Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Here are some of my recent reviews of books that I've read by friends and colleagues. The reviews are all published on Goodreads and Amazon. The links below will take you to Amazon.

Beat to a Pulp: Round 1, edited by David Cranmer and Elaine Ash.

It would be virtually impossible to do a review that does justice to all the richness to be found in this collection. We're talking a whopping 380 pages of pulse pounding, gut wrenching pulp fiction. Not for the faint of heart, but maybe it's perfect for the faint of pulse. It should certainly get the heart rate up and the blood pressure rising.

I hesitate to mention specific stories for fear readers, and the writers, will think I didn't care for the others in the collection. I can honestly say that I didn't find a clinker in the bunch. They each had something interesting to offer. In looking back through the table of contents, however, a few stories do particularly linger in my mind.

"Heliotrope" by James Reasoner has some great atmospheric horror.

The monkey in "Hard Bite" by Anonymous-9 will linger a long time in my head.

"The Unreal Jesse James" by Chap O'Keefe had some great SF elements that I loved. Plus that title is just a winner.

"A Native Problem" by Chris F. Holm put me in mind of "Heart of Darkness."

"Hoosier Daddy" by Jedidiah Ayres wins my "I just threw up in my mouth a little bit" award. And that's not a bad thing.

"Acting Out" by Frank Bill had perhaps the most unique style to the story.

There are many other memorable stories, including works by Patricia Abbott, Evan Lewis, Edward A. Grainger, and Scott D. Parker, and there's an Ed Gorman story, which is always a plus.

Overall, I highly recommend it.

Storlandia Issue 3:, Containing the Novella "Dead Girl, Live Boy" by Michelle Brooks.

Issue 3 of Storylandia consists of a novella by Michelle Brooks called "Dead Girl, Live Boy." Brooks is a Detroit writer and the work is set in Detroit. It features a young woman named Josette and her brother Josh, both severely wounded by childhood, who live together as roommates and try to survive in a world full of bad relationships, a world where almost every decision has to be made between something bad and something worse. The story is told from Josette’s point of view, and begins: “The night my brother Josh took a razor and carved a grin underneath his mouth…”

Although this book would generally be classified as literary fiction, it certainly has elements of psychological horror in it. The writing is superb, the characterization top notch. At times, the combination of Josette’s insight into her world, and yet her inability to rescue either herself or her brother is heart-wrenching. And their parents? Simply chilling, in an understated way. I won’t spoil the ending by saying anything specific, but if you read and appreciate literary fiction you’ll probably have a rough idea of how things will end. Even if you don’t typically read literary fiction, this might make a good foray into that field.

I highly recommend it.

Archangel, by Bernard Lee DeLeo

Well, you will never look at Archangels, Lucifer, and nuns the same way again. The story concerns two Archangels, Raphael and Abaddon, the Archangel of the Abyss, in an alliance with two Catholic nuns to destroy demons that are possessing important human figures on earth and wreaking havoc with human lives and world affairs. There's a lot of action and a whole lot of humor. A fun book.



Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Charles,
You are awesome, as always! And cool as well -- cool is beyond my grasp, for sure. Thanks for the shout-out -- I'll check out the other books now as I have read mine so many times to edit it that I can't take it anymore. :)

David Cranmer said...

Many thanks, Charles.

I see today where we are in the Amazon top thirty for anthologies. Not bad, considering we have been around for seven months.

RK Sterling said...

Sounds good, Charles. Thanks for posting. "Archangel" in particular sounds right up my alley. :)

Ron Scheer said...

You are dead right about BTAP#1. It's a crash course in neo-pulp for sure.

Charles Gramlich said...

Michelle, I know what you mean. I get that way with my own editing.

David, wow, that's pretty good. I didn't notice that. Good news indeed.

Kate, it's a wild and crazy kind of book. ;)

Ron, true!

laughingwolf said...

dang... more to add to my tbr list, but not til after i find a place to move to... hopefully before summer!

Deka Black said...

Ah, neo-pulp... Is hard. to tellthe truth, i'm trying somethinglike that with a short story i finished just some days ago.

btw: i think "neo-pulp" is a very pulp word itself, don't yout hink?

And you know what ithink is VERY pulp? salgari. Salgari work is VERY pulp.

ivan said...

Busy, busy, busy on the Pulp Beat.

Last time I got that busy, I'd drink.

Still do.

jodi said...

Hey Charles, I plan to catch Michelle story and that will be enough bizarre for my 'faint of heart'!

Charles Gramlich said...

laughingwolf, didn't know you were moving. HOpe that goes smoothly.

Deka Black, I like the term neo-pulp myself. Even retro-pulp would be pretty cool. Good stuff.

ivan, no time to drink these days. We are planning a pub crawl soon.

jodi, it was pretty intense. Good stuff. Tremendously psychological.

Lisa said...

You give reviews that would help readers decide. It was personal and honest.

Drizel said...

O my word, sounds super kewl:) would love to read them:)

BernardL said...

Thank you, my friend.

the walking man said...

I have Brooks book on the kindle, but I saw the unedited version so it will wait until I am done with my current read. But the Archangel book looks pretty interesting. If I like it as much as I liked Resonance then I will have tipped over completely and say I really like my kindle.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ocean Girl, thanks. I appreciate that. I'm still having trouble most days commenting on your blog btw. I get the "please wait" notice.

Drizel, lots of good reading out there these days.

BernardL,no prob. I finally got it up on Amazon too.

Mark, I've actually not used my Kindle for a few days. Been listening in the car to my new satellite radio, which plays music amazingly. Imagine, a radio station playing music.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks for the mention of BTAP, which holds its own wonderfully, I think.

Chris said...

Thanks for the kind mention, Charles.

Cloudia said...

This is a real service. . .

thanks, Charles for educating my reading palate.

Warm Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral




sage said...

The other day, Amazon (who sends out a daily email that I am beginning to hate and generally don't bother to open) was promoting one of your books! Good work on the reviews.

Charles Gramlich said...

pattinase, it seems to be doing very well.

Chris, no prob, man.

Cloudia, glad you enjoyed.

sage, that's at least cool. I'm glad to hear that.

X. Dell said...

I guess three more for the reading list.

Charles Gramlich said...

X-dell, my reading list is hopeless already

Golden Eagle said...

Thank you for the reviews!

Charles Gramlich said...

Golden eagle, no prob.