Vampyre! by D. J. Belt

“Everybody’s doing vampire stories these days. I thought I’d do one, too.”

England, 1897. Dr van Helsing and his assistant Jacob, accompanied by Alais, break into a tomb to stake a vampire. Or rather, they *try* to break into said tomb, but the door proves to be too sturdy – until Alais (“Let a girl do it”) points out that the door opens outwards…

And so, tongue firmly in cheek, D. J. Belt starts out to contribute to the lastest fashion in writing. I suppose I’m not telling too much when I say that the staking itself does not take its planned course, either.

The story tells of the age old battle between the vampire hunter and the creatures of the night, represented here by the Count and Countess de Mort, but don’t expect to get your blood chilled — prepare for sore abs from constant chuckling and quite a few bouts of outright laughter, instead. There’s ‘hanky-panky’, love, a saved soul, and more to Alais than meets the eye — all served with an ironic bow to the genre.

It is not a story I will save for re-reading every once in a while, but it’s good, clean fun, well worth the time spent.

Angelique, Book One and Two by D. J. Belt

Possible spoiler alert — you might want to read book one before reading further.

It’s a little hard to *not* give away the ending of book one — the very existence of the second one strongly suggests that there is something to continue. So, yes, indeed, book one does not end in disaster.

Laurie is an enthusiastic, if perhaps naive, aide to a US senator whose position is threatened by investigations into passing on classified information to the Mossad, the Israelian secret service. From one moment to the next, her orderly life goes out of the window, and she soon finds herself as a target for assassination.

Angelique has been an assassin for Mossad for quite some time, and her name is whispered in awe and fear by those who have dealings in those circles. She has become tired of all the violence, but lets herself be talked into at least looking into a double assassination in Washington, D.C. Angelique rejects the assignment, however, perceiving that the intended victims are only being set up by political machinations.

But Angelique cannot forget Laurie’s face from the dossier, and neither can she shake off the disgust at the slaughtering of innocent peaople. She decides to meddle in an affair that she had wanted no part of.

High suspense factor, fast action, 3-D characters: all that makes for a very good reading, and I wonder why I hadn’t recommended the story before — in hindsight, perhaps because of a vague feeling of incompleteness (purely subjective), that D. J. Belt now, almost six years after giving us the story, has dispelled with Angelique Book Two‘.

Six months after the ending of book one, Laurie and Angelique live together in Paris, France, where Angelique has her ‘Café Angel’. The avenging angel of the Mossad has retired for good, but her reputation lingers. Although no amount of money can buy Angelique’s services, having let Laurie into her heart makes her vulnerable. A band of mercenaries, desperate to fulfil a contract they themselves seem not to be able to honour, try to pressurise the former assassin into a suicidal mission by kidnapping Laurie.

I’m clamming up here — go read for yourselves. More suspense, more from two nice ladies (and a few other characters I’ve not mentioned here), an even tighter story line than book one — Yummy! Don’t forget to send D. J. Belt praise and thanks!

The ‘Kimi’ Quandary by D.J. Belt

Mike Miguchi is the head of Miguchi Ltd, a company that has been at the forefront of developing the finest androids for two centuries. When he hires psychologist Amanda Livingston, he wants her to find a way to install a soul into the high-end model X-42, which physically is already virtually indistinguishable from humans.

Amanda gets to work with Patricia VanLandingham, the company’s top programmer, and one night, over the consumption of some fine cannabis, an idea develops…

Humour is a big part of this short novel, in two senses: first, it had me laughing out loud several times (so don’t read this at work), second, Amanda and Patsy consider it to be part of the personality to be built.

I liked how the characters are distinguished by different styles of speech; that is not something often found in online fiction, and D.J. Belt carries this off very well.

This one goes into my hall of fame without a second thought. Highly recommended reading, or, as Patsy might put it: This story is radical like, I mean I really love it.

P.S. If you like investigations into ‘artificial personalities’, you might want to give Heinlein’s ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’ and ‘Friday’ a try (but you’ll have to buy the books).

The Resurrection of Molly Footes by D.J. Belt

Imagine: your life is a shambles. You just got dumped by your girlfriend (over the telephone, no less!), and you have a job you not only hate, but that hates you right
back… Molly Footes finds herself in just that situation.

Is there no one to the rescue? Enter Molly’s spirit guide, Suzie Footes, a relative from the roaring twenties, who was shot dead in a bar, is prone to giggling, and a not-so-potential traffic hazard. Can she straighten out Molly’s life?

This is not a whodunnit: of course she can. The way she goes about it, though, had me giggling as well.

A very lighthearted, endearing story to be read over a nice glass of wine, or you might prefer your favourite tea.

A gem, really.