Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thomas Dietz, 1952-2009

Just got word that Tom Dietz died on April 27, 2009. Tom lived in Oakwood Georgia and was a fantasy writer. He published around twenty novels and placed several of them in the Atehens and North Georgia area. We never got to meet, but I was a fan enjoying everything of his that I read.

I don't have many other details and its always sad to loose one of the members of the science fiction community. Especially one so young. He will live on in his books and hopefully will make some new friends somewhere down the road.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Hound Hunters

Sometimes the mailman brings an unexpected treasure. Today was one of those days. Adam Niswander is an old friend and has finally gotten his third book into print and out for us to enjoy. A review follows and the publisher is running a special offer, so if you are interested in it, don't wait to take advantage of it.

THE HOUND HUNTERS, Adam Niswander, Hippocampus Press, $20, 306 pages, ISBN: 9780981488844, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

It is great to see this volume in an easily available volume. I first picked this up in the 1994 World Fantasy Convention edition and have hoped that the other volumes of this series would finally see print.

This is another adventure of the Medicine Men of the twelve Native American tribes as they take on another menace that wants to enter and take over the world. The menace this time is a new designer drug that causes the user to become very dependent and becomes necessary to need increasing amounts to maintain their highs. The high is that, like LSD, it takes you to another place and allows them to commune with “god”. The only problem is that the other place is filled with the HOUNDS that are seeking a way to Earth in order to feed on the human race. The book is dedicated to our departed friend, Frank Belknap Long who created THE HOUNDS OF THE TINDALOS as one of his entries into the Mythos created by Lovecraft and his circle of friends.

As THE HOUND HUNTERS progresses there is not as much action by the Medicine Men as they have to depend on a white man the thirteenth tribe, to help them out. It is good getting back among some old friends. They are well written characters that you care about, and an area not widely traveled by others. It is a refreshing breath of fresh air from Niswander.

I am very happy to see this getting a wider exposure and for a limited time, if you order the book from www.hippocampuspress.com, they will include the first two novels in the series at no extra charge. There are three other novels listed in the series that I have not seen and I hope that problem will be remedied soon. Highly recommended.

All the Clouds

Here's the review I was referring to the other day. It's the first volume of a story of a young boys dream to become a pilot and his growing up in New Orleans.

I know things are tight, but if any of the reviews inspire you, please help the authors out by buying a copy or at least telling you local library to put a copy on the shelf.

ALL THE CLOUDS’LL ROLL AWAY, Volume One, Taylor Morris, Gap Mountain Press, $19.95, 436 pages, ISBN: 9780979560316, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

This is an interesting story about Will Vairin, a young boy who has a dream and his plans to become a flyer and his adventures from 1935 to 1943. It is also a love story that operates on three levels. The first level is the story of his love of family and how it changes as the family’s fortunes change over the years. Secondly, it is the love of New Orleans, a city that doesn’t seem to change. Thirdly, it is the story of his love for his friends and the girls that come into his life. The love story is there lying under the surface and you only realize it after you think about the story you have read.

Book I: New Orleans gives us his childhood and high school story as he sees his mother marry several times, face a change in fortune, and do the things kids do as they develop their own character and explore the boundaries of their existence.

Book II: Flight is the story of his college years and the beginning of World War II that causes him to further his plans to be a pilot. It is also the story of his meeting with Leyla, who may be the true love of his life.

We will have to wait for Volume II to find out about his adventures as a pilot during World War II and if Leyla is going to be a continuing part of his life. Morris has written a touching and endearing story that works on so many levels that will leave you waiting for the conclusion to the story. I’m sure Morris used his memories of growing up in New Orleans to make this a vibrant, emotional novel.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Just reviews

Just a couple of reviews from Harriet. Two really good books.

Jon Land
Forge, May 2009, $24.95

A fifth generation Texas Ranger, Caitlin Strong knows law enforcement is part of her DNA makeup. That is until the border incident near El Paso in 2004 left Caitlin with doubts about law enforcement after her sixty year old partner and family friend Charlie Weeks died and she barely made it in a nasty shootout with mules. She was so traumatized by the episode she becomes the first member of her proud family to quit.

Five years later, Caitlin remains haunted by the border ambush. She feels guilt for letting down her family and for simply surviving. Finally seeking closure, she investigates the incident that destroyed her life. The first stunner she uncovers is her spouse Peter Goodwin is alive living in a special hospital that treats only torture victims. She soon begins to uncover a sinister diabolical plot involving super-patriot Harmon Delladonne and his security firm MacArthur-Rain. When her efforts place her on Delladonne’s endangered species list, she turns to her former enemy, outlaw Cort Wesley Masters as Delladonne has ties to Mexican Mafiosi chief Emiliato Valdez Garza.

This is a strong thriller that cleverly ties the Global War on Terrorism in the Middle East with the human, drugs, and weapons smuggling back and forth between the USA and Mexico. The story line is fast-paced and Caitlin makes a remarkable heroine. Although the climax seems to have too many purposes besides tying up this tale like setting up a sequel, fans will enjoy Jon Land who always provides an entertaining thriller.

Enemies and Allies
Kevin J. Anderson
Morrow, May 5 2009, $26.99
ISBN: 9780061662553

In the 1950s, the Red Menace could be defined two ways: Communists or Martians. In that Cold War environs that could turn hot in a nanosecond, Clark Kent works as a reporter for the Daily Planet while patrolling the skies as his alter-ego Superman.
He meets wealthy playboy Bruce Wayne when he interviews Gotham’s finest for a feature article; Bruce uses a James Bond like image to hide his identity of crime fighting Caped Crusader Batman.

Soon after meeting one another as civilians, Superman encounters Batman when both are working on the same threat from within the country. Brilliant sociopath scientist Lex Luther has collaborated with Soviet General Anatoly Ceridov to take over the world by setting up a nuclear confrontation followed by his firm selling the counter defense, which will enable him to do what Ike would one day fear, control the military-industrial complex.

This is an over the top of Wayne Manor and the Daily Planet tale that is fun as Kevin J. Anderson cleverly brings 1950s symbols together including silver age superheroes struggling with a schizoid culture of post war optimism and cold war pessimism. The support cast is comic book thin even the icons like Alfred and Miss Lane while the two heroes travel the world to prevent Luther’s scheme from succeeding. Silver Age fans especially will enjoy the seemingly zillionth “first” team up of Superman and Batman as they seem one step behind diabolically brilliant super villain Lex.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mutant Chronicles

One of my satellite channels shows a movie before it is released. This month it was MUTANT CHRONICLES with Patrick Jane and Ron Perlman. It’s the story of war in the 28th century and am 10,000 year old machine has started creating mutants to take over the world. Perlman plays a Priest who has an old book with plans on how to stop it. It’s a bit strange in that the battle scenes are straight out of World War I and the machines are figments of a future steam punk’s imagination. It’s an interesting concept is worth the time spent watching it.

Still no luck on the job front. Local unemployment ranges from 10.5% to 18.3% and they aren’t looking for it to get better until the middle of next year. IRA’s and 401-ks are in the crapper and will never recover in time for retirement unless I work til I’m 90.

Here are some reviews from Harriet. Hopefully they are a bit brighter than my comments tonight.

Captive Of The Beast
Lisa Renee Jones
Silhouette Nocturne, May 2009, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618101

On an island off the coast of Texas, Dr. Laura Johnson creates a vaccine to help young people control their special skills; something she understands first hand as her parents trained her to hide her extrasensory mental abilities to read, sense danger, and do telekinetic things. However, she is worried that the new boss Captain Walch is malevolent with plans to exploit the kids. Her reward is incarceration on her island as her skills prove right that he is a minion of the evil Darkland Beast demons.

Knights of White William Rinehart and his team arrive to rescue the research scientist and the kids. A demon warrior Rinehart finds himself with a new struggle beyond controlling the beast inside him; he is attracted to Dr. Laura, who he has sworn to keep safe yet wants to release the inner beast. However, the situation escalates for him when he realizes she has paranormal abilities and wants him too.

Though similar in tone to previous Knights of the White romantic fantasy (see BEAST OF DARKNESS, BEAST OF DESIRE and BEAST WITHIN), this is a terrific thriller due to the lead couple. She is a courageous dedicated heroine and he is a brave lost soul who knows his future is so bleak he cannot proclaim her as his. The story line is fast-paced, but the paranormal subplot takes a back seat to the relationship between the knight and his medical research scientist lifemate who shares his desire.

Harriet Klausner

Jaguar Night
Doranna Durgin
Silhouette Nocturne, May 2009, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618118

Agents of the Atrum Core arrive near Meghan Lawrence's ranch seeking the evil tome the Liber Nex. Sentinel Jaguar shapeshifter Dolan Trevino also arrives at her ranch to protect Meghan and to insure the evil Atrium Core does not find and take the ancient book.

However, Meghan rejects Dolan’s offer of protection, as she holds his group culpable for the death of her mother, a Sentinel, two decades ago. In spite of her refusal to accept his safeguard offer, he remains diligent. As they fall in love, she keeps reminding herself her mom a Sentinel died protecting that book while the group failed to keep her safe as they promised.

Although the plot feels a bit thin, JAGUAR NIGHT is a terrific urban fantasy romance due to Meghan, who rejects anything Sentinel as her memory is they failed her mother. The story line is totally driven by the lead couple from the moment Dolan comes to Megan’s ranch to keep her safe and she tells him to leave. Fans will enjoy his efforts to keep the woman he loves safe and her efforts to keep the man she loves out of her life.

Harriet Klausner

Twilight of Avalon
Anna Elliot
Simon and Schuster, may 5 2009, $16.00
ISBN: 9781416589891

Morgan LeFay’s granddaughter Queen Isolde struggles with the powers she inherited from her infamous ancestor and her father Mordred. With the murder of her spouse, the king of England, she knows his loyal men will suspect her of sorcery due to her roots. She also knows there will be an ugly power struggle to initially determine who leads the army and subsequently fill the throne. She feels ill because she will see the bloody fights twice; before and during. Her advisors urge her to marry so she can be protected, but she abhors the idea especially since she still grieves her loss of three days.

The apparently most powerful of the warriors fighting for the crown is Cornwall King Marche, who plans to marry the queen to solidify his hold though he is also attracted to her. Isolde tries to end his courtship, but Marche refuses to listen. When the beleaguered queen meets mercenary prisoner Trystan, she learns she is unsafe from Marche, who forces her to marry him. However, Isolde and Trystan flee the castle with Marche in pursuit.

This is a fascinating Arthurian tale that retells the often retold story of Isolde and Trystan. The emphasis is on political intrigue though there are paranormal moments. Part of the intrigue is caused by Trystan who throughout remains an enigmatic shadowy champion; perhaps antihero might be more descriptive. However, Isolde comes across as either incompetent or a moron as she remains dense and oblivious that something is wrong in her inner circle while her loyal supporters keep getting assassinated. Still this is an interesting fantasy told from her perspective, which ironically affirms her enemies are right that someone else needs to be on the throne for the sake of the kingdom.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Water, Death and Reviews

Since we had to wait until Monday to get the parts to fix Scott's water problems, they spent the weekend with us. Finally got everything up and fixed late Monday after spending part of the day getting the Jeep worked on. Had to get a new wiring harness because the other one was shorting out.

J.G. Ballard, who is best known for EMPIRE OF THE SUN and make into a film by Speilberg. died in London on the 19th. He is best remembered for his tetrology that included THE WIND FROM NOWHERE, THE DROWNED WORLD, THE BURNING WORLD, and THE CRYSTAL WORLD as well as others. He was an interesting writer but not one that you could make a steady diet on.

Marilyn Chambers has died from undetermined causes. She was the star of BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR which brought adult movies up a notch. Her appearance as a young mother on the Ivory Snow box really helped sell movie tickets. She also starred in David Cronenberg's RABID, which was a marginal science fiction/horror film.

Here are some more reviews from Harriet. I'm in the middle of a book I'll review when I'm finished.

Anya Howard
Kensington Aphrodisia, May 2009, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758228802

Gillian Nordstram has agreed to become a pleasure giving submissive Disciple. She leaves behind her lover Bruce Wolff to receive training at Nemi in the art of sexual submission.

Sethlucius visits Bruce and offers him the job of a lifetime involving his Gilliam. Bruce initially assumes that Gillian’s fantasies have entered his mind, but agrees anyway. As she fears but submits to winged beasts, he follows her with plans to be her only dominant.

This is an interesting erotic fantasy that star two intriguing lead human characters and a horde of paranormals. The sex scenes run the gamut and are very vivid while Gillian and Bruce are fully developed especially his initial self pity and her fears. However, the plot never fully seems developed so that this alternate reality never comes across except in the BDSM scenes. Still fans who relish something way different in their erotica will appreciate the sexcapades of Gillian and Bruce in another realm.

Harriet Klausner

Bad to the Bone
Jeri Smith-Ready
Pocket, May 2009, $15.00
ISBN: 9781416551782

In Maryland Ciara Griffin pretends to be the late owner Elizabeth of the vampire run radio station WVMP so she and her cohorts of vamps can keep working. In spite of the difficulty of the masquerade, Ciara feels upbeat as things are going well with her significant other vampire.

However, their special Halloween show is devastated by the Family Action Network (FAN) who steals their signal broadcasting an anti-vampire tirade. Irate Ciara and her cohorts including Dexter the vampire canine sneak into the FAN base of operations to bring the bite to the enemy.

The sequel to the brilliantly wacky WICKED GAME still has the vampires remain stuck in a time warp leading to quite a variety in the music played at WVMP, the “lifeblood of rock and roll”. Ciara, though claiming she is a reformed con artist, is pulling off quite a sham pretending to be the dead owner. Amusing and as wacky as its predecessor, this time the vamps with a blood thirsty canine are at war with their FAN enemy as Jeri Smith-Ready lampoons urban fantasy taking a humorous bite out of the sub-genre.

Harriet Klausner

Burning Wild
Christine Feehan
Jove, Apr 28 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780515146233

Leopard shapeshifter Jake Bannaconni's memories of his parents are that of unloving cold and abusive; only his great-grandfather showered him with genuine affection as the lad can smell a lie. He learned early on they would never love him as he knows why they had him, but Cathy and Ryann underestimated how much power their offspring has compared to them.

Jake’s pregnant former girlfriend Shaina Trent is in a tragic car accident with another vehicle containing a new bride Emma Reynolds. Everyone dies except Emma; the fetus she carries, and the fetus Shaina carries. The paramedics at the scene deliver healthy Kyle, Jake’s son. Perhaps it is the tragedy, but Jake and Emma share a connection so he persuades her to move into his place where she nurtures his offspring Kyle. However, she may not be safe as his odious parents have plans for their grandson.

The opening sequence in which readers see first hand how his parents treat Jake sets the tone of a strong urban fantasy romance as the abused neglected child becomes the adult. Emma is terrific as she displays patience with Jake and showers Kyle with love as if he is her child; in fact as Jake observes she treats both their kids as her own. Fans will appreciate this deep shapeshifting tale as Christine Feehan is at the top of her game with Jake’s saga.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Spent the early part of the day helping Scott with a washing machine problem. The only thing is, the parts store is closed on Saturday. They used to be open til noon, but not a lot of the places are taking extra time off since business is slow.

Got some more reviews from Harriet. I've been editing a couple of stories for publication later this year.

On the Prowl
Crystal Jordan
Kensington Aphrodisia, May 2009, $13.95
ISBN: 9780758229007

"Claim Me". Antonio Cruz is the new chief of his Panther shapeshifting pride, His lover Solana wants him to name her his forever mate, but she is not a shapeshifter.

"Take Me". Antonio's older sister Andrea has never found love, but when she meets Miguel she thinks at long last her mate has found her.

“Need Me”. Antonio's twin brothers Diego and Ricardo are inseparable until Isabel joins the pride; each wants her as his mate and she wants both twins as hers.

These super interrelated erotic romantic urban fantasies are well written and quite engaging as the world of Jordan makes for a fun heated read.

Harriet Klausner

L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Tor, Jun 9 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780765323026

In the twenty-fifth century, there is a new world order as the Chinese dominated Federation rules over earth and colonized planets. War and other events led to the collapse of America and there are parts of the world including the USA that are uninhabitable due to radiation.

Federation agent Major Keir Roget is sent to the world Haze named for the deep covering that makes the orb impossible to see what is on it from space and unable to ascertain whether any civilization inhabits the planet. When he lands planet-side, he is met by
Lyvia, a guide selected to establish contact with outworlders. On the surface Haze seems to be a thriving planet with cities connected by an incredible transpiration system. However, beneath the outer façade there is technology way beyond that of the Federation. Circling Haze are warships that the Government of Dubriety know are there. Roget fears what he has learned, but must find a way to get his information to his superiors and pray they believe him as what he finds is eerily familiar to another mission that left him almost insane.

L.E. Modesitt, Jr. takes his fans on a grand tour of a planet so vividly described that readers will picture Haze. The culture is humanoid, at least that is what Roget believes though he believes he has not seem much beyond what the hosts want him to see. Hooked to learn what is beneath the hazy surface, the audience will appreciate Mr. Modesitt, Jr. at his best.

Harriet Klausner

Pop Apocalypse
Lee Konstaninou
Harper, Apr 28 2009, $13.99
ISBN: 9780061715372

In the near future the mediasphere has replaced the Internet, enabling users to follow the lives of people to the minutest detail. In fact reputable names have become a commodity item traded on the Reputations Exchange.

Eliot Vanderthorpe, Sr. is the CEO of the firm that runs the mediasphere. Unlike his successful dad, Eliot, Jr. is a wastrel failure. Frustrated with his no chip off the block offspring Sr. places the name of Jr. on the Reputations Exchange. Eliot the son learns of another Eliot living in the banned off-limits Occupied Zone of Northern California where anti capitalists once held sway. Junior decides to meet his other self only to find a conspiracy spinning in many directions like an octopus’ tentacles.

This future tale is a fast-paced lampooning of celebrity fame, pop culture, and media attention span as to what is important. The story line is fast-paced throughout as capitalist society is satirized on seemingly every page; even the Middle East has become one caliphate run by a pop idol. Fans who enjoy an irreverent look at modern culture will want to read Lee Kostaninou’s amusing take no prisoners’ tale.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, April 17, 2009

Doc Wilde review by Harriet

Got some new reviews from Harriet today and she also did one on Doc Wilde. I thought you might enjoy it as well.

Will include a couple more to give you something to look for it the review inspires you.

Beautiful weather today but I think there will be rain this weekend.

On a sad note, I've received word that Gary Markette, Publisher of Anotherealm.com, came home from work and discovered that his wife had passed on to the next world. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and the families.

Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom
Tim Byrd
Putnam, May 14 2009, $15.99
ISBN: 9780399247835

Grandma Pat informs her son Dr. Spartacus Wilde his nonagenarian father vanished after giving a talk at a forum at Harvard. The widower accompanied by his twelve year old son Brian, his ten year old daughter, associate Phineas Bartlett and driver Declan mac Coul plan to search for the missing Wilde. However, before they can begin, they are attacked by mutant frogs in their family abode in the Empire State Building.

Next stop for the intrepid warriors is Harvard, which soon leads them to Hidalgo in South America. From there they enter the jungle heading to a remote region with mutant frogs of all sorts attacking them until they reach a cave whose opening is shaped like the mouth of a giant frog. Inside they continue the quest learning that the dark God Frogon, who destroyed his universe, is seeking entrance to this one to destroy it too. As Mac is turned into a Man-frog, the Wildes battle saber-tooth frogs and other species of mutated frog while Frogon begins the ritual to enter the Wilde universe.

DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM is a fun pulp adventure that pays homage to Doc Savage while targeting the tweener crowd. The story line is fast and lighthearted as the heroes battle mutant fogs. With literary quotes ranging from Seuss to Lovecraft and beyond, Tim Byrd avoids dumbing down his novel. Young readers will relish the escapades of the Wilde family and friends as they struggle to save the world one croak at a time.

Harriet Klausner

Bad Things
Michael Marshall
Morrow, May 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780061434402

After falling into a lake in Black Ridge, Washington, four years old Scott Henderson dies though he was rescued in time; no cause for the child’s death is found. His despondent parents John and Carol are unable to cope or help one another with their grief. They divorce and both leave the town with neither planning to ever return.

Three years later, John receives a cryptic frightening note from someone claiming they know how Scott died. Though he thinks the woman who sent it is probably a nutcase, John goes back to Black Ridge hoping otherwise as he has not obtained closure. He is unaware that his return to the scene of his greatest personal tragedy will cause inexplicable deadly incidents to occur.

This is a thrilling horror tale that uses the setting of a seemingly placid rustic town to enhance the tension of what is going on. Readers will feel a sense of impending doom throughout the exciting story line. Although some plausibility is lacking, no one will care as Michael Marshall provides a strong scary tale with a psychological edge to make what is happening in Black Ridge even more frightening.

Harriet Klausner

Eternal Craving
Nina Bangs
Leisure, May 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780843957938

Fin created the Eleven to counteract humanity’s enemy Zero whose plan is the destruction of mankind to coincide with the Mayan calendar prediction of the end at 12-21-12. Fin’s fighters use human bodies just like Zero’s minion.

Tabloid reporter Jenna Maloy wonders just who is her enigmatic new brother-in-law Ty (see ETERNAL PLEASURE) so she comes to Philadelphia to investigate him. What she learns about her sister’s spouse shakes her to her bone marrow. However, her inquiry also leads to Ty’s associate Al, who has been in a non-stop rage since he ended up cloaked as a pitiful human instead of a fierce “Hunter”. When he meets Jenna, who is the Key to beating the enemy, his heart does crazy things; making Fin wonder if he is too volatile to trust with keeping the “Key” safe.

The Eternal Gods of the Night saga is romantic urban fantasy at its best as antiheroes fall in love with feisty humans while battling an evil that is growing in strength as the malevolence begin the countdown to December 21 2012. The world is a gritty dark place as seen by Al (and for that matter Ty) except for Jenna who confuses him because a Hunter does not fall in love especially with a lesser being even if her tabloid experience enables her to accept the improbable. With a supernatural smorgasbord to round out a terrific fast-paced tale, fans will want to read about the big bang universe starting the big crunch to Zero time.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Just Reviews

Sinuses driving me crazy today so just a few reviews from Harriet.

The Awakening, Kelly Armstrong, Harper, Apr 28 2009, $17.99, ISBN: 9780061662768, reviewed by Harriet Klausner.

Ever since the Edison Group genetically reengineered her (see THE SUMMONING), teen Chloe Saunders hr life is out of control. First there is the out of control “dark powers” of being able to raise the dead without trying. Being a necromancer causes havoc with one’s social life. Second there are ghosts who are everywhere further devastating her social life.

Having escaped for now and having been betrayed by those she trusted, Chloe is not sure who is friend from foe especially amidst the living. With help from beyond and from the paranormal, Chloe learns more about the Edison group operatives and scientists who are coming for her, dead or alive. At the same time her dad has announced a $500,000 reward for her safe return, which brings out the whackos. Her only hope for survival is her special friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, but that places them in danger.

The second Darkest Powers teen urban fantasy is a terrific tale as the heroine has learned the hard way from her previous escapades trust no one, but to survive the Edison Group Chloe will have to rely on her friends. The story line is fast-paced as supernatural events continual to occur. There is also a hint of romance, but who Chloe chooses between the brothers Derek and Simon remains up in the air as safety is the first requirement. Although it would help to first read THE SUMMONING to better understand how far Chloe has come and how far she must go to survive and not necessarily win, readers will enjoy the paranormal action of THE AWAKENING.

First Family, David Baldacci, Grand Central, Apr 21 2009, $27.99, ISBN: 9780446539753, reviewed by Harriet Klausner.

In DC First Lady Jane Cox hires former secret service agents turned private investigators Michelle Maxwell and Sean King to rescue her abducted twelve year old year niece Willa, who daringly was kidnapped following a birthday party at Camp David; her mom, sister-in-law to President Cox was killed in the assault. Jane chose the pair because she knows they get results as King saved her husband’s life when he was a senator.

The evidence makes no sense to the sleuths as it points to a lone cowboy, an Alabama sexagenarian. They cannot see how Sam Quarry swiped a First relative from under the noses of the Secret Service. Everything they learn about him points to his being so obsessed, Sean and Michele believe he is willing to die; but they remain ignorant why he is so fixated on the First extended family. Meanwhile, Michele still shaky from the near death experience in SIMPLE GENIUS, is reeling with the death of her mom and so Sean fears she will be no use when he makes his concerted effort to save the First tweener.

Though the plot seems unlikely, David Baldacci makes it feel plausible as he hooks the audience from the onset and never loosens his grip until the climax. The story line is fast-paced form the moment the attack occurs and never takes a breath even when the focus is on Michele’s personal issues and doubts. Thriller fans will fully relish FIRST FAMILY as the action keeps on coming and the tension growing.

The Language of Bees, Laurie R. King, Bantam, Apr 28 2009, $25.00, ISBN: 9780553804546, reviewed by Harriet Klausner.

Even her lover Sherlock Holmes is as taken back as Mary Russell is when his estranged son from his first wife, Damien Adler, visits them as he never comes to see them. An illustrator Damien needs his father’s help as his wife Yolanda and their daughter have vanished without a trace. Holmes agrees to investigate the disappearance of his grandchild and daughter-in-law.

Meanwhile Holmes also is disturbed over the disappearance of one of his beehive colonies and plans to learn why so he can avoid a repetition. At the same time he works both cases, Mary investigates Damien, which leads her to his London flat and a druid cult the Children of Light whose troubling tome Testimony was illustrated by Damien.

Since Mary and Sherlock investigate separately, readers do not obtain that much of a look at the married couple. Still the story line is fast-paced from the moment Damien arrives and never slows down enabling fans will enjoy learning just who Holmes’ son is as elementary reader he is not quite a chip off the old logical block. As with the BEEKEEPER’S APPRENTICE, Laurie R. King provides an exciting excellent suspense thriller that the Baker Street irregulars will appreciate even as the plot launches missiles at the mythos

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

DEEPER by James A Moore

DEEPER by Jim Moore is being released in paperback the first of May. It is a terrific book that honors his influences picked up from the works of H. P. Lovecraft.

It was originally in Baryon 105 and appeared in advance of the hardcover edition. Since it has been so long, I thought I would share it with you.

Jim is one heck of a writer and is also a Georgian. Keep an eye out for his books and add them to your library when you can.

Deeper, James A. Moore, Necessary Evil Press, limited edition hardcover, Berkley Books paperback, May 2009, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Several years ago in EXTREMES 3, a limited anthology on cdrom from Lone Wolf Press, James A. Moore introduced us to Golden Cove, Massachusetts and he has taken that story ("A Place Where There is Peace") as a springboard for this extraordinary novel.

Joe Bierden is the captain of Isabella’s Dream – a cabin cruiser that he rents out for fishing trips, weddings or whatever. He is approached by Doctor Martin Ward who wants to rent the boat for a month in order to do research. Joining them for the trip are Jacob and Mary Parsons who are parapsychologists with their own television show and fifteen student interns who are going to do the work.

Since tourist season is over, Joe takes the charter and has Charlie – his usual first mate and two local boys – Tom and Davey who have helped out before as his crew. All is well until Joe is told that Golden Cove is their destination and they plan to map the caves at Devil’s Reef and Charlie senses bad things are going to happen. While Doctor Ward is mapping the caves, The Parsons are checking into local legends of sunken ships and ghosts.

All is well until a diver is hurt on the first dive and Joe learns more of the history of Golden Cove – which just happened to have been rebuilt over the former location of Innsmouth (does that name ring a bell?).

Belle, Joe’s wife, comes down for a visit and everything starts going to hell as people begin to disappear and a strange creature is captured. All of this leads into a very interesting battle and in typical James A. Moore fashion, no one or nothing is safe from harm.

This is a fast read that will keep you going until you finish it. It is one of his most interesting storylines so far. It makes him a member of the Lovecraft Circle and I hope and pray that this is not the only foray into those territories. Some folks are comparing Moore to King and Koontz, but to me he is an American original.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Had Easter dinner at our house this year. Scott and Carey, and Blake and Darian came over and watched the Masters and The Braves on TV while I fixed dinner. Kyla and Isabella came over in time to eat. Poor Jody had to work, so we sent him a plate home. Carey fixed a red velvet cake for dessert.

Not much left after we finished, but that's a good thing. Everyone was stuffed and was ready for a nap afterwards.

Got a couple of reviews from Harriet, enjoy.

Walking Dead, Greg Rucka, Bantam, Apr 28 2009, $25.00, ISBN: 9780553804744, reviewed by Harriet Klausner.

In Kobuleti, Republic of Georgia lives former bodyguard Atticus Kodika and his lover retired assassin Alena Cizkova. The couple use aliases to hide their identity from the outside world. However, even in this remote village violence explodes. Someone assaults and violently kills their neighbor Bakhar Lagidze, his wife and his eight year old son; they kidnap his fourteen years old daughter, Tiasa. The local cops quickly rule murder-suicide; outraged Atticus pledges to rescue the teen though that means breaking his vow to not get involved after the massive manhunt directed by top government officials (see POLITICAL GAMES).

Following her trail, he learns she was abducted to sell as merchandise to pay off her late father's debts. Keeping to his vow though he detests having to even make inquiries inside the sordid human trafficking slave market, he pursues clues that lead to the Middle East, back to Europe, and eventually to Nevada. However those he seeks to pay for their murders and kidnapping know he is on their tail and go after Alena. No “Drama queen”, she flees for her life with the help of Atticus' former lover New York based private investigator Bridgett Logan.
The action is non-stop, brutal, and bloody even before Atticus begins his rescue quest. Obstinate and brave Atticus is like a bull dog refusing to give up the mission though the odds are overwhelmingly against him. However, what makes this electrifying thriller super is the ease in which Greg Rucka interweaves without preaching or slowing down the plot a political commentary on human trafficking in which governments pretend the slave market does not exist.

Trust No One, Gregg Hurwitz, St. Martin’s, Jun 23 2009, $24.95, ISBN: 9780312534899, reviewed by Harriet Klausner.

In 1991 when Nick Horrgian was just two days from his eighteenth birthday, he snuck out of his house to have sex with an older woman. Leaving the house unsecured, he comes home to a horrific sight; someone killed his stepfather Secret Service Agent Frank Durant. The police claim a robbery gone badly, but Nick believes otherwise. When he begins investigating, suits warn him to disappear or his mom will be next and he will be locked away for murdering Frank. Without saying goodbye to his grieving mom, Nick is placed on a plane and flies to Alaska. Nine years pass before he sees his mother again, but she remains in denial as she did when Frank died.

Seventeen years have past since Frank died and Nick keeps a low profile while living in California. That is until two Secret service Agents Joe Wydell and Reid Sever knock down his apartment door. They claim a terrorist with a nuclear bomb is threatening to blow up San Onofre nuclear reactor if they fail to bring Nick to him. Nick talks with Charlie who has no bomb, but gives him a key and tells him they are coming for him. Nick gives Charlie a cell phone the agents gave him, which explodes killing the man and hurting Nick. Soon afterward POTUS and his opponent running for the Oval office talk with Nick, who is in the highest level political crosshairs, but has no idea why. However, he vows no more running as he heeds what Frank told him years ago: “TRUST NO ONE”.

From the opening sequence, this is a gripping thriller that captures the audience when the Secret Service come for Nick and never releases the reader until the final confrontation. The story line is fast-paced while Nick and fans learn how clever the Feds are at spinning a scenario. Nick’s greatest lesson is Frank’s mantra to TRUST NO ONE; as everyone has a personal agenda.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Golden Age Stories

Galaxy Press is bring out a series of books that reprint the pulp stories of L. Ron Hubbard. L. Ron was very prolific in the pulps writing in all genres and this volume has three of his science fiction stories.

More layoffs were announced in local industries this week. The March results were double those of last year. I've got a bunch of resumes out there, but nothing looks promising.

Enjoy the review.

THE PROFESSOR WAS A THIEF, L. Ron Hubbard, Galaxy, $9.95, 140 pages, ISBN: 9781592123513, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

In this the latest of the “Stories from the Golden Age” from Galaxy, we are treated to three stories by one of the most prolific writers of the pulp years.
In the first story, Pop is about to be forced out of his newspaper job when he is given a chance to write a story about a boring professor in order to keep his job. When this fails and he is on his way out, the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, and other landmarks begin to disappear. Pop is able to get extra editions out. His job is still not appreciated and in order to prove his worth, he must find the missing landmarks and prove THE PROFESSOR WAS A THIEF.

Earth is in need of a mineral that is located on the planet Deltoid. The inhabitants do not wish to give in and the Earthers can’t use force because of the volatile nature of the mineral. Earth sends a Civil Affairs officer to negotiate, but it comes down to magic versus science in a “Battle of Wizards” in order to come to an agreement.

Dr Henry Mudge is supposed to give a speech at the Philosophers Club, but rather than getting prepared he spends time working on Equation C. He finds a solution to the Equation and ends up moving around in “The Dangerous Dimension” where all it takes is a thought to move to that place.

Here are three fun tales that show different sides of Hubbard’s creative abilities. This is another tremendous addition to the collection of Golden Age tales that Galaxy is presenting to a new generation of readers. Pick this one up and be on the lookout for other additions to the library.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom

Just a quick note about a new book. It has a May publication date and is a joy. If you remember the pulps and Doc Savage, you need to pick this one up. It's a true delight and will be something your children will enjoy as well.

DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM, Tim Byrd, Putnam, $15.99, 192 pages, ISBN: 9780399247835, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Sometimes as you get older you think about some of the joys and memories you have accumulated over the years: your first comic book, your first trip to the library, or your first trip to the movie theatre. All these are fond memories, but another of mine stands out as well. It was the first time reading Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Spider in the original pulp appearance. They enjoyed a revival in the seventies, but what of the new readers that have come along since then?

This book helps to solve that problem. Tim Byrd has taken the basics from the pulps and the world spanning adventures they brought into our lives on a monthly basis. Doc Wilde is a descendant of those pulps and starts off with an adventure that is straight out of the thirties.

Doc Wilde has trained his two children, Brian and Wren, from an early age to be physically fit, mentally alert and to expect the unexpected at a moments notice.

In this adventure, their grandfather has disappeared, they are attacked by mutant frogs and mutated frog men, travel to Hidalgo on a rescue mission, and uncover the mystery and the master who is hoping to take over the world.

Byrd has taken Doc Savage, added in a pinch of Robert E. Howard, a liberal dose of H.P. Lovecraft, and mixed it all together in a well done, enchanting pastiche of the pulps that will appeal to the adult audience as well as the young adult readers. It is over the top, at times, rip roaring adventure that returns us to the days of yesteryear and leaves me wanting more. I hope to see more from Tim Byrd and Doc Wilde in the future.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cold Weather

It's going to be cold for a couple of days and then should warm back up to Springtime weather.

I'm filling out applications and following up on leads for work. It's no fun, but there are a lot of us out there looking for work.

Marvin Kaye (editor)
Tor, Sep 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 0765312514
"A Place of No Ending" by Brian Lumley - In Eastern Dartmoor Moor, Paul learns first hand the truth about ghosts.

"Hamlet's Father" by Orson Scott Card - Teenager Hamlet knows his father the Danish King thinks little of him so as he goes to university in Heidelberg he ponders whether his sire considers his offspring worthy to sit or not sit on the throne.

"The Haunted Single Malt" by Marvin Kaye - They meet once a month at the Tron to exchange ghost stories, but none of them expected to star in a spirit’s latest saga.

"Strindberg's Ghost" by Tanith Lee - Blya and the Swan know they cannot be together until one joins the other in death.

The four tales are interesting ghost stories with Tanith Lee’s being by far the strongest.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Baryon 111

Just had an email from Pete. He has gotten the update done for the website.

In case you haven't checked it out, the address is www.baryon-online.com. There are a lot of reviews that have not appeared in the blog, so please check them out.

Take care.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Edger Rice Burroughs Movies

I found some information today that made the future a little brighter for all fans of the Edgar Rice Burroughs books.

There are plans for John Carter of Mars to be out in a couple of years. They are looking at parts of Southern Australia to stand in for Mars. There are also plans to remake The Land That Time Forgot, but it will probably be straight to DVD. Ther are also talks for a new live action Tarzan film. I'll try to keep you up to date as I get more information.

Looking for a sunny weekend, but colder weather for Monday and Tuesday. Springs almost here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

News Release and Reviews

Reviews on a couple of books I've read lately and a news release on an award winning book. Hope everyone has a good weekend.

EMPTIES, George Zebrowski, Golden Gryphon, $24.95, 163 pages, ISBN: 9781930846593, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Has the world gone crazy or is it that you are losing your mind? How can truly weird things be happening and you are the only one who sees them as they are? That’s the problem that is facing police detective, third class William Benek after he is called out early one morning to investigate the death of an old wino.

Benek is a loner. He has no friends at work and scarcely speaks to the other residents in his apartment building. He has no girlfriend but does show a passing interest in a new girl in the apartment building. That is until he meets Dierdre Matera at the scene of another strange death. A priest is found dead with his brain on the floor beside the body, as was the earlier wino.

Their meeting sets of a chain of events that leads to a strange love affair and Benek wondering about his sanity even more. More deaths occur and Benek is unable to get anyone to believe what he has found out. They think he is losing it.

Zebrowski has written a darkly surrealistic comedy noir that is pleasing to read and adds to the list of interesting, thought provoking works of his career. It’s the kind of story David Cronenberg would have made right after SCANNERS. Thanks George, this one’s a gem.

THE PURPLE CULTURE, Stephen Boehrer, Oceanview, $24.95, 206 pages, ISBN: 9781933515243, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

This is a very well written, interesting multi-layered novel. While it starts out as a typical lawyer driven courtroom drama, it continues as a study into insanity and sexual abuse by the clergy and ends up as an indictment of the Catholic Church and their history of maintaining THE PURPLE CULTURE.

The premise is that three Bishops have conspired to move pedophile priests around in the church rather than removing them from their roles and facing the truths of what is going on. As the trial is presented, we are treated to the thoughts of the Bishops, memories of the victims and families as they follow the trial, and memories and thoughts of other clergy and staff members.

The Prosecuting Attorney is looking at an open and shut case while the defense is doing its’ best to come up with a plan to get them off even though the facts all point to their guilt. The plan they come up with is extremely unorthodox and interesting.

Boehrer was a priest in the Catholic Church for almost ten years and the telling of this story makes you wonder how close the line between truth and fiction is drawn. If I have a complaint about this book is that it is too short. It is well written, interesting and thought provoking. I hope Boehrer has another book in his literary repertoire.

Mystery Novelist Christopher Valen Awarded The Garcia Prize for Best Fiction Book of the Year:

Christopher Valen Wins Prestigious Honor for debut novel, White Tombs

St. Paul, Minn.St. Paul novelist Christopher Valen has been awarded The Garcia Prize for his debut mystery, White Tombs. An annual award presented in conjunction with the national Reader Views Book Awards, The Garcia Prize is awarded to the best fiction book of the year. White Tombs also won Best Mystery of the Year honors.

White Tombs (Conquil Press, ISBN: 978-0980001723, $14.95, Mystery) introduces protagonist Detective John Santana. When a prominent leader of St. Paul’s close-knit Hispanic community is murdered, Detective Santana promises the widow he will bring down the killer.

Despite the snow and bitter cold, the case heats up quickly—suspects are killed before they can be questioned; Santana’s alcoholic partner’s trigger finger draws the attention of Internal Affairs; a sexually explicit photo of a murder victim surfaces in an unlikely place; a snow plow becomes a deadly weapon; and police brass threaten to pull Santana off the case.

Hunted by an assassin out for revenge, his violent Colombian past, and the younger sister he left behind, Santana’s simple vow to a dead man’s wife could be the oath that costs him his life. Everybody knows Minnesota winters can be deadly. But if the weather doesn’t kill Detective John Santana, the bullets might.

A chilling, harrowing, and suspenseful tale, White Tombs has garnered lavish praise, including:

“Valen's debut police procedural provides enough plot twists to keep readers engrossed.” – Library Journal

“A superb police procedural starring a fascinating lead detective. Santana is a wonderful new addition to the sub-genre.” Harriet Klausner, The Mystery Gazette

“This book goes well beyond just being a detective story. The characters are fantastically well-developed and the writing is solid and elegant.”
Reader Views

"Truly a 5-star read."
Armchair Interviews

"John Santana puts Valen's police procedural in a class of its own.” Abigail Davis, author of Hanging Katherine Garret

"Fast-paced, suspense-filled, and packed with accurate detail. A gripping story of revenge, murder and official corruption." Brian Lutterman, author of Bound to Die and Poised to Kill

Christopher Valen (www.christophervalen.com) is a writer and college professor who lives with his wife in the St. Paul, Minnesota area. Valen’s second novel, The Black Minute, will be released in September 2009 by North Star Press. White Tombs is available wherever fine books are sold. The Reader Views Awards is an annual literary awards program that recognizes excellence in independent publishing. Founded in 2005, Reader Views (www.readerviews.com) is based in Austin, Texas.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Convention news

Here's a brief update on a convention being held in France. If anyone wants the full flyer, email me at baryon@bellsouth.net. It runs 15 pages and is fully illustrated. Convention contact information is at the end of the update. It sounds like an interesting convention. Too bad I can't afford to go.

A Meeting of the Imagination in Epinal, France

Fantasy and Historical Fiction are the top billings

From May 14th-17th 2009, more than 100 authors, not only from France, but also the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and Poland will participate in the 8th edition of Les Imaginales, the festival of imaginary worlds organized by the city of Epinal, France.

During these 4 days, the entire universe of the imagination (fantasy, historical fiction, science fiction, is welcomed to Epinal, the «cite des images», which is a warm and lively area that blends tradition of images and innovation.

From May 14th-17th 2009, more than 100 authors, not only from France, but also the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and Poland will participate in the 8th edition of Les Imaginales, the festival of imaginary worlds organized by the city of Epinal, France.

During these 4 days, the entire universe of the imagination (fantasy, historical fiction, science fiction), is welcomed to Epinal, the «cite des images», which is a warm and lively area that blends tradition of images and innovation.

4 Days, 100 Authors, 40 Live Readings and Round Tables

Since 2002, Les Imaginales has promoted the discovery of new genres in the Imaginary field. The Festival invites authors from all different backgrounds, including big names in the fantasy genre alongside with regional authors. Among them appearing this year ‘s 2009 edition include: Anne Robillard, Hal Duncan, David Anthony Durham, Pierre Bordage, Anne-Marie Garat, Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, Andreas Eschbach, Céline Minard, Andrzej Sapkowski, and Barry Cunningham, publisher of ‘Harry Potter. Les Imaginales, by the active participation from authors, translators, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, distributors, and prescribers, has become the major gathering place for all professionals of the literary process.

The event has grown to such a size that the city has now invested several buildings, parks, and community centres in downtown Epinal to accommodate the booksellers, authors, publishers, illustrators and, of course, all the fans. For 4 days, Epinal hosts the largest book sale of imaginative literature in France. Several parks and clubs in Epinal welcome literary cafes, conferences and roundtables. At Les Imaginales, the public can passionately discuss their interest in imaginative literature with the authors themselves. Illustrations, storytelling, comic books, art, games ... all are encompassed in Les Imaginales in order to reach new readers.

Five prizes are Awarded, two of which decided by Students.

Les Imaginales offers a glimpse into the enchanting worlds of imaginative authors in order to share their passion for literature with others. Our education system understands that this event is a great opportunity to broaden students’ interests in reading and to get them more involved with the literary world. Les Imaginales High School Award, and new this year, Les Imaginales Middle School Award, allow young people to read, discuss, and debate their favourite literature of the imagination.

Other awards are: Award Imaginales (which was won last year by Thomas Day for his book The Throne of Ebony and also by Scott Lynch for The Red Blood Horizons). Other Awards include: the Prize for Another Earth and the Claude-Seignolle Award.

All events are free open to the public (except film showings).

The Original Festival of imaginary worlds can be identified by only one name: Imaginales.

Here, adventure literature, such as fantasy, science fiction, and suspense are celebrated. Also, fiction literature related to real life events, such as historical fiction and legends, are also an important part of our festival as well. But the heart of the festival circulates around literature that appeals to the vast majority of fiction readers – fantasy and historical fiction.

Open to all non-realistic forms of literature, the Festival of Imaginary world focuses strongly on historical themes or on themes of centuries past that we like to call historical fiction. The celebration of historic themes and fantasy at our festival comes naturally due to its’ strong following and great popularity among readers around the world.

The Guests… Authors From All Over the World !

(Current list)


Roderick GORDON & Brian WILLIAMS (United Kingdom), Barry CUNNINGHAM (United Kingdom), Hal DUNCAN (United Kingdom), David Anthony DURHAM (USA), Andreas ESCHBACH (Germany), Bernhard HENNEN (Germany), Adriana LORUSSO (Italy), Bruce Holland ROGERS (USA), Anne ROBILLARD (Canada), ANDRZEJ SAPKOWSKI (Poland), and Jean-Louis TRUDEL (Canada)




Krystal CAMPRUBI, Alexis FERRIER, Gilles FRANCESCANO, Michel KOCH (illustrateur 2009), Laurence PÉGUY, Magali VILLENEUVE, and Pascal YUNG.

Information and Reservations

Katrina Kolb (English Speaking) International Relations, Tél. : 06 47 32 71 89 (internationally : 01 16 47 32 71 89), katrina.kolb@gmail.com, www.imaginales.com