Category Archives: Book Reviews
It’s hard to believe it’s only been three years since Barack Obama was elected president, and not even a full year since the American public soundly rejected his socialist policies with a stinging election night rebuke in 2010. The day after that election, Jim DeMint published an article outlining what the incoming Republican senators should expect in Washington. I linked to that article on Facebook and posted the following thought -
You should read this article from Jim DeMint. I have to say – I wouldn’t mind seeing him challenge Obama in 2012. DeMint/Rubio 2012 anyone?
After reading “The Great American Awakening” by Senator DeMint, I believe it even more strongly that he has the answers to many of the problems we are facing today.
In “The Great American Awakening”, Senator DeMint chronicles the two years between Barak Obama’s election and the landslide Republican Congressional victory in 2010. Looking back now, it’s easy to see the path from one Tuesday in November to the other. Those two years, however, were a long march for conservatives. People were enveloped in a self-congratulatory haze after electing America’s first black president. Pundits were pronouncing an end to conservatism and the advent of permanent rule by the Democratic Party. The future looked bleak.
In my review of last year’s “Foreign Influence” by Brad Thor, I said the following:
If I have one criticism of the book it is that it reads like what it really is – a prologue. The story is engaging, fast paced, and well written – but you can tell that it is essentially the foundation for a deeper and more far reaching narrative.
Tomorrow marks the release of that more far reaching narrative. With “Full Black”, Thor pays off the promises found in “Foreign Influence” and delivers a thinking man’s thriller. There’s plenty of action, military insight, and even more action – but there’s also a cogent political, social, and economic story woven into the fabric of the book. Taking a step back and looking to the horizon, we find that while still dangerous, radical Islam is not the only enemy we face. At times nuanced and at other times blunt, Thor pulls no punches in deconstructing the broader adversaries aligned against us in the world today. It’s a story about layers, and serves to lay the foundation for the continued evolution of both Thor as a storyteller and Scot Harvath as a character.
When I finish a book, I usually like to let it sit for a few days before I start crafting my review. I like to let it marinate, as it were, and bounce around unencumbered in the empty bell tower of my subconscious. Not so with “Deadline”. I just finished it seven minutes ago and felt compelled to grab the laptop, head out to the back porch, and start writing. Why the rush? Quite simply, I was blown away by the story and I have to share it with you.
“Deadline” is the second book in the Newsflesh trilogy from author Mira Grant. The first book in the series, “Feed”, came out last year and landed the fifth spot on my “Top 11 of 2010” list. As I said about it at the time –
“Mira Grant constructs a world filled with characters and zombies that allow us to see not only what the zombie apocalypse might look like, but also forces us to ask the question – in a world full of danger, loss, and fear; how important is the truth?”
With “Deadline”, Grant dives headlong back into the world of “Feed” and shows us that some truths are more true than others.
If you didn’t get a chance to order the inaugural offering from Maelstrom Books, your chance to order the second set of releases is fast approaching. The next set of three signed and numbered books will be available for pre-order this Sunday, June 19th.
If you haven’t heard of Maelstrom Books, you can get the full scoop from Brian Keene’s website here. In a nutshell, each set consists of three books – one novel length work from Brian Keene, one novella from Brian Keene, and one full-length novel from an auther of Keene’s choosing. Each book is signed and numbered, with the entire release limited to 260 sets for wave one, and now 300 sets for wave two.
The first wave gave us a collectible version of Keene’s “A Gathering Crows”, a new novella set in the Rising universe, “The Rising: Deliverance” and the phenomenal debut novel “Six Days” from Kelli Owen. (You can read my review of “Six Days” here.)
For wave two, Keene has contributed the novel length collection “A Conspiracy of One”, the novella “Alone”, and “Once Upon A Time In Midnight” by John Urbancik. You can read more about each book and find out about the pre-order here.
No matter who you are – a Brian Keene fan, a horror fan, a book collector – do yourself a favor and pre-order the second set of releases from Maelstrom Books. You won’t be disappointed, unless you decide to wait until Monday and find they are already sold-out. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Faithful readers will remember that I am a fan of “end of the world” stories. I read them regularly and enjoy them immensely. Always on the lookout for something I haven’t read in the genre, I came across “Level 7” by Mordecai Roshwald while exploring a string of “other customers also bought” recommendations on Amazon. I took the plunge, punched the button, and decided to give the book a try.
“Level 7” was first published in 1959. It is constructed as the diary of Officer X-127 – a military officer who is part of his country’s nuclear weapons program. X-127 is deployed to the 7th level of a vast underground complex – the level responsible for the offensive capabilities of their nuclear arsenal (Level 6 is defensive, Level 5 is living quarters for the elite and political classes, etc.). Through his journal entries, you learn about life underground, the eventual start of a full-scale nuclear war, and the aftermath for the survivors.
Sometimes you find a story that’s more than a story, and other times you read a book that’s only a collection of words. Sometimes you get a glimpse into someone else’s life and other times you take a step back and look at your own. Sometimes you learn something profound and other times simplicity confounds you. Sometimes you enjoy the journey and other times you only see the destination. Sometimes you read a book like “Austin Nights” by herocious.
“Austin Nights” is a book that defies easy description, but delivers a potent impact to the self aware reader. It tells the story of Michael and Bridget, a couple moving from Miami to Austin, TX, within the construct of a series of journal entries. The chapters have been shuffled together in seemingly random order, jumping back in forth in time and location, leaving you with an experience akin to tuning an old dial radio through someone’s mind; sliding from station to station, moment to moment, memory to memory – impossible to hear an entire song, but inescapable in it’s mood and atmosphere.
Stephen King’s latest novel, “11/22/62″, is set to be released on November 8th. A time travel novel that deals with America during the late fifties and the potential for changing history. The official synopsis describes it as:
On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas,
President Kennedy died, and the world changed.
If you had the chance to change history, would you?
Would the consequences be worth it?
Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.
Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.
Schribner has released an excerpt from the book that you can read here. I always look forward to a new Stephen King book. This is no exception.
Once again, I find myself falling far behind on my book reviews. I wish it wasn’t so – but 5 months of wishing hasn’t changed anything, so I’ve come to a conclusion. It’s time for another installment of “5 books, 5 minutes, 500 words or less” (you can read the first installment here). Let’s review the rules – I’ll review 5 books, with each review clocking in at 100 words or less, that hopefully you can read in 5 minutes or less. (I guess that’s really kind of self evident, based on the title, huh?) Think of it as speed dating for bok reviews. It’s much harder than it sounds, constraining my brilliance and formidable insights to only 100 words per book, but it’s a great exercise in efficiency. Hope you enjoy!
One of my favorite books from last year was “Feed” by Mira Grant (it came in at #5 on my top 11 list for the year). As I said about it at the time – “It’s that rare combination of a great story that also happens to be a great zombie story. I really found myself invested in the characters and was emotionally affected by the ending in a manner that happens far too infrequently for me these days.” (You can read my full review of “Feed” here.) I’m happy to say that today marks the release of “Deadline”, the sequel to “Feed”. The back cover blurb reads:
Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn’t seem as fun when you’ve lost as much as he has.
But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead.
Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.
This is one of the books I’ve most been looking forward to this year and, as luck would have it, I just finished my latest read last night. Thanks to the miracles of the Kindle, “Deadline” was waiting for me this morning when I woke up. I’ll have a review posted as soon as I finish and digest the story. In the meantime, if you’re a zombie fan, or just a fan of good stories, do yourself a favor and pick up “Deadline”. (You can click here to order from Amazon, and support thewordzombie.com)
I’m a Brian Keene fan. No getting around it. As I remarked in a previous review – “His writing is like an ice-cold beer on a hot day – it goes down smooth and always satisfies.” He’s on my must have list – I’ll pre-order each new release on Amazon, I’ll comb the specialty stores for out of print anthologies, and I’ll shell out the dinero for each small press limited edition. (My only regret is that I missed out on the “lifetime subscriptions” he offered last year. Oh well, you can’t win them all…). So, when I heard his latest release “Entombed” would finally be available, but only as a limited edition from Camelot Books, I fired up ye olde Internet and placed my order (you can still snag a copy here). I’m happy to say copy #151 now has a home on my living room bookshelf. It was money well spent. Well spent indeed.