Monday, July 11, 2011

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 7/9

Happy Monday, welcome to another week, and here's a quick list of the books that showed up in my mailbox last week. I haven't read them yet, but here's what I can tell you about them even with that handicap.

Infernal Angels is the twenty-first novel in Loren D. Estleman's excellent series of novels about Detroit private investigator Amos Walker; they're American hard-boiled mysteries in the old tradition, and I've been reading them for a couple of decades now. (And Estleman has been writing them for even longer; the first book is Motor City Blue, written in 1980.) I read a whole bunch of books in this series back in 2007 under the puckish title Hornswoggler's Estleman Loren Project (or HELP for short), though I'll also note that I'm now a book behind again, since I still have 2010's The Left-Handed Dollar on the to-be-read pile. The Walker books are old-fashioned, as I said, which means that a reader can pick up any book in the series at random -- Infernal Angels, for example, which was published by Forge in hardcover at the beginning of this month -- and not have to worry about complicated backstories and convoluted supporting casts. More than "can," actually -- I'd recommend it.

James Herbert is a massively popular, million-selling horror novelist in the UK, but he's never quite sold as well over on my side of the pond, for whatever reasons. (I'm not sure what they are, and I won't speculate, in part because I've never read a Herbert book -- as I've said too many times, I'm not all that fond of horror to begin with.) But the US audience now has yet another chance to get it, since Herbert's most recent novel, 2006's The Secret of Crickley Hall, is coming to America in the form of a trade paperback from Tor, which is due to hit stores a week from tomorrow. So, if you like horror, or British novels -- or, even better, both -- this is a book you should look for.

Eventually Steampunk will wither and be replaced by something even less likely [1], but, until that happens, we'll keep getting lots of covers with corseted young women -- with tight smiles and a steely look of determination in their eyes -- looking out at the reader while something clanks around in the background. This week's entry into that derby is Andrew P. Mayer's The Falling Machine, first in "The Society of Steam" series. Mayer is a game designer and writer; his heroine is a spunky socialite in 1880; and his plot revolves around 19th century superheroes. Pyr published Falling Machine in trade paper a few weeks ago.

Also from Pyr in June and -- oddly -- also a first novel from a game designer is Erin Hoffman's Sword of Fire and Sea (which additionally is the first book in a fantasy series called "The Chaos Knight"). It's the story of a Captain and a fire priestess, thrown together on an epic journey to at least some of the places on the map that this book most assuredly has.

[1] Not entirely, of course; alternate histories aren't the infestation they were a decade ago, but there's still dozens of the little buggers every direction you turn. But steampunk will go out of fashion one of these days, in its turn.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Does this mean that you are not a fan of steampunk?

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