Sunday, September 18, 2011

Book Bombed! The Doctor and the Kid! Darkness Falling! Red Phoenix! The Complete Drive-In!

Thanks to Pyr Publishing, I've just been book bombed! Luckily enough I decided to eat lunch at home today, otherwise I would have been forced to wait for the UPS man to come back around.

Although it's not due to hit shelves until December, I have an ARC (advanced reader copy) of Mike Resnick's newest Weird West Tale, sitting on my bookshelf. I recently mentioned, in August's Updates and More, that the cover for The Doctor and the Kid had been released on the net, and now I'm happy to announce that there's a synopsis for those interested, as well. Here it is:

The time is 1882. With the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral behind him, the consumptive Doc Holliday makes his way to Deadwood, Colorado, with Kate Elder, where he plans to spend the rrest of his life, finally moving into the luxurious facility that specializes in his disease.

But one night he gets a little to drunk and loses everything he has at the gaming table. He realizes he needs to replenish his bankroll, and quickly, so that he can live out his days in comfort under medical care. He considers his options and hits upon the one most likely to produce income in a hurry: he'll use his skill as a shootist and turn bounty hunter.

The biggest reward is for the death of the young, twenty-year-old desperado known as Billy the Kid. With the enlisted aid of both magic (Geronimo) and science (Thomas Edison), Doc goes out after his quarry. He will hunt the Kid down, and either kill him and claim the reward or die in the process and at least end his own suffering.

But as he is soon to find out, nothing is as easy as it looks.


I was pleased to recieve an e-mail a few weeks ago from the kind folks at Angry Robot, that stated there were extra review copies of Peter Crowther's Darkness Falling. So, I didn't hesitate to grab a copy. Now I'm looking forward to grabbing enough alone time to devour it and let you all know how great it is! Here's the synopsis:

First the flash. A glare of light, just before dawn, followed by utter darkness. A vast blanketing darkness that covered the whole world.

The the dissapearances. Friends and strangers alike, swallowed by the darkness... and the returned, altered, changed.

For the people of Jesman's Bend, it feels like the end of the world. But this is only the very start.

File Under: Science Fiction [Zombie Apocalypse; Bodysnatchers; They Return]


Red Phoenix is the sequel to Kylie Chan's White Tiger, and the second book in the Dark Heaven's Trilogy. Halfway through the first book of this series, I have no doubt that Red Phoenix is a read I'm honestly looking forward to. Combining something that I haven't seen in recent past: Chinese Mythology and Urban Fantasy. Here's the Synopsis for Red Phoenix:

Immortals, martial arts, gods, and demons...

The intrigue deepens as the demon threat closes around mortals and gods alike.

When Emma Donahue took the position of nanny to John Chen's daughter Simone, she never expected to be caring for the child of a Chinese god, and she didn't expect that demons would want him dead. Nor has moving from nanny to partner in his heavenly realm made Emma's life any easier. Now a powerful race of demons has been created to hunt her and her family from Hong Kong to Europe. And she and Simone have become targets -- pawns to be used in a deadly celestial power play.

Last, but not least for this Book Bomb is the omnibus The Complete Drive-In by Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe R. Lansdale. Several weeks ago, Mr. Lansdale ran a quick contest on his fan page over on Facebook, and lucky me, I was the first to respond with the correct answer. The person who could answer the question correctly won a free, signed book of their choosing by the Champion Mojo Storyteller himself. I chose The Complete Drive-In. Hopefully I'll be able to review it in the next couple of months. Here's the synopsis for those interested:

Friday night at the Orbit Drive-in: a circus of noise, sex, teenage hormones, B-movie blood, and popcorn. On a cool, crisp summer night, with the Texas stars shining down like rattlesnake eyes, movie-goers try to leave, their bodies dissolve into goo. Cowboys are reduced to tears. Lovers quarrel. Bikini clad women let their stomachs' sag, having lost the ambition to hold them in. The world outside the six monstrous screens fade to black while the movie-goers spiral into base humanity, resorting to fighting, murdering, crucifying, and cannibalizing to survive. Part dark comedy part horror show, Lansdale's cult Drive-In books are as shcoking and entertaining today as they were 20 years ago.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Just Like Hell Book Review

Title: Just Like Hell
Author: Nate Southard
Publisher: Deadite Press
Pages: 122
ISBN: 9781936383832

One of the handful of books that I've really been looking forward to reading this past year, I finally got the chance to read Nate Southard's modern hardcore horror classic, Just Like Hell. Originally published in August of '08 with Thunderstorm Books, and named Book of the Year by Brian Keene (also in '08), it's finally seeing mass release thanks to Deadite Press.

I had nothing but high hopes for Just Like Hell. And sure enough, it didn't dissapoint. This 122 page edition has more to offer than just the title novella; included is the title novella (Just Like Hell), and with four bonus short stories thrown in for good measure ("A Team-Building Exercise," "Miss Kenner and Me," "Senorita," and "Work Pit Four"). I love longer works from established authors, and I enjoy shorter works from newer writers, which made Just Like Hell a perfect little book for me to dive into.

Just Like Hell: The longest of the five stories, and the main piece of this collection, Southard proves why Just Like Hell has obtained the notable praise and mantle of modern horror classic. What started as gruesome amusement for Dillon's captors and football teammates, quickly turns into something far worse than any of them could have imagined. A silent night, in the woods, a cabin to themselves, Dillon and his boyfriend are subjected to his colleague's ire. As the night escelates, one thing is clear: there can only be one survivor. In an age of rage and hate for being 'different,' this isn't just fiction, it's a horrifying reality that many are too afraid to write.

A Team-Building Exercise: A short story that instantly starts off balls to the walls with no chance of slowing down until the final paragraph. 'A Team-Building Excercise' focuses on a group of co-workers who have to fight there way to the bottom of their building; from floor to floor there's something new for them to encounter, from Chuthulian type monsters, to ferocious woodland creatures. It all culminates at the end with a twist.

Miss Kenner and Me: As one part of his life comes to and end and another begins, newly gradauted Jacob must come to grips with the harsh reality that Miss Kenner his full time high school teacher and part time lover, no longer wishes for their fling to continue. Heart broken and unwilling to accept the truth, Jacob's life begins to spiral out of control as he tries to find a way to make Miss Kenner love him again.

Senorita: Told through first person POV, the main character of 'Senorita' finds a too-young lolita back behind a bar servicing a patron in a very inappropriate way, he decides to take matters into his own hands and rescues the girl, only to find that she's the property of a man named Abel. With only a shotgun and a few rounds of ammo, he breaks into her pimps apartment and from there the story goes from crime, to weird, ending with an almost Twilight Zone Twist.

Work Pit Four: The last and shortest piece of the collection is 'Work Pit Four,' a far future, dystopian post-apocalyptic yarn that finds a group of workers searching through a large pit of mud, for an uknown object. Along the way workmates begin to change, from oozing honey from every pore of their body, to slowly turning into stone, Southard casts a grim, unwanted future, that will send chills down your spine.

Overall, I loved this little book. Not only was the title story phenominal, but the added shorts at the end rounded it out well. It was a nice change of pace: each story ended differently, which helped to change it up. Although every story in this collection reads different, they are each a breath of fresh air; offering only a little of what I hope Southard has up his sleeve for future stories. That's why I'm giving Nate Southard's Just Like Hell 9 out of 10 TARDISes!


Friday, September 2, 2011

Updates and More: The Rift Walker. Into the Hinterlands. All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky. Debris. Blood Rights. The Hum and the Shiver.

Currently at the top of my list of reviews is The Rift Walker, book two of the Vampire Empire trilogy: the sequel to The Greyfriar, which I reviewed in full, here. For those who have read the review, or the first book and are interested in seeing what The Rift Walker is about, here's the back cover blurb for your reading pleasure:
Princess Adele struggles with a life of marriage and obligation as her Equatorian  Empire and their American Republic Allies stand on the brink of war with the vampire clans of the north. However, the alliances horrific strategy for total victory drives Adele to abandon her duty and embark on a desperate quest to keep her nation from staining its hands with genocide. Reunited with her great love, the mysterious adventurer known to the world as the Greyfriar, Adele is pursued by her own people as well as her vengeful husband, Senator Clark.

As Adele labors to bring order to her world, she learns more about the strange powers she exhibited in the north. Her teacher, Mamoru, leads a secret cabal of geomancers who believe Adele is the one who can touch the vast power of the Earth that surges through ley lines and wells up at the rifts where the lines meet. These energies are the key to defeating the enemy of mankind, and if Princess Adele could ever bring this power under her command, she could be death to vampires. But such a victory will also cost the life of Adele's beloved Greyfriar.


After the discovery of Baen Publishing's free online library came the discovery of science fiction author David Drake. Since that day I've kept him on my radar of authors to always follow. So I was extremely happy when I found out he would be writing a new series of books for Baen with John Lambshead. Into the Hinterlands is the product of that, and it hits shelves on September 6th. Here's the synopsis from the inside jacket:

When Allen Allenson, scion of a noble family that has fallen on hard times, gets a mission to roust the power-hungry Terrans from a "wild" star sector where they're encroaching, he jumps at the chance to show his individual worth, improve his family's fortunes -- and gather enough lucre to make a good marriage. But the wily Terrans are not so easily persuaded by a young colonial they think of as a rube.

Worse, Riders, the beings who naturally ply the wilderness between the stars, are playing their own deadly political games -- against the Terrans, against the colonials, and against one young greenhorn commander in particular: niave young Allen, whom they figure they can manipulate to do their bidding. The one thing nobody has counted on is the fact that Allen, while young and inexperienced, and much to his own amazement, happens to be a hero in the making.

From that alone, it sounds like this will be one hell of a series. For those into harder sci-fi, this just might be the book for you!


Another author who is always on my radar: Joe R. Lansdale. September 13th will see the release of his newest young adult novel All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky. A coming of age novel set in the ere of the Dust Bowl, this one sounds like a definite winner. Here's the description for the novel:

Jack Catcher's parents are dead -- his mom died of sickness and his dad of a broken heart -- and he has to get out of Oklahoma, where dust storms have killed everything green, hopeful, or alive. When former classmate Jane and her little brother Tony show up in his yard with plans to steal a dead neighbor's car and make a break for Texas, Jack doesn't need much convincing. But a run-in with one of the era's most notorious gangsters puts a crimp in Jane's plan, and soon the three kids are hitching the rails among hoboes, gangsters, and con men, racing to warn a carnival wrestler turned bank robber of the danger he faces and, in the process, find a new home for themselves. 


Debris is one of those novels that has three very important things going for it: 1.) It's got a kickass cover, 2.) It's got a kickass premise, and 3.) It's published by Angry Robot.

I know I've said it before, but Angry Robot has got everything going for it right now, including Jo Anderton's Debris. I'm seriously looking forward to reviewing it. With such an intriguing synopsis, I'm ready to hide away for as long as it takes to devour it whole.

And this is why: After being exposed to radioactive particles as part of a clean-up gang in the depths of space, Tanyana is told she has developed a hitherto-unseen ability to understand the apparently sentient stuff. Powerless, penniless and scarred, Tanyana must adjust to a new life collecting magical garbage -- 'debris' -- but starts to realize debris is more important than anyone could guess.


I never really ever liked reading about vampires, even before they blew up the horror industries. But, lately, I've been reading more and more stories with them. Not because they've become such a powerhouse in the Horror genre, but because, believe or not, there's still a handful of fresh tales to be told with the trope. And I'm hoping Blood Rights, book one in the House of Comarre series by Kristen Painter is one of those. Or, it could very well be a more serious and grounded Twilight novel for adults. I'm looking forward to finding out. Here's the synopsis from Orbit Publishing:

Born into a life of secrets and service Chrysabelle's body bears the telltale marks of Comarre -- a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world... and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he feeds. 

Now, Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds.


To round out this edition of Updates and More is Alex Bledsoe's The Hum and the Shiver. Most notably known for his Eddie Lacrosse fantasy/mystery series, The Hum and the Shiver is a stand-alone from Macmillion books.

Sounds like it might have a noir/mystery feel to it like some of his other stuff. Here's the synopsis from the publisher's website:

No one knows where the Tufa came from, or how they ended up in the Smokey Mountains of East Tennessee, yet when the first Europeans arrived, they were already there. Dark-haired, enigmatic, and suspicious of outsiders, the Tufa live quiet lives in the hills and valleys of Cloud County. While their origins may be lost to history, there are clues in their music -- hints of their true nature buried in songs they have passed down for generations.

Private Bronwyn Hyatt returns from Iraq wounded in body and in spirit, only to face the very things that drove her away in the first place: her family, her obligations to the Tufa, and her dangerous ex-boyfriend . But more trouble lurks in the mountains and hollows of her childhood home. Cryptic omens war of impending tragedy, and a restless "haint" lurks nearby, waiting to reveal Bronwyn's darkest secrets. Worst of all, Bronwyn has lost touch with the music that was once a vital part of her identity.

With death stalking her family, Bronwyn will need to summon the strength to take her place among the true Tufa and once again fly on the night winds...


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Roil Book Review

Title: Roil
Author: Trent Jamieson
Publisher: Angry Robot
Pages: 416
ISBN: 9780857661845

Shale is disappearing; the land is being devoured by the Roil, a sentient mass of heat, darkness and swarms of horrible creatures. Where once stood twelve major cities to fight back the engulfing Roil, now there are only four bastions of humanity that remain to fight. Including a drug-addicted boy, a man thousands of years old, and a young woman bent on avenging her parents deaths.

As the story begins -- hundreds of miles north of the Roil -- David Milde watches as his father bleeds out from a slit throat in the streets of his hometown. Forced into hiding he heads to the underground tunnels that worm beneath the city of Mirleess, all the while suffering from Carnival withdrawels (a type of drug). Soon after an old man named Cadell arrives to whisk David away, with Carnival aplenty, and a plan to save Shale.

Hundreds of miles away, nestled in the Roil, Margaret Penn discovers that her parents -- the geniuses credited for the still standing city of Tate -- are dead. Left with nothing, Margaret is forced to fight her way through the Roil into the areas of Shale that have yet to suffer from the heat. From there the story takes off, leaving the reader to ride the waves of excitement and confusion. Shortly after, the three saviors of Shale finally meet, the story plateaus and comfortably carries on well past the climax.

Opening each chapter Jamieson includes an excerpt from personal diaries, historical texts, or quotes that pertain  to the world of Shale. Their purpose is to add flavor, and somehow tie in to each chapter in their own way, enriching the story. Jamieson manages to do a remarkable job with this in the first handful of chapters, but after that they only add to the spiraling miasma that begins soon after these flavor texts lose their flavor. A clever idea, if executed throughout the full length of the novel, I still enjoyed reading each one, even if they didn't carry the story in that particular chapter.

Established early on that David is a addict of the drug Carnival, the addiction continues through the majority of the book, but is only mentioned in spots where it's important. Never is it actually portrayed that David has a true addiction, one where he's constantly trying to find his next fix, but rather it's used as a tool to fill space, or thrown in only to further the scene or plot. David's addiction is promemant within the first few chapters, but then slowly begins to dwindle off, until it is convenient to mention it.

Throw in a handful of ideas, -- that if executed properly would have added intense depth and a wider scope to the world created -- that didn't coalesce or gel in any form or fashion and left more questions at the end of the novel than resolutions.

However, as painful and confusing as it was to read, I still thought the premise of the story was a fresh allegorical take on global warming and how we humans have been and still are the catalyst for something that could very well be our downfall.

There's not much that really redeemed Roil for me, which means I probably won't be picking up the second book in the duology, Night's Engines, anytime soon. So, I'm giving Roil 4.5 out of 10 TARDISES.