Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cyber Monday Sale

All Books at the Untreed Reads Sale are 50% off all day Monday November 26th.  When you buy directly from Untreed you get a pdf, a kindle copy and a nook copy all for one low price. Click below to enter the sale.   

Monday, November 19, 2012

Alien The Illustrated Story by Archie Goodwin& Walt Simonson

"Two of comics’ greatest talents joined forces in 1979 to bring Ridley Scott’s epic Alien motion picture to the comic book page. Out of print for over thirty years, this brand new edition has been meticulously restored from original artwork in Walt Simonson’s studio — presenting for the very first time the definitive artist’s edition of the greatest sci-fi horror ever produced."
From Titan Publishing.

Alien The Illustrated Story, feels like a remarkable time capsule, and I was filled with waves of nostalgia as I read through the 64 pages.  Originally commissioned by Heavy Metal Magazine this adaptation has a look and feel of a bygone era, because it was produced in 79.  Being from Heavy Metal the content never needs to be toned down, and yet it does not linger on grotesqueries, or abuse profanity.  

As an huge fan of the Alien franchise, this was a blast to read, and am sure I will page through it regularly for years to come. And in an era before VHS I would have picked this up without a moments hesitation.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gary A Braunbeck’s In Silent Graves

Robert Londrigan’s wife has just died while giving birth prematurely.  In the hospital morgue he stands over their bodies, trying to find the words to say goodbye, when he is attacked and savagely beaten by a deformed stranger.  When he awakens he learns the body of his child is missing.  And everything he thought he knew about the world is wrong. 

“Do you despair?
Perhaps you should.” 
Gary A Braunbeck’s In Silent Graves is a horror novel that transcends the genre into literary excellence.  Braunbeck has crafted a tale that is mediation on how and why we mourn, and what it means to lose a life and the ripples it creates throughout how you perceive your entire world.  Braunbeck also examines the concept of family and how we define this concept as a society and within our own lives. 

Braunbeck’s prose creates an eerily surreal atmosphere, where your senses cannot be trusted, despite how real the world around you seems.  It is unclear through much of the novel if the fantastical events that seem to surround Robert are real or reflections of his grief. 
There are a handful of brutal melee combat sequences late in the novel that seem out of place and just extend the narrative unnecessarily.  This was my only complaint. 

In the End;
In Silent Graves has a very strong and moving message behind it.   Braunbeck’s novel is a heartfelt and eerie masterpiece.  This is one of the most emotionally rich novels I have read in some time, especially within genre fiction.  I cannot recommend this novel strongly enough.   

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chuck Miller gives us a serialized Black Centipede free each week.

Chuck Miller is honoring the traditions of old, offering the Adventures of the Black Centipede in weekly increments, for the low price of free.  Click below for adventure.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cloud Atlas directed by the Lana and Andy Wachowski, with Tom Tykwer

“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”

Cloud Atlas is a story of amazing and immense scope through small interactions between a few people at a time.  This is the most compelling and emotionally rich sci/fi fantasy film I have beheld in a great while.  At 2 hours and 45 minutes (and 15 minutes of trailers) I did check my watch once, but still wholly recommend this film, a financial flop of epic proportions.

Side note, I saw this the same week the new bond filmed opened and pondered this thought as I walked from the theater.  Cloud Atlas carried with it an R rating, their was small amounts of profanity violence and sexual content.  Yet these elements were handled with great maturity.  Violence was shown as never an answer in and of itself, and always unpleasant.  Sexuality was portrayed as something wholly natural and emotionally complicated.  There the profanity but it was never overbearing and a crutch for the dialogue.

While I have not seen Sky Fall, I have seen many Bond films.  Violence is portrayed as glamorous and the most effective manner for solving conflicts.  Sexually, women are available for Bond and he treats most of them as little more than objects.  But at least no one swore, because then it would not be appropriate for 13 year old boys who are by no means impressionable.

I am not suggesting Bond movies should not be seen by younger audiences, what I am suggesting is that we be willing to challenge kids intellectually and emotionally when showing them depictions of sex and violence.

Click above for an amazing piece from The New Yorker on the Wachowskis.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Desperate Souls by Gregory Lamberson

In this action-packed novel, Jake Helman—the ex-cop and zombie killer—has set up shop as a private investigator in lower Manhattan. When a woman hires Jake to prove that her dead grandson is dealing a deadly new drug called “Black Magic” on a Brooklyn street corner, Jake uncovers a plot by a vicious drug lord to use voodoo in an effort to seize the streets of New York City. Gun-wielding zombie assassins, hallucinations, and betrayals confront Jake at every corner, but voodoo creates more terror than zombies, and Jake finds himself poised on the edge of insanity as he fights to restore the soul of the one person he trusts. A combination of hard-core horror and hard-boiled crime fiction, this thriller is gripping and suspenseful.

Gregory Lamberson’s Jake Helman returns in the sequel to Personal Demons.  The former NYPD widower is now a private investigator who stumbles into a voodoo infused mystery.
Desperate Souls starts hard and fast and is damned gripping.  Lamberson seamlessly interweaves the events from Personal Demons into the early chapters without bogging the narrative down in needless exposition.  This sequel works well, because the outcomes from Personal Demons play pivotal roles in the novel.
Lamberson writes Helman incredibly well.  The P.I influenced attitude of our favorite noir tropes avoids cliché because of how well developed Helman’s character is.  With femme fatals, corruption, drugs and stand offs; the pulp mystery of yesteryear is alive and well without ever becoming durative.
The supporting players are strongly conceived avoiding characters that feel like nothing more than monster/or zonbie fodder. 
The mystery Helman investigates plays out well.  Lamberson peels back each layer slowly so that by the final reveal it all makes perfect sense.  The story is filled with blistering action sequences that are so well written no one feels safe, even Helman.(Who I knew has at least two more books)
Despite all these positives the story lost me.  There is a singular event that feels incredibly out of place and indicative of what I see as the weakness of a series. SPOILER HIGHLIGHT TO READ A key character is turned into a raven, and now Jake has a raven that can respond to verbal commands.  I know this is a story with Voodoo magic and other fantastical elements, but this felt cheesy and lacking the grit of the rest of the book.

Gregory Lamberson’s Desperate Souls blew me away when I began reading it.  Filled with amazing visuals, creative actions sequences and a well-constructed noir influenced mystery I was hooked.  A plot choice by Lamberson took me out of the story in the final stretch, but tastes are individual.  If you can roll with it you are in for an amazing read.   
"I have become the monster you were intended to be."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Get an e-signed copy of Where the Dead Fear to Tread

If you would like a personalized e-signature copy of Where the Dead Fear to Tread just send me a message via facebook or goodreads, with your name and the email address you would like the copy sent to.  You will receive an email at the given address with your signed copy.  All this for only $4.99 the retail cover price.  This is good for all e-reader formats.  

Mathew Bose is the reference & adult services librarian at Hooksett Public Library, author Richard Hatin, author Joe Smiga , and M.R. Gott resident asshole at the Hooksett NH Library on November first 2012.