Murder Out Of The Blue

Murder-Blue-cover-213x300If you can’t put up with a story that doesn’t start with a bang and careens forward without letting you catch your breath, you might not deem Steve Turnbull’s Murder out of the Blue worth the trouble. You might start on the first few pages and think nothing is happening. Except something is. The rich, descriptive prose is immersing—or rather, permeating—you, into a Steampunk journey that will feel very British Empire and Orient Express, with a Faraday device thrown in.

By the time the body drops on or about the second chapter, not only are you flying along in partial weightlessness in Turnbull’s world, but you have achieved empathy with his lead character, Maliha. Her in-between half-Indian, half-Scott cultural plight has become yours. Her insight and intelligence as she conducts her unofficial, but rather more efficient, sleuthing draws you along as well. In particular you appreciate her sensitivity to the personal situations surrounding the case, and how in many ways, they mirror her own station in life.

I won’t say much more for fear of spoiling the tale. Suffice it to say at its core, this story is a murder mystery embedded in a Steampunk setting. One might be tempted to claim the Steampunk elements are quite beside the point, perhaps artificially injected. I would disagree. In the hands of an able writer such as Turnbull, they lend a certain surreal, other-worldly ethos to the story that serves to at once separate us from historical reality, and to view it in a different, thought-provoking light.

Murder out of the Blue is a short work, of novelette to novella length. It is a completely resolved story that yet supports the full plot arc subsequent stories in the series promise to reveal. Don’t be put off or fooled by the short length either. It packs quite the punch. If nothing else, read it for the way characters interact and converse without any wood in their words. That alone is worth the price of admission. And getting an introduction to an alternative world full of possibilities? That is the prize for the taking.

About The Reviewer

Eduardo_SuasteguiIt took Eduardo Suastegui a while to discover he was an artist trapped in an engineer’s body. With formal education in math and science, affirmed through hands-on engineering experience in designing, building, and integrating gadgets of varying complexity, he always kept daydreaming. Throughout his life, that daydreaming fed technological innovation.

More recently, that daydreaming has engendered stories about hackers, rogue AIs, and space travel, with more than a few stories about a dog trainer and her K9s sprinkled in. Eduardo loves to dive into fast-flowing, character-driven stories. With each of the books he reads or writes, he hopes to continue that adventure.

More than anything, through his writing, he hopes to connect with readers. He seeks to share a piece of himself with those who pick up and delve into his work.

Learn more about Eduardo and his work at

The Last Of The Ageless

Last_Of_The_AgelessYou know how sometimes a book is long and it feels longer? This one was long, but flew by. Traci Loudin painted pictures in my mind of very different groups and tribes all co-existing in a post-apocalyptic world, some peacefully, some not.

I laughed when I read a conversation she had with someone at a faire, where she said it was a book with a bunch of assholes roaming around killing people. That description is more crude than the story is, but there is certainly one character that comes to mind who fits the bill.

Dalan’s tribe, capable of preserving extinct animals by taking their essences and transforming into the animals, is an interesting concept and well done. The Ancient teachings give the reader hope in dark times, and watching him struggle to apply those teachings to the outside world is both painful and rewarding.

There were plenty of twists and turns to keep things interesting. I never found myself guessing where the story was going to go next.

The ending was both satisfying, and left me wanting to read more. I was glad that it wrapped up nicely, and that there were still threads left open for future works.

Well written and engaging, I highly recommend this book, and look forward to more!

About the Reviewer

ToxopeusRyanmedHusband, father, and researcher, Ryan Toxopeus spends his free time working on his epic fantasy trilogy, Empire’s Foundation. He started writing the first book, A Noble’s Quest, in 2010 and fell in love with all aspects of storytelling. He focuses on fast paced, character driven plots. His motto: “If I’m bored writing it, others will be bored reading it.”

Learn more about Ryan and his work at

Waiting For Paint To Dry

waiting-for-paint-to-dry-by-lia-mackWaiting for Paint to Dry by Lia Mack is the story of a woman learning how to live again.

Matty Bell, artist, free spirit and Navy brat, had been a shell of herself for years, ever since she was raped as a teenager. She never told anyone and did a great job lying to herself about what had happened, to the point that she was living a stunted and lonely life. But finally, as an adult, she’s beginning to heal, through friendship, art, and love.

Though the subject matter is not light—in fact, it is at times raw and harrowing—the novel is uplifting and hopeful and I found myself cheering for the heroine as she found her way to a fuller and happier life. Her relationships with her sister, old friends, and the new love who comes into her life are nuanced and complex.

I recommend this book for readers who like inspiring stories that feel true to life.

About The Reviewer:

BRYANT-CroppedSamantha Bryant is a middle school Spanish teacher by day and a mom and novelist by night. That makes her a superhero all the time. Her debut novel, Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel is now for sale by Curiosity Quills.

Learn more about Samantha and her work at