Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Reviews from Barry

SOMEONE’S WATCHING, Sharon Potts, Oceanview, $25.95, 352 pages, ISBN: 97816080901366, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

In her first novel, IN THEIR BLOOD, Sharon Potts introduced us to an interesting group of characters and a thrilling plot line. With this second novel, she continues in that vein with some of the same characters making an appearance in another plot driven novel of murder, blackmail and relationships.

Robbie Ivy has left her past behind working as a bartender, taken on a new boyfriend, and discovers a family she never knew existed. Her father, who she hasn’t seen in eighteen years, comes to her for help in finding her sister, Kate who has disappeared along with a friend in South Beach. The friend turns up dead and they fear the worst has happened to Kate. Seeing her father and finding out she has a sister plunges Robbie into an adventure that will involve Jeremy Stroeb and others from IN THEIR BLOOD.

As Robbie searches for Kate, see becomes involved in the club scene and starts becoming a nuisance in a scheme that involves sex slaves and blackmail. She and Jeremy find and follow clues on their own and become suspects as well.

Potts has written another fast paced novel with enough red herrings for a family fish fry. This is another satisfying suspense novel showing how normal people can get in over their heads to help out their family. Lookout for this one, it’s a winner.

TEN YEARS OF HIPPOCAMPUS PRESS, 2000-2010, Derrick Hussey, S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz, Hippocampus Press, $7.50, 80 pages, ISBN: 9780984480289, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

In my formative years, books from Arkham House, Gnome Press, Avalon, and the other small presses were only available in libraries, and it was only the progressive libraries that bothered with them. It was a discerning reader or one recognized by the head librarian that managed to see these titles. Fortunately, our library had these on the general reader shelves in the horror or science fiction section. These were the first sections I went to during my weekly visit.

I’m guessing the authors of this title and founders of Hippocampus Press had the same type of librarian to help them fuel their curiosity and sow the seeds that took root and have helped it grow into what it is today.

This is more than a list of books they have published, it is a history of the past ten years in weird fiction and nurturing authors whose writing are not exactly mainstream. Arkham House was created to save the writings of Lovecraft and Hippocampus Press was founded to follow in those footsteps and continue to break new ground.

From Joshi’s scholarly works on Lovecraft, to new Mythos stories, studies of Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard, novels by Adam Niswander, and collections of stories from new writers, Hippocampus fills a very necessary place in keeping Eldritch Horror alive and well.

This is a history and a checklist that fills a place of honor on the bookshelves. I can’t wait to see what they came come up with in the next ten years to fill the second volume.

BLOTTO, TWINKS AND THE EX-KING’S DAUGHTER, Simon Brett, Felony & Mayhem Press, $14.95, 211 pages, ISBN: 9781934609699, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

In this satisfying first novel in a new British mystery series, we have the Wimsey of Lord Peter, the banter of Nick & Nora Charles, and the charm of Hercule Poirot. It is a fun easy read that takes the reader on a rousing ride across Europe with Blotto and his sister, Twinks.

The Ex-King of Mitteleuropa is visiting Tawcester Towers where one of his guards is murdered. This puts our two siblings into detective mode as they seek to solve the case. As normal life, including a fox hunt, goes on, another body is discovered as well as a plot to kidnap the ex-king’s daughter.

When the kidnapping occurs, Blotto and his devoted valet set out for Mittleuropa to save her and try to regain the throne no matter what the obstacle. Besides they have a really great car.

This is a terrific read and should be a hit with those who remember The Thin Man, Nick & Nora Charles, and the other soft boiled gumshoes of the 1940s. This is the first of a series and I hope it is not too long before another volume is available.

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