The above illustration, "Blowing Bubbles," has been adapted for use here by generous permission from the artist, Cyril Rolando.

October 21, 2012

The short and long of it.

Catching up on what happened to some of the Watery Grave stories from earlier this year: Benoit Lefievre's story, The Devil's Shinbone, was published online at Near to the KnuckleFamily Secrets, by Eric Beetner, was published at Beat to a Pulp. Keith Rawson's story, Two Kilograms of Soul, appears in Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels, available in print or digital editions. Thomas Pluck's excellent story, Train: A Denny the Dent Story, also appears in that anthology. If I've overlooked any of the WGI entries that have been published elsewhere, please let me know.

And regarding that last anthology, my own story, Hero, appears there also. While that news may not be sufficient to tempt you to purchase the book, the inclusion of original stories by the likes of Patti Abbott, Trey R. Barker, and Ray Banks, should be plenty of inducement. Go ahead. Click the link above to see purchasing info.

A couple of years back I read Marcus Sakey's short story collection, SCAR TISSUE. It's an impressive collection, and you can read my review of it right here. The author donated all of his royalties for that book during the month of September to The Team Julian Foundation, an organization that raises awareness of pediatric cancers and raises funds for the fight against these killers of children. I'm in favor of anything that improves the lot of our most helpless and innocent citizens. Marcus Sakey goes beyond a one-time donation though, and is now earmarking 50% of all royalties in perpetuity for this book to The Team Julian Foundation. For the price of a latte, $2.99, you can help in this battle. And of course, you can always donate directly to the foundation. And you get to read a collection of truly outstanding short stories.

THE ABSENT ONE is the second in Jussi Adler-Olsen's series about Department Q, the cold case squad in Copenhagen, made up of one Detective Superintendent, his janitor, and a newly assigned secretarial assistant. As with the first book, THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES, there is plenty of tension, twists, humor, and mystery. I haven't been this taken with a set of characters since Jen Forbus got me started reading Craig Johnson's novels. RECOMMENDED.

Daniel Woodrell works his literary magic in WOE TO LIVE ON, about a young man who is a part of a band of pro-Confederate "irregulars" or bushwhackers in the Missouri-Kansas area during the U.S. Civil War. There are plenty of hard times, callous men and boys, and reckless killing. The book is relentless in its portrayal of a world so volatile that beloved friends and family one day are dead enemies the next. Young Jake Roedel is stubbornly loyal but begins to question the constant, pointless killings. Although the book can be read as a coming of age tale, the theme of man's inhumanity to man has greater focus. And Woodrell's genius at painting his characters and settings in plain but somehow eloquent English is incomparable. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

HOW TO DRIVE A TANK AND OTHER EVERYDAY TIPS FOR THE MODERN GENTLEMAN by Frank Coles. Presumably non-fiction. Okay, 'fess up. Just the title alone makes you want to see what this one's about, right? Oddly enough, the title is pretty much a perfect description of the contents, although much of the contents have little to do with gentlemanly behavior. Imagine if the guys who do the "Top Gear" television program turned their attention to, oh, how to buy a gun in any city in the world within hours of your arrival. Or how to make things go boom. Or how to pick locks. Or how to hide a dead body (See, that doesn't seem gentlemanly, does it? Unless your name is Bond, James Bond.)  The book is laced with humor and easy on the gore while responsible enough to mention consequences. The author manages to also dispense some practical advice along the way, much of which is just as helpful to the modern lady as to her counterpart. Fun reading, this.