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review 2017-08-22 03:12
Heat Trap (The Plumber's Mate #3)
Heat Trap - J.L. Merrow

Oh geez, so much going on in this one! 

 

I complained in my review for the last book that I thought Tom and Phil's relationship took a backseat. That was not the case here. The case Phil's working on effects them both personally and even brings out some secrets Phil has been hiding about himself. It really tests their relationship, bringing up old concerns, but doesn't go into melodrama territory. 

 

The case is again well-done. Marianne, the new bartender at the Dyke, is running from her abusive ex-boyfriend, and Phil's asked to dig up dirt on him. The ex is a Douche-with-a-capital-D and annoyingly wily when it comes to the law. 

And I can't believe Tom fell for Grant's line about being misunderstood. Com'n Tom, that's Abuser Manipulation 101.

(spoiler show)

This has some good and creepy twists to it and definitely doesn't end up anywhere I thought it would.

 

On the personal front, Tom's still trying to sort out how he feels about a family secret coming out in the previous book,

about his mother having an affair and his father not being his biological father,

(spoiler show)

so there are family tensions to deal with but again it avoids from going into melodramatic territory. I enjoyed seeing more of Cherry and Greg, and of course Gary and Darren are always a hoot. Oh, and I have to give a shout out to Arthur and Merlin too. They're just the coolest cats, if maybe a bit too quick with their affections. :D

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review 2017-08-21 23:05
Murder on the Orient Express (audiobook)
Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Audio) - Agatha Christie,Dan Stevens

An excellent audio version of a Christie classic. It would also work well for the "Locked room" category for the Halloween bingo.

 

Previous update:

21 %

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review 2017-08-21 13:48
So I'm gonna get my Transformers geek on at the end
Inhumans: Attilan Rising (2015) #4 - Charles Soule,John Timms,Dave Johnson

When Black Bolt is captured and interrogated by Medusa, he both questions her loyalty to Doom and also tells her there are towers that broadcast signals that force people to accept the world as it is, rather than see what it could be.   Black Bolt isn't affected, and he tells Medusa that people are more willing to questions and less affected once they're made aware of the truth. 

 

They also talk about why Black Bolt hasn't been through Terrigenesis, and he answers that it's a matter of control.   Once you get your gifts, you're not allowed to choose where you want to go.  Your powers dictate that, and that's where you are for the rest of your life.   The example he uses is an artist who gets offensive abilities, and is put on the security team.   

 

Transformers time.   I didn't put it together, despite reading some about this in the Inhumans series by Jenkins and Lee.   I think that's because it's a little bolder here: it's a huge point in this series, a huge motivator, and stated far more plainly as a form of Functionalism than in the previous series.   In Transformers, the Decepticons were originally acting out against Functionalism, or the belief that what you turned into was your function.   Like Jetfire was told that because he was a flier, he couldn't be a scientist.   Fliers aren't scientists, they're made for battle.   They, much like Black Bolt, wanted the freedom to be whatever they wanted.   (Both Functionalism and Attilan had problems with racism of a sort: if you didn't turn into something good, or you didn't get top notch, or even good, gifts during Terrigenesis, you were outcasts.   Ravage was always treated like an animal because  of his panther form and in the Inhumans series - Jenkins and Lee again - there's a lot about that: a girl who's hands are deformed and is told that her best friend that they can no longer be friends, or Wuz, the boy who turns into an Alpha Primitive and is forced down into their literal underground society.   They are the morlocks of Attilan, these Alpha Primitives.)

 

Anyway, loved this issue.   The fact that Black Bolt is tortured is a plus, because I like seeing this in my favorite characters.  I also hope for a hurt/comfort story, and I like seeing how much they can take, even if there's no real comfort in the end.

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review 2017-08-21 13:17
Love, love, love!
Inhumans: Attilan Rising (2015) #3 - Charles Soule,John Timms

Things go badly for the resistance - named The Voice Unheard - and then they get worse.   Still, they fight, because otherwise they bow to Doom, to his regents like Medusa, and they can't help the people they need to help.   The Hulks, the people who need medicine, those are pitted against once another although they don't have to be.   

 

Medusa shows herself to be more ruthless than I'd remembered, but she has no good choice: if she's deposed, who knows who Doom will put in her place and if he'll punish the innocents in her domain.   He can easily use them to hold her hostage by implying or telling her outright that he'll put a Maximus - possibly a less sane one than we're used to - in her place should she fail him.  (That would mean death, destruction, and terror for her people, a people that Medusa has always protected.   Even when she was younger, in Once and Future Kings, she rails against another fascist in power, a man who abused his power.   Doom might do that, but by keeping power as Regent, Medusa can mitigate the harm he does by taking on his threats and not allowing herself to fail and for her people to be devastated by Doom through her compliance.)

 

To get at Doom, she'd need a lot more power than she has, so I'm not sure what else she could have done.   So many people deify Doom at this point, and he has multiple Thors - that's right, many Thors, including a Dazzler Thor who shows up in a later storyline in A-Force - that not many are willing to acknowledge his faults, much less rise up against him.   She couldn't possibly stand up against him alone, nor gather the power she needs to fight off an army of Thors - and Doom to boot. 

 

Black Bolt may not be a Regent, but he remains a leader in name and at heart.   When his people, The Voice Unheard, are cornered, he sacrifices himself. 

 

Note: I'm not sure how the royal family works here.   Medusa seems to not know Black Bolt at all, although they're first cousins.   Karnak and Triton are both working for The Voice Unheard, but don't acknowledge if they're brothers or not.   Gorgon is working for Medusa, further fracturing the family aspect.   (They are all, in fact related.)  I mention Maximus, but I can't remember if he or Crystal show up in this mini-series.  I remember some details at the end, but not this.   It would be confusing if they didn't, because Nur and Auran are lesser characters in Inhumans mythology and yet both are used.   To great effect, but it shouldn't be hard for Soule to slip in the two remaining royals in my opinion, even in a less prominent role.   Also, Maximus is just plain fun and having him be sane would be a super fun twist that I can't believe hasn't been touched upon yet.   Huge missed opportunity.

 

 

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review 2017-08-21 02:10
Loving this once more
Inhumans: Attilan Rising (2015) #2 - Charles Soule,John Timms,Dave Johnson

Medusa sends Auran and Kamala Khan to infiltrate The Quiet Room.   Black Bolt takes charge, putting an effective end to said infiltration - or so he believes. 

 

I'm surprisingly not enjoying Matt Murdock - who goes by Murdoch in this - or Auran or Nur, all of whom I enjoy immensely in the regular Marvel universe.   It's not the author, because Soule writes some of the best Daredevil in his new run.   And he's written Auran and Nur in Uncanny Inhumans, where I originally fell in love with their characters.  I just don't see why Murdoch is in this, and he feels like comedy that isn't really necessary.   There's enough going on that he's not really necessary at this point, but it's such a minor point that I'm not even going to knock a star off.   (It's more that once I stopped reading and thinking, 'hey, Murdoch isn't doing it for me,' it bugged me until I worked it out in my mind.)

 

Still, it's nice seeing these characters in new situations, because Kamala is Medusa's servant: she doesn't question Medusa and the Kamala Khan I know would immediately.  Still, many characters are put in positions where they act differently than they usually do, at least at the beginning.   Even Medusa acts differently, deferring to Doom completely, which she never would in the regular Marvel universe. 

 

The fact that Doom is looked at as a savior, even by Captain America, and Tony Stark, all the Avengers even, is proof enough that the characters are all going to be slightly different.   Medusa still acts as a queen, compassionate, although trying to save her people from a fate worse than death.   (Being turned into a zombie would be that most likely of all fates, so there's that.)   Kamala is still doing what she thinks is right, but again Doom is looked at as a savior rather than the fascist he is so the 'right' in this world can be warped. 

 

The world, and the characters, are the same - and different.   I love how playful this gets, even when it's not necessarily funny.   Like this mini-series is about underground resistance and fascism and fighting that, and helping people who are worse off than you. (Sounds like something we need right now, huh?)

 

It's fun because it's so different, it skews what is normal in the regular Marvel universe, but it's also rather serious - or speaks to serious issues and gives them their proper gravitas - and I love this mix. 

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