by Lillian Csernica on July 25, 2013
Farewell, Dorothy Parker by Ellen Meister is the wonderful story of how movie critic Violet Epps encounters the mistress of rapier wit, Dorothy Parker herself, who haunts the Algonquin Hotel. This is a ghost story and a love story and and a tribute to one of literature’s most talented and tragic figures. Ellen Meister has done her research well and works it into the story with great skill and respect. If you’re a fan of Dorothy Parker, you must read this book. By doing so, you’ll become a fan of Ellen Meister, because she is an excellent storyteller who creates characters with strong hearts and hidden depths.
The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters combines science fiction, police procedural, and the right dash of noir. Det. Hank Palace is dedicated to his job, committed to solving crimes in a world that has largely given up on caring about anything but immediate gratification. The comet is coming, the great big flaming ball of death and destruction that will smash into the earth and set off a chain of cataclysms that will destroy most if not all life on the planet. The story opens with a suicide, a very common event in Palace’s world. His instincts tell him the details are wrong, leading him into an investigation that will satisfy mystery lovers and dystopian futurists alike.
I want to say that this type of book is not my first choice for reading material. I got it as part of the SFWA tote/Bag o’ Books I received when I attended the Nebula Awards this year. I mention this to underline the fact that I am so very happy I did get this book, and I can’t wait to read the sequel. Mr. Winters has created a very realistic society full of people struggling to find a reason for functioning from one day to the next when there’s only six months of the future left. Each character’s mindset, motivations, and reactions to Palace’s devotion to duty make for an impressive, memorable, and thoroughly enjoyable story.