Category Archives: Short Stories

A Review of Mojo And The American Female by SW Hammond

Mojo And The American Female

by SW Hammond

4.5

I’m really not the target audience for this book. My son or daughter may even be slightly too old to get all the movie and television references, but they would get more of them than I do. Now I can connect to the music. I always keep current, so when Mr. Hammond is commenting about the Riot Grrrl movement, I get it. But those TV shows, I never did watch “Full House”, and who is John Stamos, and why should I care? Someone thirty years younger may get more of the topical items than I do, but I still relate to the actual message that this book is trying to convey.

And another thing! The blurb about Mojo and the American Female seems to indicate that this book is a collection of short stories. I don’t think so. This is more a print version of articles that were  published on Mr. Hammond’s website. If you call something a short story, that implies that it has some sort of a plot and a character or two. Short stories also mean fiction. But these articles are more autobiographical. Mr. Hammond may have distorted the truth, but that still doesn’t make this a book of fictional short stories. He may have changed some facts to fit the story that he wanted to tell, but I think it strongly follows his own life.

And speaking of story. This book really does have an underlying message. Even a 66-year-old guy can relate. If fact, I might get more out of this story than Mr. Hammond intended. He has one section of this book where he is talking about me. He figures that the only thing I have left is to wait until I die. I’ve got him fooled! My life is everything he is looking for in this book, and more. I found my perfect mate. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone anymore. I just get to have fun and that includes spending time with my family that I love and with my children and grandchildren who love me too! I’ve got what he only wishes he could find.

But back to the book. What is it? I think that this is a collection of semi-autobiographical stories that Mr. Hammond has written over the past dozen years. He discovered that he really was growing up in these stories, and thought that his struggles might be worth reading. Well, he was right. This collection is thought-provoking. You can zip though it in one day, but take a little time to let it stew in your brain. Maybe you can hear it speak to you, like it did to me.

I give Mojo and the American Female 4 1/2 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! If you are ready to take a little mind trip, join in, you really might learn something about your life, while reading about his.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

MojoAndTheAmericanFemale_400x533A collection of short stories spanning more than a decade woven together to create the misguided anti-love story of a young man learning about relationships and the opposite sex through music, movies, and television.

From music and baseball industry professional Sean Hammond, comes Mojo And The American Female, a collection of provocative short stories on his life as a Lost Boy in search of Winnie Cooper.

Raised on rock n’ roll, with a particularly strong affinity for women who rock, Hammond blends an unparalleled view of pop culture and philosophy that follows him from his early twenties through his early thirties. Mojo And The American Female is rich with photography capturing Hammond’s days as a tour manager on Warped Tour and working for Sony Music Entertainment, as well as bringing to life the music, movies, and television that has plagued his rational sense of love and relationships. From childhood viewings of Full House leading to his lifelong hatred of John Stamos, his introduction to the Riot Grrrl movement and Kathleen Hanna, and to a questionable infatuation with The OC’s Summer Roberts – each story blends a reflective Kevin Arnold-like inner monolog with Wild Turkey.

Mojo and the American Female is the byproduct of one too many romantic comedies. Inspiration, enlightenment, and delusion fuel Hammond’s quest as he searches for a bit of meaning to life and someone to share it with.

Book Details

File Size: 30091 KB
Print Length: 81 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Surf Star Media (April 7, 2015)
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00VU3QMLW

About the Author

seanaboutSW Hammond is a freelance writer and fiction novelist. His contributions can be found in music zines, athletic periodicals, and technical publications throughout the world. He has worked in the music industry for Sony Music Entertainment, Warped Tour, WAR Records / United Interest, and has managed and consulted a variety of artists. He has also worked in the baseball industry for the Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels / Diablo Stadium, and in the Commission’s Office of Major League Baseball.

Hammond’s writing style, particularly within his commentary, is often compared to Chuck Klosterman-esq with countless references to pop culture, especially music. His brazen and honest approach creates camaraderie with the reader, then tests the boundaries with sensitive subject matter. Philosophy, ethics, and nobility square off against a materialistic society driven by instant gratification, with Sean treading water right in the middle.

His fictional writing makes a conscious effort to blend perception, rumor, and fact leaving the reader to question reality. His stories often taking place in historical settings or playing on modern headlines, Sean uses common themes to drive home critical points about the human condition. Though often grand, epic, and futurist, the backbone of his novels hinge on honor and virtue, or lack thereof.

A Review of Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets by Jacob M. Appel

Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets

by Jacob M. Appel

This is the second collection of short fiction by Mr. Appel that I have had the privilege of reading. He has blown me away once again. His stories make you think. They lay out the idea, and then it’s your job to ponder them and see what they are really saying about your life. This is a small book. It has 155 pages and 8 stories, but don’t rush though them. Take your time. Sit there and think about the story before plunging into the next one. It will ripen and develop new ideas as you let it float around inside your mind. When you have spent enough time integrating the ideas that the story has prompted, then you will be ready for the next surprise, the next set of thoughts, the next new story.

Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets is a must read if you like short stories. Mr. Appel will entertain you, but at the same time he will challenge you. He will make you reexamine some ideas that you may have taken for granted. This isn’t science fiction, but some of these stories have that Twilight Zone feel to them. Do you remember the best episodes of Twilight Zone, where you came away with a feeling that wouldn’t leave, an idea that haunted you, something that just wouldn’t go away? That is the experience that you will have reading these stories. They will push you to think about life and death in a new way.

I’m not going to give you little capsule summaries of these stories. I’m just going to tell you that you will love these quirky, wonderful characters in these surprisingly delightful stories.

I give Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! Read it, if you have a chance, I think you will be won over to Mr. Appel’s camp.

I received a paperback copy of this book from the author.

Book Description

Miracles and ConundrumsA visitor from a distant planet opens a Latvian restaurant next to an abortion clinic; a magician learns that true love will cost him a kidney; a blind barber cuts hair for tourists in a gentrifying Harlem…. Enter the mad, moving university of Jacob M. Appel’s short fiction.

 

 

 

Book Details

Paperback: 155 pages
Publisher: Black Lawrence Press (June 30, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1625579330
ISBN-13: 978-1625579331
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 8 ounces

About the Author

Jacob-M-Appel-Photograph-7-29-10Jacob M. Appel is a physician, attorney and bioethicist based in New York City. He is the author of more than two hundred published short stories and is a past winner of the Boston Review Short Fiction Competition, the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Award for the Short Story, the Dana Award, the Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction, the North American Review’s Kurt Vonnegut Prize, the Missouri Review‘s Editor’s Prize, the Sycamore Review‘s Wabash Prize, the Briar Cliff Review‘s Short Fiction Prize, the H. E. Francis Prize, the New Millennium Writings Fiction Award in four different years, an Elizabeth George Fellowship and a Sherwood Anderson Foundation Writers Grant. His stories have been short-listed for the O. Henry Award, Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best American Mystery Stories, and the Pushcart Prize anthology on numerous occasions. His first novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, won the Dundee International Book Prize in 2012. His second novel, second novel, The Biology of Luck, was short-listed for the Hoffer Society’s Montaigne Medal. Jacob holds graduate degrees from Brown University, Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Harvard Law School, New York University’s MFA program in fiction and Albany Medical College’s Alden March Institute of Bioethics. He taught for many years at Brown University and currently teaches at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

 

A Review of Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter

Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes (Kindle Single)

by Karin Slaughter

I had always wondered how these new eBook short stories would be. I think that Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes is more of a prologue to the next book, rather than a stand-alone short story. The last quarter of the file is actually a preview of Pretty Girls, which comes out next month. I will read it, and let you know if this story adds anything to the book when I post my review.

I read quite a few short stories, so I have a general idea of what a short story is supposed to give you.

At its most prototypical the short story features a small cast of named characters, and focuses on a self-contained incident with the intent of evoking a “single effect” or mood. Wikipedia

I know that short stories don’t always follow the same format, but I expect a tightly written narrative without a cliffhanger ending. I suppose that the ending of this story would have worked fine if the story was much shorter, and if the ending was more of a surprise, but after a while you really knew what the surprise ending would be.

I checked out the Amazon Singles Bestseller list and saw that most of the Singles written by major authors were this sort of a story. They were the prelude to the next book, something to make you want to purchase it. Many of them included a preview of that book. This may be the next new marketing idea, but unless you just have to read everything your favorite author puts out, you probably won’t be buying many of these stories. If these Singles were less than a buck, there might be more interest, but at two dollars a pop, I think I’ll be skipping most Singles.

I give Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes 3 Stars out of 5, because  the main character was interesting and the story introduced an idea that will probably be further developed in Ms. Slaughter’s next novel. I didn’t really believe the period setting of this story. It was set in the early Nineties, but something just didn’t feel authentic. It seemed forced.

I received a Digital Review copy of this book from the publisher.

Book Description

Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin SlaughterA beautiful young girl was walking down the street―when suddenly…

Julia Carroll knows that too many stories start that way. Beautiful, intelligent, a nineteen-year-old college freshman, she should be carefree. But instead she is frightened. Because girls are disappearing.

A fellow student, Beatrice Oliver, is missing. A homeless woman called Mona-No-Name is missing. Both taken off the street. Both gone without a trace.

Julia is determined to find out the reasons behind their disappearances. And she doesn’t want to be next…

Book Details

File Size: 640 KB
Print Length: 68 pages
Publisher: Witness Impulse (August 18, 2015)
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Sold by:
 HarperCollins Publishers
Language: English
ASIN: B00Z751DUY
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray:
Not Enabled
Word Wise: Not Enabled
Lending: Not Enabled
Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

About the Author

Photo by Alison Rosa
Photo by Alison Rosa

Karin Slaughter is the #1 internationally bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the Will Trent and Grant County series and the instant New York Times bestseller Cop Town. There are more than 30 million copies of her books in print around the world.

 

A Review of Einstein’s Beach House by Jacob M Appel

Einstein’s Beach House

by Jacob M Appel

Each of these stories give you something to think about. The people in the stories have something odd happen, and they have to figure out what it means to them, and what they can do about it. Then you have to think about what their plight means to them, and what it means to you. They make you think.

But, oddly enough, what this book made me think about was, “Why do people write books?” I started to wonder why Mr. Appel wanted to compile this book of stories and find a publisher who would publish it. Did he think that this book would become a New York Times Bestseller, and therefore he would become a rich and famous author? I don’t think so. I think that these stories are more an introduction to the way Mr. Appel thinks. I like the way he thinks. I would be interested to read something else that he wrote. A novel or  novelette, would be good; but I might read some more of his stories. These stories are small glimpses into the lives of some people who you could meet, and I’d like to see a little more of their lives.

I give Einstein’s Beach House 3 1/2 Stars out of 5. This is an interesting writing experiment, but I would have like to have seen more. More stories, and more length to some of his works, so that I could get to know Mr. Appel better. He has talent, and can tell a story, so I know I will see more from him.

I received a paperback copy of this book from the author.

Book Description

Einstein's Beach House 2A couple adopts a depressed hedgehog; a stranger shows up, claiming to be the father of a girl’s imaginary friend; a woman kidnaps her ex-husband’s turtle; a family is evicted from their home, but was it ever really theirs? Heartbreaking and hilarious, the eight stories of Einstein’s Beach House examine how we deceive ourselves and others, all to arrive at something far more real.

Book Details

Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: Pressgang (December 5, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984940588
ISBN-13: 978-0984940585
Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 8 ounces

About the Author

Jacob-M-Appel-Photograph-7-29-10Jacob M. Appel’s first novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, won the Dundee International Book Award in 2012. His short story collection, Scouting for the Reaper, won the 2012 Hudson Prize. He has published short fiction in more than two hundred literary journals including Agni, Conjunctions, Gettysburg Review, Southwest Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and West Branch. His work has been short listed for the O. Henry Award (2001), Best American Short Stories (2007, 2008), Best American Essays (2011, 2012), and received “special mention” for the Pushcart Prize in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2013.

Jacob holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Brown University, an M.A. and an M.Phil. from Columbia University, an M.S. in bioethics from the Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical College, an M.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, an M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, an M.F.A. in playwriting from Queens College, an M.P.H. from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He currently practices psychiatry in New York City.

Amazon Button 2

A Review of Helsinki Noir edited by James Thompson

Helsinki Noir

edited by James Thompson

This is a collection of new stories from Finnish writers that take place in and around Helsinki. The stories range from very dark and horrific to brighter and nearly upbeat. Most of them were quite good. Some of the stranger stories are at the beginning of the book, so don’t let that stop you. If you aren’t too sure what is going on, just keep working through it. I think that you will like it.

I enjoyed this collection, but since I haven’t read any of the other books in this series, I can’t tell how well it stacks up with the rest. I used this book to get a small feel for Finnish mystery writers. Most of the stories were originally written in Finnish or Swedish, and the translations are very good. They flow nicely and read naturally. I will be looking to add some of the books from these authors in the future. It was an interesting glimpse into life in Helsinki.

I give Helsinki Noir 4 Stars out of 5, and recommend it to anyone looking to expand their mystery story experience. It would be an eclectic addition to anyone’s library. Use it to expand the group of authors that you read.

I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from edelweiss.com.

Book Description

HelsinkiNoir1-509x800“Readers should be prepared to keep the lights on at night after finishing this unnerving collection.”
Publishers Weekly

Launched with the summer ’04 award-winning best seller Brooklyn Noir, Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies. Each book is comprised of all-new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.

Featuring brand-new stories by: Leena Lehtolainen, Johanna Holmström, James Thompson, Antti Tuomainen, Jesse Itkonen, Joe L. Murr, Jukka Petäjä, Tapani Bagge, Pekka Hiltunen, Teemu Käskinen, Tuomas Lius, Riikka Ala-Harja, Karo Hämäläinen, and Jarkko Sipila.

From the introduction by James Thompson:

“Finland, the myths and truths. Internationally, it has a reputation as perhaps the best place in the world to live. A great economy. A low crime rate. Good and nearly cost-free health care. The needy are provided for by the state and live in reasonable comfort. Finns: peaceful and quiet people, living in the perfect example of a social democracy functioning as it should. A tourist, or even a person who has lived here for a length of time, might well view Finland as such. There is some truth to this, but like every country, Finland has many truths…

Finland is, like the theme so often explored in Star Trek, a parallel universe in which, on the surface, all seems normal, but under that shell lie vast differences…As this book demonstrates, Finland is a noir nation [and] this anthology is, I believe, the best representation of Finnish noir ever offered to the international community. Every word rings true. It holds Finland up in a way that not only exposes this wonderful and fascinating country to the world, but acts as a mirror that reflects its people and culture in a way every Finn will recognize, vocalizing those truths that are so seldom spoken here amongst ourselves.”

Book Details

Series: Akashic Noir
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Akashic Books (November 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161775241X
ISBN-13: 978-1617752414
Product Dimensions: 1 x 5 x 7 inches
Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces

About the Editor

JAMES THOMPSON has lived in Finland for over fifteen years and is one of the most popular representatives of Nordic noir, with his work being published in a dozen countries. His novel Snow Angels, the first book in his acclaimed Kari Vaara series, was one of Booklist’s Best Crime Novel Debuts of the Year and was nominated for Edgar, Anthony, and Strand Critics awards. Kirkus selected Lucifer’s Tears, the second book in the series, as one of the best books of 2011. G.P. Putnam’s Sons will release Helsinki Dead, the fifth installment in the series, in 2014. He is a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books and holds a master’s degree from the University of Helsinki. He is the editor of Helsinki Noir.

Jim has suddenly passed away on August 2, 2014.

Book Description and Details are from Amazon. Helsinki Noir

A Review of FaceOff, Edited by David Baldacci

FaceOff
Edited by David Baldacci

I was drawn to the concept of this book of short stories. The idea of bringing two characters from different authors’ series’ together intrigued me. It works fairly well. Some of the match-ups are perfect and you can even get the feel of both author’s styles in the writing. Many of the stories the two characters work well together, but the style feels more generic. But none of the stories were bad. I enjoyed the book, but it just didn’t meet my high expectations. I was ready to be blown away, and that didn’t happen. Most of the stories seemed too short to fully develop the whiz-bang, golly-gee, this-is-great feeling that I was hoping for.

I give this short story collection 4 Stars out of 5 and a Thumbs Up. If you like thrillers and short stories, I think you will enjoy reading this. You will like seeing some of your favorite characters working with someone who you know from a different series. You will have fun reading it, just like I did.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description
Release date: June 3, 2014

Edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci and including stories by Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver, and more, this one-of-a-kind anthology pulls together the most beloved characters from the best and most popular thriller series today. Worlds collide!

In an unprecedented collaboration, twenty-three of the world’s bestselling and critically acclaimed thriller writers have paired their series characters—such as Harry Bosch, Jack Reacher, and Lincoln Rhyme—in an eleven-story anthology curated by the International Thriller Writers (ITW). All of the contributors to FaceOff are ITW members and the stories feature these dynamic duos:

· Patrick Kenzie vs. Harry Bosch in “Red Eye,” by Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly
· John Rebus vs. Roy Grace in “In the Nick of Time,” by Ian Rankin and Peter James
· Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy vs. Aloysius Pendergast in “Gaslighted,” by R.L. Stine, Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child
· Malachai Samuels vs. D.D. Warren in “The Laughing Buddha,” by M.J. Rose and Lisa Gardner
· Paul Madriani vs. Alexandra Cooper in “Surfing the Panther,” by Steve Martini and Linda Fairstein
· Lincoln Rhyme vs. Lucas Davenport in “Rhymes With Prey,” by Jeffery Deaver and John Sandford
· Michael Quinn vs. Repairman Jack in “Infernal Night,” by Heather Graham and F. Paul Wilson
· Sean Reilly vs. Glen Garber in “Pit Stop,” by Raymond Khoury and Linwood Barclay
· Wyatt Hunt vs. Joe Trona in “Silent Hunt,” by John Lescroart and T. Jefferson Parker
· Cotton Malone vs. Gray Pierce in “The Devil’s Bones,” by Steve Berry and James Rollins
· Jack Reacher vs. Nick Heller in “Good and Valuable Consideration,” by Lee Child and Joseph Finder

So sit back and prepare for a rollicking ride as your favorite characters go head-to-head with some worthy opponents in FaceOff—it’s a thrill-a-minute read.

Product Details

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 3, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1476762066
ISBN-13: 978-1476762067
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

About the International Thriller Writers

The International Thriller Writers is an honorary society of authors, both fiction and nonfiction, who write books broadly classified as “thrillers.” This would include (but isn’t limited to) such subjects as murder mystery, detective, suspense, horror, supernatural, action, espionage, true crime, war, adventure, and myriad similar subject areas.
ITW’s mission is “To bestow recognition and promote the thriller genre at an innovative and superior level for and through our Active members; to provide opportunities for mentoring, education and collegiality among thriller authors and industry professionals; and to grant awards for excellence in the thriller genre.” ITW By-laws: Article II, Purposes, Section 2.
One of the main purposes of the organization is to provide a way for successful, bestselling authors to help debut and midlist authors advance their careers. To that end, ITW has designed numerous, effective programs and events which promote debut and midlist writers and their work, sometimes in partnership with bestselling authors. In addition, ITW promotes literacy, gives money to worthy organizations, supports libraries, and advances the genre. Finally, it brings together almost a thousand writers, readers, publishers,  editors and agents at its annual conference, ThrillerFest, as well as at CraftFest, a writing workshop program, and PitchFest, where aspiring authors can meet and pitch top literary agents.

The book description is from Amazon.  FaceOff

A Review of Trouble in Mind: The Collected Stories, Volume 3 by Jeffery Deaver

Trouble in MindTrouble in Mind: The Collected Stories, Volume 3
by Jeffery Deaver

Reading a book of collected short stories is much different than reading a novel. Some people don’t like short stories because they don’t get all the character development and plot twists that are the essence of a great novel. But the way that Mr. Deaver thinks about short stories, which is distilling an idea down to the essential elements of plot, a few characters, with the major plot twist at the end of the story, is exactly the type of short story that I like to read.

I have always enjoyed reading short story collections. I have read many of the “Best of the Year” type collections, both in the mystery and science fiction genres, since I was a teenager back in the sixties. It seemed that there were many more quality short stories being written back then. A lot of mainstream magazines would publish a couple short stories in each issue, but all of those outlets are gone now. There still are some genre specific magazines out there, but who reads them? I know that I don’t purchase printed magazines anymore. I am more likely to listen to a podcast than read a magazine, so story collections like this are the main opportunity to read some great short fiction.

This is Mr. Deaver at his finest. He has collected 12 great stories in this volume. Six of the stories are new, which means that you may have read some of the stories already, but that happens with any collection of stories. Most of the time the stories are worth re-reading anyway. There wasn’t a stinker in the group. If you are a fan of Mr. Deaver’s series books, you will be happy to hear that there are stories in here that include characters from all three of them. The non-series stories allow Mr. Deaver a bit more freedom. He gets to push the boundaries, to go a little outside of the normal genre limits that contain him in his series novels. I like that. I have wanted to read his Twisted collections, and now I have to put them on my “Books To Read” list.

I give Trouble in Mind 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! Anyone who enjoys reading short fiction will like this collection.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from NetGalley.com.

Book Description
Release date: March 4, 2014

Fiendish suspense. Shocking twists.
Twelve diabolical tales.

New York Times bestselling author and highly acclaimed storyteller Jeffery Deaver-the undisputed “grand master of the plot twist” (Booklist)-returns with a dazzling new collection of short stories. In these twelve electrifying tales (including six written just for this anthology) Deaver proves once again his genius for the unexpected-in his world, appearances are always deceiving.

A devoted housekeeper embarks on a quest to find the truth behind her employer’s murder. A washed-up Hollywood actor gets one last, high-stakes chance to revive his career. A man makes an impulsive visit to his hometown, and learns more about his past than he bargained for. Two Olympic track hopefuls receive terrorist threats. And Deaver’s beloved series characters Lincoln Rhyme, Kathryn Dance, and John Pellam return in stories now in print for the first time.

Product Details

Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1455526797
ISBN-13: 978-1455526797
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

About the Author

Jeffery Deaver was born outside of Chicago in 1950. His father was an advertising copywriter and his mother was a homemaker. He has one younger sister who writes novels for teenagers ‘ Julie Reece Deaver.

Deaver wrote his first book ‘ which consisted of two entire chapters ‘ when he was eleven, and he’s been writing ever since. An award-winning poet and journalist, he has also written and performed his own songs around the country. After receiving a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri, Deaver worked as a magazine writer, then, to gain the background needed to become a legal correspondent for The New York Times or Wall Street Journal, he enrolled at Fordham Law School. After graduation he decided to practice law for a time and worked for several years as an attorney for a large Wall Street firm. It was during his long commute to and from the office that he began writing the type of fiction he enjoyed reading: suspense novels. In 1990 he started to write full time.

The author of twenty-two novels, Deaver has been nominated for six Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, an Anthony award, a Gumshoe Award, and is a three-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Reader’s Award for Best Short Story of the Year. In 2001, he won the W.H. Smith Thumping Good Read Award for his Lincoln Rhyme novel The Empty Chair. In 2004, he was awarded the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain’s Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for Garden Of Beasts and the Short Story Dagger for “The Weekender.” Translated into 35 languages, his novels have appeared on a number of bestseller lists around the world, including the New York Times, the London Times and the Los Angeles Times. The Bone Collector was a feature release from Universal Pictures, starring Denzel Washington as Lincoln Rhyme. A Maiden’s Grave was made into an HBO film retitled Dead Silence, starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin.

Jeff has also released two collections of his short stories, called Twisted and More Twisted.

The book description is from Amazon.  Trouble in Mind: The Collected Stories, Volume 3

A Review of Old Mars by George R.R. Martin and Others

Old MarsOld Mars

by George R.R. Martin (Editor), Gardner Dozois (Editor), Michael Moorcock, Joe R. Lansdale, James S.A. Corey

This book of short stories brings back fond memories of stories that I read as a teen. These are based on a Mars that is no more, a Mars that has life, water in the polar ice caps and canals to transport the water to the Martian cities. A Mars that has stories to tell. Heinlein, Bradbury, Burroughs, and many other authors told those tales. But these are all new stories not older recycled stories by the aforementioned authors. These are fantasy because hard science says that the Mars in these pages doesn’t exist, but most of these stories would have fit in the Science Fiction category back in the sixties.

With most short story collections, there are stories that you really like, some that just OK and maybe one or two that you don’t connect with. This very substantial book had only one story that I skipped, not because it wasn’t well written, but because it was more of a fantasy than I felt like reading at the time. I may go back later a read it when I’m more in the mood. Most of the stories were very good and a lot of fun to read.

I give this book 4 Stars out of 5 and a Thumbs Up. I recommend this book to anyone who reads Science Fiction short stories.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from NetGalley.com.

Book Description

Release date: October 8, 2013 

Fifteen all-new stories by science fiction’s top talents, collected by bestselling author George R. R. Martin and multiple-award winning editor Gardner Dozois

Burroughs’s A Princess of Mars. Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. Heinlein’s Red Planet. These and so many more inspired generations of readers with a sense that science fiction’s greatest wonders did not necessarily lie far in the future or light-years across the galaxy but were to be found right now on a nearby world tantalizingly similar to our own—a red planet that burned like an ember in our night sky . . . and in our imaginations.

This new anthology of fifteen all-original science fiction stories, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, celebrates the Golden Age of Science Fiction, an era filled with tales of interplanetary colonization and derring-do. Before the advent of powerful telescopes and space probes, our solar system could be imagined as teeming with strange life-forms and ancient civilizations—by no means always friendly to the dominant species of Earth. And of all the planets orbiting that G-class star we call the Sun, none was so steeped in an aura of romantic decadence, thrilling mystery, and gung-ho adventure as Mars.

Join such seminal contributors as Michael Moorcock, Mike Resnick, Joe R. Lansdale, S. M. Stirling, Mary Rosenblum, Ian McDonald, Liz Williams, James S. A. Corey, and others in this brilliant retro anthology that turns its back on the cold, all-but-airless Mars of the Mariner probes and instead embraces an older, more welcoming, more exotic Mars: a planet of ancient canals cutting through red deserts studded with the ruined cities of dying races.

FEATURING ALL-NEW STORIES BY

James S. A. Corey • Phyllis Eisenstein • Matthew Hughes • Joe R. Lansdale • David D. Levine • Ian McDonald • Michael Moorcock • Mike Resnick • Chris Roberson • Mary Rosenblum • Melinda Snodgrass • Allen M. Steele • S. M. Stirling • Howard Waldrop • Liz Williams

And an Introduction by George R. R. Martin!

Product Details

Hardcover: 512 pages

Publisher: Bantam (October 8, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0345537270

ISBN-13: 978-0345537270

Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds

About the Author

George R. R. Martin is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including the acclaimed series A Song of Ice and Fire—A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons—as well as Tuf Voyaging, Fevre Dream, The Armageddon Rag, Dying of the Light, Windhaven (with Lisa Tuttle), and Dreamsongs Volumes I and II. He is also the creator of The Lands of Ice and Fire, a collection of maps from A Song of Ice and Fire featuring original artwork from illustrator and cartographer Jonathan Roberts. As a writer-producer, Martin has worked on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and pilots that were never made. He lives with the lovely Parris in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Gardner Dozois has won fifteen Hugo Awards and thirty-two Locus Awards for his editing work, plus two Nebula Awards for his own writing. He was the editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction for twenty years, and is the author or editor of more than a hundred books, including The Year’s Best Science Fiction.

The book description is from Amazon.   Old Mars

A Review of The Classic Horror Stories by H. P. Lovecraft and Roger Luckhurst

The Classic Horror Stories by H. P. Lovecraft and Roger LuckhurstThe Classic Horror Stories
by H. P. Lovecraft and Roger Luckhurst

H. P. Lovecraft, the classic horror writer, or so I had always heard.

I knew that I had read a couple of comic books based on Lovecraft stories many years ago, and I thought that there was a TV show or maybe a movie called The Dunwich Horror. But I didn’t really think that I had read any stories by H. P. Lovecraft. So here was my chance.

First off, let me say that the introduction by Roger Luckhurst is excellent. He suggests that you might want to save it until after you have read the stories, but I was glad that I had read it first. He gives you a lot of very interesting and valuable insight into the mind of H. P. Lovecraft. I didn’t feel that there were any spoilers, so that wasn’t a concern. Mr. Luckhurst chose a fine selection of stories for this volume and also included a short article from H. P. Lovecraft that explains his idea of “weirdly horrible tales”. Mr. Luckhurst concludes this book with an extensive section, entitled Explanatory Notes.

There are a total of 9 tales included in “The Classic Horror Tales”, but not a one of them would be considered a horror story today. In fact H. P. Lovecraft didn’t call them horror stories. He called them weird tales. Every science fiction, fantasy, or horror fan should read these stories, just so that you understand where H. P. was coming from.

Most of his tales are from a first person point of view. He will tell you that he has found something that is too horrible to describe, then go on spending a couple hundred words describing it. And speaking of descriptions, try to get this book as an ebook, so that you can use the built-in dictionary on your ebook reader, because H. P. uses a lot of words that you will have to look up. Mr. Luckhust has a note for many of them, but even those will be easier to use with an ebook.

H. P. Lovecraft had a whole made up universe. He referenced a bunch of nonexistent books by nonexistent authors such as “the Necronomicon by the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred”. Many of his experts came from Miskatonic University, a fictional college in Arkham, Massachusetts, a fictional town.
Many of his stories have an alien race that landed on earth long before there were any humans. Using various devices, he will let you know about these horrible creatures, but always is of the opinion that they are too terrible to be talked about, that people would go mad if they knew that such a thing had happened in the far distant past. H. P. Lovecraft is very wordy, but that isn’t always a bad thing, sometimes you can get into the flow of his many adjectives and adverbs and it is nearly poetic. Other times, not so much. These are good weird tales, just don’t expect to have the sh-t scared out of you, because these aren’t horror stories.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5 and a Thumbs Up! Read this if you have never tracked down any H. P. Lovecraft stories and always thought “I have to read H. P. Lovecraft sometime”. The introduction and notes from Roger Luckhurst make this volume the one to read.

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com.

Book Description
Publication Date: July 1, 2013

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) was a reclusive scribbler of horror stories for the American pulp magazines that specialized in Gothic and science fiction in the interwar years. He often published in Weird Tales and has since become the key figure in the slippery genre of “weird fiction.” Lovecraft developed an extraordinary vision of feeble men driven to the edge of sanity by glimpses of malign beings that have survived from human prehistory or by malevolent extra-terrestrial visitations. The ornate language of his stories builds towards grotesque moments of revelation, quite unlike any other writer.

This new selection brings together nine of his classic tales, focusing on the “Cthulhu Mythos,” a cycle of stories that develops the mythology of the Old Ones, the monstrous creatures who predate human life on earth. The stories collected here include some of Lovecraft’s finest, including “The Call of Cthulhu,” “At the Mountains of Madness,” “The Dunwich Horror,” “The Colour Out of Space,” “The Shadow over Innsmouth,” and “The Shadow out of Time.” The volume also includes vital extracts from Lovecraft’s critical essay, “Supernatural Horror in Literature,” in which he gave his own important definition of “weird fiction.” In a fascinating introduction, Roger Luckhurst gives Lovecraft the attention he deserves as a writer who used pulp fiction to explore a remarkable philosophy that shockingly dethrones the mastery of man.

Featuring a chronology, bibliography, and informative notes, this is a must-have critical edition for Lovecraft aficionados, and the best introduction to his work for first-time visitors to his strange fictional world.

Product Details
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (July 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0199639574
ISBN-13: 978-0199639571
Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

About the Authors

Roger Luckhurst is Professor of Modern Literature at Birkbeck College, University of London. An expert on science fiction and Gothic literature, he is the author of The Invention of Telepathy, Science Fiction, The Trauma Question, and The Mummy’s Curse: The True History of a Dark Fantasy.

H. P. Lovecraft was born in 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island, where he lived most of his life. He wrote many essays and poems early in his career, but gradually focused on the writing of horror stories, after the advent in 1923 of the pulp magazine Weird Tales, to which he contributed most of his fiction. His relatively small corpus of fiction–three short novels and about sixty short stories–has nevertheless exercised a wide influence on subsequent work in the field, and he is regarded as the leading twentieth-century American author of supernatural fiction. H. P. Lovecraft died in Providence in 1937.

The book description is from Amazon. The Classic Horror Stories

A Review of Mortal Lock by Andrew Vachss

Mortal_LockMortal Lock (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original)
by Andrew Vachss
I had been meaning to read one of the many novels by Andrew Vachss but somehow never got around to actually picking one up. When I saw that this book of his short stories was going to be published in May, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to sample Mr. Vachss’ work. This was an excellent plan. In this collection of short stories, Mr. Vachss gives us a selection of tightly written glimpses into the inner workings of a very original thinker. There are 20 stories varying from just over one page to a screenplay that consumes the final third of the book. The shorter works are a timeless mix of contempory thought pieces, while the screenplay is a post apocalyptic story dealing with abuse in many forms. The writing is very focused and concise, the ideas strong and intense.
I give this book 4 Stars out of 5 and A Thumbs Up. The only thing that prevents me from giving 5 Stars is the screenplay. It takes up too much of the book and is a more difficult type of read for many people. You could skip it, but then you would be missing another insight into the workings of Mr. Vachss’ mind.
This is an excellent introduction to Mr. Vachss’ writing and will intice me to read more by this fine author.
I received this Digital Review Copy for free from Edelweiss.com.
Book Description
Release date: May 7, 2013 | Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original
A VINTAGE CRIME/BLACK LIZARD ORIGINAL
A hit man stalks his mark at a race track. A sociopath crosses every moral boundary to become a published author. An ex-mercenary obsessively defends his “perimeter” from a dangerous interloper. A man for hire grudgingly accepts help from a teenage girl to track an online predator. In a dystopian future, young people struggle for survival underground, forming themselves into vicious gangs with only the graffiti of the “last journalists” accepted as truth. Andrew Vachss collects twenty tight, powerful stories—all from the past decade of his career, including some now published for the first time—along with an original screenplay. Together, they form Mortal Lock, a searing portrait of the criminal underworld, with both its depravity and humanity on display.

Product Details
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Vintage (May 7, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307950832
ISBN-13: 978-0307950833
Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces

About the Author
Andrew Vachss has been a federal investigator in sexually transmitted diseases, a social-services caseworker, a labor organizer, and has directed a maximum-security prison for “aggressive-violent” youth. Now a lawyer in private practice, he represents children and youth exclusively. He is the author of numerous novels, including the Burke series, three collections of short stories, and a wide variety of other material including song lyrics, graphic novels, essays, and a “children’s book for adults.” His books have been translated into twenty languages, and his work has appeared in Parade, Antaeus, Esquire, Playboy, The New York Times, and many other forums. His books have been awarded the Grand Prix de Littérature Policiére, the Falcon Award, Deutschen Krimi Preis, Die Jury des Bochumer Krimi Archivs and the Raymond Chandler Award (per Giurìa a Noir in Festival, Courmayeur, Italy). Andrew Vachss’ latest books are Mortal Lock (Vintage, May 2013) and Aftershock (Pantheon, June 2013). The dedicated Web site for Vachss and his work is vachss.com.
The book description is from Amazon. Mortal Lock (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original)