July 2, 2013

Chasing Tale [7/3/13]: The Horrors of Reading Outside

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.

It's summer and the lure of a hot sun and a cool breeze are irresistible. Time to go to the park for some leisure reading. I have the Kindle edition of a monstrously long novel to read, so I'll take a little of the sun's glare on the display if it means I don't have to lug a book the size of a cinder block around town. There's a nice bit of shade down by the river, and the playground is way over on the other side of the park, so I'm spared the oratorical bombardment of parents corralling their kids. All things considered, it's the perfect day for a summer read. At least it would be if it wasn't for these damned bugs.

I grew up surrounded by nature, but to this day I still can't stand the feel of insects crawling on my skin. And when you sit in the grass, no matter how well-manicured the lawn might be, those insects will not be deterred. I'm such a candy-ass. It's really difficult for me sometimes to get sucked into a story, when my blood's getting sucked into a mosquito. And god forbid something comes along and starts rustling my leg hairs. Yeesh. Whatever world I'm engrossed in vanishes with the prickle of insect legs marching up my skin. I've gotten pretty good at pushing out noise over the years, but ignoring an unwelcome touch is near impossible for me while reading.

I've complained more than once about certain noises making it difficult to read in peace, like heavy traffic or incessant chattering, but I'll take those any day of the week if it means I'm spared the literal skin-crawling sensation of some six-legged critter using me as a thoroughfare.

How good are you at staying engaged with a book when bugs have you in their cross-hairs? Are you one of those zen readers who can mentally block the world at large? If so, I envy you.

Anyway, when I finally find the ideal, bug-free spot to read, I'll have plenty of books to choose from, including this batch I recently added to my TBR pile. Have a look.

Poe by Brett Battles and Robert Gregory Browne - An action-thriller with a female protagonist by two authors I've read good things about. It was a freebie at the time I downloaded it from the Kindle Store, so it was a no-risk proposition.

Gun Church by Reed Farrel Coleman - No, this isn't Charlton Heston's biography. It's a novel, and a promising one by the sounds of it. Still, listening to that NRA spokesman/yahoo, Wayne LaPierre, it's not hard to imagine where inspiration for the novel comes from.

Messages from the Dead by Sandy DeLuca - A new novella coming from DarkFuse. It's originally based on DeLuca's short story, "Shocker,"

Violence Is Golden by Brett Halliday - I saw a stack of Halliday novels at the back of a used-book shop, but this is the one that stood out with its stylized cover and interesting pitch. Since I've never read a Halliday novel before, I thought this would be the one to take a chance on.

A Gathering of Crows by Brian Keene - And another Keene is scratched off the ol' wish list. This one is the second novel to feature Levi, the Amish paranormal investigator featured first in Ghost Walk. About time I bought this one.

Shadows & Tall Trees (Issue 5) edited by Michael Kelly - The latest issue comes out this summer, the last of Michael's five-issue project. After this there will be some changes to its format leading into next year. For now though, I'm really looking forward to checking out the stories included in this issue.

Bloodstone by Nate Kenyon - I had the pleasure of reading Nate Kenyon's Sparrow Rock a few years back, and quickly put a bunch of his books on my wish list. Trouble with getting some of them was the fact they were published by Dorchester, which had picked up the nasty habit of not paying its authors. Dorchester is dead now, and Nate's debut novel was re-published, so at least there's some loose change headed his way for the download.

Floating Staircase by Ronald Malfi - A haunted house novel? Yay. Some folks can't get enough zombie fiction. I can't get enough ghost fiction. Sue me. It doesn't hurt that Malfi is pretty darned good at weaving a tale, either.

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy - This is a new release I am very keen on checking out. At first glance, it's a werewolf novel. Fine by me, but there are plenty of those.

Jackpot by Bill Pronzini - I don't know how many Nameless Detective novels Pronzini has written, but it's more than a couple. I spotted this one and figured it was just as good a book to try out from the series as any.

House of Fallen Trees by Gina Ranalli -A murder mystery and a horror novel wrapped in one, and with a really cool first line: "Two men have the carcass." Looks like a good'un.

Shadow Masters edited by Jeani Rector - Another horror anthology from out of nowhere that looks really promising. The Horror Zine has published this one, featuring some impressive names in the genre that have previously appeared in the magazine.

Strange Magic by Gord Rollo - How about a novel about dueling magicians? Yeah, add the horror elements and this one sounds like it's right in my comfort zone.

Red Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer - Up til now I've been reviewing mainly comic books over at I Smell Sheep, but this summer I have a couple books slated for review, including this mix of sci-fi and hard-boiled detective mystery. I've already reviewed Anton Strout's Alchemystic over there, so click here to read my thoughts on that one.

At the Meade Bed & Breakfast by David B. Silva and Robert Swartwood - This is a novelette about a haunted house, so already I'm half-interested. Add in the fact it's penned by two talented authors like Silva and Swartwood, and I'm all the way interested.

Capture by Roger Smith - This one sounds like a really unsettling thriller, as a husband and wife grieving the drowning of their daughter become the targets of the man who watched the little girl die. Lots of praise for this one so far, too.

The Diamond Bikini by Charles Williams - I stumbled across this book while scanning shelves for a Donald Westlake novel (never found it), the cover of this one lay atop a small pile of yet-to-be-shelved books. A crime novel with a diamond-studded bikini--and the sexy femme fatale wearing it--as the McGuffin appealed to me.

This Is My Blood by David Niall Wilson -How about a biblical tale with vampires? A bit blunt for a pitch, but it sounds really good, with Wilson exploring the story of Mary Magdalen as a fallen angel.


  1. I do alot of reading outside when the weather is nice. In fact I read on my backyard porch during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Once I get into the book I don't really notice insects or what is going on around me.

  2. Sounds like a nice reading spot. I can tune out people better than pests, thankfully.