Tag Archives: romance

December 2010: Goran Vale…

gwen-interview

G’day, folks. Stu Magoo reporting for HPCI. It’s pelting down here. I just passed the Goran Vale is a Tidy Town sign. Rolling into the deserted little village now. There’s the Timber Town Motel on the left. Maybe I should check in, but hopefully I can find these characters and get the heck out of here before night.

There’s a parking spot just past the clock tower. Lots of spots in fact. This joint really is a graveyard. I saw someone standing in the doorway of the gift shop back there – probably the old woman Edna, or maybe it was Margaret. She looked nosey, or it could be I’m the first car to pass through town today.

Damn it’s pouring down. I have to make a run for it. Hope my recorder doesn’t get wet. If this comes out crackly you know what happened.

Aw heck. Aw heck… Whew! Made it. The Clock Tower Café. The joint’s empty of customers. This rather attractive middle aged woman would have to be Gwen.

Me: G’day, ma’am. You would be Gwen Harrington?

Gwen, eyebrow raised: Yes. Do you want to dry off?

She hands me the roll of paper towel she was using to wipe the counter.

Me: Ta. You look just like I imagined.

Gwen, eyebrow lifting again: Oh?

Me: From the book Beauty Skin Deep?. Or books actually. I see you get a brief scene or two in The Children’s Room and a short cameo in Ever Since April… I’m Stu Magoo by the way – reporting for HPCI.

Gwen: Oh, of course. Mr. Magoo…

She fixes her hair. Must be thinking the recorder I’m drying off has vision. Being from her future, anything’s possible, but no – no vision, sorry, Gwen. Although, I’m supposed to be interviewing the main characters from this story, but what the heck…

Me: So, Gwen, say hi to all of your readers. Everyone thinks you were one of the coolest characters.

I hold the recorder up.

Gwen speaks into it, blushing a big smile: Hi, readers!

Me: So, Gwen, twenty years as a psych nurse and four husbands – how has that been?

Gwen: All kinds of crazy – that’s how it’s been. And three husbands, not four, thank you very much. There won’t be a number four.

Me: Oh?

Gwen, scoffing: Pfft. Silly men. Who needs one fulltime? I get asked out often enough. Bert’s trying to work up to asking me to go on a cruise to Tahiti. He’s mentioned wanting to go a few times. I’m thinking about my wardrobe – what I’ll need to buy. I’ll need new evening wear.

Me: A cruise is a fine venue for popping a question.

Gwen: Nope. I’ve mentioned never getting married again more times than Bert’s mentioned the cruise.

Me: Hmm. I see. And what about your daughter – how is her marriage going?

Gwen: Kate and her dreamboat policeman are going wonderfully. Now there’s a marriage that will last. There’s a man who knows how to take care of his woman.

Me: Oh yeah?

Gwen, sighing: Oh yes – if only…

Me: If only you had found a man like that, eh?

Gwen, scoffing again: Pfft. Wasn’t to be, and I ain’t complaining. I live with a wonderful man these days. Not romantically, but I get spoiled rotten at home.

Me: Ah yes – Bobby Ray. And how is the big guy getting on after all that drama he went through in the book? Readers are always asking after him.

Gwen: Well, the readers might be happy to know that Bobby Ray now has a steady girlfriend. Veronica is a lovely lady – a few years older than him. She lost her husband in a traffic accident some years ago and was left with a vegetable farm to run. Bobby went to work for her when the Cosgroves retired and sold up last year. Technically, he’s her workman, but he often stays for dinner, and just this week he’s stayed the night twice.

Me: Some would say you were brave to take Bobby in all those years ago. You never doubted him – feared for your safety?

This question causes Gwen some pause. She stirs her tea. I sip the coffee she has placed on the counter in front of me.

Gwen: Yes, I had doubts in the beginning. Bobby had lost a chunk of memory and I never knew what he had been through – what he was capable of. And he was a big man. He was scrawny when he was admitted to the institution, but he got healthy and grew strong. I would be lying if I said I never feared him a little back then. But it was the unknown that was disquieting, not the man himself. The kindness in his heart was always obvious to us. He was like a big lovable puppy – one who had been mistreated.

Me: And you wouldn’t have known the extent of this mistreatment, or what it would have engendered in him?

Gwen: No. Except his doctor believed Kate and I were perfectly safe. And it very quickly became the case that he was not just a puppy – he was a guard dog. Our guard dog.

Me: He became your protector? This was the incident in 1998 when he put those men in hospital protecting Kate?

Gwen: Yes – that was one incident. There were others too. One other in particular when a man I was seeing raised his voice at me and ended up pinned to a wall by his throat. But we never told anyone about that.

Me: I see. And about Kate as a teen – she found out about her medical problem at what age?

Gwen: Fifteen. There were tests, but we knew right away that she would never bear children.

Me: And that changed her? It must have been difficult for a young woman to deal with – to accept.

More cause for pause. Gwen gives the counter a wipe, her jaw set, her eyes a little watery.

Me: Sorry. Forget that question, ma’am. I’m sure readers would have come to appreciate the portent of that from the story.

I click off my recorder and pocket it. My coffee is almost cold. I drink it and reach across the counter to place the empty mug with several others.

Me: So, Gwen, do you know where I might find either your daughter or her husband? Maybe I should check in for the night. Does Bernadette still run the motel?

Gwen: You should talk to Bernadette. She still has her motel. Don’t worry about these young pups. They’re all dreamy in love. You can’t get any sense out of them half the time. Bernadette though – now there’s a lady with a story.

Me: Yes, we know. Drug addict mother who died virtually in her arms when she was six years old. Father was a crazed murderer who she shot dead when she was eleven. Yeah, I guess I could speak with Bernadette while I’m here. Although she’s not scheduled until after the end of the series.

Gwen: Is that your old bomb Volkswagen across the road there? Is that what you get around in?

I join Gwen at the door. The rain is still pouring down outside.

Me: Yep, that’s my transportation, ma’am. It gets me where I need to go.

Gwen: Hmm. They say you can travel through time in it. I don’t believe that.

I shrug: What year is this? It’s on my trip computer but I can’t remember. Is it 2012?

Gwen: 2010. December.

Me: Oh. Well my next appointment is down south – a town called Everly Cove, and in the winter of 2005. It would hardly be possible to get around and interview all of you story book characters without the means to travel through time, don’t you think?

Gwen, shaking her head: So you’re saying you could take me back to 1970 and I’d be young again?

I chuckle: Um – no. It doesn’t work that way. First of all, you would still be the same age you are now. There’s no fountain of youth, I’m afraid. And second of all, no passengers allowed. Sorry.

Gwen: Hmph – figures. But you could go visit yourself?

Me: No, that would be too weird. Plus I’d get in trouble off my boss for wasting company time and resources.

I lift my kit bag and place it on top of my head: I think I’ll make a run for it. This rain isn’t going to let up…  Nice to meet you, Gwen. Thanks for the chat and coffee…

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Authentic historical settings…

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BOOK REVIEW: I made it as far as about the second page before I was cheering for Rosa. Or falling for her, to be more precise. But her vulnerability makes for difficult reading. It’s so hard to see how she will ever find happiness under the influence of her sister and the weight of societal tradition. I was really worried for her as I read. I wanted to be her hero and save her from the horrible choices she had. I was so into this story – completely captivated…. In a broader sense, I’d say this is an interesting study of how a calculated marital arrangement might take time to get going, but may well develop into something rich and powerful…. The resolution for sweet Rosa worked very well for me. This is a poignant little regency romance with plenty beneath the surface.

Preview In Want of a Wife on Amazon

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BOOK REVIEW: I like the villain…. No, I don’t mean I’m on his side or anything – just that I like the way this kind of character contributes to the angst of the period and makes for interesting reading. He makes it so difficult for the heroine and hero to get together – for romance to flourish (and I agree with other reviewers that this is a good romance). The villainous uncle is portrayed, I think, quite realistically. He has so much power and brings this to bear against what we are hoping for as we read, and just when it looks like he’s being defeated, he goes and does something to rip the heart out of our triumph. What he does is an excellent bet-you-weren’t-expecting-that moment, which sets off an exciting and wonderfully written journey and pursuit that we have to live through before we can have any kind of happily-ever-after…. Yes, this is a terrific love and adventure story. It’s heart wrenching, touching, enlightening and steamy. And it also has a classic Victorian era villain, whose portrayal is particularly powerful and interesting in my opinion.

Preview Devin’s Dilemma on Amazon

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BOOK REVIEW: The heroine is a handful. Way too intelligent and strong willed for the conventions of her time. The way she fights, deceives and manipulates to get what she wants out of life makes for a bit of a romp, but the fact that this tale is based on a true story is quite sobering. It’s also very romantic and interesting because of that. For word of this lady to be around 300 years later, she must have made quite an impression at the time… I felt well enough immersed in the early 18th century setting, with minimal detail allowing the plot to move along quickly, making for a fast and exciting read. There’s a cute supernatural twist that offers another dimension to the tale. This quite cleverly heightened the intensity of the climax and ending with a parallel timeline. It also brought our protagonists to the intersection of storytelling and true-to-life… Well done!

Preview The Berkshire Lady on Amazon

Going on about love after 5 minutes…

Beauty Skin Deep

Kate was pleased to be accompanied by others struggling to learn the steps. The lesson began with men lined up together and women lined up opposite. There was no touching. It was just a matter of following the steps to learn the pattern of movement. One two three, one two three. It was quite simple really, and Kate was soon walking through the eighteen step routine that zigzagged along the wall.

When it was time to take partners, that silly tingle in her belly returned. Her eye level was in line with that damned dimply chin, and Ben’s hand closed over hers as another big, warm paw pressed against her back. And she forgot the steps immediately.

“Are you ready?” he asked as the music started.

“Uh huh,” was all Kate could offer in reply, and the hand upon her back firmed, and she was drawn close to that powerful frame. She then completely surrendered as control of her body was taken from her. And she was rising and falling to the music and being swept along in a dizzy haze that took her breath away.

“Are you okay?” Ben asked softly. He seemed to be there in the cloud with her.

“Uh huh…” Kate uttered again.

“You’re doing very well.”

Kate wasn’t game to look at Ben’s face. She clung to one rippling shoulder and stared at the other one. The force of his body was against her hip, and his powerful thigh was driving between her legs and lifting her. The heat of his groin against her sex was something completely unexpected, and it was wonderful.

An hour passed in an instant, and Kate swayed against Ben’s chair while he changed his dance shoes for the boots he had worn earlier. His hand returned to her back as he guided her from the hall to his car. He opened the door for her, and she turned to him and placed her arms around his shoulders. He met her lips softly at first, but his passion was soon crushing her to his body, and she moaned into his mouth. He drew back and touched her cheek, caressing her face, and his hand moved to the back of her neck as he bent to her again.

Kate was on her toes, or perhaps her feet had left the ground. She wasn’t sure. The hand upon her back had slipped beneath her top, and she could feel its coarseness against her skin. The heat from his kiss was swirling in her head, and she clung to his hair as he mauled her neck. She was pinned against the car, his manhood rigid against her belly as he again lifted and kissed her open mouth.

“Is there a motel?” Kate asked, with her words ending as Ben’s lips again met hers, only that time he seemed a little restrained.

He smoothed hair from her face and delved into her eyes. He kissed her again, softly. “I’m a little out of practice.”

“Oh? I hadn’t noticed.” Kate held the man’s eyes. They wavered but quickly regained their intensity.

He kissed her again, deeply and with more tenderness and control that time. Kate responded, though she suddenly felt unsure, and her confusion was leading her beyond the heat of the moment. She wanted to know what he was thinking. He lifted and took to fiddling with her hair at her shoulder. He seemed to be struggling with something, and she waited.

After a long moment of silence, in which passion almost audibly faded, Ben looked up with a light, disarming smile. “I haven’t made love to a woman since Sylvia.”

Kate understood the significance of that statement immediately. She recoiled inwardly. “Love? Who said anything about making love, cowboy?”

His smile broadened with a hint of resignation. “Yeah, I know. Lame, huh?”

She had begun fiddling with the front of his shirt. The thought of the housewives of Goran Vale flashed to mind. “No, it’s actually quite sweet, but it’s not very realistic.”

He lifted her chin and smoothed hair from her face. He kissed her again, softly yet confidently. “Oh, it’s realistic. It’s just too soon for a word like that.”

He wasn’t reading her at all.

“We should go. It’s getting late, and I have jobs tomorrow before I leave.” Kate got in the car and closed the door. Ben stood for a moment then walked around and got in the other side. “Can we skip the restaurant and stop at that roadhouse again?” she asked.

He nodded and drove off. It was a good fifteen minutes before he spoke. “I’m sorry, Kate. I didn’t mean to spook you.”

“Well, you did spook me, cowboy—going on about love after five minutes.”

Ben smiled. “I know. I can usually go a good ten minutes before bringing that up too. It’s a form of premature ejaculation.”

Kate laughed. “Speaking of—that! You know what we could have been doing right now if you weren’t such a sap, don’t you?”

“I know. Damn it. I think there’s a motel just up ahead, though.”

“Nope. Too late. Moment’s passed, and all I want is a steak sandwich now……”

Read all about Ben and Kate: Kindle Countdown 99c sale this week.

 

Meanwhile, in another corner of the universe…

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BOOK REVIEW: This sci-fi setting is like real. It’s actually quite brilliantly understated. When imagining the universe being depicted here, it’s as if there’s nothing to prove – as if it’s just a matter of fact that this place exists and we all know it. This is a powerful human drama and romance set elsewhere, not on Earth…. The depth in the story itself is also impressive. We can easily imagine the prequel, which would be potentially even more intense and dramatic. I quite enjoyed joining in at the tail end of a story, with lives already blown apart, and seeing everything come together…. An intelligent and nicely constructed read.

Available on Amazon

Ben scores his first date with Kate…

Beauty Skin Deep

Ben finished his beer and strolled back out onto the street. He thought for a moment about his washing but decided to walk down and pay Bobby a visit after all. He wouldn’t try to press for information about the missing girl. He would just call in to see how the home gym was going, and it occurred to him he might be fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with the lovely Kate again.

He could see Bobby was still in the garage as he approached the house. There was a silver Range Rover with the number plate ‘RISSMAN’, in addition to the car he had seen the day before. The front door was open, and he heard Kate squeal and laugh. There was a man’s voice too. Ben knocked and stepped back.

Kate approached the door giggling and looking back over her shoulder. She turned, and Ben greeted her with a smile.

“Afternoon, ma’am.”

“Oh… Officer?”

“Ben… Ben will be fine, ma’am. I was out and about and thought I’d call by and say hello to Bobby. Am I intruding?”

“No… God, no! Um… Ben this is, um, a friend of mine, Paul… Paul, Ben’s the local cop.”

A tall, weak-chinned man had appeared behind Kate. His hands were upon her shoulders. Ben nodded.

“May I go around the side? I can see Bobby’s there in the garage.”

Kate squirmed from between her friend and the screen door. She opened it and shuffled Paul back a bit. “Can you check on dinner for me, please? I’ll just be a few minutes.”

“What do I do?” Paul asked.

“Oh, it doesn’t matter. Just… I’ll be there in a minute.” Kate slipped through the door and closed it. She was blushing and avoiding Ben’s eyes.

“Is everything okay? I really didn’t mean to intrude.”

“No, it doesn’t matter. He’s just… I don’t know… It’s fine. And I wanted to ask you a favour.”

Kate had stepped close. Her blush had faded, and her warm, brown eyes were enticing.

Ben wondered in that instant if any man had ever denied her anything.

“I was wondering if I could help with your investigation.”

“Help in what way?” Ben sat back on the porch rail. It gave him a little more room to breathe.

She smiled coyly and shrugged. “I don’t know. In any way I can. I might be able to check the newspapers from when the girl went missing. I saw there’s a library near your house. Maybe they have something there. Or you could let me see the police report.”

Ben met her smile and wondered how she knew where his house was. “Ma’am—”

“Kate! Not ma’am… Kate. You were saying?”

“Kate, I really don’t have the authority to invite civilians into the station to look into missing persons.”

“So, take that one little file home and invite me to dinner. I’ll sneak a look while you’re busy cooking.”

“I can’t cook.”

“Frozen pizza?”

Ben hadn’t stopped smiling. “You’re pushy!”

“Tomorrow night?”

“What about?” Ben motioned to the door.

“He’s nothing. He’s just my boss. I’m sending him home after dinner.”

“Okay. Around six, and it’ll be fresh pizza, not frozen. And white wine?”

Kate stepped to the door and smiled back over her shoulder. “Or beer.”

She stayed at the door while Ben walked back to the front gate. “What about Bobby?” she called after him.

“Next time… I got what I wanted,” he called back.

“Me too!”

………………….

Read all about Ben and Kate: Kindle Countdown 99c sale this week.

Sale price only available to US & UK customers.

I was shocked by how far this went…

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BOOK REVIEW: This is an intense, shadowy thriller, paced for a quick read. There’s plenty of angst in the awkward, fledgling, arranged romance between our main characters before the real challenge even begins…. The 1980s setting is authentic and well suited to stories about this kind of crime – it’s kind of what makes it so shadowy. It works well. The descent into the murky depths of perversion as the thriller aspect of the story builds is another highlight. The climax is grim and hard-hitting. The romance finds a way…. This stands alone as a terrific read, but there’s definite potential for a follow-up and study of some of the secondary characters.

Available on Amazon

Zane Grey wrote great romance!

memoir

As a typical bloke, I love rugby league. For those unfamiliar with the game, it’s one of the football codes played by men running and tackling each other – trying to get a ball across a line. It’s huge here in Australia, and the showcase event is called State of Origin. This is a 3 game series played once a year, quite strangely on Wednesday nights.

So it’s a Wednesday morning in 1993 and I’m a single/divorced bloke looking forward to the end of the work day so I can grab a few beers and kick back at home watching game one of State of Origin. All good, right? Then the office cleaning lady comes up to me with this curious look, eyeballs me, nodding to herself… “You know, Guy, you should try this dance group I know of. It’s on tonight. Why don’t you go along?”

And I’m like… “Dancing? Are you serious? Tonight!” …or words to that effect.

“Yes. Ballroom dancing. You might like it.”

Well, this elderly cleaning lady is wise. She’s also a wonderful caring type who knows me well. And her ridiculous suggestion is a seed that sprouts during the day and has me questioning the merits of sitting at home alone watching men thump each other on TV versus dancing with a woman. In real life. Like – in my arms, where no woman has been in a couple of years…

read on

April 1985

9c

They called them the soccer field bones:

Her head bumped across the corrugations in the floor of the late sixties Valliant station wagon. The corrugations were two inches apart, with the aperture about a quarter of an inch deep. It was enough to make her head bounce over each ridge as she was being pulled from the open tail-gate of the rusty old vehicle, her body still warm from life and, as yet, soft and pliable.

Her long brown hair left streaks of blood on the cold metal surface. Her head clunked over the hinged gap where the tail-gate joined the corrugated floor. It slid more quickly as her body slumped, and her head then landed in the mud with a wet thud.

She was dragged along steadily. She was fairly light—a slight girl. She was only twenty-three, and would always be.

Her white uniform was stained with brown grime from a grubby kitchen floor and watered down blood. She had been left outside in the rain for a while before being dragged up into the back of the Valliant wagon. It was still raining, lightly yet steadily, the drops washing her young white skin. The skirt of her uniform was bunched up her back and above her waist, exposing her thighs and hips. Her underpants were around her waist with the crotch slashed. Two buttons from the front of her uniform were still lying in the grime on that kitchen floor. Her bra was cut in the middle in front. Her uniform covered her right breast, the light, steady rain washing saliva from her left.

Her hair slithered through the mud as she was dragged along by her bare ankles: Her shoes and stockings were back on that grubby kitchen floor, one shoe resting on its side against the stove, the other right-side-up in the doorway to the lounge. Her stockings were on a round cane mat in front of the sink, but one leg was protruding onto the polished wooden floor surface and was, right then, soaking up a trickle from a pool of her blood.

She was dragged through leaves and twigs, and her body slumped into a hole in the ground. The hole was about three feet in depth, the bottom a few inches deep with rain water. She was on her right side with her left leg crossed forward and her left arm slung back. A leather boot pressed against her hip, rolling her onto her back. Her head remained to the right with her mouth and eyes open. Raindrops went into her mouth, and they splashed off her glazed eyeballs. A shovel full of mud, gritty with tiny pebbles, landed on her belly—on her white uniform. The next shovel full of mud and twigs and leaves landed on her upper chest and neck.

Her torso was covered first, then her mouth and eyes. Her long brown hair was still strewn above her head as it was slopped with mud. Her left leg was still bent up slightly as her thighs were buried. Her right arm was wedged beneath her body. Her left arm was above her head, and her left hand was the last part of her young body to be covered, the leather boot pressing down, forcing it into the mud less than two feet from the ground surface.

Over the next half hour the hole was steadily filled, then patted down and covered with wet leaves, an arrangement of eight small rocks and a dead tree branch. The leather boots then trudged off through the mud toward the Valliant wagon. Then the engine roared and the rusty old vehicle rolled away into the night.

It was well into the night, close to dawn of the 17th of April 1985. The air was cool, yet the rain clouds had kept the temperature mild for a southern autumn. As the sun lightened the clouds, the rain eased and left a mist hanging in the air above the grave site. The ground was soaked, and with the clouds dissipating that afternoon a short burst of sunlight made the air steamy.

The day was short, though, and it rained again that night, but on into the winter months the soggy earth covering the young woman’s body gradually compacted and leached of water. The dead tree branch remained in place, although it was essentially out of place. There were no trees nearby, and it had been dragged there purposefully.

There were shrubs and vines. There was a thicket of prickles that kept children well away as they walked from the back of the school, across the creek to the local swimming pool. The dead branch was from a gum tree a hundred yards distant. It took several years to lose its leaves and for those leaves to blow away or disintegrate into the mat of undergrowth that had covered the grave.

In September 1990 an eleven year old boy picked up the stick that was the remains of the gum tree branch and took it with him. He snapped twigs off it to fashion a spear and chased after his little sister, trying to poke her with it before tossing it at a magpie that swooped from the tree line along the creek. In July of 1992 a man stood by the gravesite and urinated into the thicket of prickles. He then walked off, kicking one of the small stones and treading on the ground directly above the pelvis of the young woman buried there. Her flesh had blended into the earth by then, and the fabric of her uniform was rotten and brittle. It had all but dissolved. Her hair was fossilised into the leached clay. Her bones were intact. The remaining three plastic buttons from her uniform were inside her abdominal cavity where the clay had caved in. There was a gold friendship ring on the bone of her right ring finger.

In April 1994, the thicket and the remaining seven small rocks were swept away by the blade of a bulldozer, clearing the area for the development of a sporting field. The following summer the ground was cultivated and fertilized, a healthy coverage of grass nurtured along. It was a local council project that struggled for funding, though, and another two years passed before a three foot high mesh fence was erected about ten yards away from the gravesite. Beyond the fence was a soccer field with children training weekday afternoons and games on weekends.

The gravesite was close to the corner of the field, away from the seating area. A tin amenities building had been constructed where the thicket used to be, which protected the ground above the young woman’s remains to some extent. Occasionally someone would walk around behind the building but not often. In the summer of 2004 a new brick amenities building was constructed, though. It was to upgrade and replace the tin structure, and a machine was brought in one Monday morning to dig a trench to run a water line to the new building.

The water line was to run directly through the grave site. The PVC pipe was to be buried at a depth of two feet. The small machine roared into place. The trenching blade sunk into the earth, digging its way down to the required depth. The young operator flicked his smoke away and guided the machine forward. He dug from the wall of the old amenities building straight toward the corner of the new one. The blade of the machine churned the damp clay, spewing it aside as it crawled directly through the length of the gravesite. It missed bone completely. It unearthed it, though. It exposed a part of Grace McKenna’s skull, her ribs and pelvis, and her right leg……

From the Mystery loves Romance novel Ever Since April

Cool Sci-Fi selection

BM

 

BOOK REVIEW: I like the Braxians. From the opening scenes of this story it’s easy to imagine them. An alien race enslaved by humans. It’s easy to get on board with their plight and cheer for them. The conflict here is the kind that immediately pulls you into the fictional universe depicted. What transpires from there is a pretty good thriller and an excellent romance. We are given plenty to satisfy the appetite in this fast paced, action packed episode, and where we end up feels like it’s just the beginning. Classic sci-fi romance with a good serve of intrigue.

 

RL

 

BOOK REVIEW: Assuming we don’t wipe ourselves out one way or another, what will the world be in 600 years? What will be our social structure? In what way will technology have advanced? Rune Logic is not far-fetched. The subtle descriptions and clever dialogue have us spending time in a world that is very believable. There is a range of well developed, highly identifiable characters around us. We are led on an adventure where pure logic clashes with emotion on a personal level as well as on a scale where millions of non-conforming citizens may need to be subtly done away with. This is a good read.

 

HITS

 

BOOK REVIEW: Meanwhile, in another corner of the universe… This sci-fi setting is like real. It’s actually quite brilliantly understated. When imagining the universe being depicted here, it’s as if there’s nothing to prove – as if it’s just a matter of fact that this place exists and we all know it. This is a powerful human drama and romance set elsewhere, not on Earth…. The depth in the story itself is also impressive. We can easily imagine the prequel, which would be potentially even more intense and dramatic. I quite enjoyed joining in at the tail end of a story, with lives already blown apart, and seeing everything come together…. An intelligent and nicely constructed read.