Monday, March 28, 2011

Letterbox Look-see (Mar 2011, Part I)

Hello, everyone! It's been a busy busy month, for me and for authors! Here's the first installment of March additions to the Review Queue:




No Good Deed by Mary McDonald

Mark Taylor discovers first hand that no good deed goes unpunished when the old camera he found during a freelance job in an Afghanistan bazaar gives him more than great photos. It triggers dreams of disasters. Tragedies that happen exactly as he envisions them. He learns that not only can he see the future, he can change it.

Then the unthinkable happened and everyone ignored his frantic warnings. Thousands die. Suddenly, the Feds are pounding on his door and the name they have for Taylor isn't urban hero. It's enemy combatant. And, it means they can do anything they want to him. Anything at all.


Dreamwalk by Sarah McManus

After the death of her mother, eighteen year old Chloe Hawthorn is haunted by terrifying nighttime hallucinations. Determined to take control of her dream journeys, she uses them to find Shane Anderson, a charming and troubled musician whose online videos have been holding her in thrall. She finds him in the Dreamtime, sweating out heroin detox in a run-down rehab center.

Chloe sets out to find Shane in the waking world and discovers her dreams have been taking her into the past. Horrified, Chloe realizes Shane doesn't survive his addictions. In order to save him, Chloe must master her Australian mother's legacy — the secret of walking the Dreaming through time. But what price will Chloe pay for this Dreamwalk and will she save Shane only to lose him forever?


Twenty-Five Years Ago Today by Stacy Juba

Kris Langley has always been obsessed with murder. She blames herself for the violent death of her cousin when they were kids and has let guilt invade every corner of her existence. Now an editorial assistant and obit writer for a Massachusetts newspaper, Kris stumbles across an unsolved murder while compiling "25 Years Ago Today" items from the microfilm. She grows fascinated with the case of a young cocktail waitress who was bludgeoned to death and dumped in the woods.

Determined to solve the case and atone for the death of her cousin, Kris immerses herself in the mystery of what happened to Diana Ferguson, a talented artist who expressed herself through haunting paintings of Greek mythology. Not only does Kris face resistance from her family and her managing editor, she also clashes with Diana's suspicious nephew, Eric Soares - until neither she nor Eric can deny the chemistry flaring between them.

Kris soon learns that old news never leaves the morgue and that yesterday's headline is tomorrow's danger, for finding out the truth about that night twenty-five years ago may shatter Kris's present, costing her love, her career, and ultimately, her life.


33 Days by Bill See

For 33 days in the summer of 1987, critically acclaimed L.A. indie rock band Divine Weeks toured in a beat up old van, sleeping on strangers' floors, never sure they'd make enough gas money to get them to the next town. Bill See's deeply personal memoir follows his band's first tour across the U.S. and Canada. No soundman, no roadies, all they have is their music and each other's friendship.

33 Days captures the essence of what it is to be 22 and chase a dream, back to a time in life when dreams don't have boundaries, when everything is possible. The tour is one of those now or never experiences. Take a shot at making the band work or leave it all behind and go your separate ways. Every one of us has that moment where we have to decide to either live our dreams or give up and regret it for the rest of our lives. 33 Days touches that part of us.

The road is filled with yuppies, brothels, riots, sleeping on floors, spiked drinks, DJs with no pants, and battles with racism. They set out on the road to discovery to drink in all they could and maybe sell a few records. They grew up instead.


Death Line by Geraldine Evans

Jasper Moon, internationally renowned ‘seer to the stars’, had signally failed to foresee his own future. He is found dead on his consulting-room floor, his skull crushed with a crystal ball and, all, around him, his office in chaos.

Meanwhile, Ma Rafferty does some star-gazing of her own and is sure she can predict Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty’s future – by the simple expedient of organizing it herself. She is still engaged on her crusade to get Rafferty married off to a good Catholic girl with child-bearing hips. But Rafferty has a cunning plan to sabotage her machinations. Only trouble is, he needs Sergeant Llewellyn’s cooperation and he isn’t sure he’s going to get it.

During their murder investigations, Inspector Rafferty and Sergeant Llewellyn discover a highly incriminating video concealed in Moon’s flat, a video which, if made public, could wreck more than one life. Was the famous astrologer really a vicious sexual predator? Gradually, connections begin to emerge between Moon and others in the small Essex town of Elmhurst. But how is Rafferty to solve the case when all of his suspects have seemingly unbreakable alibis?


The War is Language: 101 Short Works by Nath Jones

The War is Language: 101 Short Works is a compilation in three sections and culminates with absurdest letters to a fake advice columnist. These ultra short pieces exist at story's amorphous limit of spoken word and deconstruction.

As a whole, this high-impact triptych of prose poetry and flash fiction probes identity in experience. The first and second sections of the book explore memory and dichotomy respectively by focusing on the impressions of a woman and a soldier as 21st-century Americans. The book’s third section, letters to a fake advice columnist, is a sarcastic interaction with an absurd existential authority figure. The book calls into question our post-post-modern establishment of anti-authority conformists.

The War is Language: 101 Short Works is the first in an e-book series, On Impulse, which explores the spectrum of narrative.

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