August 8, 2013

Chasing Tale (8/8/13): In with the Old, Out with the Old

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.

The rise of the e-book has its pluses and minuses, yes, but will anyone really argue that e-books haven't considerably upped the convenience factor of reading? I grant you the fact e-readers cost money, and I love me a paperback as much as the next fella, but my trepidations about my Kindle evaporated within weeks of getting it a couple Christmases ago. And oddly enough, it's not just the new books, the small press titles and self-published titles that I've discovered through the Kindle Store, but it's also the old, formerly out-of-print titles that have re-surged onto the literary landscape.

Truth be told, given the choice between a tattered novel with a pulpy cover and its e-book counterpart, I might go with the paperback. That tactile quality remains something that can't be outdone by a digital file, at least with me and my nostalgic jags. The trick is, however, many of those old paperbacks have been relegated to the deepest, darkest shelves of used-book shops, and been that way so for some time. And unless you're in a city with a healthy number of shops to scavenge, well, there are only so many miracles Google can conjure.

Publishers and authors alike are catching on though, and releasing those once forgotten novels as e-books on the Kindle Store and elsewhere. Some are letdowns though, with half-assed cover design and some equally squirrely text formatting. C'mon, boys and girls, take a couple extra days to make sure the text is actually legible It can't be that hard. Anyway, while I might not be able to get my hands on a cherished copy of some forgotten classic I've yet to read, my chances are at least increased in finding a copy online.

Now, you'd think after my mini-rant, I'd be all set to show off some forgotten gems dug up in the lower trenches of the Kindle Store. You would be wrong. I've got a couple oldies on the list below, but I found them the old fashioned way: scouring shelves at brick-and-mortars. Anyway, these are the latest additions to my to-be-read pile.

Running Wild by J.G. Ballard - The funny thing about genre work is that it sometimes gets "saved" by the literary crowd and lauded as being "above" that paltry sci-fi and fantasy stuff. That's why I peruse literary sections in bookshops, because I sometimes find books like this.

Dig Two Graves by Eric Beetner - After I bought Ed Kurtz's novella, A Wind of Knives, I noticed more titles published by Snubnose Press that were priced for a buck each. I recalled Beetner's name from an episode of the Booked Podcast, and I thought I'd snag this noir-ish novella.

Soul Masque by Terry Grimwood - The latest chapbook from Spectral Press arrived in my inbox. Honestly, this small press has been like a lifeline in finding the best of British horror. I doubt I'll find anything less with this story.

Ghosts in the Attic by Mark Allan Gunnells - A short story collection published by Bad Moon Books/Evil Jester Press. I snagged it as a freebie on Amazon thanks to a random tweet from someone--forget who--figuring I should enjoy it at least as much as Mark's novella, Asylum.

Kill Clock, Two-Way Split and Kiss Her Goodbye by Allan Guthrie - One of the names I added to my wish list after reading Heath Lowrance's Psycho Noir blog was Allan Guthrie, and I'll be damned if I didn't see a bunch of his e-books priced for a buck or less. I opted to get these three, two featuring a roughneck named Pearce and another book about an enforcer out to avenge his daughter's death. All set in Scotland too, I believe.

The Heresy Within by Rob J. Hayes - Mihir, over at Fantasy Book Critic, put this book on my radar. A gritty, gory, dark fantasy that focuses more on character and action than world-building. Mihir is a crack shot usually in targeting quality fantasy fiction and one of my go-to bloggers on the subject. I'll take him at his word on this one.

Mad Dogs by Brian Hodge - The premise for this hard-edged crime novel sounds fantastic. Take a down-on-his-luck actor mistaken for the criminal he just played on TV in a re-enactment, and make him the target of a hard-drinking deputy and the very criminal he played on TV. Oh yeah.

In Hell by L. Marshall James - A zombie story of sorts. You'd think zombies would be done by now. You'd be wrong. In this one, a young man winds up discovering his childhood daydreams of saving the world from zombies isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Kill City Blues by Richard Kadrey - This is the fifth in the Sandman Slim series, one of my favorite urban fantasy series, and I'm eager to tear into this one as well. I blogged about the third book, Aloha from Hell, a couple weeks back, and I have a review of the fourth book, Devil Said Bang, coming up in a few days. I doubt you'll have to wait long at all for a review on this one. The series is just too good to resist.

Joyland by Stephen King - I lucked out and won a copy of King's latest from Tammy Sparks and her blog, Book, Bones & Buffy. The only book I might be more eager to read this year is Stephen King's sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep, which is due to be released in a couple months.

A Wind of Knives by Ed Kurtz - Ed's writing runs the gamut in terms of genre, and with this novella he's gone into the realm of the western. A revenge story set in Texas during the Civil War, and if the early reviews are accurate might be his best work yet.

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley - I saw the movie when I was a kid. I hadn't developed an appreciation for that kind of movie at the time--more of a Schwartzenegger fan at the time than a Denzel fan--but I finally came around, and I hear the book is even better.

Hellto Pay and What It Was by George Pelecanos - One of the crime authors whose name gets bandied about a lot in book recommendations is George Pelecanos. Well, I bought two of his Strange/Quinn novels this summer to try that series out. Oddly enough, I read somewhere that it's his least popular series. Oh well. I love an underdog.

Piggyback by Tom Pitts - Two gals hit the road in California with a carload of pot, but it's the secret stash of cocaine that has a killer on their tail. This is the other novella published by Snubnose Press that I discovered and couldn't not buy.

Spider Web by J.R. Rain and Scott Nicholson -A novella that serves as a followup to Nicholson's and Rain's other collaboration, Bad Blood.

SuperNOIRtural Tales by Ian Rogers - I think the Felix Renn series of hard-boiled urban fantasy stories could be one of the most under-appreciated series in the genre. Maybe that's because there isn't a full-length novel set in the universe--yet--but there is this really cool collection of the stories up to this point. I've read the first three stories in the series, and I'm really eager to see how the other stories shape up.

68 Kill by Bryan Smith - I own a couple horror novels by Smith, an urban fantasy-esque novel, so why not get his new crime novel. I love the heck out of that pulpy cover, and the heist gone horribly wrong premise sounds promising.

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