The Renegades

A sequel of sorts to T. Jefferson Parker’s L.A. OUTLAWS, which dealt with a Robin Hoo-like figure in today’s California, THE RENEGADES finds Charlie Hood a few years older and being teamed up with a new partner, Terry Laws, nicknamed Mr. Wonderful.

Laws seems like a perfect partner for Hood for the short time they are together; right before his eyes, Hood witnesses Laws get shot down, with all evidence pointing toward a gang slaying. Hood is called upon by Internal Affairs to investigate the shooting, since it seems Laws — despite his nickname — was hiding some serious secrets, which are slowly uncovered like a peeling onion.

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Schoolgirl Milky Crisis: Adventures in the Anime and Manga Trade

One need not be a fan of Asian cartoons — filmed or printed — to pick up SCHOOLGIRL MILKY CRISIS: ADVENTURES IN THE ANIME AND MANGA TRADE, but I think you’d be bored otherwise. For this eyebrow-raising-titled collection, journalist Jonathan Clements has rounded up nearly 20 years’ worth of columns, articles and speeches he’s written on the subject for various magazines like NEWTYPE USA.

Divided handily into niche categories from games to porn, the book is thick, thick, thick, with each essay generally numbering but three pages (exception: a few speeches and DVD notes run longer), making the flip-through rate as high as an anime character’s eyes are wide.

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SEARCH ME >> 2.09

A sampling of some of the bizarro search terms with (thankfully) low numbers that brought people to BOOKGASM over the last 30ish days:

• kathleen turner hurt penis
• half human half horse
• how do you stop people from sitting in your chair
• fat fryer accident
• “limp with excitement” native americans

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Kim Harrison has a new urban fantasy out — the seventh in the series starring kick-ass witch/bounty hunter Rachel Morgan — called WHITE WITCH, BLACK CURSE. And the winner of the novel, along with a T-shirt and a tomato seed packet (tomato seeds?!? — yeah, read the contest explanation) is Tim D’Allaird of Troy, N.Y. Our congrats go out to him, and as for the rest of you, another recession-friendly opportunity to win a free hardcover comes next week!

Buy it at Amazon.

Preview it online.

The House Without a Key

Given the sheer amount of Charlie Chan movies that were made (nearly 50), it’s easy to forget Earl Derr Biggers only wrote six novels about his Asian police detective. Academy Chicago is in the process of reissuing all half-dozen — long out-of-print this year, starting with Chan’s 1925 debut, THE HOUSE WITHOUT A KEY.

The mystery concerns one Dan Winterslip, a well-to-do man who lives in a spacious mansion on Waikiki Beach, estranged from his brother. One day, he makes an odd request of his young Bostonian nephew John Quincy Winterslip: Go to Uncle Dan’s pad in San Francisco, retrieve a box, don’t open it, and throw it overboard on your way over here. Oh, and when you get here, please take your Aunt Minerva with you when you leave.

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A World I Never Made

James LePore’s debut novel A WORLD I NEVER MADE has a lot going for it — so much, in fact, that at times it feels like a tossed-off work of a more seasoned author. And if it doesn’t knock your socks off, it’s not from lack of trying.
American civil engineer Pat Nolan is summoned to Paris in the early days of 2004 to claim the body of his daughter, Megan, who has committed suicide. Although estranged for several years, Pat — a widower since his daughter’s birth — is the only family the dead girl has. But upon viewing the body, he immediately confirms the silent suspicions he’s held since first reading Megan’s suicide note: that the body he is viewing is not his daughter’s.

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DTOX #0 is a prelude to a series that has yet to come into fruition, but hopefully will, based upon the ingenious insanity of this sneak peek. Set in a postapocalyptic Detroit world where nuclear rain has turned the populace into mutants, the story sports a hulking hero in the titular DTOX, who roams the ravaged land in his super-vertical tank, detoxifying the town.

That means melting mutants with green goo, and there’s plenty of them to go around. In this 12-page story, a flaxen-haired hottie named Killvixen is molested and nearly killed by a band of monsters before being saved by DTOX, who’s clad in camouflage, a gas mask and a helmet, and carries lotsa weapons.

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A Knife Edge

David Rollins introduced Air Force special investigator Vin Cooper in 2005’s THE DEATH TRUST, and damn near killed him off in the process. But Cooper is back in A KNIFE EDGE, and off on a whirlwind case of murder, terrorism, political conspiracy and a whole gaggle of double-crossing.
Cooper is assigned to investigate the death of Dr. Hideo Tanaka, a marine biologist who, along with his partner, geneticist Prof. Sean Boyle, was part of a development team for the Department of Defense. But then Boyle is suddenly killed in what looks like a terrorist bombing in San Francisco.

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Dangerous Laughter: 13 Stories

‘Twas the film THE ILLUSIONIST that introduced me to Pulitzer Prize winner Steven Millhauser, whose short story “Eisenheim the Illusionist” served as the source material. It’s not all that often that a movie inspires me to check out an author on whose words were the springboard.

Thus, the new-in-paperback DANGEROUS LAUGHTER: 13 STORIES. “Eisenheim” isn’t among them, but it has a baker’s dozen of spiritual brethren in this collection of literate but loony tales of duplicate towns, a library wizard and the perils of merriment.

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BULLETS, BROADS, BLACKMAIL & BOMBS >> Tough Guys Don’t Play Nice

bullets broads blackmail and bombsThis column has a pissed-off Brit, a detective who gets really mad and one super-aggravated spy. In other words, three books I’ve been meaning to cover for a long time — especially the first one, which I finally got my hands on a copy of after years of looking. So sit back and bask in all the bad-assness that is about to go down.

GET CARTER by Ted Lewis — Originally published under the title JACK’S RETURN HOME, this 1970 book is one of the best British crime novels ever written. Hell, I’ll go out on a limb and say without a doubt that the movie version and THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY are two of the best British crime films ever made. What is truly outstanding about the book is how little of it was cut for the film.

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