The Spellman Files

By Lisa Lutz

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007

Genre: Mystery

Series: Izzy Spellman mysteries; 1

ISBN: 9781416532392

Intended audience: adult

Number of pages: 358

Settings: Mainly San Francisco, CA but also Marin county and Reno, NV

Time period: contemporary

Plot summary: 28 year old Izzy Spellman comes from a family of private investigators; she started working in the family business as a teenager and never left.   Consequently, her perspective on life is a bit different from the average Jo’s.  When Izzy finally realizes that her family is dysfunctional to the point where she will never have any privacy in her life, she decides that she wants out of the family business.  Only leaving the business is not as easy as just quitting. Continue reading


The Watchmen

By Alan Moore

Illustrated by Dave Gibbons

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: DC Comics, 1995

Genres: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, adventure

Format: graphic novel

ISBN: 9780930289232

Intended audience: adult

Number of pages: 413

Settings: New York City, Antarctica, and Mars

Time period: late 1930s through mid 1980’s (The Cold War)

Plot summary: In an alternate history, super heroes become crime fighting forces to be reckoned with, that is until they are outlawed in 1977 (with a couple of exceptions).  When The Comedian is found dead from having been pushed out of a window, many “retired” super heroes become concerned and re-don their outfits to try to fight for justice and save the world from nuclear destruction. Continue reading

The Girl who Played with Fire

By Stieg Larsson (Translated from Swedish by Reg Keeland)

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009

Genres: Thriller, mystery, suspense

Series: Millennium trilogy; 2

ISBN: 9780307269980

Intended audience: adult

Number of pages: 503

Settings: Stockholm, Sweden and Grenada

Time period: around 2004 – 2005

Plot summary: Lisbeth Salander is an extremely introverted genius hacker who has few friends and has been dealt much more than her share of injustice throughout her life.  This has helped mold her moral codes.  After helping the journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, to expose “the Wennerström affair” Salander needed a break from her realities of life (see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and travelled around the world before returning to Stockholm to re-establish her life.  Unfortunately upon her return to Stockholm, her life catches up with her and she soon finds herself the focus of a police investigation for triple murder.

Continue reading

The Sandman: The Doll’s House

By Neil Gaiman

Illustrators: Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli, & Steve Parkhouse, illustrators; Todd Klein & John Costanza, letterers; Robbie Busch, colorist; Dave McKean, covers  and design

Place: Publisher & Year: New York, NY : DC Comics, 1995

Genres: Fantasy, dark fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, mythic fiction, adventure, horror

Format: Graphic novel

Series: The Sandman series; 2

ISBN: 9780930289591

Intended audience: adult

Number of pages: 232

Settings: Various dream worlds and locations in the US and England, including a convention for serial killers.

Time period: 1989

Plot Summary: Following a delightful introduction by Clive Barker, the reader is reminded or learns for the first time (through text) what occurred in the previous story.

After regaining his powers and realm after more than seventy years have passed, Morpheus has his servant, Matthew, take a census of the dream realms and discover a handful of missing entities – some of which should not be free to roam.  Morpheus also becomes aware of the first vortex of the era – a young woman named Rose Walker.  Morpheus has Matthew watch Rose, as she poses a great danger to the dreaming realms. As Morpheus seeks his other missing servants, he finds his path intertwined with Rose’s and her family’s.  He also must deal with members of his own immortal family. Continue reading

The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes

By Neil Gaiman

Illustrators: Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, artists; Todd Klein, letterer; Robbie Busch, colorist; selected recoloring by Daniel Vozzo; Dave McKean, covers.

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: DC Comics, 1995, 1991

Genres: Fantasy, dark fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, mythic fiction, adventure, horror

Format: Graphic novel

Series: The Sandman series; 1

ISBN: 9781563890116

Intended audience: “Suggested for mature readers”

Number of pages: 239

Settings: various cities on Earth, Hell, and dreams

Time period: 1916- 1988

Plot summary: When a secret magical society tries to capture Death to use for their own purposes, they mistakenly capture Dream, Death’s younger brother instead.  Imprisoned in a glass bubble, Dream (aka Morpheus and The Sandman) waits for his chance to escape.  After waiting more than seventy years, Dream is finally able to escape, but he has been much weakened by his capture.  His realm has fallen to ruin and he must find his tools of his trade which were taken from him (his pouch, his mask, and his ruby), before he can fully regain his strength. Continue reading

A Lick of Frost: a novel

By Laurell K. Hamilton

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Ballantine Books, 2007

Genres: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, dark fantasy, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, horror, mystery, occult fiction, erotic fiction

Series: Meredith Gentry series; 6

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 274

Setting: Los Angeles, CA and the Seelie Court

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: The story begins with a meeting of various attorneys; about one month has passed since the previous book ended.  Three of Merry’s guard have been accused by Taranis, the king of the Seelie Court, of raping a Sidhe female, only Merry knows her men are innocent.  Taranis has involved the US government in this case.  For a Sidhe to lie means risking exile from Faery forever.  However, Merry and her men already know that Taranis has lied to his own people.  What they need to prove now is his capacity to lie to those beyond his own court.  They also need to discover the King of Light and Illusion’s reasons for conjuring and pursuing this particular lie. Continue reading