Mortum

MORTUM
ISBN: 9781477829394, Thomas & Mercer, an e-book by Erik Threrme.

Plot: Andy Crowl inherits the house and other worldly goods from his 33-tear-old cousin Craig Moore who apparently fell from a cliff and drowned. There were no witnesses but autopsy demonstrated no contrary evidence. The house is in the very small town of Mortum where Mary, Craig’s mother still lives. Andy drives to the town with his sister Kate, meets the real estate agent and against instructions to not visit and/or attempt to move anything from it until legal matters have been settled, he goes there and begins to explore. A highly offensive odor greets him and Kate which turns out to be a dead rat under the refrigerator that has a key and a note in its mouth. Andy immediately realizes that this is a clue that will lead to others before his total inheritance is divulged. He and Craig often challenged each other in this manner. From this moment the story proceeds in a slowly expanding way to evolve a pattern of deceit and deception laced with misconceptions, misunderstandings and poorly thought-out activities indulged in by a number of often quite self-centered and/or thoughtless individuals. The tale ends in a manner that just seems to perpetuate the problems experienced by the poor protagonist.

Characters: Craig is never introduced, per se, but his competitive nature in association with Andy provides the basis for the plot. His mother Mary was 19 and pregnant when she moved to Mortum and provided the information that her husband had been killed in an auto accident in Canada. She also refused to answer any of Craig’s questions about his father. Andy is the son of a caring mother and father, as is Kate who is a single, conservative thinking, lower grade school teacher. Andy is enamored of puzzles, recently divorced under circumstances divulged later as not of a frivolous nature previously assumed by his sister. Nate is the local owner of a gas station in the town and has been there ‘forever’. Harlan, Nate’s ‘no-good’ nephew occasionally plays poker with Craig. Ricky Simms is the local cemetery custodian who takes a liking to and treats Craig like a son until a misunderstood occurrence drastically changes the situation. Debbie who is Ricky’s 13-year-old granddaughter.

Discussion: The author has provided an interestingly involved tale of deceit and deception indulged in by a group of characters who regrettably from this reviewer’s standpoint are not well defined. Thus, the activities in which they participate often are difficult to understand and/or accept. If, however, the reader enjoys a provoking almost totally plot based mystery, he/she no doubt will enjoy.

3* Unusual involved plot based mystery, 2* character inconsistencies.

Milijun

Milijun
ISBN: 9780994495617, an extraterrestrial Sci-Fi in e-book by Graham Clayton.

Plot: The story opens in Mare Moscoviense, Lunar Far Side in 2179 AD with Lunar minor Simon Cordell entering the unusual cavern in which the mining company was initiating drilling procedures. His light discovers strange shapes on the walls, all appearing identical. He radios earth who send a palaeontologist who finds no evidence of their being carbon based and medico Kendall LeBlanc who decides to extract one to study. Simon objects but LeBlanc proceeds. At the base camp the alien is sealed in a transparent cryogenic tube and attached to a vacuum pump and they decide to examine it in the morning. An alarm awakens the base. What appear to be a horde of bats is arising from the dig site. Simultaneously the alien they have is escaping from the tube with head and an arm out when it suddenly stops. The scientist approaches. LeBlanc asks if it’s dead. Probably. LeBlanc moves forward and discovers there is no evidence of injury to the tube even though the ‘thing’ had partially passed through. They open the tube, extract the alien and decide to investigate. Meanwhile Simon and the director return to the cave and find all the figures have disappeared. They return and find the station a shambles and an increasing number of dead bodies. One of the remaining minors attacks them. He is killed by a laser shot, an alien emerges from his dying body, Simon nicks its arm with another shot, it speeds to the door and disappears. From this strange, devastating and fast moving beginning the reader is taken to the lesser populated areas of the Australian outback where Laura Sinclair and her teen-age son Jason are attempting to enjoy a sojourn in their camper. Their period of enjoyment is unfortunately brief as they become involved with these strange alien creatures, the local police, the military, Simon, and a strange group of individuals in a rather sequestered area of the outback they refer to as Milijun.

Discussion: To provide more detail would be a disservice to the prospective reader. The author has combined his years as an aerospace engineer and interest in sci-fi to present a tale about human- extraterrestrial interrelationships that is ‘different’ and intriguing in its concept. The plot really is fascinating but regrettably, at least for this reader, the characters have little development. Laura and Jason especially are difficult persons with whom to attain any great degree of empathy. Neither is well defined and Laura and her vacillating activities are particularly difficult to accept. However if the reader is looking for a sci-fi replete with extraterrestrials, this book should be very intriguing.

4* Intriguing plot-driven alien sci-fi.