Monthly Archives: July 2015

review of The Legacy by E.A. Briginshaw

TheLegacy

★★★★★

reviewed by Cy Wyss

The Legacy is the story of Brian, father of two capable and precious boys Eric and Chip. What will Brian’s legacy be as he moves into retirement? He sits at the apex of an 8.5 million dollar estate, so perhaps that will be his legacy. But no, it is not that simple. When Eric graduates and takes over part of his father’s estate as a newbie financial planner, he’s got a lot to learn about what is truly important to leave behind. Eric’s life lessons occur partly because of a horrible tragedy: Eric, Chip, and several others are kidnapped in Brazil after the Olympics. Who will get out alive? Who will die at the hands of the Brazilian kidnappers? That is only one of several questions this story will have you asking.

I found The Legacy truly compelling. After a brief glimpse of the kidnapping, the book opens with Chip competing in the Olympics, a sub-story which is broad and intriguing in its own right. After the Olympics (you’ll have to read the book to find out how Chip does in his races, the 10,000 meter and the 5,000 meter dashes), Chip and Eric are part of a tour gone dreadfully wrong. Their kidnapping was well crafted and believable. The FBI response is somewhat shallow, but that didn’t impact my enjoyment of the story. I loved the ending: it had just the right amount of surprise and the right connections were eventually made. If you’re like me you won’t be able to put the book down until you’ve read every last word. Overall a great story and an excellent read. Thanks!

review of The Shade Ring by Connie Lacy

TheShadeRing

★★★★☆

reviewed by Cy Wyss

The Shade Ring is the story of Neave and Will in a not-too-far-off future America. The ocean has risen, sending millions out of the coastal cities and into “new” versions of these cities further inland. The weather is more extreme and the earth is clearly under more stress. A landslide on a volcano off the coast of Africa causes huge tidal waves to hit many areas along the coast of the Atlantic ocean, including the coast of Georgia, where Will is working demolition in old Savannah. Can Neave get to him in time to save him from the tidal wave rushing toward him? That is only one of the dangerous scenarios either Will or Neave get into and have to save one another from.

The book is a smooth read and the editing is impeccable. The character of Neave is sympathetic, although she has a temper and can come across as rash. Will is attractive, and has a secret: he’s a clone. In the future, clones are the new target of racism and Will assumes Neave will leave him when she finds out. Neave is not that shallow, though, fortunately. The plot takes you from the waterlogged coast to the frigid arctic in a surprising (although improbable) combination of events. The villain is suitably egomaniacal, and the story includes an unfortunate additional villain in the form of Neave’s father. Why is he so set on building a thin ring around the equator? Will it really help with global warming, or is there something else going on? I found the solution satisfying given the rest of the story. Overall a decent read, especially for fans of romantic suspense.

review of Where Dead Fish Go by J.A. Coppinger

WhereDeadFishGo

★★★★★

reviewed by Cy Wyss

Where Dead Fish Go is the story of Boom and Jiffy, two childhood friends who’ve grown apart but reunite to stop a series of horrific killings in their childhood town. Boom is an out-of-work, out-of-luck semi-alcoholic whose wife left him for another man. Jiffy is a stable, athletic family man with a daughter who shares the same ability he and Boom share: they are empaths. They can sense (and even manipulate) others’ emotions. Jiffy has the task of talking Boom into returning to the hometown he left at 17, desperate to get out. Assuming Jiffy can do this, the pair face the daunting task of investigating a series of drowning deaths at the lake where they spent their formative years.

The story is suspenseful and well-paced. The narrative is always from the point of view of Boom, and alternates between present day and one especially traumatizing summer when the boys were nine. As the novel progresses, we learn the secret of the lake and boathouse and the horrible truth behind the drowning disappearances. From about a third of the way through the book, I couldn’t put it down. The prose is smooth and easy to read, and the suspense had me wanting to know more all the rest of the way through. The culmination of the plot was surprising to me, a little saddening, but a great read overall. I really enjoyed Where Dead Fish Go and you will too, especially if you like suspense novels with a strong supernatural component, but not the usual (tired) supernatural of zombies or vampires.

review of Descent into Mayhem by Bruno Goncalves

DescentIntoMayhem

★★★★★

reviewed by Cy Wyss

There are at least two important points I end up reaching in every good book. The first is the point where I can’t put it down because the action takes off and the words and story flow inexorably, taking me with them. I reached that with Descent into Mayhem about 50% of the way in. That was a little late, and I feel the author could have lessened all the technical descriptions of armaments and weaponry, but if you’re a military technology buff Goncalves’s detailed descriptions of futuristic martial implements will really float your boat. It’s hard to say the book would be better off without all the detail; rather I would say it shows me the limits of my appreciation for the genre.

The second important point is where the characters have somehow grown into my life and I find myself thinking about them even when the book isn’t in front of me. For me, this point happened about 75% of the way through Descent into Mayhem. The lead character Toni Muira, with his golden eyes and enhanced physiology, is a sympathetic soldier and an interesting person. Towards the end of the book, however, a traumatic incident changes him permanently, both with respect to himself and with respect to the reader. That was an unexpected development and I’m eagerly awaiting the second volume in the series to see where it will lead for Toni. Most characters Goncalves has created are equally compelling, albeit more minor than Toni with respect to the plot. I look forward to seeing them all again (and new ones) in book two. Thanks for a great read!