M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Ka Pow! Time to Get Some Thrilling Comic Book Action

    Picked up William C. Dietz's Redzone: The Mutant Files off the to-read pile and rocketed off to the days of yester-year when my reading was confined to comic books -- because my teachers had convinced me I couldn't read.  Don't know why the book was there. It's not the kind of book I usually read. But, if you want a thriller filled with action, the book won't disappoint.

   Redzone isn't just another dystopian novel, set after a bioterrorist killed off most of humanity and turned a sizable portion of the survivors into despised mutants. Political boundaries have realigned with Pacifica, along the west coast of the US, for normal people. Nevada-Utah-Arizona has become a land controlled by mutants. Casandra Lee, a detective with the Los Angeles police, travels into the redzone where mutants are in control to seek her missing mother. That the story does this in the middle of a serial murder investigation feels weird, but Lee lands in an assassins sights, which ups the action. Thrills are the goal here, not logic, I guess.

   Casandra Lee isn't the usual dysfunctional detective with a drinking problem. She tends to kill suspects at a faster rate than normal, but then, she is attacked more often than most cops. Lee's the target of two would-be assassins, the group of mutants, who follow her back to LA from Nevada, and the Bonebreaker, the serial cop killer the department had mobilized to capture. Yeah, for the record, Lee will be is next victim, but that villain doesn't seem to be in any hurry.

   Character development isn't the strongest point in action thrillers. Yet most of Dieitz's characters come across as people rather than space-fillers. Lee is a sassy, kick-ass, intelligent protagonist with a temper that gets her into trouble as often as not. Sounds like a cliche, but I didn't think so while I was reading. The support characters were believable, too, if standard, including a love interest.

   The medical basis of the plague that created the mutants bothered me a bit. Didn't feel like Dietz incorporated medical knowledge about airborne diseases in his characters' interactions with the wider, might-be-carrying public. Hints were made, but nothing was consistent...or meaningful. Since his world resulted from a virulent contagion that changed genetic material, I felt in need of a bit more explanation. But since I didn't really think about it until after I completed the book, no points off. 

  The book met my "one more chapter" test so I'll recommend it even though the plot line is a little fractured. Dietz creates a believable dystopian world as well as an investigative cop procedural, at least for someone relatively unknowledgeable about police procedures -- like me.

Read excerpt and more reviews at Amazon and B&N Nook.

Interesting Links

   Found this article at the Savvy Book Writers blog -- Nothing New in e-Book Price Wars -- very interesting. You might want to take a look at it, reader or writer.

   Accepting the dangerous reputation of the Fair Folk from folklore, I have never been a particular fan of Tinker Bell. Imagine my delight when I found Sylvia Spruck Wrigley's blog on Five Reasons Not To Piss Off the Fair Folk. By the end of the blog, I was thinking what a wonderfully funny novel this premise would make. -- No. I won't be writing it. Not only do I have too much in my files already, but I don't write funny.

My Writing Rut

   The first demon attack in On the Run is finished and ready for revision...sometime, when I get an
ending onto the book. But the "Nate" chapters that started my novella back last spring are ready to be worked on. Have about 7,000 words and a couple empty chapters.

Am wondering why this would ever be a novella.

   Spent a lot of time this week organizing my writing files for On the Run and pulled out a page full of suggestions for my transition chapter for when Pillar is kicked out of the Academy. Yeah, she's going to be on the roam again, but gotta make it different this time around. Grylerrque is still waiting in the wings too.

   Now, I need to clean up debris ... or should I say, I'm placing ideas from the pile of sticky notes around my computer in the appropriate chapters. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll start the transition chapter to the next and last part of the book.

   Then, I need to pay some attention to my website again. Which means I have to get on the phone with Go Daddy. Ugh.

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