9 Followers
45 Following
wagthefox

Wag The Fox

a genre mutt's den for dark fiction

Currently reading

Condemned
Michael McBride
Knuckleball (One Eye Press Singles)
Tom Pitts
Tokyo Raider: A Tale of the Grimnoir Chronicles
Larry Correia, Bronson Pinchot
The Boy Who Killed Demons
Dave Zeltserman
Police Procedure & Investigation: A Guide for Writers (Howdunit )
Lee Lofland
Evil Dark: An Occult Crime Unit Investigation (Occult Crimes Unit)
Justin Gustainis
The Forty First Wink
James Walley
The Walking
Bentley Little
Howdunit Book of Police Procedure and Investigation: A Guide for Writers
Lee Lofland
Boy's Life
Robert R. McCammon

Burial Ground

Burial Ground - Michael McBride Review coming soon.

Dead on Writing

Dead on Writing - Robert W. Walker Review soon.

High Moor

High Moor - Graeme Reynolds It wasn't long after I finally watched Dog Soldiers that I listened to the audiobook version of Graeme Reynolds' High Moor, so I had quite the experience with British werewolf stories. And I gotta say, I had a heckuva time with each.

Werewolves, like vamps and zombies, are an oft-used monster in horror and fantasy, and as well they should be because they are just so tragic and fierce and emotive--maybe Beyonce is a werewolf, come to think of it. Anyway, Graeme's approach is less about the werewolves, although the brand of beast he creates are a vibrant and vicious sort that I think any fan of the genre will appreciate, but the humans populating the smalltown of High Moor are the ones that steal the show for me.

If you're an 80s child, even one outside of the U.K., I am sure there are going to be more than a few identifying moments and characteristics featured in the story to enjoy, coupled with small town hijinks and a ferocious pace that doesn't let up, yet somehow allows enough breathing room for characters. If the flashback-y stuff doesn't suit you, you might be a bit disgruntled by the novel, but it plays in really well overall, and I'd really prefer this novel featuring the bulk of its tale in the 80s more so than present day. The nostalgia factor was set high for me on this one.

Sometimes an audiobook feels like you are being told the story, then there are the ones--like this one--that you simply experience the story. I'm sure had I read the print version of High Moor, I would have been equally pleased with Graeme's artful manner in presenting his characters in all their fabulously fallible glory. Having Chris Barnes practically imbue his voice over each character in a way that causes him to disappear and the story shine through just makes this audiobook a treat, especially for a fan of British horror.

High Moor

High Moor - Graeme Reynolds Review coming soon.

Defender of the Innocent: The Casebook of Martin Ehrengraf

Defender of the Innocent: The Casebook of Martin Ehrengraf - Lawrence Block Review of Audible edition:

Martin H. Ehrengraf is a smooth motherf**ker. Cunning, too. Devious might be a better word. He's a lawyer after all. If you're in a real jam, he's the man you call. Martin's trick is that he hates going to court. He'd much rather get everything settled before he has to set foot in the halls of justice to defend his client. He's got a flawless record, though. And that comes at a fairly high price.

There are twelve stories in all, eleven of which previously appeared in the pages of Ellery Queen Mystery Magaine. From what little I've read of that mag, it highlights the more clever mysteries as opposed to the more hard-boiled, hard-bitten tales, and this bunch certainly falls into the realm of clever. There is, by virtue of the rather ominous deals struck between Ehrengraf and his clients, that I suspect stood out from the usual fare of that mag.

For many of his clients, it appears on the surface that he hasn't done much lawyering at all to ensure their exoneration. Extenuating circumstances and simple strokes of luck seem to be the order of the day, and that gives some pause in honoring the steep payments demanded of them. And there's one thing you do not do with Ehrengraf and that is renege on an agreement.

Don Sobczak's voice work for the audiobook is really good in capturing that casually sophisticated tone of Ehrengraf that holds an undercurrent of menace. It's just a hint really when he gives his subtle warnings to his clients about the costs of his services and the resoluteness of his approach to keeping them "innocent."

The stories may come off a bit repetitive when digested in one swoop, but bear in mind these were published weeks or months apart originally, and the setting is always the same, so there are some limits to how the story can progress and how multiple stories can be received all at once. But Block fans shouldn't be too troubled by that, and should find that same wry passion for crime fiction, as always.

The Drifter Detective

The Drifter Detective - Garnett Elliott Review coming soon.

Defender of the Innocent: The Casebook of Martin Ehrengraf

Defender of the Innocent: The Casebook of Martin Ehrengraf - Lawrence Block Review coming soon.

Fatale, Vol. 5: Curse the Demon

Fatale, Vol. 5: Curse the Demon - Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips Review coming soon.

I Am Curious (Thirty)

I Am Curious (Thirty) - Lawrence Block In reading Lawrence Block's crime fiction, I have to come to expect his proficiency in highlighting a character's desperation, his/her frailty. Turns out he's been doing that under pen names as well, as evidenced by this erotic novel originally published under the name Jill Emerson.

With Janet, a twenty-nine year old wife, Block shows a desperation of a life not yet lived. Oh, she has the loving husband and the house and the comfortable life, but it absent of passion. And as she nears her thirtieth birthday, desperation sets it. This can't be all there is. Oh no, it is not.

It begins with a brief, almost spontaneous encounter with a young man that she invited into her bed, and after that Janet's life is irrevocably altered. She sees a way out of her dull existence, leaves her husband, drains their savings, and moves to New York. From there, her experiences become more fiery, and skirt towards even manic.

Emily Beresford offers a pitch-perfect narration through the book, as Block has it written as a series of diary entires. Emily quite capably captures the prim and proper bourgeoisie, continually tempered by her obsessions, self-doubt, and fear with each subsequent diary entry.

Erotic at its core, it also offers a fair share of suspense when Janet becomes a bit overwhelmed with at least one of her encounters. It might feel a bit dated, but heck, so did 'Mad Men' on AMC and that was well-received.

Thirty

Thirty - Lawrence Block In reading Lawrence Block's crime fiction, I have to come to expect his proficiency in highlighting a character's desperation, his/her frailty. Turns out he's been doing that under pen names as well, as evidenced by this erotic novel originally published under the name Jill Emerson.

With Janet, a twenty-nine year old wife, Block shows a desperation of a life not yet lived. Oh, she has the loving husband and the house and the comfortable life, but it absent of passion. And as she nears her thirtieth birthday, desperation sets it. This can't be all there is. Oh no, it is not.

It begins with a brief, almost spontaneous encounter with a young man that she invited into her bed, and after that Janet's life is irrevocably altered. She sees a way out of her dull existence, leaves her husband, drains their savings, and moves to New York. From there, her experiences become more fiery, and skirt towards even manic.

Emily Beresford offers a pitch-perfect narration through the book, as Block has it written as a series of diary entires. Emily quite capably captures the prim and proper bourgeoisie, continually tempered by her obsessions, self-doubt, and fear with each subsequent diary entry.

Erotic at its core, it also offers a fair share of suspense when Janet becomes a bit overwhelmed with at least one of her encounters. It might feel a bit dated, but heck, so did 'Mad Men' on AMC and that was well-received.

Lock In

Lock In - John Scalzi, Amber Benson John Scalzi's name has been bandied about for years as a sci-fi writer whose work I need to read, so when I had the chance to listen to the Audible version of his latest novel, I figured it was about time to see what all the fuss was about.

In this stand-alone novel, a virus devastates humanity in the not-too-distant future. It acts like the flu for most, but about 1% of those afflicted suffer what is eventually called "Hayden's syndrome," rendering them paralyzed and unresponsive, forever trapped inside their own bodies. With millions afflicted, a new industry arises. Androids are made, basically robotic bodies that can be remotely controlled by the bedridden, and offer nearly all tactile experiences a human body can. Then there are other afflicted people who are still mobile, yet they possess an innate ability to serve as surrogates themselves, suppressing their own consciousness to allow the locked in to use their bodies. All this creates a certain societal morasses, and amid all of that we jump into the story a quarter century after the outbreak, just in time for a murder mystery.

The two detectives on the case of a dead integrator, a person who rents out the use of their body, who appears to have been killed by an unknown attacker in a hotel room. Shane is the rookie, a lock in herself and the daughter of a powerful politician crusading for the rights of the afflicted. Vann, a grizzled vet herself on the force, has reservations about working with Shane at first, but the opposites attract plays out really well as they gauge each other through the course of the investigation.

The window dressing for this book feels reminiscent of Robert Venditti's comic series, The Surrogates, but that's really just a surface level thing, because Scalzi's story explores different themes altogether and doesn't pose as much skepticism and wariness towards the technology as found in Venditti's story. Here, much of the story relies on Shane finding her footing, literally and figuratively, as she makes a name for herself apart from the long shadow cast by her family's dynasty.

The star of the book, at least in the audiobook experience, may be Amber Benson. Wil Wheaton also offers narration in another edition of the audiobook, but I went with Benson for the sake of the protagonist being female, and Benson's performance was spot on throughout, and went a long way to drawing me in as a listener. It didn't hurt that Scalzi's characters and pacing and the pay off at the end all aided in creating one heckuva story melding sci-fi with police procedural.

If this is the kind of stuff Scalzi writes, I'm definitely gonna have to read more of it ... or listen to it. Either way.

The Spectral Book of Horror Stories

The Spectral Book of Horror Stories - Ramsey Campbell, Alison Littlewood Review coming soon.

Girl of Great Price

Girl of Great Price - Milo James Fowler I remember reading a couple great reviews for the Malfeasance Occasional anthology, Girl Trouble, last year. But it slipped off the radar shortly thereafter and I didn't really give it a second thought. If the story are as good as this novelette from Milo James Fowler, I may have to put it back on my watch list, because this was right up my alley.

A world-weary private-eye, living a world now divided in two after a great near-future war has ravaged the planet, winds up on a case in search of a veterans abducted adopted-daughter. Working a case it hard enough, because the Russian mob pretty much runs most of the city. It doesn't help when the kingpin has some cybernetic goons doing his dirty work while keeping his own identity tightly guarded. And much like the private eyes of noir's yesteryear, Charlie Madison takes a lickin' while doling out his own brand of investigative brutality as well.

In quick fashion, the world is fleshed out, the stakes set and raised, and Charlie Madison regarded as a cynical hero in a world of villains. I dug it and would have no objections to a novel-length Madison mystery brought out down the line. As it stands, genre-blending fans should find a fun, fast read here that'll whet the appetite for more.

Thirty

Thirty - Lawrence Block Review coming soon.

Swamp Walloper

Swamp Walloper - Paul Bishop Review coming soon.

Swamp Walloper (Fight Card)

Swamp Walloper (Fight Card) - Jack Tunney, Paul Bishop Review coming soon.