Roadtrip across *all* of America

33825757I haven’t read every single one of Peter Clines’ novels (although I think I’ve only missed 2, and one is currently on my bookshelf waiting for me to get to it), but based on the books I have read, I have yet to find one that fell flat for me.

Paradox Bound is his latest novel, and it is a bizarre twist of a book compared to his zombie superhero novels and the world of 14 and The Fold. This one is Americana all the way through. It has a road trip (very American) in a Model A Ford, time travel, small towns that seem to live in the past, and a quest to find The American Dream, which is an actual object guarded by Faceless Men, which has been stolen.

Seriously, can you get more American than that?

Our entry point to the story is Eli Teague, who lives in one of those towns that seems out of sync with the rest of the world. Twice, as a kid, he runs into Harriet ‘Harry’ Pritchard and her Model A Ford that runs on water, and in one case a male travelling companion. The third time he runs into her, he ends up being pulled into her world, and the world of the other time travellers all searching for The American Dream. Unfortunately, this also brings him into the sights of the Faceless Men who kill anomalies, and are trying to recover the stolen dream that they had been tasked with guarding.

This leads to a road trip through the present, past, and future, and pulls in real historical figures, as well as legendary characters (such as John Henry, of the contest with the steam hammer fame).

The twists in the book manage somehow to be both predictable, and yet twisting expectations *just* enough to still surprise you, and the combination resulted in the book being intensely satisfying. I also liked that the fact that there was little to no romance between the two main characters, especially since Harry is recently (as much as you can tell with time travellers) widowed. Too many books insist on shoehorning in a romance between main characters, and the story isn’t always the better for it.

There are few writers that I will read without knowing anything about what the book is about. The list morphs over time, but currently, Peter Clines is high up on the list, and I look forward to seeing what he writes next.

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The Semi-Annual Readathon

The twice a year Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon has just kicked off. 8am in Ottawa, Canada, so off we go

8am – starting with Terrorist Dispatch, a novel I  the Executioner series. A nice, short action novel

9am – Terrorist Dispatch is 19% done. I also got an email from the library that my reserve on the audio book of Sourdough by Robin Sloan is ready for download,  so that’s ready for later on.

10am – I’m now up to 48% on Terrorists Dispatch. 

11am – 72% done. I should finish in the next hour. After that, I’ll do a little audio book listening while knitting. 

12am – I just finished the first book. Next up, There Werewolf of Paris, by guy Endore, since The HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast is covering the book this month, and I’ve been collecting episodes until I read the book. First the audio book, though.

1pm – I listened to the first 11% of Sourdough, then switched to The Werewolf of Paris. I’m only 3% into the ebook.

2pm – 17% into The Werewolf of Paris.  It is definitely of its time period. 

5pm – I took a break and went out for a late lunch (or early dinner). I also read some frantic for fun. Still, I’m at 39% for the werewolf novel.

6pm – 51% in the novel, plus 25 pages in this week’s bathtub read (there’s nothing better than a soak in the tub with a paperback to read.

7pm – And now I’m at 64%. Time to take a knitting/audio book break.

8pm – Another 11% of the Sourdough audiobook. I am thoroughly enjoying the reading. 

9pm – I’ve hit 76% in The Werewolf of Paris, but I think I’m close to my limit for the day. Before much longer, I’ll probably head to bed, although knowing my sleep patterns,  I’ll be up before the end of the 24 hours tomorrow morning. 

8am – I reached 82% before bedtime, and I have now finished the book. As well, I listened to a couple more chapters of the audio book.

Summary

Executioner 448: Terrorist Dispatch by Mike Newton – complete

The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore – complete

Sourdough by Robin Sloan- audio book, 25% done

Ghost of a Dream by Simon R Green – 48 pages

Gaming novels can be good

33405149I rarely read game-based books, especially role playing game books, but for Seanan McGuire, I was willing to give it a try. (The last time I read a book for an RPG game was almost 20 years ago when I went through a White Wolf games phase)

I found the world — steampunk mixed with horror in an alternate US — fascinating, and the characters were very likeable. The plot itself was a bit obvious here and there, but included enough twists to keep me enthralled. Seanan once more proves herself versatile and well worth reading.

In this world, American Indians from various tribes got together to perform a ritual in an attempt to drive the Europeans off their land. This didn’t really work, but it did create a large number of animal and mystical dangers.

Annie Pearl is a member of a travelling circus, along with her mute daughter. She takes care of the wagon of deadly ‘freaks’. Things like nibbler fish that sound like pirhanas with even worse teeth and attitude, terrantula spiders, pit wasps, a corn husk creature with a pumpkin head that if allowed would plant itself inside the corpse of a human. It’s a dangerous job, but she does well at it, and it’s the last place her husband (a steampunk style inventor/Frankenstein) back in Deseret (in Utah) would look for her.

Unfortunately, the circus has had some bad luck, and may not make it through the coming winter. The manager decides to take the risky chance of going to a community called The Clearing in Oregon, which has a patchy reputation. The Clearing is just that, a treeless bow-shaped valley in the middle of the woods of Oregon. The people come across very hostile, but the circus has little choice.

Worse than the people of The Clearing is the shadows lurking in the forest, watching and waiting. And when Annie’s daughter is tricked by the local children into going alone into the woods, everything comes to a head. Meanwhile, the husband she fled is coming after her, and will stop at nothing to claim his daughter for reasons that are not good for her.

I’m not sure that I am interested in reading any of the other books written for this game setting, but I am very glad I read this one. It’s a perfect read for right around Halloween.

Note: I got the chance to read this book through NetGalley.