Book Review: Skins and Bone by John Baird Rogers @Gotuit

Skins and Bone          
A Mayfield-Napolitani Thriller #2     
John Baird Rogers
GoTuit Publications, June 2021
ISBN 978-1-732262-5-8
Trade Paperback

Joe Mayfield and Louise Napolitani (Weezy) are in it again. In this excellent second adventure, the couple, now inextricably connected, battle an array of financial criminals. Mayfield is an adept accounting master and Weezy, his companion, is a genius-level computer whiz with far more than an elementary-level appreciation of life and culture. Together, living in the immediate future, the couple are beset by a manipulative criminal conspiracy reflective of a greedy time.

This crime novel is set in a future era, replete with video-phones, communication implants for employees and voice-controlled driverless transportation. But this is not Science Fiction nor is it the kind of speculative futuristic novel set in some distant space-time continuum. Therein lies part of the genius of this excellent crime novel. Every bit of it is easily recognizable as probable development, just around the next plausible bend in society’s road.

Widely ranging action carries the reader feasibly from a small creek-side trailer in Florida to upscale offices in New York, to Austria and Budapest and back to middle America. Characters are many and the author has paid careful attention to all of them, even those with short-lived roles in this tapestry of crime and retribution.

Criminal manipulation of murderous events and stock markets form the core of the story, along with an almost vengeful get-even mind-set. The pace steadily rises toward a multi-scene resolution that should satisfy the most calculating reader. The principal characters and the author’s style are addictive and well-worth following into the future.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, July 2021.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
Traces, Grand Lac, Sins of Edom, Red Sky.

Book Review: Plum Rains by Andromeda Romano-Lax

Plum Rains
Andromeda Romano-Lax
Soho Press, June 2018
ISBN 978-1-61695-901-2
Hardcover

Skip forward to 2029. Angelica Navarro is a Filipina nurse who is paying back student loans by working in Japan. Years later, the cost of those loans is about to bury her, as her brother’s debts have been added to her own. He signed on to work in Alaska and became sick from the poison left behind when a plague was eradicated by destroying the land. Angelica is nursing a Japanese woman, Sayoko Itou, who is about to celebrate her one hundredth birthday. When her son gives her a robot for a present, Sayoko and Angelica’s lives both take a drastic shift. As for the robot, the self-learning technology with which he (yes, a he) programs into himself will allow him to become both a friend, and an enemy.

The story is convoluted, the author’s vision of the near future rather terrifying, especially as, in a world that grows more crowded every day, privacy has gone by the wayside. And everything costs. One feels for Angelica, working in a strange country. One feels for Sayoko, too, whose background is tragic. Oddly enough and although neither are aware of it, her story is similar with Angelica’s. And oddly, one feels for the robot, who grows more human in exponential leaps and bounds.

The writing is often lyrical, the characters strong, the dialogue always draws the story forward. I felt a sense of dread as I read it, which certainly proves the writer’s ability to impart emotion into the tale. And I believe the end may surprise you.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, September 2018.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder, Four Furlongs and Hometown Homicide.