Science Fiction, Mystery and Love

3 AM / 3:10 AM / 3:21 AM / 3:34 AM by Nick Pirog

***** A 5 star read Science Fiction and Mystery

    I LOVED all four of these books. I started reading and didn’t stop – simply sat and read them one after another as quickly as I could. Henry Bins is awake only one hour a day – 3 AM to 4 AM.  This has been true every single day of his life from his very first night as a newborn until now as a thirty something young man.  Henry is the first person to have been identified with this disorder and the disease has been named for him. There are very few others in the world with Henry Bins, sleeping 23 hours a day makes it hard to survive.  Just think about the logistics of caring for a baby that isn’t awake long enough to eat enough.  The problems are mind-boggling and yet, Pirog does a great job creating a world where you can believe that both the disease and the way Henry is able to live a complete life is fully plausible. Pirog supports the book’s premise by  giving the reader plenty of small details that he has skillfully woven into the story; finding a friend, going to the park, riding a bike, prom night, etc.
    All the characters are marvelous.  Henry’s father (who raised him) is complex and funny and willing to do whatever it takes to give his son a full life. Henry’s mother has deserted the family – or has she? No spoilers here. But remember this is a mystery and there are truly bad guys involved.  The housekeeper – who you never see – is nevertheless a full and complete presence. And when Henry falls in love with the beautiful police detective, so will you.
    I seldom give a book 5 stars but this series deserves them. Pirog never drops the plot – not even once! All four books are 5 star. Science fiction, mystery and love. What more do you want?


Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

This book moved me; it is so much more than the tragic story of a dead teenage girl and her confused and grieving family. You know from the first line that Lydia, oldest daughter of a mixed race family has been found drowned in the lake. It is not an unusual plot line that the family is unraveling as the police work to determine what happened but Celeste Ng explores so much more. Her emotional, precise prose shows the reader the world of the 1970’s where a Chinese man married to a white woman raised eyebrows and set the family apart, where a woman who “gave up” her career goals to become a “stay at home mother” was unable to express her frustration but was determined that her daughter would fulfill her dream, and where the children tried to never disappoint. It is a story of family, of gender, of race, of alienation and achievement. It is a story that is so much bigger than the crime itself. It stays with me and reminds me to care, to look closely at those in my world and to really see them for who they are.

This is a beautifully compelling first novel and I look forward to more work from Celeste Ng.