I’ve been remiss in putting up reviews of books I’ve read over the past few months. Let me correct that with the first of a series of posts. Links are to the Kindle editions on Amazon.

1. Phases, by Archer Garrett. This novelette concerns a New Orleans being ravished (and not in a good way) by two ‘werewolves’ shortly after Reconstruction. General Sheridan has summoned help to stop the mysterious slaughter of residents in the Crescent City.

There is plenty of gruesome horror and action to go around. In fact, this novelette could easily be expanded to novel length without diluting its terror factor. I guess (I’m not an expert, or even a big fan of the genre) this could be classified as historical horror.

I liked it!

2. Next up, Fey, by Mike Lee. I love science fiction. I don’t particularly like fantasy. So, what happens when I read a mixture of the two?

In this case, I enjoyed the story a lot. In the far future, an ex-serviceman and professional gambler is working his way slowly back to Earth by stopping at each space-casino along the way to pay for his fare. If you’re a fan of poker (as in watching it on cable TV) you’ll receive an extra-kick out of the story. And, apparently, tiny fairies (almost angels) exist to help out their selected . . . companions.

I don’t want to give up plot details but Mike Lee has drawn us a fine set of likable characters (including a good cop; not like his partner) and thrown in enough future type stuff to make it all hang together.

Fey is not ‘heavy’ reading; it’s a light-hearted, action fantasy of a good guy protecting a very special life form from the bad guys (which includes an evil syndicate, and — of course — the Earth based military) and the complications from a failed attempt at kidnapping the Fey.

One criticism: This space casino is huge. If I remember rightly (it’s been a few weeks since I read it) it accommodates 10,000 visitors. Yet, the action (except for a flashback to the protagonist’s earlier military career) all takes place in three rooms: The card table, the hotel room, and the police station.

A lot more background flavor could have been added by having the characters and action move around the casino/hotel station. Through the malls, swimming pools, parks, etc. Just to give it all the feel and interest of what such a large resort is like. Otherwise, why would wealthy gamblers go there in the first place? There’s almost something claustrophobic about the setting.

Still, a very enjoyable read and I’ve already purchased Lee’s prequel, Starfire which I’m looking forward to.

3. The Science Fiction Megapack Even at 99 cents, it’s not a bargain. Now; even though I’m critical of this first in a five-book series, I want you to know that the other four are pretty good and are definitely worth the buck that each one costs. Just skip this one and get the others.

Frankly, while there are a couple of good stories in this first volume, most are just old, musty, public-domain relics that can be had for nothing on other sites, if you’re into the archeological roots of science fiction. It’s difficult to take stories written 70-years-ago seriously about races of Venus and Mars and so on. We know too much here in 2013 to even suspend our disbelief to read them.

Okay, more tomorrow.