BRIEF SYNOPSIS: On a top secret mission in Iran, Joe Ledger and Echo Team get news of a threat to global security. Joe must fight on the run with limited support and intelligence if he is going to save the day.
PROS: Joe Ledger, the villains (for once!), high velocity action, dark revelations, cool vampires.
CONS: Rudy freaking Sanchez.
BOTTOM LINE: Easily the best Joe Ledger Novel to date.
Assassin’s Code by Jonathan Maberry is the fourth book in the Joe Ledger Novels, a series that I have mad love for. The series is like Resident Evil without the awful dialogue and shoddy plotting. It’s like the hit FOX thriller 24 but with Bond Villains. It’s like Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series with a focus on science instead of the supernatural. And Assassin’s Code? It’s like all that with a dose of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. This is a freaking awesome book. Seriously, if you read my review of The King of Plagues and had any doubts about this series please just do yourself a favor and go buy all four books. Forget about reading this review, just go buy all four books and start reading. Thank me later.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A terrorist attack on a hospital in London sees Joe Ledger back on the job, fighting once more against a shadowy cabal with intentions of world domination.
PROS: Joe Ledger is a (mostly) great character, fast and heavy action, tighter script than previous novel.
CONS: Rudy freaking Sanchez, somewhat laughable villains, Joe’s grief.
BOTTOM LINE: An improvement over The Dragon Factory, delivering everything a fan might expect from a Joe Ledger Novel.
So let me first introduce Jonathan Maberry’s series of Joe Ledger novels. Think Resident Evil without the horrible dialogue. Think the hit Fox drama 24 with Bond villains. Think Monster Hunter International but less supernatural and more scientific. I really love the Joe Ledger Novels (for the most part) and unless you hate America you will too. The first novel in the series, Patient Zero, is one of my all time favorite zombie stories. The sequel, The Dragon Factory, didn’t quite live up to the quality of the first but it was still a solid thriller. Now here is my review for The King of Plagues.
The finalists for the 2012 Bram Stoker Awards have been announced.
- Bottled Abyss by Benjamin Kane Ethridge (Redrum Horror)
- NightWhere by John Everson (Samhain Publishing)
- The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan (Roc)
- The Haunted by Bentley Little (Signet)
- Inheritance by Joe McKinney (Evil Jester Press)
Michaele Jordan‘s novel, Blade Light, is a charming traditional fantasy that was serialized in Jim Baen’s Universe and is now available as an ebook at Amazon or at iBooks. Her newest novel, Mirror Maze, is available now.
Worn out from the holidays? Round about the thirty-fifth rendition of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, I started seeking a refuge. Fortunately I found a haven in K-horror. Korean horror has it all: monsters, ghosts, psycho-killers, you name it, but the ghost story is their favorite.
Now Available from PS Publishing: “Unutterable Horror A History of Supernatural Fiction” by S.T. Joshi
PS Publishing has posted ordering information for the 800-page, two-volume reference Unutterable Horror A History of Supernatural Fiction Volume 1 and Volume 2 edited by S.T. Joshi. Or, to use their full titles:
- Volume 1: From Gilgamesh to the End of the Nineteenth Century
- Volume 2: The Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries
Hard to know what’s inside without a description…but color me intrigued.
David Annandale‘s horror novel, Gethsemane Hall, was released in 2012 by Dundurn Press and (in the UK) by Snowbooks. He is also the author of Crown Fire, Kornukopia and The Valedictorians, thrillers featuring rogue warrior Jen Blaylock, and he writes Warhammer 40,000 fiction for the Black Library. His Space Marine Battles novel, The Death of Antagonis, comes out in February 2013. He teaches film, literature, video games and creative writing at the University of Manitoba. Follow David at his website, www.davidannandale.com, and on Twitter as @David_Annandale.
We all know the easy distinctions that people tend to make, when reaching for the quick-and-dirty, between science fiction, fantasy and horror. The latter two deploy the supernatural and the impossible. The former makes use of, if not the possible, at least the plausible. Put another way, science fiction is the literature (and cinema) of the rational, while fantasy and horror are the art of the irrational.
But I am more than a tad guilty of setting up a straw man here, for it is just as true that we all know the exceptions and the complexities that render this distinction dubious at best. For example, in Danse Macabre, Stephen King writes that “Alien…is a horror movie even though it is more firmly grounded in scientific projection than Star Wars.” Now, this is true, but it is also guilty of some of the same kind of error as the initial assertion. The problem is this: to claim Alien as either science fiction or horror is a mistake. It is both. The two forms are not incompatible, and this is the point I want to make about the easy distinction in the previous paragraph: not that there are so many exceptions as to make this distinction untenable, but rather that we should be careful about how and whether we make the distinction at all, at least as far as the standing of horror is concerned. We are not dealing with overlapping genres, because, as I have stated elsewhere (most recently in the Urban Fantasy Mind Meld), horror is not a genre. It can make use of the conventions of any number of actual genres, including science fiction, and we recognize it, I would argue, when we confront a work whose primary purpose is to cause fear in its audience.
Read the rest of this entry
PROS: Uneasy; disturbing; psychological; traumatic; paranoid-inducing.
CONS: Chronologically confusing; abrupt ending.
BOTTOM LINE: Auerbach took something with childish innocence and twisted into a haunting tale of obsession. I look forward watching Auerbach improve with future works that are bound to give me nightmares.
Read the rest of this entry
Would you like to see a truly great vampire movie, one that is scary, yet sexy and utterly sparkle-free, but still completely original? Try the 2009 Thirst (not to be confused with the 2010 Canadian thriller of the same name) directed by Chan-wook Park and starring Kang-ho Song. (Both these gents are big names in K-horror.)
Read the rest of this entry
Michaelbrent Collings has written numerous bestselling novels and is a produced screenwriter and member of the Writers Guild of America, Horror Writers of America, and a couple of other fancy-sounding things. His wife and mommy think he is a can that is chock-full of awesome sauce. Check him out at www.facebook.com/MichaelbrentCollings or michaelbrentcollings.com.
I am a guy who writes scary stuff. It’s basically all I do. I’m one of the bestselling horror writers on Amazon, and as of this writing one of the scary movies in Redboxes and video stores all over the world has my name after the “screenplay by” part. I specialize in ghosts and goblins. In things that go bump in the night, in demons that steal souls, in madmen whose greatest desire is to maim and to kill. In my most recent bestselling horror novel, Apparition, I write extensively about filicide – about parents who kill their children. And in my book, the parents who commit such atrocities do so with gusto, with relish, with lust. It is, as many reviewers have said, not only scary, but a deeply disturbing book.
To reiterate: I am a guy who writes scary stuff.
New Author Spotlight is a series designed to introduce authors with up to 3 books in the different SF/F subgenres.
Today’s spotlight shines on Christopher Buehlman!
Winner of the 2007 Bridport Prize in Poetry and author of several plays, his novels are:
- Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman (Ace)
- Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman (Ace)
Michael Marano is a former punk rock DJ, bouncer, and the author of the modern dark fantasy classic Dawn Song, which won both the International Horror Guild and Bram Stoker Awards. For almost 20 years, his film reviews and pop culture commentary have been a highlight of the nationally syndicated Public Radio Satellite System show Movie Magazine International. His non-fiction has appeared in alternative newspapers such as The Independent Weekly, The Boston Phoenix and The Weekly Dig, as well as in magazines such as Paste and Fantastique. His column “MediaDrome” has been a wildly popular feature in Cemetery Dance since 2001. He currently divides his time between a neighborhood in Boston that had been the site of a gang war that was the partial basis of The Departed and a sub-division in Charleston, SC a few steps away from a former Confederate Army encampment.
The first printing of Michael’s collection, Stories From the Plague Years sold out very quickly. He sat down with SF Signal to talk about the reprinting, and some of his inspirations.
Jaym Gates: What inspired the choice of stories in Stories From the Plague Years? What themes tie them together?
Michael Marano: Well, truth to tell, there wasn’t much “choice” to the selection of the stories. The stories are all my non-novel-length works that I’d written up to the point that Stories from the Plague Years had been published. I write slowly, so I’m not that prolific. The “Plague Years” refers to the really awful days of the 1980s and early 1990s. There was a particular kind of despair that killed and maimed a lot of friends of mine, and it nearly killed me. I’m talking about despair that manifested itself through drugs, AIDS, suicide, urban violence, lack of medical care. A lot of that maiming wasn’t physical. A lot of it was mental. I think that despair was rooted in the anxiety and hopelessness caused by the Cold War climax that took place in the 1980s. When Secretary of Defense Cap Weinberg was telling Harvard students with a straight face that the A-Bomb might bring back Jesus, and the nuclear war policy shifted from preventing nuclear war to winning nuclear war. I mean, why not shoot up, give up, have unprotected sex if the guy with his finger on the button is joking about bombing Russia in five minutes? What I do with the stories is kind of treat in horror and dark fantasy terms this very dystopian inner reality that existed back then. The stories are arranged in such a way that you can see an overall thematic arc if you squint right, from inward-focused, destructive rage to fighting to live for the sake of others you love.