Title: Death Cloud
Author: Andrew Lane
Genre: YA historical mystery
Publisher: MacMillan Audio
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Free download from SYNC
Audiobook reader: Daniel Weyman
Audiobook length: 7 hours and 17 minutes
First line: “You there! Come here”
Goodreads blurb: In 1868, Sherlock Holmes is 14 at boarding school. But his father is suddenly sent to India, his mother mysteriously unwell, and his summer will be spent with an eccentric uncle and aunt in their vast house in Hampshire. Sherlock uncovers his first murder, a kidnap, corruption and a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent.
I love all things Holmes-ian, and so I was thrilled when one of the free summer downloads from SYNC was this first book in the Young Sherlock Holmes series. It was a terrific mystery, full of great references to Holmes’ future cases. It introduced some intriguing characters, including Holmes’ teacher, that I hope will appear in future books. The reader, Daniel Weyman, did a brilliant job of voicing young Holmes, as well as a varied cast of characters. I am hoping to be able to find a used copy of the audio version of the second book in the series.
Title: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief
Author: Lawrence Wright
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
This is one of the scariest books I have ever read, and it it’s not a horror novel. This book is extremely well-researched, well-documented, and truly horrifying. I believe in freedom of religion, but I don’t believe in allowing extremist cults to cloak themselves in that freedom in order to get away with fraud and civil rights abuses. I may sound like I’m going way overboard in my condemnation of Scientology. All I can say to that is read this book. Scientology is a dangerous cult, and the fact that so many of Hollywood’s rich and famous turn a blind eye to the many allegations of abuse is shameful. I hope this book finds a wide audience. The writing is also excellent, and I will be reading more of Wright’s non-fiction in the future.
Title: City of Dark Magic
Author: Magnus Flyte
Genre: Fantasy, paranormal fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: The Save Venice fund-raiser began as these things do, with Bellinis, with tiny toast points topped with squid pate, and with swaying musicians playing the greatest hits of Italian opera beneath a fresco by Tiepolo.
Goodreads blurb: Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.
Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide.
City of Dark Magic is as bizarre as it sounds, and as much fun as you could imagine. I loved the characters, the romance, and the setting. The city of Prague is revealed in all its mysterious history and splendor, and Sarah’s experiences there make for fantastic reading. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for book two.