Book Reviews: Godzilla, a Sheikh, and a Memory Man Walk Into a Bar

“You kiss your own ass with that mouth?”

Godzilla in Hell
A graphic novel where the title is so literal it tells you all you need to know. Hell can’t handle Godzilla any better than Tokyo.
I had a strange thought right before I jumped into this: are they gonna have Godzilla talk? Or anyone? Turns out it wasn’t so strange; there’s absolutely no dialogue, and only a few boxes of texts, until halfway. But I’m definitely glad the authors didn’t make the monster a thinking creature, simply reacting to all the attacks from the beasts in hell.
Apparently Rio is now in hell, according to a certain statue. There’s a point where there’s signs saying “Submit to Hell!” and such, but he’s simply an animal who can’t think, so all pleas are ridiculous, even when the fairies say they worship him. (Yes, that’s a weird sentence.) But of course most of it is fighting with other monsters. Even when he’s impaled on a pointy building he keeps going; guess since he’s in hell he’s already dead, right? Even being eaten alive can’t stop him.
Nothing much I can say about the artwork; it’s usual. This is equivalent to a shoot-‘em-up movie where there’s no need for much plot, just action sequences.
3/5

The Sheikh’s Reluctant American
Amid the background of an American oil company wanting to buy land in a fictional Arab kingdom, a local prince and the daughter of the oil baron, both trying to please their respective daddies, fall hard for each other.
I don’t read romance often, but the setting alone made it worth the try. It helps that it’s also listed under erotica, and the sex scenes are pretty good. The two lead characters are well done, but the rest are one-dimensional.
I like the geographic settings, and the sandstorm scene was excellent. Having spent a month in the desert of Oman, I’m grateful I never had to go through that.
4/5

As The Crow Flies
London cop transfers to the boonies, which no one understands, even if it’s the area where he grew up.
Read this in a couple of hours. There’s two plots: identity theft of recently deceased, and investigating the death of a friend who fell while climbing. I like how the two plots are distinct, yet his investigating style meshes with both. He’s a bit of a jerk with other cops, though. And bad cops are becoming much too common in British mysteries.
If there’s one problem early on, it’s that the author thinks he’s explaining the nuances of recreational climbing, but it’s not working. I’ve done it myself, though no expert, and I couldn’t follow the explanations.
But the major problem is the ending, which is frankly ridiculous, completely ignoring what had been written earlier in the death scene as well as witness statements. That brings the final grade down, but up to then it had been a fine if simple procedural.
3/5

Transient City
In a moving city on some planet far away from “Old Earth,” a man with an enhanced memory helps solve crimes, only to be given the lead in finding the killer of the husband of the girl who was his first kiss when he was a kid. The great mystery is in figuring out who’s pulling the strings.
Wow, right away it shows why having such a memory is not a good thing. It hurts both physically and psychologically, especially remembering perfectly how his crush was when he knew her, and of course how much she’s changed now that she’s an adult. But the big idea of this story is a city that moves, every once in a while taking off to mine for minerals in a new locale. Despite this seemingly futuristic notion, a lot of this world is the same as ours, possibly further back, as police reports are still done with paper and pencil, with only vague references to computers.
I wonder if there’s anything to the corporation being named Agamemnon. . .
Every once in a while something like “fortnight” or “mate” sneaks in. But what really struck me was a couple of the characters being incredibly similar to some famous ones from the 60s. If you’re  a fan of the adventures of Modesty Blaise and her pal Willie, here we have Duchess Blaze and Chilly, a bureaucrat and a miner who moonlight as assassins. The male character in particular is doppelgänger, with the Cockney, the books, all the girlfriends, being a knife thrower, so on. About the only difference is that this guy is totally psycho.
As for our main character, Victor is an everyman—albeit one with a gift—trying to get the job done when no one else will, and trying to keep his old crush and himself alive. He’s smart enough to know he’s being sent on the boat trip to keep him away from Kathy; up to them I wasn’t sure how good he’d be, but this show of intelligence made me like him more. But if there’s one character I liked the most, it would have to be Shoes, a Greek chorus on a skateboard. . . ish device.
This book was fun. Not perfect, but solid.
4/5

;o)

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