Review of "Hunting the Corrigan's Blood"

By Stephen B. Bagley

Hunting the Corrigan's Blood by Holly Lisle starts with Cadence, the heroine, waking up in a locker with dead woman. Things go down for her from there. Cadence and her partner Badger recover lost or stolen items for their owners after the authorities have given up, and they've been given the task of recovering the Corrigan's Blood, a star ship with extraordinary properties. Unfortunately, the ship is at the center of several dangerous conspiracies, and Cadence finds herself running from planet to planet in a desperate attempt to survive.

The plot twists and turns, and just when the course of the book seems clear, Holly Lisle throws in a huge surprise. I'm not often surprised by an author, but this one raised my eyebrows. Naturally, it's not a pleasant surprise for Cadence; in fact, her job has revealed a terrible danger for the entire galaxy.

Cadence is an appealing character. She's hard-nosed, holds definite opinions about life, makes mistakes, has a true sense of justice, knows the meaning of regret and love, and has enough heart to temper all her actions with mercy. Above all, she's not a superwoman; she's so human that it hurts to read about her losses.

Don't think, however, this is a romp through space. I don't know if there is a category for "dark science fiction" like there is for dark fantasy, but this book definitely would belong in DSF. Cadence confronts  terrible things. How she deals with what she finds makes for an intriguing and fast-paced read. I was sorry when the book ended.

Createspace, 2013

Review of "Gone Girl"

By Martha Rhynes

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is listed in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times as a best seller. This mystery/romance is the story of a dysfunctional marriage, told in alternating chapters, from the first person point of view of Nick Dunne, the husband, and Amy Elliot Dunne, his wife. Nick's narrative moves the plot forward, except for a few flashbacks, but most of Amy's story unfolds in a diary. A perceptive reader will soon discover that both protagonists are unreliable narrators.

Their romance begins in New York City, where they meet and fall in love. During an economic recession, they lose their jobs as journalists and move to the husband's boyhood home in Missouri. Nick becomes an instructor at the local college, and Amy becomes a frustrated, stay-at-home wife. The mystery begins when Amy disappears. Evidence indicates she has been murdered.

Flynn's characterization of protagonists and secondary characters complicates the mystery and adds to suspense. Evidently, to please modern readers, Flynn has included many salacious details, and her overuse of the word f--- will no doubt distract some readers. The denouement of Flynn's dystopian romance is dissolute and depressing.

New York; Crown, 2012

A Reading from "Creations 2012"

Gail Wood reads her poem "At Eighty" from the anthology Creations 2012 by Ada Writers.

A Reading from "Creations 2012"

Stephen B. Bagley reads his poem "Passion" from the anthology Creations 2012 by Ada Writers.

A Reading from "Creations 2012"

Rick Litchfield reads his poem "The Valentine" from the anthology Creations 2012 by Ada Writers.

A Reading from "Creations 2012"

Martha Rhynes reads her memoir "Holding My Mouth Right" from Creations 2012 by Ada Writers.