TBR Thursday 87…

Episode 87…

Oh dear! The TBR dropped over the weekend and I was so thrilled. But then it all went horribly wrong again. End result – no change! Stuck on 169. Still, at least it didn’t go up, eh? And I’m sure it’s going to start going down any time now…

Here are some of the ones that are getting close to the top of the heap…

Factual

hospital sketchesI downloaded this to my Kindle in June 2011, so I’m thinking it might be time I should actually read it…

The Blurb says: Writing under a pseudonym, Alcott recounted the vicissitudes of her two-day journey from her home in Concord, Massachusetts, to Washington, D.C. A fiery baptism in the practice of nursing awaited her at Washington Hospital, were she arrived immediately after the slaughter of the Army of the Potomac at the battle of Fredericksburg. Alcott’s rapidly paced prose graphically depicts the facts of hospital life, deftly balancing pathos with gentle humor. A vivid and truthful portrait of an often overlooked aspect of the Civil War, this book remains among the most illuminating reports of the era’s medical practices as well as a moving testimonial to the war’s human cost.

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Fiction

zero kCourtesy of NetGalley. This will be my introduction to Don DeLillo. I’m a little apprehensive since early reviews have been… well, let’s just say mixed…

The Blurb says: Jeffrey Lockhart’s father, Ross, is a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing. Ross is the primary investor in a remote and secret compound where death is exquisitely controlled and bodies are preserved until a future time when biomedical advances and new technologies can return them to a life of transcendent promise. Jeff joins Ross and Artis at the compound to say “an uncertain farewell” to her as she surrenders her body.

Don DeLillo’s seductive, spectacularly observed and brilliant new novel weighs the darkness of the world—terrorism, floods, fires, famine, plague—against the beauty and humanity of everyday life; love, awe, “the intimate touch of earth and sun.”

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Fantasy Crime

vigilNetGalley again. I fell in love with Angela Slatter’s writing when I came across her in the anthology Fearie Stories. I then went on to read her own excellent collection Sourdough and Other Stories. And she also wrote one of my favourite stories from the anthology Horrorology. This is her first full length novel – waaaaaay outside my comfort zone, but she’s so good… fingers crossed!

The Blurb says: Verity Fassbinder has her feet in two worlds. The daughter of one human and one Weyrd parent, she has very little power herself, but does claim unusual strength – and the ability to walk between us and the other – as a couple of her talents. As such a rarity, she is charged with keeping the peace between both races, and ensuring the Weyrd remain hidden from us.

But now Sirens are dying, illegal wine made from the tears of human children is for sale – and in the hands of those Weyrd who hold with the old ways – and someone has released an unknown and terrifyingly destructive force on the streets of Brisbane. And Verity must investigate – or risk ancient forces carving our world apart.

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Crime

blackoutCourtesy of the publisher, Orenda Books. The third book to be translated in my new favourite series, though who knows where it fits chronologically since the books are being translated out of order. The dream team of Ragnar Jónasson writing, Quentin Bates translating and Ari Thór Arason detecting… a summer highlight!

The Blurb says: On the shores of a tranquil fjord in Northern Iceland, a man is brutally beaten to death on a bright summer’s night. As the 24-hour light of the arctic summer is transformed into darkness by an ash cloud from a recent volcanic eruption, a young reporter leaves Reykajvik to investigate on her own, unaware that an innocent person’s life hangs in the balance. Ari Thór Arason and his colleagues on the tiny police force in Siglufjörður struggle with an increasingly perplexing case, while their own serious personal problems push them to the limit. What secrets does the dead man harbour, and what is the young reporter hiding? As silent, unspoken horrors from the past threaten them all, and the darkness deepens, it’s a race against time to find the killer before someone else dies…

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NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads. The first three are all from my 20 Books of Summer list.

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So…what do you think? Do any of these tempt you?

 

Transwarp Tuesday Terror! Blackout by Tim Curran

It was a dark and stormy night…

 

This week’s story is a novella from the publisher Darkfuse, who specialise in ‘dark fiction’. Tim Curran is best known as a horror writer, but this tale is just as much sci-fi as horror. So for one week only, welcome to…

TRANSWARP TUESDAY TERROR!

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Blackout by Tim Curran

 

The story I’m going to tell you is about what happened after the lights went out. I’m going to tell you what happened to our beautiful green world and the people that called it home. Understand, it”s not a happy story and there is no moral. It’s not that kind of story.

blackoutThe story begins in middle-class, middle-America, as the middle-aged residents of respectable, suburban Piccamore Way get together for a little outdoor party. It’s the kind of place where nothing worse ever happens than the paperboy throwing the paper into the bushes, or old Iris Phelan turning her TV up too loud. But later that night our narrator Jon wakes with a bit of a hangover to find that a huge storm has blown up, full of strange strobing lightning. And then he discovers that his wife, Kathy, is missing. As he stumbles around in the dark and the rain looking for her, he comes across a strange snake-like thing in the garden. Calling on the neighbours to help him in his search, they begin to discover that the darkness is more than just the normal night, that more people are going missing every minute, and that the ‘snakes’ are actually something even more frightening and sinister. And then the screaming begins…

UFO

This is an alien invasion story of the school of The War of the Worlds, in that these aliens are not interested in getting to know us Earthlings – they’re just out to destroy us…for a horrible (but quite credible really) purpose that only becomes fully clear towards the end. It’s very well written with lots of scary description and plenty of suspense, Given the shortness of the book, Curran manages to develop his characters well, so that we genuinely care when they begin to meet increasingly gruesome ends. Jon himself has the survival instinct to the full, but we still get to see his grief over his wife as he becomes more aware of what has probably happened to her; and, like us, he watches in horror as one after another of his neighbours is…er…taken.

A split second after he was hoisted into the air, an orifice opened in the center of the sack. It looked like the puckering mouth of an old lady without her teeth in. The orifice irised open and I saw a bloodred orb the size of a softball that looked as juicy as a fresh cherry. It was an evil thing like the eye of a witch or a demon…

Tim Curran
Tim Curran

The rest of that paragraph becomes progressively gorier, as does the novella. Curran is very good at finding the line between telling all and leaving some of it up to the reader’s imagination, but still this is definitely not one for the faint-hearted. However, it’s very imaginative in a dark way, and the standard of writing is unusually high in a genre where style is sometimes sacrificed in the rush to get to the thrills. The horror and tension mount in tandem, so that even as you’re turning away in disgust, you can’t help looking back to see what’s happening. Personally, perhaps a bit too gruesome for me and I could have lived without some of the language, but the quality of both story and story-telling kept me hooked right up to the end nevertheless. And hasn’t helped in any way to rid me of my fears of either snakes or spiders…or, indeed, aliens…

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Darkfuse.

Little Green Men Rating: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Fretful Porpentine Rating: 😯 😯 😯 😯

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link