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Posts tagged book review

Book review: Cold Hand in Mine: Strange Stories, by Robert Aickman, Faber and Faber
November 18, 2014 | 2:25 pm

Robert_Aickman_7Regular TeleRead readers will probably have tumbled by now to the recent series of Faber and Faber reprints and recompilations of stories by the brilliant, enigmatic, and influential British writer of strange stories, Robert Fordyce Aickman. Cold Hand in Mine is probably the jewel of the series, as well as perhaps the best single-volume introduction to the writer's work. Originally republished in the Faber Finds series, these eight stories from the middle period of Aickman's career, selected by him, showcase some of his most diverse and imaginative productions, including "Pages from a Young Girl's Journal," which won the World Fantasy Award with...

Book Review: Brothers in Crime by KM Rockwood
October 22, 2014 | 2:25 pm

brothers in crimeThe fun part about going to writer's conference is that you meet lots of writers and get opportunities for review copies, especially if you let folks know you review books. KM Rockwood is a delightful person, and I was happy to accept a review copy of her latest book, [easyazon-link asin="B00K2L77XU" locale="us"]Brothers in Crime[/easyazon-link]. When she asked me if I wanted the first in the series or a later book, I opted for the latest book, to see if book would stand alone as well as she said it would. The good news is that it does. However, this is an odd...

Book review: The Book of the Dead, edited by Jared Shurin, Jurassic London
October 6, 2014 | 2:25 pm

After the endless, shambling horde of faceless zombie horror anthologies, The Book of the Dead presents stories centred on a rather more ancient and dignified genus of animated corpse: the Mummy. It also comes with a sort of official endorsement from the actual tradition of Egyptology, being "published in collaboration with the Egypt Exploration Society, the UK's oldest independent funder of archaeological fieldwork and research in Egypt," and introduced by John J. Johnston, Vice Chair of the Society. The selection doesn't rest on its premises, and the 19 stories range far wider than simply animated-bundle-of-bandages tales. If anything, the keynote of the anthology is variety...

Book review: The Children of Old Leech, edited by Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele, Word Horde
July 30, 2014 | 12:25 pm

This is both a superb collection of dark tales and a testament to the highly developed, involved, and even self-referential status of the new new wave of American horror and weird fiction. For it is a tribute anthology from some of the best writers in the field in honor of one of their most esteemed peers, Laird Barron, who is still very much alive and barely into his fourth volume. The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron might stand in grave danger of being an incestuous lovefest. Is it? Anything but. Who is the man...

Book review: Conjure House, by Gary Fry, DarkFuse
June 17, 2014 | 4:25 pm

conjure house coverI have a problem with books like Conjure House - which is a pity, because it means I'm blind to some of its outstanding merits. I have a problem with Family In Danger narratives in horror. Or with Childhood Friends Reunited stories. I have a problem with books that take the Yorkshire landscape as a setting without fully evoking its bleak Wuthering Heights magnificence. I have a problem with Chapters That End With Single Standalone Significant Sentences. Like This. That said, there is a lot to like here, as well as to be very scared of. Gary Fry seems to be working...

Techno-thriller about Taiwan, China was 10 years in the making
June 16, 2014 | 6:25 pm

Dragon Storm coverFor T.J. McFadden, writing the military thriller [easyazon-link asin="B00ITUEKYA" locale="us"]Dragon Storm[/easyazon-link]-- about a potential war between China and Taiwan -- was a labor of love and part of a ten-year learning process. A recent thumbs-up review in a newspaper in Taiwan has given the Ohio author a feeling of success, even if sales are still slow. To write the Kindle ebook, McFaddeen was able to use many of the things and terms he learned in serving as a military journalist in the U.S. navy, he told this reporter in a recent email. ''I was a journalist assigned to the USS Ashland," he...

Book review: The New Black, edited by Richard Thomas, Dark House Press
June 7, 2014 | 10:18 am

The New Black from leading indie publisher Dark House Press brings together 20 tales in the burgeoning genre of neo-noir, characterized by Dark House's materials as "a mixture of horror, crime, fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, the transgressive, and the grotesque all with a literary bent." That definitely, and accurately, describes the contents of the anthology, and Richard Thomas' s extremely detailed introduction goes about as far as anyone reasonably can in summarizing the genre's essential qualities and leading practitioners. It also comes with an evocative foreword, "Eye of the Raven," from Laird Barron, who could easily wear the neo-noir...

Book Review: Every Short Story 1951-2012, Alasdair Gray, Canongate Books
May 25, 2014 | 2:00 pm

With the near-destruction of the renowned Glasgow School of Art building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, it's a good time to celebrate one of its most famous alumni: Alasdair Gray, artist, author, polemical Scottish nationalist, and dyed-in-the-wool Glaswegian. He started writing in the late 1950s, although he only began seriously publishing in the 1980s, with his landmark novel Lanark appearing in 1981. And Every Short Story 1951-2012 collates every published story in his five published collections: Unlikely Stories, Mostly (1984), Lean Tales (1985), Glaswegians (1990), Ten Tales Tall and True, (1993), and The Ends of Our Tethers: 13 Sorry Stories (2005). The Endnotes,...

Book review: Flowers of the Sea, by Reggie Oliver
March 27, 2014 | 12:29 pm

Reggie Oliver is proving to be one of the most prolific, as well as most consistent, of modern British dark fiction and horror writers. His latest collection from Tartarus Press, Flowers of the Sea, includes thirteen stories and two novellas, many "originally written for inclusion in specific anthologies and ... therefore, to a certain extent, composed to a brief," but this needs little apology. As the author says, "none of them, however, was 'manufactured' ... cobbled together out of sheer ingenuity and the desire to please an editor." If anything, they show more sustained quality and variety than much of his...

Book Review: Shadow Campus by Kathleen Kelley Reardon
January 27, 2014 | 4:43 pm

Shadow CampusI was fortunate to receive a review copy of [easyazon-link asin="B00EBZACUS" locale="us"]Shadow Campus[/easyazon-link] by Kathleen Kelley Reardon. It's a mystery/thriller that takes place on California university campus. The location is important because much of the book revolves around university politics and everything rings true. It's obvious Reardon has been a professor, and many of the incidents sound like situations she's either seen or heard about. The basic plot is that the main character, Shamus Doherty, is called from Connecticut to California because his sister, a professor at the university, has been in an accident. When he arrives, he learns that the "accident" was actually...

Review: Summer is my Favorite Season by Ilir Berisha
January 20, 2014 | 10:32 am

Ilir Berisha might say he was one of the lucky ones. He got out of Kosova alive while living there during the war, and got to tell his story. Berisha’s book “Summer Is My Favorite Season: A Memoir of Childhood and War in Kosovo ” paints a true story of a young boy who witnesses some of the worst the world has to offer. His parents are frustrated and frightened. They don’t know where they are going to get their next meal or when the electricity will return or if they will ever get running water again. His father has to work...

Book Review: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
December 31, 2013 | 1:25 pm

the way of kings by brandon sandersonI have time to get in one more book review before the end of the year, and The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson is a good one to end on. Sanderson is an excellent epic fantasy author, and he proves it again in this book. Note that this is not a new book. It was published back in August of 2010, and, although I bought a copythen, I didn't get around to reading it until this month. Why? The reviews I read indicated that not much happened in the book and that it was mostly a set up for the...