Deadstock

deadstock reviewThe output of Jeffrey Thomas has rekindled my love of sci-fi with his twisted takes on the future of social relations in the face of disturbing technological advances. Often times, his novels and short stories are nightmarish glimpses into a future world that pretty much make William Gibson and Phillip K. Dick mere shrinking reflections in the rearview mirror. This is the guy who fans of those authors should be reading.

His latest, DEADSTOCK, is like H.P. Lovecraft writing the novelization of CHINATOWN, if that film were directed by David Cronenberg. It’s a monster-encrusted foray into a world of body modification, animal modification and doll modification, all leading to monstrous Godification underneath the city of Punktown, which is an Earth colony on the planet Oasis – a sprawling, crime-filled dystopia where different races mingle and often become intertwined in each other’s bullshit.

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The Burglar in the Library

burglar in the library reviewHarperCollins is reprinting Lawrence Block’s classic mystery series featuring professional burglar and rare bookseller Bernie Rhodenbarr, and THE BURGLAR IN THE LIBRARY shows Bernie at his best, nicking up to a fancy bed and breakfast in order to nick a rare signed association copy of Raymond Chandler’s THE BIG SLEEP.

Bernie has found out about the book with a bit of literary research, and he is sure the owners of the B&B don’t know what they have. On his first night there, he spots the book and is determined to steal it. But then a dead body shows up. And then another. And so on.

As the corpses mount, Bernie and all the inhabitants of the inn realize that they are cut off from civilization. Snow is falling at the rate of two feet a day, phone lines are out, and the one bridge from the inn’s grounds to the main road has been destroyed. It’s turning into a very bad and deadly parody of an old school English murder mystery.

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SEARCH ME >> 3.07

Our monthly depressing look at the search terms that bring pervs to BOOKGASM!

search terms march 2007

NEWSGASM >> 5.28.07

newsgasmAll the news that’s fit to capsulize!

dont hassle hoff reviewFLY AIR HOFF!
David Hasselhoff has a book out. It’s an autobiography called DON’T HASSEL THE HOFF. Don’t care? What if I told you publisher St. Martin’s celebrates said release with your very own printable David Hasselhoff paper airplane? Yeah, I thought so!

SHE MUST BE STOPPED!
For anyone else who has long suspected that Amazon’s “#1 reviewer” Harriet Klausner doesn’t even read the books she reviews, this Dayton Daily News article is a must-read.

HINT: GET YOUR DRINK ON!
Need a step-by-step guide on how to write the great American novel? This amusing video short from Morris Hill Pictures tells you how.

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The Condemned

condemned reviewThose boys from LORD OF THE FLIES had it easy, compared to the cast of felonious characters comprising Rob Hedden’s THE CONDEMNED. It’s a novelization to the upcoming WWE Films action movie starring Stone Cold Steve Austin, and if the flick is anything like the book, I’m already in line.

A not-too-implausible semi-satire on the increasingly boundary-pushing state of reality television, THE CONDEMNED is about a revolutionary Internet pay-per-view show that plucks 10 death row inmates from their respective prisons and plops them on to an island for a fight-to-the-finish brawl in which only one will be left standing. The time bombs on their ankle bracelets make sure of that.

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WHAT ED READ >> 3.29.07

ed gorman what ed readQuick takes and capsule reviews from the dark suspense master himself, Ed Gorman!

murder among owls reviewThe only series I read regularly are those that offer worlds I want to visit. This may be because before I began reading mysteries regularly, I read science fiction. World-building is critical in sci-fi and fantasy.

And it is in mystery fiction, too. Sherlock Holmes. Agatha Christie. John Dickson Carr. Indelible worlds. Or Mr. and Mrs. North. Craig Rice’s various detectives working out of Chicago. Hammett, Chandler, Chester Himes’ Harlem novels.

And Bill Crider’s small-town Texas series, the latest of which is MURDER AMONG THE OWLS. This time, Sheriff Dan Rhodes has to decide whether Helen Harris’ death was accidental or criminal. At certain points in his investigation, his deputies are his biggest hindrance to solving what is now clearly a crime. Wizards they’re not.

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Q&A with FISH OF SOULS’ Gary Williams

fish of souls reviewOver in Florida, author Gary Williams has managed to create an Internet buzz and build a loyal fanbase without the benefit of a high-dollar marketing budget, much less a publisher. He did this by … well, here, let him tell you about it.

BOOKGASM: For those unfamiliar, how would you describe what your novels are all about? To whom would they appeal?

WILLIAMS: The first three books – FISH OF SOULS, GROUNDSWELL and THE GOD TOOLS – are supernatural thrillers. My upcoming novel, HALF-RED SKULL is a pure thriller. I will admit my work carries a distinctive horror flavor, which I attribute to my love of early Stephen King novels.

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Accidents Waiting to Happen

accidents waiting to happen reviewGuess whose insurance rates are about to skyrocket? Josh Michaels, the protagonist of Simon Wood’s thriller ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN. Mere paragraphs from page one, Josh’s car is forced off the road – and into a river – by an SUV. As Josh frantically tries to escape and swim to safety, he notices the SUV driver standing by the side of the road, doing nothing but watching him struggle and giving him the thumbs-down sign.

And a first chapter that intriguing deserves a thumbs-up. Josh has no idea who the driver was or why he’d want him dead. To make an already stressful situation worsen, at about the same time, a woman named Bell resurfaces in his life. She was his mistress from a while back, and she’s seeking some big-time hush money to keep their secrets – about infidelity and a work-related bribe – from his wife and employer.

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Conversations with the Devil

conversations with the devil reviewWhen I think of Jeff Rovin, I think of joke books, trivia collections and Tom Clancy spin-offs – basically anything but horror novels. Yet here he is with CONVERSATIONS WITH THE DEVIL, sort of a psychotherapist EXORCIST.

Its heroine is Sara Lynch, a shrink in the sleep town of Delwood. Her patient base is comprised of the typical mix of philanderers and in-the-closeters, save for a 16-year-old boy named Fredric. To say he’s withdrawn and outcast is an understatement – he dresses in all black and wears pancake makeup to school. And lately, he’s been really upset over something he read in the Bible.

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BULLETS, BROADS, BLACKMAIL & BOMBS >> Women Stampeded, Cattle Raped

bullets broads blackmail and bombsluck of the draw reviewSaddle up, buckaroos, for some tales of the West. Pop on your favorite Ennio Morricone soundtrack – personally, I’m a huge fan of NAVAJO JOE – and sit down for a spell with some stories of the old days, complete with some actual frontier gibberish.

LUCK OF THE DRAW by Zeke Masters – Wow, do we ever reach the bottom of the Western well with this “adult” oater from 1980. The reason it’s adult is that there are a few scenes of graphic sex better suited for a Penthouse Forum letter.

This novel is concerned with card games and cheating, with a thinner-than-Kate Moss plot, but you will be so bored with the subpar writing, you won’t even care how our hero gets into these situations. His name is Faro Blake, and he’s a card shark, plain and simple. Sure, he cheats men out of their money, but only if they are bad and rich.

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