Russian Winter: Daphne Kalotay

For fiction, for me, it all starts with characters, then setting, then plot, and it all better have clever writing and word play.

From all the above, I only found characters — and just 2 at that: Grigori and Drew — who made me want to keep reading.

Lots of “speed reading” and page flipping for me on this one.

Your mileage may vary.

Cleaning the Gold: Karin Slaughter and Lee Child

Oh dearie, I hope Child isn’t being pressured by his publisher to “jump the shark” going forward. The problem with many extremely popular authors such as Child is that their name alone becomes a brand, and suddenly we have all kinds of cross-overs and novellas and short stories to exploit the name.

I didn’t find much of anything special in here; pure marketing ploy.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep: Philip K Dick

Dick is a legend, largely unknown and unappreciated in this time, writing over 30 novels and even more short stories. Many have been adapted into some of the most popular movies and TV shows of our time, including “Total Recall” and “Minority Report.”

This one is the inspiration for Blade Runner. It’s one of the few times I’ve liked the video version better than the written one.