Goblin by Josh Malerman
Earthling Publications (October 31, 2017)
Josh Malerman received a lot of attention over his debut novel, Bird Box, and continued the buzz earlier this year with his second release, Black Mad Wheel. That’s all fine and dandy, but if you ask me it’s Goblin that’s going to resonate deepest with long-time horror readers like myself. The reason why is simple—Goblin is Malerman’s stab at one of the great tropes of the horror genre: “The Town That’s Not Quite Right.” Continue reading
The Fallen by Ace Atkins
G.P. Putnam’s Sons (July 18, 2017)
Down in Jericho, Mississippi, a group of men in Donald Trump masks burst into a bank with the intentions of cleaning out the cash from the big Wal-Mart Presidents’ Day Sale. A few miles down the road at Vienna’s Place (formerly the more succinctly-named Booby Trap), Fannie Hathcock, owner and proprietor, has taken a hammer to a customer’s face.
Just another day in Tibbehah County. Continue reading
Little White Lies by Ace Atkins
G.P. Putnam’s Sons (May 2, 2017)
Back in 2014, Ace Atkins co-authored an article with Michael Fechter for Outside magazine about a man named Jamie Smith. According to the article, Smith built a mini-empire based in large part on his wildly colorful background as an ex-CIA agent, Harvard graduate, and expert on weaponry and wartime tactics. Smith appeared on major news networks to talk about couterterrorism, and he ran a school for weekend warriors out in Mississippi. He convinced a Pennsylvania couple to hand him over $12 million dollars he promised to invest for them. He signed a book deal with William Morrow.
Then, as suspicions that his highly-touted background was nothing more than a carefully constructed house of cards began to bear fruit, Jamie Smith disappeared. Continue reading
Hap and Leonard: Blood and Lemonade by Joe R. Lansdale
Tachyon Publications (March 2017)
Hap and Leonard: Blood and Lemonade is equal parts short story collection and novel; or, as author Joe Lansdale terms it in his Afterword, a “mosaic novel.” The stories are a mix of previously published material and a couple of new stories, all of them set in the early days of the duo’s friendship. The wrap-around segments take place in the present day, and mostly consist of the two guys riding around and reminiscing, a conceit that works as well as it does because of the long (ten novels’ worth) history between the two, not to mention Lansdale’s considerable storytelling skill. Continue reading
The Weight of this World by David Joy
G.P. Putnam’s Sons (March 2017)
In his astounding sophomore novel, The Weight of This World, David Joy once again explores the rough reality of life in the North Carolina mountains. Rather than center blame for his characters’ hardships on the usual suspects—environment, isolation, lack of opportunity—he focuses squarely on their own weaknesses; in particular, their inability to make good decisions. Continue reading
Coco Butternut by Joe R. Lansdale
Subterranean Press (January 2017)
Coco Butternut is a show dog—a dachshund, to be exact. Also, she’s dead. And missing.
If you’ve read any of Joe R. Lansdale’s “Hap and Leonard” books, you’re reading that first paragraph and thinking, “Yeah, that sounds about right.” If you’re unfamiliar with the series, this novella from Subterranean Press will serve as a nice introduction, showcasing the many facets Lansdale works into each entry: the dark, often laugh-out-loud humor; the unflinching examination of the evil that humanity is capable of; and, at the core of it all, the brotherly bond shared by the two lead characters. Continue reading
Zombie Gold by John L. Lansdale
SST Publications (August 2016)
Working as a hand on his guardians’ ranch is an okay job as far as Chris Bain is concerned, but what he really wants to do is ride in the rodeo. Will Littlefield, part of a group of college kids hired on as extra help, has some experience doing just that. The two immediately bond over their passion for riding giant, powerful animals that don’t want to be ridden, sparking a friendship that’s soon to be strengthened through some very unusual circumstances. Continue reading