Newsletter - Reviews by Michael

Tuesday Apr 01 2014
by Michael

The Last Policeman - Ben H. Winter (tp$14.95)
Although described as a science fiction crossover, The Last Policeman is set in the present day and in a non-fantastical world. That is, of course, except for the asteroid on a collision course with the earth. The first book of a trilogy, this Edgar winning book  follows a young, and recently promoted detective, Hank Palace, as he tries to maintain the status quo for police procedure in a world facing apocalyptic disaster. As is to be expected, the imminent disaster leads to a number of changes politically, socially and economically, and puts Palace at a severe disadvantage in his ability to use modern methods, and even some modern technology, to not just solve the murder, but prove that it actually was one. Winter’s writing evokes the bleak reality he has set his world in, and does a powerful job in portraying the frailty of our society, both as it exists today and as it could in facing such a situation.Both The Last Policeman, and the sequel, Countdown City, are in the shop in the trade paper size.

Charming - Elliot James  (tp$17)
In a much more straightforward urban fantasy, Elliot James has created a world in which magic and magical beasts exist behind a powerful glamour called ‘Pax Arcana’. As long as magical creatures do not attempt to disrupt the glamour and seriously affect the human world, they are left alone. If they are not, then various centuries old agencies appear to set things to rights by any means necessary. In the West, that task is done by the Knights Templar. 
Sadly, the premise is the best part of the book. The protagonist, John Charming, was a former Templar trying to hide out in rural America who finds himself dragged into a vampire hunt by a beautiful girl and his own obligation. What follows is a largely predictable fairly standard fantasy adventure. This title is the first in a series ,  which was preceded by a number of much better regarded digital novellas, there is certainly room for improvement, and James will be given the opportunity to do so.

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