Archive for April, 2012

Silent Voices review

April 23, 2012 - 3:14 pm No Comments

Silent Voices
Author: Gary McMahon
Publisher: Solaris Books
Page count: 384pp
Release date: 12th April 2012
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

The second in The Concrete Grove trilogy, Silent Voices starts twenty years ago as three boys stagger out of an old building, unsure exactly where they have been and what has happened to them over the course of a weekend. All Brendan can remember is the trees.
In the present, one of the grown up boys, Simon, returns to the Grove to find his old friends and try to unearth the painful memories that are starting to claw their way back to the surface.

A mysterious package has been sent to Simon containing a book and two news articles about the Concrete Grove. Over the years, his mysterious benefactor has been posting him news from the Grove, tracking him down regardless of where he moves to, drawing him back to the Grove away from his successful life.

The darkness of the Grove is breathing again, the woodlands invading the minds of the three damaged men that the boys have become.

Described by Steve Rasnic Tem as “one of the finest of a new breed of horror writers”, McMahon is a strong and frightening voice in the future of the genre. His novel explores the themes of urban decay and corruption. It is rife with crime, the grubbiness of real life and a virulent evil. McMahon isn’t afraid to challenge the nostalgia of childhood, which is often blurred; childhood friends may not necessarily remain friends through adulthood but those bonds are still strong.

The second novel in the trilogy does not disappoint and McMahon, as usual, is a powerful storyteller. An excellent book.

Giant Thief review

April 19, 2012 - 8:06 pm No Comments

Giant Thief
Author: David Tallerman
Publisher: Angry Robot
Page count: 384pp
Release date: 2nd Feb 2012
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Easie Damasco is a thief; a rogue and a crafty sod. He is due to be hanged for stealing food, one of his minor misdemeanours, when he is made a better offer. Moaradrid is at war with the Castovalians, and Moaradrid needs ‘volunteers’ for his army. In the midst of battle, Saltlick’s current ‘master’ dies and Easie is left in charge of a giant called Saltlick. Seeing an opportunity, Easie offers the giant a chance of freedom and off they run. Intent on finding a little gold for their journey, Easie unwittingly steals something of much more value. Thus begins a novel of adventure and chases as Easie Damasco and Saltlick join forces with Mayor Estrada against Moaradrid.

The plot isn’t the most original, the stolen item is a bit of a macguffin for the adventures that follow; however, the adventures that follow are top notch and great fun. What makes the novel so much fun is the varied interesting characters that are weaved throughout the narrative. Easie himself goes through a personal journey from scoundrel to saviour, as he finds himself thinking moral thoughts and starting to question his own chequered past. Mayor Estrada is a strong female character that takes no prisoners when it comes to her mission to protect her people. Moaradrid is suitably villainous and Saltlick is the epitome of the gentle giant.

With more cart and two legged chases than I’ve seen in recent fantasy novels, a pace that rattles along and a healthy helping of humour throughout, Giant Thief (Angry Robot) is worth every penny.

Evil Dark review

April 18, 2012 - 7:49 pm 3 Comments

Evil Dark
Author: Justin Gustainis
Publisher: Angry Robot
Page count: 416pp
Release date: 3rd May 2012
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

“My name’s Markowski. I carry a badge. Also a crucifix, some wooden stakes, big vial of holy water and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.”

Detective Stan Markowski, first seen in Hard Spell returns in Evil Dark, a supernatural murder mystery thriller. With a cool noir vibe and lively characters, Stan in particular, Evil Dark is a welcome return to Gustainis’ world. Stan has a daughter Christine, who is a vampire and his partner Detective Renfer is also a recently turned vampire.

In the midst of a series of murders, the FBI visits the Occult Crimes Team to show them something disturbing and new; a supernatural snuff film. One of a number of these films, it seems Markowski has something new to investigate. The victims are varied but evidence shows that the snuff films, featuring a possessed person torturing the victim, were filmed in Markowski’s home town of Scranton.

At the same time, a serial killer has been kidnapping witches and literally burning them at the stake.

This novel at its core is a supernatural police procedural however, it is so much more. Filled with witty quips and clever one-liners, pop culture references set in this alternative universe and more importantly, highlighting discrimination against the ‘other’, in this case vampires and witches, the novel is funny yet food for serious thought. Gustainis uses the novel to consider religion and racism whilst still retaining a sense of fun, and some rather gruesome bits too.

Gustainis has proved himself time and time again, and it is no surprise to me that Evil Dark is another cracking novel. Featuring meth-addicted goblins, suicidal fairies and ogres in bar fights this is well worth investing in.

David Moody Interview

April 16, 2012 - 10:38 pm No Comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This month is ‘Voodoo Mojo’ month on my website, where I’ll be looking at all things zombie and some voodoo stuff too. To tie in with this theme, David Moody took time away from his busy writing schedule to answer a few questions for his readers.

David is recognised as being one of the early independent publishing entrepreneurs. So, what convinced him to go down that route?

There was no real plan … independent publishing just seemed like the most sensible option to take at the time. After less than stellar sales of my first novel (Straight to You) which was traditionally published, I took a long hard look in the mirror and had to decide what my priorities were – did I want to make a living from writing, and if I did, how did I go about it? It was a bit of a no-brainer – I realised that the most important thing was to get people to read my book, and if I couldn’t get folks to buy my stuff (and why should they if they didn’t know anything about me?) then the logical next step was to give my next novel – AUTUMN – away. Everything just snowballed from that one decision really. Within a surprisingly short period of time I was recording hundreds, then thousands of downloads every month. I released sequels which I charged for, and that gave me the capital to start Infected Books and produce paperbacks, and that was the business model I continued to use until Thomas Dunne Books acquired rights to the HATER and AUTUMN novels in 2007/8.

On his website he notes that Hater will be produced by Guillermo Del Torro. How did this come about? How far along the road is this project?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know how they got hold of HATER, but I’m so glad they did. The book had been out for less than two months and had sold moderately well (for me), when I received an email from a production company in Los Angeles. I thought it was either a) a joke or b) a small independent company at first, but when I did some digging and found the connections between the chap I’d been emailing and some very famous people, I knew it was for real. Like many similar projects, the movie has been off and on and off again in the years since we first did the deal. Back in 2009 we were incredibly close to filming – J A Bayona (The Orphanage) was tapped to direct from a script by Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead showrunner), but it didn’t happen. We renewed the option at the end of 2011 and I keep hearing murmurings, so I’m hopeful something will happen soon.

3. Speaking of ‘the road’, what are his top post apocalyptic film, story and novel choices?

I get asked this question a lot, so apologies if you’ve heard this before… My favourite post-apocalyptic novel is Day of the Triffids. It’s the book which got me into the genre. I found it in my primary school library (what it was doing there, I don’t know!) and devoured it. That was the early 1980’s – the same time as the classic BBC adaptation. I’d also mention War of the Worlds (I can only imagine what people made of that book when it was originally published), and Domain by James Herbert. Domain was the third in Herbert’s ‘Rats’ series. Rats aside, it’s an incredibly vivid description of a never-ending apocalypse. In terms of movies, Romero’s original three zombie films were an obvious influence, as were the early works of John Carpenter and the films of David Cronenberg. My top apocalyptic movie, however, is Threads – a BBC movie from the mid-1980’s about the effects of a nuclear attack on the people of Sheffield. It’s a brutal, no-hold-barred film that remains absolutely shocking even today, and I’d urge anyone who hasn’t seen it to check it out.

I understand that David is working with Will Wright on a short film based in the Autumn universe. What’s that all about?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The movie is called ISOLATION. It’s not strictly an Autumn film, but the living dead it features will bare some similarities to the creatures from the books (no flesh eating, for example). I’m really excited about the project. Unfortunately we’re all working full-time on other things so it’s taking time to get everything together, but we’re hopeful production will start soon. ISOLATION is nothing like your traditional zombie film. Like my books, it’s more character-focused. It’ll concentrate on individual groups and people all doing what they can to survive, and how what each of them does has repercussions on the others left alive.

Good stuff.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

You can find out more about David’s books at Last Of The Living. Autumn: Aftermath
is out in the US now.

White Trash Zombie

April 16, 2012 - 8:41 pm No Comments

My Life as a White Trash Zombie
Author: Diana Rowland
Publisher: Daw Books
Page count: 310pp
Release date: 5th Jul 2011
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Angel, born loser, wakes up in the ER remembering only blood, and a crash, whilst her nurse insists she overdosed. Naked and penniless, a mysterious benefactor has left her a bag with cab fare, clothes and six bottles of strange liquid that could be Frappacino or could be something else entirely. There is also a job offer at the local Coroner’s office and a warning . . . if Angel doesn’t hold down the job for at least a month, her benefactor will tell her Probation Officer that drugs were in her system.

Angel soon finds that working in a morgue has its advantages; an ample supply of easy to blend brains. Because Angel soon finds out that she is no longer human.

A zombie novel written from the point of view of the misunderstood fledgling zombie, White Trash . . . is a fun diversion, with its humour handled well through ‘straight’ writing, rather than it trying to be laugh out loud.

The novel also challenges stereotypes along the way, focusing on Angel’s attempts to change her life positively despite her overwhelming urge to munch on brains. Rowland plays with the various characters and the reader’s perceptions, ensuring the book is more than just typical zombie fodder, but it still retains a great sense of fun.
Overall, this book is enjoyable and well worth the mere £5.00 I paid.