[I finished my radiation treatments this week and have been told that the fatigue they have caused should dissipate over the next few weeks. If true, I should get back to regular blogging soon. Recently my life has consisted of take a nap, read a few pages, take another nap, read a few more pages, lather, rinse, repeat...
[In the meantime, here's a few Incoming.]
- Clifton Adams, Tragg's Choice. Western, a winner of the Spur Award for Best Western Novel in 1969. "For ten years, Owen Tragg lived on his reputation as a hero -- exploited by a slick showman who dressed him up in fringed and beaded buckskin, and billed him as 'the man who killed Jody Barker.' When the act finally folded, Tragg was relieved. But before he could head to El Paso to apply for a deputy's job, he had some unpleasant business to take care of at Boser's Creek. There, Jody Barker's widow waited for him; and there, by a stange twist of fate that had sent a half-starved sodbuster on a killing spree, Tragg, the man, was forced to separate himself from Tragg, the legend. He was all that stood between two people and death." Adams published fifty full-length novels and 125 short stories, concentrating mainly on westerns. His series of seven western novels about Amos Flagg were published as by "Clay Randal." He wrote crime fiction under his own name and as "Jonathan Gant." He also published one book as "Nick Hudson" and six westerns as "Matt Kincaid." Adams was a reliable and entertaining author. He won one other Spur Award for Best Novel in 1970 for The Last Days of Wolf Garnett. His first novel, The Desperado, was filmed twice, in 1954 and in 1958. Two other films were based on his works.
- "Luke Adams," Apache Law #2: Hellfire and Apache Law #4: Showdown. Westerns about half-breed lawman Mitch Frye. In Hellfire, "Mitch Frye had seen a lot of killing in his time. Back when he was one of the Apache scouts with the 6th Cavalry, he'd seen what an Apache could do to an enemy. But he'd never seen anything like the body he found in the alley that night. And it wasn't long before there were more. It looked like somebody was out to sweep the prostitutes off the streets of Paxton. Somebody who wasn't using the law to do the job -- but a knife. But cleaning up the town was Frye's job, and now he had a madman to deal with, a butcher who seemed devoted to his bloody work. Mitch knew in his gut that the killing wouldn't stop until he and the killer met face to face -- a meeting only one of the would survive." In Showdown, "Trace Beaumont once saved Mitch Frye from drowning. Now Trace has shown up in Paxton and wants to renew the friendship. Trouble is, Trace is now a gunslinger wanted for a string of murders, and Mitch is a lawman. But Mitch doesn't have a lot of time to worry about his old friend -- he's got other things on his mind. A cutthroat gang that he threw out of town is coming back to tear the place up and get their revenge on Mitch. And there aren't a whole lot of folks willing to stand by him and help him face the gunmen down. It looks like Mitch has no choice but to accept Trace's help. But he'll always be wondering why Trace came to town in the first place. And whether he's more likely to get shot by the gang...or by his friend.": I know that Bill Crider wrote at least one, and perhaps all four, in this series -- can anyone provide more information?
- Ben Bova, Maxwell's Demons. Science fiction collection containing a baker's dozen of SF stories, plus two essays from various sources. Five of the stories are reprinted from Roger Elwood anthologies, two are from Analog, the ramainder are fro individual sources or are original to this book. Bova's character chet Kinsman makes two appearances and Orion one. Several of the stories inspired later novels such as The Multiple Man and City of Darkness. A pretty good overview of Bova's work in the 1970s.
- Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois, editors, Dangerous Games. Science fiction collection with eleven stories about high-tech games and the dangers therein. The Dann/Dozois themed anthologies always provide thought-provoking tales from both the usual and unusual sources. Authors here are Cory Doctorow, Terry Dowling, Gwyneth Jones, Jonathan Letham, Alastair Reynolds, Robert Sheckley, William Browning Spencer, Allen Steele, Jason Stoddard, Vernor Vinge, and Kate Wilhelm -- a pretty impressive lineup.
- Erle Stanley Gardner, The Case of the Murderer's Bride and Other Stories. Mystery collection, one of the first single author collections edited by Ellery Queen during EQMM's Davis Publications years. Seven stories, including one featuring Lester Leith, crook extraordinaire. Also included is "Death Rides a Boxcar," which had been reprinted in a single volume in paperback in the U.K. in 1945 under the title Over the Hump, making the paperback one of the rarest ESG collectibles.
- J. F. Gonzalez, Shapeshifter. Horror novel. "Mark Wiseman thought he had his curse under control. He thought he had kept it a secret. He was wrong. Bernard Roberts is a very wealthy, powerful man, and he knows all about the curse that flows through Mark's veins. He knows how Mark's parents were killed. If Mark wants Bernard to keep this knowledge to himself, he'll have to do what Bernard tells him. He'll have to use his curse to kill. But if Mark begins to loosen his grip over the wolf within him, will he lose control of it completely?' Gonzales was one of the bright lights in horror fiction who wrote 18 novels and published five colletions before his untimely death from cancer at age 50.
- Charlie Huston, The Shotgun Rule. Thriller. "Blood spilled on the asphalt of this town long years gone has left a stain, and it's spreading. Not that a thing like that matters to teenagers like George, Hector, Paul, and Andy. It's summer 1983 in a northern California suburb, and these working-class kids have been killing time in the usual ways: ducking their parents, tinkering with their bikes, and racing around town getting high and boosting their neighbors' meds. Just another typical summer break in the burbs. Till Andy's bike is stolen by the town's legendary petty hoods, the Arroyo brothers. When the boys break into the Arroyos' place in search of the bike, they stumble across the brothers' private industry: a crank lab. Being the kind of kids who rarely know better, they do what comes naturally: they take a stash of crank to sell for quick cash. But in doing so they unleash hidden rivalries and crimes, and the dark and secret past of their town and families." I've read a couple of Huston's books and they are damned good. This one should be no different.
- J. A. Konrath, Origin. Thriller. "In 1906, a crew of workers at the Panama Canal unearthed something that could not be identified or explained. Something sinister. And very much alive...One hundred years later, a team of scientists gather at underground facility in New Mexico to determine what this being is -- the most amazing discovery in the history of mankind -- and how it has managed to survive. A biologist will analyze its structure. A veterinarian will study its behavior. A linguist will translate its language. But even the greatest minds in the world can not answer one inescapable question: Could this ancient creature, this mockery of God and nature, actually be the ancient demon known as...the Beast?" Konrath knows how to spin a story and keep the pages turning.
- Rob MacGregor, Peter Benchley's Amazon: The Ghost Tribe. Aventure novel based on "the acclaimed television phenomenon, Peter Benchley's Amazon," a show I had never heard of. **sigh** "A brutal gale battles the pilgrim ship Seaflower, driving the ill-fated vessel off-course toward the coast of South America, leaving it to the mercy of bloodthirsty pirates and murderous tempests, The year is 1627. And so begins a drameathat will ultimatley span centuries, as destiny strands a handful of luckless European voyagers in the most inhospitable jungle on Earth. In a world unfathomed, they must bury their dead and push on deep into the dark and savage land explorers will one day call Amazon. For them , there is no going back -- only treacherous miles of lush, inpenetrable beauty that camoflages sudden and terrible death. And there are others waiting and watching, ready to destroy to preserve what no one may truly possess. But there, in this strange and violent place of wondrous discovery, the small band of settlers is determined to endure at all costs, to buld a new life in a merciless wilderness -- and to forge a remarkable society that will be there to greet another group of the desperate lost more than three hundred years in the future."
- Walter Mosley, The Gift of Fire and On the Head of a Pin. Science fantasy, two of the six short novels from Crosstown to Oblivion, printed dos-a-dos (like the old Ace double paperbacks). In The Gift of Fire, the chains that had bound the mythical Prometheus to a rock "cease to be , and the great champion of man walks from that immortal prison into present-day South Central Los Angeles. Disheveled and lost, he is thrown in jail, where he meets lifelong criminal Nosome Blane. Shocked at what humanity has done with his gift, he looks for another way to empower lis long, almost lost, cause. His only hope lies with Nosome's bedridden fourteen-year-old nephew, Chief Reddy, who is anointed with Prometheus's second gift of fire...but is it too late to ignite and enlighten Earth's dying soul?" In On the Head of a Pin, Joshua Winterland and Ana Fried are working at Jennings-Tremont Enterprises when they make the most important discovery in the history of this world -- or possibly the next. JTE is developing avanced animatronics editing technologies that will create high-end movies indistinguishable from live action. Long-dead stars can now share the screen with today's A-list. But one night, Joshus and Ana discover something lingering in the rendered footage...an entity that will eventually reveal itself as "the Sail" and lead Joshua and Ana into a new age...beyond the reality they have come to know and deep into the true nature of good and evil."
- David J. Schow, Bullets of Rain. Suspense novel. "Widowed architect Arthur Latimer has become a recluse in his own home: a storm-proof fortress that doubles as a shrine to his dead wife. But the outside world beckons in the form of a bizarre party downbeach. Now, just as the biggest hurricane ever to hit the Pacific Northwest rolls in with deadly force, Art is subjected to intrusions from his past and invasions from the present. And soon he begins to doubt everything he sees or thinks he already knows. And soon you may too." Schow is equally known for his horror work (he is credited by some with coining the phrase "splatterpunk"), by script work (The Crow, A Nightmare on Elm Street V, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, etc.), and his media commentary. His work has an urgency that is rare in the field.
- Stjepan Sejic, Harleen. Graphic novel retelling of Harleen Quinzel's origin story -- how she became Harley Quinn, the Joker's girlfriend. "A stunning tale of love and obsession" from a noted Serbian comic book writer and artist.
- Doug TenNapel, Ghostopolis. YA graphic novel. "When Garth Hale is accidentally zapped into the ghost world by Frank Gallows, a washed-up ghost wrangler, he discovers that he has special powers. Soon he finds himself on the run from the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who wants to use Garth's newfound abilities to tighten his grip on the spirit world. After Garth meets Cecil, his grandfather's ghost, the two search for a way to get Garth back home, nearly losing hope until Frank Gallows shows up to fix his mistake."
- Per Wahloo, Murder on the Thirty-First Floor. Science fictinal mystery novel. "when the nation's publishing conglomerate recieves a mysterious bomb threat. Chief Inspector Jenson is ordered to fingd the culprit within a week -- or else. As his investigtion begins to reveal theunsavory secrets of a growing list of suspects, Jenson realizes that he has unncovered a tragic story of betrayal and death in whihc he will play the central role." This one -- also known as The Thirty-First Floor -- was published shortly after Wahllo and his wife Maj Sjowall began publishing their noted mystery series about Martin Beck.