Book Reviews: Sports TV and Murder, but Fear Not, Tiny Alien

“Does the shorter hair make me look older and more sophisticated?”
“Well, older. . .”
You’d think I’d learn. . . OW!

Detailing the birth of the sports channel all the way into how it grew into the behemoth we see today, this book consolidates information that is mostly public record and adds interviews to round out what could have been a highly entertaining read, had it been written in a different tone.
The most intriguing tidbit, very topical today, was the story of ESPN pulling out of a documentary by PBS on concussions in football. They of course instantly denied it had anything to do with their massive TV deal with the NFL, but all the excuses ring false. Another interesting part is how much they charge the cable and satellite subscriber; as stated here, they average $6.04 compared to the next highest, TNT, which gets $1.48. Can’t help but wonder if it was that way before ever-greedy Disney got their hands on the network, and is especially noteworthy when compared to their very humble beginnings.
While there’s some interesting tidbits here, it reads more like a textbook for a media class than an actual book intended to be read by those who view the channel.

Kaptara Volume 1
With a great subtitle: Fear Not, Tiny Alien
Humans on a spacecraft on the way to Mars encounter something strange, but they don’t have time to go around it, so. . . yeah, exactly. Instead the survivors end up on some strange planet far away from anything they know.
The first half features a lot of setting, with Keith, who seems to have settled in as the main character, enjoying how well he’s treated. But once he gets over being a coward, things go wrong not just in the story but AS a story, completely losing focus. There are battles against numerous foes just to get to the portal that will take him back to Earth, along with bounty hunters and flashbacks for the arrogant prince that you wish you die already. And then, since this is a continuing series, there’s no finish.
What it does have is plenty of humor, which is the best part. “Everyone get to the bridge, obviously!” The problem with being snarkily ironic, though, is aliens don’t know you’re joking, as the Prince of the Dance Floor finds out. And that robot butler and his special hand. . . that’s just wrong. The artwork is also brighter—colorwise—than most comics, which is nice to see, literally.
The funniest part may be the lexicon of bad guys at the end. So, great moments of humor in what’s really a weak story.

Dead Lost
In the fourth entry of a series about a police squad in an economically bleak part of England, a homeless man knows a secret and promises not to tell, but the bad guy kills him anyway.
Most of the by-now familiar characters grow through the series, but not Calladine, who is the main guy. Amazing that he’s no longer a spring chicken as well as a bit of a jerk, yet all the ladies still want him. He is a great detective, though, which is what’s important, especially when there’s a new sheriff—so to speak—in town, who is really horrible, both professionally and personally. But his new uncle—long story—is her chief, though that doesn’t work out as well as he hoped.
There are a lot more plot threads to this story than expected, dealing with the homeless, white slavery, and drugs. One of the best parts is the conclusion to the storyline about his cousin, which dovetails nicely with the discovery of his new family. And speaking of families, that’s where Ruth’s finally heading.
This was the best in an excellent series. A couple of new characters, but it’s a pleasure to follow old friends, especially Imogen. She gets more to do here, solves an important part of the case, but I still want more of her.
As always there’s a glossary of English slang for American readers, as well as a character list.

Storm at SEA
Reporter takes her husband along on an assignment: go undercover at a sex resort. One of the new genre of interactive erotica, where you choose which adventure you want to follow.
Having read a few of these in the past, I found this one more confusing, as well as longer. In this case the extra pages did not add up to extra fun; nothing wrong with the erotica, just not enough of it. Plenty of wasted opportunities.
Yet there’s still some good stuff here. The scene with the priest and the acolyte was exquisite. And at times the author shows a wicked sense of humor, like the chapter title: Yummy. Virgins. My favorite. And I certainly never expected something from the movie Labyrinth to be used as a sex analogy, especially not involving Jennifer Connelly. . .


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