Sunday, September 28, 2014

recent read; Writ In Blood (Serenity Falls, Book I) by James A. Moore

Writ In Blood (Serenity Falls, Book I)

In upstate New York, a writer embarks on writing his hometown's history. What Simon MacGruder learns are dark and disturbing moments that the entire town seems to casually overlook. Occult forces are at work - they always have been, since Serenity Falls' cursed beginning. Meanwhile, Jonathan Crowley, a mysterious man with decidedly unnatural abilities, heads toward Serenity Falls to meet something dark and evil. But, strange events keep his arrival perpetually delayed.

Serenity Falls was originally one self-contained novel. When it went to paperback, the story was expanded into a trilogy of novels. As such, Writ In Blood tends to be a very large setup novel that sets the stage for the rest of the trilogy (I assume.)

As I've only starting reading Moore's work, so it might be early to say, but between reading Seven Forges and Writ In Blood, I would daresay James A. Moore likes to build his worlds and reveal them to us in due time. He does this deftly and keeps the reader interested all the way. Writ In Blood might be more about the town of Serenity Falls as a historical whole than about its inhabitants, though many of them obviously have roles to play. This opening tale is largely about atmosphere and that's what good horror is, to me.

Moore presents the tale across three aspects - MacGruder's experiences as he digs into the town history, the town history itself, and Crowley's journey. It's a good idea, with Crowley's physical action giving counterweight to the drama of MacGruder and the history of the town.

This opening tale ends on a some very unresolved notes. (see - "split up into trilogy.") But I've been invested enough in the twisted little town of Serenity Falls that I certainly will be returning for the second installment.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

recent read; Operation: Ice Bat

Operation: Ice Bat

Not only did attending NECON give my horror reading an extra kick, it also made me want to read stories from many of the writers I met. I did seek out various novel titles for my wishlists, but anthologies are an even quicker way of delivering my needs. Fortunately, over the years, a great many of the writers have featured together in anthologies. (There are even some NECON specific anthologies.)  I picked up on this benefit anthology, and it seemed a good place to start, and it featured many NECON attendees.

It's a solid anthology with varying degrees of horrors sub-genres. One or two of the stories didn't match my tastes, but overall it was an entertaining group of stories. That is usually the case with any anthology. For the ebook price, the cause and the variety, Operation: Ice Bat is a sure bet if you're looking for some horror reads.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tis the season

I could blame all these recent horrific acquisitions on the Autumn/Halloween season, but I started earlier this year. We'll blame Charles Rutledge, Jim Moore and NECON in general.

The Drums of Chaos by Richard Tierney

The Dracula Tape by Fred Saberhagen

The Night of the Ripper by Robert Bloch

The Monster's Corner, anthology, edited by Christopher Golden

Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 23, anthology of stories from 2011

B.P.R.D. (Volume 3, Plague of Frogs)

Afterlife with Archie

I've bought some other stuff, too, of course, but they aren't horror titles.

Monday, September 15, 2014

On to Washington (D.C.)

My nephew got married this weekend, so that meant a whirlwind family trip to the Washington, D. C. area. It was my kids first time on an airplane and they did great. We squeezed in a very brief trip to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. The kids are still too young to appreciate the exhibits, but there were some hands on arts & crafts "build your own plane" stuff going on, so it was a good distraction.

The wedding was a fun, pleasant affair. The couple got married at the Old Post Chapel next to Arlington National Cemetery. The reception was back at our hotel, the Hyatt in Crystal City Arlington, VA.

The reception was in the top floor Chesapeake room, and the view of the Potomac River and Washington D.C. were spectacular.

And just to illustrate where my mind goes sometimes...

I've been to Gettysburg and various American Civil War battlefields. I've been to D.C. But, it never really hit me until I had that view of just how fragile the Union's hold on the capitol must have been. I mean, I know D.C. is in Maryland but I guess, in my head, I always pictured it as central in the state, but it's not. Washington is right there, against the river and what was the border of the Confederacy.

I know the war was long before planes and the river is wide, and troops would need to come overland. But - one good bridge in the hands of the Confederacy and who knows what might of happened.

It's somewhat amazing they held not only during the opening days of the war, but throughout the four years.

A while back, The Siege of Washington by John & Charles Lockwood got onto my Kindle via a Daily Deal. I'm going to need to read it soon.

My other geek vibe from the view was from Karl Edward Wagner's gunslinger character, Becker. In his alternate world, he saw Washington D.C. burn and the Confederacy won the war.

Monday, September 1, 2014

recent read; Enemies & Allies

Superman & Batman, set in the late 1950s/early 1960s Cold War. Batman and Superman, fighting crime in their separate manners, find themselves drawn together as defense contractor Lex Luthor sets evil plans in motion. Luthor wants government contracts & power, and is willing to push the superpower nations to the brink of nuclear annihilation to get what he wants. With a nod or two toward Dr. No, he sets up a Caribbean base of operations.

Luthor's co-conspirator in the Soviet Union is trying to establish his own race of supermen from exploited workers who are excavating the site of a meteorite impact. The radiation from the strange, green element cause mutations, which General Ceridov hopes to transmute into a Soviet eugenics program to compete with the American Superman.

This novel was a lot of fun. The characterizations are spot on. Lots of nice period touches without going overboard. Balanced explorations of Bruce Wayne & Clark Kent and their alter egos. Lois Lane is feisty as ever.

I'd love to see this adapted as a DC Universe Animated Original Movie - which is really the highest compliment I can give it.