Novel Review – Kill The Dead by Richard Kadrey

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Awards

(for the author, not the “Sandman Slim” series”)

  • British SF Association Awards — for SF works published in the UK, voted by British SF Association members
  • “The First Man Not to Land on the Moon” (Back Brain Recluse #23 1997) — short fiction
  • Locus Awards — for SF/F/H works, polled by readers of Locus Magazine
    Dead Set (Harper Voyager) — fantasy novel — 25th place
  • Metrophage (Ace) — first novel — 3rd place Interzone Readers Poll — for stories published in Interzone magazine, polled by readers”Goodbye Houston Street, Goodbye” (Interzone #19 Spring 1987) — fiction — winner

“Let me make sure I have this straight. The cavalry just now rode into town and it’s a Czech Gypsy porn-star zombie killer. Have I got that right?”
― Richard Kadrey, Kill the Dead

About

 

From the publisher, “What do you do after you’ve crawled out of Hell to wreak bloody revenge? If you’re Stark you turn to bounty hunting, tracking and decimating whatever rogue monsters you’re paid to kill. Stark hates the work, but he needs the money, especially the big bucks Lucifer is offering. In town as an adviser on a biopic of his life, Lucifer needs protection, and he wants Stark as his bodyguard. But the gig isn’t all bad; there is the very sexy, very hot French porn star Brigitte Bardo, a friend of Lucifer’s in LA to remake her reputation as a legit actress. While it isn’t love, it’s pretty damn good, and after 11 years of demonic chastity, it’s enough for now.

Stark has enough trouble juggling a diva devil and a scorching French bombshell without a zombie plague to complicate matters. And just what happens when a human-angel half-breed is bitten by the living dead? His human side begins to die, transforming him into an unstoppable angel of death—a killing machine devoid of emotion or thought, with no regrets or future to worry about. Not a bad way to be when your choices are limited. Now, Stark has to decide . . . if he does find a cure for the zombie infection, will he take it?”

My Thoughts

“Hell is hilarious if you’re the one in charge.” ~ Lucifer

I absolutely love this series thus far. It was one of the books I wanted to finish reading by the end of the year via this list. 10 Books I Want to Read This Year.. And Why

My blog post from earlier this year, Kill the Dead” by Richard Kadrey –   I read the first “Sandman Slim” book, aptly named just “Sandman Slim” and dudddde, holy anti-hero batman. Yaas. Bring on the “I don’t give a shit attitude.” I love that the language in Sandman Slim is punchy. Not overly wordy and detailed.  I want some concisely written words.”

I received everything I asked for and more from reading #2 in the series. Sandman Slim should be on more lists and garner more praise. It should be up there with the likes of Dresden, and October Daye; it is just that damn good. It is so refreshing when there seems to be so much unoriginal urban fantasy out there. Always the same sort of schtick. Not this book…

“Twenty percent? What am I, your waiter? I got you five vampires, not a BLT.”
― Richard Kadrey, Kill the Dead

This story picks up a while after the first Sandman Slim story left off. We have our resident anti-hero having a hell of a time mentally, and in some ways physically while he tries to pay the bills by doing the odd killing or menacing here and there. I don’t want to give too much away, but if you enjoyed the first book in this series, “Sandman Slim” you will probably enjoy this one. They are a little different in style and texture. But, the dark humor and great story come through. There is a bit of a love interest, and a new interesting character getting fleshed out in Lucifer. I am going to keep this short, as this book is a pause in a longer story. But read the series. It is so worth it.

 

 

Review of Cryptofauna by Patrick Canning

Jim held a stern look on Oz. This was insane. Even for your-crazy-is-our-normal St. Militrude’s, this was insane.

Synopsis

A young janitor working at an insane asylum is about to commit suicide when he’s rudely interrupted by one of the residents and recruited to play in a game called Cryptofauna—a bizarre competition of worldwide meddling and mischief that might actually give the blue custodian a reason to live, assuming he survives the dangerous world of the game.


Stats

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Edition
  • 289 pages
  • Published December 7th 2018

So Jim’s glass was half full 98% of the time. Now though, he risked wandering into that realm of healthier milk, the 2%.

My Thoughts

Aside from his steak-and-cherry-only diet, Oz practiced another ritual that might have been considered strange were it performed outside the context of St. Mili’s. Months ago, the persuasive giant had used his slick cajolery to secure one of the only rooms in the facility equipped with its own bathtub. A man of seemingly endless skill, Oz had jerry-rigged St. Mili’s behemoth water heater to produce water at two hundred and eleven degrees Fahrenheit, just a notch below boiling point. Every night he’d fill his tub with the scalding water, add a sprinkling of a homemade spice mix (comprised principally of garlic and gunpowder), and slide his body in to cook.

Cryptofauna is a crazy batshit insane book. But in a good way. It is almost impossible to describe the plot to you, and If I even tried you would look at me like I lost my damn mind. Imagine writing a bunch of randomly selected nouns on papers, tossing them in a hat and producing a great story out of them. That is what Patrick Canning did.

Nouns include a Job at an insane asylum, cilantro, a bag of ash, the color blue, a dog, a Belgian, being marooned, leprous long living French monks, a body press made of mint, and shape-shifting animals.

That is just the start. It is a fantastically strange book where you completely fall in love with the characters and cheer Jim and his cohorts on in the grand competition. You want Jim to win, and you want to keep reading to see what else Canning can pull out of a hat. It is a great adventure, well worth checking out. You will not believe the Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy/Alice in Wonderland type journey the author will take you on. Give it a try.


Procurement

I received a copy of this from the author in exchange for my open and honest review.


About the Author – Patrick Canning

Patrick was born in Wisconsin, grew up in Illinois, and now lives in California with his dog, HANK.

Author Daniella Shepard Talks about The Program Covenant House

For those of you that follow me, I often post pictures of the beautiful winters that we have here in the state of Alaska. I love living here, and my husband and I often get out into the weather and enjoy what Alaska has to offer, even in the cold of winter. But we are able to come home to a nice warm house. There are those who cannot. It’s even more heart-wrenching when it’s kids who are living out on the streets, often the victims of abuse, exploitation and trafficking.

Covenant House Alaska’s mission is not just to give kids a bed and food for a night, but to help these kids find a sustainable path off the streets. They do this through collaboration with other organizations in the community to provide mental and physical health care, job training, and support to these at-risk kids. You can read more about their mission below.

Covenant House

I think many of us as can agree that reading and writing is a form of escape. I know it is for me. I can lose myself in a book or in my writing for hours. Recently, I reviewed Ryen Leslie’s book, River. Afterwards, I really started to think about who it would resonate with. Some of my coworkers (and myself, indirectly) are volunteers for Covenant House Alaska. I felt strongly that her YA Fantasy would really connect with these kids. In addition, from my interactions with Ryen, AKA: The Witch, she is always connecting with other writers and offering support through our very unique writing community.

I reached out to Sam Hendricks, of Kyanite Press, and asked if I could buy a few copies of Ryen’s book in bulk so that I could donate it to the shelter here in town. Sam, being the amazing person she is, was more than happy to work with me. The books will be making their way to Alaska as soon as they are off the press.

Meanwhile I reached out to Alison Kear, the Director of Covenant House, Alaska and pitched my plan. Ideally, we would distribute the books and see what reaction the kids have. Between the multiple shelters here in town, they have many kids who are avid readers and writers. Many of them are highly creative and write poetry, stories and music there at the shelter. Once the kids have read the books, if they have questions about writing, getting published, or even what Ryen has planned next in her series, we plan on setting up a live chat. This would allow these kids to connect with a newly published author. They can see that the path to publication success can be difficult, it is achievable. We can also help them define success and show them ways to utilize social media to their advantage to market their own ideas. This is in line with Covenant House’s Mission of helping these kids to find a sustainable path away from the streets.

When I deliver the books to the shelter, I plan on doing a Facebook live event, to give the organizers an opportunity to speak to all of the amazing things they do to help these young people.

I am looking forward to seeing how this plays out. If we get participation (like we hope), I’ll be reaching out to you, my fellow authors. We’ll share your writing and stories with the young adults at the shelter. Speaking with the directors of the shelter and outreach center, there is an interest in just about every genre.

The Outreach Center here in Anchorage also has a coffee shop that is run by some of the teens at the shelter as a way for them to learn how to run a business. We plan on doing poetry and story readings to encourage the kids to share their writing.

Thanks for reading, and hope to share your writing with these wonderful young adults and encourage them to get their writing out there too!

About the Author

Daniella Shepard is an electrical engineer and ex-navy nuclear electrician’s mate who pulled up anchor at eighteen in California. Through many twists and turns, she made her way to Alaska. When she’s not playing with live electricity or writing stories about women in STEM saving the day, you can find her in her cabin off the grid in the interior of Alaska with her husband Ray building and trying out something new. If you want to read more about her latest Alaskan adventure, or her current work-in-progress, check out her website and sign up for her newsletter: http://dmshepard.com. You can also find her on Twitter, participating in writing prompts and sharing tidbits of stories: @dmshepard13.

Connect with the Author

website: http://dmshepard.com/

Twitter: @dmshepard13

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dmshepard13


What Have I Got Going in May?

I am a little late on this post, it being a few days into May and everything. But I thought I might talk a little about my May goals and the case of the can’t-concentrates I have. Recently, I have been having a serious issue with exhaustion. It all stems from my sleeping issues that I have been dealing with the last 10 years or so. I have either insomnia or extremely light sleep that leaves me in a slump unable to get through much more than a bit at a time on books. I am hoping that this will pick up and I can go back to my normal reading habits. But as of right now I am behind on everything. Thats ok. As I have had to tell myself many times this last month, this is not a race nor should there be any pressure one me. It is what it is. That being said, I thought I might outline some of my goals for this month and some of the things I have in the hopper.

Aside from just doing my regular reading, I am about to finish my goodreads challenge for the year. I currently stand, as of today, at 91 books. My goal for the next month is 9 books to get my reading at an even 100 and finish my challenge. We shall see!

#Indiespotlight

  • May 1st – Chandra Press (You can find the link here)
  • May 8th – Kiersten Hall
  • May 15th – Carol A. Park
  • May 22nd – Ann Harrison-Barnes
  • May 29th – David Ellis Overttun

Guest Posting

  • May 9th – Covenant House Charity
  • May 13th – World building with Scott Kaelan
  • May 20th – Guest post by Author Adam S Burnett
  • May 21st – Interview with author Hannah Di Giorgis
  • May 27th – Guest Post article by The Mommy Bookshelf
  • May 30th – Ganesh Nair Article on Artemis by Andy Weir

Reviews Coming up

  • Sleepless Vol. 1 by Sarah Vaughn
  • Blackbird Vol. 1 by Chris Humphries
  • Cryptofauna by Patrick Canning
  • Escaping Wars and Waves by Olivier Kugler
  • Finding Baba Yaga by Jane Yollen
  • Blossoms in Autumn by Zidrou

Books To Be Read in May

These plus a few others. 🙂

Hallow

by Olga Gibbs

Review to come May 14th!

Being one of the most formidable archangels with the power to end the world doesn’t serve you well if you don’t know how to use it.

Thrown into a battle of courts and factions, tangled in a web of intrigues and palatial games, naïve Ariel is surrounded by powerful angels, chasing their own agendas.

There’s no one she can trust. Everyone stands to gain something from her death.

To avoid the bloody battle that Baza brought to her door at Uras, Ariel retreats back to Apkallu (Earth) to find her sister, but the Heavenly battles and intrigues she flees follow her, as Baza’s immense hold on Apkallu forces Ariel and Rafe to make uncomfortable choices.

Ariel’s fight for survival is far from over and it looks like it’s going to be a deadly one.


The Grey Bastards

by Jonathan French

LIVE IN THE SADDLE. DIE ON THE HOG. 

Such is the creed of the half-orcs dwelling in the Lot Lands. Sworn to hardened brotherhoods known as hoofs, these former slaves patrol their unforgiving country astride massive swine bred for war. They are all that stand between the decadent heart of noble Hispartha and marauding bands of full-blood orcs. 

Jackal rides with the Grey Bastards, one of eight hoofs that have survived the harsh embrace of the Lots. Young, cunning and ambitious, he schemes to unseat the increasingly tyrannical founder of the Bastards, a plague-ridden warlord called the Claymaster. Supporting Jackal’s dangerous bid for leadership are Oats, a hulking mongrel with more orc than human blood, and Fetching, the only female rider in all the hoofs. 

When the troubling appearance of a foreign sorcerer comes upon the heels of a faceless betrayal, Jackal’s plans are thrown into turmoil. He finds himself saddled with a captive elf girl whose very presence begins to unravel his alliances. With the anarchic blood rite of the Betrayer Moon close at hand, Jackal must decide where his loyalties truly lie, and carve out his place in a world that rewards only the vicious. 


Autobiography of a Traitor and a Half-Savage

by Alix E. Harrow

Original Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, Novelette || 

Oona’s blood is a river delta blending east and west, her hair red as Tennessee clay, her heart tangled as the wild lands she maps. By tracing rivers in ink on paper, Oona pins the land down to one reality and betrays her people. Can she escape the bonds of gold and blood and bone that tie her to the Imperial American River Company?

Edited by Carl Engle-Laird

Descendant of the Crane

by Joan He

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.

Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by
death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?


The Blighted City

by Scott Kaelen

To challenge the gods is to invite their wrath. So it is written of Lachyla, the Blighted City, in the Codex of the Ages. But who reads codices? And who really believes the tall stories of the Taleweavers?
Dagra does. If it’s a story about the gods – even a dead god – he believes every word. When his sellsword team is offered a contract to cross the Deadlands and find a burial jewel in the crypts of the Blighted City, Dagra wants no part of it. His companions are undaunted by the legend; to them, the blurred divide between the living and the dead is superstitious nonsense. Completing the contract would earn their guild’s failing reputation a much-needed boost and secure them the bounty of a lifetime. They’re going, with or without him. Torn between the convictions of his beliefs and the importance of his friendships, Dagra reluctantly journeys into the godless region in search of the fabled city. But the Deadlands are only the first challenge.
The sellswords uncover an age-old deception when they learn that Lachyla’s foul seed is much darker than its legend, that its truth must forever remain untold or risk plunging humanity into an eternal nightmare. Snagged on the barbs of the blight, Dagra faces the toughest choice of his life … and of his death.

Tender is the Soul in Waves by Ingrid Chabbert (illustration) by Carole Maurel

Synopsis

A young woman and her wife’s attempts to have a child unfold in this poetic tale that ebbs and flows like the sea.

After years of difficulty trying to have children, a young couple finally announces their pregnancy, only to have the most joyous day of their lives replaced with one of unexpected heartbreak. Their relationship is put to the test as they forge ahead, working together to rebuild themselves amidst the churning tumult of devastating loss, and ultimately facing the soul-crushing reality that they may never conceive a child of their own.

Based on author Ingrid Chabbert’s own experience, coupled with soft, sometimes dreamlike illustrations by Carole Maurel, Waves is a deeply moving story that poignantly captures a woman’s exploration of her pain in order to rediscover hope. 


Stats

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hardcover
  • 96 pages
  • Expected publication: May 7th 2019 by Archaia (first published February 15th 2017)
  • Original Title Écumes
  • ISBN1684153468 (ISBN13: 9781684153466)

My Thoughts

We all have that moment where we are storm-tossed sheltered in a proverbial dingy clinging for safety. A moment where we look upon the future, and it seems like nothing more than waves crashing against the boat. Miscarriage, but really infertility in general, is one of those things that can toss you among the crashing waves and cause you to have to find your way back home. It is damaging, brutal, heart wrenching and prompts you to question everything you have ever held dear. It is also one of those things that are rarely discussed but affects so many. In Ingrid Chabbert graphic novel, Waves” she speaks of the before, during, and after of miscarriage and heartbreak after suffering miscarriage. It is poignant and painful, and she broke my heart as she stood in her little boat and faced a future among the crashing ways after a miscarriage. She is fierce in the most real sense of the world, and she broke my damn heart…

This story is a true story of Ingrid Chabbert and her partner’s struggle with infertility, pregnancy, and miscarriage and then the struggle back to the light of life afterward. Anyone at all who has dealt with infertility can tell you how devastating it can be on every aspect of your life. Pregnancy is everywhere from the woman at the grocery store to adds on TV. It is such an important book to write and create because no one wants to talk candidly about it. With pregnancy rates as they are 1 in 10 women are infertile or have problems staying pregnant. This is such a real struggle, and that is 6 million women out there that have to contend with this every day.

No one wants to tell stories like this, it is as if our collective culture thinks something like infertility is a catchable disease like cooties or chicken pox. But Chabbert does, and she tells it beautifully. Not only is it a gripping and emotional read, it is beautifully rendered by Carole Maurel. Each page is done in a kaleidoscope of soft and beautiful colors and the images Maurel created of Chabbert being lost among the sea’s waves are so right and so real.
Readers and people appreciative of graphic novels should read this. She put her heart out there and her journey with this story, and this is an incredible work of art.


Questions

  1. How do you think infertility is portrayed in modern society and media?
  2. Do you think there is an associated stigma with infertility and mental health issues resulting from it?

Procurement

I received this as an eARC from Netgalley and the publisher Archaia in exchange for my open and honest review.


About the Author

Ingrid Chabbert was born in 1978 in Aveyron and lives today in Carcassonne.
She has been writing since her early childhood, everywhere and on anything. 
She did not study letters but playing with words, talking about life to children is her passion. His very first youth album was released in 2010. 
Since then, nearly thirty titles have been created.

First Chapter, First Paragraph – It by Stephen King

“Eddie discovered one of his childhood’s great truths. Grownups are the real monsters, he thought.” 
― Stephen King, It

About

Welcome to Derry, Maine …

It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real …

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them back to Derry to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.


“Come on back and we’ll see if you remember the simplest thing of all – how it is to be children, secure in belief and thus afraid of the dark.” 
― Stephen King, It

First Chapter, First Paragraph

“The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years—if it ever did end— began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain. The boat bobbed, listed, righted itself again, dived bravely through treacherous whirlpools, and continued on its way down Witcham Street toward the traffic light which marked the intersection of Witcham and Jackson. The three vertical lenses on all sides of the traffic light were dark this afternoon in the fall of 1957, and the houses were all dark, too. There had been steady rain for a week now, and two days ago the winds had come as well. Most sections of Derry had lost their power then, and it was not back on yet. “

This is one of those books that I have never made it through. I have tried twice now and started having nightmares. This horror is potent stuff.

A Christmas Horror Story by Author Lennie Grace

This is the writing prompt that changed my life forever.


I’ve always loved writing and reading, especially fantasy, mysteries, horror, and historical fiction focused on Robin Hood. I’ve written a few things before, but nothing I felt confident enough to publish beyond giving stories as gifts to my family and close friends and posts to Wattpad that I always took down after a while.

I’m a very self-conscious person, and I always worry about what people will think of me. I blame middle school bullies. Kids going through puberty are the worst!

Besides sharing copies with my family and friends, and those few posts to Wattpad that quickly came back down, I was never confident to publish my works.

Then, I stumbled across a Wattpad writing contest featuring that simple prompt.

I was feeling really good at the time I found it. It was the holidays. I was surrounded by family. I had recently finished therapy sessions that taught me a lot about dealing with the anxiety of not being perfect and liked (leftovers from those middle school bullies). Also, that prompt simply sounded fun. On a whim, I said, “What the hell?! I’ll try!”

So, I started writing.

Two stories were born from that one, simple holiday-themed idea: Blood Moon and All That Glitters.

Blood Moon is the story of a woman who is attacked by a werewolf, and things get terrifying around Christmas. All that Glitters in the tale of a young woman who gets a haunted music box for Christmas and must deal with it before it drives her mad.

I submitted both stories. All that Glitters won! Besides Blood Moon, there was only one other entry, but I didn’t focus on that part. I was still thrilled. Something I had written had won a contest! Someone out there in internet land liked what I had written, and I’d had such fun creating those scary stories.

I wanted to write more. So I did. I wrote another short story. I started work on my first full-length horror novel. It was fun creating scary stuff. I realized I wanted more people to see my work. If one person had enjoyed those stories, maybe more would like them too.

I started editing as best I could. Then, I set up a Kindle Direct Publishing account and got to work. I created my covers, wrote the best blurbs I could, and I self-published my first book: Darkness and Bloodshed. A collection of my three first short scary stories.

I was so nervous, but I was determined to get it out there.

It’s not perfect. I did all the editing and designing. There’s probably still a few typos and errors. It’s a self-published book. The cover is a simple design I made myself with Amazon’s cover creator. But it’s mine. I created something. And perfect or not, those stories are something I’m proud of.

It’s all thanks to one person’s prompts. Without that one simple idea to write scary Christmas stories, I would never have realized just how much I love writing horror. Without seeing that prompt, without that one person saying that they liked my stories, I might have never have dared to fulfill a life long dream of becoming a published author.

I dedicated my book to them. I’ve never met that Wattpad writer, but know I like them.

Blood Moon and All that Glitters are my first born literary twins. Even as I move on to new projects, new stories, new novels, these two will hold a special place in my heart. Even if I never make a lot of money writing and publishing, even if only a few people read and enjoy my work, I’ll be happy. It’s the greatest honor as a writer I can think of. Knowing something I wrote brought a little spooky fun into someone else’s life.


About the Author – Lennie Grace

Lennie Grace writes horror short stories and novels and looks forward to sharing her love all things creepy and spooky with the world. She works two jobs now, but someday hopes to write full time. 

Lennie loves to write fiction that focuses on dark and creepy things, but is extremely nice and non-creepy in real life.

She is a lover of books, reading, and writing. She enjoys reading a little bit of everything, but really likes horror, mysteries & thrillers, fantasy and manga. Along with reading and writing she also loves animals, coffee, pizza, and all things cute and cuddly.

She lives in Oklahoma in a home filled with books and family members, both human and furry.

here’s a link to her facebook page, if anyone wants to follow her! 😀 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lennie-Grace

Links to Her Books: Amazon