SEARCH ME >> 11.07

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

search terms nov 2007

Killswitch

killswitch reviewThings finally are coming to a head for sexy one-woman army Cassandra Kresnov: a de facto occupying fleet is surrounding her newly adopted homeworld of Callay, there’s a superhuman killer loose that seems strangely familiar, and her boyfriend’s just told her that there’s a self-destruct mechanism inside her skull.

KILLSWITCH – the third book in Joel Shepherd’s series that started in Australia in 2001 and was brought to North America last year by Pyr with CROSSOVER and BREAKAWAY – is another remarkable effort that remains true to its predecessors and shows Shepherd’s evolution as a writer.

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The Spider: Robot Titans of Gotham

spider robot titans reviewBefore Doc Savage and The Shadow ruled the pulp racks, there was a hero who really broke the mold of what to expect from those days: Norvell Page’s The Spider. He’s back – albeit as a reprint – in the collection THE SPIDER: ROBOT TITANS OF GOTHAM, and it’s pretty jaw-dropping to see how much violence was used in these stories. We’re not just talking basic fights, but full-on gun battles with people being set on fire or attacked by vampire bats.

Baen – known pretty much as a sci-fi publisher – acquired the rights to republish The Spider’s adventures in glorious trade paperbacks, as opposed to some overpriced reprints. What really made the purchase of this book was, of course, the cover artwork by none other than Steranko.

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Deadfall

deadfall reviewAs Robert Liparulo’s third try at a thriller, DEADFALL is better than his previous efforts, but still not enough to justify the hype. As with last year’s GERM, it has a simple setup that’s ripe for high-concept treatment, but executed too much.

Four guy’s guys are taking a vacation from life’s problems in the form of a hunting trip in the vast expanse of the Canadian wild. But what they don’t count on is becoming the hunted themselves. Yes, Virginia, it’s a little like DELIVERANCE, but with redneck phalli replaced by a high-tech disintegrator ray.

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The Sword-Edged Blonde

sword edged blonde reviewCertainly, there are other examples of private investigators set in the medieval fantasy world of sword and sorcery, but Alex Bledsoe’s THE SWORD-EDGED BLONDE has a marvelous quirkiness to it – a naturalness about it that feels right even though the story and the character go a wee bit beyond convention.

That kind of tale is the hallmark of San Francisco publisher Night Shade Books, always doing something just a half-tick off the ordinary. Sometimes it works, sometimes it feels strained. But it works remarkably well in Bledsoe’s case.

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Deadly Beloved

deadly beloved reviewAs winter hits, a new Max Allan Collins novel is as effective for providing comfort as a warm blanket. DEADLY BELOVED is his latest – his third for Hard Case Crime – and finds him revisiting one of his comics creations in prose form: the female detective Ms. Tree. She’s no feminist, mind you – she just likes the pun.

Her real name is Michael Tree, thanks to a newly freelance P.I. she just married, whom she met on the police force. Their honeymoon, however, is entirely too short-lived, as he’s killed outside their airport motel room by a crook from his past.

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I Am Legend

i am legend reviewWill Smith’s latest paycheck has made a bestseller out of Richard Matheson’s classic 1954 novel I AM LEGEND, so whether the movie is awful or awesome, at least one good thing has come from it.

Even most who’ve never read it or seen the various movies are at least familiar with its now-famous plot: Robert Neville leads a structured but solitary life, since he is – as far as he knows – the last man on earth. Oh, but there are vampires, and every night they surround his home and yell at him to come out, to give up, to become one of them. It’s enough to drive a man insane.

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WHAT ED READ >> 11.28.07

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

peeper reviewThe other night, a blogful of people talked about how it’s cool to read something purely entertaining sometimes. One of my favorites in this category is Loren D. Estleman’s 1989 novel PEEPER, about a sink-hole dirtbag Detroit private eye named Ralph Poteet.

Even after three readings over the years, PEEPER keeps me laughing – many times out loud – all the way through. This isn’t cheap parody. It’s a witty take on many private-eye clichés filled with people you wouldn’t want to meet without wearing a biohazard suit, including a monsignor who dies in a whorehouse.

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Dead Man’s Hand: Crime Fiction at the Poker Table

dead mans hand reviewPoker’s popularity is something I can’t quite fathom. Its rules perplex me – someone who yearns for simplicity in games like the Atari 2600’s left, right, up, down and shoot. My disinterest in the cards, however, did not sour me on the new anthology DEAD MAN’S HAND: CRIME FICTION AT THE POKER TABLE, because most of the contributors use it as an element of the plot rather than the plot itself.

Edited by the esteemed Otto Penzler, the collection gets right underway with Walter Mosley’s “Mr. In-Between,” in which the title character is hired to play a poker game that will be fixed in his favor. The reasons why, of course, can’t be for his own good. It’s Mosley at his sneakiest … and giving us a new pickup line: “I got a itch that I want to scratch … wit’ yo’ tongue.”

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BULLETS, BROADS, BLACKMAIL & BOMBS >> Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White

bullets broads blackmail and bombsprotector 1 reviewHere we are again in the never-ending pile of paperbacks, this time dealing with men who fight the good fight, all while above the law – be it a super-secret agency, a shadowy organization that our own government relies on or a man who takes the law into his own hands.

THE PROTECTOR #1: VENUS UNDERGROUND by Rich Rainey – From 1982, this first of a six-book series is a whole lot of setup with certain facts beaten over your head ad nauseum. Alex Dartanian is the head of a security service, but also doubles as the head of I.C.E. That’s “Inner Court Executions” for us simple folk, but don’t worry: It’s repeated over and over throughout.

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