Wednesday, September 28, 2011

**Jenny Catlin's Socks was published on the Microstory A Week site

A new story is up on the Microstory A Week site.

Jenny Catlin penned this week's story, Socks, a tale about a quirky serial killer.

Be sure to check this short story out, comment on it, if you're so inclined. =)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Clive Barker's Books of Blood, Volume Three, by Clive Barker

(hb; 1984: story anthology)

Overall review:

Stunning, classic anthology, this -- wow-worthy as Clive Barker's Books of Blood, Volumes One and Two. Worth owning, and re-reading a few years after your initial perusal of it.

Review, story by story:

1.) "Son of Celluloid" - Restless, collective ghosts in an old movie theater literally turn cancerous when the theater is reopened after a few decades.

Imaginative, focused and truly horrific, in a sick, film iconic way.

In 1991, Eclipse Books published a graphic novel version of this story. Steve Niles adapted Barker's story to comic book form, while Les Edwards illustrated it (the front cover is below).

2.) "Rawhead Rex" - An ancient earthbound monster, accidentally freed from its centuries-long prison, vents its divine, slaughteramic outrage on the modern day villagers of Zeal.

Grisly, nobody-is-spared, gripping piece.

The film version debuted in Italy in October 1986. It was released in the United States on April 17, 1987.

Donal McCann played Tom Garron. Kelly Piper played Elaine Hallenbeck. David Dukes played Howard Hallenbeck. Niall Toibin played Reverend Coot. Ronan Wilmot played Declan O'Brien. Niall O'Brien played Det. Insp. Isaac Gissing. Hugh O'Conor played Robbie Hallenbeck. Eleanor Feely played Jenny Nicholson. A costumed Heinrich von Schellendorf played Rawhead Rex.

George Pavlou directed the film, from a screenplay by story author Clive Barker. (Barker was reportedly unhappy with how the film turned out.)

3.) "Confessions of a (Pornographer's) Shroud" - A murdered man, now a vengeful spirit, hunts and kills those who wronged him.

Clever, quirky, imaginative, entertaining tale.

4.) "Scape-goats" - Two couples on an island-crashed sailboat quickly cognize that there's something wrong about the rocky mass their boat is abutting.

Atmospheric, solid read with an interesting island backstory.

5.) "Human Remains" - An apathetic gigolo (Gavin) rediscovers his humanity, via violence and physical detachment, when a trick goes weird.

One of the most original, genre-transcendant and unpredictable stories I've read in a long while, and perhaps the best story in this collection.

In 1989, Eclipse Books published a comic book mini-series, Tapping The Vein, that is based on Barker's writings.

P. Craig Russell adapted and illustrated "Human Remains" in issue #1 (its front cover is seen below). This issue also contains an adaptation of one of Barker's other stories, "Pig Blood Blues" (published in Clive Barker's Books of Blood, Volume One).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

**Kyle Hemmings' Simple sister was published on the Microstory A Week site

A new story is up on the Microstory A Week site.

Kyle Hemmings penned this week's story, Simple sister, where a child's life takes dark and tragic turns.

Be sure to check this short story out, comment on it, if you're so inclined. =)

Jar City, by Arnaldur Indriđason

(hb; 2000, 2004: third* book in the Reykjavik Thriller series. Translated from the Icelandic by Bernard Scudder. . . *The first two books, Sons of Dust [1997] and Silent Kill [1998], haven't been translated from the Icelandic to English yet.)

From the inside flap:

"When a lonely old man is found murdered in his Reykjavik flat, the only clues are a cryptic note left by the killer and a photograph of a young girl's grave. Inspector Erlendur, who heads the investigation team, discovers that many years ago the victim was accused, though not convicted, of an unsolved crime. Did the old man's past come back to haunt him?

"As the team of detectives reopen this very cold case, Inspector Erlendur uncovers secrets that are much larger than the murder of one old man - secrets that have been carefully guarded by many people for many years. As he follows a fascinating trail of unusual forensic evidence, Erlendur also confronts stubborn personal conflicts that reveal his own depth and complexity of character."


Jar City is an excellent, focused police procedural with engaging (and succinctly drawn) characters, riveting action and equally riveting case-based revelations.

Comparisons between Indriđason's Reykjavik Thrillers and the ten-book Martin Beck Mysteries have been repeatedly made, and rightly so: both are reader-grabbing-from-the-git-go, character-progressive and humane reads.

Worth owning, this.

Followed by Silence of the Grave.


The first film version was released in Iceland on October 20, 2006.

Ingvar Eggert Sigurðson, billed as Ingvar E. Sigurðson, played Erlendur. Áugústa Eva Erlendóttir played Eva Lind. Björn Hlynir Haraldsson played Sigurður Óli. Ólafía Hrönn Jónsdóttir played Elínborg. Þorstenn Gunnarsson played Holberg. Theodór Júlíusson played Elliði. Kristbjörg Kjeld played Katrín. Þórunn Magnea Magnúsdóttir played Elín. Guðmunda Elíasdóttir played Theodóra.

Baltasar Komákur directed and scripted the film.


An American remake is scheduled to hit theatrical screens sometime in 2012. Michael Ross is set to script the film.

When more remake information becomes available, I'll update this book review.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

**My new poetry anthology, Behind the wheel, is available for purchase at

My new mainstream poetry anthology, Behind the wheel: selected poems, is available for $10 (+shipping and handling) at

The seventy-five dark humored poems in this collection span multiple poetic forms, moods and locations - it details the journey of a man, from youth to middle age, from joy to heartache and back to (relative) joy: interspersed in this road trippy mix are a few nature-appreciation verses.

Have a great day. =)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Secret Pilgrim, by John le Carré

(hb; 1990: sixth novel in the George Smiley series)

From the inside flap:

"Nothing is as it was. Old enemies embrace. The dark staging grounds of the Cold War - whose shadows barely obscured the endless games of espionage - are flooded with light; the rules are rewritten, the stakes changed, the future unfathomable. . .

"The man called Ned speaks to us. All his adult life he has been in British Intelligence - the Circus - a loyal, shrewd, wily officer of the Cold War. Now, approaching the end of his career, he revisits his own past - an intricate weave of suspicion, danger, boredom and exhilaration that is the essence of espionage and of his own sentimental education. He invites us on a tour of his three decades in the Circus, burrowing deep into the twilight world where he ran spies - 'joes' - from Poland, Estonia, Hungrary, men and women to whom he gave his most profound love and hate. Along the way we meet a host of splendid new characters and reacquaint ourselves with the legendary old knights of the Circus and the notorious traitor, Bill Haydon.

"Telling the story of his own life's secret pilgrimage, Ned illuminates the brave past and the even braver present of George Smiley - reluctant keeper of the flame - who combines within himself the ideal and the reality of the Circus. Smiley, Ned's mentor and hero, now gives back to him the 'dangerous edge' of memory which empowers him to frame the questions that have haunted him - and the world - for thirty years, and that haunt us still."


Excellent, intimate capping novel for the George Smiley legend (within the Circus) and the mindsets that made up the Circus - Ned, the narrator, is alternately the voice of appropriate awe and character balance as he recounts some of his more notable cases; many of these cases also involve Smiley, whose post-retirement wrap-around recountings anchor and create further layers of wisdom, intrigue and, again, intimacy.

Worthy finish to an exemplary, dare I say, epic-in-scope series.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

**Richard Cody's Alice was published on the Microstory A Week site

A new story is up on the Microstory A Week site.

Richard Cody penned this week's story, Alice, where love gone awry takes on a new vividity.

Be sure to check this short story out, comment on it, if you're so inclined. =)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

**dani harris's haboob {another creepy tail} was published on the Microstory A Week site

A new story is up on the Microstory A Week site.

dani harris penned this week's story, haboob {another creepy tail}, where a dust storm hides a more universal truth.

Be sure to check this short story out, comment on it, if you're so inclined. =)

Friday, September 02, 2011

Dead Reckoning, by Charlaine Harris

(hb; 2011: twelfth entry in The Sookie Stackhouse Novels)

From the inside flap:

"With her knack for being in trouble's way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. But Sookie suspects otherwise, and she and Sam work together to uncover the culprit - and the twisted motive for the attack.

"But her attention is divided. Though she can't 'read' vampires, Sookie knows her lover, Eric Northam, and his 'child' Pam well - and she realizes that they are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, she is drawn into the plot - which is much more complicated than she knows.

"Caught up once again in the politics of the vampire world, Sookie will lean that she is as much of a pawn as any ordinary human - and that there is a new [vampire] queen on board."


Another fun, blast-through pop-culture take on vampires, fae, weres, shifters (and elves!), with Harris's usual blend of character- and plot-complicating revelations (particularly for Sookie), supernatural action, quirkiness and flirtiness.

It will be interesting to see how Harris handles the game-changing fall-out from Dead Reckoning in her next Sookie novel.

Good read, worth checking out from the library.

Followed by Deadlocked.

<em>Mother Night</em> by Kurt Vonnegut

(pb; 1961) From the back cover “ Mother Night is a daring challenge to our moral sense. American Howard W. Campbell, Jr., a spy du...