PREVIEW >> Knuckleheads Special Edition #1

Created by writer Brian Winkeler and artist Robert Wilson IV, KNUCKLEHEADS is the comic-book adventure of best friends Lance Powers & Trevor Trevinski. Lance was chosen by the organic crystalline alien race The Zironcium to wield the cosmic power of The Crystal Fist. However, they accidentally gave it to Trev. Now Trev must decide if he wants to become the hero Lance thinks he should or if he should just stay home and use his powers to steal cable, cheat on video games and ensure his 30-minutes-or-its-free pizza remains free.

Buy the exclusive, signed black-and-white special edition today and read the first five pages after the jump!

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Win a WHISPERERS soundtrack CD!

John Connolly’s got a new novel coming out next month, THE WHISPERERS, and to celebrate, he’s thrown together a 13-song CD soundtrack to listen to while reading the thriller about a killer known as The Collector. Included are artists like Spiritualized, Piano Magic, Sebastien Teller, Lee Hazelwood, Amiina, Magnolia Electric Company, Slack, Emma Pollock and Joan as Police Woman. We have three copies to give away.

To enter:
1. E-mail us your name and mailing address (U.S. only; no P.O. boxes) with “Sweet nothings” as the subject line, to editor at bookgasm dot com.
2. Await Friday, June 4 when we announce the randomly chosen winner.
3. Don’t forget buy the book at Amazon.

The Inheritance

First things first: Yes, Simon Tolkien is related to that Tolkien. He is J.R.R. Tolkien’s grandson. As both his previous work, FINAL WITNESS, and now THE INHERITANCE demonstrate, this Tolkien member is more concerned with courtrooms, lawyers and detectives than hobbit holes, wizards and elves. Here, the author tries to broad his focus to include historical events and family complications dating back a few generations, but the results miss the mark, owing to a rather predictable format and dull prose.

One evening, in 1959, Oxford historian John Cade is found dead in his study, having been shot between the eyes following an argument with his estranged son, Stephen. The police and inspectors are called to the scene, where all evidence, including fingerprints on the gun, points to Stephen as the killer.

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Shoot the President, Are You Mad?

Originally written in 1975, SHOOT THE PRESIDENT, ARE YOU MAD? is the final book of the August Mandrell series, finally seeing publication thanks to the fine folks at The Outfit. In the very sweet afterword, author Frank McAuliffe’s daughter explains that even 12 years after the Kennedy assassination, the public was not ready for a dark-humored take on the subject of killing a president.

She explains her father, who passed away in 1986, would be thrilled to know that the book was finally released, and that his biggest fan — his wife — would see it. Sadly, she passed away before this went to press. Nevertheless, it’s a lovely tribute to a writer who, to be honest, has slipped through the cracks of my reading experience.

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101 Things I Learned in Film School

Although it’s intended to be read by budding Steven Spielbergs, 101 THINGS I LEARNED IN FILM SCHOOL really holds true for storytellers across all media. In the appropriately widescreen book, screenwriter Neil Landau (DON’T TELL MOM THE BABYSITTER’S DEAD) shares tips like “Show, don’t tell,” “Good writing is rewriting” and “Props reveal character” — all central to movies, but certainly applicable to printed fiction, as well.

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Who won STARCRAFT II: HEAVEN’S DEVILS?

For the poor, hardworking citizens of the Confederacy’s fringe worlds, the Guild Wars have exacted a huge toll. Swayed by the promise of financial rewards, a new batch of recruits joins the fight alongside a slew of mysteriously docile criminals and a few dubious military leaders. Eighteen-year-old Jim Raynor, full of testosterone and eager to make things right at home, ships off to boot camp and finds his footing on the battlefield, but he soon discovers that the official mission is not what he’s really fighting for, in STARCRAFT II: HEAVEN’S DEVILS by William C. Dietz. Read or hear an excerpt, or enter to win.

We have five copies to give away, going to:
• Christy Hawkes of Tremonton, Utah
• Stephen Kling of Salt Lake City, Utah
• Slade Grayson of Aurora, Colo.
• Nevin Chacko of Vernon Hills, Ill.
• Sandy Johnson of Ludington, Mich.

Buy it at Simon & Schuster.

Who won CHEAT THE GRAVE?

Las Vegas socialite and otherwordly avenger Joanna Archer gave up everything when she embraced mortality, abandoning her powers and altering her destiny to save a child and a city. Now her former allies are her enemies — and her enemies have nothing to fear. Yet still she is bound to a prophecy that condemns her to roam a nightmare landscape that ordinary humans cannot see and dare not enter. And a beast is on her trail — an insane killer blinded by bloodlust, who’s determined to rip much more from Joanna than merely her now-fragile life, in Vicki Pettersson’s CHEAT THE GRAVE: THE FIFTH SIGN OF THE ZODIAC.

We have one copy to give away, going to:
• Joanna Gruberman of Akron, Ohio

Buy it at Amazon.

The Book of Murdock

Last year, the Western Writers of America held their annual convention in Oklahoma City, and I had the real pleasure of interviewing several of the members for a book-chat TV show seen in central Oklahoma. I was honored that Loren D. Estleman took a few minutes to talk with me about what was then his latest book, THE BRANCH AND THE SCAFFOLD. At the end of the interview, we slipped in mention of the author’s Western series character, U.S. Marshal Page Murdock.

THE BOOK OF MURDOCK is our first visit with the marshal since PORT HAZARD six years ago, and the lawman is back in fine style. He’s been forced to work undercover before, but never like this. His boss, Judge Harlan A. Blackthorne, tells him to turn his collar around and become an evangelical preacher. “How much do you know about the Bible?” Blackthorne asks him. “It’s black, isn’t it?” Murdock shoots back.

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The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal

If THE ACCIDENTAL BILLIONAIRES: THE FOUNDING OF FACEBOOK: A TALE OF SEX, MONEY, GENIUS AND BETRAYAL were a person, and he/she sent me a friend request on Facebook, I would hit “Ignore.” As much as I wanted to like Ben Mezrich’s account of the creation of the Internet’s top social network, it’s as empty and superficial as many of the relationships the site breeds.

Many already know the story of how enterprising, shy, insular Mark Zuckerberg founded the site from his dorm room while still a Harvard undergrad, and how “thefacebook,” grew exponentially from there. Many also already know that the idea’s true authorship has been called into question, which forms the crux of Mezrich’s book, although it’s fraught with so few turns and void of startling revelations, it’s hardly the stuff of drama.

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I Am Not a Serial Killer

Dan Wells’ debut novel, I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, is the first in a proposed trilogy, so the main order of business is to introduce us to the protagonist, John Wayne Cleaver. And Wells succeeds in doing this with an assuredness and deftness rarely experienced in first novels. But there is more going on here than what the first few chapters would have you assume.

Although Clayton County seems like a typical small Midwestern town, teenaged John is hardly typical — and he knows it. For one thing, he and his mom live above the local mortuary that she runs, so death and dead bodies are a regular feature in John’s life. He also harbors a fascination — an obsession, really — with serial killers, having read every book ever published on the better-known ones, and keeps a head full of facts and stories about them. He’s even made them the topic of his school projects. Needless to say, the other kids at his high school, including the one that comes closest to being his best friend, think John is a bit weird.

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