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I like my coffee with as much cream and sugar as coffee. I part my hair in the middle. Vanilla in food? Oh, yes. Vanilla in the air or on my body? Oh, no. I only like cotton sheets. I prefer the aisle seat and do not care for olives. And I only read certain genres.
I like my fantasy urban. I cringe at mystery series but love a good mystery just the same. Thrillers absolutely but no espionage, please. I like books that switch from modern day to the past but eschew solely historical fiction. We live in the West and that is as much western setting as I need. No bare-chested alien chicks. And I hate epistolary novels.
Or do I? These books proved me wrong.
Rollins, James. “ The Judas Strain .”
James Rollins'' novels generally remind me of some weird combination of Michael Crichton, Dan Brown, and Tom Clancy -- none of whom are among my favorite authors. I enjoy Rollins though with his combination of legend, science, and intrigue. “The Judas Strain” starts with a viral outbreak, follows Marco Polo to Cambodia (via an ancient manuscript), and has the SIGMA team tracking terrorists on three continents.
Vanderhaeghe, Guy. “ The Last Crossing .”
I liked this book quite a bit, despite its bearing a cover photo taken by Edward S. Curtis and a jacket summary that uses silly words like "frontier", "American West" and "epic masterpiece." Vanderhaeghe’s frontier is peopled by every caliber of adventurer, idealist, seeker, and scoundrel. The potential for brutality and for amazing acts of kindness kept me fully engaged. Epistolary/ Historical Fiction
Crook, Elizabeth. “ The Night Journal .”
I love, love this book. Set in the Southwest with incredible description, I actually want to visit the setting of this book in New Mexico. Meg Mabry has spent her life oppressed by her family''s legacy, a heritage beginning with the journals written by her great-grandmother in the 1890s and solidified by her grandmother Bassie, a famous historian who published them to great acclaim.
Aliens, Barechested or otherwise
Morgan, Richard K. “ Altered Carbon .”
Imagine a future where people upgrade and exchange bodies like we do today with cars. Your entire persona and memories are backed up into a cylinder the size of a cigarette filter that resides at the base of your skull. Bodily death is only temporary as long as that cylinder remains intact. Into that setting, add a 1940''s-style detective murder mystery, extrapolate the sordid extensions of what sex and torture might be with that wetware technology, and you have a highly unusual and engrossing story. Morgan is a poetic/cinematic writer who can weave a mean sentence and meaner violence.