If I could give it 4 3/4 stars, I would. Daniels is always a must-read for me, and this book didn't disappoint. Nikki St. James is a true-crime writer who comes to a small town to solve the mystery of a kidnapping that happened 25 years before. What few know is that her father was suspected of being responsible.
The plot has a few nice twists and an ending I couldn't guess this time. Of course there's a love interest called Cull McGraw, brother to the kidnapped twins. But it's very slow developing, and no bonking!
The characters are well developed and believable, and I found my self rooting for the heroes, and booing the villains. So well done. And the McGraw family is pretty dysfunctional, which is a change from the usual lovey dovey families that often are a part of Intrigues.
The youngest brother, Ledger, is in love with a waitress who married the wrong guy and is in an abusive relationship. He's the subject of the next book, Dear River, which was delivered to me last week. Looking forward to reading it. Daniels, Paula Graves and Janie Crouch are my absolute fave Intrigue writers.
Here's the blurb:
Burdened by family secrets, this cowboy rides alone
For twenty‐five years, the case of the McGraw twins kidnapping has remained unsolved. As the eldest son, Cull oversees the McGraw horse ranch, wary of prying eyes. So when true‐crime writer Nikki St. James comes forward with new information, Cull can’t believe his father invites her onto the compound.
His family has suffered enough—he’s not about to let St. James snoop and ruin them completely. But Nikki finds the eldest McGraw’s protectiveness as endearing as it is aggravating. After all, this case is personal to her, too… And her secrets can set the truth free—if they don’t destroy the McGraws first.
I read it in two sittings, it was that good.
Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories was a real treat! I knew nothing about what to expect from this volume, (knowing nothing about the Hellboy series, in which these comics were originally released), so I went in with no preconceptions. I was seriously impressed. Here's why:
First, I LOVED the stories! The first 2/3 of this are different comics featuring a movie director named St. Lawrence, (who looks a lot like Vincent Price, BTW, and who you would think belonged in the 30's expect for the occasional glimpse of technology), and his friend Benedict a member of the Corpus Monstrum guild. Benedict is an immortal knight and always wears his knight helmet and a tuxedo. (I need to learn more about the background of this character because he was a blast to read about.) Together they fend off plagues of falling skulls, and other monstrous creatures.
Second, the last third of the book contains illustrated classic stories by the likes of Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, and William Hope Hodgson. I LOVED these! When reading these short stories, I couldn't help but notice how the first 2/3 of the book carried the exact same pulpy, adventure feel that these classic stories originally created. I think Gianni did a beautiful job of carrying on that feel in his comics and in his illustrations of these pulp shorts. In a way, I feel like these were his way of paying tribute to what came before, while also making them his own.
Again, I went into this with no preconceptions. I came away with much admiration and respect. I'm going to eventually read the Hellboy comics and I'm definitely going to search out Mr. Gianni and see what else he has on offer, because whatever it is, I'm in!
Highly recommended, especially to fans of the classic pulp short stories and to fans of incredible artwork.
You can get your copy here: Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories
*Thank you to Edelweiss and to Dark Horse Comics for the e-ARC of this volume in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*
The first time I read Give Me Liberty, it was in the late 1990s. I was working as a sales assistant in a comic specialty shop and the owner had actual copies of single issues of a very hard to find mini-series. It blew me away after I read it and I never thought how beautiful Martha Washington was, that strong female leads do make a difference then. It was then, I did not follow up any of its sequels... until the release of The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century was released, a complete chronicles of her life since birth until death.
Re-reading Give Me Liberty was so refreshing. If there is any thing about Martha Washington that she was born in 1995 in a ghetto so poor, that the US government housed these poor people into what was meant to be a social welfare but turns out to be a prison. From there, we get to know how smart she is with computers. Right up to the 21st century, the world that we know of is different. Its a different Earth and its a mess-up one. But do not get me wrong, I love how the creation of this universe is and with Martha Washington in it, you will understand what Give Me Liberty really means.
After the first series, the sequels came in (Martha Washington Goes To War, Happy Birthday Martha Washington, Martha Washington Stranded in Space, Martha Washington Saves The World & Martha Washington Dies) and what was a brilliant created universe from Frank Miller and beautifully drawn by Dave Gibbons, the same award-winning creators of DC's The Watchmen, every thing just felt spiraling down hill. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy some bits and pieces of it. I can see the evolution of change in the art from the earlier days of when Give Me Liberty was published in 1990. It was much later that I felt the consistency and the beauty of the art was gone. Same goes for the sequels that felt more like fillers. Until towards the end, was it a fitting ending? Well, to me it already felt what was kept as a universe that is messed-up truly stays true and that is more than enough to enjoy reading it.
Martha Washington is a strong female character that truly is a rarity at that time for female leads in the comic industry then. She was the Ellen Ripley of the Alien universe - strong, brave and justifiable. Besides Wonder Woman, Martha Washington was the only female comic book character that do stands out because of her beliefs and what was written the experience and journey she went through. As the rest of the characters, not many of them stayed long. I always wonder what happen to Raggyann and it was not explained. Still, I am glad I found a copy of this and able to read her whole journey. Thank you Frank Miller & Dave Gibbons for creating such a wonderful series. Without you guys, change will never happen and Martha Washington shows us that change and righting wrong is what hope is.