Oscar Hijuelos 1951 ~ 2013


Oscar Hijuelos, a Cuban-American novelist, and the first Hispanic to win a Pulitzer prize, died of a heart attack whilst playing tennis in Manhattan on Saturday.

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, the novel which won the Pulitzer prize, published in 1989, tells the story of two Cuban brothers who travel from Havana to New York to start an orchestra. The book, which became a bestseller and won international acclaim, was eventually turned into a movie starring Armand Assante and Antonio Banderas.

His other novels include Our House in the Last World, Empress of the Splendid Season, Dark Dude, The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O’Brien and A Simple Habana Melody.


Review: Rogue Hunter: Inquest (Rogue Hunter #1) ~ Kevis Hendrickson


Fearing retribution from ruthless gangsters over an unsettled debt, intergalactic bounty hunter Zyra Zanr ventures to a distant world to collect the reward for Boris Skringler, a notorious terrorist, who has been sentenced to death by political rivals of the InterGalactic Alliance. When she fails to secure his release, she decides to break him out of prison. Zyra soon finds herself an unwilling participant in events that lead to a climactic showdown between the most powerful worlds in the galaxy.

Torn between her desperation to rid herself of the threats to her life and her guilt in agitating the conflict between two galactic superpowers, Zyra is horrified to learn that the lives of an entire world of people hinge on her ability to return Skringler to his captors. However, her distrust of Skringler gives way to lust, unraveling her plans. Will Zyra give into her passion and allow Skringler to go free? Or will she surrender him to her enemies to stop an impending war? The fate of billions depend on whether she chooses life for a killer or the death of her lover.

3 Thumbs-UpAt just under 200 pages, this is a good fast paced read that is a promising start to the Rogue Hunter series.  However, for those who may find them offensive, it does include LGBT relationship scenarios and, with this in mind some readers may want to avoid it.

As befits the beginning of a series of short books that mesh together as they progress, there is little or almost no character development in this piece.  The main protagonist is an ‘anti-hero’ type of strong female, but as to why she is this way, I couldn’t seem to find in my reading through this book.  It was not just the main character that seemed to lack any colour, most of them were so flat that if they weren’t mentioned for a couple of pages the reader could easily forget about them and what role they were playing in the whole storyline.  A great step forward for this book, and I’m not sure if the Author is intending to do this as the series progresses, would be to develop the characters more by giving them more of a back story that the reader can relate to and, in time, possibly come to care about them.  As it reads at the moment, the characters just appear, and we are left wondering what is to come.  I also felt that the sex scene in the book was a little gratuitous and did take away from the story at that point.

Having said this though the book does take place in the grand sweeping arena of outer space, which allows the reader’s imagination to run rampant and fill in the descriptive blanks with any manner of alien life forms; the Author also has taken a great deal of time to include a lot of detail to aid the imagination on its journey.  The action is definitely fast paced and keeps the pages turning, especially once you reach the main part of the plot, and this made up for the lack of development in the novellas characters and kept me reading to the end.  Unlike so many e-books out in the market-place currently, there was ample evidence that time and care had been taken when editing this one, as it was not filled with grammatical and proofreading problems; a lot of readers find these irksome to say the least so it was a pleasant change to read one that was so error-free.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of lighter science fiction, and also those who enjoy the Star Wars series.