White Knuckle

whiteknuckleWhen he’s not busy writing and directing movies for various major and independent production companies, Eric Red writes horror short stories and novels. His previous three horror novels often incorporated elements from other fiction genres — like science fiction or westerns.

WHITE KNUCKLE, his fourth and latest novel, is also a horror story, but differentiates itself for its complete lack of anything supernatural or extraterrestrial. This doesn’t make it any less horrifying. In fact, WHITE KNUCKLE is all the more shocking and frightening for its realism.

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Once Upon a Crime

onceuponcrimeThe premise of P.J. Brackston’s ONCE UPON A CRIME is clever and cute. The protagonist detective is Gretel (yes, that Gretel) of Hansel and Gretel fame. She and her brother, here named Hans, have set up shop in a small town in Bavaria in the year 1776 and she makes her living by offering her services as a private detective.

It is a fairy tale world of kings and heroes, trolls and giants, crones and old ladies who happen to be missing three cats. It is the latter soul who hires Gretel to discover the location of her missing cats.

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The Drowned Boy

drownedboyYou really should at least be reading, if not collecting, the works of Karin Fossum. Not only is she the queen of Scandinavian detective fiction (or Nordic noir) she is one of the prime novelists working today in the mystery genre.

She’s innovative and experimental (BROKEN), she’s unafraid to confront and explore and understand evil (I CAN SEE IN THE DARK) and she has this emotional stance that’s very sympathetic to both perpetrators and victims, which strikes home in the books of hers which have been translated by Charlotte Barslund, but other translators seem to have a bit of trouble with her prose.

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The Legend of Caleb York

calebyorkA Mickey Spillane Western? When did the creator of the phenomenally popular hard-boiled Mike Hammer PI novels trade his fedora for a Stetson and venture from the mean streets of the big city to the dusty trails of the legendary American West?

Well, as Max Allan Collins, the late Spillane’s literary partner and executor explains in his introductory note, THE LEGEND OF CALEB YORK began as one of several unproduced screenplays Spillane wrote before his death in 2006. This particular work was written for Spillane’s close friend and Hollywood legend, John Wayne. But Wayne’s production company, Batjac, closed down before the script could be produced. Years later Collins found the screenplay among the many finished and unfinished works in Spillane’s files and adapted it into the resulting western novel.

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We Don’t Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy

wedontneedroadsI can think of a few people who may hate reading Caseen Gaines’ history of the BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy. These people are Eric Stoltz (fired from the lead role of Marty McFly after filming began), Crispin Glover (more or less blackballed from the sequels), Jeffrey Weissman (Glover’s ill-treated replacement) and Cheryl Wheeler (a stuntwoman who nearly died during a questionably safe stunt in PART II).

Everyone else, go for it! While inessential in terms of claiming a cineaste’s shelf space, WE DON’T NEED ROADS is a must-own for anyone with a deep fondness for the classic time-travel comedy, especially if you were among those audiences wowed upon its release in the summer of 1985. That’s the power of love.

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American Neo-Noir: The Movie Never Ends

americanneonoirAuthors of more books on film noir than you have pairs of underwear, Alain Silver and James Ursini now turn their attention to AMERICAN NEO-NOIR in their latest trade-paperback collaboration for Applause Theatre & Cinema Books.

Following the close of the “classic noir” period with Orson Welles’ TOUCH OF EVIL in 1958, neo-noir is loosely defined as the next step of the genre — one that embraces the motions of and comments upon its preceding movement. Silver and Ursini weave their way through its history, right up to today, nimbly moving from one title to the next with sheer unpredictability.

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Go Down Hard

godownhardCraig Faustus Buck’s first full-length novel, GO DOWN HARD, combines classic hard-boiled and noir crime fiction elements into a thoroughly contemporary Southern California-based murder mystery. It’s not only an impressive debut novel for this prolific author of journalism, scripts, and short stories, but also one of the finest and most entertaining crime novels of the year,

The protagonist, Nob Brown, is a divorced, thirty-something former LAPD cop who barely pays his rent writing sensational articles for the tabloids. Then Gloria Lopes, an LAPD detective and Nob’s “friend with benefits,” tries to cheer Nob up by slipping him the confidential case file of an unsolved murder.

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Avoidable Contact

avoidablecontactKate Reilly is back in AVOIDABLE CONTACT, her third thrilling adventure featuring auto racing and murder written by Tammy Kaehler. The author started this series with DEAD MAN’S SWITCH, and while intriguing, it was unpolished, a bit rough. The text greatly improved with the riveting BRAKING POINTS, and now we can see Kaehler and her characters in full bloom, in this powerful and gripping book.

Reilly is a sports car racer at the top level. And the author’s genius move here is to have the entire book revolve around one race, the granddaddy on the schedule, the 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race. That construct, much like mysteries set on a moving train or in a house cut off from civilization by the storm, focuses the action, narrows the detective capabilities, and tends to sharpen the storyline.

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Killer Year: Stories to Die For…

killeryearMMPHey, did you hear the one about the debut novelist? Probably not, in today’s crowded marketplace, and that’s the whole idea behind KILLER YEAR: STORIES TO DIE FOR … , a 2008 anthology of “new” crime writers finally available in a mass-market edition. It’s edited by already established thriller writer Lee Child, creator of the Jack Reacher series.

He’s got 13 authors he’d like to introduce you do, most of whom just had his or her first novel come out in 2007. It’s kinda like how every year, the filthy rich hold a debutant ball to introduce their daughters to the world. Except here, there isn’t a bunch of horse-faces.

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The Forgotten Room

forgottenroomDr. Jeremy Logan returns in Lincoln Child’s latest solo novel, THE FORGOTTEN ROOM. Child again combines elements of scientific technology and the supernatural into a completely entertaining thriller with a pleasing, almost old school ambiance.
 
Logan, a university history professor with a particular interest in enigmas first introduced in Child’s THE THIRD GATE, is still a professor but now a renowned “enigmalogist” whose knowledge and skills are in demand around the world. One day he receives an urgent summons from the Lux, one of America’s oldest and most respected think tanks located in a huge, renovated mansion on the coast of Rhode Island.

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