THE DOUBLE LIFE OF MIRANDA TURNER: If You Have Ghosts by George Kambadais and Jamie S. Rich introduces us to actor Miranda Turner AKA the Cat — except that was actually the identity of her sister Lindy (modeled on Harvey Comics’ Black Cat superhero, whose secret identity was Linda Turner) before she was murdered. Can Miranda take over the role without superpowers? And who was responsible for Lindy’s death? Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like we’ll get a volume two, as this was fun; however it works as a character arc (Miranda goes from reluctant hero to real hero) so if it has to stand alone, I can live with it.
HOLDING WONDER was Zenna Henderson’s follow-up collection to Anything Box, with a great many stories about teachers, whetherdealing with magical revenge (“The Believing Kind,”), telepathic students (“Sharing Time”), the apocalypse (“Three-Cornered and Secure.”) or murder (“You Know What, Teacher?” which is a straight suspense story). While it has more funny stories than the first collection, some of them are very dark; curiously, at least half the collection apparently wasn’t published before (so did she write them because the published ones weren’t long enough for a book, or what?).
THE BLACK KHAN: The Khorasan Archives Book Two by Ausma Zehanat Khan is competent, but it didn’t grab me at all. It might be my general lack of enthusiasm for epic fantasy, or that I expected more action and less intrigue and power struggles. Or just that, as editors say, it didn’t suit my needs at this time. Either way the story of various faction (including the Black Khan) intriguing over the looming threat of a religious zealot army and feuding over the mystical power known as the Claim didn’t work for me.
One thing Khan is really awful at (though I don’t think it’s why I didn’t like the book) is names. “The One Eyed Preacher” just doesn’t sound like a name (he’s the leader of the evil army) and calling his army The Talisman makes no sense (maybe it means something completely different in the book’s setting, but I’m reading it in our setting).
#SFWApro. Cover by George Kambadais, all rights remain with current holders.