July 26, 2013

Chasing Tale [7/26/13]: Should I Care About Summer Reads?

Chasing Tale is a regular look at the books that I recently added to my to-be-read pile. Some are advance review copies, some I bought from one store or another, and others are freebies from promotional offers that caught my eye.

Summer seems like the only time of year where books get any mainstream attention. Well, there's the Christmas rush, but the big push on TV, radio, and the like seems to hit around June when the big question is: what are you reading this summer? It's all about the beach read, I guess. What, pray tell, will those folks who read but one book a year decide to schlepp in their carryall when they hit the beach?

I've become a bit disillusioned with the whole notion of summer reads, mainly because I read constantly, and the idea that being a regular reader puts me in a slim minority among the population is rather depressing--not to mention book sales apparently lag during the summer months. I hear folks talk about the golden age of television, but I don't get HBO, and I really only have a couple shows that I watch with anything resembling devotion (and with Fringe off the air, the number shrinks even more). Meanwhile, Hollywood churns out a would-be blockbuster every other week, summer or otherwise, but there's really only a handful that I get amped to see, and even then I'm content to wait for DVD releases and spare myself the annoyances of movie theaters. Books are what glue me to the living room couch. Books are my blockbusters. So why the hell shouldn't I be happy to join in on the whole "what are you reading this summer" bandwagon?

I'm not a beach-goer, so there's that, but I think there's more to it. I just can't really articulate why I've soured on the summer reads festivities. Maybe I'm a bit like an ardent football fan, sticking it out all year long rooting for my time, suddenly surrounded come Superbowl time by fairweather fans and folks only interested in checking out the commercials. It's fashionable to be a fan during the Superbowl, just like it's fashionable to be a reader during the summer. But I do this all year long. I don't need a beach. I just need a book.

Speaking of which, I've got a whole bunch more on my TBR pile. Have a look.

Cruel Poetry by Vicki Hendricks - Top Suspense Books had a Kindle promotion not too long ago, and one of the books that caught my eye was this one. I'd been meaning to buy a Hendricks novel for some time, but just let her books slide off my radar screen--like too many authors--so now I have no excuses.

The Big Reap by Chris F. Holm - This is the third book in Holm's Collector series through Angry Robot Books. Hard-boiled urban fantasy might be my favorite genre, and Dead Harvest did a pretty good job in kicking this series off, so I'm keen to see how it progresses, as I dive into the second book, The Wrong Goodbye.

Trapped and Haunted House by Jack Kilborn (aka J.A. Konrath) - Konrath's latest novel, Haunted House, came out in May, and while the title is about as generic as it gets, the premise is not. Spend a night in a haunted house and earn a million dollars, plus bring any provisions, weapons, et cetera you like, since no one has ever gotten out alive. It sounds cool as heck, as well as Trapped, a prequel of sorts that features a character or two that appear in the new novel.

Those Poor, Poor Bastards by Tim Marquitz, J.M. Martin, & Kenny Soward -  Weird westerns are kinda my thing. At least I'm hard-pressed to think of one I haven't enjoyed so far, and this collaboration that serves as a kickoff for a new series sounds pitch-perfect for me.

Frank Sinatra in a Blender by MatthewMcBride - I mentioned this book on the blog not too long ago (WLW#140), and I'll be damned if a signed copy didn't find its way to my mailbox. Hard-boiled, eighty-proof, detective noir with a dog named Frank Sinatra. Tell me you don't love the sound of that, I dare ya.

After: First Light by Scott Nicholson - This is a novella that prequels the post-apocalyptic series, so I guess that it makes it just plain apocalyptic. I already have several of Scott Nicholson's books on my Kindle, but what's one more.

The 'Geisters by David Nickle - This new novel from Chizine Publications by Canadian author, David Nickle, sounds delightfully creepy. A poltergeist haunting a woman since she was little, now sought after by a group called the Geisters? Yeah, right up my alley.

Forever and Ever, Amen by Liv Rancourt - Romance isn't a genre I read a whole lot of, but I try to step out of my comfort zone from time to time. I won a copy of this novel a little while back and figure the next time I go for a stroll along the sandy beaches of the genre, I'll pick up this one.

Silver and Viral by Steve Savile - Silver is the first book in Savile's Ogmios Team series, while Viral is a collection of novellas with a central plot that sounds like a cool techno thriller of sorts. I really liked Savile's collaboration with David Niall Wilson in Hallowed Ground, so I'm optimistic about both of these.

The Hunter by Richard Stark - One of the greatest things about digital publishing is that old novels find a new venue, a new audience. Donald Westlake wrote this book back in the 60s, kicking off a whole slew of novels in the Parker series. I haven't read them, but the first book was only a few bucks on the Kindle Store, and since I couldn't track down an old paperback copy locally, I'm happy to settle for an e-book copy.

The Baddest Ass by Anthony Neil Smith - I read and enjoyed Yellow Medicine by Anthony Neil Smith, the first Billy Lafitte novel, and I have the second book, Hogdoggin', on my to-be-read pile, and this third book in the series just got released about a month ago. Best title in the series yet, too.

I, Hell byBen Stevens - This one is a novelette about a young man's attempt to escape Hell. Preachin' to the choir, buddy.

AshStreet and Torn by Lee Thomas - One of the blogs I read is The Bag & The Crow, which reviewed Ash Street a while back. Then there's Ed Kurtz and his blog, which turned me towards the novella, Torn, at the end of last year. The former is published by Sinister Grin Press, the latter through Cemetery Dance, and both look great ... and gruesome.

Fifty Shades of Decay edited by Stacey Turner - Zombies are a bit like cheese: they make everything taste better. In this case, they're about the only thing that could make me stomach reading Fifty Shades of Grey. This book's actually an anthology though, published by Angelic Knight Press, including some talented authors trying a hand at erotic horror.

Maritime Murder by Steve Vernon - The Atlantic provinces of Canada are so quaint, so rustic, so welcoming; rather hard to imagine so much killing goes on. Well, it looks like Steve Vernon has dug up a great many true stories of murder from around the Maritimes for Nimbus Publishing. This should be good.

On top of all those books, Prologue Books had an e-book sale on Amazon in June too, pricing a slew of their digital reprints at a buck each. I grabbed quite a few from their line of crime novels, some real pulpy, hard-boiled gems by authors whose work has been recommended to me multiple times.

The Bitch and Wild by Gil Brewer - The first book features Sam and Tate Morgan, the latter has private-eye Lee Baron, and both sound deliciously sleazy. Not having read Gil's work, I can't help but wonder how much of a feminist he was in life. But, heck, the mid-twentieth century wasn't exactly swimming with 'em, was it?

Death House Doll by Day Keene - The title alone was a draw. A femme fatale sitting on death row, holding a secret, with a Korean war vet the only man willing to stand between her and the electric chair.

Obit Delayed by Helen Nielsen - I hadn't heard of Nielsen before, but there was something about the premise for this short novel that appealed to me. A Mexican setting, with murder and intrigue, I figured I could roll the dice on it.

The Thrill Kids and The Young and Violent by Vin Packer - Vin Packer, one of the pen names for Marijane Meaker, is a pretty prolific writer who dabbled in multiple genres.

A House in Naples by Peter Rabe - A crook hiding out in Naples, Italy, gets shot and has to rely on the help of a beautiful stranger as he works out an escape plan. This sounds like it is saturated in pulpy, noir goodness.

Drawn to Evil by Harry Whittington - It seems the more I dip into the crime genre, the more recommendations from authors I enjoy tend to look to the past, and Whittington's hey-day goes right back to the rise of the paperback.

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