Friday the 13th is the perfect day for Bookspotcentral Valentine to some wonderful women authors of paranormal fiction. Whether the label du jour is urban fantasy, dark fantasy, or some flavor of paranormal, with or without heavy romantic elements and (ahem) explicit hotness, these series can encompass high-octane thrills, layered world-creation, ensemble character development, humor, and cultural commentary. It’s that gusto and genre-bending variety that seems to attract its authors as well as its readers, and there were enthusiastic fans of both genders gathered at 2009’s New York Comic-Con to hear more about Kick-Ass Female Authors and their Killer Heroines.
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Recently, I received a splashy invitation to the kind of event that a genre-bender like me can’t refuse. The location of the festivities was the Explorers Club on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. I couldn’t wait to see the headquarters of the organization “promoting exploration and field sciences since 1904.” The facilities are gloriously appointed, outfitted with mementos of treks and adventurers.
I found myself arriving among a group of those historically costumed from the 19th century, noir sharpies and dames, and others who were just plain swanky.
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For 2005, THE GIRL IN THE GLASS won the Edgar award for Best Paperback Original from the Mystery Writers of America. You might think a crime-writing award a strange one for Jeffrey Ford to receive if you’ve principally considered him an author of the fantastic, but this tale, overlayed with fantastic illusion, is about the darkest acts of human arrogance.
You can also read an interview with Jeffrey Ford.
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With textual help from some well-known names, but primarily from the inspiration of classic Anglo-Saxon storysongs, Charles Vess has created a unique form of graphic novel. Recently reprinted in softcover, THE BOOK OF BALLADS is a gorgeous pictorial songbook, meriting exuberant praise and permanent shelf space for its artwork even above the rich story content. I warn you now that this review is lengthy, but there are thirteen different ballads, and this title deserves the attention.
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I always think a good hard-boiled crime novel ought to read like I’m sliding into a warm bath with slit wrists, so smooth I’m grinning through the bleed-out. Charlie Huston’s CAUGHT STEALING reads like that.
If you want to you can check out an interview with Charlie Huston.
Continue reading “Caught Stealing by Charlie Huston – Review”
Seymour Shubin’s WITNESS TO MYSELF is not the typical fare usually found beneath the lurid cover of a Hard Case Crime paperback. For one thing, the protagonist is a decent fellow, unlike the usual noir lead who, at his most charitable, pitches a fifth of whiskey at his victim’s head as a peace offering of anesthetic for broken fingers.
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Lawrence Watt-Evans begins his latest sword and sorcery series with THE WIZARD LORD, Volume One of The Annals of the Chosen. In the land of Barokan, magic is everpresent. The ler are the spirits within every living and nonliving thing; they’re in the air itself. To cooperate peacefully, people have had to learn to satisfy their local ler’s requirements which vary widely and are administered by the priestly class. Wizards, on the other hand, can conjure wild ler, and a fascinating arrangement has developed between them and human society over the centuries.
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If you haven’t yet read Titus Groan, then for all your life, the infant heir to castle Gormenghast has waited for you. Certainly for most of your life anyway, since Book One in Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy was first published in 1946. In its day, Titus Groan wasn’t relegated to the fantasy shelves as it might be now, but was a sensation and critically celebrated- as it well deserves- next to other great novels.
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