Sunday, August 13, 2017

In the Miso Soup by Ryû Murakami

(pb; 1997, 2003. Translated from Japanese to English by Ralph McCarthy.)

From the back cover

"It is just before New Year's. Frank, an overweight American tourist, has hired Kenji to take him on a guided tour of Tokyo's sleazy nightlife on three successive evenings. But Frank's behavior is so strange that Kenji begins to entertain a horrible suspicion: that his new client is in fact the serial killer currently terrorizing the city. It isn't until later, however, that Kenji learns exactly how much he has to fear and how irrevocably his encounter with this great white whale of an American will change his life."


Review

Miso is an unsettling, excellent and off-beat take on the serial killer theme, with an oddball villain (of sorts), personal and provocative notions of politics and culture, darkly engaging and repulsive points of views, with occasional displays of Grand Guignol splatter. This book is one of my all-time favorite serial killer reads, unafraid to break established horror structures.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Drowning Pool by Ross Macdonald

(1950; second book in the Lew Archer series)

From the back cover

"When a millionaire matriarch is found floating face-down in the family pool, the prime suspects are her good-for-nothing son and his seductive teenage daughter. . . Lew Archer takes this case in the L.A. suburbs and encounters a moral wasteland of corporate greed and family hatred--and sufficient motive for a dozen murders."

Review

Drowning, like its predecessor (The Moving Target), is a tightly plotted and fast-moving P.I. novel. In this case, Archer finds himself in a tangled web of twisted family dynamics, greed and disturbing violence. As he separates and figures out the skeins of these elements of human darkness, his empathy, philosophical and sharply stated, provides a sense of justice in an otherwise tragic chain of events. It is excellent, worth owning.

Followed by The Way Some People Die.

#

The resulting film was released stateside on July 18, 1975. It was directed by Stuart Rosenberg, from a screenplay by Tracy Keenan Wynn, Lorenzo Semple Jr., Walter Hill and an uncredited Eric Roth.(Rosenberg also directed Paul Newman in the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke.)

Paul Newman reprised his role of Lew Harper, the cinematic version of Lew Archer. Joanne Woodward, Newman's real life wife, played Iris Devereaux. Melanie Griffith played Schuyler Devereaux. Andrew Robinson, billed as Andy Robinson, played Paul Reavis. Coral Browne played Olivia Devereaux. 

Murray Hamilton played J.J. Kilbourne. Gail Strickland played Mavis Kilbourne. Anthony Franciosa, billed as Tony Franciosa, played Broussard. Richard Jaeckel played Franks. Paul Koslo played Candy. Helena Kallianiotes played Elaine Reavis.


Friday, August 04, 2017

Feverish Fiction issue #5 (April 2017) edited by Michael Faun

(2017; dark/horror/speculative fiction magazine. Published by Sleazy Viking Press.)

Overall review

The fifth limited-run issue of Feverish continues in the pulpy, speculative vein of its previous periodicals. Of course, there are the usual female pin-ups in various states of undress, whose themes often reflect the works of the authors. It is worth owning, if you are an adult fan of small press magazines and bordering-on-bizarre sex works.


Stories, other works

Orlock’s Mirror” – Adam Millard: A Nosferatu-esque showman welcomes a fresh guest to his home. Fun, reader-as-said-guest story.

Blood Fetishist” – Lee Clark Zumpe: Bloodplay graces another versework – solid poem, some especially good word pairings.

Aleena the Pitiful She-DevilPart One” – Lucas Mangum: Action-impelled, exciting tale about a barbarian warrior [Aleena] fighting a horde of graveyard creatures.

Cosmic Auto-Trauma” – S.C. Burke: Stream-of-consciousness apocalypse work.

Beauties in Black” – K.A. Opperman: Solid, rhyming BDSM poem.