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review 2018-10-20 02:14
A Murder Mystery as Fun as The Buggles' Song
Video Killed the Radio Star - Mr. Duncan R MacMaster

(or the cover by The Presidents of the United States of America, either will work)

 

“I fear we will never be mistaken for the Algonquin Round Table.”

 

“We’ll have to work on our witty repartee,” said Molly. “I plan on taking a course on banter, ripostes, badinage, and persiflage.”

 

“Even persiflage?”

 

“Especially persiflage,” said Molly. “There is nothing worse than sub-par persiflage.”

 

“You might need to get a sub-par persiflage lanced.”

 

“We’ve hit the nonsense phase of the night earlier than usual.”

 

“I like nonsense,” said Kirby, “it distracts me.”

 

Kirby Baxter just wants to live a quiet life out of the spotlight: hanging out with his girlfriend, Molly, when he can; restoring a car with his valet/bodyguard/etc.; and drawing his comics. And now that the excitement about the murder he solved at Omnicon dying down, he's on the verge of doing that. But the mayor of his hometown knows Kirby, and has no shame in extorting his cooperation with a small problem that he's having.

 

You see, one of the town's major landmarks -- an old, abandoned mansion -- is in dire need of upkeep and remodeling. And a reality show full of C-List celebrities (maybe D- or E-list) have recently set up shop to do that work. But the city's having second thoughts and they want Kirby and his über-perception skills to find a reason to shut down production and send them packing to disrupt another locale.

 

Kirby visits the production, talks to the cast and producers, looks around and comes up with a lot of observations and conclusions -- and could cause a lot of inconvenience and embarrassment for everyone involved from those observations -- but he can't find what the mayor wants. That accomplished, he gets back to pursuing his best life now -- which lasts just a few hours. Because before he can start to collect from the mayor for the work, one of the celebrities is found dead.

 

So, it's back to the mansion for Kirby, this time to act as a consultant ot the local police as they investigate this suspicious death. Which is soon followed by another. And an attack on another cast member. And . . . well, you get the idea.

 

It's nice that MacMaster didn't repeat the whole "Kirby has to win over a skeptical and antagonistic police officer" thing -- this time, thanks to most of the force having grown up with him, they all accept his talents and skills -- an expect him to deliver.

 

The cast of the reality show, "Million Dollar Madhouse," is filled with the typical collection of has-beens, almost-weres, and celebs trying to stage a comeback. Initially, I rolled my eyes at each of them, but the more time I spent with them, the more I appreciated and enjoyed them. In particular, the Kardashian-esque character totally won me over. Like in the previous book, there's a large cast of characters that MacMaster juggles expertly -- there are so many suspects to the murders, as well as witnesses for Kirby and the police to wade through.

 

Almost every serious suspect has the same defense -- they didn't want the initial victim dead. They wanted him to make a fool out of himself on national TV, possibly seriously injuring himself with a power tool. Some would follow that up with some other form of revenge -- but if he's dead, no one could get the revenge they wanted. It's not ideal, but it's an honest defense.

 

Gustave was slightly less super-human this time out -- but he's still in the Ranger/Hawk/Joe Pike nigh-impossible stratosphere. As much as I like everyone else in this series, it's arguable that Gustave is MacMaster's best creation -- not just the character, but how MacMaster uses him.

 

I did miss Mitch. But was glad to see Molly and Kirby talk about him -- and even make a joke he wasn't around to make himself. It's probably good that he wasn't around -- it'll mean when we see him again, it'll be easy to appreciate him without worrying about over exposure.

 

In the place of Mitch, we have Molly's assertive and cunning cousin -- she runs a gossip-website and wheedles her way into the investigation in order to land a story big enough to put her and her site on the map. Kirby clearly vacillates between finding uses for her and finding her distracting.

 

Molly and Kirby are cuter together than they were previously, and I could watch the two of them banter any day. It seemed harder to incorporate Molly into the story this time, and hopefully it's easier for MacMaster in Kirby #3, but as difficult as it was it was absolutely worth it.

 

I'm not sure exactly what it is about MacMaster's writing that works so well for me, but it does. Just before I started writing this, I started to draw some parallels between these Kirby Baxter books and Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game and The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel). I didn't have time to fully flesh this idea out, but Raskin's work definitely was formative for me and if the comparison hold up, that could explain a lot. The mix of humor, real emotions and complex mystery is the sweet spot for me and MacMaster consistently hits it. It's not easy, there are precious few who try -- and fewer that succeed. This is the third novel I've read by him and it seals the deal, I'll buy everything he writes as soon as I can without really looking at what the book is about.

 

I was a little worried that this book wouldn't live up to A Mint-Conditioned Corpse, and I don't think it did -- but I don't know what could have for me. I'd enjoyed the other so much that it's almost impossible to live up to -- and the reality show setting didn't do anything for me -- they just leave me cold. The fact I'm rating Video Killed the Radio Star as high as I am is all about how effortlessly charming and entertaining this seems. Effortless always, always, always equals blood, sweat and tears -- or at least a lot of work. This must've taken a great deal of labor, and it was absolutely worth it. A clever mystery, clever dialogue, and very clever characters in a funny, twisty story. The Kirby Baxter books are must reads, no doubt about it. Give this one a shot -- I don't see how you can't enjoy it.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/10/19/video-killed-the-radio-star-by-duncan-macmaster-furiousdshow-%e2%98%85-%e2%98%85-%e2%98%85-%e2%98%85-1-2-a-murder-mystery-as-fun-as-the-buggles-song
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review 2018-10-19 16:14
Bound Gods, Book 6 - The Claiming
The Claiming - Adrienne Wilder

So damn good...but I eagerly await the day Leo does this to Alton. Because yes...I believe it WILL happen. 

 

 

and Taurus...

 

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review 2018-10-19 07:29
REVIEW BY MERISSA - Star Brides: The Meat Market (Star Brides #2) by Pia Manning
Star Brides: The Meat Market (Star Brides #2) - Pia Manning

The Meat Market is the second book in the Star Brides series, but can be read as a standalone. It is actually a bit of a misnomer. I thought we would start off by 'seeing' the Meat Market, but no. Instead, we dive right into the story and only learn about the market through Tasmyn's remembrances.

Basically, she went there with a friend, got tangled up with a creature, and ended up being 'married' to two men, brothers. She goes back to their planet, to find out everything has changed, and they are shipped off to a different planet. There they have to learn how to live and work together, as well as deal with dangers on the way.

This is an easy to read book, with no great depth to it, or twists and turns. However, what is here is excellently written, and provides enough story for a nice, lighthearted, read. The characters all work together, and help to round each other out. The scenery is easy to see, and the pacing is smooth. There were not editing or grammatical errors to disrupt my reading flow.

A great read, perfect for what I wanted, and thoroughly enjoyable. Definitely recommended by me.

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

Merissa
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

Source: archaeolibrarian.wixsite.com/website/single-post/2018/09/06/Star-Brides-The-Meat-Market-Star-Brides-2-by-Pia-Manning
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review 2018-10-18 10:53
I love Bishan!
Dead in the Pond - Dahlia Donovan
This is book two in the Grasmere Cottage Mystery Trilogy, and you MUST read book one, Dead In The Garden, before you read this one. They are NOT stand alones and they follow on. Bishan, now out of jail, and Valor still have no idea who is killing, and why Bish and Valor have been singled out. Then another body is discovered, and Valor's worst nightmare comes true. Bish tries, he really does, but he just wants things to go back to the way they were, before. Bishan has his say here, and just Bishan. He is Autistic, and his minds does go off at tangents all over the place, and he does take some following. But I'm so bloody glad he gets his voice here!! The guys are trying to piece together who might be doing this, and getting nowhere. Neither are the police. Things seem to calm down, then Bish and Valor are in a car accident that appears to be anything but. Didn't expect that particular person to stoop quite so low, but when HE turns up dead, and Valor is faced with having to deal with the family who disowned him so long ago. Bish struggles with that, but knows it's gotta be done. Bish's mind wanders all over the place, but always seems to come back to the point at hand, he just goes the long way round. You have to concentrate, pat attention and keep up! For ME?? That's a really good thing! Being a speed reader at the best of times, if I've gotta slow down, it's the sign of a great book. There is almost two plot lines going on here: the murders, and whatever is happening with Valor's family and just WHY they are so desperate to bring him back to London, away from Bish. But Valor won't go, not without Bishan. He LOVES Bishan, I loved the scene where they decide to definitely NOT get married! The love these two have for each other comes across every time Valor reaches for Bish and is rewarded with their joined hands, every time Bish makes tea for Valor, in every single thing they do for each other. I fell in love with Bishan here, and his mum! I'm still none the wiser as to whodunnit or why, but it's great that I'm being kept on my toes! OH!!! Massive cliffhanger here! There was one for book one, but here's is far bigger! Since Bishan has such an interesting voice 5 full stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2018-10-17 22:30
Are we, as in humans, headed in this direction???
The Last Town - Blake Crouch

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~SERIES BLURB~

Wayward Pines Series

Blake Crouch

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The plot surrounds Secret Service agent Ethan Burke's introduction to the remote small town of Wayward Pines, his new home from which he cannot escape. The mysteries and horrors of the town build until Ethan discovers its secret. Then he must do his part to keep Wayward Pines protected from without and within.

 

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~MY QUICKIE (and non-spoiler) REVIEW~

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A very mysterious, uniquely done creepy-scary scenario with scy-fy and dystopian-ish elements, this trilogy is a must-read. I loved it, despite certain aspects confusing the heck out of me…I'm inclined to believe that's on me, more than the writing, though.  And geez-louise, what an ending...

 

If you don't know much about this series…you should keep it that way…and dive in.  Seriously, just do it.  The narration is excellently done for one-person narration. 

 

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~MY RATING~

4.7STARS - GRADE=A

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

 

 

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 4.7/5

Main Characters~4.7/5

Secondary Characters~ 4.5/5

The Feels~ 4.5/5

Pacing~ 4.5/5

Addictiveness~ 5/5

Theme or Tone~ 5/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4.5/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 5/5

Originality~ 5/5

Ending~ 4.5/5  Cliffhanger~ Well…

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Book Cover~ Meh…

Narration~4.5 for Paul Garcia

Series~ Wayward Pines #3

Setting~ Wayward Pines

Source~ I Own Audible Audiobook

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I used this for Modern Noir Square in Halloween Bingo 2018

 

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