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Book Reviews

Review: The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark

A finely illustrated cover with creative spark and energy that mostly matches the book’s interior.

Blurb:

Cairo, 1912: The case started as a simple one for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities ― handling a possessed tram car.

Soon, however, Agent Hamed Nasr and his new partner Agent Onsi Youssef are exposed to a new side of Cairo stirring with suffragettes, secret societies, and sentient automatons in a race against time to protect the city from an encroaching danger that crosses the line between the magical and the mundane.


Overall, The Haunting of Tram Car 015 worked well for a ghost hunting story, novella in size. I was surprised at the listing of the book @ 144 pages. It fell short of that size with the last some odd pages being a preview for another book, totaling in at around 75 pages. But, with The Haunting of Tram Car 015 being my second read by this author; It didn’t work as well for me as A Dead Djinn in Cairo ( both these books reside in the same fictional universe ).

Why didn’t it work as well? Simply put, The Haunting of Tram Car 015 didn’t work as well as well as the other book I have read by Clark because it lacked poetic form and mostly just explained things verbosely without much style at all. While some readers prefer the more verbose, I do not and rather to have some abstract thoughts thrown in here and there, just to make sure I’m paying attention.

The only thing that saved this book for me was it’s mention of lore and things specific to the universe and it’s ties into Agent Hamed’s crew and collogues in the adventure to find out what exactly was wrong with tram car 015. ★★★✬☆ Three and half stars out of five for The Haunting of Tram Car 015.

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Book Reviews Other Reviews

Review: The Vain (2021) – Graphic Novel

Red water fading to purple? I don’t know if I’d be drinking and floating on THAT. 😬

This review was completed in exchange for a free digital graphic novel via NetGalley.com

Blurb:

Spanning nearly a century in time, The Vain chronicles the criminal lives of four sinful and stylish blood bank-robbing vampires. 

Chicago, 1941. A blood bank is held up in a robbery, but no cash is taken—only blood. It’s the latest in a string of similar robberies and as the United States prepares to enter World War II, FBI Agent Felix Franklin is certain it’s part of a wider plot to weaken the United States by depriving it of its blood supply. But the truth is much more sinister.

The four robbers are vampires: immortal, physically powerful, and after decades of honing their skills, practically untraceable. But time goes on and the vampires—who call themselves The Vain—stay the same in a world that is rapidly changing around them. As security measures evolve, stealing blood is harder every day. And with every decade that passes, Agent Franklin gets closer to finding them. Capturing them. Ending them.

The Vain is a story about wild, eternal youth, reckless rebellion, endless love, and how in the end…maybe it is better to burn out than fade away.


Vampires killing Nazi’s? Yes. Working in the shadows of the government? Yes. Those things make for a great story telling basis. Nitty gritty situations is what makes for favorable entertainment and the question is: do the story tellers and art magicians succeed in building a solid foundation for the story and get all the little proverbial kinks right?

Example of art style inside The Vain – while not my most favored art style, I am mostly acceptant of it. These artists use texture overlays quite a bit and it turned out well.

For the most part, the answer is Yes. This is presented like a comic should be with consistency in style and form of story with fun and graphic representation of violence and blood, following four vampires through USA history. This story starts off with a bank robbery to get blood stored away in a safety deposit box and is light and fun, not getting too serious about anything, then dives deeper into the government using any resources available for the country, including the four vampires.

I’m not an expert on Vampires or Nazis of things, but that doesn’t matter because I still very much enjoyed with this book had to offer which is a behind the scenes look at American history in the 1940s and into future decades, finally ending in present day, with plenty of impalements for the mortals and blood drinking for the immortals to advance the agenda . . . drugs . . . and vomit.

Variables change with time and so must your strategy. The Vain covers these with different places in different times like the U.S.S.R. and Cuba in regards to illegal activity and spying and USA’s stronghold on it’s national security in relation to organized crimes of Vampires. The Vain weighs in at ★★★★☆ four out of five stars for great fun.

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

Categories
Book Reviews

Review: A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djèlí Clark

With the cover, I’m catching a Studio Ghibli vibe, which is great and the minimalistic combined with the illustration makes for all-around, excellent cover.

Blurb:

Egypt, 1912. In Cairo, the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities investigate disturbances between the mortal and the (possibly) divine.

What starts off as an odd suicide case for Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi leads her through the city’s underbelly as she encounters rampaging ghouls, saucy assassins, clockwork angels, and a plot that could unravel time itself.

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.


Things are turning around for me with historical fiction. Anytime you put “saucy assassins” in the blurb, you got me. I’m not referring to the type of historical fiction that covers what might have happened surrounding a semi-real event, I’m talking about this lovely short story, here ( 45 pages in length ), titled A Dead Djinn in Cairo ( ← you may read the whole thing online @ tor.com, in previous link. I suggest you give the .99c if you like it and can suitably afford it ) by P. Djèlí Clark, which takes place in 1912, has an explicit Indiana Jones / steam punk type-feel to it and lore galore. Some of Clark’s other work looks to be worth checking out as well and are being adapted for TV.