Coyote by Rhonda Roberts
Coyote by Rhonda Roberts is the third book in her Timestalker series. However, as with the earlier books it stands alone as a complete story and contains minimal spoilers for the earlier books (pretty much just back-story and love interests, I think). If you’re interested, you can read my review of Hoodwink, the previous book, here.
Kannon Dupree is a private investigator with access to a time portal. She specialises in very cold cases. In Coyote she goes back to the wild west to investigate a massacre on behalf of the survivor/hero’s descendent. More specifically, she’s charged with finding the hero’s diary as proof of what really happened. Of course, nothing is as simple as it seems or there wouldn’t be much of a story.
I enjoyed this novel a lot and had fun reading it. Although the historical events and the places at the centre of the story in the Wild West are made up (other than the obviously real cities of San Francisco and Santa Fe), Roberts has obviously done her research. She includes a lot of interesting historical facts and details many of which were new to me, someone who hasn’t read or seen many westerns.
I really like Kannon as a character. She kicks arse, although there is less of that in Coyote than in the earlier books, and her character development progresses nicely in Coyote. I wasn’t a big fan of her love interest though, carried over from Hoodwink. He kept trying to protect and rescue Kannon, two things she is rarely in need of. It was frustrating for her and I completely empathised with her. Honestly, I was rooting for them to break up. Although, I should point out, not because he’s a poorly written or boring character, more because his actions were annoying to both me and Kannon (except she also has feelings for him).
I am very much looking forward to reading the next book in this series. Each book has stood more or less alone and each has introduced a new weird thing (of the fantasy-ish variety) happening in relation to the past. So far they seem unrelated to each other but I’m wondering if at some point it’ll come together. Or perhaps it will just be a series of strange events that follow Kannon around and which make the Timestalker series difficult to categorise as fantasy (techy time travel) or science fiction (weird stuff).
I highly recommend this series if you enjoy strong (in both connotations of the phrase) heroines and varied story lines. Coyote doesn’t disappoint.
4.5 / 5 stars
Hoodwink by Rhonda Roberts
Cross-posed from here.
The first thing I want to note is that despite Hoodwink being the second book in Rhonda Roberts’s Timestalker series, it absolutely stands alone. You don’t have to have read the first book, Gladiatrix, although it’s definitely worth reading for its own sake. If you enjoy Hoodwink, there’s no reason not to go back and read Gladiatrix afterwards. The only spoilers in book 2 for book 1 are of the “main characters are alive” variety.
That said, on to the body of the review!
Hoodwink is about Kannon Dupree, arse-kicking, time-travelling PI in training. Kannon is Australian but living in America because of events in book 1. She takes a case investigating the murder of one of the directors of Gone With the Wind, after his body is discovered in the present, 70ish years after his death.
Sent back to 1939 to pose as his personal assistant, the first thing Kannon discovers in the past is that just about everyone who’s ever met him has plausible motives for wanting the director dead. And so begins her tangled investigation, four days before his murder.
Hampered by internal politics at the NTA (the time-travelling equivalent of NASA), Kannon is only given two days to prepare. And, despite her client having suspicions as to who the murderer was, Kannon quickly realises that she has no where near enough information from the future to be of much use. What should make it easier are the repeated attempts on the director’s life and the fact that he’s already afraid someone is after him. But who is it?
Somewhere, among the mayhem of the Gone With the Wind Set (complete with Clarke Gable, Vivien Leigh and Leslie Howard), Kannon has to work out who has the means and opportunity to murder the director, since everyone has motive.
This is a book not short on conspiracy and arse-kicking. As in Gadiatrix, I like the fact that Kannon can look after herself (thanks to her Aikido training), and that many of the people who try to cross her (violently, at least) are rapidly dealt with. It was amusing to read the reactions of some of the men who assumed she was “just a feeble woman”, although in some cases the amusing part was their expressions when she hit them.
All the loose ends in the past are tied up nicely at the end, but not all the questions raised in the future are fully answered. I hope the next book (due out in September) picks them up again. Since there is a shorter gap between books 2 and 3 than there was between books 1 and 2, I’m also hoping there’s more plot-based connection between them. Aside from Kannon’s change in circumstances, very little of book 1 reappeared in book 2. Not that I think Hoodwink suffered for it. In fact, after I found out where one of the key characters from Gladiatrix had got to, I promptly forgot about some of the other issues raised in the first book. Which is probably a good thing, as I suspect in the longish interim between them, Roberts may have chosen to shift the background focus slightly.
The only thing I would’ve liked to see more of, is Kannon’s relationship with people in the present/future. In particular her friend that helps her out at the start and end. We don’t get to see much of why they’re friends or the connection between them. This is another thing I’m hoping is developed in future books.
Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars.
[For the record, I read the Harper Voyager Australia ebook of Hoodwink, which I purchased off the (Australian) iTunes/iBooks store.]