The Dog Who Knew Too Much

Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie mystery series — featuring Bernie Little, the human owner of the Little Detective Agency, and Chet, his 100-pound-plus dog buddy — now enters its fourth installment with THE DOG WHO KNEW TOO MUCH.

Each book is written from Chet’s point of view, and as such, it is alternately charming and wearying — charming because Quinn writes it exactly how a human would think a dog thinks; wearying because dogs aren’t necessarily known for their attention span or grasp of linear story structure.

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PREVIEW >> Revolver: How the Beatles Reimagined Rock’n’Roll

In his latest book, REVOLVER, Robert Rodriguez — the pop-culture historian, not the film director — details HOW THE BEATLES REIMAGINED ROCK’N’ROLL. While you await our review, take a glimpse inside the book, in this excerpt on how the landmark album was received by critics.

Ahead of the curve in recognizing Revolver as something special was critic Richard Gold- stein, writing for New York’s Village Voice. Just out of college, Goldstein was on his way to a long and distinguished career when he sang the praises of this new Beatles release. “Hear it once and you know it’s important. Hear it twice, it makes sense. Third time around, it’s fun. Fourth time, it’s subtle. On the fifth hearing, Revolver becomes sublime.” Though his review overall gave the Beatles much credit for doing something distinctly new as they explored the possibilities of what a rock album could be, Goldstein would distinguish himself the following year as one of the few professional critics that did not fall all over himself to exalt Sgt. Pepper.

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Mystery Writers of America Presents Vengeance

The swift, often personal form of justice known as vengeance is such a perennial ingredient of crime fiction that it’s a wonder an original anthology of short stories devoted to this theme hasn’t appeared earlier. No worries: Best-selling author Lee Child — he of the Jack Reacher series — has more than made up for it by editing the collection MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA PRESENTS VENGEANCE.

In his introduction, Child started the project by personally soliciting stories from established authors he knows and admires before the MWA conducted a blind submission and judging procedure. The winning stories were forwarded to Child. “We all got the same brief,” he recalls. “Write about vengeance, revenge, getting even, maybe doing a bad thing for a good reason. Or a bad reason.”

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A Question, Mr. Superman …

Broadcasting legend Larry King drops a lot of names in his latest book, the new-to-paperback TRUTH BE TOLD, but in this essay — not included in the memoir — he drops even more, revealing the questions he wished he had the chance to ask.

I was speaking at The University of Texas — Pan American not long ago and a student asked me a question that had never been asked of me in more than fifty years of broadcasting.

“What fictional character would you like to interview?”

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The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist

Indie cartoonist Daniel Clowes currently is the subject of an art exhibition. In other words, on the walls of a museum. Some may see it as sacrilege; I see it as progress.

If you can’t make it out to Oakland, Calif., where the retrospective is showing, no worries: Abrams ComicArts brings it to you in THE ART OF DANIEL CLOWES: MODERN CARTOONIST, a hefty, handsome hardcover that’s as good an introduction to the man as any. He’s much more than the guy behind GHOST WORLD.

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A new series from Greg Rucka means one thing: Jump on it now. Don’t wait for the fifth or sixth book to roll around, because then you’ll be lost. ALPHA introduces us to Jad Bell, a new Delta Force operative whose latest assignment will hit very close to home: running security for a theme park called WilsonVille.

Bell has been assigned this task because the previous agent working undercover came a little too close to something shady going on, winding up dead. It seems there have been some rumblings that WilsonVille has been targeted for a terrorist operation.

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Q&A with KEEP OUT!’s Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern is a prolific author and researcher in the field of Fortean phenomena. Derived from the name of Charles Fort, this includes all and sundry peculiar phenomena, mostly neglected, often ignored and sometimes ridiculed by the scientific establishment. From anomalous observances in the skies to hairy beasts gallivanting in the woods, Redfern has tackled much of it. His no-nonsense style has garnered him a small, but dedicated following. 

On the heels of his recent volumes, THE NASA CONSPIRACIES and KEEP OUT!, Redfern talked to BOOKGASM about the topics he and other authors tackle.

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The Stonecutter

If the first tier of Scandinavian detective fiction features quality writers such as Yrsa Sigurdardóttir and Karin Fossum, then the second tier is ably represented by authors such as Åke Edwardson and Camilla Läckberg. It’s competent, quality storytelling that you enjoy reading — it just probably won’t blow you away.

Läckberg’s third novel, THE STONECUTTER, originally published in Swedish in 2005, features the police detectives of small-town Fjällbacka and its leading investigator, Patrik Hedstrom. He and Erica Falck have a young daughter, Maja, and are horrified to discover that their friend’s 7-year-old daughter has been found drowned in the sea. After a few more pages, everyone is even more horrified to discover the girl was murdered.

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The Spacesuit Film: A History, 1918-1969

I’m just the sort of film obsessive who loves not only genres, but very specific subgenres. Such is the case with California professor Gary Westfahl’s THE SPACESUIT FILM: A HISTORY, 1918-1969. Who knew “spacesuit films” were a thing? And why does it end at 1969? Because with the Apollo 11 moon landing, the idea ceased existing as only science fiction. Once that happened, the appeal of astronaut fantasy started to wear off.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. A “spacesuit film” is just as it sounds: a movie featuring men (and sometimes women) in spacesuits as they travel through space. If that was a primary element to a movie, Westfahl has included it in his thick guide — one that sci-fi cinemas fans didn’t know they needed until now.

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Solving the Communion Enigma: What Is to Come           

I have to start with a disclaimer: I believe in the existence of other intelligent life in the universe. The universe is too damn vast for us to be alone.

Now, what that means in regards to spaceships and extraterrestrials, I have no idea. I do know that even if you discredit 99.9 percent of all sightings and/or contact with otherworldly beings and UFOs — if you subtract the ones that are tricks of light or weather conditions, secret government aircraft being tested, weather balloons, hoaxes, the fabrication of compulsive liars or scam artists, and the ramblings of lunatics — even if you took away all of those, there is still a fraction that cannot be explained.

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