#BlogTour: The Flood by G.N. Smith and The Island by G.N. Smith

For this blog tour, we’re looking at an atmospheric detective novel with BookAnon level connections to some of the most popular detective stories of the last century. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Flood by G.N. Smith. In a first for this blog, we’re also looking at a second book in the same tour – the sequel to The Flood, The Island.

Here’s what I had to say on the review sites about The Flood (Goodreads, Hardcover.app, TheStoryGraph, BookHype):

Atmospheric Novel Can Get Repetitive At Times. This is one of those detective novels – not really a police procedural, since it is almost a “locked room” scenario (with the “room” in question being a sequestered area of a small town) with only a single detective available – where the setting seems as much as character as any of the actual human characters. Smith manages to put the reader right in the titular flood and the fight for survival from both the elements and the murderer that only our detective knows lurks in their midst. And yet, in repeating the detective’s personal motivation *so* often… Smith does in fact get repetitive enough to at least warrant mentioning in the review. Indeed, it becomes as tedious at times as seeming *every* Batman movie with a new actor portraying the character having to do some version of Thomas and Martha Wayne’s murders, or every new Spiderman movie having to do some version of Uncle Ben’s murder. With those franchises… guys, we get it. We already know these characters. With this particular book… the first mention was solid character development. Maybe a reference back here or there could have been good. But to be hit with a near word for word repetition of the motivation *so many times*… the editing could have been better here, at minimum. Beyond this though, the story itself was quite strong indeed, even within the “locked room” type space, and the overall plotting was quite solid, with the tension ratcheting up at a fairly steady pace and the reveals coming at enough of a clip to keep the pages turning. Overall a strong series starter and I’m interested to see where we’re going here. Very much recommended.

And here’s what I had to say on the review sites about The Island (Goodreads, Hardcover.app, TheStoryGraph, BookHype):

And So It Becomes Clear This Is An Open World “Locked Room” Series. This book largely follows the format of the first one in the series, and happens just a few days later in the world timeline. In other words, while still dealing with the repercussions – good and bad – from the first book, our detective is now thrust into *another* mystery where she is in an essentially “locked room” open world environment – she has quite a bit of area to work in (as do our perpetrators), but it is an area isolated off from the “main” world. This comes to bear in good and bad ways, though at least in this entry another variant on the theme is introduced… and again, the moves and countermoves this particular variant introduce open up their own possibilities. The main problems from the first book – the repetitive repetition of the detective’s motives – are largely still in play here, though this time at least a few of the repetitions give us a bit more of the backstory for the motivations, and thus a reprieve from the near copy/paste verbatim repetitions that seemed so prevalent in Book 1. But… the things that made the first book so good, specifically how the scenery itself very nearly becomes its own actual character as it is described so vividly and is so intrinsic to the story here, are *also* still in play here. Indeed, with the clear theme now established for this series, perhaps that is one of the more intriguing aspects going forward…. how can Smith manage to keep putting this same person in these same situations and keep them different enough? Based on this book, I for one am looking forward to seeing how he pulls it off again. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Flood by G.N. Smith and The Island by G.N. Smith”

#BookReview: Unnatural Disasters by Gonzalo Lizarralde

Excellent Within Scope, Ignores Alternative Explanations. This one was a bit weird. About halfway into the narrative, I was thinking this was going to be a three star at best, because it was *so* hyper “woke” / “progressive”. But then I read the description – I had picked up the ARC on the strength of the title alone – and saw that most all of the problems I had with the book were *exactly what the description said the book would have*. Well, crap. Ok, *within that scope*, this book is a true 5* narrative. Maybe a touch light on the bibliography at just 17% or so of the overall length of the book (more normal range is 20-30% in my experience), but not too terrible there. But ultimately I had to ding a star because it *does* lean too much into the author’s own biases and refuses to consider – and at times even outright dismisses – alternative explanations such as risky geography and geology, among others, in many of the disasters it covers. Still, the book has a lot of solid points about the modern “green” / “sustainable” / “resilient” building movements, if solidly from the “woke” / “progressive” side. Enough that even if you are one that normally can’t stomach such tripe (I myself am largely among this camp), this text really does have enough good material that you need to wade through it to see the arguments from even that perspective. Recommended.

This review of Unnatural Disasters by Gonzalo Lizarralde was originally written on July 3, 2021.

#BookReview: My Way To You by Catherine Bybee

Stunning. Bybee here uses her real life situation over the last few years to craft a story that is a testament to those who helped her most – the firemen and the flood control guys and the various repairmen – while also sticking to her bread and butter of romance novels. This one has some fun elements, such as when the lead guy comes out of the shower and, seeing his brother and sister in addition to our lead gal, says that he is glad he came out covered. His brother responds along the lines of “yeah, no one wants to see that”, and our lead gal raises her hand “I do!” (Seriously, I’m still cracking up about that particular scene. 🙂 But overall, the tone here is much more serious. For our lead gal in particular, life isn’t exactly easy. But she has an AR, an AK, a shotgun, a 911, and a .40 cal Glock and she’s a good shot – as she tells another character who thinks he can just come on her property any time he needs to. Not as light as I remember the Not Quite series being, but absolutely a strong story, and with such a cast that it isn’t clear (as it usually tends to be) where this series is going next. (I have suspicions, but even that is only a somewhat educated guess.) Very much recommended.

This review of My Way To You by Catherine Bybee was originally written on March 8, 2020.

#BookReview: The Geography of Risk by Gilbert M. Gaul

A Warning For The Entire US Eastern And Gulf Coasts. This book is fairly comprehensive in its history of coastal development, with particular emphasis on the back bays of New Jersey but also discussing development all the way South to Florida and up along the Florida Gulf Coast all the way to Galveston Bay and Houston, with detailed discussions of Mobile and New Orleans along the way. And even discounting its heavy emphasis on global warming / global cooling / climate change / whatever the alarmists are calling it these days, the book paints a very stark picture about just how much coastal redevelopment costs people all over the country, including the landlocked midwest, due to heavy Federal subsidies in the post-WWII era. Its ultimate points are solid, yet it is also extremely realistic that the best solution to the problem is extremely politically unlikely. Very much recommended reading, and certainly a discussion that should factor into election discussions going into the 2020 Presidential race.

This review of The Geography of Risk by Gilbert M. Gaul was originally published on July 19, 2019.