Book of the Week: Sacred Cows and Dead Vegetarians by Matt Baker
This book may be a bit hard to find, but it well worth the money spent. Matt is a friend of mine and an excellent writer. I envy his imagination because Tarantino has nothing on him. Below is a description of the book from Bookgasm. I will include the link at the bottom.
Combining the brutality of a spaghetti Western with elements of horror makes for a fine combination in Matt Baker’s SACRED COWS & DEAD VEGETARIANS. What starts out as a tale of the Old West takes a much different path than expected, after a weary traveler stumbles upon a farm in the middle of nowhere, much to the owner’s delight. You see, the rancher has a bit of a graveyard in the backyard.
But if you think you know where this story is headed, you’re way off. The tables are turned really quick, with the traveler turning out to be a much-wanted man who’s going to relate a tale before he kills the owner. And our storyteller is a man named Ripley Abromowitz.
So when he captures Rip this final time, scenes highly reminiscent of certain Sergio Leone films result. But on their way back to town, they come across a stagecoach being attacked by Indians. Dirk and Rip come to the rescue of said coach, leading them to a very strange town owned and run by a English lord who lives in a castle-like home on top of the hill.
And, yes, this is where the horror aspect comes into play. Baker balances the Western angle with a mixture of various fright archetypes. I’m guessing he is a bit of a fan of H.P. Lovecraft, with various allusions made to that writer. Baker does not go the typical route at all with this story, as what you might expect and what actually happens are two separate things, making this a fine little book in a genre of its own. –Bruce Grossman
Book of the Week: The Innocent by David Baldacci
Book of the Week: Dark Nights by John Schweingrouber
Dark Nights, the latest short story compilation by horror writer John Schweingrouber, is now available exclusively for e-readers. Dark Nights brings seven new short works to avid horror readers looking for a new twist to the genre.
“I love writing something unique and frightening. But why end there?” asks Schweingrouber. “I love to take what seems like a good ending for a short story and toss in a twist, something that the reader won’t see coming,” he adds. “I strive to transform a memorable story into an unforgettable one.” From the traditional monster in the closet to the vampire tennis player, and everything in between, Dark Nights offers a little something for every horror reader.
A short story compilation written to thrill and chill, Dark Nights leads the reader out to the edge in a series of “Twilight Zone” type of stories. From the supernatural and macabre to the real life crimes of passion, Dark Nights presents a set of twisted tales you won’t forget.
Book of the Week: The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer
The Book of Fate is a political thriller with a freemason conspiracy. If you enjoy Dan Brown's novels, then you should definitely try reading Meltzer, whose work I enjoy more than Brown's. Meltzer has had a diverse career as a thriller author, a comic book writer, and a television host for the History Channel's Decoded With Brad Meltzer (a great show).
The book is a bit long, going well over 500 pages, but is well worth the time spent. Go to your local library and check it out or try it on Kindle. You'll not regret the time and money spent.
Book of the Week: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (Feb. 11, 2012)
Cannery Row is a story that more or less centers on the adventures of Mack and his friends that live in an old run down fish-meal shack that they convert to be their home. This group of men are incredibly resourceful, as Steinbeck shows throughout the book. It is a perfect depiction of survival during severe economic bad times.
This book isn't so much about plot as it is Steinbeck's attempt to show the feeling and people of that place and time, set in the fish cannery district (hence, Cannery Row) of Monterey, California. The "plot," as it is, is constantly interrupted by the comingling of the various characters that are so intertwined with each other that they do not even know how dependent they are upon each other for their well being during the Depression. Cannery Row was written in 1945.
The characters of this book are incredibly unique compared to traditional stories where the characters are often portrayed as heroic or good or evil to extremes. Steinbeck does a masterful job of showing the "grey" area that is essentially each of us. We are all made up of good and bad, just like Lee Chong, the local grocery owner who sometimes has an attitude with Mack and the boys, assuming their good intentions are often motivated by their own selfishness. Doc, another main character and focus toward the end of the book, is a great character. He has a shop set up in the "Row" and is a marine biologist.
As Mack and the boys struggle to throw a party for Doc, in honor of his selflessness to the others on the "Row," other interesting and flawed characters come into play, such as Dora---the local restaurant owner and proprietor of a whorehouse. Despite running a brothel, she insists on certain "standards" such as no drinking or swearing on the premises. Cannery Row exhibits many example of the daily duality of man.
This book is the story of flawed characters trying to survive as best they can with noble intentions despite their own realities. If you haven't read this classic, then you should.
Book of the Week: Clearwater Journals by Al Rennie
I recently read “Clearwater Journals” by author Al Rennie. Having recently made my books available on Smashwords.com, I searched around the site and read brief summaries of countless books by independent authors before stumbling upon “Clearwater Journals.” I downloaded the book and read it within a couple of days. It was one of those books that you just seem to have a hard time putting down once you start reading it.
Al Rennie does a great job developing the main character, Joe Holiday, and creating a bond between the character and the reader, something familiar that the reader can identify with. He did just as splendid a job with the character Mia, a young woman with a troubled past and not so clean a resume, shall we say. The story is fast paced and exciting and will keep you turning the pages.
Rennie is also the author of:
The Clearwater Diaries
Blessed are the Children
I’d like to thank Al Rennie for providing a quick Q&A about his work and about “Clearwater Journals,” the first book made available online.
How long have you been writing and what inspired you to write?
Rennie: I believe that I have had the bug to write since I was a teenager. I wrote poetry - mostly not that great - throughout high school and university. When I started working as a teacher and raising our family with my wife, writing fell by the wayside and other interests developed - although my appetite for reading took off. It wasn't until I had a major motor cycle accident, that I started to write with the intention of getting published in the traditional sense - agent, editor and publish. I came close with a few forgettable adventures along the way. If you are a writer, you cannot explain it - you just have to do it - even when you want to quit.
Where did you get the idea for Clearwater Journals?
Rennie: I have been to Clearwater a number of times - the first visit when I was eight and went with my parents - and I still try to get there every year. My first four novels included the thinly disguised Lakefield and Peterborough part of Ontario. I couldn't attract a publisher with them, and I wanted to break away from the Al and Norm story to try something else just for a new challenge. I knew Clearwater, so it seemed a natural choice. Writing in the form of a diary or journal imposed a chronology and then the characters took over to tell the story.
Joe “Doc” Holiday is a great character with a sense of humor and the wits to match. He relates well to the readers. Where did you get the idea for developing him?
Rennie: My wife says that Joe is me - and gets jealous of Mia because of it. In fact, Joe just happened. He is my personal composite of all the protagonists I have enjoyed in my reading. Telling a story in the first person allows the writer to be a bit more intimate and for that reason maybe more believable. You can identify more easily with him. There is a vulnerabilty about Doc that appeals, but his disdain for authority and traditional behaviour is attractive to everyone who has a bit of the rebel in him or her.
So far you have self-published six novels. What are you working on now and what can we expect in the future from Al Rennie?
Rennie: Clearwater Ambush should be available on Smashwords in about two or three weeks. The novel will then get to Kobo, Kindle, I-readers, Sony etc in ten days to two weeks after that. I have fifty or sixty pages of a manuscript currently entitled - The Crazy Little Girl that I may go on with, but Doc keeps telling me that he is not over yet. I guess we'll see!
Outside of your books, do you have a favorite book or author?
Rennie: I have a number of authors I really enjoy, but my favorite is Elmore Leonard - even though I regularly break his nine rules of writing. I have a warm spot for the books written by Robert Crais, Michael Connelly and Carl Hiiasen.
Where can we find your books and keep up with the latest news?
Rennie: I have a Website that I try to maintain. The books are all released through Smashwords to the various reading devices - or from Smashwords directly. Just yesterday, I was contacted by a publisher in Turkey who wants the rights to print Clearwater Journals. If you can read Turkish, you can buy a print copy of Journals in about a year and a half - or so he has told me. There may also be an English print copy available through a subsiduary of the Turkish publisher called DreamBooks.
You can get more information about Al Rennie at http://www.alrennie.com/.
Description on Amazon:
In less than twenty-four hours a vicious and virulent disease destroys virtually all of the population. Billions are killed. Thousands die every second. There are no symptoms and no warnings. Within moments of infection each victim suffers a violent and agonizing death. Only a handful of survivors remain. By the end of the first day those survivors wish they were dead. Then the disease strikes again, and all hell breaks loose... The classic free underground novel finally bursts into the mainstream. Cold, dark, relentless and uncomfortably plausible. A Night of the Living Dead for the 21st Century. "the perfect zombie story" "nothing written in the genre has grabbed me in the same way as AUTUMN" "an equal to Romero's Night of the Living Dead"