I won't even speculate on why this book is called Refrigerator 5; it’s a collection of bits and maybe that is all the reason anyone needs.
I have to confess to being a long time fan of MCM’s writing, and I was very pleased to hear about this release on facebook. It took me a while to get around to downloading a copy, so now I have this, and Refrigerator 6 waiting to be read, and Refrigerator 7 on order.
So, what did I get for my money?
So far, so good. There is a downside, but I’ll get to that in a little while.
There are four episodes in the book, each a single part of a separate story. Pilot episodes, if you like. The author is calling this episodic release Droplet Fiction. He says:
“Droplet Fiction gives you a variety of fun, episodic adventures, perfect for Kindle Unlimited readers. Every month, the last four droplets are bundled up in a collection called "Refrigerator", for those who prefer a more conventional reading experience. Look for other Droplet stories on Kindle... one every week!”
First droplet is Eviction Notice. (Niko Joe Adventures Book 1)
The worst part about Earthies is... uh... that they exist.
Mars tenancy. It would be the crappiest job in the universe if it weren't for the fact that you get to fly a ship with kickass kinetic weapons, and use them on people you generally despise. Which, if you've signed up for Mars tenancy, is pretty much everybody.
Today, I'm shipping a self-important colonist doof into the far reaches of nowhere, and then blasting Led Zeppelin through the skitter speakers until my ears bleed. It's going to be a good day.
I've jinxed it now, haven't I?
Niko Joe lives on a hunk of junk orbiting Mars, and her job consists of threatening, shooting at, or ignoring the colonists who live below her. It's not exactly a boring gig, but when you mix an explosive personality with a load of self-important halfwits, things are bound to get... interesting. Between Goran (her moron of a boss), and Eep (her aggressively empathetic girlfriend), Niko's life is always one wrong comment away from a major eruption of profanity. And wrong comments, they come fast and furious on Mars.
Niko Joe is not a particularly likeable heroine. She might even be psychotic, but events move so quickly and she has enough humour to make her story enjoyable. She doesn’t like people, and they don’t get much chance to like her in the lucrative, rapid-turnover Martian real-estate rental market.
In this first episode, she thinks she has the whole scene clear. She knows who’ll live, who’ll die and who’ll run home to their rich parents, sorry they ever tried to brave the Brave New World. But, of course, she finds a circumstance she had not imagined possible, and it throws her cold hard logic out the air-lock. It’s a fun read in a world that will become even more interesting the more we learn about it.
Next is The Threader in Autumn. (Chrysanthemum Rift Saga Book 1)
Every step has a consequence, every movement a tragedy in the making...
Jito is a Threader, a powerful magic-wielder who can twist the fates of men in her hands — literally. When her latest contract takes an unexpected turn, she is forced to bide her time in dangerous terrain, fending off furious forest spirits, marauders, and a devilish demon with a nose for trouble.
At some point, even boundless power meets its match. The question for Jito is: can she hold out long enough for her comrades to return... and return alive?
The Chrysanthemum Rift imagines a fantasy world where the cultures, kingdoms and magic of Japan, China and Korea are all vying for supremacy; where even the greatest warriors bow down to a girl with a spirit on her shoulder; where queens and emperors beg for the favour of bodyguard-monks.
This is good solid magical fantasy, and my first choice for reading matter. It is from a series called 'The Chrysanthemum Rift', and other fantasy lovers will do as I did and think of the ‘Riftwar Sagas’. That same essence of fantastic Asian culture is carefully blended into the world where the reader meets the Threader, Jito.
There is a bit to take on trust as this story begins. It starts right in the middle of Jito’s ‘contract’, and it takes several pages to start to get a hold on what is happening and to get a feel for the working of the powers at play in this world. There is enough standard fantasy fare here to gain a grip, and then the story whips along so readers experience the world around the characters as it unfolds without any need to pause for detailed explanations.
This was, not surprisingly, my favourite of the ‘Droplets’ in this collection. I can’t wait to follow Jito further in this world.
Third Droplet is Risk the Queen. (Lennie Carson Mysteries Book 1)
Mobsters can be such drama queens sometimes...
Lennie's got her work cut out for her when the case of a missing brooch leads her straight into the underbelly of Chicago mob. Booze, deceit, threats... why, between the thugs and her overbearing Uncle — remarkably similar! — Lennie's got a little too much to handle. Good thing she doesn't have a tendency to fib her way into deeper trouble, just as things are looking their bleakest. Oh wait. She does!
"You serve customers here, or just stare at them 'til they leave?"
Lennie's on the case.
Lennie Carson is a sassy young sleuth in 1925 Chicago, cracking cases with the help of her ethereal partner, Mr Parker. But between the pressures of being a reluctant debutante, and having to work for a living to get out from under her Uncle's thumb, Lennie has to be extra clever to help people in need. That, or fudge some facts along the way.
This one is just a whole lot of fun. Lennie is a ditzy flapper – well, she’s not as silly as she seems, and she is spoiled and way overconfident, but she muddles through without messing her fingerwaves. There’s a twist in this one that I did not expect, the ‘ethereal Mr Parker’, and it took me a moment or two to realize what exactly was happening.
One of the good things about this style of releasing stories is, it brings you into contact with stories you would otherwise not pick up. That is true of “The Lennie Carson Mysteries”. I’d pass over it no matter who was the author because I just don't usually read mysteries, but I am glad I got to sample it this way. Just fun, with this bright little girl flapping her way into trouble and back out again. My advice is try her for size. Just a complete delight!
And lastly, Open the Door Please. (Weapon of Mass Destruction Book 1)
"You listen to her, now. Do as she says. Remember your vow..."
For the last 40 years, Jada Bolen hasn't held a spoon, or a fork, or even a piece of string. She's only talked to one man, and only ever during a specific 3-hour window. She cannot dress herself, bathe herself, or defend herself against even the most blatant aggressions. She has not left the confines of her home for forty years... for the good of mankind.
All that is about to change.
Mankind is trouble.
Weapon of Mass Destruction is a series about what happens when you make a deal with the devil... and get forced to ask for an amendment.
This one is the downside I mentioned earlier. Reality at the moment is overfull of political intrigue and secret organizations, and if I hadn’t been intending to review, I might not have read fiction along the same lines. That said, it is a gripping read. And if you love a complex political thriller, it’s just the thing for you.
I did not understand what was going on at first. There is a ‘begin in the middle, flashback, middle, flashback, get to the end’ timeline happening and I was confused for a while, but kept going, trusting it was all going to make sense eventually. And it did. I don’t want to labour the point, but the writing carries the reader into and through these stories so fast, there is no time to worry too much about how it fits together. It’s just turn the page, turn the page, turn the page. Wonderful stuff.
If you want to read only one stream of the stories, just stick to that kindle ‘droplet’ each week and enjoy. I’m too old for that much weekly dripping, so I’m happy to stay with the Refrigerators as they come out. My advice – Enjoy.
So, all up, and admittedly as a fan of MCM’s writing, I give this a delighted 5 stars.
About the Author:
You can read his 100% Full Biography here.
And you can find any one or all of his millions of books to read here.