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Bryan Schingle (Thornton, Colorado United States)

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Doctor Who: Empire of Death
Doctor Who: Empire of Death

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great adventure for the 5th Doctor., June 12 2004
When a young man, claiming to be a medium to the spirits, steps up to the Queen's throne and gives her a message from her husband, all of England's nobility is thrown into a race to find an ancient entrance into the afterlife itself.
Meanwhile, the recently deceased Adric appears in the TARDIS as a ghost. When the Doctor and Nyssa follow the ghost's trail, they are led into the race. As the Doctor finally understands what's really going on, it's a race of time to save the future. Or is it the past? That's the problem with time travel, I never can remember... :-)
This is one of the finest 5th Doctor adventures I have read, only being beaten by "Divided Loyalties". It features a great characterization of the Doctor and Nyssa both, and remains accurate to the show's history and feeling. All characters are well written, keeping the pages flowing with emotion and fear.
The only reason that this book gets 4 stars and not 5, is because it has a thundering cliche that I couldn't get past. One of the Queen's Generals goes mad, and uses his power to force all underneath him to help him find the entrance to the afterlife. The Ma Military-Man/Mad Scientist or what-have-you, is simply used far too often in Science Fiction in general, but even in the recent Doctor Who books (That half-human and half-cyborg dude from "Hope" and the crazed Russian General from "Emotional Chemistry" come to mind).
If this cliche doesn't bother you, perhaps your review will give this book the extra star. Even if you don't like the cliche, I still recommend this book.

Doctor Who: Wolfsbane
Doctor Who: Wolfsbane
by Jac Rayner
Edition: Paperback
13 used & new from CDN$ 24.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the Doctor?, April 30 2004
This review is from: Doctor Who: Wolfsbane (Paperback)
Wolfsbane: A fantastic premise for a book, marred by the fact that it was essentially and Eighth Doctor book, featuring Fourth Doctor companions. And the Eighth Doctor isn't even himself in the book, he's just an important character in this novel.
Which brings us to the question, where is the Doctor?
The book starts with Harry Sullivan being left behind a few days time in England, while a werewolf is tearing people apart. A few days later, The 4th Doctor (who seems to disappear after a few chapters) and Sarah Jane Smith arrive, finding Harry's tombstone. Sounds good, but alas, it was not meant to be.
The rest of the novel jumps from Harry to Sarah Jane, while the Eighth Doctor pops up and renders Harry aid (although the only reason you realize that he's the Eighth Doctor is because it says so on the back of the book). Sarah Jane goes on a maddening search, trying to discover what happened to Harry. Once in a while, Tom Baker's Doctor will show up and say something, but he never acts like that particular incarnation. Swap the clothes and hair out, and it could be any number of Doctors. Heck, quit calling his character the Doctor and suddenly he's just another guy in the town. His role is that small.
The only things saving this book from being a 1-star book was the fantastic description, and a pretty clever ending. If you like Sarah Jane and Harry enough to read a book just about them, grab "Wolfbane". If you want to actually read about Doctor Who, stick to your trusty copy of "Festival of Death".

Doctor Who: Sometimes Never
Doctor Who: Sometimes Never
by Justin Richards
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from CDN$ 25.13

5.0 out of 5 stars Best 8th Doctor Adventure in a while..., Feb. 20 2004
Sometime Never... The 8th Doctor, Fitz and Trix get entangled in the secret plot of a secret society bent on controlling time. Sabbath's role in the Doctor's life is finally explained, and his story arc is concluded. With some mystery still floating in the Doctor's life in the end, this epic tale kept me reading late into the night.
Recent Doctor Who novels, especially the Eighth Doctor's adventures, have been somewhat depressing lately. "Hope" and "Reckless Engineering" are two of these. But, like "Timeless", this book has elements of depression that don't weigh down the story. The use of time travel in "Sometime Never..." is provacative and interesting, and the book comes to a terrific conclusion, with the Doctor's cunning mind tricking the enemy yet again.
I can only hope that the Eighth Doctor novels to come are as good as this one.

Doctor Who: Timeless
Doctor Who: Timeless
by Stephen Cole
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
10 used & new from CDN$ 30.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding entry in the Eighth Doctor Series., Nov. 30 2003
The last two books that I read in the EDA were both somewhat depressing. "Reckless Engineering" and "The Crooked World" both had dark shadows to them, feelings of hopelessness and despair. I picked this one up, hoping for a change of pace.
Needless to say, I got what I was hoping for. "Timeless" is a great entry in the series. Humorous, a great story line/plot twists, good characters. It had it's own dark side to it, but it didn't stand out like it did in "Reckless Engineering". The book starts in several different story lines, each line emerging every fifty pages or so, concluding in a tense, dramatic climax. The Eighth Doctor is insightful and childish at the same time, just as Paul McGann was in the television movie. I would love to see this book come out as an episode some day!

The Maltese Falcon
The Maltese Falcon
by Dashiell Hammett
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.55
84 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, from chapter one to the end, Oct. 13 2003
This review is from: The Maltese Falcon (Paperback)
When I first saw this book at the store, I thought to myself "Hey, isn't that the movie with Humphrey Bogart?" I grabbed a copy off of the shelf, and put it in my reading pile. When I finally got around to it, I couldn't put it down until I reached the back cover.
I think that the reason this book works so well is because of the characters (not that it's slacking in any other departments). From the first few paragraphs, you get a feeling that Samuel Spade is like no other fictional detectives. As you read further into the story, this becomes true. The other characters, mainly Brigid O'Shaughnessy and Casper Gutman, are unique in their own ways and help move the story along.
The description is above reproach, giving the reader a true feeling for the setting, San Francisco, and the characters as well. Several tense scenes are relayed particularly well, and once resolved the readers feels some good relief.
The dialogue in "The Maltese Falcon" is amongst my favorite. the book is quotable throughout, realistic and interesting. One famous and favorite line comes to mind, "When you're slapped, you'll take it and you'll like it!", which sums up a lot of Sam Spade himself.
Highly recommended for mystery lovers, and readers in general.

Doctor Who: Reckless Engineering
Doctor Who: Reckless Engineering
by Nick Walters
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.78

4.0 out of 5 stars A darker, more depressing Who., Sept. 8 2003
This is quite possibly the darkest Doctor Who book that I have read to date (although it should be noted that I have read about 7 books in the series). It has several very good qualities to it- terrific description, an astounding and complex plotline and a truly Who ending using unusual elements of time travel to solve the problems.
It has a very dark side to it as well, and when the book ends, I couldn't help but feel a bit depressed. While I will not give the ending away here, I will say that Fitz learns a bit about the Doctor that he wishes he didn't, and the possibility of more unhappiness in future novels seems to loom ahead.
Though I came away from this book a touch saddened, I feel that the better qualities of this installment made up for it. Four out of five stars in all, that last star simply for the great plotline.

Money for Nothing
Money for Nothing
by Donald E Westlake
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 27.65
27 used & new from CDN$ 0.33

3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, but Westlake's done better, Sept. 2 2003
This review is from: Money for Nothing (Hardcover)
My favorite books by Westlake are his Richard Stark books featuring Parker. I'm more used to his hardboiled books than this genre, which is funny but with a good story. I enjoyed "Smoke" quite a bit, diliked "What's the Worst That Could Happen", thought "The Hot Rock" was okay and really really liked "Why Me?". That should give you a good idea of my Westlake standards for the rest of the review...
John Redmont started recieving checks for $1000, once a month, when he was 27. Seven years later, the man who's been sending these checks tells him that they are payment to be a sleeper agent, and that he's been activated. What would you do in this situation?
Personally, I never got Westlake's sense of humor too much but always enjoyed his writing none the less (Why Me is hilarious, though). Once again, I seldom got the jokes here, with the exception of the actor Robbie Mitchell. He was the best character in the novel, making Redmont seem like a foil at times.
All in all, not bad, but I'll take Parker any day. I'd say cast Matthew Perry for the movie...

Best Of The
Best Of The
Price: CDN$ 7.73
32 used & new from CDN$ 3.06

4.0 out of 5 stars Great music!, July 21 2003
This review is from: Best Of The (Audio CD)
The Grass Roots were never the sort of band to win a Grammy, or to be recognized for their singing (which is still good, but no Mamas and the Papas). However, they are one of my favorite groups from the era. I purchased this album for "Midnight Confession" and "Sooner or Later", and was suprised by how much of this music was so great, and yet never played on my radio stations. "Temptation Eyes" and "Heaven Knows" are some of my favorites by the Grass Roots now. I wouldn't trade this collection for the world.

Blood Work (Widescreen)
Blood Work (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Clint Eastwood
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 7.26
33 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Eastwood, reminding me of Dirty Harry, July 6 2003
This review is from: Blood Work (Widescreen) (DVD)
Essentially, this movie is "Dirty Harry after Heart Surgery", which is not to say that it's bad. The acting is great on all sides (especially by Eastwood, portraying a hurt man magnificently). The action scenes are good, and it is a VERY good murder mystery.
The only reason that this doesn't get four stars is due to the villan; I won't spoil it, but I just didn't agree with the final choice of actor, or who the villan turned out to be. Definately worth the money to buy and the time to watch a dozen times.

Flashfire
Flashfire
by Richard Stark
Edition: Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A weaker entry, but good none the less, July 6 2003
This review is from: Flashfire (Paperback)
The only problem that I had with this book in the Parker Saga, is that Parker ended up hurt through most of the book. While it successfully showed that he is human after all, in most books Parker is mean and strong. I wasn't ready for my favorite anti-hero to be weak and nearly dead.
This book does have some very positve points. You see how Parker looks through the eyes of someone else (this time a woman who helps him through everything). The bad guys are interesting characters as well.
All in all, the goods do overcome the large con, but just barely. Luckily, the next two in the series, Firebreak and Breakout are great, and show Parker in his full speed and angry glory. I can't wait for the next in the series!

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