Gil Hale

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Arnaud You Don't! (Sentinel/Invisible Man)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 3rd October 2005 (1)
Tags: Novelette

Again this author demonstrates her deft touch for humour, as Jim and Blair have to deal with a pair of unconventional federal agents... in their own unconventional way.

Cowley's Irregulars (Professionals)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 18th August 2002 (1)
Tags: Novelette

This Professionals AU has an intriguing opening; a different and darker London, where cynics fears are true, and this AU version of Bodie is put in a position where he's going to betray someone, no matter what he does. It's good watching the partnership between Bodie and Doyle develop; unfortunately there were points where I would have preferred not to get the narrative summary of events, but be shown the events themselves.

I Liked That Toothbrush (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 24th October 2001 (2)

At the same time as people were recommending "Home Alone", this story was also mentioned -- and no wonder. This is also a Jim-missing-Blair story (though Blair isn't actually away, he's just very busy) and it was also good. I particularly liked the way the author showed (from Jim's point of view) Jim not realizing that his own behaviour was unusual, and I also liked the final explanation for it -- not to mention the fun of actually observing Jim's anal-retentive-gone-into-overdrive-to-the-max behaviours.
    When he finally returned to the loft, around midnight, he was tired. Really, really tired. The sort of tired where you go through the necessary motions before going to bed without ever really engaging your brain. Above all, the sort of tired where you just stand and stare blankly when you realise that your homely, well-loved, slightly squashy toothbrush has disappeared.
    Yep, disappeared. As in gone. Not there.
    Blair looked at the toothbrushes. He rubbed his eyes. There were two of them. They were where he and Jim had kept the toothbrushes. Neither of them was his. Actually, on a closer look, neither of them was Jim's either. His brain -- more than unhappy with this sort of stimulus at ungodly hours of the night -- threw up a refrain he associated with a large singing cucumber: "Oh where is my toothbrush... not fair, oh my toothbrush..."

Did I mention this was entertaining?

New Year, Old Sentinel (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 18th August 2002 (2)
Tags: Short Story

A nice, short smarmy story, which isn't overly smarmy (no outbursts of undying love, just hug-level). Very immediate, as an injured Jim feels the minutes ticking by on a New Year's Eve alone in the Loft.
    "No, Sandburg saw to everything before he went. He's been invited to seven parties tonight -- I had to practically throw him out to get him to go to them, but he'll enjoy himself once he's there -- you know Sandburg. He should finish up at Major Crimes."
    "Trailing a harem of girls from the previous six parties I suppose."
    Jim had a brief mental image of a comet Sandburg, hair streaming, with blondes, brunettes, and redheads tugged along in his wake. He decided it was the medication.

Payback's A Banana (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 17th September 2002 (1)
Tags: Short Story

This is an epilogue to "The Debt", the post-Larry aftermath. Nice give-and-take with Jim and Blair, consideration, tiredness, smart remarks, and er, bonding, in more ways than one. And one scene that you'd pay to see (grin).

When the Other Man's Shoes Don't Fit (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 14th April 2002 (1)
Tags: Short Story

This was a cool story. Yes, it's one of those "walk a mile in the other man's shoes" stories, with all the fun that ensues from that, and yes, it did mean that both Jim and Blair came to appreciate the other's situation a bit more, as such stories usually do, but this one had just that little bit extra as well, I think. Not just Blair momentarily blindsided by Jim's senses, but Jim momentarily blindsided by Blair's... what-if generator. That's appreciating Blair not just as Guide, but as Blair. And the continuing metaphor of the map just topped it off.

Hippy and Goldilocks

(1) You Watch The Hippy, I'll Take Goldilocks (Sentinel/Professionals)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 28th October 2001 (6)
Tags: Novella

I stayed up far too late reading this story, I just couldn't put it down. This being a Sentinel/Professionals crossover, it's definitely AU for both series. It is set in a universe reminiscent of Susan Foster's GDP series or CiceroCat's "Bright New Future" -- Guides are empathic, Sentinels and Guides have a psychic bond, and Guides are second-class citizens who need medication to suppress their empathy or they can't cope. Unfortunately, we got all this information at the start in an info-dump disguised as Jim's musings. There was too much telling and not enough showing. But once we got past the introduction, and into the section where unbonded Sentinel Jim Ellison was working with unbonded Sentinel Bodie, things picked up. I love the title of the story -- it's very Bodie.
    Jim rammed his fist into the ground in frustration. "Do you think I haven't tried everything?"
    "Not everything," Bodie said, looking irritatingly in control. "I'd say you haven't tried subtle."

The use of some familiar names alerted us to who the Evil Gad Buy of the story would be... I'm not sure whether that was a good idea or not. But I liked how the two pairs were working on different ends of the problem, though they knew it not. I liked the way the author was subtle (there's that word again!) in the way that the attraction (and mutual assistance) between Sentinel and Guide pairs was manifesting without either party being aware of it (except the one party who'd had some little experience of it). And I liked some of the parallels between Jim + Bodie and Blair + Doyle. I feel that the characterisation of Bodie and Doyle was actually better (deeper) than that of Jim & Blair, which isn't that surprising since the author has written more Professionals stories than Sentinel ones. I can't say more for fear of spoilers, but let's say that I found certain events more emotionally satisfying and plausible when they happened to Bodie and Doyle than with Jim and Blair, and maybe that was because they were more plausible, and maybe that was because we saw more of Bodie's thought-processes than Jim's, I'm not sure. Be that as it may, I like this Bodie and Doyle muchly, and I want to see more of them.

(2) Rogues (Sentinel/Professionals)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 18th August 2002 (3)
Tags: Novella

I was surprised and pleased to see that this author had written a sequel to her previous heavily AU crossover "You Watch the Hippy, I'll Take Goldilocks" which is set in a future Cascade which somewhat resembles Susan Foster's GDP universe, in that Sentinels and Guides are well known, Guides are empaths who bond with their Sentinels for life, and Guides are not treated that well (but no way as badly as they are treated in Susan Foster's universe). Another difference in this universe is that Guides can take medication to suppress their empathy (but it is illegal to get outside official channels, and is unhealthy in the long term) and that here, someone invented the Resonator, a machine whose broadcast brings latent Guides on-line, often painfully. The previous story ended with newly bonded Sentinel and Guide Jim Ellison and Blair Sandburg working for Major Crimes, pretending not to be bonded, but Simon Banks knowing they are, and newly bonded Sentinel and Guide Bodie and Doyle, CI5 agents both, being sent by Cowley to Macklin for retraining.

This story brings the foursome back together again, as "There's some new technology in Cascade and everybody wants a piece of the action." And there sure is action, starting from the first dramatic paragraph. Well, perhaps not all that much action, but the plot does have some unexpected twists and surprises, partly because there are many different players on the board, and they don't all want the same thing; and also because some of the things we thought we knew, we find out a different slant on. Characterwise, Bodie and Doyle have partner troubles, a source of angst, which, while they did resolve it at the end, I feel they have more to work through. Jim and Blair have troubles also, but they manage them better (with some lovely smarmish scenes too). Not that there wasn't a bit of fun sprinkled in the midst of the tension as well.

And the title, I have to say a word about the title. Of course it is a reference to the episode "Rogue" because a Certain Person turns up, but it's "Rogues" because there's more than one rogue, and indeed one could consider that there's more than one set of rogues. Rogues of different stripe and purpose. A fitting title, I think.

(3) Fear (Sentinel/Professionals)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 23rd February 2003 (4)
Tags: Novelette

This is the third story in the "Hippy and Goldilocks" AU crossover series, and continues on just as well as the other two. This time most of the action takes place in England, and, naturally, this does end up feeling rather more like a Profs story than a TS story, in the style of its plot -- nicely so. Bodie and Doyle are themselves, even in this odd universe; and Jim and Blair and Simon open the proceedings in style.
    "Sorry we took so long," he said to Simon. "Too much Australian beer; Sandburg kept falling over his feet."
    There was an indignant noise from the back seat. "That's not what slowed us up! He stopped to arm-wrestle, Simon. If you ask me it's a primp... primt... caveman attempt to impress Megan."
    "You're just jealous, Chief. Especially as I won."
    "Not. It's beneath me. Anyway, I didn't say you did impress her, I said you tried to. She didn't look impressed to me."

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, things aren't quite so lighthearted...
    Bodie was ankle deep in mud in a field on the edge of the South Downs. It was pitch dark, raining, and although for early December the weather could probably be called mild, it was cold enough to numb his hands. Doyle, following his lead almost silently, was as miserable as a wet cat.
    Bodie was enjoying himself.
    Never mind that Cowley had sent them out like a couple of hunting dogs -- "Seek! Fetch! Don't kill!" Never mind that they were probably going to spend the night out of doors getting colder and muddier. He was moving through the darkness tracking his man with a certainty that exhilarated him.

A few things tie in from the previous story, but one doesn't need to go and re-read it to refresh one's memory; they aren't that tightly tied. This one is strong on the plot, and doesn't have so much character development as the previous stories. But it's a good plot with action and twists and things to make one uneasy. I loved the way that the title ended up meaning more than it seemed on the surface.