Whom the Gods Would Destroy

whomgodsDamien’s first strong memory recalls his mother dragging he and his half-brother, Cameron, to a remote forested location. She yelled at him to stay put, handcuffing him to the wheel of the car as she and Cameron walked off together. Damien’s envy and repulsion lock into place at this moment and underscore his narration throughout Brian Hodge’s tense novella. Who is this monstrous woman? And how does a child expressly exiled from familial love find his place in the universe?

WHOM THE GODS WOULD DESTROY, a finalist for the Shirley Jackson award for best novella, complicates that existential angst with echoes of Lovecraft, as Damien’s sense of otherness in his own home is complemented by an increasing dread about what Others might be lurking just beyond our consciousness, trying to find their way in. His first memory ends with him slipping the shackles and wandering into a glade to find his mother and brother circling a man lashed to a tree, the stars wheeling overhead.

Read more »

The Very Best of Tad Williams

tadwilliamsWhen you see the name Tad Williams you can’t help but think of multi-volume fantasy series that dominate the final rows of fantasy and science fiction paperbacks on the shelves of most bookstores. So it may come as a surprise to many to learn that the author of SHADOWMARCH, MEMORY, SORROW AND THORNE, and other epic series and is also an accomplished writer of short fiction – enough to fill two previous collections.
 
THE VERY BEST OF TAD WILLIAMS is, as the promotional copy indicates, a “career retrospective” that includes stories Williams wrote during the time he created the series and stand-alone works that established him among genre authors; including many stories that were originally published in extremely limited editions.

Read more »

Cold in July

coldjulyOne of the benefits of COLD IN JULY being made into an independent movie (adapted by screenwriter/actor Nick Damici and directed by Jim Mickle) is this new, movie tie-in edition from Tachyon, Joe R. Landsdale’s publisher. So now this early work from one of America’s finest storytellers – first published in 1989 and nearly impossible to find since – is once again available. That’s wonderful news not only for the legion of Lansdale fans but also for those who love a finely told crime story.
 
Early one morning, Richard Dane is awakened by a noise coming from the living room of his house in the small town of LaBorde, Texas. He goes downstairs to look, and sure enough, finds a burglar has broken into his home. The burglar hears Dane and reaches for a gun. But Dane is also armed and gets a shot off first, killing the burglar.

Read more »

The Interloper

interloperThe latest from Dave Zeltserman, THE INTERLOPER, is actually three stories in one. In the sense they are three novellas that are connected with an over arcing story. With also the added bonus of a continued story. The premise is that of a man named Willis who for years has been working for The Factory. A shadowy government agency where he has worked as a paid assassin for years. Willis has for years believed he has been killing off insurgents that have been watched for years. He was to make the deaths more often then not to look like natural causes. That was till he found out exactly what deep secret The Factory has been hiding from him. This is the bulk of the first part of The Interloper called The Hunted. With the rest of this section being like a sort of mens adventure. With Willis exacting revenge and setting up the following stories.

Read more »

The Skin Collector

skincollectorJeffery Deaver’s THE SKIN COLLECTOR is his 11th Lincoln Rhyme novel. Long-time fans will notice that the title harkens back to THE BONE COLLECTOR, the novel that began the series and introduced us to Deaver’s best-known character. After 10 popular novels Deaver knows what his readers expect – and he dutifully delivers all strengths and, sadly, all of the weaknesses of this enduring series.
 
No sooner does Lincoln Rhyme, the quadriplegic yet brilliant and renowned criminalist, acknowledge the demise of a long-time nemesis when a new case is presented to him. Someone is luring random victims to the myriad tunnels under New York City and murdering them. The murder weapon is a tattoo on the victim’s exposed stomach.

Read more »

The Water Rat of Wanchai

waterratThe descriptive copy on the back cover of THE WATER RAT OF WANCHAIwould have us believe that this is a story from “the early days” of Ava Lee, the protagonist of Hamilton’s thriller series. In reality this is the first novel of the series (from 2011), and this Picador paperback edition makes it available in the U.S. for the first time.
 
Why Picador published three titles of the series prior to this debut is a mystery. Luckily readers already familiar with the series can easily enjoy this novel and might never know it was the title that launched the series.

Read more »

Lovecraft’s Monsters

lovecraftmonstersYou’re probably thinking: “What? Another Lovecraft-inspired story collection?” Indeed it seems every year brings more collections of original and reprinted stories demonstrating H. P. Lovecraft’s enduring inspiration and influence on horror authors.

So what distinguishes LOVECRAFT’S MONSTERS? Well, for one thing, it’s edited by Ellen Datlow, one of the most knowledgeable, prolific and reliable genre anthologists working today. Then there’s the overall approach which, as the title indicates, focuses on Lovecraft’s monsters rather than the larger view of his created mythos. And finally, it’s beautifully illustrated too.

Read more »

AMERICAN CRAFTSMEN and Books That Love Books

americancraftsmenIt sounds like a genre plot line, but fantasy and science fiction stories often converse with other books. My debut novel from Tor certainly does. AMERICAN CRAFTSMEN is a modern-day fantasy of military intrigue. The craftsmen of the title are magician soldiers and psychic spies descended from the founding families of the country. Two craft soldiers from rival families, Captain Dale Morton and Major Michael Endicott, fight against a treasonous cabal in the Pentagon’s highest covert ranks.

“Converse” may be an understatement; I wrote AMERICAN CRAFTSMEN as a book in love with other books. For my cryptohistorical backstory, I’ve imagined that Hawthorne, Poe, and other early American authors of the fantastic wrote thinly veiled nonfiction chronicling different parts of the saga of the craft families. The American canon thus becomes one big shared occult world writing project.

Read more »

Speaking from Among the Bones

speakingAlan Bradley’s fifth novel featuring the precocious but oh-so-charming Flavia de Luce is SPEAKING FROM AMONG THE BONES (there is a sixth already released which I shall review in the future). Set in 1951 in the quaint English town of Bishop’s Lacey, the de Luce family and the town’s inhabitants are that peculiar mix of British twee and eccentricity that when well-written, can go over very well. And Bradley’s entire series is very well-written.

This particular novel starts with a muted celebration at the exhumation of the bones of St. Tancred, patron saint of Bishop’s Lacey. Of course, Flavia is in attendance (she would never miss anything so outrageously fun) but when they open the tomb, they find instead the deceased body of Mr. Collicutt, the church organist.

Read more »

Lexicon

lexiconMax Barry’s LEXICON was first published last year and received acclaim from sources as diverse as The New York Times, NPR, and Time Magazine. Now Penguin has reissued it as a trade paperback. So if you missed the first go-round, here’s your chance to experience this impressively inventive, disturbing, and thought-provoking thriller.
 
Wil Parke is suddenly and violently abducted from an airport by a group of strangers who claim they are rescuing him. But Wil knows nothing about his abductors, nor the group they claim mean to capture and imprison Wil.

Read more »

Next Page »