Monday, August 02, 2010

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 7/31

Welcome to Monday once again -- as usual, I've got a list of the books that came in the mail last week, in the hopes that some of them will look really, really good to you. (Those might not be the same ones that look really, really good to me -- after all, there's no reason for me to believe your tastes are identical to mine.) As always, I'll note that I haven't read any of these books yet, so I'm working from a quick glance at them and whatever I already know about the publisher/author/series/genre.

First up is Martin Millar's new novel, Curse of the Wolf Girl -- it's the sequel to Lonely Werewolf Girl, but you LWG fans might need to dig a bit to find it, since the new book is being published by Underland Press. (Underland is an excellent smaller press, with a sensibility towards the dark fantasy/horror side of the genre, but since they are smaller, sometimes their books aren't available in as many places. But, if you know a book exists, these days you can always track it down.) Millar has never quite caught fire here in the states, though I get the impression he's substantially more popular in his native UK (and he gets glowing recommendations from other writers, such as Neil Gaiman). Curse continues the story of Kalix, a moody, goth-y teenage werewolf now in London (away from her extended family/clan) to further her education -- Underland's trade paperback edition will be released on August 15th.

Next up are two books that I've already seen (and mentioned) once, both of them now available from Tor:
  • The Bloodstained Man is the second book in the "Netherworld" trilogy from Christopher (Bazil Broketail) Rowley, in the "Heavy Metal Pulp" series of short, punchy, action-heavy novels co-published by Tor and Heavy Metal magazine. It's illustrated by Justin Norman.
  • The Osiris Ritual is similarly a second book -- it follows The Affinity Bridge in the adventures of George Mann's steampunk detectives Newbury & Hobbes.
Also from Tor, and officially hitting stores tomorrow, is The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Undead, yet another one of those zombie mash-ups of out-of-copyright works with new scenes of gore and mayhem. This one is by Mark Twain and Don Borchert, and I'm mildly surprised that these books are still appearing.

Also also from Tor is a contemporary fantasy novel by "Lee Carroll" called Black Swan Rising. (Nasim Taleb fans, sit back down -- this has nothing to do with you.) I put the author's name in quotes because the bio on the back of this trade paperback gives away that Lee Carroll is a pseudonym for mystery novelist Carol Goodman and her poet husband Lee Slonimsky, which is a new level in "open pseudonym" for me. This Black Swan has a mysterious antique shop, a prophecy that's hundreds of years old, fey folk, a sexy vampire/hedge fund manager, and a female jewelry designer named Garet at the middle of it all -- it's hitting stores tomorrow.

Greg Houston, the man behind the indescribable graphic novel Vatican Hustle, is back with Elephant Man, in which Jon Merrick fights crime as a costumed superhero in contemporary Baltimore. Houston draws like the deranged love child of Ralph Steadman and Kevin O'Neill and writes like Bob Burden after a particularly substance-filled long weekend with Hunter S. Thompson; his work is bizarre to a level that normal instruments cannot accurately register it. Elephant Man will be published by NBM in October, and there's no way that anything stranger will be on your local shelves at that point.

Last for this week is the first full-length graphic novel by Jen Wang, Koko Be Good, which is based on Wang's short comic of the same name. It's a contemporary story about young people -- primarily the title character, who decides she wants to be "good" -- and has to figure out what that means, and how to do it. Wang's art is lovely and engaging, so I hope her writing is equally compelling -- and Koko Be Good will be coming to stores everywhere in September, brought to you by the good folks at First Second.

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