Tag Archives: J. Daniel Sawyer

Suave Rob’s Double-X Derring Do

Dan’s a friend and colleague. He does my covers and we’re negotiating on having him produce some audio for me. In spite of that, I’m going to review this book. He’ll laugh because he knows I hate it.

Yeah. You read that correctly. I hate this book. More precisely I hate Rob. Rob’s a jerk. Ego-centric. Stupidly self-absorbed. Dan calls Rob a magnificent bastard. I just call him aggravating. Complete and total schmuck.

To be clear, I read the whole book – not just because Dan’s a friend – but because I wanted to see what stupidity would result from this twerp’s efforts at being a post modern, deep-space Evil Knieval. I read it all the way through, detesting this character and the problems he brought on himself. I still think about this book, years later.

And that’s why I’m reviewing it. Dan’s a master. He set out to make a thoroughly unlikable character as protagonist of an engaging story. He succeeded. There’s a lesson there and maybe I’m just not the right audience for this kind of anti-hero. Maybe there’s an audience for something this aggravating.

So, grab a sample and see if you hate it as much as I do.

About the reviewer:

NathanLowell_150x150Nathan Lowell has been writing science fiction and fantasy most of his life. He started publishing in 2007 and has no intention of stopping any time soon.

Learn more about Nathan Lowell and his works at http://nathanlowell.com

[Note: You’re seeing more reviews from me because fellow authors aren’t sending reviews of the books they like. If you’re an author, consider the submitting a review about an indie book you loved. The submission guidelines link is at the top of this page.]

Hadrian’s Flight

[Transparency disclaimer: I’ve known Dan personally for years. We’ve collaborated on many projects. This isn’t one of those projects.]

hadrians_flightI’ve long admired Dan Sawyer’s ability to craft a tale. His Resurrection Junket left me breathless. His Clarke Lantham series updates the old school noir detective trope and brings it into the twenty-first century. Hadrian’s Flight is his first attempt at YA and he hits it out of the park.

The tale is set in his Kabrakan Ascendancy universe and provides some interesting insights into the beginning of the first interplanetary war. Young Hadrian Jin gets caught up in a web of spies and must navigate his own course through the confusing – and often contradictory – paths defined by those around him. His biggest challenge is trying to figure out who’s telling him the truth – almost nobody – and whom he can trust – again, almost nobody. In spite of that, he finds his way and pays the price for his actions.

It’s a very tightly drawn story filled with intrigue, betrayal, challenge and ingenuity.

I really liked this book. Grab a sample and see what you think.

About the reviewer:

NathanLowell_150x150Nathan Lowell has been writing science fiction and fantasy most of his life. He started publishing in 2007 and has no intention of stopping any time soon.

Learn more about Nathan Lowell and his works at http://nathanlowell.com

Blood And Weeds

bloodandweedsThere seems, in my circles at least, to be a resurgence of noir-inspired fiction and I wholeheartedly embrace it. The Clarke Lantham series, by Dan Sawyer, is as good an example of neo-noir as I can think of. Not just a book about a private investigator set in first person, Sawyer also embraces the edginess, sex, and pulpy fun that characterizes the genre.

My favorite thing about this series as a whole is that each mystery’s hook is presented as something fantastical. Whether it’s aliens, ghosts, or vampires – Lantham is thrust into the fortean and squirms, thinks, kicks, and shoots to find answers. As a self proclaimed skeptic and lapsed Catholic, he struggles with those two natures and is left to deal with it as best he can. Often, the solution belongs to cutting edge science, but it’s no less strange and marvelous for all of that.

As the books progress, he befriends, adopts, and is adopted by a host of people at least as interesting as Lantham himself. One of those, his protege Rachel, stumbles on a mystery and it interweaves with a case Lantham is working on. Estranged by events in previous stories, they work together and try to save their friendship as well as a number of innocent lives.

There are two things this book does well that every one of the entries in this series does. The first is showing the business of private investigator in the most realistic way I’ve seen it done. No aspect of the cases is solved easily. Everything from the collecting of evidence to shadowing a suspect is portrayed as a struggle and the protagonists occasionally screw it up. That leads me to the second aspect – character. These people seem real to me. I’d not be surprised to meet Clarke or Rachel on the street one day. They make mistakes, perform their jobs well but aren’t virtuosos, and we get to know their emotional tics, love lives, and alcohol preferences.

I can’t recommend this series highly enough. I chuckled in a number of places throughout and the ending nearly left me an emotional wreck. There aren’t many books that do that to me.

About The Reviewer:

12347887_10207657078492367_4973381082910808028_nSome creatures feed on blood and revel in the screams of their prey. Scott Roche craves only caffeine and the clacking of keys. He pays his bills doing the grunt work no one else wants to take, bringing dead electronics back to life and working arcane wonders with software. His true passion is hammering out words that become anything from tales that terrify to futuristic worlds of wonder. All that and turning three children into a private mercenary army make for a life filled with adventure.

Learn more about Scott and his works at http://www.scottroche.com.