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Category Archives: Fiction

America’s 16th Slayer… I mean President.


Here is a trailer for the new film, the book to movie adaptation that the world needed.

I will say that after listening an audio copy of the book, I thought it was exactly how I anticipated. It is certainly the ultimate book about Abraham Lincoln hunting vampires, it blows all the other books about this particular subject out of the water.

To find a copy please shop IndieBound:
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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Fiction, miscellany

 

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The Yard: A Preview


I love a good mystery, and I’m also very interested in Victorian London, which meant when an advanced reading copy of the upcoming novel The Yard by Alex Grecian came into Indigo Books my manager made sure I got my hands on it. After basically reading it nonstop the biggest problem is it will be at least until June before the rest of you can read it.

The Yard takes place shortly after Jack the Ripper went through his spree in Whitechapel, and I was very grateful that the notorious man didn’t make a cameo appearance in the novel, with the exception of a dream or two. The London presented by Grecian has not been whitewashed, it is a dark, gritty and horribly inhospitable place. Children are kidnapped forced into workshops or up chimneys and in just the month before the book takes place at least 96 men with their throats slit were fished out of the Thames. Grecian certainly doesn’t try to portray the city through an inaccurate nostalgic lens.

Our main characters are the boys from The Murder Squad, the twelve detectives charged by Scotland Yard to handle every murder case that happens within London. These men are given strong and vivid characters and each one of the detectives is clearly and compellingly distinct from the others. The novel debuts with the discovery that one of their fellow detectives has been murdered, and if that wasn’t enough for them another serial killer has begun a reign of terror in the city. The novel also shows us the birth of forensics to solve crime with Dr. Kingsley the Yard’s first Forensic Pathologist.

The actual mysteries in the book are not the main focus, we regularly follow the villain’s perspective, so we know who the guilty parties are well before the end of the book. . The book’s real strength is in the polices interactions with each and the stresses of trying to rebuild the reputation of The Yard after the Ripper fiasco.

The Murder Squad is based an actual and similarly understaffed division of Scotland Yard that was created to try to curtail the bad press that Jack the Ripper caused.

This is a great work by a debut novelist, and I can’t wait to read more books in this series.

To pre-order a copy please shop IndieBound:

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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Fiction

 

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Sailing Through Outer Space



I have been under the weather these past couple of days, and such I was on the look out for a good book to read. On a recommendation from Vaguely Piratical I decided to pick up the book Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell. I’ve since read it and quickly moved on to the other books in the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper series.

Despite this being a sci-fi book I greatly enjoyed it. I’ve always been a fan of science fiction in principle but in practice I’ve very rarely ever been compelled by the stories. I think the problem I have is sci-fi tends towards the space opera and a large epic where small things like character development get left to the way side. We do not encounter that at all in Quarter Share.

In the novel there are no space based dog fights or alien creatures trying to wipe out humanity, instead The vast majority of the book takes place on a space-faring clipper ship. We experience living within the spaceship as it travels through the cosmos on trading missions, and Mr. Lowell does a tremendous job of setting the feeling of living onboard this ship. The act of working on a spaceship doesn’t seem that foreign from the idea of working on a 1700s sailing vessel. Throughout the book there are several allusions to Melville’s Moby Dick and Forester’s Hornblower books, which makes it clear that the author has certainly gone through some effort to understand sailing life and how it has to compare to spacer life.

I will admit that at times we got a little too bogged down in the ideas behind trading and how profits work, but other than that I have no complaints what so ever about these books.

This is all around a great story for anyone who loves the idea of space travel or loves a good seafaring yarn.

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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Fiction

 

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Moby Dick on T-book



Lately the publishing world has been turned upside down by the e-book revolution, and many people are theorizing that the days of traditional publishing are coming to an end. Out of the mess I’ve now seen one unique option out of the massive amount of book options, a t-book. What is a t-book it is my phrase for a toilet paper book. Some one has taken it upon himself to type out all of Herman Melville’s classic on a few rolls of toilet paper.
They’ve recently tried to sell it on Ebay, and somehow it didn’t manage to sell. Maybe next time. It could be that not everyone is over the moon with Moby Dick, and that Nathaniel Philbrick’s new book “Why Read Moby Dick” deserves to be read. Or perhaps nearly $1000 is just too much to pay for 6 rolls of aged toilet paper.

Just think if you were equipped with a t-book, you’d always have something to read while being indisposed in the water closet. I see good things in the future of the t-book.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Fiction, miscellany

 

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John le Carre: The Pinnacle of Spycraft


With the release of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy I’ve recently gotten back into reading John le Carre’s books. I had already loved and greatly enjoyed Tinker Tailor and its two sequels The Honorable Schoolboy and Smiley’s People. To be honest I definitely did feel the movie did the book justice it was just to intricate to be summed up in 2 hours, but hats off to them for trying.Since the movie I’ve read two more of his books.

The first A Perfect Spy. This book delves into why Magnus Pym went into the intelligence business and also why he disappeared from that world. Unlike most spy stories this isn’t a true thriller, it is much more a psychological exploration of the character of Pym and is told through a few different voices and we get to see how Pym views himself, how his wife saw him and even through his boss Jack Brotherhood’s perspective. All of this interpretations are slightly and subtly different. With this novel you are left with no doubts as to why le Carre is trumpeted as bringing spy novels into the ranks of literature instead of just fiction.
The book also apparently carries a semi-autobiographical themes as le Carre had a similar upbringing and was brought into the service in similar way.


A Perfect Spy
by John le Carre
ISBN:978-0143119760

The other book by him I just read was The Tailor of Panama. These two books were about as different as could be. The Tailor of Panama was about an ex-con turned tailor getting black mailed to spy on his clients. The tone is much lighter and felt comedic. The book was a ton of fun and is certainly perfect for a day at the beach or for a flight.

The Tailor of Panama
by John le Carre
ISBN: 978-0345420435

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Fiction

 

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Narcolepsy and Mystery: A review



As I’m sure I mentioned in my review for Already Dead, I love a good pulp story and a classic noir tale. I especially love it when someone does something new within that genre and that is exactly what I got with The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay.
We are treated to the first and perhaps only narcoleptic private detective, a certain Mark Genevich. Narcolepsy which I admit is a disorder I know little about, effect Mark in many more ways than just having him fall asleep at inconvenient moments. He is also prone to hallucinations and a few waking dreams, which leads him to taking a case from a woman who whose finger tips have been stolen. When he wakes up there is a folder on his desk with money and revealing pictures of the woman he dreamed of. Making him ask the questions of who hired him and what was he hired to do.
This book is marvelous. Well written and fast paced with a case that is entrenched in a deadly intrigue involving a certain Distract Attorney and a hero that is constantly hitting the barrier of not knowing whether something is in his head or actually in the world around him.
I have to make this disclaimer if you want a straight narrative and a reliable narrator this book is not for you. If you want to be taken on a ride through a gritty and corrupt world while falling in and out of hallucinations, you can do no better than this book.

The Little Sleep                                                                                                                                                                 by Paul Tremblay                                                                                                                                                           ISBN-13: 978-0805088496                                                                                                                          http://www.paultremblay.net/

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Fiction

 

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Vampire Noir



Vampire mania has been upon us for many years, in fact I’m pretty sure it is starting to pass. One of my favorite things to come from the vampire love, I’m actually pretty sure it was published before Twilight, was Already Dead by Charlie Huston.
Charlie Huston is in my opinion a master of the modern pulp or noir novel, and this is entrance in the vampiric world. The book is very dark and gritty as Mr. Huston aims to keep the vampire a monster. His creatures all without a doubt eat human blood, it gets theorized that in order to become a vampire you have to be the type of person who eat other people to survive. Which adds something that most tales of monsters take away, by trying to force them to be sympathetic love interest they lose what makes them special.
That is not to say there isn’t a romance subplot or two in this book, but with characters that feel real and the romance is a little f****d up.
There is of course a fair amount of political intrigue as rival gangs fight over their Manhattan turf, with the main character Joe Pitt caught in the middle of it as he gets pulled by all sides as he tries to remain apolitical.
The dialogue remains believable and the action comes at a good clip.
I really think it is one of the best vampire stories since Dracula.
Already Dead
by Charlie Huston
ISBN-13: 9780345478245
Published by Del Rey
www.pulpnoir.com 

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Fiction

 

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Jasper Fforde has stolen my life



Every now and then I come across a book that I just can’t put down, even rarer is when I get an entire series that I can’t stop reading, but this is what Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next books have done to me. For years people have been trying to get me to read them, and the other day finally I started One of Our Thursdays is Missing his newest in the series which just happened to be lying around the house. After finishing that I was hooked and I went to the library to get the rest. Which from that point onward all I did was read Mr. Fforde until there wasn’t a Fforde book left.

The books are great fun, and despite being incredibly light and quick to read they’re also insanely clever. Much of the series is spent with the main character Thursday Next hopping in and out of books in order to police them by making sure the stories of fiction run smoothly. The series is full of puns, wordplay, jokes on grammar and jokes about classical literature. This of course means these books are not for everyone, if you don’t enjoy wordplay and aren’t reasonably well read most of the jokes will fall flat. If you do enjoy those things though, you are doing yourself a gross disservice by not reading Mr. Fforde.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Fiction

 

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The House of Silk



Earlier I posted that I was very excited for the newly authorized Holmes novel The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz. I have to say that Horowitz did a tremendous job of doing justice to the characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle, and I pray Horowitz will give us more. Holmes is as astute as ever, and Watson is a strong and reliable ally as he should be.

I read quite a bit of it while I was at work today at my little bookshop and I have to say my enjoyment of the novel had to be quite visible as we sold all of our copies out and after that I took several special orders for it.

I will admit that while I am a fan of Sherlock I am not an expert. I in no stretch of the imagination measure up to that of a proper Sherlockian, but I found no errors in the story as far as it being a proper Holmes tale. If you love a good mystery and especially if you grew up and love the inhabitants of 221B Baker Street you should add this one to your bookshelf.

I also hope that the rest of the books I read in 2012 can hold their own against my first story of the new yar. If they do I am in for some great reads.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2012 in Fiction

 

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The sordid lives of Holmes Devotees: A book review



Sherlock Holmes is certainly making a strong revival these days, Stephen Moffat brought us a fun modernized series on the BBC, Guy Ritchie has been directing the new films and the Conan Doyle estate has just authorized a new mystery. One of my favorites though is The Sherlockian by Graham Moore.

This was the novel that pulled me into the world of Holmes, something that I will forever be in its debt for. When I first read Sherlock in fifth grade I thought the books were fun and the best required reading I had done in a long while, but once the reading assignments stopped so did my interest. That was until the advanced reading copy of The Sherlockian turned up at my little bookshop while I was working there. After I read it, I was pulled in, I read the classic tales and watched as many of the films as I could, and once The Sherlockian was published it became my go-to-gift for ever bibliophile that I knew.

The most intriguing thing about this novel is how it flows through time. We see a failed attempt to assassinate Arthur Conan Doyle which leads the famed author into his own investigation trying to uncover that conspiracy. The other perspective we see is set in the modern-day involving a murder at a convention of Holmes fanatics, and a highly elusive journal of Arthur Conan Doyle. The two tales are woven together splendidly.

One amazing thing I learned was that Arthur Conan Doyle actually become a sort of amateur detective following the fame of his stories.

I will admit that The Sherlockian isn’t high literature, but it is an incredibly fun read and any Holmes or mystery fan should definitely add it to their bookcase.

The Sherlockian
by Graham Moore
ISBN- 978-0446572590
http://www.thesherlockian.com/

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Fiction

 

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