Sunday, April 18, 2010

Review Ragout -- Catching up on a few recently completed books

Well, heck, I meant to give these all their own reviews, but I'm falling behind in everything lately. So here are a few short summaries:

Blackout by Connie Willis -- Time-travelling historians travel back to cover World War II in England, and are accidentally trapped in the London Blitz, the Dunkirk Evacuation, and the V-2 attacks. I meant to write this up as a companion review to my review of On the Natural History of Destruction by W.G. Sebald, since this is explicitly a work whose setting includes the air raids, and I might yet do that. But in the meantime, rest assured that this is another good Connie Willis time-travel tale. It's also part one of two; the second novel doesn't come out until later this year.

Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie -- A good, solid Poirot mystery with a nicely perplexing murder set in a 1935 flight from Paris to London. In addition to being a fun mystery, it's a good look at pre-World War II airline flights.

The Black Diamond Detective Agency by Eddie Campbell -- A graphic novel set around a train-bombing and robbery in 1899 with Pinkertons and gangsters. It was cool and evocative in spots, but a bit hard to follow in others. Not a great read, but kinda fun.

Kull: The Shadow Kingdom by Arvid Nelson and Will Conrad -- A graphic novel that collected up a Kull miniseries. Robert E. Howard's King Kull is the barbarian king who rose to the throne of Atlantis. He was Howard's pre-Conan barbarian hero, and Kull tales always seem to make an interesting comparison point with the adventure of the more famous Cimmerian. This Kull tale is a good, satisfying sword & sorcery read with a nice mystery, convoluted court intrigue, and sharp art by the always reliable Will Conrad.

Death Times Three by Rex Stout -- An interesting threesome of Nero Wolfe novellas that came to light after Rex Stout's death, and that hadn't been previously published in book form. A couple of them were rewrites of Wolfe stories that appeared with a greatly different plot. I believe I read this one long ago, but it was a bit hard to be sure, since I was familiar with the other versions of the rewritten stories. That made this an especially fun read for me.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling -- Fun! Fun! Fun! A collection of five short tales from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter world. Here's a short review I wrote of the first tale, "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot” over on Dwarf Planet Press's web site. I'll try to catch up with reviews of the other tales there, too.

1 comment:

  1. These are some short reviews but, they are informative! Nothing like an abstractor to get at the core of the matter.