Allegra

“I want you to do some magic to make it tame, but what’s the use of petting a tiger?”

Ballistic Kiss, p. 127

Hello, My Ride

Behind the dumpster is something wrapped in a dirty tarp, with stones holding the edges down. I kick the stones away on one side and toss back the tarp. And get my first look at the Hellion Hog in — how long? Well over a year.

Ballistic Kiss, p. 28

The Hellion Hog doesn’t have a key because no one can ride it but me. I get a grip on the handlebars and kick the bike to life.

— p. 29

BALLISTIC KISS (Sandman Slim # 11)

Stayed up late to finish reading All the Devils are Here. Though the denouement was a little drawn out, it ended satisfyingly, with the entire family (including Jean-Guy Beauvoir, who self wouldn’t mind reading a stand-alone series about) back in Three Pines.

Next: Ballistic Kiss, by Richard Kadrey

I reassemble the Colt, load in a couple of slugs, and open the kitchen window. Put both shots dead center into a dusty pine tree on the hillside below. The jump of the pistol in my hand and the smell of the shots instantly brighten my mood.

The phone vibrates. Someone texted me. I ignore it. Pour more coffee.

Ballistic Kiss, p. 6

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Ice Walker!

The beginning of Ice Walker: A Polar Bear’s Journey Through the Fragile Arctic is so captivating, just as The Butterfly Effect‘s opening chapters were. Hope author James Raffan is able to keep the focus on polar bears, not drift into a depiction of human activity — all self wants is nature, all the time.

What she loved so much about Eddie’s Boy, which she blazed through a few days ago, was how relentless it was. The book was about a hitman, and he stayed hitman to the very end, no apologies. She appreciates Thomas Perry’s singular focus. You would think a reader would find all the killing pretty rote by the end — but no, it stayed fresh. Again, kudos to Thomas Perry.

Chapter One of Ice Walkers (“Circling”) is gripping:

  • She stops and sniffs the frigid air, with almost no vapor trail from her mouth or nose. In a frozen world where liquid freshwater for drinking is absent, she draws on metabolic water created by the burning of seal fat, her main food source. The outside air is desert dry, but the air in her lungs is humid. Somehow she is able to conserve moisture and stay sufficiently hydrated, even when running or exerting herself physically in the hunt, when a human would soon die from winter dehydration. Every one of these adaptations is a marvel that has taken untold generations to evolve. These are not physiological changes that can respond to seasonal or even annual environmental shifts.

Over-the-Top

Since Eddie’s Boy began (actually, also in the two days since she started reading), so many things have happened to the hero/hitman. After he was targeted in York (York! City of cathedrals!), Michael Schaeffer (yes, MC does have a name) headed to Manchester Airport (which was smart, because Gatwick and Heathrow have security cams all over the place) and flew to SYDNEY.

SYDNEY, as in Sydney, Australia.

Before you can say two sneezes, he’s attacked twice, the first time on the airport express to downtown Sydney (Scary/good scene! It goes down in exactly 13 minutes).

So, having determined that Sydney was a VERY BAD IDEA (LOL), he takes another flight, this time to the U.S.

It’s a good thing this was written before pandemic, or Michael would have no recourse except — maybe an island in the middle of the Pacific?

Wait, why didn’t he go to an island in the middle of the Pacific? Surely, it would be hard for hitmen to escape detection there — fewer people, etc etc

As a matter of fact, self has already written this story: in her story, the island isn’t deserted because it’s an island in the Philippines, which is over-populated. Her story’s called “Sand,” and it’s coming out later this year in Pembroke Magazine.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

pp. 53 – 58, EDDIE’S BOY

It takes only five pages for Thomas Perry to describe what goes down on an airport express train to downtown Sydney.

From the top of p. 53 to the bottom of p. 58: non-stop action and HELL YEAH!

High Body Count: Eddie’s Boy, p. 29

Self loves this book! From the opening scene — the hero’s having a meltdown in a Bentley because he had to kill, it enraged him, can’t people just behave so he doesn’t have to kill them? — she’s been having a fine time!

There are four corpses (already) in that Bentley, and that’s just in the first paragraph!

Plus self loved learning about the excellence of the double-barreled Purdey & Sons rifle (100,000 GBP each, thank you very much!)

Anyhoo, the first four would-be assassins attempted a break-in at the hero’s re-modeled 1650s Yorkshire mansion (technically, the property of his wife, she’s a member of the English nobility). Our hero drives the Bentley to the Manchester airport, where he leaves it (and the four bodies) in the parking lot and waits for a shuttle to the terminal. Unfortunately, a new set of goons try to kill him before he can get on the shuttle. Since it is only p. 29, we can assume the hero survives, which means these assassins must be off-ed, as well.

A few pages later, our hero faces an existential crisis: how can he get rid of the blood spatter on his clothes before entering the plane (to Sydney)?

Digressing a bit: Self has a book to pick up from the library this afternoon. Then, FaceTime with Dearest Mum in Manila. Tomorrow morning, bright and early (4 p.m. London time), she’s registered for a talk by the woman who writes obituaries for The Economist (such elegant examples of the form, she’s even taught them in creative nonfiction classes). There’s another zoom event tomorrow afternoon, fortunately it’s Central time, not such a big time difference as Manila or London: poets Denise Duhamel and Nin Andrews, hosted by Rain Taxi, and free!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: The Restless Moon, p. 272

SPOILER ALERT!

  • Sometimes I hate my brain, because I stood there, looking at a man I had known for years, and wondered if he’d poisoned himself to throw us off the scent.

Also: Lady Astronaut presses intercom button while standing in puddle of water.

OOOPSSSSS!!!!!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Second Tuesday of 2021: The Relentless Moon

Switched off the news. Self has had enough of the crazy for one day: Idiots in airports ganging up on a Democrat, crazy woman shrieking at Chuck Schumer and interrupting his speech just as he was about to get to the good parts (“My first amendment rights!” Listen, Lady, if all you’re going to do is scream xx@@## at the top of your voice, it’s self’s first amendment rights you are violating!), and the most delightful moment of her week: POTUS looking fresh as a daisy, saying Nah Nah Nah to a reporter who asks him about his second impeachment.

Anyhoo, back to The Relentless Moon, which is exciting as all get-out. An intrepid band of astronauts and Moon colonists have had to make a crash-landing, and one of the lady astronauts, whose husband is a pilot, has to watch as the colonists are helped off the ship to the surface of the moon (a drop equal to the height of a five-story building, but it’s in 1/6 gravity), and her husband takes over the controls (The main pilot broke her arm in the crash landing) to make sure he keeps the ship upright so everyone is safe. After, he —

Half of the ship is in 173-degree Celsius heat, the other is in deep shadow and cold. They all stand and watch as —

“White plumes kicked out.” The pilot on the ship fired its thrusters, “sharp, quick bursts fired in sequence.”

Just read the book. Holy cow. Self is dead.

Four Movies

Since the downtown Century 20 re-opened, self has seen four movies. The largest audience — 10 people — was for The New Mutants. The smallest — two people — for Yellow Rose. Here are the four, ranked:

  • Tenet
  • The New Mutants
  • Yellow Rose
  • Infidel

It is a real, real pleasure to see movies on a wide-screen. Self will keep going, as long as the Century 20 is open.

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