“Skid – The First Chronicle”, by Keith Fenwick – Review

Keith Fenwick kicks off The Skidian Chronicles series with this introduction to the alien race known as Skid. The basic concept is that of a civilization so advanced its citizens don’t know how to do much of anything other than exist within it. Other authors have mined this idea for many years (examples include Asimov, Herbert, and even L. Ron Hubbard) but it still makes for an interesting read. The action starts with an existential crisis on Skid, their automated food supply systems are about to fail, so they decide to abduct some likely residents of Earth who can make it all better. Unfortunately, Skidians do not have the first clue of what they actually need. Regardless, in quick order, four solitary humans are snatched and the Skidian ship flees Earth once detected. Due to a series of early mishaps, two of the humans are dispatched almost immediately; leaving a female American travel consultant who was hiking in the woods on her way to a yoga class and an Australian, no .. (cough) I mean a New Zealander farmer with his three semi-working dogs as the sole hope of the Skidians.

Fenwick has fun with the stereotypes of both Kiwi and American, as well as the advanced-but-do-nothing Skidians. The book is well-written and easily creates the world of Skid for the reader. The pacing of the story could use some work, as things run on a bit 3/4 of the way through and the ending is definitely abrupt. There are many plot points left hanging, which I assume will be picked up by the balance of the series. Nonetheless I very much enjoyed the book and am definitely interested in seeing what’s next for the clueless Skidians.

(Disclosure: I received a free copy through Veracious Readers Only)

“White Oaks”, by Jill Hand – Review

Jill Hand has written a completely entertaining thriller which incorporates a sometimes comic view of family dynamics surrounding inheritance positioning within a ruling Southern family. I say “ruling” since we in the United States sometimes use extreme multi-generational wealth as a proxy for royalty and most of us know places where there are families so rich they literally can get away with murder. In White Oaks, the family patriarch assigns an illegal bucket list item for his four grown children to arrange and the fun begins. The twists, turns, betrayals, and daft-yet-plausible behavior combine into something you’ll want to read in one sitting.

The writing and craftsmanship is impeccable, and a distinct pleasure to read. White Oaks is one of those books to savor as skimming would miss too many wonderful, and snarky, observations. I recommend without reservation.

I purchased the paperback book directly from the publisher.