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Weekly Book Buzz: New Horror From Heather Graham

HWA Lifetime Achievement Awards Announced

By Tim Janson     March 27, 2011


Phantom Evil by Heather Graham
© Mira Books

 

The Horror Writers Association has chosen two icons of the genre to receive the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award this year, Ellen Datlow and Al Feldstein.
 
Ellen Datlow is unquestionably one of the most influential editors in the history of the horror genre. Her long-running The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (which she co-edited with Terri Windling, Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant), and, more recently, The Best Horror of the Year, have helped define the art of horror writing since 1988. She was fiction editor of OMNI Magazine and SCIFICTION and has won multiple Locus Awards, Hugo Awards, Stoker Awards, International Horror Guild Awards, World Fantasy Awards, and The Shirley Jackson Award for her editing.
 
Al Feldstein is one of the most greatest figures in the history of horror comics. Al was one of the chief editors at EC Comics in the 1950s. He edited titles such as Tales from the Crypt, The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror, Shock SuspenStories, Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, and Crime SuspenStories. He adapted stories by Ray Bradbury, and gave Harlan Ellison his first sale. His EC work has been reprinted in dozens of different editions, and has been adapted to film (The Vault of Horror, Tales from the Crypt).
 
Watcher of the Dead (Sword of Shadows) J. V. Jones [Tor]
 
In this powerful saga of redemption and renewal, J. V. Jones brings to vivid life the magnificent tapestry of a world at once desperately fighting for survival against supernatural monsters and rent by internecine warfare. The frozen land at the north of the world was once ruled by a legendary nation of superhuman warriors. But that age has passed, leaving ancient clans to struggle for dominance as supernatural forces beyond their control threaten their very existence.
 
Amid the chaos of world-changing violence, unlikely heroes emerge. An unwanted warrior, a forsaken woman of power, the betrayed widow of a slain clan chief: these are the heroes rising to claim what has been taken from them and to reshape the world. In a sharply observed narrative that illuminates these riven lives, Jones has crafted a human drama full of the excitement, suspense, and sheer storytelling power that have made the Sword of Shadows a fantasy series that transcends genre to become a memorable tale of human striving and triumph that speaks to readers as have few others.
 
Waking Nightmares (Peter Octavian) Christopher Golden [Ace]
 
Peter Octavian, once a vampire, now a powerful mage, has been living a quiet life in San Francisco. But when the barrier that used to prevent demons and monsters from entering the world have fallen, Octavian is compelled to do what he can to hold back the darkness.
 
Vegas Knights (Angry Robot) Matt Forbeck [Angry Robot]
 
It's a kind of magic... When two college freshmen decide to spend Spring Break using their magic to fleece the gambling tables of Las Vegas, little do they imagine that Vegas harbors some magical secrets of its own... And of course what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas - alive or dead.
 
Surrender the Dark L. A. Banks [Pocket]
 
Celeste Jackson has fought all her life against a fog of hallucination and substance abuse, but it’s not until she meets her protector, Azrael, an angel who has left the safety of the Light, that she learns of the evil forces that have been trying to ruin her, and why. A fierce battle for control of the mortal realm is brewing, and only Celeste—with the help of the Remnant, her half-human, half-angel brethren—can stand in the way. Together, Celeste and Azrael must gather an army of sensitives to defeat the dark powers that have ruled humanity for centuries, but time is running out. If Azrael surrenders to his growing desire for Celeste, he risks being trapped among humanity forever. But the longer he stays, the harder she is to resist. To save the world, Celeste must draw on her own dark experiences with addiction to help Azrael overcome the one temptation that could possibly make him an eternal prisoner—his obsession with her.
 
Master and Apprentice Sonya Bateman [Pocket]
 
Luck has never been on Gavyn Donatti’s side. Anyone else with magic abilities inherited from a distant genie relative would have it made, but not Donatti, descendant of a cranky, shape-shifting genie named Ian. The prince of a murdered kingdom, consumed with revenge and driven by an unbreakable curse, Ian is determined to hunt down and destroy every last one of his enemies in the power-hungry snake clan—at any cost, including his life. Or Donatti’s.
 
Obsessed by his own rage, Ian has never really taught Donatti how to use his abilities. So when a powerful cult of magic-users captures Ian’s wife, the princess Akila, and then Ian himself, Donatti is left alone to take on dozens of half-djinn and their mysterious leader with designs on world domination. Facing an impossible mission, Donatti is forced to turn to an enemy for help—one who claims to know how to unlock his true potential. Trusting a snake might be the last mistake Donatti ever makes—but if he doesn’t learn to wield the power inside him, everyone will pay the ultimate price.
 
Dark Jenny Alex Bledsoe [Tor]
 
Alex Bledsoe’s novels featuring detective Eddie LaCrosse have drawn rave reviews for their ingenious blend of classic fantasy and hard-boiled detective fiction. Now withDark Jenny, Bledsoe returns with an all-new tale of intrigue and murder…For twenty-five gold pieces a day, plus expenses, Eddie LaCrosse will take on most any case. But the unexpected delivery of a coffin in the dead of winter forces LaCrosse to look back at a bygone chapter in his past—and the premeditated murder of a dream.
 
Ruled by the noble King Marcus Drake, the island kingdom of Grand Braun is an oasis of peace and justice in an imperfect world. At least until the beautiful Queen Jennifer is accused of adultery and murder. In the wrong castle at the wrong time, Eddie finds himself drafted at sword’s point to solve the mystery. With time running out, and powerful nobles all too eager to pin the murder on Eddie himself, he must untangle a tangled web of palace intrigues, buried secrets, and bewitching women—before the entire kingdom erupts into civil war.
 
Murder, mystery, and magic—just another day on the job for Eddie LaCrosse.
 
Con & Conjure (Raine Benares) Lisa Shearin [Ace]
 
Raine Benares is a seeker who finds lost things and people. Ever since the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone that's given her unlimited power, has bonded to her, the goblin king and the elves have wanted to possess its magic themselves. Which means a goblin thief and her ex-fiancé-an elven assassin-are after her. To survive, she'll need the help of her notorious criminal family.
 
City of Hope & Despair: City of a Hundred Rows, Book 2 Ian Whates [Angry Robots]
 
Dark forces are gathering in the shadowy depths, and the whole city is under threat. The former street-nick, Tom, embarks on a journey to discover the source of the great river Thair, said to be the ultimate power behind all of Thaiburley. Accompanying him are the assassin Dewar and the young Thaistess Mildra. It soon becomes evident that their journey has more significance than any of them realise, as past secrets catch up with them and unknown adversaries hunt them... to the death! 
 
Black Blade Blues J. A. Pitts [Tor]
 
Sarah Beauhall has more on her plate than most twenty-somethings: day job as a blacksmith, night job as a props manager for low-budget movies, and her free time is spent fighting in a medieval re-enactment group. The lead actor breaks Sarah’s favorite one-of-a-kind sword, and to avoid reshooting scenes, Sarah agrees to repair the blade. One of the extras, who claims to be a dwarf, offers to help. And that’s when things start to get weird. Could the sword really be magic, as the "dwarf" claims? Are dragons really living among us as shapeshifters?
 
And as if things weren’t surreal enough, Sarah’s girlfriend Katie breaks out the dreaded phrase… “I love you.”  As her life begins to fall apart, first her relationship with Katie, then her job at the movie studio, and finally her blacksmithing career, Sarah hits rock bottom. It is at this moment, when she has lost everything she has prized, that one of the dragons makes their move. And suddenly what was unthinkable becomes all too real…and Sarah will have to decide if she can reject what is safe and become the heroine who is needed to save her world.
 
 
NEW IN SCI-FI
 
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Indistinguishable from Magic David A McIntee [Star Trek Books]
 
The most talented Starfleet engineers of two generations unite to solve a two-hundred-year-old technological mystery that turns out to be only the beginning of a wider quest. With the support of Guinan and Nog, as well as the crew of the U.S.S. Challenger, Geordi La Forge and Montgomery Scott soon find themselves drawn into a larger, deadlier, and far more personal adventure. Helped by old friends and hindered by old enemies, their investigation will come to threaten everything they hold dear. Seeking out the new, and going where no one has gonebefore, Geordi, Scotty, and Guinan find that their pasts are very much of the present, and must determine whether any sufficiently advanced technology is really indistinguishable from magic.
 
Embedded Dan Abnett [Angry Robot]
 
When journalist Lex Falk gets himself chipped into the brain of a combat soldier, he thinks he has the ultimate scoop - a report from the forbidden front line of a distant planetary war, live to the living rooms of Earth. When the soldier is killed, however, Lex has to take over the body and somehow get himself back to safety once more... broadcasting all the way. Heart-stopping combat science fiction from the million-selling Warhammer 40,000 author.
 
Flandry's Legacy: The Technic Civilization Saga Poul Anderson [Baen TPB]
 
Sir Dominic Flandry is now an Admiral, but takes little joy in his new rank. He sees the rot in the Terran Empire on every hand and knows that the Long Night will inevitably fall upon the galaxy. His consolation is that measures he has taken while doing what he can to postpone the Empire’s final collapse may shorten the coming galactic dark age and hasten the rise of a new interstellar civilization. In the meantime, he’ll enjoy the comforts of a decadent civilization—and he’ll always be ready for one more battle against the Empire’s enemies. This concluding volume of the Technic Civilization saga, one of the milestones of modern science fiction includes two full-length novels:
 
A Stone in Heaven—When the daughter of Flandry’s mentor asks for help, he intervenes, and finds he must thwart a would-be dictator’s plans to seize control of the Empire.
 
The Game of Empire—The Merseians, alien enemies of the Empire, have put into motion an insidious plan to bring the Terran Empire down. Flandry’s daughter, Diana, and her feline-like alien friend have discovered the conspiracy, but can they stop it in time?
 
Land of the Dead Thomas Harlan [Tor]
 
It’s a small change in our history: imagine that the Japanese made contact with the Aztec Empire. Instead of small-pox and Christianity, they brought an Imperial alliance, samurai ethics, and technology. By the time of these books, the Emperor in Mexico City rules not just the entire planet Earth, but a growing interplanetary Empire. But the Galaxy is not a hospitable place, and there are other powers, both new and very very old, who would stop the spread of the power in Anuhuac.
 
A weapon of the Old Ones, from the time of the First Sun, has been found in a region of space. It must be investigated, then tamed or destroyed to keep it from the hands of opposing powers. Gretchen Anderssen, freelance archeologist and specialist in First Sun artifacts, has been hired by her old mentor Green Hummingbird, agent of the Mirror Service, to join him in the study. They will be joined by old friends, and some old enemies as well.
 
The View from the Imperium Jody Lynn Nye [Baen]
 
P. G. Wodehouse meets space opera, as Ensign Thomas Innes Loche Kinago, fresh from the Academy is given his first command. A crumb from the upper crust, he’s eager to uphold the traditions of his family, and in particular, his mother, a distinguished Admiral of the Imperium. Of course, he’s aware of the importance of always having simply smashing tailored uniforms on hand, and having his camera ready to record memorable moments for his scrapbook. In the meantime, a charismatic leader has arisen who seems able to control the minds of anyone he meets, and may be on his way to taking over the entire galaxy. Can Kinago’s aristocratic bearing and unbridled snobbery stand up to such a challenge? Fortunately, his constant companion, the unflappable Jeeves, er, Parsons, is on hand to look after the young, impulsive master, and somehow help his charge bumble his way through, perhaps even saving the galaxy in the process.
 
NEW IN HORROR
 
Phantom Evil (Krewe of Hunters) Heather Graham [Mira Hardcover]
 
A secret government unit is formed under the oversight of Adam Harrison, famed paranormal investigator. The six members he's gathered know a little of the otherworldly—each has honed a psychic talent of their own. Jackson Crow, part English, part Cheyenne, heads the group. Haunted by his experience with an ancestral ghost who saved his life as a child, and the recent murders of two previous teammates, Jackson can't tell if Adam's demoted him or given him an extraordinary opportunity. Despite his link to the realm of spirits, he's well aware that the living commit the most heinous crimes, with spiritualist charlatans existing merely to fool and seduce the unwary.
 
To counterbalance Jackson's careful skepticism, Adam Harrison has paired him with Angela Hawkins, a young woman who learned the painful lesson of loss at an early age. A police officer utilizing her paranormal intuition in Virginia, she already has her hands full. But Adam's call to New Orleans is strong. The case: In a historic mansion in New Orleans's French Quarter, a senator's wife falls to her death from a balcony. Most think she jumped, distraught over the loss of her young son. Some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits that inhabit the house—once the site of a serial killer's grisly work. Whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion, greed and desire will cast the pair into danger of losing their lives…and their immortal souls.
 
I Don't Want to Kill You Dan Wells [Tor TPB]
 
Dan Wells introduced us to John Wayne Cleaver in the chilling novelsI Am Not a Serial Killer and Mr. Monster. In I Don't Want to Kill You, Cleaver faces his toughest challenge yet.
 
John Wayne Cleaver has called a demon---literally called it on the phone---and challenged it to a fight. He’s faced two monsters already, barely escaping with his life, and now he’s done running; he’s taking the fight to them. As he wades through the town’s darkest secrets, searching for any sign of who the demon might be, one thing becomes all too clear: in a game of cat and mouse with a supernatural killer, you are always the mouse.
 
In I Am Not a Serial Killer we watched a budding sociopath break every rule he had to save his town from evil. In Mr. Monster we held our breath as he fought madly with himself, struggling to stay in control. Now John Wayne Cleaver has mastered his twisted talents and embraced his role as a killer of killers. I Don't Want to Kill You brings his story to a thundering climax of suspicion, mayhem, and death. It’s time to punish the guilty. And in a town full of secrets, everyone is guilty of something.
 
Haunted: Dark Delicacies III Del Howison [Ace]
 
In this third distinguished collection of twenty-one superb, sublimely dark tales written especially for this volume, today's acknowledged masters of horror fiction offer readers a truly twisted taste of terror.
 
Fire Spirit Graham Masterton [Severn House]
 
A mesmerizing new story from the master of supernatural horror - Ruth Cutter juggles family life with her career as a top arson investigator, but a series of horrific fires leaves her baffled. The victims seem to have nothing in common except the unnatural intensity of the fire that engulfed them . . . and the creepy kid who haunts each crime scene. But these are no ordinary fires. Can Ruth overcome her scepticism in time to save her family and avert the coming apocalypse?
 
Deadwater (Deadwater series: Book 1) Anthony Giangregorio [Living Dead Press]
 
Be careful what you drink! When a chemical spill in a small town's water supply causes the residents to become flesh eating zombies, Henry Watson finds himself thrown into a hell where the living dead walk and want nothing more than to feed on the living. Now Henry's trying to escape. With the military on one side and a horde of bloodthirsty zombies on the other, Henry must try to battle his way to freedom. With a small group of survivors to aid him, he will do his best to stay alive and escape the city codenamed "Deadwater."
 
REVIEWS
 
A Hundred Words for Hate (Remy Chandler) Thomas E. Sniegoski (Roc)
 
 
This is the fourth book in Sniegoski’s series about Remy Chandler, a former Seraphim angel who relinquished most of his Heavenly powers to become a detective on Earth. I’ve been slow to come around on the Chandler series, basically finding them pale comparisons to Simon Green’s Nightside series or Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. But Sniegoski really took a step forward with this latest offering. The Sons of Adam, the descendents of THE Adam from the Garden of Eden contact Remy for assistance.
 
After living for many Millennia, Adam is finally dying. His final wish is to be put to rest in the Garden of Eden. The Sons want Remy to find the key to the Garden so Adam can be laid to rest there but finding the key is only part of the problem. There is something else looking for the Key and it wants Adam for its own evil intentions. Remy finds himself under attack by the Guardian of Eden as the Sons are nearly destroyed. Remy unearths a plot that could mean the very destruction of Heaven itself.
 
I loved everything about A Hundred Words of Hate. The plot of Adam still living after thousands of years and finally wishing to go to his final resting place draws the reader in right off the bat with its mystery. Remy is initially seen in the book helping an elderly lady try to find something although she can’t remember what she’s looking for. You’ll see how this all fits in. Francis also makes his return, finding himself in Hell and witness a horrific event. At just over 300 pages it’s a brisk read and Sniegoski keeps tossing a new surprise at the reader with every turn of a page. Grade A

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