SEARCH ME >> 7.09

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

• supergirl panties
• punched karen in her gut
• overweight horror protagonist
• carol burnett nude
• can the solar plexus make you poop?

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The King’s Daughters

In what could be subtitled “The Comic Misadventures of Prince Amir,” our imperious but lovable prince from Nathalie Mallet’s THE PRINCES OF THE GOLDEN CAGE returns in THE KING’S DAUGHTERS. Amir is escorting Eva, one of the king of Sorvinka’s titular daughters, back to her home in order to obtain the approval of her father for their marriage. But in the first of a series of missteps, Amir has as his escort soldiers from a neighboring kingdom that is at war with Sorvinka.

The king is most displeased. This displeasure mounts when it turns out that one of Eva’s sisters has been abducted, and a strange beast is roaming the castle, killing innocent men and women. Another of Eva’s sisters goes missing, and Amir decides to investigate.

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A Rhapsody for the Eternal

Darren Speegle might have been born too late for speculative fiction’s “New Wave,” but reading A RHAPSODY FOR THE ETERNAL, his third short story collection, recalls the heady days of the late ’60s and ’70s, when writers like Harlan Ellison, Michael Moorcock, Robert Silverberg and several others were stretching science fiction, fantasy and horror into new, previously uncharted areas.

Like most of the work from that groundbreaking period, Speegle’s stories are impressively literate, intelligent and highly imaginative. But they can also lose sight of their narrative intention in an intoxicating whirl of sensations — again, like their New Wave predecessors.

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BULLETS, BROADS, BLACKMAIL & BOMBS >> Bring on the Bad Guys

bullets broads blackmail and bombsAdmit it: We all secretly root for the bad guys. Just look at the crime genre in books. Donald Westlake alone came up with two great bad guys in Parker and Dortmunder. You actually want these two criminals to pull off their schemes. So I present three novels in which the bad guy takes center stage. People will always be drawn to the criminal element, even if they are loathsome. The bad guys always come off as cool, while the good guys seems like milk and Dudley Do-Right.

THE BOOSTER by Eugene Izzi — The author is best known for the bizarre circumstances surrounding his death. I’ve always been on the lookout for his books to cover. Well, now that I’ve actually read this one from 1989, I’ll probably pass on others. The title refers to Bolo, a retired safecracker who runs a bar. He is contacted by a mob figure who wants him to do one last job: breaking into an apartment in the Sears Tower, by way of the outside.

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Precious Metal: Decibel Presents the Stories Behind 25 Extreme Metal Masterpieces

Some books are easy to call. If you’re not into heavy metal music, you won’t be into PRECIOUS METAL: DECIBEL PRESENTS THE STORIES BEHIND 25 EXTREME METAL MASTERPIECES. Edited by Albert Mudrian, who also fronts DECIBEL magazine, which I’m unaware existed, the book does exactly what it sets out to do, telling chapter-long “making of” tales of more than two dozen albums.

While I respect Mudrian’s insistence at having contributors interview every member of the band, and the Q&A format keeps the engine chugging, I’ve never heard of these supposed hall-of-fame masterpieces, much less the groups. I know of Black Sabbath, Slayer and Monster Magnet, but who is Carcass? Eyehategod? Kyuss? Darkthrone?

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Melvin Monster, Volume 1: The John Stanley Library

In Monsterville, every day is Opposite Day. Kids are encouraged to disobey their parents, run away from home, play in the street, and throw bricks through the neighbors’ windows. But there’s one child who instead dares to act like an angel, even though his cheery disposition and curious nature get him into a different kind of trouble, all chronicled in MELVIN MONSTER, VOLUME 1: THE JOHN STANLEY LIBRARY.

This delightful collection from Drawn and Quarterly is comprised of the first three issues of Dell’s MELVIN MONSTER title from 1965, written and illustrated by the late, great Stanley. Today, his work is mostly forgotten beyond a core group of devotees, but hopefully, this book — and other planned volumes in D&Q’s series — will give that narrow audience the Opposite Day treatment.

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Shadow of the Dark Angel

Can earnestness overcome the deficiencies of a crime novel’s technique and plot? No, generally speaking. But an exception might be considered for Gene O’Neill and his SHADOW OF THE DARK ANGEL, published in a handsome edition from Bad Moon Books.

We meet the perpetrator of the novel, Sam Kubiak, as a child in the prologue. We learn that Sam is a shy child who clandestinely spies on young girls as they undress. What excites him most are glimpses of their underarms and pelvis. We also learn that Sam hears voices in his head. The voices are two angles — a Light Angel that cautions him of misbehaving, and a Dark Angel that overtakes his behavior and commands him to seek vindication and vengeance whenever he is humiliated.

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The Enthusiast

I’m not sure what I expected in reading THE ENTHUSIAST by Charlie Haas, but I expected more than I got. Haas’ novel has had heaps of praise, including a total rave in REASON magazine and other trusted sources, and its subject matter is something I hold near and dear: enthusiast or hobby magazines.

The protagonist, Henry Bay, is an associate editor who flits to and from small niche publications devoted to specialized pursuits like a fly on a window pane, from KITE BUGGY magazine to CROCHET LIFE to ICE CLIMBING and to tons of other publications that are supported by a small knot of avid readers. Haas definitely gets this culture and explains the appeal of it to Henry in a marvelous paragraph, of which this book is filled:

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VIDGASM >> The Books of Lloyd Kaufman

For BOOKGASM’s first-ever video review, Allan Mott looks at the collected works of Troma Films founder Lloyd Kaufman: ALL I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FILMMAKING I LEARNED FROM THE TOXIC AVENGER, MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE!: SECRETS OF A RENEGADE DIRECTOR and DIRECT YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE!, all in one NSFW clip.

Buy them at Amazon.

BOOK WHORE >> 7.28.09

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

BEST SERVED COLD by Joe Abercrombie — Springtime in Styria. And that means war. There have been 19 years of blood. The ruthless Grand Duke Orso is locked in a vicious struggle with the squabbling League of Eight, and between them they have bled the land white. Armies march, heads roll and cities burn, while behind the scenes bankers, priests and older, darker powers play a deadly game to choose who will be king. War may be hell, but for Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, the most feared and famous mercenary in Duke Orso’s employ, it’s a damn good way of making money, too. Her victories have made her a shade too popular for her employer’s taste. Betrayed and left for dead, Murcatto’s reward is a broken body and a burning hunger for vengeance. Whatever the cost, seven men must die.

SECRET OF THE SEVENTH SON by Glenn Cooper — Nine people have been slain in New York City — nine strangers with nothing in common — the apparent victims of a frighteningly elusive serial killer. Only one thing links the dead: postcards they received, mailed from Las Vegas, announcing the day they would die. Assigned to the case is a legendary FBI profiler with a troubled past, a drinking problem and nothing left to lose. Abandoned to a monastery is an unwanted son born under a curse on the seventh day of the seventh month of the year 777. Unprepared for a momentous discovery is a post-World War II expedition into the crypts of a clandestine medieval society, but all lead to a secret embroiled in destiny, history, evil, faith, and corruption … and one terrifying truth that no one must ever know.

GEARS OF WAR: JACINTO’S REMNANT by Karen Traviss — Based on the blockbuster Xbox game, this is the story of the men and women who stood between a planet and total destruction — and now have to face the consequences of their actions. After a brutal 15-year war for survival, the Coalition of Ordered Governments is forced to destroy mankind’s last city in a final bid to stop the Locust Horde. As the survivors flee Jacinto, they must contend with the last of the Locust, bent on vengeance, as they struggle to stay alive in an icy wilderness. Marcus Fenix, Dom Santiago and their fellow Gears fight to get Jacinto’s refugees to a safe haven, but find themselves in a lawless new world where the enemy is human — and as desperate and dangerous as any grub.

THE NIGHT STALKER by James Swain — Just days away from execution, Abb Grimes reaches out to ex-cop Jack Carpenter with a surprising request. Despite the fact that Carpenter was instrumental in putting the notorious serial killer behind bars, the doomed convict now wants Carpenter to find his missing grandson. The cops are convinced that the boy’s father — Abb’s troubled son, Jed — is behind his disappearance, but Jack’s not so sure. And yet, when the evidence in a gruesome murder leads straight to Jed, the question must be asked: Have the unspeakable sins of his father taken root in this disturbed young man? Searching through an underworld of predators, assembling the jagged pieces of a depraved puzzle, Jack Carpenter is desperate to catch a ruthless killer before he strikes again.

Buy them at Amazon.

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