Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Short Review: QUARRY'S CHOICE by Max Allan Collins

Quarry's ChoiceFrom the back of the book
Quarry is a pro in the murder business. When the man he works for becomes a target himself, Quarry is sent South to remove a traitor in the ranks. But in this wide-open city – with sin everywhere, and betrayal around every corner – Quarry must make the most dangerous choice of his deadly career: who to kill?

My review
QUARRY'S CHOICE is pure pulp fiction that holds true to the golden era of dime store paperbacks where murder, mayhem, sex and violence populated the popular fiction of the time. Max Allan Collins doesn't sacrifice plot for cheap thrills or for the sake of exploitation though, rather, delicately weaving all those pulp elements into a single narrative that results in a finished and polished product of typically Quarry quality. 

QUARRY'S CHOICE is a solid book that isn't mind blowing but very enjoyable for fans of the hitman series. 

QUARRY'S CHOICE is the twelfth book in the series. 

Relate review(s)

THE WRONG QUARRY 

THE LAST QUARRY

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A note on the 'short review' - the review will span a paragraph in length and will be preceded by a back cover synopsis. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. In order to get some consistency to my posting I thought I’d jump on board this great idea. As a self-proclaimed bookaholic, I love talking about my books and finding out what others are reading.

Last week I posted the following reviews:


ZER0ES by Chuck Wendig (tech-thriller with a twist)

WHEN THE MUSIC'S OVER by Aidan Thorn (noir novella) 

Here's what I'm reading this week so far:

Quarry's ChoiceQUARRY'S CHOICE by Max Allan Collins (Quarry #12)

Quarry is a pro in the murder business. When the man he works for becomes a target himself, Quarry is sent South to remove a traitor in the ranks. But in this wide-open city – with sin everywhere, and betrayal around every corner – Quarry must make the most dangerous choice of his deadly career: who to kill?

BLACK SCIENCE VOL 1: HOW TO FALL FOREVER written by Rick Remender, art by Matteo Scalera

Black Science, Vol.1: How to Fall ForeverAnarchist scientist Grant McKay has done the impossible! Using the Pillar, he has punched a hole through the barriers between dimensions, allowing travel to all possible universes. But now Grant and his team are trapped in the folds of infinity, the Pillar sending them careening through a million universes of unimaginable adventure, sanity-flaying danger and no way home...

Presenting the first mind-warping chapter of the critically acclaimed sci-fi epic by superstar creative team of writer RICK REMENDER (Uncanny Avengers, Captain America) and artist MATTEO SCALERA (Secret Avengers).

Collects BLACK SCIENCE #1-6.

Review: ZER0ES by Chuck Wendig

Zer0es (Zer0es, #1)In a world where the lines of good and evil are blurred and mass execution and destruction is initiated at the push of a button, five hackers, unknown to one another are pushed into a unique situation pitting their expertise against one another in a bid to reduce prison sentences and aid the Government in a covert manipulation of power. 

After being caught by Government agency operatives, DeAndre, Change, Reagan, Aleena, and Wade are given an ultimatum; spend years behind bars or one year of service for the government working at the secluded compound known as The Lodge where their illegal tech skills will be put to use for the 'good' of America. They decide, for one reason or another, to work for Uncle Sam. 

As the story progresses, a mysterious computer virus made real is uncovered - Typhoon, a sci-fi artificial intelligence that isn't confined to a computer, rather it's a mixture of meat, mayhem and data that has the potential to craft the world in its ideal. It's a scary notion that doesn't read as being all that far fetched. 

Author Chuck Wendig knows how to write dialog and here he makes each character leap off the page, notably with Reagan as he bitch slaps the reader making you to concentrate on her every action. With such a diverse range of characters it was a pleasure to read them as distinct individuals with unique voices and mannerisms.   

As far as the plotting and pacing goes ZER0ES is faultless. The story evolves from tech thriller to the unearthly sci-fi and then back again with seamless ease all the while keeping the reader glued to the pages. 

I'm a big fan of Chuck Wendig and can gladly say that ZER0ES doesn't disappoint. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Finds (25 September 2015)


Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading where you share the book titles you discovered or heard about during the past week. These can be books you were told about, books you discovered while browsing blogs/bookstores (physical or online), or books that you actually purchased. I think this is a great idea and a way to share my enthusiasm of discovering new books.

Here's what I've discovered/acquired this past week:

Red Tide (Billy Knight, #2)
RED TIDE by Jeff Lindsay (many thanks to Diverson books for the e-arc)

From Jeff Lindsay, the bestselling author of the Dexter series, comes the long-awaited sequel to his debut novel, Tropical Depression, featuring ex-cop Billy Knight.

Billy Knight wants to ride out Key West’s slow-season with the occasional charter and the frequent beer. But when he discovers a dead body floating in the gulf, Billy gets drawn into a deadly plot of dark magic and profound evil. Along with his plucky, gun-happy friend, Nicky, and Anna, a resilient and mysterious survivor of her own horrors, Billy sets out to right the wrongs the police won’t, putting himself in mortal peril on the high seas.


BrotherBROTHER by Ania Ahlborn (many thanks to Gallery books for the e-arc)

From the bestselling horror author of Within These Walls and The Bird Eater comes a brand-new novel of terror that follows a teenager determined to break from his family’s unconventional—and deeply disturbing—traditions.

Deep in the heart of Appalachia stands a crooked farmhouse miles from any road. The Morrows keep to themselves, and it’s served them well so far. When girls go missing off the side of the highway, the cops don’t knock on their door. Which is a good thing, seeing as to what’s buried in the Morrows’ backyard.

But nineteen-year-old Michael Morrow isn’t like the rest of his family. He doesn’t take pleasure in the screams that echo through the trees. Michael pines for normalcy, and he’s sure that someday he’ll see the world beyond West Virginia. When he meets Alice, a pretty girl working at a record shop in the small nearby town of Dahlia, he’s immediately smitten. For a moment, he nearly forgets about the monster he’s become. But his brother, Rebel, is all too eager to remind Michael of his place…

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review: WHEN THE MUSIC'S OVER by Aidan Thorn

When the Music's OverBenny Gower is a stand-up guy caught up in a world of crime sustained by drugs, violence, and intimidation. He's the nice guy of the underworld, running nightclubs and musicians, kicking cash up to the powers that be on the regular. He even manages to turn his junkie girlfriend away from the poison she pumps into her body. So naturally things all go to shit for him in a moment of red rage that leaves the heir apparent to the criminal organisation dead and causes a retired hit man to strap on the tools of the trade to hunt down Benny.

WHEN THE MUSIC'S OVER is a revenge fueled romp into the underbelly of noir. 

When Benny guns down Weir (the man caught sleeping with his's girlfriend and the supplier of her habit) his world turns for a second time, with the first, being the catalyst for his entry into the underworld - the same underworld he now finds himself on the run from. 

The story largely follows Wynn, the hit man commissioned from retirement to track down Benny as he questions all known acquaintances in order to locate his quarry. The tact allows the author to progressively provide the reader with insight into Benny's character and context to the almost justifiable homicide. There are also nice touches of character development that make Wynn more human than just a generic hit man.  

WHEN THE MUSIC'S OVER is a quick read that sits nicely in the carved out niche of noir. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. In order to get some consistency to my posting I thought I’d jump on board this great idea. As a self-proclaimed bookaholic, I love talking about my books and finding out what others are reading.

Last week I posted the following reviews:


A CRUCIBLE OF SOULS by Mitchell Hogan (fantasy)

AURORA: EDEN by Amanda Bridgeman (sci-fi) 

My reading this week is heavily towards the eclectic:

Aftermath (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens)STAR WARS AFTERMATH by Chuck Wendig

Journey to The Force Awakens.

The second Death Star is destroyed. The Emperor and his powerful enforcer, Darth Vader, are rumored to be dead. The Galactic Empire is in chaos.

Across the galaxy, some systems celebrate, while in others Imperial factions tighten their grip. Optimism and fear reign side by side.

And while the Rebel Alliance engages the fractured forces of the Empire, a lone Rebel scout uncovers a secret Imperial meeting…


When the Music's OverWHEN THE MUSIC'S OVER by Aidan Thorn 

“Benny had taken his first life. That meant he’d thrown away what was left of his, too. He’d known that the moment he decided Harry Weir had to die.”
When Benny Gower murders his business partner few people doubt his good reasons for doing so. Unlike Benny, it’s not as if Harry Weir was popular. But he was the heir to Birmingham’s most violent and unpredictable criminal organisation.


For Wynn McDonald, dragged out of retirement for the sake of his old gangland accomplices, motive doesn’t matter. All he cares about is tracking down the nightclub manager turned killer. But before Wynn can extract necessary vengeance he’ll need to turn over every stone on his way to finding answers. And not everybody’s going to be happy with the truths that come crawling out.

Review: AURORA: EDEN by Amanda Bridgeman

Aurora: Eden (Aurora, #5)
The impending alien invasion is further explored and the role the Aurora crew have in protecting mankind is realized. 

The fifth installment in the Aurora series by Aussie science fiction author Amanda Bridgeman serves as a bridge between what has been and what is to come. 

Reaching out into the unknown depths of space further than ever before, EDEN provides more than a glimpse at the possible future of Earth as warmonger-like aliens invade the planet. With only Alphas (nee Jumbos for readers of the previous books) to fend them off; series antagonist, Sharley, and his vision of creating an army of genetically modified super soldiers isn't without merit - in fact, it's a necessity. 

EDEN, once again sees the Aurora crew grow as a tightly knit unit while also undergoing a slight change. The earlier motives of their enemy are slowly accepted and the rationale behind the drastic transformation into Alphas is embraced by most yet the darker side of this extreme form of modification is still paramount thanks to Drazen and a band of brutal warriors determined to destroy Carrie Welles and take her twins (the only true-born first gen Alphas). The yin and yang showcases the extreme spectrum of the good and bad than can be done when normal people are transformed into Alphas - it also provides a duel threat and an interesting sub plot that compliments the broader invasion story-line.

The action scenes in EDEN are the best of the series so far (and are incredibly vivid and bursting with tension). I won't delve into any detail as I don't want to spoil what happens but the later stages of EDEN are an adrenaline junkies dream. 

I once again find myself eagerly anticipating the next book as has been the case with each installment so far. Bridgeman has built an interesting universe populated by dynamic characters that look set to be turned on its head in the not too distant future. Bring on book 6! 

I was provided a copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Finds (18 September 2015)


Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading where you share the book titles you discovered or heard about during the past week. These can be books you were told about, books you discovered while browsing blogs/bookstores (physical or online), or books that you actually purchased. I think this is a great idea and a way to share my enthusiasm of discovering new books.

Here's what I've discovered/acquired this past week:


Deadlands: Ghostwalkers by Jonathan MaberryDEADLANDS: GHOSTWALKERS by Jonathan Maberry (due to be published late September by Tor Books) 

Welcome to the Deadlands, where steely-eyed gunfighters rub shoulders with mad scientists and dark, unnatural forces. Where the Great Quake of 1868 has shattered California into a labyrinth of sea-flooded caverns . . . and a mysterious substance called “ghost rock” fuels exotic steampunk inventions as well as plenty of bloodshed and flying bullets.


From New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry comes the first in a thrilling series of novels based on Deadlands, a hugely successful RPG set in the Weird, Weird West. 


THE WEIGHT OF CHAINS by Lesley Conner (due to be published late September by Sinister Grin Press)

Gilles de Rais has control over every aspect of his life: the servants he employs, the village he lords over, the carefully crafted visage he shows to the world. He dictates where his subjects live, what they eat, if they live or die. He has ultimate power and wields it with a flourish to conceal the dark desires that lurk behind his smile and the despair within his castle in Machecoul.

When a wizard tasked with raising a demon loses control of the beast, Gilles's tight grasp on his world begins to slip. His cook plans to flee, taking her son away from the dangers of the castle. His guard wants to claim Gilles’s lifestyle as his own. His wizard frantically searches for a way to survive both his lord and the demon he has called into the world. And the villagers – like Jeanetta and her family – move through life in Machecoul too consumed with the task of surviving day to day, and oblivious to the turmoil building within the castle that is threatening to break out and consume them all. 

Good MoneyGOOD MONEY by J.M. Green (due to be published in November by Scribe)

Introducing Stella Hardy, a wisecracking social worker with a thirst for social justice, good laksa, and alcohol.

Stella's phone rings. A young African boy, the son of one of her clients, has been murdered in a dingy back alley. Stella, in her forties and running low on empathy, heads into the night to comfort the grieving mother. But when she gets there, she makes a discovery that has the potential to uncover something terrible from her past — something she thought she'd gotten away with.

Then Stella's neighbour Tania mysteriously vanishes. When Stella learns that Tania is the heir to a billion-dollar mining empire, Stella realises her glamorous young friend might have had more up her sleeve than just a perfectly toned arm. Who is behind her disappearance?

Enlisting the help of her friend, Senior Constable Phuong Nguyen, Stella's investigation draws her further and further into a dark world of drug dealers, sociopaths, and killers, such as the enigmatic Mr Funsail, whose name makes even hardened criminals run for cover.

One thing is clear: Stella needs to find answers fast — before the people she's looking for find her instead.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review: A CRUCIBLE OF SOULS by Mitchell Hogan

A Crucible of Souls (Sorcery Ascendant Sequence #1)What a great way to start an epic fantasy series. A CRUCIBLE OF SOULS ticks all the right boxes providing plenty of mystery, sorcery, murder, and character development intertwined in an interesting and deep plot set amid a fantastical landscape that captures the imagination and feeds it with unique concepts and a well designed place-setting. 

Caldan, a young man and master of many trades including sorcery and combat is thrust into a violent world when he's banished from the monastery that gave him food and shelter following the death of his family after an alteration with a student which almost killed him. Arriving at the large and overwhelming Anasoma following an interesting voyage across sea which introduced pirate Miranda, a character who plays a large part in Caldan's future (unbeknownst to him at the time), Caldan quickly finds himself apart of the Sorcerers Guild and later The Protectors only to loose it all in a bloody swath of death and dismemberment. Confronted with trial upon trial, hurdle upon hurdle, A CRUCIBLE OF SOULS throws everything at its protagonist developing the character and entertaining the reader along the way. 

I love books that demand the readers attention and also provide multiple plot threads throughout the course of the narrative and A CRUCIBLE OF SOULS does just that. There are so many tantalizing threads left hanging that I can't wait for next years follow-up to see where author Mitchell Hogan take Caldan and co.  

- - - - - - - - - 

A brief not on the format: As an avid reader, the structure of a novel is something I hold a lot of stock in - the ability to read short, sharp chapters or sequences with identifiable breaks is gold for that bite side reading appetite, A CRUCIBLE OF SOULS delivers (yet again) while also not bogging the reader down with fantastical jargon and too far fetch otherworldly concepts. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. In order to get some consistency to my posting I thought I’d jump on board this great idea. As a self-proclaimed bookaholic, I love talking about my books and finding out what others are reading.

Last week I posted the following reviews:


HELLHOLE: INFERNO by Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert (sci-fi)

This week I'm changing things up a little while keeping in-line with my recent surreal reads theme with new books by Chuck Wendig (the dude who wrote the new star wars book, you may have heard about it) and Amanda Bridgeman (author of the Aurora sci-fi series - epic character-driven storytelling).

Zer0es (Zer0es, #1)ZER0ES by Chuck Wendig (published this month by Harper Voyager)

Five hackers—an Anonymous-style rabble-rouser, an Arab Spring hacktivist, a black-hat hacker, an old-school cipherpunk, and an online troll—are detained by the U.S. government, forced to work as white-hat hackers for Uncle Sam in order to avoid federal prison. At a secret complex known only as "the Lodge," where they will spend the next year working as an elite cyber-espionage team, these misfits dub themselves "the Zeroes."

But once the Zeroes begin to work, they uncover secrets that would make even the most dedicated conspiracy theorist's head spin. And soon they're not just trying to serve their time, they're also trying to perform the ultimate hack: burrowing deep into the U.S. government from the inside, and hoping they'll get out alive. Packed with electric wit and breakneck plot twists, Zer0es is an unforgettable thrill ride through the seedy underbelly of "progress.


Aurora: Eden (Aurora, #5)AURORA: EDEN by Amanda Bridgeman (published this month by Momentum)

The future starts now …

In the wake of the tragic events in Centralis, Captain Saul Harris stands with the weight of the world on his shoulders. With the truth of UNFASP revealed, he realizes that he must embrace his ancestry if he is to survive the coming onslaught. But how far will Harris go to protect the future? Will he sacrifice life as he knows it and become a Jumbo? Or can he face the future as a common man?

Meanwhile Sergeant Carrie Welles has been left devastated by what has happened. Uncertain of the future ahead, and with her nemesis, Sharley, on the brink of control, she struggles to pick herself up. But she is left surprised when help comes from the unlikeliest of places.

As her life veers off in a direction she never expected, Carrie soon understands that she is running a course with a destiny that lies far beyond her control. A destiny that is strangely aligned with her Captain’s.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Review: HELLHOLE: INFERNO by Kevin J. Anderson & Brian Herbert

Hellhole InfernoThe conclusion to the Hellhole sci-fi trilogy is both satisfying and sad. Sad, only because it's a shame to see these complex and unique characters' stories come to a close but equally satisfying in the way INFERNO was written. 

A gripe of mine with the earlier books was the lack of closure and cliffhanger-like endings which is not the case here. Authors Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert make sure to tie-up any loose ends and add some nice twists to keep the sci-fi interstellar epic fresh.

With the planet Hellhole destined for doom on two fronts; one at the hand of the planet conquering Diadem, the other, a rogue faction of Ro-Xayans who want to destroy the planet to prevent the few surviving original Xayans and the newly converted human shadow-xayans from reaching ala-'ru - a mysterious spiritualist transcendence (which is revealed in the later stages of the book), General Adolphus rallies the defense forces of the  52 planets that comprise the Deep Zone along with the telepathy skills of the Xayans to forge a last stand against both threats. 

As you'd expect there is a degree of sci-fi military embedded in the plot yet the element is grounded by deep characterisation and interesting sub plots that encompass the political ramifications of war, commerce, and trade. Despite having an other worldly tone there are loads of humanist aspects to INFERNO to compliment the action sequences and make everything feel all the more 'real' while reading. 

I truly loved this trilogy and plan on rereading early next year. As for, HELLHOLE: INFERNO - it's a perfect way to end a very entertaining story. 

Friday Finds (11 September 2015)


Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading where you share the book titles you discovered or heard about during the past week. These can be books you were told about, books you discovered while browsing blogs/bookstores (physical or online), or books that you actually purchased. I think this is a great idea and a way to share my enthusiasm of discovering new books.

This week I added a diverse mix of books to my personal library thanks to publishers Harper Voyager, Scribe and Number Thirteen Press:

Zer0es (Zer0es, #1)ZER0ES by Chuck Wendig (published Sept. 2015)

Five hackers—an Anonymous-style rabble-rouser, an Arab Spring hacktivist, a black-hat hacker, an old-school cipherpunk, and an online troll—are detained by the U.S. government, forced to work as white-hat hackers for Uncle Sam in order to avoid federal prison. At a secret complex known only as "the Lodge," where they will spend the next year working as an elite cyber-espionage team, these misfits dub themselves "the Zeroes."

But once the Zeroes begin to work, they uncover secrets that would make even the most dedicated conspiracy theorist's head spin. And soon they're not just trying to serve their time, they're also trying to perform the ultimate hack: burrowing deep into the U.S. government from the inside, and hoping they'll get out alive. Packed with electric wit and breakneck plot twists, Zer0es is an unforgettable thrill ride through the seedy underbelly of "progress."


Tram 83TRAM 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila

In an African city in recession, which could be Kinshasa or Lubumbashi, land tourists of all languages and nationalities. They have only one desire: to make a fortune by exploiting the mineral wealths of the country. They work during the day in mining concession and, as soon as night falls, they go out to get drunk, dance, eat and abandon themselves in Tram 83, the only night-club of the city, the den of all the outlaws: ex children-soldiers, prostitutes, blank students, unmarried mothers, sorcerers' apprentices …

Lucien, a professional writer, fleeing the exactions and the censorship, finds refuge in the city thanks to Requiem, a youth friend. Requiem lives mainly on theft and on swindle while Lucien only thinks of writing and living honestly. Around them gravitate gangsters and young girls, retired or runaway men, profit-seeking tourists and federal agents of a non-existent State.


When the Music's OverWHEN THE MUSIC'S OVER by Aiden Thorn

When Benny Gower murders his business partner few people doubt his good reasons for doing so. Unlike Benny, it’s not as if Harry Weir was popular. But he was the heir to Birmingham’s most violent and unpredictable criminal organisation.

For Wynn McDonald, dragged out of retirement for the sake of his old gangland accomplices, motive doesn’t matter. All he cares about is tracking down the nightclub manager turned killer. But before Wynn can extract necessary vengeance he’ll need to turn over every stone on his way to finding answers. And not everybody’s going to be happy with the truths that come crawling out.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Finds (4 September 2015)


Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading where you share the book titles you discovered or heard about during the past week. These can be books you were told about, books you discovered while browsing blogs/bookstores (physical or online), or books that you actually purchased. I think this is a great idea and a way to share my enthusiasm of discovering new books.

Just the one new discovery this week and it's one I'm very excited about! 

Quantum and Woody by Priest & Bright, Vol. 1: KlangQUANTUM AND WOODY BY PRIEST AND BRIGHT VOL.1: KLANG (I've been wanting to read the original Q&W series for a while now, even moreso that James Asmus hasn't put out a new version of Q&W since last year (in the modern Valiant comics universe which differs to this original run) - smart and funny superhero fiction) 

Sometimes the best friends make the worst partners. Once inseparable, childhood friends Eric Henderson and Woody Van Chelton haven’t seen each other in years. Reunited by the mysterious deaths of their research scientist fathers, the unlikely duo find themselves stuck together all over again when a catastrophic lab accident transforms their bodies into pure energy — energy that will completely dissipate if they don’t “klang!” their control bands together every 24-hours! Now, armed with an array of high-tech gadgets…and two horribly mismatched personalities…and a goat for a sidekick…this pair of misfits has decided to set the world straight as the world’s worst superhero team, Quantum and Woody…if they can manage to quit fighting each other first!

Collecting QUANTUM AND WOODY (1997) #0–7, plus rarely
seen materials and extras from QUANTUM AND WOODY: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Monthly Reader Statistics: AUGUST 2015


This series of blog posts is as the title suggests; monthly statistics for the latest completed month with a year to date summary of my reading. I actually look at my reader stats every so often, more out of curiosity as opposed to using them to achieve a goal. I like to know how many of the books I've read are for review verses how many I have read just 'cos (those I purchased or borrowed) or the difference between physical books and kindle ebooks. As I don't tend to make a conscious decision to read an ebook verses a physical book or read a book given to me for review verses something from my tbr, it's just what attracts me at the time - I thought these statistics would prove a useful 'nice-to-know' and an interesting footnote in my 2015 reading journey. 

Monthly Reads (books completed reading): 10

Re-reads: 1
Review books: 7
Audio books: 0
*Just 'cos reads: 2
Kindle: 3
2015 published: 7


Year To Date Reads: 89

Re-reads: 11
Review books: 37
Audio books: 3
*Just ‘cos reads: 37
Kindle: 21
2015 published: 31

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*doesn't include re-reads/audio
- - - - - 

Best Reads of August:


King of the Bastards  Please Don't Leave Me Here  Speaking in Bones (Temperance Brennan, #18)

KING OF THE BASTARDS (pulp era fantasy goodness)

PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME HERE (Melbourne based crime that's oh so much more!)

SPEAKING IN BONES (a return to form for Kathy Reichs)