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KRL is a California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal.
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Friday, August 18, 2017

“Moonbreaker" Secret Histories series by Simon R. Green

by Terrance McArthur

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Simon R. Green is the paranormal/urban fantasy equivalent of Stephen King: a writing machine with more than 40 novels under his belt, including five different series groups (Nightside, Deathstalker, Hawk & Fisher, Ghost Finders, and Secret Histories). In the latest and 11th Secret Histories book, “Moonbreaker,” Eddie Drood is dying. He was poisoned. There is no antidote. He was poisoned by Edmund Drood (also known as the assassin Dr. DOA), his counterpart from another Earth. Eddie’s goal: kill Edmund before he dies.

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Eddie (also known as Shaman Bond—the book titles are all variations on Ian Fleming’s James Bond titles) is a super-secret agent armed with magical and alien gear, and allied with Molly, the Wild Witch, who was once his enemy. Together, they chase after Edmund, from other Earths to Drood Hall (home of the secret-agent family that is behind everything from saving the world to controlling it), from Scotland to Siberia to the moon. They deal with armies of secret agents, preserved relatives, aliens, half-demons and half-angels, a cryptic oracle, the last of the very-secret agents, a formerly-beheaded dragon, the legacies of Merlin, the razor of Jack the Ripper, shelves full of flesh-eating books, an imprisoned god who was once a human Drood, a museum of things that shouldn’t be kept, creatures from many worlds, and Edmund, and Edmund, and Edmund always seeming to be two steps ahead.

Image source: Ace

Green is a builder of plot puzzles, a twister of the traditional, and a master of snark. Eddie always has something clever to say, Molly always wants to make mayhem, the Drood Sarjent at Arms wants to shoot something/someone/anyone, and the Drood Matriarch wants things orderly. As for Edmund, he wants to wipe out the Drood family on every Earth, and he has already started in other Drood Halls. The race to capture Edmund before the poison kills Eddie raises the tension as the stakes rise to world-ending levels.

Simon R. Green is a devilishly clever writer. Eddie Drood is a character of amazing resources. Moonbreaker is a world-class fantasy thriller with science-fiction comedy as a background.

To enter to win a copy of Moonbreaker, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “moonbreaker,” or comment on this article. US residents only. A winner will be chosen August 26, 2017. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian with the Fresno County Public Library, and a published short story author.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

"Spider-Man Homecoming" Movie Review

by Doward Wilson

Tom Holland first portrayed the newest incarnation of Peter Parker/Spiderman in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. As Spider-Man: Homecoming opens we see Michael Keaton portraying Adrian Toomes and his salvage company starting the cleanup of New York following the Avengers’ battle with the alien Chitauri and Loki. After buying trucks and hiring crews, Adrian's salvage contract is voided by the Department of Damage Control, a partnership between Tony Stark and the government. The only way Adrian Toomes can survive is by keeping the alien technology he has already salvaged and making advanced weapons to sell on the street.

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Eight years later, after working with the Avengers, fifteen-year-old Peter is sent home along with his new Spidy Suit. Mr. Stark/Ironman has told him that he isn't ready to be a full time Avenger and to work on his skills by fighting local crime in his neighborhood. While fighting criminals robbing an ATM, Peter discovers that they are using advanced alien weapons. Returning home, he is unaware that his best friend Ned is in his room and his secret identity is exposed.

After Toomes/Vulture accidentally kills his henchman Shocker, Ned and Peter find a weapon that has been left behind, and they remove its power source to study it further. In the meantime, Peter is going thru all the normal things that any fifteen-year-old goes thru. Staying out of trouble in high school, while trying to get the attention of a special girl.

Image source: Marvel

Pursuing Vulture to Washington, D.C, Peter is forced to rescue Ned and their classmates from the top of the Washington Monument when the alien power source turns out to be a bomb. Returning to New York, Peter learns that Vulture is planning a big sale on the Staten Island Ferry. When things go sideways, Ironman has to intervene to help Spidy save the ferry. He then lectures Peter on being too hasty and takes away the new Spidy suit. Returning to his school life, Peter asks the special girl to the Homecoming Dance and gets a huge surprise when he picks her up.

Despite having his life threatened and the lives of those he loves, Peter knows he has to do what is right. Donning his old homemade Spidy Suit, Peter goes after Vulture.

I felt like this was absolutely the best Spiderman film in the series. No time is wasted on an origin story. We immediately get right into the story line and action. Tom Holland gives a flawless performance as both a fifteen-year-old teenage boy and Spiderman with all his superpowers. Michael Keaton's Vulture shows us both the business owner trying to salvage his business and what a father will do to keep his family in comfort. This Spiderman version is much more light hearted with a lot of comedy scenes that will make you laugh, while the action scenes are flawlessly done. This is a film that everyone from young children to older adults will enjoy and want to see more of.

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Doward Wilson is a retired and avid cozy, paranormal, and adventure reader who can’t say no to most books. He recently moved from Independence, Missouri to Gladbrook, Iowa. Located in Central Iowa, Gladbrook (population 900+) is small town, rural farming at its best.