March 14, 2010 at 5:20 pm (Comic/Graphic Novel, Crime novel, Thriller) (, , , , , , , , )

Scalped, vol 1: Indian Country

Scalped: Indian Country
DC Comics, 2007
124 pages
Genre: Noir, comics

Book Report: Fifteen years ago, Dashiell “Dash” Bad Horse ran away from the abject poverty and utter hopelessness on the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation searching for something better. Now he’s come back home to find nothing much has changed on “The Rez” — short of a glimmering new casino, and a once-proud people overcome by drugs and organized crime.

At the center of the storm is Tribal Leader Lincoln Red Crow, a former “Red Power” activist turned burgeoning crime boss who figures that after 100 years of the Lakota being robbed and murdered by the white man, it’s time to return the favor.

Now, armed with nothing but a set of nunchuks, a hellbent-for-leather attitude and (at least) one dark secret, Dash must survive a world of gambling, gunfights, G-men, Dawg Soldiers, massacres, meth labs, trashy sex, fry bread, Indian pride, Thunder Beings, the rugged beauty of the Badlands … and even a scalping or two.

Indian Country introduces us to Aaron’s world in Scalped: the Prairie Rose Reservation, and all the people therein. The first chapters were slow, and I was readying myself for disappointment, but by the time I reached the Hoka Key chapters, I was hooked. Here was not just sex and violence, but high drama and tragedy, and all the noir a girl could want. Read the rest of this entry »


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Challenge Wrap-Up: RIP IV

November 1, 2009 at 2:25 pm (Challenge Wrap-Up, Horror, Suspense, Thriller) ()

rip4banner200Like a lot of people, I participated in Carl’s RIP IV Challenge. And as is my habit, I went a little overboard. Not content to simply read four books for the Perils the First Challenge, I read eight. (Like many a classic overachiever, I sometimes exert myself for one massive burst of achievement.)

Books read for RIP IV
1. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
2. The Terror by Dan Simmons
3. The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
4. Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural, ed. by Phyllis Cert Wagner & Herbert Wise

RIP IV bonus books
5. Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me
6. Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Sixteen Skeletons from My Closet
7. Hell House by Richard Matheson
8. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

(You can also find my challenge page here.)

Dan Simmons’ The Terror was definitely my favorite, and one I look forward to re-reading. I was glad to finally get around to Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, which was as enjoyable as promised, and also glad to finally have Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw under my belt! Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural might not be the best for another RIPer to read due to its length, but it provides an excellent background in horror tales.

It was a really fun challenge, and the first I’ve completed since beginning the stacks my destination! (Which is kind of funny, since it had the shortest time limit. Actually, participating in RIP IV, and keeping myself organized for it, really helped with some of the other challenges that I had joined when I first started this blog, but neglected since. So as far as participating in challenges goes, it might be best to start with a short, quick one to get your feet wet. Lesson learned!) I particularly enjoyed seeing what other people were reading for it, and though I didn’t get to some of the books on my list, that just means I have some to read next year–if I can wait that long! Thanks to Carl, and to all the other RIPers. See you next year.

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Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Sixteen Skeletons from My Closet

October 15, 2009 at 4:54 am (Crime novel, Mystery, Short stories, Thriller) (, , , )

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: 16 Skeletons from My Closet

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: 16 Skeletons from My Closet

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Sixteen Skeletons from My Closet edited by Robert Arthur
Dell, 1st printing, 1963
221 pages
Genre: Horror, suspense, thriller

Synopsis & Review: Another AHP collection, this time of sixteen stories, and with an emphasis on mystery, thrillers, and crime fiction. Perhaps I’m picky, and just don’t like any crime fiction that’s not by Woolrich, Chandler, or Thompson; I don’t know. But this collection did very little for me. It was a bit of a chore to finish.

It’s a much more contemporary collection than Stories My Mother Never Told Me, with no stories from before 1957 or after 1961. So I would hazard a guess that they were all published in contemporary magazines about that time, and that this ought to represent the creme de la creme of thrillers of the day. But it doesn’t. Many of the efforts seem almost amateurish and transparent at best, and hopelessly uninteresting at worst. Read the rest of this entry »

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Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me

October 15, 2009 at 4:04 am (Horror, Short stories, Suspense, Thriller) (, , , )

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me
originally published 1963
Dell, 1st printing, 1965
223 pages
Genre: Horror, suspense, thriller

Synopsis & Review: A collection of thirteen (oooOOOOooooo!) stories featuring all manner of thrills, suspense, and horror. Included are masters of the genres such as Shirley Jackson (“The Summer People”) and Richard Matheson (“The Children of Noah”), as well as comparative unknowns, and even a creepy effort by F. Scott Fitzgerald (“A Short Trip Home”).

I loved watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents reruns on Nick at Nite back in intermediate and early high school. Inspired by my enormous enjoyment of Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories That Scared Even Me, I purchased two more AHP volumes on the cheap. This one was by far my favorite of the two. In it, you’ll find  couple of cannibal stories (perhaps more than necessary) and a very odd and disturbing change up of “The Most Dangerous Game” (“An Invitation to the Hunt”). There’s also “The Hostage” by Don Stanford, which I immediately recognized from Suicide Kings. As with any collections, there are a few gems and a few duds. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch

September 30, 2009 at 1:10 am (Horror, Juvanalia, Thriller, Young adult) (, )

The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch

The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch

The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
Greenwillow, US ARC, 2005
343 pages
Genre: Young adult, juvenalia, horror, thriller

Synopsis & Review: Thirteen-year-old Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son, and his father has run out of apprenticeships in which to place his sons. And then the Spook arrives. Spooks protect people and places from being overrun by things that go bump in the night, from boggarts to witches, and as the seventh son of a seventh son, Thomas has special talents that allow him to see–and deal with–the things that lurk in the dark. With the blessings of his family, especially his beloved but mysterious mother, Thomas goes out into the wide world with the Spook. His first test is to spend the night alone in a haunted house–and confront the thing in the cellar.

Once the test is passed, Thomas accompanies the Spook to his Summer House, where something invisible–and angry–does the housekeeping. There the Spook begins teaching Thomas his business, such as the differences between the many kinds of witches, and about the witches buried in the eastern garden. As he learns, Thomas wonders about the Spook’s many other apprentices before him, and how so many of them died. When the Spook goes to Pelham to take care of a problem, Thomas is left alone, and that’s when things go terribly awry. Children go missing, the infamously evil witch Mother Malkin escapes, and Thomas’ only friend may be involved.

rip4banner200I do love a good juvenile horror, and this series promises to deliver. I saw the handsome cover and promising title, and plucked this from a random book of discards from my stepmother’s house (she was in publishing, and her place is literally overflowing with books), figuring it might make a fast, fun read. Last night I decided to start it, reading a chapter or two before bed. But then I couldn’t stop, and I kept reading till I finished the book. How’s that for enthralling? Read the rest of this entry »

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September 21, 2009 at 6:43 pm (Romance, Thriller, Total crap, Trashy novel) ()

Nightwalker by Sidney Filson

Nightwalker by Sidney Filson

Nightwalker by Sidney Filson
Onyx, 1st printing, 1989
448 pages
Genre: Thriller, action-adventure, martial arts, romance, trashy novel

Synopsis & Review: The Nightwalker stalks her prey through beautiful Hawai’i. After tracking him all over the world, she merely awaits the right moment to strike, ending the life of the man who murdered her husband, her unborn child, and her dreams. While she silently waits, she remembers what was …

Grey Coltrane is athletic, beautiful, and from an old family, and at her high school graduation, it seems like she has the world at her feet. But after leaving her sheltered life at the convent school, she discovers that her family has already mapped out her life. To preserve her family fortunes, Grey must marry an old family friend, one she loves dearly, but not romantically. Putting her dreams of romance aside, she accepts the marriage, only to discover herself in a living nightmare, a sham marriage. Luckily, it doesn’t last long, and she’s soon not only young and beautiful, but astoundingly rich.

At the urging of her best friend Llana, she moves to New York, where she meets a the only man she will ever desire: Khan Sun, a martial arts master. She joins his dojo first to interest him, but remains out of her interest in the sport, the way of life. Though she has the world at her feet as a fabulously wealthy and lovely young woman in mid-Seventies Manhattan, all she wants is Khan–and his love and respect. Once they are finally united, it seems they have the world at their feet. Until their happiness is shattered in the jungles of Taiwan.

If I had written a book when I was ten, this would have been it. It is so freaking awesome, in a not great at all kind of way. I totally loved it when I first read it (at age ten), and I had a hard time putting it down upon this re-read. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, my Aunt Joanie and Uncle Jack would visit Hawai’i, staying with my tutu over the holidays. And every trip, Jack would bring a fresh stack of mass market paperbacks, presumably acquired at the airport for the long flight and hours spent at the beach or just relaxing on the lanai. And when he was done with those books, I’d ferret them out and devour the forbidden trash. This was my introduction to Victoria Holt, Jackie Collins–and Sidney Filson’s Nightwalker. Read the rest of this entry »

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