January 16, 2015

Chasing Tale [Jan 16, 2015]: Getting Angry All Over Again

Chasing Tale is a regular feature on the blog in which I highlight the recent additions to my bookshelves, both physical and digital.

Good news! Angry Robot Books isn't dead after all. When their crime imprint died a rather sudden and spectacular death last year, their lead editor jumped ship to Tor, and the publisher basically halted all upcoming titles for the last half the year, things were not looking great. The woes of the company came out of nowhere for outsiders like me, as they were churning out high-quality novels on a regular basis and seemed to be going full steam ahead. Well, whatever straits they had seem to have been navigated, and now they're slated to release 27 books in 2015. That's ... a lot, considering the first of the books aren't set for publication until March and their 2013 schedule was about half that. Granted, Orbit released something like 50-60 books in 2014, so it's not a crazy number for Angry Robot.

It's still a more restrained publishing schedule than the absolutely bonkers number of releases from Permuted Press, who released over a hundred books in 2014 before collapsing under its own weight in the fall (much to the chagrin of many of its authors), and even after restructuring its output and several contracts with disgruntled authors,  is set to release a dozen books in the month of January alone. What happens after that is anyone's guess.

I dunno, man. 2014 saw publishers doing some fancy footwork to keep out of the quicksand, and I have a funny feeling quite a few more publishers will be doing the same in 2015. The question is which ones.

... Oh, and a crap-ton of books wound up on my to-be-read pile thanks to the influx of review copies and an Amazon gift card in my Christmas stocking. Check 'em out.

Relic of Death by David Bernstein -This one sounds cool with a blend of crime and horror fiction. A couple mobsters in the countryside carry out a hit, then find a suitcase full of diamonds ... cursed diamonds. Dun-dun-DUN! This is right up my alley.

Truth Lies Bleeding by Tony Black - I see Tony's name pop up here and there when I'm checking out reviews for British crime fiction, so when I had the chance to snag this first book in his Rob Brennan series from the Kindle Store, I went for it.

Last God Standing by Michael Boatman - Oh God, you devil. This one about God quitting Heaven to try out being human on Earth, only to have the other gods scheme to take the Throne. Somewhere between Kevin Smith's Dogma and Neil Gaiman's American Gods by the looks of it.

The Pendle Curse by Catherine Cavendish - A new novel coming in early February from Catherine. She'll be stopping by the blog soon with a guest post to help better highlight the subject matter and inspiration behind this one. It's got witchcraft, so that's a checkmark in the win column right off the bat.

Coyote's Trail by Edward M. Erdelac - I don't a whole lot of new western novels popping up on my radar, but this one from Ed came on sale over the holidays and I just couldn't resist. I think any book with a plot summary that features a "sadistic whiskey peddler" should be an instant buy for me.

The Bleeding Season by Greg F. Gifune - Here's one about a group of friends forced to face some terrible truths about one of their own who may have led a secret, murderous life. Eep. I've only read a couple of Greg's books so far, but I've thoroughly enjoyed them, so I have my fingers crossed on this one.

Strategies Against Nature by Cody Goodfellow - Broken River Books, a small crime fiction press, now has a literary imprint called King Shot Press. I don't know when I was sent this advance review copy or even who sent it, but it's on my to-be-read pile in any case. I hear good things about Cody's work, so that's reassuring, and BRB has a good line-up of titles on its own.

Everyone Hates a Hero by Gregory L. Hall - This is a short novel from the Funky Werepig himself. A dopy ghosthunter must help an ex-girlfriend with her daughter's possible haunting. Sounds good to me.

Hell's Waiting Room by C.V. Hunt - A power outage set off a descent into madness for a pair of survivalists in their home. I've not read Hunt's work, but the premise for this one sounds interesting enough, and I just dig that cover.

Dreamwalker by Russell James - I'm not sure if this one is strictly horror or veers more towards dark fantasy, but I'll have an interview with Russell on the blog soon, so he can clear that up for us. 

Last of the Albatwitches by Brian Keene - I read Keene's Ghost Walk years ago and just dug the heck out of Levi, the Amish demon hunter. This is a book that has two Levi novellas, so I'm definitely gonna dig this.

Ugly Little Things Vol. 1 by Todd Keisling - Todd has brought together the short stories in his ULT universe together in one collection. I already had these stories separately--the ones already published anyway--so this offers mainly convenience for me to read 'em all in one go.

Things Slip Through by Kevin Lucia - Speaking of collections, Kevin's collection was on sale during the holidays and I just had to scoop it up. The setup sounds neat with the Skylark Diner and a strange book given to the local sheriff serving as the throughway for each story to unfold.

Malediction by Lisa Morton - Some L.A. horror from Lisa here. I'm listening to the Audible version, narrated by Michael Hacker. I enjoyed her Monsters of L.A. collection from a couple years ago, so I'm optimistic about this one.

Leverage by Eric Nelson - This is the other King Shot Press title that I found on my hard drive. It's odd, as I have a record for every other ARC I receive, but there's no paper trail that I can find for these. I can vaguely recall conversing with Michael Kazepis who works with KSP, but have no records of the convo on my email or social media. So mysterious!

Love Bites by James Newman & Donn Gash  - A novelette with a succubus from Newman & Gash (that could be a buddy cop show). I'm not familiar with Gash's work, but James Newman is a straight-shooter in the horror department, so I figured I'll like this.

Death Match by Jason Ridler - A murder mystery mixed with pro wrestling? I'm in. 'Nuff said.

Island of the Forbidden by Hunter Shea - Hunter is back at it with the haunted side of things, and he's brought back Jessica Blackman, who appeared in Forest of Shadows and The Sinister Entity. I have a review with Hunter coming up soon too, so watch out for that.

The Slab City Event by Nate Southard  - I'm not sure if the horde of dead that attacks this hot rod/biker rally are strictly zombies, but it doesn't matter to me. It just sounds like the kind of balls-to-the-wall action-horror story that I could really sink my teeth into.

Cecil and Bubba Meet the Thang by Terry M West - Some southern-fried horror here. This one is novella-length, and I just had to tear into it right away. It is just bonkers and wonderful and exactly what you'd expect from a book with that title.

Sam by Iain Rob Wright - Iain has a free ebook offer going on for subscribers to his newsletter. So I signed up and opted for the first book in a series, which features a haunted boy at odds with a priest and a ghost hunter.

Shock Totem 9 by various authors - The latest issue of ST--well there was Halloween special issue, but whatever--features some stories from Stephen Graham Jones, Bracken MacLeod, Tim Lieder, and more. Even interviews with Jones and one with F. Paul Wilson. This mag never disappoints.


  1. Great news about Angry Robot as it was looking shaky there for a while :-/

    You're going to really dig RELIC OF DEATH by David Bernstein and as a pro-wrestling fan you'll love DEATH MATCH from Jason Ridler, not to mention his other stuff is also all fantastic and right up your alley. Happy reading!

  2. Good to know. When I get round to 'Death Match', I'll have to read it back-to-back with Christa Faust's 'Hoodtown' which has wrestlers in crime fiction too.

  3. I had Michael Underwood on Adventures in SciFi Publishing shortly after the announcement of Lee Harris going to Tor. It sounds like the reason was there was no room for Lee to advance beyond Senior Editor, not that it had to do with their crime and ya imprints shutting down, or that he had to jump ship.

    And yes, lots of books released in 2014. As a reviewer, it was overwhelming.

  4. Well, whatever the reason, it was a compounding of events for their .... learning experience. 2015 is shaping up to be voluminous as far as book releases go, too.

  5. Sure, I just didn't want people to get the wrong idea about Lee leaving.