Saturday, October 24, 2015

Harriet's Death

I am Harriet's son, Eric Klausner. On October 15, 2015, my mother Harriet Klausner passed away in her sleep. She was an excellent and loving mother who will be missed by myself and by my father, Stan Klausner. My mother was a savant reader who enjoyed novels. She was a very intelligent woman and was a fighter nicknamed spunky. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Adrenaline - John Benedict

John Benedict
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Nov 22 2013, $10.95
ISBN: 9781484897522

The support staff prepares patient Mr. Rakovic for a routine arthroscopy of his right knee by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sanders.  However, anesthesiologist Dr. Mike Carlucci panics when his patient suddenly suffers from a potentially lethal V-tach, something he never encountered in his six years at Our Lady of Mercy Hospital.  He and others in the operating room frantically try to save Mr. Rakovic’s life.  With tears, Mike informs Mr. Rakovic’s sobbing wife that her husband died from a massive heart attack. 

Keystone Anesthesia provides the hospital with its professional anesthesia staff; who recently begun to doubt their competency as several other egregious errors by anesthesiologists occurred.  Filled with remorse and wondering whether they are the cause of these terrible mistakes, these dedicated employees also fear downsizing due to a merger with nearby General and a potential hostile takeover of their work by rival Pinnacle Anesthesia.  Increasingly Carlucci and his BFF Dr. Doug Landry wonder if a cold-blooded maniac wants to destroy the reputation of the anesthesiologists regardless of the cost to innocent patients. 

Using surgery that seems authentic (though my credentials are on the receiving end), this superb medical thriller showcases the criticality of anesthesiologists beyond just administering pain relief.  The opening Rakovic case, another involving a woman who feels the excruciating scalpel but unable to tell anyone and several others come across very frightening.  Though the final confrontation is over the top of Mount Davis, readers will feel an Adrenaline surge throughout Dr. John Benedict’s twisting and at times shocking hospital suspense; while also looking forward to the sequel (see The Edge of Death).

Harriet Klausner

Onward Drake! - Mark L. Van Name (Editor)

Onward Drake!
Mark L. Van Name (Editor)
Baen, Oct 6 2015, $25.00
ISBN 9781476780962

Fourteen of the sixteen short stories and four personal essays (by Mark L. Van Name, S.M. Stirling, Toni Weisskopf and Tom Doherty) that make up this anthology pay homage to David Drake; the other two entries were fictional works written by Mr. Drake.  Included with all the fictional entries are short afterwards in which each author explains how their respective tale links to the renowned military science fiction author. 

Fittingly the collection starts and ends with Mr. Drake’s two contributions.  Near the Viminal Gate, the bronzesmith’s widow wants to hire Hesperus the wizard to melt the bones of Tychos the bully and Murmilla; while his twelve years old nephew “The Great Wizard, Cabbage” (by Mr. Drake) listens intently.  Sergeant Krotcha assigns Hammer’s Slammers’ officer Raney at her temporary new post with the First while her jeep gets repaired, but the Bessies attack may make her vehicle someone else’s as she knows from combat experience to “Save What she Can” by Mr. Drake.  Others also use the Hammer’s Slammers universe like Larry Correia’s “The Losing Side” that explores the enemy’s morale as they faced their seemingly invincible foe.  Capricious King Bertrand of Wollend demands a special celebration to honor the birth of antiquities General Chefferax, but the bards have a different message to sing in Eric Flint’s “A Flat Affect”.  Perhaps the most direct accolade comes from Eric S. Brown whose “The One That Got Away” is a sequel to an early Mr. Drake’s horror short “Something Had To Be Done” to that damn vampire.  Onward Drake! achieves its lofty objective of honoring the great author; but also reminds readers that he wrote in other genres besides his acclaimed military science fiction bibliography.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Belshangles - Susan Altstatt

Susan Altstatt
Fithian Press/Daniel & Daniel Publishers, Oct 12 2015, $15.95
ISBN: 9781564745781

In 1983, superstar Tommi Rhymer and his band the Belshangles complete a tour at Bill-Graham-Presents Oakland Day-on-the-Green concert.  After the show the twenty-nine years old rocker and his mates expect the usual sex with groupies and the affluent, and plenty of drugs at the hotel.  Fifteen year old Miranda Falconer loves the Belshangles and worships Tommi as she has since she was a tweener.  She and her BFF Skye Milligan attend the concert.

When the police raid the hotel, band member Harlan Parr pushes Tommi to get his underage friends out of there.  Tommi, Miranda and Skye leave the party before he passes out.  Miranda bullies a scared Skye to drive them to the former’s family’s cabin in the Sierras with an unconscious Tommi.  Frightened, Skye drops them off, but heads back to Stanford. 

His next waking moment finds a confused Tommi wondering where he is and how he got there.  As Miranda dreams of having her God to herself, Tommi begins to suffer cold turkey withdrawal and proves dangerous to his underage companion.

Capturing the essence of the pre-digital instant YouTube legend-making era, Belshangles is a fascinating drama that looks back to the near end of three decades in which sex, drugs and rock and roll converged.  Character-driven by the lead couple and a strong support cast, armchair rockers (figuratively though some of us geriatrics might be literally) will enjoy Susan Altstatt’s homage to a different musical period.

Harriet Klausner

Rising Tide - Rajan Khanna

Rising Tide
Rajan Khanna
Pyr, Oct 6 2015, $17.00
ISBN: 9781633881006

In North America though he knows he did the right thing by saving the hidden city of Tamoanchan from raiders, airship captain Ben Gold hurts over the loss of his vessel Cherub that was destroyed when he did his first ever heroic deed (see Falling Sky).  Instead of a hero’s welcome, Ben awakens from his myriad of injuries amazed to find his close friend Malik alive; as he thought his buddy died.  Irate with his former BFF for abandonment during a crisis, Malik holds him prisoner while also incarcerating Ben’s beloved Miranda

Using Miranda as a pawn, Malik demands Ben do his bidding in the wasteland or else his scientist girlfriend dies.  Miranda has been working on a cure to the pandemic plague that turned much of mankind into the Feral beasts.  She wants to test her elixir; but needs Ben to rescue her team.  To do that, they must escape from Malik at a time when a new deadly disease followed by invaders attack Tamoanchan occurs.

The second Ben Gold futuristic post-apocalyptic thriller continues the escapades of an anti-hero who prefers flight over fight though his love for Miranda has him continually breaking the family Golden Rule of save yourself at all times.  The stark Khanna realm is filled with Feral zombies, mad friends, terrible diseases that made the planet’s desolate surface deadly and the air outside of fortresses treacherous, and horrific marauders as if The Walking Dead raced into a steampunk world.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Guise Of Another - Allen Eskens

The Guise Of Another
Allen Eskens
Prometheus/Seventh Street Books, Oct 6 2015, $15.95
ISBN: 9781633880764

Minneapolis Police Detective Alexander Rupert wonders how much deeper into the cesspool he can fall.  Once a highly regarded and decorated cop, Rupert faces potential corruption charges as a Grand Jury looks into whether he stole confiscated drug money.  Transferred to the Frauds Unit while waiting for the outcome of the investigation, his peers treat him as a pariah who may taint them.  Even his personal life seems flushed down the toilet as Rupert believes his wife, instead of commiserating and supporting him, has turned to someone else.

Rupert comes across the recent vehicular death of James Putnam on a Minneapolis highway.  He knows people die in car accidents, but Putnam officially died fifteen years ago in a boating accident off the Coney Island spit.  As he ponders who the second coming of Putnam really is and why he stole a dead man’s identity, Rupert struggles with his wife’s abandonment and the apparent end of his career.  To make matters exponentially worse for him, Rupert is attracted to the deceased’s non grieving girlfriend and worse has the attention of ruthless soulless killer Drago Basta.  While he works the case to resurrect his career and reputation that instead may bury him, Rupert’s well-regarded detective older brother tries to help him.

This exhilarating police procedural for the most stays focused on the imploding world of a cop facing corruption charges while working an investigation he believes is his Hail Mary redemption.  The storyline engages the audience whether looking at Rupert’s devastated marriage, the Grand Jury corruption probe or the case.  Only caricature Basta feels out of place in this stark storyline; as he belongs in the Big Hit as the fifth wheel.

Harriet Klausner

A Call to Arms - David Weber, Timothy Zahn, and Thomas Pope

A Call to Arms
David Weber, Timothy Zahn, and Thomas Pope
Baen, Oct 6 2015, $26.00
ISBN 9781476780856

The impoverished Star Kingdom of Manticore parliament debate continues over whether the isolated in a remote area of the galaxy nation needs a defenseless naval fleet loaded with obsolete in terrible shape ships and corrupt lazy officers.  Those in favor insist on modernization though know budgeting remains an issue; those opposed insist no one out there gives a crap about this out of the way orb.  Changing the pros and cons is the discovery of a strategic wormhole that the external superpowers want to control.  The parliamentary members mostly ignore the impact except to consider leasing the rights to control of the wormhole to one of the coveting outside powerhouses.

However, not everyone watching Manticore remains patient with the minor Star Kingdom’s internal argument.  Hostile takeover comes to Manticore, but the underfunded obsolete Royal Navy led by courageous in corrigible officers like Lieutenant Travis Long defends their nation while the Parliament deliberates over going to war or less costly (and personally profitable) surrender.

The storyline starts leisurely as the plot builds a solid foundation that leads to an exciting military science fiction.  Once again loyal Long thinks outside the crypt while preparing for war at a time when the Manticore Parliament seems to mirror our Congress (take credit for success and blame others for failure; but mostly do nothing except claim exceptionalism and patriotism).  In spite of a sameness to the overarching premise to the previous Manticore Ascendant thriller (see A Call To Duty), this is an interesting space opera that Harrington fans will enjoy; especially how ancient history differs from what future generations and historians, and the “books” believe happened.

Harriet Klausner