The Surgeon is the name given to a bizarre serial killer who preys on young women and attacks them in their sleep. Unfortunately for his victims, their journey towards death is not a pleasant one and his “surgery” is done without comfort in mind.
“I would like to be there when the police arrive, but I am not stupid. I know they will study every car that creeps by, every face that stares from the gathering of spectators on the street. They know my urge to return is strong. Even now, as I sit in Starbucks, watching the day brighten outside the window, I feel that room calling me back. But I am like Ulysses, safely lashed to my ship’s mast, yearning for the sirens’ song. I will not dash myself against the rocks. I will not make that mistake.”
“He knew only what he’d heard on the news along with everyone else. But it was straightforward according to the commentary. The shotgun had belonged to Luke. It was the same one later found clamped into what had been left of his mouth.”
Set in unhospitable Australia, Aaron Falk returns home to attend the funeral of his best friend. It seems that his friend killed his wife and young son then turned his shotgun on himself. Falk’s return brings back reminders of a dark past and a young female friend who was found dead many years ago. The small community hasn’t forgotten or forgiven.
Many many years ago I read quite a lot of fantasy science fiction; many of them by Terry Brooks. In The Black Elfstone we meet a “defrocked” druid, a form high druid who has been banished by the druid that replaced him. When a young girl with obvious powers seeks him out he take her on as his student. While they have different goals, they work together in her training and he learns much from her. They are pulled in many directions as someone has hire assassins to kill the druid, a strange and unbeatable army is crossing the land, and the young students brother has strong and unmanageable powers that is wreaking havoc.
“Lost in thought, Ethan said, “I just can’t believe it. What are the odds our son finds a man barely alive that happens to be the best friend I ever had that has been missing for eighteen years?” “I’d say about the same as you deciding to start preaching a couple of years ago,” Sarah said.”
The Last Stand is the first in the series from author Duane Boehm. In this novel, a long, lost friend is found nearly dead and struggles with his feelings about being “home” and his desire to run away from darkness that he refuses to unveil. He becomes attached to his best friend’s son and wife. His vagabond side wins, but he is drawn back to help save someone that he loves.
The Lost Man by Jane Harper takes us to the brutal world of rural Australia. The land is unforgiving. The rural community is stunned when one of their own is found far away from his car and safety. How could this happen to someone who was raised in this world? The investigation into his death looks like foul play. His death opens many old wounds as the family and community grieve.
“Enter this book. It comes with a warning: the following pages contain some extremely troubling material. The violence the world witnessed in 1945 is unprecedented in history and will be chronicled on the following pages in detail. What Martin Dugard and I are about to tell you is true and stark. The way the United States defeated the Japanese empire is vital to understand because the issues of that war are still being processed throughout the world today.”
“In this the third year since the Day, an economic trading system was again back in place, and it did include white lightning brewed in remote mountain valleys, but now included much else as well. Those with foresight to stockpile some precious metals found they indeed had real worth again; in fact, by the standards of this terrible new world, they could be counted as wealthy, the silver and gold not just something to be locked away in a safe for “just in case”—“just in case” had indeed arrived at last.”
“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world. Her grandmother’s words played in Scarlett’s head as she looked at the slips of paper in her hands. The Caraval stories she adored as a young girl never felt more real than they did in that moment. Scarlett always saw flashes of color attached to her strongest emotions, and for an instant goldenrod desire lit up inside her. Briefly, Scarlett let herself imagine what it would be like to go to Legend’s private isle, to play the game and win the wish. Freedom. Choices. Wonder. Magic. A beautiful, ridiculous fantasy.”
I’d already read the second book in the Jessica Blackwood series by Andrew Mayne, but I like his novel so much I did the unthinkable…a read the first in the series after having read the second. I don’t usually do that. I am just loving Mr. Mayne’s work.
“He tried to teach me how to see too. Sometimes I think he taught me too well. But it was this skill that made me think I had a chance as a cop. I couldn’t go around making tigers appear to stop bank robbers. But seeing what was in front of me, drawing conclusions that others were oblivious to, that was a useful skill.”