This was another one of those books Amazon really thought I should read. There's the whole subgenre of sexy-vampires and sexy-werewolves, as typified by Anita Blake; this is a perfectly reasonable example of the werewolf side of the genre. (Are there sexy-frankenstein's-monster books? I don't think I've seen any). The heroine is spunky and competent and the plot ticks along in high gear. I'm not as fond of the genre as I could be, but this is a good solid example of it. Better plot and much less sex than the disappointing Aisling Grey books I didn't bother to review. Three and a half stars.
Murder with Mirrors, Tragedy in Three Acts by Agatha Christie
I'm working on collecting the Christies I don't have, though I'm sure I've read them all by now. There just aren't authors who write puzzle-games like this any more; it's all about the detective's inner angst and love plots and so on. Which have their place too, but sometimes you just want to go through and marvel at the craft instead of the art. On the other hand, more modern authors don't use the phrase "nigger in the woodpile" either, which will make most readers hurriedly turn the page. I like Miss Marple better than I used to (I used to prefer Poirot), but this is a stronger Marple and a weaker Poirot from the canon. (Like Asimov, I would think I wouldn't have to tell people to read or not read Agatha Christie. But really, just read one or two if you haven't. They're in a class of their own.)
The Miocene Arrow and Eyes of the Calculor by Sean McMullen.
The second and third in the Greatwinter Trilogy, they're much like the first one. The romances are better - if seriously twisted - and the scale a little more personal, though still set against Vast Epicness. I think the second book actually works the best of the three, as the characters are such that driving them with their personal plots makes more sense. (Taking over the world because you're pissed your lover cheated on you strikes me as sillier, and anyone powerful enough to be making competent decisions at that level ought to have stopped making sex their primary motivator). There's still a few "what the heck?" character moments (Velesti in particular); more airplanes and fewer trains. Four stars, and I have the set now if anyone wants to borrow them.
Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino
A book of stories, or fables, translated from Italian. And very odd stories. The one that takes place before the Big Bang. The one that has to do with one atom of hydrogen being created every 250 million years to maintain a steady state density. And the one about moon milk. Three inhabited, hydrogen-fusing stars. I keep meaning to foist it off on mjperson... anyway, it's up for grabs, and will otherwise go on the swap list.
Through Violet Eyes by Steven Woodworth
Well-blurbed by people like Greg Bear, and with a nicely evocative cover, I was (as often seems to be the case) hoping for better. The book is aiming for part Minority Report, part Silence of the Lambs. (I suppose, doesn't *everyone* in the thriller genre aim for Silence of the Lambs?) Sadly, it doesn't hit the science fiction / fantasy genre well enough (you can't just tweak one major world variable and leave it at that - if summoning the ghosts of the dead back for criminal trials is commonplace, then "kill the witness because they would recognize you" is not a logical motive for someone well-familiar with the system), and doesn't have the either charisma or the tension for a good psychopath thriller. It's more like, well, a mediocre action movie - the characters dash from city to city, see some sights and have one Major Event happen there. And they sleep together, because, well, they're the main characters. The mystery is solved mostly due to drive-by plot devices dropping clues - though the red herrings are competently done. It could have been a much better book if there had been maybe fifty more interspersed pages bulking up the world and how the Psi Corps Afterlife Communications Corps fit in. Two and a half stars.