Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle must be one of the most difficult authors to imitate in style. Thousands have tried, but few have ever been able to capture his measured, lilting Victorian sentences — every word carefully chosen, intense drama hidden beneath the chasteness of a very careful prose, a pause in the direction that modern editors would never allow today.

So when the Conan Doyle estate, Daniel Stashower (the author of a Doyle biography), and Leslie S. Klinger (the editor of THE NEW ANNOTATED SHERLOCK HOLMES) all praise author Lyndsay Faye’s DUST AND SHADOW: AN ACCOUNT OF THE RIPPER KILLINGS BY DR. JOHN H. WATSON for its perfect pastiche of Doyle’s style, and her capturing of the inimitable characters Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes, the reader takes note.

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The Blood Artists

Hoping to capitalize on what the success of THE STRAIN, the collaboration with film director Guillermo del Toro, Harper has brought back Chuck Hogan’s 1998 medical thriller, THE BLOOD ARTISTS, in mass-market paperback. But the intervening11 years have not been kind to the novel, making it rather predicable and ordinary.

By the year 2010, clean, uninfected blood is a rare and valuable commodity. Virologists Peter Maryk and Stephen Pearse are working to synthesize blood for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (a stricter, more encompassing off-shoot of the actual CDC as we know it), but their work is interrupted with the news of an outbreak of a particularly dangerous virus in a remote village in Africa. They arrive there and attempt to understand and contain the virus before it spreads. But when their efforts fail, Maryk take command and bombs the entire village, its inhabitants and — they hope — the virus as well.

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BOOK WHORE >> 6.30.09

book whoreShe’s back, pimpin’ out notable new releases to place on your radar!

A PLAGUE OF SECRETS by John Lescroart — The first victim is Dylan Vogler, a charming ex-convict who manages the Bay Beans West coffee shop in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. When his body is found, inspectors discover that his knapsack is filled with high-grade marijuana. It soon becomes clear that San Francisco’s A-list flocked to Bay Beans West not only for their caffeine fix. But how much did Maya Townshend — the beautiful socialite niece of the city’s mayor, and the absentee owner of the shop — know about what was going on inside her business? And how intimate had she really been with Dylan, her old college friend?

THE SHORE by Robert Dunbar — As a winter storm tightens its grip on the small shore town of Edgeharbor, the residents are frightened of much more than pounding waves and bitter winds. A series of horrible murders has the town cowering in fear. Mangled victims bear the marks of savage claws, and strange, bloody footprints mar the beach. A young policewoman and a mysterious stranger are all that stand between this isolated community and an ancient, monstrous evil.

FALL by Colin McAdam — Awkward Noel thinks he’s been allowed into the inner circle of his elite boarding school when he discovers his senior-year roommate is to be handsome, athletic Julius. Julius, in turn, cares only for the fleeting joys of teenage life: sneaking out to parties, playing pranks with friends, and spending the night with his girfriend, Fall. Always an outsider, Noel develops an unhealthy fascination with Julius, and his crush on Fall begins to border on a dangerous obsession. When Fall disappears close to winter break, Julius and Noel are forced to face their own inner desires — a confrontation that ushers the two boys out of the innocence of adolescence and into adulthood.

SADOMASOCHISM FOR ACCOUNTANTS by Rosy Barnes — Paula is still smarting from being called boring by Alan, her longtime boyfriend. Then he leaves her for Belinda, the egotistic would-be partner of accountancy firm Smith, Smith-Brown and Smith. Her mother suggests she spice up her life, so Paula joins the local fetish club. Luda the transvestite is not fooled when Paula enters Club Liscious. Her off-the-shoulder dress cannot turn her into a thrill-seeking member of the Liscious elite. “She” decides to have nothing to do with the newcomer.
Over the next few weeks, the club-goers’ suspicion turns to friendship, and “boring” Paula recruits Luda, gentle Dominatrix Gretchen, and bossy SlaveBoy to help her win Alan back. Meanwhile, Alan’s new fiancée, Belinda, locked in a bitter battle for a promotion with her paraplegic colleague, starts working on Alan’s own lack of ambition.

CITY OF SOULS by Vicki Pettersson — In Sin City, a little girl suffers from a strange and terrible malady. If she dies, the Light will die along with her. Warrior/avenger Joanna Archer has survived countless otherworldly terrors — and has found her rightful place among the agents battling the all-pervasive evil of Shadow, even as she struggles against the darkness within herself. A war is raging for Las Vegas — one that catapults Joanna into a new world hidden from mortal sight. In this lethally seductive alternate dimension the lines blur between good and evil, love and hate, and here lies the last hope for the Light. But Joanna’s price of admission is a piece of her own soul — and the odds of her escaping are slim … to none.

RUBICON by Lawrence Alexander — Hoping to escape the political spotlight, California Sen. Bobby Hart declined a presidential run. But while in Germany, the idealistic young politician discovers terrifying evidence of a conspiracy to destroy democracy in America: an unthinkable plot codenamed Rubicon. Someone important is going to die, though Hart doesn’t know who, why or when. Only two things are clear: It will happen some time before the upcoming election, and once it does, there will be no turning back. Caught in a desperate race against death and time, Hart must now expose an insidious nightmare that threatens every man, woman and child in America.

Buy them at Amazon.

SEARCH ME >> 6.09

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

• my son thinks he is turning into a zombi
• how to dress like a cowboy
• a true book about four guys that get capped
• bakugan battle porn
• strap on dildos for first timers
• porno ghosts excited
• where does the historians get there material
• russian turtleneck sweater gagged
• book with character named falcon and tit
• old b-movie about a robot with a pumpkin

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G.I. Joe: Above & Beyond

Not only has Max Allan Collins penned the novelization for Stephen Sommers’ summer blockbuster G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA, but he’s also gotten the chance to play around further with the property, simultaneously delivering an original prequel novel in G.I. JOE: ABOVE & BEYOND.

Consider it an origin story — not of the high-tech, desert-based international organization known as G.I. Joe, which remains a secret to 99 percent of the population — but of two of its core members: Conrad “Duke” Hauser and Wallace “Ripcord” Weems. Good pals, they’re “mere” members of the U.S. military before being drafted by Gen. Hawk to join G.I. Joe’s elite team. Already included among its members are highly trained specialists like the lovely Scarlett, the gung-ho Gung-Ho and the masked, mute ninja known as Snake Eyes.

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The Day We Found the Universe

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of America’s moon landing this summer, it’s important to remember the contributions of all it took to get us there. And I’m talking waaay back, like the late 19th century and early 20th century, when early astronomers ended up shaking up preconceived notions as telescopes grew bigger and more powerful.

Marcia Bartusiak’s THE DAY WE FOUND THE UNIVERSE is a perfect way to get schooled. The title comes from Edwin Hubble’s controversial 1925 assertion that the Milky Way wasn’t the only galaxy around, and that the overall universe was infinitely greater than previously thought. Those stars they saw that shimmered strangely? They weren’t stars at all, but entire galaxies.

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Old Man Winter and Other Sordid Tales

There’s a real poignancy to the work of J.T. Yost, whose OLD MAN WINTER AND OTHER SORDID TALES has deservedly been honored with a 2009 Xeric Award. The 56-page paperback is comprised of five stories, all but one of which give a grim, but completely honest, view of humanity.

It’s anchored by the title story, the longest of the bunch, in which an elderly man occasionally ventures from his lonely apartment to interact with the few people who will give him the time of day. He’s in mourning over the death of his wife, but insists on clutching to the illusion that she still exists. In one heartbreaker of a panel, he’s shown sleeping in bed, with the ashtray she once used situated on the pillow next to him.

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NEWSGASM >> 6.29.09

newsgasmAll the news that’s fit to capsulize!

ELECTRIC LITERATURE is a new, bimonthly literary fiction magazine featuring “five great stories that grab you.” It’s available as a paperback or an e-book, even readable on the iPhone and Kindle. Contributing to the debut issue are Michael Cunningham, Jim Shepard, T Cooper, Lydia Millet and Diana Wagman. If nothing else, I sure dig that cover!

ReadingGroupGuides.com surveyed book clubs about online social and book networking websites, and how their book-buying habits have changed in the last 12 months, if any. The full report is available, including such highlights as:
• 83% of groups read both hardcovers and paperbacks.
• 15% read paperbacks exclusively.
• 65.6% are interested in having authors join their discussions.
• 72% would like an online site where they could see what other groups are reading.
• 54% are on Goodreads.
• 53% are on Facebook.

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Ground Zero

I have some good news and bad news for Repairman Jack fans out there. First, the bad news: In the introduction to the Gauntlet Press edition of GROUND ZERO, author F. Paul Wilson states there are only two more Repairman Jack books coming, with it all culminating in the long-promised, revised and reissued version of NIGHTWORLD.

As with the novels that have followed HARBINGERS, these stories are no longer self-contained, but telling a much larger tale while putting Jack through yet another adventure. This latest is definitely one for his longtime fans, since Wilson ties up a few loose ends while also laying the ground work of what is to come. It shares some of the ideas from the earlier CONSPIRACIES, since the major plot touches on the events of 9/11, and their connection to “the otherness.”

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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Let’s start off with the fact that I love mysteries about stamp collecting, and in fact, collect any fictional work that involves the hobby or postal matters as its main subject. So, I was very excited to learn that Alan Bradley’s THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE involves a stamp-related murder.

And I was overjoyed to meet his precocious protagonist, 11-year-old Flavia de Luce. Remarkably, Bradley writes very well in first-person as the de Luce girl, and while she is certainly a remarkable prodigy in chemistry and science, there is an air of childish reality about her as well that is pleasing.

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