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“The Spartan Dagger,” terrific historical fiction by Nicholas Guild

In the 4th century B.C., a few moments of violence set two young men on a collision course with one another. One, a Helot slave with much to avenge, escapes to join the Thebans who would throw off Spartan rule. The other, a Spartan, will move up in the ranks of  diplomacy while seeking to … Continue reading “The Spartan Dagger,” terrific historical fiction by Nicholas Guild

“A Head Full of Ghosts,” by Paul Tremblay

At once an old-fashioned demonic possession story and a highly modern disruption of the genre, this book started off as a slow build and ramped up to a real page-turner. The characters seem very, very real, and the plot kept me wondering what was really, really happening all the while. I love the way the … Continue reading “A Head Full of Ghosts,” by Paul Tremblay

“Blood Ties,” by Nicholas Guild, or “Why isn’t this book a movie yet?”

This is an outstanding blend of police procedural/thriller and, honestly, a love story. Guild's strengths are his characters and his rock solid prose. He has the knack of creating very believable protagonists and supporting characters ... and then putting them through hell in a way that keeps you turning pages.  He also describes violent things … Continue reading “Blood Ties,” by Nicholas Guild, or “Why isn’t this book a movie yet?”

“The Devil All The Time” by Donald Ray Pollock, or Good Lord, this is a bleak and depressing book …

I am going to buck the trends, and not join those who love this book. There is much to like. Pollock's prose is terrific, at times starkly poetic. The images are concise, and cutting, and won't leave your head anytime soon. The man certainly can write. And yet ... Damn, this is a depressing read. … Continue reading “The Devil All The Time” by Donald Ray Pollock, or Good Lord, this is a bleak and depressing book …

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Frank Belknap Long: Great imagination, stilted prose

 If you read enough H.P. Lovecraft, you will bump up against the name of Frank Belknap Long.  Long was a prolific American writer who produced horror fiction, fantasy, science fiction and more. He was among the first to play around with Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos ideas, adding the short story "The Hounds of Tindalos" and others … Continue reading Frank Belknap Long: Great imagination, stilted prose