had hidden secrets, secrets that only Ashton knew.
Just how far had he gone to achieve his aim: “The Mission will not fail!”

6: The Tehran Text: The Tana Standish series – Nik Morton: Iran is in ferment and the British Intelligence Service wants Tana Standish’s assessment. It appears that CIA agents are painting too rosy a picture, perhaps because they’re colluding with the state torturers… Allegiances and loyalties are strained as Tana’s mission becomes deadly and personal. Old friends are snatched, tortured and killed by SAVAK, the Shah’s secret police. She has to use all her skills as a secret agent and psychic to stay one step ahead of the oppressors and traitors. As the country stumbles towards the Islamic Revolution, the Shah’s grip on power weakens. There’s real concern for the MI6 listening post near the Afghan border. Only Tana Standish is available to investigate; yet it’s possible she could be walking into a trap, as the deadly female Spetsnaz fighter Aksakov has been sent to abduct Tana.

7: Last Hand(review copy) – Rex Kusler: Tracy Green was a master at playing the odds. A professional stock trader, she made extra money as the head of a team of card counters. They had remained under the radar for years, operating shrewdly six times each year during the busiest holidays. But their luck finally went south the night they were barred from playing at the Clifton Casino in downtown Las Vegas. That wasn’t the worst event of the evening—a couple hours later Tracy encountered a deadly flaw in the notion of her own invincibility. She was shot to death in her lavish home on a secluded road north of Las Vegas. With little evidence and meager leads, Private Detectives Alice James and Jim Snow muddle through this new investigation as they continue to deal with Snow’s lackadaisical attitude and Alice’s desire for at least a modicum of professionalism.

Trusting Viktor – Lee Mims

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Author Lee Mims is a fellow North Carolinian. I always enjoy reading books by18126438 local authors set in areas I’ve visited myself, Holding a degree in geology and having worked in the field brings gravitas to her character Cleo Cooper, a geologist working on a natural gas project off the coast of our state. She’s sunk her life savings into the deal and hopes for a big payoff.

But in this mystery, something else is going on as well.

Cleo is attacked late one night on board the drillship, a large hairy man attempting to rip her clothes off. Head knocked, she loses consciousness, only to come to asleep in her bunk, clothes arranged neatly, and no sexual assault on her person. And no one seems to know anything untoward happened to her.

When a body turns up floating downwards from the ship, the police show up asking questions. Cleo, while not getting a good look at her attacker, it was pitch black, is pretty sure he’s the one. She can’t explain and the cops keep att it, especially when it’s learned the man’s head was fractured.

That sets Cleo to wondering exactly what happened. Her ex-husband was on board. Their relationship is friendly and she wonders if he’d saved her. Had another?
The Viktor of the title is a young Russian, twelve years her junior, who she first met in the Gulf of Mexico when he saved her life while diving among drill rigs and in danger of drowning when caught up in wreckage.

They become brief lovers, then when he shows up replacing the dead man off North Carolina, she gets her hackles up. Friendly enough, almost like a puppy dog, she fends more advances off.

And one more mystery.

A fabulous treasure that someone seems ready to kill for. Cleo keeps doggedly pursuing each clue she uncovers.

I like the author’s writing style. Smooth and clean, she keeps a nice pacing on her tale, no dull stretches, as she moves toward the conclusion. Second in the series, I definitely have the first on my reading radar. Can be ordered HERE.

If You Meet Sartana, Pray For Your Death(Se Incontri Sartana Prega Per La Tua Morte)1968

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fc4fb7a906a178f9eff76776e036be0cIF YOU MEET SARTANA PRAY FOR YOUR DEATH was the first of five official films to feature the character. there were a number of films that featured the fellow that were mere ripoffs riding the coattails of the franchise. Gianni Garko played him in four of the spaghetti westerns and George Hilton essayed the role in the third entry.

This opening film is loaded with veterans of the genre in Klaus Kinski(Morgan), Fernando Sancho(Jose Manuel Mendoza), and William Berger(Lasky) being the main ones. A few other sprinkled through in minor roles.

The plot involves an insurance swindle perpetrated by those folks in charge, a9867831.547eeaa42df47 bank director, rich men, hiring a Mexican gang, Mendoza’s, to steal a strong-box, and an American gang, led by Lasky, to kill the Mexicans. A mysterious stranger, Sartana, steps into the middle of this fight, revolving around rival gangs, the town’s bigwigs and the search for the missing loot. The usual sorts of double crosses follow, Sartana making sure he comes out on top.

The name “Sartana” first appeared in the film Blood at Sundown (Mille dollari Sartanasul nero, 1967), in which Garko played an antagonist called El General Sartana, completely unrelated to the later film series. But it was noticed, the film’s success in Germany, known by the short title Sartana. Italian producer Aldo Addobbati noticed that and set up a production deal with a German producer in Italy. Garko was signed with a clause giving him script approval.

One of the best of the spaghetti genre.

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New In The House

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1: Touchfeather – Jimmy Sangster

2: Touchfeather, Too – Jimmy Sangster: Katy Touchfeather is an agent with British Intelligence. Brash Books is bringing out new additions of the books.

3: Blood Infernal – James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell: Third novel in the Order of The Sanguines trilogy. As an escalating scourge of grisly murders sweeps the globe, archaeologist Erin Granger must decipher the truth behind an immortal prophecy foretold in the Blood Gospel, a tome written by Christ and lost for centuries: The shackles of Lucifer have been loosened.

4: Trusting Viktor(review copy) – Lee Mims: Betting her life savings on a risky offshore natural gas enterprise, brilliant geologist Cleo Cooper has high hopes for a big payday. But a violent attack onboard the drillship darkens Cleo’s optimism. Days later, a man washes up on the coast near the drill sight, but is it the man who assaulted Cleo? When Viktor, a promising young Russian geologist is hired as the dead man’s replacement, Cleo isn’t sure if he’s friend or foe.

5: Under A Turquoise Sky(review copy) – Lisa Carter: When federal agent Aaron Yazzie is assigned to protect the only witness to a drug cartel execution, he hides Kailyn Eudailey in the safest place he knows . . . the vast, untamed wilderness of the Navajo Reservation.

6: Great Kings’ War – Roland Green & John F. Carr: first sequel to H. Beam Piper’s Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen.

and the ebooks:

7: The Society of Orion: Deception{review copy) – Gerald J. Kubicki & Kristopher Kubicki: Colton Banyon and friends are still gathering the weapons of Orion. What would happen if a country like North Korean obtained the Orion weapons? They are only in Poland a few hours and the Patel sisters face a monstrous threat as several mercenaries invade their hotel suite intending to kill them and steal the talisman they have brought from India.

8: Plunge(review copy) – Rex Kusler; seventh book in the Las Vegas mystery series. Alice James and Jim Snow are back together working on a new case while trying to resolve their personal differences. This investigation is focused on a recently retired jockey who was stabbed and thrown off the roof of a parking garage after an argument with his new wife, two friends, and a former NBA hellion who vehemently objected to the victim’s method of play at their blackjack table.

9: Lonnie gentry – Peter Brandvold: Life has not been easy for young cowboy Lonnie Gentry. Lonnie and his mother live alone, working hard, raising cattle and horses on their remote Colorado mountain ranch. Now the thirteen-year-old must travel over perilous mountains to return money stolen by his mother’s outlaw boyfriend to a deputy U.S. marshal.
On Lonnie’s journey, he’s joined by young Casey Stoveville, daughter of a sheriff killed by the outlaws.

10: Kalvan Kingmaker – John F. Carr: third novel in the Lord Kalvan series.

11: Outlaw Ranger: Blood and Gold – Jame Reasoner: A savage ambush…twenty men slaughtered in a brutal massacre…a fortune in gold stolen! This was a crime big enough and bold enough to bring the Outlaw Ranger to the wide-open settlement of Cemetery Butte, where a powerful mining tycoon rode roughshod over any who dared to oppose him. But even that atrocity doesn’t prepare G.W. Braddock for the evil that awaits him, stretching bloody hands out of the past.

Deguello(Degueyo)1965

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See if this plot sounds at all familiar. A group of men protect a small town405px-Degueyo_poster from a band of outlaws, helping them with weapons and a bit of teaching to defend themselves. Nah, couldn’t be.

The titular star is Giacomo Rossi-Stuart(billed as Jack Stuart) who plays Norman Sandel. He has the requisite good looks and blonde hair, but only minor acting skills. A bland, rather neutral expression on his face most of the time.

The standout is Dan Vadis as Ramon, the outlaw leader. He had the commanding presence thae Rossi-Stuart lacked to go with dark brooding looks.

As the film opens, Norman and his father are taking a break for lunch when they deguejo-130x216 (1)see a rider coming, slumped in his saddle. A neighbor, they get him down, only to have him killed by two other riders, masked, that managed to get on top of them without being seen. His dying breath mentions a Colonel Cook. The two killers are there to take Norman’s father with them and kill Norman. Norman gets them, but not before they kill his father.

Norman heads for town to find two of his father’s friends, Frank(Daniele Vargas, billed as Dan Vargas) and Logan(spaghetti veteran José Torres). They and his father served during the Civil War with Colonel Cook. The three men head to Cook’s home, Danger City, to find out what it was all about, picking up DickDEGUEJO DUB-500x500 Regan(Riccardo Garrone), a whiskry drummer whosr wagon had broke down and was then robbed by bandits while he hid. For me, he was suspicious from the start. He wore a short gun and was very good with it. We learn later he was more than just a drummer.

They arrive at Danger City only to find it apparently deserted. It’s not long before they learn it’s full of women and children. Ramon’s band had killed or taken prisoner all the men. When a young woman, Rosy(Rosy Zichel), Ramon’s girl friend who’d grown tired of his cruelty, arrives, they learn what’s up. Rumor had it that Cook had ten grand somewhere and Ramon wanted it. It went all the way back to the war. The townsmen, Cook included, he’d taken prisoner, were being tortured for information.

Degueyo_ppWith Rosy’s help, Norman sneaks in and rescues Cook, who’s mind seems stuck in the Civil War.. They never make it clear whether he was already in that condition or it was the result of the torture inflicted on him. He refuses to tell them where the money might be, having promised Lee it would be used o buy arms for the South. Ramon wants the money and has promised to wipe out the town if he doesn’t get it.

The final sequence takes out most of the major players.

Not a terrible western. More than one reviewer noted that rookie director Giuseppe Vari might have done a better job with the script with a few more years of experience. That script, by the way, might have profited from another draft or two. It was by Sergio Garrone(as Willy Regan) and Vari.

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FFB: Hark!: A Novel of the 87th Precinct – Ed McBain

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519P0BZGZ9LI found the 87Th Precinct books early on and started reading them as I come across, making use of the local library system for a great many of them. I’m down to a half dozen to finish the fifty odd titles. HUSH! was one I found there and it featured the final appearance of The Deaf Man, a criminal that bedeviled the detectives in six novels. He never had a name other than The Deaf Man and planned meticulous crimes that Steve Carella and company had to decipher.

Here he sends a series of anagrams taunting the detectives. He may be behind a revenge shooting. Hints are dropped that he may not even be deaf. Using Shakespeare’s works to taunt them with riddles indicating his next crime, they test their literary skills as they interpret them.

By the end, The Deaf Man is still on the loose. He may or may not have planned to reurn to the character somewhere down the road.

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