Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bookish Thoughts: The new range from Hardcase Crime [2015 - 2]

As readers of this blog will know I love pulp and crime fiction. What better way to get a dose of the good stuff in a single hit than with Hardcase Crime? 

Earlier this year I posted about the slate of upcoming 2015 releases from the 'throw back' publisher - you can read that post HERE

Today I'm taking a look at the new slate of forthcoming books, all of which are reprints with new covers and in the case of JOYLAND by Stephen King (pictured), a nice new illustrated edition that is a must buy for fans not only of Hardcase Crime and Stephen King, but those who enjoy that eye catching pulp era artwork from greats such as Robert McGinnis and Glen Orbik.  

You can read my review of JOYLAND (2013) HERE

Below are the titles and descriptions of the new books: 

JOYLAND by Stephen King (due to be published in Sept. 2015)

Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work in a fairground and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

An all-new illustrated edition featuring artwork by Robert McGinnis, Glen Orbik, Mark Summers and Pat Kinsella.


QUARRY by Max Allan Collins (due to be published October 2015)

The assignment was simple: stake out the man’s home and kill him. Easy work for a professional like Quarry. But when things go horribly wrong, Quarry finds himself with a new mission: learn who hired him, and make the bastard pay.

QUARRY'S LIST by Max Allan Collins (due to be published in October 2015)

When the man he worked for abruptly exits the business, Quarry finds himself in the crosshairs as a rival tries to take over. But what does Quarry have that the new man wants? And how did the beautiful blonde in the swimming pool become a target?

QUARRY'S DEAL by Max Allan Collins (due to be published in October 2015)

Putting his plan in motion to target other hitmen, Quarry follows one from steamy Florida to the sober Midwest. But this killer isn’t a man at all—she’s a sloe-eyed beauty, as dangerous in bed as she is deadly on the job. Has Quarry finally met his match?

QUARRY'S CUT by Max Allan Collins (due to be published in October 2015)

It’s normal to see bodies on the set of an adult film. But when they’re dead bodies—and the cast and crew discover they’re trapped in a house with a serial killer—Quarry’s got his work cut out for him.

QUARRY'S VOTE by Max Allan Collins (due to be published in October 2015)

Now retired and happily married, Quarry turns down a million-dollar contract to assassinate a presidential candidate. It’s not the sort of assignment you can just walk away from without consequences—but coming after Quarry has consequences, too.

    

  

I'm really excited to see Hardcase Crime reprint these earlier Quarry novels. I've got most as kindle editions however it'll be great to have these physical copies with the same aesthetics as the newer Quarry novels from Hardcase Crime. Following October, I think I'll embark on a re-read of my favorite hitman series. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. In order to get some consistency to my posting I thought I’d jump on board this great idea. As a self-proclaimed bookaholic, I love talking about my books and finding out what others are reading.

Here's what I'm reading this week: 


The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3)THE BROKEN EYE (Lightbringer #3) by Brent Weeks (I'm almost done with this one and its been a struggle at times. No a lot actually happens which is a little frustrating considering the lengthy page count but I'm persevering!).

As the old gods awaken, the Chromeria is in a race to find its lost Prism, the only man who may be able to stop catastrophe, Gavin Guile. But Gavin's enslaved on a galley, and when he finally escapes, he finds himself in less than friendly hands. Without the ability to draft which has defined him . . .

Meanwhile, the Color Prince's army continues its inexorable advance, having swallowed two of the seven satrapies, they now invade the Blood Forest. Andross Guile, thinking his son Gavin lost, tasks his two grandsons with stopping the advance. Kip and his psychopathic half-brother Zymun will compete for the ultimate prize: who will become the next Prism.


The Last Command (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, #3)THE LAST COMMAND (The Thrawn Trilogy #3) by Timothy Zahn (I've been meaning to finish reading this trilogy for a while now and so far am enjoying this.) 

The embattled Republic reels from the attacks of Grand Admiral Thrawn, who has marshaled the remnants of the Imperial forces and driven the Rebels back with an abominable technology recovered from the Emperor's secret fortress: clone soldiers. As Thrawn mounts his final siege, Han and Chewbacca struggle to form a coalition of smugglers for a last-ditch attack against the empire, while Leia holds the Alliance together and prepares for the birth of her Jedi twins. Overwhelmed by the ships and clones at Thrawn's command, the Republic has one last hope--sending a small force, led by Luke Skywalker, into the very stronghold that houses Thrawn's terrible cloning machines. There a final danger awaits, as the Dark Jedi C'baoth directs the battle against the Rebels and builds his strength to finish what he had already started: the destruction of Luke Skywalker.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Bookish Thoughts: On starting a new read

After finishing a book, how soon do you delve into another?

For many readers ranging from the occasional to habitual, this question provokes a myriad of responses. Some readers like to jump in straight away, close the cover of one, open the cover of another with little or no fuss while others like to dwell on that completed book. Contemplate the outcome and savor the satisfaction.

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For me? Well it's all about timing and mood.

Generally I'm one of those readers who likes to jump straight into a book after reading the last page. Mainly this is due to the sheer volume of books I'm fortunate enough to have sitting in my ever growing tbr plus the number of books I want to re-read. There are only so many hours in a day (free hours that is, what with working and being a dad) so I like to make the most of my 'me' time. 

When it comes to switching genres, however, it's a little different. For instance going from fantasy to crime needs a little break in between. I need to get my head in the right place - rid the surreal, prepare for the macabre nature of the criminal fictional (and real) world.

Reading is more than a form of entertainment, it's an addiction - I treat that next read as the next high, a far more friendlier vice than others and one that will no doubt continue to provide a form of escapism unparalleled in other forms of entertainment. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Finds (17 April 2015)


Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading where you share the book titles you discovered or heard about during the past week. These can be books you were told about, books you discovered while browsing blogs/bookstores (physical or online), or books that you actually purchased. I think this is a great idea and a way to share my enthusiasm of discovering new books.

It's been a little while since I posted a 'Friday Finds' - this weeks books are quite diverse and are by authors new to me.  

Between River and Sea: Encounters in Israel and PalestineBETWEEN RIVER AND SEA by Dervla Murphy (published this month, BETWEEN RIVER AND SEA looks to be a fascinating read)

Dervla Murphy describes with passionate honesty the experience of her most recent journeys into Israel and Palestine. In cramped Haifa high-rises, in homes in the settlements and in a refugee camp on the West Bank, she talks with whomever she meets, trying to understand them and their attitudes with her customary curiosity, her acute ear and mind, her empathy, her openness to the experience and her moral seriousness. Behind the book lies a desire to communicate the reality of life on the ground, and to puzzle out for herself what might be done to alleviate the suffering of all who wish to share this land and to make peace in the region a possibility. Meeting the wise, the foolish and the frankly deluded, she knits together a picture of the patchwork that constitutes both sides of the divide – Hamas and Fatah, rural and urban, refugee, Bedouin nomad, indigenous inhabitant, Black Hebrew, Kabbalist, secular and Orthodox. She keeps an open mind, but her sympathies are clearly with the Palestinians, remorselessly dispossessed of, and cut off from, their lands and frustrated and humiliated on a daily basis. Clinging to hope, she comes to believe that despite its difficulties the only viable future lies in a single democratic state of Israel/Palestine, based on one person, one vote – the One-State Solution.

Hold the DarkHOLD THE DARK by William Giraldi (author Daniel Woodrell describes HOLD THE DARK as a hard, unflinching, and power novel - 'nuff said. This looks to be another gem from No Exit Press)

Wolves have come for the children of Keelut. Three children have been snatched from this isolated Alaskan village, including the six-year-old son of Medora and Vernon Slone. Wolf expert Russell Core arrives in Keelut to investigate the killings and learns of the horrifying darkness at the heart of Medora. 

When her husband returns from a desert war to discover his boy dead and his wife missing, he begins a maniacal pursuit that cuts a bloody swathe across the frozen landscape. As Core attempts to rescue Medora from her husband’s vengeance, he comes face to face with a dark secret at the furthermost reaches of American soil.

An epic woven of both blood and myth, Hold the Dark recalls the hyperborean climate and tribalism of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone and the primeval violence of James Dickey’s Deliverance.


Vengeance NewOUR LADY OF VENGEANCE by Thomas Pluck (I don't read many short story collections, but this is one I'm looking forward to - many thanks to the author for the review copy!)

Some say “the best revenge is living well.” Not the people in these stories! 13 crime, action, and noir tales of ice cold retribution and burning two-fisted fury.

It contains a Jay Desmarteaux tale that was only available in Hills of Fire: Bare-Knuckle Yarns of Appalachia, a story from the final issue of HARDBOILED, and more: Ramapough Ringer, The Uncleared, Two to Tango, Van Candy, Faggot, Lefty, Shogun Honey, Play Dead, We’re All Guys Here, From the Heart, Firecracker, and The Long Walk Home. A trip into the cool cruel world of criminals, ronin, veterans, bluesmen, bullies, hot-rodders, and the wronged screaming for vengeance.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pick Up A Pulp [12]: RED SONJA - THE RING OF IKRIBU (Red Sonja #1)

The Ring of Ikribu (Red Sonja, Book 1)As readers of this blog will know I love a good pulp and was wrapped to find a couple of 1980's Red Sonja Ace Fantasy paperbacks stashed in a box, forgotten underneath a bookcase in a secondhand bookstore on one of my recent outings in search of such diamonds on the rough in the world of secondhand books.

This edition of THE RING OF IKRIBU is a fifth printing published in 1985 with the original published in 1981. You can't argue with the popularity of these books during the 1980's with each of the six book having multiple print runs. 

Ace Fantasy carved out a niche during this time, not only publishing the 'she devil with a sword' but also the Conan books and works by such greats as Frank Herbert and Roger Zelazny. I've got a bunch of these books on my radar and hope to continue to uncover them in my secondhand bookstore rummaging. 

As for Red Sonja and THE RING OF IKRIBU I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer volume of sword and sorcery action thrust upon the readers face from word go. Authors David Smith and Richard Tierney didn't waste time in getting this story off to a fast start. More importantly they maintained the momentum throughout the entire book.  

The plot itself is fantasy formulaic as you'd expect, following a linear path from Red Sonja's appearance at a drinking hole through to her eventual journey to face off against an resurrected sorcerer determined to claim the mysterious ring of Ikribu for his sinister means.

There are loads of great moments filled with character development and bloody fantastical battles which are just fun to read. While THE RING OF IKRIBU is first and foremost a book of Red Sonja, I found her not to be the constant center of attention with many characters given time to shine through on the page. This approach added depth and context to the quest. 

I can't compliment THE RING OF IKRIBU enough, I simply loved everything about this book and will track down the remaining books in the series as fast as I can.  

The books in the Ace Fantasy Red Sonja series:

Book 1: THE RING OF IKRIBU (1981)
Book 2: DEMON NIGHT (1982)
Book 3: WHEN HELL LAUGHS (1982)
Book 4: ENDITHOR'S DAUGHTER (1983)
Book 5: AGAINST THE PRINCE OF HELL (1983)
Book 6: STAR OF DOOM (1983)

The Ring of Ikribu (Red Sonja, Book 1)  Demon Night (Red Sonja, #2)  When Hell Laughs (Red Sonja, #3)

Endithor's Daughter (Red Sonja, #4)  Against the Prince of Hell (Red Sonja, #5)  Star of Doom (Red Sonja, #6)

Monday, April 13, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. In order to get some consistency to my posting I thought I’d jump on board this great idea. As a self-proclaimed bookaholic, I love talking about my books and finding out what others are reading. Having been a long time reader of multiple blogs where the ‘It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?’ post is prevalent, I thought it a natural progression I’d add to the mix.

Here's what I'm reading this week: 


The Ring of Ikribu (Red Sonja, Book 1)THE RING OF IKRIBU (Red Sonja #1) - I'm loving this 1980's Ace Fantasy paperback. What a find it was buried in a box in a second hand bookstore!

First in a six book series based upon the comic book character of Red Sonja, who was, in turn, loosely based on the character of Red Sonya (with a "Y"), who was created by Robert E. Howard.

She lived in a savage world in an uncivilized age-a world ruled by men and governed by the sword. They called her Red Sonja-for her flame-red hair, for the smouldering fire of her pride which gave her sword-arm strength that few men could match and none had ever defeated.


Star-Lord: Guardian of the GalaxySTAR-LORD: GUARDIAN OF THE GALAXY (I've been dipping into this collection of classic Star-Lord comics by Marvel for sometime now and hope to finish it this week. Beware, this collection is a vastly different rendition of Peter Quill as depicted in the recent big budget Marvel movie - I love the sci-fi pulp feel to this one) 

After aliens killed Peter Quill's mother, he became an astronaut, hoping to find the killers and take revenge...until a fateful encounter with the Master of the Sun unlocked Quill's true destiny! Now, as the intergalactic policeman Star-Lord, Quill faces alien slavers, space pirates, world-destroying ships, ancient space arks, vengeful beast-men, winged cloud-riders, symbiotic planetoids and more! 

COLLECTING: MARVEL PREVIEW 4, 11, 14-15, 18 (STAR-LORD STORIES); MARVEL SUPER SPECIAL 10 (STAR-LORD STORY); MARVEL SPOTLIGHT (1979) 6-7; MARVEL PREMIERE 61; STAR-LORD (1996) 1-3. 

The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3)THE BROKEN EYE (Lightbringer #3) by Brent Weeks (with all the pulp fantasy and sci-fi above, I thought I'd balance things out with some modern fantasy from Brent Weeks. This is a monster of a book and I'm about 10% through having started it today).

As the old gods awaken, the Chromeria is in a race to find its lost Prism, the only man who may be able to stop catastrophe, Gavin Guile. But Gavin's enslaved on a galley, and when he finally escapes, he finds himself in less than friendly hands. Without the ability to draft which has defined him . . .

Meanwhile, the Color Prince's army continues its inexorable advance, having swallowed two of the seven satrapies, they now invade the Blood Forest. Andross Guile, thinking his son Gavin lost, tasks his two grandsons with stopping the advance. Kip and his psychopathic half-brother Zymun will compete for the ultimate prize: who will become the next Prism.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Review: THE INVISIBLE MAN FROM SALEM by Christoffer Carlsson

The Invisible Man from SalemFrom the back of the book:
In the final days of summer in 2013, a young woman is shot dead in her apartment. Three floors above, the blue lights of the police cars awaken Leo Junker, a longtime police officer. Leo works in the Internal Affairs division as the lowliest form of officer — a spy. Leo is even lower, however, having been suspended after committing a terrible mistake. In what became known as the 'Gotland Affair', a police officer was accidentally killed, and Leo was found holding the offending weapon. But he wants to help on this case, despite being on mandatory leave, because this woman has connections to people from his past. Now, in the backstreets, shadowed alleyways, and decaying suburbs of Stockholm ́s underground, the search for the young woman ́s killer — and the truth of the Gotland Affair —begins.

My Review:
THE INVISIBLE MAN FROM SALEM is a unique police procedural that pits the protagonist, one who isn't an 'active policeman' rather a member of Internal Affairs against a killer who seems to have a sinister link to his past. Leo Junker, suspended following the events of a previous case he was involved in is still reeling from the outcome and being treated as a rat among his fellow officers by virtue of his position in IA is rudely awaken by the sounds of sirens and the smell of death in his apartment complex. Upon discovering police officers in the stairwell and lower levels, he soon wrangles his way into the crime scene to find a young woman murdered and the ghosts of his past alive an wailing at him; the murdered woman, having on her person, a trinket Leo's youth from a lost lover. 

There is a lot going on in this book; Leo's earlier case, his teenage past, and the present day murder in his apartment complex. Yet, the plot threads do converge and intertwine with one another as the story unfolds providing context to the present day narrative. Interestingly, it's Leo and his close bond with his teenage friends, a brother and sister, that takes center stage through the book with the criminal component on the peripheral. 

I found THE INVISIBLE MAN FROM SALEM to be an above average read. One the relies heavily on the protagonist, Leo Junker, to connect with readers - as the story largely revolves around him. Luckily for me, this was the case. I enjoyed reading about his past, the case where he was 'thrown to the wolves', and how the present day murder investigation tied in with his teenage friends.

I highly recommend THE INVISIBLE MAN FROM SALEM for readers of crime fiction who are looking for character centric read that still encompasses the core elements of the genre.