Books That Bounce
Black Static #17 will be mailing out to subscribers shortly, and I'm already neck deep in reading books for the Case Notes section of #18. It's time a bid a sad farewell to the titles that have grown so long in the tooth that I no longer consider them eligible for review, with links to somewhere on the internet where they did manage to find the time to give these books the once over.
Queen Victoria, Demon Hunter (Hodder paperback, 384pp, £7.99) by A. E. Moorat sounded like it could have been fun, with the tag line 'She loved her country, she hated zombies'. Imagine Her Maj as a Buffy wannabe and most definitely not amused. In the Black Static review stakes it fell victim to my growing antipathy to the whole mash-up thing. At Brooke Reviews it went down well. The only reviews I could find online were of the American edition. The cover looks a lot more sumptuous than on the UK edition, but that's not necessarily a good thing. I prefer the understated feel of the Hodder paperback.
I'm not sure what's happened with Carol Smith's In the Dead of Night. I got sent an ARC which was supposedly for a Sphere paperback due out in September 2009, but I can't find any solid evidence online that the book has actually been released yet. There are no reviews on the first two pages of google and all the retail outlets where the book is listed show things like 'Currently unavailable' or 'Available for pre-order', so... I'll keep an eye out in case the book appears at some later date.
I don't feel too bad about not reviewing The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 20 (Robinson paperback, 560pp, £7.99). Editor Stephen Jones knows his stuff and, while individual selections might not always meet with approval, you're pretty much guaranteed a solid read with any of these volumes, regardless of what any reviewer has to say. Sometimes we're only rubber stamps. Check out what's been said at Graeme's Fantasy Book Review blog. And look out for Black Static #18, when I will be reviewing twenty year retrospective volume The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror and possibly interviewing editor Stephen Jones.
I've heard lots of good things about author Bryan Smith and Depraved (Leisure paperback, 324pp, $7.99) was to be my introduction to his work. It's a meeting which will now be indefinitely delayed, but you can see what I. E. Lester has to say over at Dark Scribe Magazine.
Scott Sigler was our featured author back in Black Static # 6, and I was really hoping to get stuck into Contagious (Hodder paperback, 640pp, £6.99), the sequel to Infected, but it didn't happen. Too many books and too little time. E. C. McMullen Jr however did have the time to write a review and you can read it over at Feo Amante's Horror Home Page. Once again it's an American edition, and I very much prefer the UK cover. No accounting for taste, I guess.
October Skies (Orion paperback, 496pp, £6.99) by Alex Scarrow is another book that just slipped away from me. The ARC arrived at least a year ago, and since then various editions - hardback, trade paperback - have registered in my peripheral vision, but the right moment to read the book never seemed to arrive. Pity, as I'm all in favour of encouraging thriller writers when they get in touch with their 'even darker' sides. You can find a review by Laura Wilson on The Guardian website.
As I noted in an earlier blog post, I'm now only reviewing 30% of the books I'm sent, so these 'Dear John' posts are going to get even longer and more common in the future. I blame the government. And so should you.
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