The Year in Reviews

Happy New Year’s Eve… Eve! As usual, I use the last Friday of the year to do a recap of all the book reviews I wrote in the past twelve months.

In January I reviewed Phil Halton’s dark tale of life in Afghanistan, This Shall Be A House Of Peace. Then for vintage science-fiction month, I took on C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength, followed by Eileen Stephenson’s Imperial Passions: The Great Palace. Another vintage sci-fi review ended the month, this time of Asimov’s Foundation.

For February I reviewed Zachary Shatzer’s Sorcerers Wanted. Next up was Sailing to Redoubt by Chuck Litka. I followed that up with a couple mysteries: He Needed Killing Too by Bill Fitts and G.J. Scobie’s techno-thriller, The Copernicus Coercion.

March began with more mysteries: Jacques and May Futrelle’s The Grinning God, followed by Sid Stark’s Permanent Position. Then, for the first time in Ruined Chapel history, a two-part review of E.K. Johnston’s That Inevitable Victorian Thing.

April started off with another Shatzer book, A Cozy Alien Murder, then pivoted to the dark fantasy On The Marble Cliffs by Ernst Jünger. Then I returned to sci-fi with Cheryl Lawson’s A Dark Genesis, followed by Jünger’s memoir, The Storm of Steel. I then wrapped up the month with Karen Traviss’ Boba Fett: A Practical Man.

I began May with Nicola McDonagh’s Crow Bones, and D.N. Meinster’s sci-fi political thriller Our Friends Upstairs. Then The Prospect, Kevin Brennan’s baseball novel and another Shazter book, the whimsical The Peculiar Disappearance of the Delightfully Incorrigible Percival Pettletwixt’s Extraordinary Monocle.

June started with my take on Amanda McKittrick Ros’ Irene Iddesliegh and Michael Burns’ sci-fi adventure Starship HuntersThen I commemorated the anniversary of Waterloo with Tom Williams’ thriller Burke at Waterloo. I wrapped up the month with Frank Herbert’s The Dragon in the Sea.

July began with The Spirit of Cahir Mullach by Clayton J. Callahan, which is more of a Halloween book, but I couldn’t wait. After that, I reviewed Will Jordan’s Trial by Fire and Tammie Painter’s dark thriller Day Sixteen.

For August, I went with Maddie Cochere’s cozy mystery Sunshine Hunter. Next came Adam Bertocci’s paranormal romcom The Usual Werewolves and Chuck Litka’s humorous Lines in the Lawn. I rounded out August with the raunchy sci-fi adventure Passion Pirates of the Lost Galaxy by Seka Heartley.

September kicked off one of the best sustained runs of books in this site’s history. First up was the wonderful comic novel The Beach Wizard, the crown jewel in Shatzer’s body of work. That was followed up by Mark Paxson’s excellent short story collection Killing Berthold Gambrel. What can I say? I’d been dying to read it, and it was worth the wait. Next came two spectacular medical thrillers: Geoffrey Cooper’s Perilous Obsession and the magnificent Carrie Rubin’s Fatal Rounds. I wrapped up the month with Isabella Norse’s Halloween romance, Something Whiskered This Way Comes.

October began with Neal Holtschulte’s debut novel Crew of Exiles, then Tammie Painter’s The Ghost of Arlen Hall and a not-quite-a-review of Peter Martuneac’s adventure novel Mandate of Heaven. This was followed by another Shatzer short, A Cozy Halloween Murder. This best of all months concluded with Adam Bertocci’s masterpiece of a millennial Bildungsroman mixed with humorous Halloween hijinks, Samantha, 25, on October 31. Don’t take my word for it; Lydia Schoch liked it too.

November began with The Kill Chain, another G.J. Scobie techno-thriller, followed by the depressing Rhodesian Bush War tale Commando: Shoot to Kill by Peter Rische. To counter this, I reviewed Meredith Katz’s cozy The Cybernetic Tea Shop and another Martuneac adventure, Solomon’s Fortune.

For December, I reviewed another Bertocci tale, the fourth-wall-bending The Hundred Other Rileys and then the time-traveling epic Sunder of Time by Kristin McTiernan. I ended the month with two Christmas-themed books: Lights for Christmas: A Steampunk Conspiracy Christmas Story by C.O. Bonham and a final Shatzer book, A Cozy Christmas Murder.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year, my friends! Personally, I’m resolving to review a wider variety of books in 2023. And I’m really looking forward to seeing what all of my friends have lined up for the coming year!

What's your stake in this, cowboy?