Reposting Just ‘Cuz: Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth by John Moe

I’ve been poking away at a couple of posts about new books for a few days, and am just not getting far enough to post with them, and it’s time for me to fire up the CPAP, so we’re doing some more reruns this week with a couple of posts from 5 years ago this week. I’d actually forgotten about this one, and am now annoyed with myself.

Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth: And Other Pop Culture CorrespondencesDear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth: And Other Pop Culture Correspondences

by John Moe

ebook, 288 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Three Rivers Press
Read: August 14, 2014

This is an incredibly amusing collection of pop culture-based humor pieces — I’m tempted to call them columns, but that’s not exactly it.

So these are correspondence (in various forms) associated with gems from Pop Culture — the titular notes from Darth Vader to his son; the entire list of Jay Z’s 99 problems (4. Don’t really enjoy rap music; 55. Shamrock Shake only available once a year.; 84. Worry someone will discover that I’m secretly a member of Bon Iver.); internal e-mails when E.T.’s shipmates discover he was left behind; and so on. I cracked up a lot. I made my wife read bits and pieces, but I resisted reading portions/the entire book aloud. Some of the pieces I wanted to read aloud included: The editorial notes on Guns ‘n Roses “Sweet Child of Mine” (“Redundant. You either have a memory or you’re reminded of something. You’re not reminded of a memory. Your heavy-metal supporters won’t stand for such writing”); a note from the bar manager to Billy “The Piano Man” Joel; the development of the lyrics to the “Batman” show theme; Dora the Explorer’s mother’s letter to CPS (“I know that imaginary friends are a perfectly normal part of childhood, but this was different. Dora would speak to an entire group of people, almost like an audience. And she would demand things of them: “Say map! Say map!’ It was like super-bossy, group-oriented schizophrenia”); a list of changes the Hotel California instituted after being visited by Don Henley (“Acquire steelier knives and/or less resolute beast”).

It probably doesn’t need to be said, but your appreciation of a piece will be directly correlated to your appreciation of the pop culture basis. For example, I don’t like The Walking Dead (yeah, I’m the one guy in the U.S.), so Message Board posts by the Walkers didn’t do anything for me, ditto for the Engineer’s Notes from Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” sessions. But I’m willing to bet that fans of either would get a few chuckles.

There are several pieces (perhaps the majority?) that go on too long — maybe two that aren’t long enough. But even with those that do wear out the joke, carry on, More makes persistence worth it.

My only warning is — do not try to read this cover to cover. Read a piece or two. Put the book down. Come back in a day or so. More than that and you’ll stop chuckling, maybe even build up an intolerance. Just sip at this one, no chugging.

I enjoyed it — I laughed, I chuckled, I grinned, I wished I’d thought of that joke first — this is a great coffee table kind of book. I’d buy another volume or three of this just to have around. Give it a shot.

Note:I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. Which was generous and cool of them, but didn’t impact what I said about the book.

—–

3 Stars

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Shady Characters by Keith Houston: This geeky look at symbols and punctuation is as informative as it is fun.

Shady CharactersShady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols & Other Typographical Marks

by Keith Houston

Hardcover, 246 pg.
W. W. Norton Company, 2013

Read: August 7 – 16, 2019

When the quotation mark does succeed in sparking debate, it attracts mild tut-tutting rather than genuine outrage. Though there is transatlantic disagreement over whether to enclose speech in ‘single’ or “double” quotes, for instance, it comes nowhere near the level of hand-wringing inspired by the semicolon, whose tricky usage has driven it almost to extinction. Neither does the occasional unnecessary “use” of quotation marks induce the howling apoplexy provoked by a simple misplaced apostrophe: whereas one English council was driven to institute an apostrophe “swear box,” café menu offers of “freshly baked ‘bagels,”’ “‘fresh fish,” and the like attract typically little more than a genteel ribbing. Unlike the “Oxford,” or serial, comma, quotation marks or “inverted commas” have never become a trending topic on Twitter, nor have they inspired a pop song in their name.

If that paragraph (from the chapter on quotation marks) or the fact that there’s an entire chapter on quotation marks doesn’t indicate it to you already, let me assure you that this is a book for grammar nerds (or would-be grammar nerds). For a little more flavor, the U. S. subtitle is “The Secret Life of Punc­tu­ation, Sym­bols, & Other Ty­po­graph­ical Marks,” in the U.K., it’s “Am­persands, In­ter­ro­b­angs and Other Ty­po­graph­ical Curi­os­it­ies.”

The book is a historical survey of typography and language as manifested in particular punctuation marks, symbols, and other typographical marks. How they developed, how they’ve been used, and how they are used now. Specifically they are: the pilcrow (¶—you may have seen those around here); the interrobang (‽); the octothorpe (#); the ampersand (&); the @ symbol; the asterisk and dagger (* †); the hyphen (‐); the dash ( ‒ – — ―); the manicule (☞); quotation marks (‘ ’ “ ” ‘ ‘ ” “); and the various attempts to come up with a symbol, typology, or punctuation denoting irony, sarcasm or humor.*

* And I really wish I knew how that paragraph was going to display cross-browsers, devices and in the various places I’ll post this…

The afterward does a pretty good job of describing the book as a whole:

This book, as it turns out, is not just about unusual marks of punctuation, nor even punctuation in general. In following the warp and woof of individual shady characters throughout their lifetimes, it is the woven fabric of writing as a whole that emerges. And in today’s writing, the printed and electroluminescent characters we read on a daily basis and the scrawled handwriting that occupies the diminishing gaps between computer monitors, tablet computers, and smartphone screens, this history stares right back at us.

You don’t have to read this book from cover to cover, you can dip in and read about a particular mark/symbol that you’re curious about and move on. But the chapters do build on each other, and things that are discussed in (for example) the pilcrow chapter will come back for the manicule, the interrobang will inform the ironic/sarcasm indicators, and the octothorpe chapter will come back with the @ and dash chapters. So you’d do well to read it from cover to cover.

It’s not just the individual marks/symbols that you learn about, but the hyphen chapter is a lesson (in a nutshell) on typography in books from Gutenberg to digital publishing. The asterisk and dagger chapter showed a surprising connection between those symbols (and their usage) and the Protestant Reformation, Luther in particular.

The origin alone of the name “ampersand” (and the various attempts at explaining “octothorpe” and the alternatives) are just amusing enough to justify buying a copy of this to have on hand for reference. The history of the ampersand is almost as interesting as the name, too. The reason that @ was used in e-mail addresses — and essentially shaped how much of the world’s communication in the few decades since then is a great example that it’s not just butterflies flapping their wings in China that can make a huge impact on the other side of the world.

Naturally, not all chapters are equally interesting — and that’s going to be a matter of taste — and the more technical bits of individual chapters are easily skimmable until Houston moves on to another aspect of the mark in question or on to the next chapter. I will admit I did that a time or two, but he always got me back within a chapter.

I really wish I could remember how this got on my radar a couple of weeks ago, so I could give a hat-tip and some thanks, I had a great time with this book. Well-illustrated (both anecdotally and with pictures), and with a great mix of style, wit and substance — Shady Characters is a great way for a grammar geek to spend a day or two basking in the things that provide ornamentation to writing and our books. i do recommend it, and am glad I came across it.

—–

3 Stars

2019 Library Love Challenge

Not Home Yet by Ian K. Smith: This *is* My Father’s World

Not Home YetNot Home Yet: How the Renewal of the Earth Fits into God’s Plan for the World

by Ian K. Smith

eARC, 176 pg.
Crossway, 2019
Read: August 4, 2019

In the beginning, we’re told, God created the heavens and the earth. As Rod Rosenbladt used to say (maybe still does, it’s been a while since I heard him), “God likes matter, He made it.” The Scriptures are replete with post-Fall references to God visiting Earth, coming to Earth and dwelling with His people. This is what the Incarnation and the bodily resurrection are about. Yes, the risen Christ ascends to Heaven—but He’s coming back to renew the planet. That’s what it’s all about. The goal of humanity is not going to Heaven after we die, but to live with Him in our resurrection bodies on a renewed Earth. That’s what this book is about, in a nutshell—how Creation isn’t to be abandoned, discarded and therefore it doesn’t matter what we do. Instead, we’re caretakers of this place waiting to be renewed when our pilgrimage is complete.

Smith begins his case with Genesis 1-2 and what this tells us about God’s attitude toward His creation. Then he moves on to the Fall and God’s work through his redeemed people to renew the Earth, through the Flood and the covenant made with Earth, to the eventual establishment of Israel and his dwelling with His people in the Tabernacle and Temple—all of which points to the ultimate tabernacling with humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. Then Smith moves into a discussion of Christ’s resurrection and what it means for His people and this world as explained by the Apostles—what it means for this world and how we should view the world.

Now, I shared the general, overall thesis of the book before I read this—but I hadn’t given it much thought, and didn’t see it in the kind of detail that Smith brought out. I found most of this book fascinating and relish the opportunity to give it a slower, more careful read in the future. I found the explanations and arguments carefully framed and well-reasoned. There’s a chapter or two that I highlighted the majority of, and every chapter has a good amount of highlighting, the way he put certain points was very helpful. I could’ve used a little more depth (not possible in a book of this length, and the goal was probably something involving length to draw in—or not scare off—readers).

There are some problems with the book if you ask me. I can’t buy, at all, his arguments about Genesis 6:1-4 (that “sons of God”=angels*), but as it’s not pivotal to his overall argument, it’s not a big deal for me (it just gave me a little pause).

* I know it’s not unique to Smith, but it’s rare enough that I run into it that it stuck out to me. And, no, I won’t waste anyone’s time debating that here, it’s not that type of book. Read Bavinck for one of the quickest arguments against it, or check out Christ the Center, Episode 373.

My major reservation about this book is the lack of application—I’d have preferred a chapter or two (or four?) of “given this, how then should we live?” Smith hints at, even points toward, what the believer should do in light of this thinking. But to me, it seemed as if he was reticent to show how these ideas should affect the way that readers should put these ideas into action, how they should impact what they do from day to day—or how to think about their actions and society (ecclesiastical, political, geographic—take your pick). Yes, a good deal is self-evident, but I’d appreciate having it spelled out (if for no other reason than it’d be good to put some meat on these bones).

The book is a bit brief, and (again) I’d like to see some of what he said expanded upon, but what’s there is really good, thought-provoking, faithful to the text of Scripture and consistent. It was a rewarding read, and I think it’ll be an even more rewarding re-read. It’s an accessible book and one that I’d encourage people to pick up and discuss.

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Crossway via NetGalley in exchange for this post—I am grateful that both groups gave me the opportunity.

—–

3 Stars

Gravity by Maggie Lynch: A Promising Start to a Space Opera Saga

I’d like to take a beat to apologize to Maggie Lynch, I’d intended to get this posted a couple of weeks ago, but other priorities/commitments/energy levels kept intervening.

GravityGravity

by Maggie Lynch
Series: The Obsidian Rim, #1Kindle Edition, 235 pg.
Windtree Press, 2019

Read: July 9 – 11, 2019

Lehana is a smuggler known throughout the Outer Rim as one who’ll take just about any job if the price is right. That’s actually about all that anyone knows about her, really. Thanks to a small computer problem, Lehana crashes onto a mining planet, seriously impeding their production for a couple of days. To appease the owners of the mines, as well as to get a little assistance, she agrees to one of those jobs she has turned down before.

Because of a bad experience she had with the man who runs the mine, Lehana decides to take one of his slaves with her as she leaves. What she doesn’t know is that she helped other slaves—a man and his two cryogenically frozen children—leave the planet. She’d have been well within her rights to turn them over, but that didn’t sit right with her. She’s no supporter of slavery, but she’s not a revolutionary either and would prefer to just do her own thing without getting embroiled in anything. Still, she can’t hand over kids.

Taking that many slaves is enough to get her current clients to send people after her, and the rest of the book revolves around the questions: can she successfully deliver her cargo and make a profit off of it, before those coming to collect the brand new price on her head show up to collect? Can she—does she want to—save the lives of the stowaways? Will she work again after this stunt?

I really appreciated the way that Lynch set up these characters and introduced us to this world. It feels familiar to people who’ve read a smattering of Space Operas before, but it’s not a clone of any that I know of. A mix of the routine and the new makes for an easy entry into the world for the reader. This applies for the way the characters were introduced to each other and became a team, as well as the world they exist in.

Lehana’s a solid character to build a series on, and the other characters that were prominent were pretty strong, too. I don’t feel comfortable getting into the characters as much as usual, I think you should get to know them in the novel rather than me getting into a discussion too deep, I’m just afraid I’d spoil too much. On the whole, I liked the characters—there were a couple of people on Lehana’s crew that were sidelined most of the time, but the others really clicked well for me. I’d have preferred more time with just about all of them over the stuff that I’ll talk about in the next paragraph. Now, the characters that I found the most interesting (at least one of them) were not the characters that Lynch found the most use for. I grant you that I may be more curious about them than I am others because Lynch didn’t focus on them as much, so there are more questions about them.

My biggest gripe would have to be about the way that Lehana and Kash interacted with the ship to help the navigation—it just didn’t make sense. I mean, I got it—both the way it was described and the way that Lynch used it to spur some character development in Lehana. But it’s not something I could really buy/accept. I don’t think this is a reflection on Lynch’s writing, it’s the concept behind it. It’s hard to talk about briefly and without ruining the story for anyone, but I just didn’t like it. This wouldn’t be a big deal, except for the prominence it took in the storytelling. It’s not a deal-breaker, but I found it annoying and boring at the same time. On a related note, I think the amount and detail of sexual references could’ve been toned down, but I skew prudish, I know.

I had a good time reading this—it was fast, it was fun, set in an intriguing world with well-constructed and entertaining characters. I think I’m curious enough about what’s going on to come back for more—and maybe to check out some other works in this universe, just to see how they’re different/similar. If you’re in the mood for a nice space opera, this could just be the thing for you.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for this post, but I read it because I wanted to and the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by her.

—–

3 Stars

LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

Base Cowboys by Mark Farrer: Enjoyable Scottish Crime Novellas about a wandering antihero

Base CowboysBase Cowboys

by Mark Farrer
Series: Cullen, #1

Kindle Edition, 356 pg.
Funny Business Press, 2019

Read: July 22, 2019

This is a collection of three novellas featuring Farrer’s character of Cullen in and around a city near the Scottish border — Dirty Barry, Bronchial Billy and Pale Ale Rider. As you can probably guess from the plays on Eastwood film titles, we’re supposed to be thinking of an Eastwood-hero type, wandering into the midst of someone else’s (or several someone elses) life and setting things right, stopping a crime, etc. Also, from the play in the titles, they’re of a lighter tone — they’re described as comic, I didn’t particularly find them that, but they are clearly written for the fun side of Crime Fiction, not the serious, dark, or brooding side.

Dirty Barry tells the story of the world’s sleaziest dentist. For sport, he has affairs/one night stands/flings with as many married patients as he can — blackmailing them to continue as he sees fit. Until one day, Cullen walks in with some tooth pain. We meet Big Paul here (more on him later), and three other characters who more than make up for the sleaze brought in by Barry.

Bronchial Billy is about a boorish octagenarian would-be-slumlord (if he had more than one house he rented, he might qualify). He annoys Cullen one night due to his drunken revelry, which ends up toppling a series of dominoes — Billy’s family, hobbies, and livelihood will never be the same. Big Paul’s around for some of this and has a connection to one of Billy’s tenants.

Pale Ale Rider is probably my favorite of the three. It’s the story of a teenage petty criminal with the eyes of a serial killer, the young woman who puts him on a trajectory toward more serious crime and the small brewery (and some employees thereof) that unwittingly provide him a home base and the means for his crimes.

The central character, who really isn’t around as much as you might expect is Cullen, an ex-police detective anti-hero type. Homeless by choice, and living entirely off-the-grid (and unaware of much happening on the grid), he wanders around the country righting wrongs and living life on his own terms (like TV’s David Banner — without the gamma-radiation-induced temper issue). I don’t particularly mind or dislike him, I just don’t think he’s that interesting — I see where he’s supposed to be, but he never clicked for me. I think I need a little more of/about him before I could be hooked.

On the other hand, there’s one other character who shows up in each story that I did find pretty interesting, and would happily read more of — Big Paul/Beep (a nickname we see explained repeatedly, but not used) is a laid-back carpenter, with a very casual attitude toward life, money and punctuality. He’s not the most educated of men, but later shows some signs of effort to change that. He’s just a fun character, someone you’d probably like to hang out with.

Almost every other character is pretty well-drawn and fleshed-out. Yeah, we learn a bit too much about them in info dumps, but Farrer does a good job of building on those descriptions and rounding out the characters in the following pages. From the titular characters to their victims, family or friends these characters are what make the novellas compelling and interesting. They’re the real stars of the various novellas and the reason to keep reading.

Aside from a pretty non-compelling protagonist, my major complaint is the amount of crass descriptions and depictions of sex. Yes, sex is very important to one plot and is a powerful motivator in the others, and thankfully we’re not given a detailed description of the act. But it’s too pervasive for me, particularly the way it’s talked about (by both characters and narration). Call me a prude, or whatever, but it just struck me as distasteful.

These are fast, off-beat, readable works full of compelling characters (if you ignore the protagonist, who isn’t bad, he’s just not as interesting as the rest) — this book/these novellas are just the thing for a quick, refreshing read — not a full meal, but a hearty snack. I do recommend reading them separately, I think they’d be more enjoyable not read back-to-back-to-back, but that’s tough to say with any degree of certainty. Give them a shot.

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3 Stars

LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge 2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge


My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the collection) they provided.

In the Eye by Robert Germaux: Barnes hunts for a missing woman in a solid PI novel

If you’d asked me last week, I’d have said that this was the third book featuring the private eye Jeremy Barnes. Apparently, it’s the second. I’d have insisted I read two others, however — but my archives, Amazon and Germaux’s website tell me I’m wrong. I’ve also read one of the two books he’s written about Pittsburgh Police Detective Daniel Hayes. With both series, you almost instantly feel like you’re returning to a beloved series that you’ve been reading for years. Already this week, we’ve seen the grittier side of Indie Crime fiction — but here’s another side, light, action-driven, character-oriented, dialogue-heavy. Or, to put it another way — fun.

I read another author last week complain that when his work is characterized as “light” it’s frequently taken as a criticism — so I want to stress that I don’t mean it that way at all. I mean it as a compliment — pleasant, quick, entertaining.

I’m getting off topic and this intro is now far too long — so I’ll shut up now and get on with talking about this particular Indie Crime novel.

In the EyeIn the Eye

by Robert Germaux
Series: Jeremy Barnes, #2

Kindle Edition, 272 pg.
2018
Read: July 12 – 13, 2019

           I hung my jacket on the brass coat rack in one corner of the loft, then sat at my desk for a few minutes going through the snail mail that had accumulated since my last time there. There were three checks for services rendered, all of them for background checks I’d run on job applicants for local business owners. The background checks hadn’t taken me very long, which was reflected in the fees I’d charged. Still, three checks in one day. Maybe I should hire an accountant. I glanced down at the checks again. They totaled a little over five-hundred dollars. Maybe hold off on that accountant thing awhile.

Pittsburgh PI, Jeremy Barnes (call him JB), is in the office this day to meet a prospective client. The love of her life is missing, and she assumes — insists it has to be — foul play. JB (like his mentor) doesn’t like missing persons work — it’s too easy for things to go very wrong. But something about this woman’s plight moves him to accept the case. It doesn’t take JB long to reach the same conclusion — she didn’t leave on her own, and she’s not coming back on her own either. As this is a lesbian couple in a pretty conservative small town, JB doesn’t expect a lot of police help (especially once he learns a little about the Chief) — there’s one officer who is doing everything he can, his hands are tied. It’s all up to JB.

JB, a former high school English teacher, is a pretty good character. He’s got the right balance of smarts, toughness and wise cracks to qualify as a PI protagonist. His girlfriend and friends are as charming and interesting as he is. Basically, they’re characters you want to read about. Either hanging out after work or on the job, they’re a lot of fun. I do think the criminals in this book — and those who think like them — are depicted shallowly, and are largely unfair stereotypes. Far too much time is devoted to JB taking cheap verbal shots at them (in the narration or to their face). But the rest of the characters — witnesses, other police officers, friends of the victim — are well done, and add to the story rather than slowing things down or detracting from the pacing.

A quick aside — I appreciated the way that JB’s girlfriend Laura asks about getting too absorbed with a missing persons case and his answer. I wanted to ask her question of JB myself (and a few other PIs, too). More than that, I really liked his answer.

Robert B. Parker’s shadow is a long one in contemporary American Detective Fiction, as I’m sure is news to no one. Robert Crais, Dennis Lehane, Craig Johnson all are clearly influenced by Parker (even Jim Butcher’s work had RBP’s fingerprints all over it) — but few show their indebtedness to him as obviously as Robert Germaux. This is not a bad thing, this is just an observation. If you’re going to be standing on someone’s shoulders, might as well be the best. It was easy to see in Hard Court, but there are times in this book where I felt I was being hit over the head with it. If I was feeling uncharitable, I could describe this as a watered-down update of Looking for Rachel Wallace with a tiny bit of God Save the Child thrown in. But it’s a pleasant-enough read that I don’t want to be uncharitable — so I’ll just say that the novel wears its influences on its sleeve.

And it is pleasant to read, sometimes with crime fiction, it’s hard to remember that this is a hobby I pursue for pleasure. But with JB’s narration, it’s all about enjoying the ride. I wish more people could pull that off. In the Eye is firmly in the P.I. vein, but isn’t so hard-boiled that someone accustomed to reading cozies couldn’t slip right in. While it’s the second in the series, you don’t have to read them in order — you can (and I’d encourage you to) jump right in anywhere. This is a fun read with a cast of characters you want to spend time with — I’m willing to bet it’s re-readable, too. It inspired me to give the first JB book another read (not sure when I’ll find the time, but I want to).

For a fast, easy read that’s sure to please, In the Eye is just what the doctor ordered.

—–

3 Stars

The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch: Meeting Peter Grant’s German Counterpart

The October ManThe October Man

by Ben Aaronovitch
Series: The Rivers of London, #7.5

Hardcover, 208 pg.
Subterranean Press , 2019
Read: June 19 – 21, 2019

So about the time that the one German Magic Practitioner hears that Nightengale has taken on an apprentice in Peter Grant, she decides that it’s time for Germany to do the same — keeping the playing field level, and all — she finds that apprentice in a second generation police officer, Tobias Winter. We meet Tobias a few years into things when he’s called away from leave time to investigate something that may be supernaturally related.

He recognizes vestigia right away — although I think the manner of death would be a pretty big tip off, no matter what. A mysterious fungal rot that covers him in precisely the way that fungus doesn’t cover people. I can’t do justice to how creepy it sounds when Tobias narrates it for us — you’ll have to read it.

Tobias is teamed up with Vanessa Sommer, a local police officer who knows the area, knows a bit about the particular fungus, and is super-curious about magic. Naturally, there’s an encounter with a River or two, and an interesting take on regional history — because this is a Rivers of London novel, what else are you going to get?

It’s a quick read with great story and the kind of people that Aaronovich fills his books with — these just happen to speak German and look at things in a different way from Peter and those he usually runs with — Tobias isn’t as funny as Peter, but he’s amusing to read and handles things in ways that Peter doesn’t. Still, at the end of the day, Peter’d be happy getting the same result (and probably would be jealous how little property damage that Tobias inflicts before wrapping up the investigation).

We’ve been given glimpses of what Nightengale and his fellows got involved in during WWII, but here we get more details — from the German point of view. It’s always been clear that happened wasn’t pretty — but I didn’t realize just how devastating it was until now. It’s also interesting to see just how significant it was for Nightengale to make Peter an apprentice. He essentially kicked off an international magical arms race (of sorts). Don’t get me wrong, the main point of this book is to be introduced to new characters, to see how magic is dealt with somewhere that isn’t London — but man, what we learn about things in London is fascinating.

I don’t know how this qualifies as a novella — even a “long novella,” as I’ve seen it marketed. I have several novels within reach of me right now that are smaller than this. It’s a semantic thing, but book nerds are supposed to be into words — so I don’t get it. Two hundred eight pages does not mean novella to me. If someone can explain it (or point to where Aaronovitch or Subterrerean Press explained it already), I’d appreciate it. Just to scratch that intellectual itch.

Aside from what to call this book, I enjoyed it. Tobias is an good character, he’s no Peter Grant, but he’s not supposed to be (in either Aaronovitch’s mind or the German practitioners’). I’d like he and Peter or he and the Nightengale to brush up against each other — or to have extended contact (like FBI Agent Reynolds and the Folly have had). If Aaronovitch decides on writing another novella/novel/adventure with him, I’d jump on it. But I’m not going to be waiting expectantly — if he doesn’t want to write another (or sales don’t justify it), I can be satisfied with just this much that we’ve been given here.

This’d be a great jumping on point for someone who wants to get a feel for the Rivers of London and Aaronovitch’s style. It’s also a great way for devoted fans of that series to dabble in something new, get a fresh perspective and realize that Peter Grant’s world is smaller than he realizes — while enjoying a creative and fun story.

—–

3 Stars