The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an incredible novel! A fifteen-year-old autistic boy tries to solve the murder of a neighborhood dog, only to uncover a hidden truth far closer to home. Haddon’s attention to detail is astounding, and young Christopher’s voice — at once detached, methodical, and unexpectedly endearing — comes across as absolutely authentic. This novel really is a voice piece, a testament to how important voice is to a story, and Christopher comes alive on the page thanks to the use of a compelling and unusual one. I particularly loved the early scenes of Christopher’s detective work. As such, I was a little disappointed that the mystery was solved so quickly, though I get that it was necessary to do so in order to give proper motivation for subsequent events. Regardless, this is a very satisfying read, and when I finally closed the book I found myself beaming, delighted to have lived in its world for a short time.

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Brand New Review of CHASING THE DRAGON

A blogger calling herself Grimlock, whom I had the pleasure of meeting briefly at Readercon last year, has posted an in-depth review of my 2010 book, Chasing the Dragon. It’s always nice to see new reviews of a book that’s been out for a few years now, because as an author you never know if anyone is paying attention to your older stuff unless they tell you. So this was a very pleasant surprise! It’s also a smashing review. Here’s a snippet:

Every detail ends up to be integral; every story line ties into the main plot, and it’s impressive looking back at how much is in this slim volume….I keep changing my mind about what exactly is most amazing about this book. Is is the fact that there is so much about Georgia and her backstory that explains why she is a drug addict? Is is that despite me despising drug addicts in general as main characters, I was charmed by Georgia? Or was it the original mythology surrounding the dragon and how it kept me guessing as to what the outcome would be? I don’t know, all I know is that goddamn, I love this book!

Well, huzzah!

Chasing the Dragon got almost unanimous good reviews from critics and readers alike — it was even nominated for two prestigious literary awards, the Shirley Jackson Award and the International Thriller Writers Award — but sales haven’t been all that great. As Grimlock mentions in her review, it’s a slim volume and easy to overlook on a bookstore shelf. So I guess what I’m saying is, if you liked Dying Is My Business but haven’t read any of my earlier books, Chasing the Dragon is the one to start with. You can find links to places to buy it here.

Erinn Kemper Wins First HWA Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship

The following press release from the Horror Writers Association (HWA) is about something I think is pretty cool. In fact, I’m tempted to call it the coolest thing the HWA has done in a long time. If I had one suggestion, though, I’d recommend opening the scholarship up to promising female writers outside the HWA, too. Then, if the winner turns out to not be a member of the HWA already, they could be awarded the scholarship as well as one year’s free membership.

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Starting from 2014 the Horror Writers Association (HWA) has instituted the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship, open to female writers who are members of the HWA. The Scholarship is designed to address the unseen, but real, barriers limiting the amount of horror fiction being published by women.

The first Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship has been awarded to Erinn Kemper, a Canadian writer who resides in Costa Rica. Erinn Kemper (E. L. Kemper) grew up in an isolated mill town in coastal British Columbia, Canada. From there she moved to the city to study Philosophy at the University of Victoria. Over the years she’s worked as an eye glasses repair person, a fish farmer, a cabinet maker, a parks department laborer, a book store clerk, a home nurse, a teacher—and lived in a camper, in Japan and on a forty foot wooden sailboat. She now lives in a small town in Costa Rica on the Caribbean Sea where she plans to write her first novel from her hammock.

Erinn has sold stories to Cemetery Dance Magazine and [Nameless] Digest and appears in various anthologies including A Darke Phantastique and Chiral Mad 2. Visit her website at erinnkemper.com for updates and sloth sightings.

Erinn said, “I am honored and thrilled to be chosen to receive The Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship. I appreciate the opportunity to take some writing courses for the first time and to challenge myself to dig deeper and darker. It’s a wonderful thing that the HWA supports writers and invests in the future of the genre through mentoring and now with these scholarships! When it’s my turn I can’t wait to give back by offering my support as a mentor.”

HWA President Rocky Wood said, “We are proud to be the first genre writers’ organisation to present a scholarship specifically targeted to support the development of female authors.”

About the HWA

The Horror Writers Association is a worldwide organization promoting dark literature and its creators. It has over 1200 members who write, edit and publish professionally in fiction, nonfiction, videogames, films, comics, and other media. For more information about the HWA visit www.horror.org. Media inquiries to president@horror.org.

Marvels

MarvelsMarvels by Kurt Busiek

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I would give this one even more than 5 stars if I could. A glorious illustrated narrative with all the layers and complexity of a rich novel. Busiek writes a stunning tale of what is basically the history of the Marvel universe, from the appearance of the Human Torch and Sub-Mariner in its very earliest days to the death of Gwen Stacy in the 1970s, all from the POV of Phil Sheldon, an average man and newspaper photographer in New York City who’s always on the scene. Alex Ross’s paintings are gorgeous, lending the story an air of realism and high fantasy simultaneously. The amount of research that went into this amazing piece, not to mention the sheer number of easter eggs, shout outs, and cameos, makes it any comic-lover’s dream. At the same time, I don’t think I’ve ever read something involving super heroes that was so authentically human and so grounded in recognizable reality. Definitely one of the best graphic novels I’ve read to date.

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