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Harry Dresden Meets John Taylor on Mean Streets

Who is your favorite Paranormal Investigator?

By Tim Janson     January 18, 2009


Mean Streets, a collection of novellas featuring famous paranormal investigators(2009).
© ROC Books

 

A couple of week’s back, ROC books released “Mean Streets” a collection of four brand new novellas featuring the most famous paranormal private investigators in fiction today. The book included a new Dresden Files story by Jim Butcher, a new John Taylor/Nightside story by Simon R. Green; a new Greywalker tale by Kat Richardson; and finally, a new Remy Chandler story by Thomas E. Sniegoski. That book will soon be reviewed right here on Mania.com. But it got me thinking, who is the top urban fantasy, paranormal investigator around today? Who’s your favorite? Dresden? Taylor? Someone else not even mentioned?
 
It’s an extremely light release week this week. Because of that, I’ve basically just lumped all the new fiction releases together instead of separating them by genre. Save your money though, because next week is absolutely huge. It’s one of those weeks that will make you curse the publishers because so many major releases will be out the same week. Not to play too much of a spoiler but among the books we have to look forward to next week are:
 
·         “Myth-Chief”, he latest in the MythAdventures series from the late Robert Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye
·         “Flight into Darkness” by Sarah Ash, the latest Bantam Spectra title
·         “Patterns of Force” the latest Star Wars mass market
And that’s the tip of the iceberg!
One piece of news to pass along…Matthew Stover's “Star Wars: Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor” debuted at number 21 on the NY Times Bestseller list this past week. 
 
 
The God Stalker Chronicles P.C. Hodgell (Baen Hardcover)
 
Jame is a Kencyrath, the chosen people of the Three-Faced God, who fight the demonic being called Perimal Darkling. At the same time, she fights an internal battle for their honor because 3,000 years ago the leader of the Kencyrath betrayed his people to the Darkness for his own immortality. She also must find her ten-year old brother Tori and return him the sword and ring of their father. If that is not enough she has to stand before the rathorns, wear the cloak of living snakes, kill one god, and resurrect another. All in a day's work for Jame.
 
Greensword: A Tale of Extreme Global Warming Donald J. Bingle (Five Star Hardcover)
 
A dark comedy about the environment, extremism, stupid criminals, and the lengths to which people will go to avoid getting a real job.
 
Zeke, Milo, and Brandon are struggling to keep their environmental protest group, GreensWord, alive. But their chief benefactor threatens to cut off funding unless they stop global warming before his Malibu beach house slides into the storm-tossed ocean. In their desperate effort to save their organization, the GreensWord trio is willing to try anything - even the unthinkable. Now, they're about to save the world; they just don't want to get caught doing it.
 
Stargate Atlantis: Nightfall: SGA-10 James Swallow (Fandemonium books)
 
In the distant Pegasus galaxy, the scientists and soldiers of the Atlantis expedition push back the frontiers of knowledge and exploration; in the city of the Ancients, new challenges and old secrets are waiting to be unlocked. Far from home, ranged against lethal enemies the Atlantis team must fight to preserve a distant outpost of humanity against impossible odds; but when the Nightfall comes, it will be like nothing they have ever encountered before...
 
The Switch Anthony Horowitz (Philomel Books)
 
For Tad Spencer, only son of a fabulously wealthy businessman, every day is like Christmas. He lives in a mansion, has a maid, servants, every toy imaginable. He has it all—until the day he wishes he was someone else. Suddenly, Tad wakes up as Bob Snarby, trapped in a fi lthy and corrupt carnival world inhabited by hostile ingrates, hopeless criminals, and mysterious fortune tellers. But Tad discovers he’s there for a reason when he begins to untangle a secret that could reveal an enemy no one could have imagined . . .
 
Monstrous: 20 Tales of Giant Creature Terror (Permuted Press)
 
Move over King Kong, there are new monsters in town! Giant beetles, towering crustaceans, gargantuan felines and massive underwater beasts, to name just a few. Think you've got what it takes to survive their attacks? Then open this baby up, and join today's hottest authors as they show us the true power of Mother Nature's creatures. With enough fangs, pincers and blood to keep you up all night, we promise you won't look at creepy crawlies the same way again.
 
Scream Queen Brendan Hay (Boom! Studios Graphic Novel)
 
Everyone wants to be loved. Even the shambling, macabre mockery of a man who brings terror to the town of Rumson and leaves blood in his wake. But when he sets his sights on Molly, beauty queen of Rumson High, she's going to be more than he can handle! THE DAILY SHOW writer Brendan Hay brings a AMERICAN PIE-meets-FRIDAY THE 13th sensibility to his horror graphic novel debut!
 
Kronos Jeremy Robinson (Variance Publishing)
 
Two years after his wife's death, oceanographer and former navy SEAL, Atticus Young, attempts to reconcile with his rebellious daughter, Giona, by taking her on the scuba dive of a lifetime-swimming with a pod of peaceful humpback whales in the Gulf of Maine. But the beauty of the sea belies a terror from the deep-a horrific creature as immense as it is ancient. There is no blood, no scream, no fight. Giona is swallowed whole by the massive jaws. Only Atticus remains to suffer the shame of the survivor and his inconsolable grief turns to an unquenchable thirst for revenge.
 
Drawn by the spectacle, Trevor Manfred, a ruthless billionaire, approaches Atticus with a proposition: Trevor will make available all the advanced technology of his heavily armed mega-yacht, the Titan, to aid Atticus in his death-quest. In return, Trevor is to receive the beast's corpse as the ultimate hunting trophy. But in the midst of the hunt, Atticus makes a terrifying discovery that changes the way he sees the ocean's creatures and begs the question: what is Kronos? The answer sets him on a new and much more deadly course.
 
New In Non-Fiction
 
Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone: The Official 50th Anniversary Tribute Douglas Brode (Barricade Books)
 
2009 marks the fiftieth anniversary of The Twilight Zone, arguably one of the most popular television shows ever. Drawing on photographs and personal remembrances, Rod Serling's widow, Carol, gives commentary on some of the series' most memorable episodes. Veteran film historian Douglas Brode gives in-depth descriptions of these episodes and why they were so resonant with viewers.
 
Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test William Irwin (Wiley Books)
 
Alan Moore's Watchmen is set in 1985 and chronicles the alternative history of the United States where the US edges dangerously closer to nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Within this world exists a group of crime busters, who don elaborate costumes to conceal their identity and fight crime, and an intricate plot to kill and discredit these "superheroes."
 
Alan Moore's Watchmen popularized the graphic novel format, has been named one of Time magazine's top 100 novels, and is now being made into a highly anticipated movie adaptation. This latest book in the popular Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series peers into Moore's deeply philosophical work to parse and deconstruct the ethical issues raised by Watchmen's costumed adventurers, their actions, and their world. From nuclear destruction to utopia, from governmental authority to human morality and social responsibility, it answers questions fans have had for years about Watchmen's ethical quandaries, themes, and characters.
 
Capsule Reviews
 
Silver Scream Steve Warren Hill (Telos Publishing)
 
 
If you are a fan of classic horror films then Telos has a book you will definitely want to add to your library. “Silver Scream” is a comprehensive look at forty classic horror films produced from 1920 – 1941. There have been other books which tackled classic horror but I don’t think any of them did it with as much detail as Steven Warren Hill’s book. At over four hundred pages, each entry gets approximately ten pages of coverage and that is extraordinary detail.
 
For each film, Hill provides a detailed plot overview, highlights and memorable quotes, lowlights, goofs, the ongoing story which focuses on the film’s place in history, version, trivia, cast and crew, music, critical words, and finally, another perspective on the film from one of three guest reviewers. Hill also gives each film a score with 100 being the highest. This is great stuff because it features a lot of great anecdotes that even the most seasoned classic horror fans probably did not know.
 
The book begins with the silent classic “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and concludes with “The Monster and the Girl”. Sure you’d be hard pressed to really consider films like “The Devil Bat” a classic, but here classic refers as much to an era and style as it does to quality. And if nothing else, Bela Lugosi could do a commercial for toilet paper and still make it fun to watch. I especially liked the “goofs” section as it gives me a reason to watch these films again so I can spot the mistakes myself. One of the films that was a joy to read about was Tod Browning’s notorious “Freaks”. Banned for decades the film used actual circus freaks much to the shock of the audiences and critics of the time.
 
Silver Scream is a fantastic book from cover to cover and one that will prove to be an indispensable reference guide. Grade A

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 3 of 3
1 
eblood 1/19/2009 2:37:09 PM

Dresden is probably the best out there right now.  I am glad Butcher got past reminding us how poor and exhausted Dresden was in the first few books. 

Mike Carey's Felix Castor books (The Devil You Know and Vicious Circle) have a ton of promise.

LittleNell1824 1/20/2009 7:59:35 AM

I like Kim Harrison's "Witch" series. Rachel Morgan is a private detective and a witch who lives in Cincinannati, but it's an alternate universe Cincinnatti. Apparantly, the only thing keeping all the supernatural creatures in the closet is the fact that they're the minority and we could exterminate them if we feel threatened. After a pandemic wipes out most of humanity, the vampires, were-creatures and demons come out and start claiming their share of our neighborhoods and businesses.  These are fun books. They keep comparing them to Anita Blake, but I think they're more Dresdenesque. Blake is essentially paranormal porn and the Witch series isn't like that.

And who doesn't like Dresden. You're right eblood, I like the changes in the Dresden series as well. Although I do like it that he gets hurt and exhausted. Poor guy.

I needs me a good sci-fi/fantasy anthology or two. I'm a little burned out on full length stories at the moment.

thirishar 1/28/2009 10:41:21 AM

I really dig Dresden its a great book series. I actually started reading them because of that Sci-Fi channel series they had of it for a season. This "Witch" series that you speak of LittleNell sounds intriguing, I think I might look it up, tho it does sound a bit like the Anitia Blake series. I like Anita Blake alright, though you are correct, it did kinda degenerate into porn. In its defense tho, it did take at least 5 books or so before sex even showed up if i remember correctly and it wasnt until like the 10th book did it get really bad. meh, I still read them ::shrug::

As for an unmentioned series, the Cal Leandros Series by Rob Thurman is great. Theres only 3 books so far with the 4th coming out in March. It's about two brothers, one of which is part Auphe (demon basically), and their lives as they try and get by and not get eaten, killed, or kidnapped by the Auphe, werewolves, trolls, and various other baddies. Thoroughly enjoyable.

LittleNell, if you're looking for some anthologies, The Baum Plan for Finacial Independence and Year's Best SF 12 are both pretty good. We read them in my Sci-Fi lit class so they are a little more the the thinking man's side than popcorn goodness.
 

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