Tag Archives: Jason-Phillip-Reeser

Lady in the Lazaretto and that tagline

Life has been so hectic lately that I have a to-do-list stretching for miles. Unfortunately, that to-do-list is only in my head, which means I forget things, a lot of things. As a result, my posts have been rather erratic, and based on whatever catches my attention at that moment. 😦

Yesterday, I began making amends. Today I want to talk about something close to my heart – a great science fiction novel.  Before I begin, however, I have to disclose that Jason Phillip Reeser, the author of ‘Lady in the Lazaretto’, is a friend of mine. I first met Jason on Goodreads, via an R4R [Read 4 Review]. The book in question was The Lazaretto, and you can read my original review here. In my not so humble opinion, Jason is one of the best science fiction writers around.

lady of lazaretto coverRight, so when Jason asked me to read the second book in the series I jumped at the chance.

Lady in the Lazaretto is set in the same, grim quarantine world as The Lazaretto, and includes some of the original characters, but the story is completely different, and can be read as a stand-alone novel.  That said, I’d strongly recommend reading the Lazaretto first because a) it’s a great story in its own right, and b) it will make reading the Lady a richer experience.

Like book 1, the plot of the Lady is a murder mystery, but the core question you will ask yourself is – ‘who is the Lady?’

Is it Della, the nurse whose memories begin the story?

Or is it the daughter of Kjarsta Zoltis?

Or is it perhaps Lilly, the woman Gregor Lepov loves but cannot commit to?

Or is it the woman referred to only as The Liar?

Or could it be Major Sun Uijong, the woman sent to make reparations to the survivors of the Lost Platoon who were marooned on the Lazaretto, and all but forgotten by their not so grateful government?

In unravelling the identity of the Lady, the author takes us on a thrilling but complex journey that weaves the past into the present.

In some ways, I enjoyed the Lady even more than the first book in the series because it delves deeper into the character of Gregor Lepov, and I love knowing what makes interesting characters ‘tick’. But, of course, Lepov is only one of the characters you will get to know and love. Lieutenant Ed MacNally is another, as is Della, a childless woman who grows to love her young charge with as much fierce protectiveness as any biological mother.

The Lady ticked all the right boxes for me, and I really do recommend it very highly.  This is science fiction at its best, and I was honoured to write the tagline for it. Of course I had no idea I was writing a ‘tagline’ until I came across this post on Yvonne Hertzberger’s blog this morning:


The post explains the difference between loglines [book blurbs to us plebs], and taglines. If you look at the cover of the Lady below, you will what I mean.


lazaretto 2 tagline

I can’t tell you how proud I am to be associated with the Lady.



The Lazaretto – a Goodreads R4R

I posted this review on Goodreads, on a thread devoted to R4R [Read-for-Review] where readers receive a free copy of a novel in exchange for a review.

The novel I chose to review was The Lazaretto, a science fiction thriller by Jason Phillip Reeser. I began by being apprehensive – what would I do if the novel was a stinker? – and ended up being impressed.  See what you think.

* * *

The first thing I noticed about The Lazaretto was its size. At 2,650KB, it is a big ebook. Luckily I adore big books. Once I become seduced by a world or setting, I never want to leave, and I was seduced by the Lazaretto.

Imagine a moon with a breathable atmosphere where it rains a lot, and the clouds never part to allow the sun to shine through.  I cannot think of anything more physically bleak. Now imagine a city on this moon, a city built for the sole purpose of quarantining travellers passing through to other worlds. In such a city, fear of contagion would underlie all social interactions, amongst both travellers and permanent residents. In such a city, people do not shake hands.

But the Lazaretto is more than just a quarantine station, it is also a prison without walls where the sick languish until they die. You see, the only purpose of the Lazaretto is to stop contagion from spreading. Finding cures is not part of the protocol.

As readers, we are introduced to the Lazaretto through the eyes of Gregor Lepov, a private investigator looking for a missing person last seen living and working in the city. Lepov is an interesting character, but he is only one of the main characters populating the story, and that is both one of the strengths and weaknesses of the novel.  All of the main characters are well drawn, but none of them captivated me, except perhaps for the villain of the piece – The Collector.

Having so many main characters also had the effect of slowing the pace.  And that is really the only criticism I would level at The Lazaretto – the story just moves a little too slowly.

In essence, the plot revolves around a number of mysterious deaths that are classified as murders, but leave the police baffled as to means and motive.  Finding the ‘murderer’ involves the coming together of a number of disparate characters and story arcs, including that of Gregor Lepov.

All of these characters and story arcs contain a piece of the puzzle, and how they are woven together is both organic and very clever. But it does happen slowly.

In some ways, the structure of The Lazaretto reminds me of Tad William’s Otherland. As in Otherland, the story revolves around an ensemble cast, rather than just one or two main characters. Unlike Otherland, however, The Lazaretto is not a series, and so has had to compromise between the needs of the individual story arcs and the plot.

As with any compromise, something has to give, and in the case of The Lazaretto, the pace suffered. But only a little. Overall, my enjoyment factor was very high, and I found myself thinking about the world and its culture long after I finished reading. For me, that is always indicative of a very good story.

I should also mention that the writing is excellent. This is a mature novel by a very good writer. I would recommend it to anyone who craves something more than just a quick read and light entertainment.

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