Last Update 2/6/23

Fangs by William Dobson, Signet, 1980

There was a brief popularity of nature gone wild novels in SF back around this time. This really isn't one of them. It's a straightforward suspense adventure story about a deadly king cobra that gets loose in a major city. It insinuates itself into buildings and kills a few people before the protagonist is able to track it down. The suspense is minimal and the story rather flat. Dobson is British writer Michael Butterworth, who produced several tie in novels for the Space 1999 television show. 2/6/23

Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope, 1861

A very long novel not in a series with a large cast of characters and a very large number of subplots. The main one involves a codicil to a will that leaves a small farm to a dying man's younger second wife and her son. The rest of the estate goes to the son by his first wife. The son is ignorant, intolerant, and holds a grudge because he failed in his challenge to the codicil, even though he was left well off. The other plots mostly involve complicated love affairs and triangles, and some tension between generations, one a young man who is too lazy to work hard, one who is too industrious to relax or consider other people's viewpoints. There really is not enough story for such a long book, so there are extensive accounts of Christmas parties, fox hunting, and other social events. Halfway through we learn that the codicil was in fact forged, and that removes any element of mystery. This is not one of my favorites of his novels. 1/31/23

The Star Stalker by Robert Bloch, Pyramid, 1968 

I think this is the only mundane novel Bloch wrote. Despite the title, it is not about a psychopath. It is not a suspense novel. Set during the era of silent movies, it follows the career of a young writer who wants to work in the movie business. Through luck and hard work, he manages to enjoy a fairly successful career, but at times he has doubts that he has made the right decisions in his life. More of interest because of the era and situations it evokes than anything else. 1/12/23

A Key to the Suite by John D. MacDonald, Gold Medal, 1962 

Although there is a murder at the end of this short novel, it is not a mystery or even a suspense story. The setting is a business convention where some of the attendees have conspired against an executive whom they believe is going to recommend the elimination of some jobs. They hire a prostitute to seduce him, planning to use quiet blackmail to alter his position. The seduction works, but an angry boyfriend complicates the issue and the executive is not inclined to allow his weakness affect his professional decisions. The murder is inadvertent but also unprovable and the killer gets away with it. 1/3/23

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