Zombies, man.Velvet Reads
spentSeptember shining the spotlight on the undead buggers, and one of thebooks that was featured was The First Days byRhiannon Frater.
This book is the first in a trilogy (As the Word Dies)published by Tor. But before Tor got their hands on it, Rhiannonself-published all three books. It was actually through her doggedpromotion and dedication to her craft that made the books the initialsuccess they were, thus garnering attention from Tor anddemonstrating she wasn’t some hack with some first drafts for sale. Ishould be sick of zombie novels, I really should. That said, thething that keeps me from declaring a moratorium on that particularmonster is the fact there are quite a few authors who don’t writeabout one-dimensional characters blasting their way through shamblinghordes. They leave that mindset to the video-game industry. AndRhiannon strikes me as an author who writers about characters, notzombies.
The morning that the world ends, Katie is getting ready for courtand housewife Jenni is taking care of her family. Less than two hourslater, they are fleeing for their lives from a zombie horde.
Throwntogether by circumstance, Jenni and Katie become a powerfulzombie-killing partnership, mowing down zombies as they rescueJenni’s stepson, Jason, from an infected campground.
Theyfind sanctuary in a tiny, roughly fortified Texas town. There Jenniand Katie find they are both attracted to Travis, leader of thesurvivors; and the refugees must slaughter people they know, who havereturned in zombie form.
Sounds good to me. What do you think?
One of the convenient ways of keeping track of all the new book releases month by month is a great review blog called Fantasy Book Critic
. And, thanks to them, I’m on the lookout for another well-established author whose work I’ve yet to read.
Tim Pratt has more than a couple novels to his credit, but his latest really caught my eye with both its premise and its publisher. Briarpatch strikes me as a dark fantasy with some chilling–and quirky–undercurrents. Here’s the write-up via Amazon:
Darrin’s life has been going downhill ever since his girlfriend Bridget walked out on him without a word of explanation six months ago. Soon after losing her, he lost his job, and his car, and eventually his enthusiasm for life. He can’t imagine things getting worse – until he sees Bridget again, for the first time since she walked out, just moments before she leaps to her death from a bridge. In his quest to find out why Bridget took her own life, he encounters a depressive (and possibly immortal) cult leader; a man with a car that can drive out of this world and into others; a beautiful psychotic with a chrome shotgun; and a bridge that, maybe, leads to heaven. Darrin’s journey leads him into a place called the Briarpatch, which is either the crawlspace of the universe, or a series of ambitious building projects abandoned by god, or a tangle of alternative universes, depending on who you ask. Somewhere in that disorderly snarl of worlds, he hopes to find Bridget again… or at least a reason to live without her.
Sounds good to me. It’s being published by Chizine, and I’ve yet to be disappointed by anything of theirs I’ve read. What do you think? Sound like something you’d want to read, too?
I’ve been a casual fan of the urban fantasy genre since 2009, pretty much around the same time I started this blog, coincidentally. But, because I don’t fully immerse myself in the genre, I’m often left clueless as to which authors to look for beyond the few I’ve already tried. So, leave it to the plethora of blogs in my Google Reader to repeatedly suggest certain books.
One of those books comes from Holly Black called White Cat. Mixing crime and fantasy is an interesting mix, and was executed expertly I thought with the anthology, Supernatural Noir. But White Cat is directed towards a younger audience I think, and the urban fantasy genre tends to play things a little fast and loose, so the tone of this novel should be slightly less dark than some of the other stuff I’ve read this year.
Still, a story with a protagonist who killed his best friend has to have some dark subject matter. And with a profession such as curse worker, there’s a unique twist to it all that could prove very entertaining.
The reviews I’ve read have been very good for the most part, but a couple of blogs I read didn’t care for it too much, so should I get round to reading this one I’ll have to keep my preconceptions in check.
How about you? Have you read this one, and if so, what did you think?
Dark Regions Press has a new book out this month that caught my eye. What makes this book stand out?
Two words: werewolf rodeo.
I’ve read some really good werewolf stories, and some not so good ones. I have the feeling Arena of the Wolf by Jim Gavin (with cover art by Alex McVey) could be a good one, since the premise strikes me as original enough to give a breath of fresh air to a well-worn genre, and Dark Regions seems like one of those small press publishers that has a knack for picking out some quality horror.
Jerry is an over-the-road trucker with a couple of exes and a few late payments to make. Sometimes it seems like the least of his problems is that he’s a werewolf – until he wakes up in the middle of a rodeo where he’s the bull! Forced to compete in bizarre, brutal events for the pleasure of a bloodthirsty crowd, where death is “extreme sports entertainment” for the masses. Jerry must choose between a prisoner’s life in a world where his curse makes him a star and a life of freedom that he knows can only end one way – a silver bullet through the heart. A desperate man’s struggle with despair and hope is just another show in the …
ARENA OF THE WOLF.
I don’t care if a book gets a lot of praise from mainstream book critics, like The Radleys by Matt Haig. I have never given those critics any more regard than I do for book bloggers or the anonymous mob that reviews on Amazon.com. It’s word of mouth that will sway me into giving a book a chance, and that’s what has perked my ear with The Radleys, because the word of mouth has been very favorable.
And that’s what a book with vampires needs to get me the least bit interested these days. I haven’t read as many vampire novels as most horror and dark fiction fans, but I’ve read enough that I need something that breaks from the norm. And a suburban setting with a British family who just happens to be vampires strikes me as a book that diverges from the conventional wisdom of vampire lore. The parents have always known, but their two teenage children are only realizing they are different. It sounds utterly fascinating to me.
Have you heard of this book? Have you read it by any chance? Are you, perhaps, sick of vampires?
I am only familiar with Blake Crouch through his collaborations with J.A. Konrath (aka Jack Kilborn) on the dueling-killers novella, Serial, and the high-octane vampire thriller, Draculas. I am curious to see what the guy’s work is like when he’s writing solo. He’s got a library of books to his credit already, but he recently came out with a self-published thriller that is being touted as his best work yet.
Run is a succinct title, as the story is about a man and his family on the run from a landscape filled with remorseless killers. The premise feels vaguely like Stephen King’s The Running Man, except it’s not a game show. The country has gone to hell and the murderers and psychopaths are taking over.
I’m not sure, but I think this might be the first self-published novel I’ve featured on this little Wish List Wednesday meme. It’s about time, since I have been reading some self-published e-books over the last year or so and I’ve been fortunate in separating the wheat from the chaff. I figure Crouch’s novel will be another instance of reading the best of what self-published authors have to offer.
How about you? Read Blake Crouch’s work before? What did you think?
I’m not sure how popular the weird western genre is, but I have a feeling it’s one that I could really get into. Back in March, I won an e-book copy of Gemma Files
‘ debut novel, A Book of Tongues
, courtesy of The Ranting Dragon
and Chizine Publications
. So, I figured I had better put the sequel, A Rope of Thorns, on my wish list.
The Hexslinger series tells the story of Ed Morrow, a former Pinkerton agent turned gun-for-hire. Set in a western landscape, he is tasked with learning all he can about a magician–or hexslinger in this world–named Asher Rook who is hellbent on breaking the curse preventing hexslingers from consolidating their powers and unleashing an Aztec god’s unholy army in the process.
The story goes a whole lot deeper than that, and this second book promises to bring even more goodness than the first.
Have you heard tell of this series? Sound like something you’d be interested in, too?