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Sharon Tucker

by Sharon Tucker


Remember the femjep 1997 movie The Relic? It was loosely based on the first novel of the same name in a best-selling series written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I say “loosely based” because the screenwriters left out one of, if not the main, character in all the books: Aloysius X. L. Pendergast, maverick FBI agent and all-around best person to have on your side in any kind of fight. It’s still a relatively good movie because a monster on the loose in a large museum, replete with departments in house to figure out who or what the creature is on the basis of anthropology, evolutionary biology, and genetics, sounds intriguing.

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by Sharon Tucker
& Jeri Westerson


Well, I hoped The Enchanter Chronicles wouldn’t end so soon. [Sigh] Anyway, grab your corsets, boot hooks, and helmets to enjoy this last foray into the magical world of Leopold Kazmer, Mingli Zhao, assorted magical-mechanical creatures, plus so many more punkish devices. Enjoy that Library of the Damned (2021) has freshness and a rich atmosphere of fun despite its serious threats and dark, turgid machinations. Prepare to learn too about how Leopold’s religious background is inextricably linked to the heart of all the novels—one of my favorite devices.

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by Sharon Tucker


What a pleasure to learn that a new Daniel Rinaldi thriller is out. It’s good to be with Dr. Rinaldi, the quiet, steady therapist who helps us reconnect to our better, more sane selves when life gets out of hand. He counsels survivors of violence and I know I would feel comfortable seeking his help at such a time. It’s also good to go back to visit Pittsburgh, a part of the country I don’t know at all except through these novels. Their setting is rich with the Steel City’s history and atmosphere and with the complexities Rinaldi’s patients, associates, police officers, attorneys, and all those who befriend, tolerate, and actively work for or against the good doctor.

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by Sharon Tucker


Howard Fast, one of the blacklisted authors who survived the McCarthy area, wrote more than eighty novels in his career, but the ones I know best are his Masao Matsuto series written between 1967 and 1984. Doing a little research on him, I recognized the titles some of his historical novels but found these listed in one of the book newsletters we all get and was intrigued.

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by Sharon Tucker


If you’ve read Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford series set in southeast Florida, then you will know Hannah Smith. She’s not an academic like Ford, but rather counts herself among generations of Smith women who have blazed trails through Florida. Hannah’s knowledge comes from living in the midst of legends that sprang from her ancestors’ experiences, events, and conditions, trying her best to champion what is right without the least bit of fanfare. She has an uncluttered quality about her: she knows the water, she knows the land, she knows how to teach game fishing, and she knows how to apply what she knows to investigating her friends’ problems.

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by Sharon Tucker


I’m not quite sure what I expected when reading Neon Yang’s The Black Tides of Heaven (2017). Terms like silkpunk and Asian fantasy/mythology were running through my head, but other than a passing acquaintance with Zen koans, the Tao te Ching, and the Mahabarata, I was in unfamiliar waters. I soon learned that “Silkpunk” is the term writer Ken Liu has coined for the genre of a “very specific technology and literary aesthetic” blending magic and technology in an Asian setting.

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by Sharon Tucker


Many of us were introduced to Anthony Horowitz through his TV series Foyle’s War and the remarkable detective DCI Christopher Foyle who held civilization together in Hastings, England, during WWII and after. It’s ironic that he wanted to do more for the war effort than routine civilian policing when the cases he solved were anything but routine to most of us. He just kept running afoul of unpleasant bureaucrats who had a score to settle or were indifferent to him. The series was clever, well written, and character rich. So, I’m glad to say that these same characteristics apply to each of the three from different Horowitz series I chose to read.

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by Sharon Tucker


The best reads for many of us continue to be mysteries. For me, the mystery genre offers the challenge to discover a problem on the page then a solution that sets the world to rights again, something hard to accomplish in the world. I love the ones set in a time or place unfamiliar to me and for so long in the beginning, Golden Age Mysteries did the trick. Having read so many of those classics, after a while I looked for mystery in other times, in other genres. I’m still making discoveries and among them are the series of short novels (and one full length one) of Martha Wells, called the Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red (2017), Artificial Condition (2018), Rogue Protocol (2018), Exit Strategy (2018), and Network Effect (2020).

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by Sharon Tucker


What I love about each holiday season is that each is unlike any other before. The celebrations themselves usually stay within certain parameters but including different people in the mix or going to a new place during the season adds verve and just might open our perceptions. This is true of reading holiday stories from a variety of authors’ points of view, and in Festive Mayhem: Ten Stories of Holiday Mystery, Crime and Suspense (2020), Carolyn Marie Wilkins has collected works that celebrate diversity.

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by Sharon Tucker
& Jeri Westerson


I grew fond of Leopold Kazmer, The Great Enchanter, in his first adventure, The Daemon Device (2019), where he battled the encroaching demonic takeover of steampunk Victorian London and won. Of course, he had help, both natural and supernatural, and I hoped that all his cohorts and a few more would return when I learned the second in Jeri Westerson’s Enchanter Chronicles was coming.

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by Sharon Tucker


Although I liked Robert Urich in Spenser for Hire, he never really seemed like the Spenser I read in Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels. His touch was too light. And Lifetime TV’s attempt at Spenser movies still starring the likable Urich were bland palimpsests of the books. No. The real Spenser was in the pages Parker wrote, and I have my doubts anyone could embody him with justice. Spenser’s stream-of-consciousness, first-person narratives gave the reader inside information into what made an idealist like Spenser able to survive with his soul intact sorting out dark tangles beyond the rest of us.

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Three First Novels by Anne Perry

IN THE July 18 ISSUE

FROM THE 2020 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andSharon Tucker
SECTIONS

by Sharon Tucker


Some years ago, I was in the mood to read a Victorian mystery and suddenly Anne Perry’s Charlotte and Thomas Pitt were in my life with The Cater Street Hangman (1979). I soon discovered she had another series set in roughly the same era, after the Crimean War, about an amnesiac police office, William Monk, relying on his detective skills under the radar to find out who he is in The Face of a Stranger (1990). Then among other series set during a variety of Christmases or in WWI, a new series started this past fall, Death in Focus (2019) involving a young photographer in the aftermath of WWI as Hitler rose to power.

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by Sharon Tucker


In 1990, I remember sitting in a theater, stunned by the turn of events at the end of Presumed Innocent. Now that I have read three of Scott Turow’s Kindle County novels with the same characters, I see that his characters and plots are even better on the page. The internal monologues detail so much more than actors can ever vocalize. It is really a pleasure to go back and read what made the books best sellers and to discover more about these rich characters.

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by Sharon Tucker


Comfort reads are always a necessity, and mine currently are romantic thrillers I read or meant to read some time ago (with the occasional sci-fi or fantasy novel thrown in for variety) and I do find them all most comforting. The world of the thrillers is something I recognize from my early years of getting lost in fiction and, as ever, with genre reading we recognize where we are and we like it or go home. Mary Stewart’s novels were my favorites, and I’ve read them all so I decided to explore others in the same vein.

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