Friday, July 30, 2010

FFB: ANNO DRACULA by Kim Newman; THE CIPHER (originally THE FUNHOLE) by Kathe Koja; PRIME EVIL edited by Douglas Winter

"The Death of Horror Publishing"

So, Ira Levin and Dark Shadows and The Exorcist and Tom Tryon and even Night Gallery all happened, and supermarket Gothics were still going strong in the early '70s, and so some groundwork was laid for a number of writers to actually make a career of horror-fiction writing by the mid '70s...and a few started doing better than that. Stephen King is the obvious person to think of, but he wasn't on his own, even if he did seem to be more talented (if not always applying that talent, in fact frequently coasting) than such peers on the bestseller lists as John Saul and V. C. Andrews and James Herbert and Anne Rice. And publishers, as is their wont, noted that there seemed to be gold to established horror lines, sometimes as tentative extensions of their sf or fantasy lines, as did Ballantine/Del Rey by 1978...while others created huge lines full of black or foil-covered paperbacks, such as particularly Tor, which had a line which featured some of the best work in the field and some rather undistinguished, and Zebra, which had Rick Hautala and a whole horde of terrible writers, including the V.C. Andrewsish Ruby Jean Jensen.

Thus the 1980s horror boom...wherein a few writers, including Clive Barker, Poppy Z. Brite, and a slightly retooled Dean Koontz, were able to find sustained readership, even if they, like King, seemed to move away from writing horror per se rather quickly...and King's occasional collaborator, Peter Straub, was more than anyone else out of the boom able to gain a certain cache with critics not familiar with most of the better writers of horror. By the end of the '80s, the lines were mostly dead or dying (Tor and Zebra not only were the most enthusiastic publishers in the boom, but also among the diehards), and horror as a publishing category was suddenly non grata..."dark fantasy," "extreme suspense," "thriller" and other terms were dusted off or created, even as the current resurgence in supernatural romance began to gather. Dell bucked the trend with the innovatively packaged Abyss line, but that was a shortlived experiement...a few companies, such as the small Carroll and Graf, kept horror lines in place, and the likes of the Del Rey editions of Lovecraft retained their horror tags (and Borders Book Shops kept the small horror sections in their stores, even though they like their competitors mixed a lot of horror into their other category sections).

So...any number of good and even important books were released in this flood, and even these three, one a bestseller and the other two already considered classic as well as highly influential in some quarters, are all, incredibly to me, out of print...all perhaps in part as a result from appearing late in the gush.

Douglas Winter is an often brilliant if not particularly prolific fiction writer, and a rather prolific nonfiction writer; he has published important collections of interviews and a continuing body of music as well as film and literary criticism. His Prime Evil was probably the highest-profile original anthology of horror fiction and related material in the 1980s, with the full support of New American Library and a lineup of writers sprinkled with bestselling and good writers, occasionally both at once. One of the better King stories I've read, "The Night Flier," leads off the collection, which is also notable for high-profile anthologies in that decade in having Dennis Etchison and Ramsey Campbell, two of the best writers in the field and doing relatively well in the boom (particularly Campbell, nearly all of whose works were in print with Tor at the time) as the grand old men of the book, as still relatively young men who had nonetheless been publishing for a quarter-century at the time...everyone else had come to prominence in the years since, as distinct from, say, Kirby McCauley's earlier well-distributed anthologies such as Dark Forces, which were careful to feature such long-established writers as Manly Wade Wellman, Theodore Sturgeon and Robert Bloch (and a few women, such as Joyce Carol Oates) in their mix. David Morrell was probably the most promiment contributor not known to the larger world for his horror fiction, and the worst of the stories (unsurprisingly the Strieber) was at least readable.

Kim Newman is another brilliant fiction writer, and an even more prolific writer about film and literature than Winter; nothing he's written is more delightful than Anno Dracula, a novel which offers a world in which vampires thrive openly among humans, up to and including the court of Queen Victoria, uncomfortably under the thrall of the Count himself. Newman, quite aside from providing a superb fantasy-historical espionage story, also incorporates essentially every literary and folkloric vampire he can into this work, without doing so obtrusively or inelegantly. He has spun a seris of sequels to this novel since, of which I've found only the fist sequel, the WWI-set The Bloody Red Baron, a disappointment. Such shorter works as "Andy Warhol's DRACULA" have been particularly fine.

Kathe Koja's The Cipher, which would've been entitled The Funhole if Dell hadn't blanched at that, was one of the inaugural novels of the Dell Abyss line I mention above, which was hoping to re-energize the horror publishing scene with innovative work and packaging. Fitful success in this, and not enough to keep Dell from decommissioning the line, but Koja's first novel was the (not universally loved) account of two rather marginalized youngish folks discovering a rather remarkable, well, hole...which does Strange things to items put into it, including one unfortunate person's hand. The anomie so fecklessly celebrated and supposedly mocked in the likes of Bret Easton Ellis's fiction was rather more effectively and honestly dealt with here, and I detect a degree of influence on later works, not solely literary, that goes beyond Koja's own work, mostly published these days as YA fiction (where she's gained a sustained audience). There was a film nibble a few years's certainly likely to work in that medium.

For more of this week's "Forgotten" books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

July's "Forgotten" Music: Maggie and Terre Roche, SEDUCTIVE REASONING

The initial 1975 and the 1981 reissue LP sleeves...the CD package crops the latter.

Margaret A./Maggie and Terre Roche started performing professionally in the late '60s, just a little late for the folkie boom but also a bit too distinctive to blend easily with the singer-songwriters of the early '70s, even when they became acolytes of Paul Simon and recorded backup vocals on There Goes Rhymin' Simon. By 1975, they had their own album on CBS, with tracks produced by Simon (and backed by the Oak Ridge Boys and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section) and ex-Yardbird Paul Samwell-Smith, but record buyers were more interested in the Bay City Rollers in 1975. A rather uninspired appearance on Saturday Night Live, then a pretty miserable showcase for music (and not much better since) even with Simon being a friend of the show, didn't help much (that was where I first saw them--and I see that memory has played me false...they didn't appear on SNL in '76, as a duo, as I'd thought, but in their early days as a trio, in 1979), but the record remains, and it's brilliant. One Dwight Garner, in Salon, notes that these are the songs that Jayne Anne Phillips's characters might sing if they were of a mind to, and that's fair.

Seductive Reasoning is not completely a folk nor a country album, which no doubt hurt its commercial potential, and yet had too much from those scenes to appeal to the AOR radio programmers or to "underground" FM stations of the time (then still likely to prefer long jams to well-crafted pop/art songs). Songs such as "West Virginia," "Down the Dream," and "The Mountain People" touch on early joy and disillusionment/disappointment, while "Jill of All Trades" and "The Burden of Proof" reflect a few more years of life under one's belt and the smoothing out that can come with them. "Underneath the Moon" and "Wigglin' Man" (the latter the first Terre Roche co-composition they would record) are more straightforward getting-laid songs, funny as hell, much as is the woman-spurned "If You Emptied Out Your Pockets You Could Not Make the Change." If "Telephone Bill" is like several of the songs here in not Quite being fully-formed, it and "The Burden of Proof" nonetheless also triumph by just how much talent and energy they carry, how much pinpoint observation in the lyrics and emotional charge in the vocal performances. When they came back with younger sister "Suzzy" in the latest '70s as the Roches, they were ready, and found more sustained success...but while several of their albums have been as good as Seductive Reasoning, none were better. Nor did they have to be.

For more "forgotten" music, see Scott Parker's blog.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday's "Forgotten" Books: SUPERHORROR (aka THE FAR REACHES OF FEAR) edited by Ramsey Campbell; THE MOON'S WIFE (wt: SIGGY LINDO) by A. A. Attanasio

Superhorror (published by W.H. Allen in 1976), as the slim anthology was titled in its original UK edition (the 1980 UK paperback takes the other title), includes the following stories, all original to it:

Brian Lumley - The Viaduct
R. A. Lafferty - Fog In My Throat
Daphne Castell - Christina
Joseph F. Pumilia - The Case Of James Elmo Freebish
David Drake - The Hunting Ground
Manley Wade Wellman - The Petey Car
Robert Aickman - Wood
Ramsey Campbell - The Pattern
Fritz Leiber - Dark Wings

I picked up my remaindered copy of the 1977 St. Martin's Press US hardcover, with the Donald Grant cover above carried over from the Allen edition, in 1979 or '80 in one of the Hawaiian chain of department stores, Liberty House.

What Al Attanasio had been writing for several years under the working title, for his protagonist, Siggy Lindo, was published in a much truncated form as The Moon's Wife, which does describe her predicament, by HarperCollins in 1993. The acquiring editor who'd bought the fat novel, which if Al didn't think of as his magnum opus it was one particularly close to his heart, left HC, and the new editor, as I recall from Al's account, not only didn't care for Not Invented Here but, I gathered, also chose to be offended that Al as a male writer would dare to write a novel about a female protagonist who could be seen as delusional, and indeed is by other characters in the romantic fantasy about a woman who learns that she is to literally become the Moon's wife, soulmate of its spirit. So, since this was published well after the initial splash of Attanasio's debut novel Radix, a genuinely international bestseller, and before the Arthor series began riding the UK charts, the editor demanded and got a severe edit that reduced the novel to a fraction of its original length. The book got zero support, zero attention, nearly zero sales and saw only the original hardcover edition in the States...Al's success in the UK led to the paperback reprint pictured above. Even truncated, it remains a charming and elegant work, in some ways my favorite of Attanasio's and still demonstrative of the joy he took in writing it in its original form, that probably could more easily find an audience today than it could seventeen years ago, when publishers weren't too certain how to market Richard Matheson's paranormal romances, either. My copy is the one that Al sent along from his stash of promotional copies.

Meanwhile, the Campbell, the first anthology he would edit, is an impressive start by any measure...with most of the contributors demonstrating why they were already masters of the form, and the major flaw as far as it goes being a lack of female contributors...but the biggest surprises in the book would not be that Leiber or Aickman or Wellman or even the then still relatively young Drake, and Castell and Campbell himself, would provide impressive work, but that Brian Lumley's suspense story, like all his work carrying a touch of the Boy's Adventure Tale about it but also like most of his non-Lovecraftian work far superior to the (sustainedly popular) Necroscope kludges, would be a fine and brutal story of retribution; Joseph Pumilia's rather grimly jokey homage to EC horror comics was an early example of that sort of thing in prose, and a good one; and then there's R. A. Lafferty's story. It was no secret that Lafferty was brilliant and eccentric, and often veered close to out-and-out horror in much of his previous fiction, but only rarely nudged any given work firmly into the field...but "Fog in My Throat" takes on the very soul of horror, the knowledge that we will be extinct and how we cope with this, and succinctly and forefully tells us how and why we'd best not try to fiddle with our self-delusional defense mechanisms in dealing with that. From a devoutly Catholic man, well along in years and not in the greatest of health at the time, it's a brilliant story that carries every sort of conviction with its wit, invention and compassion, and I've remembered it more clearly than any other in this book over the decades.

And, of course, it's been reprinted exactly once, as far as I can tell, in a small-press collection of Lafferty's short work.

For more of Friday's "Forgotten" Books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday's "Forgotten" Books: FAST LANES by Jayne Anne Phillips (Dutton 1987); QUICK SHOTS OF FALSE HOPE by Laura Kightlinger (Avon 1999)

Laura Kightlinger's Quick Shots of False Hope: A Rejection Collection is a partially fictionalized memoir, apparently accounts of most of the more outrageously affective incidents in her life up till the date of publication (she was thirty when it was published, and in the midst of her television sitcom-writing career); Jayne Anne Phillips's Fast Lanes is her third collection of short stories. I didn't begin to suspect how much they would echo each other in incident and occasionally tone, when I read them back to back over this last busy and not particularly well-rested week. (That last is a warning and an apology in all senses...I'm still thinking about these, as best as my tired mind can.)

Kightlinger is a challenging and frequently brilliant comedian and scriptwriter; she was apparently the child of a woman conducting a decades-long affair with a married man who did little if anything to support Kightlinger or her mother, in any way, aside from regular visits to come get laid some more. In the small town of Fayetteville (standing in for several towns and small cities according to various mutually contradicting online sources), Kightlinger makes her way past high-school talent shows (after somewhat greater success as a mainspring of the Drama Club) and the joys of working at the Ponderosa Steak House, and on to college and the beginnings of her intentionally comedic performance and writing career. She manages to fail upwards in some key and helpful ways, being fired from Tom Arnold's first sitcom as a cast member only to be offered her first professional writing gig, on Roseanne, to soften the blow...not the worst bargain anyone has ever made. But the early rejections and embarassments don't help her feel any better about the later ones, even if she has honed her coping mechanisms...perhaps because of the stated nature of the book, she doesn't dwell much on the development of her craft, though it is touched on, from her college career up to about the time she joins the staff and cast of Will and Grace.

Phillips's stories focus mostly on young women who are at least as lost and uncomfortable in their lives as Kightlinger was (and to some extent perhaps remains), but like her are mostly coping, even when the scars the course of the seven short stories here, we have a young woman covertly moving to and around in a small town while pregnant by her married lover, a young woman moving through group houses as she makes her bread working in a Bonanza Steak House (I believe this was the same chain either at different times or in different states) and consults tarot readers (less surprising in Phillips's latter-day hippy character than in the seemingly cynically rationalistic Kightlinger), and the general sense of "non-traditional" and "broken" families that are nonetheless making their lives as they might, in working-class/lower-middle-class America. What Kightlinger refers to as "white-trash" heavenly pleasures, and not entirely dismissively, recur in the Phillips, which somewhat oddly opens and closes with what might be the weakest stories (a first-person ramble from the POV of an alienated young man to start, "How Mickey Made It," and a slightly less convincing turn of the 20th Century historical fiction, "Bess," less convincing than the contemporary and near-past historicals that comprise what comes before in the book), though perhaps the greatest challenges to write. Her prose in "Bluegill," particularly, which slowly lets the reader know that it's the story of the pregnant, and financially "kept," mistress in a new small town, has prose as fiercely and initially opaquely elegant as Avram Davidson's or Jack Vance's or Edith Wharton's or Anthony Burgess's, though Phillips more frequently strives here for utmost clarity, with strong resonances of the sexual and other tensions life holds for her characters. Unlike the Kightlinger, the Phillips is in print...barely (a 1990 reprint edition from Vintage). I read the Faber & Faber paperback, its first UK edition, but clearly struck from US plates.

For more Friday "forgotten" books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Friday's "Forgotten" Books: Avram Davidson, OR ALL THE SEAS WITH OYSTERS; John Varley, THE PERSISTENCE OF VISION

The Contento indices:
Or All the Seas with Oysters Avram Davidson (Berkley Medallion F639, 1962, 50¢, 176pp, pb)
7 · Or All the Seas with Oysters · ss Galaxy May ’58
16 · Up the Close and Doun the Stair · ss F&SF May ’58
33 · Now Let Us Sleep · ss Venture Sep ’57
44 · The Grantha Sighting · ss F&SF Apr ’58
52 · Help! I Am Dr. Morris Goldpepper [Dr. Morris Goldpepper] · nv Galaxy Jul ’57
67 · The Sixth Season · ss F&SF Jun ’60
79 · Negra Sum · ss F&SF Nov ’57
86 · Or the Grasses Grow · ss F&SF Nov ’58
94 · My Boy Friend’s Name Is Jello · ss F&SF Jul ’54
98 · The Golem · ss F&SF Mar ’55
102 · Summerland · ss F&SF Jul ’57
106 · King’s Evil · ss F&SF Oct ’56
114 · Great Is Diana · ss F&SF Aug ’58
123 · I Do Not Hear You, Sir · ss F&SF Feb ’58
131 · Author, Author · ss F&SF Jul ’59
148 · Dagon · ss F&SF Oct ’59
157 · The Montavarde Camera · ss F&SF May ’59
169 · The Woman Who Thought She Could Read · ss F&SF Jan ’59

The Persistence of Vision John Varley (Quantum/Dial, 1978, hc); UK pb edition (Futura 1978) as In the Hall of the Martian Kings.
· Introduction · Algis Budrys · in
· The Phantom of Kansas · nv Galaxy Feb ’76
· Air Raid [as by Herb Boehm] · ss IASFM Spr ’77
· Retrograde Summer · nv F&SF Feb ’75
· The Black Hole Passes · nv F&SF Jun ’75
· In the Hall of the Martian Kings · na F&SF Feb ’77
· In the Bowl · nv F&SF Dec ’75
· Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance · nv Galaxy Jul ’76
· Overdrawn at the Memory Bank · nv Galaxy May ’76
· The Persistence of Vision · na F&SF Mar ’78

So, Avram Davidson came away from service in the US and Israeli armies and started publishing in the Jewish-American press in the late '40s (that fiction collected in Everybody Has Somebody in Heaven), and by 1954 he'd sold his allusive, charmingly offhanded, elegant "My Boyfriend's Name is Jello" to F&SF, his first fictional contribution (I believe) to a fully secular magazine, the one he would eventually edit. His more conventionally jokey "The Golem" the next year was his first fantasticated story to make a big splash, still full of inventive detail and long on charm...the title story of the collection was one of the first fantasy stories to win the Hugo Award, ostensibly a science fiction prize (albeit "Or All the Seas..."--about how missing paperclips grow into bicycles, among other related matters--was arguably sf of a sort...). Not that Davidson couldn't write straightforward, and pointed, sf, as "Now Let Us Sleep" demonstrates...not his first story to deal with genocide, but one of the most popular. Meanwhile, "I Do Not Hear You, Sir" was indicative of his growing interest and facility in crime fiction, mixed with the fantastic or simply with the baroque (he would earn Edgar and EQ Awards in his first decade of working in CF and true-crime writing). I still have yet to read another writer so engagingly brilliant at his best...several come close, but even Saul Bellow at his most playful or Jorge Luis Borges at his most relaxed only approximate the inspired, erudite dazzlement that Davidson could employ. Guy Davenport, whose work had a similar quality at times, was usually careful to note this as well, as did most of his fellow writers.

John Varley swept into the field in the mid 1970s, and reminded a lot of people of a Boomer Heinlein...though Heinlein was still with us, and writing mostly very poor novels, some of the worst of his uneven if nonethess field-changing career (Heinlein is second only to H. G. Wells in his influence on sf among writers...with Fritz Leiber and J. G. Ballard and perhaps even foremother Mary Shelley not quite up to the degree of his inspiration for those who followed...while writing piles of miserable fiction which eventually outweighed even his great work). But Heinlein came in with a school of impressive writers clustered around editor John W. Campbell, or reacting against JWC...while Varley reminded me even more of Stanley G. Weinbaum, who revolutionized sf with his "A Martian Odyssey" several years before JWC took on his editorial duties, then died a few years later after a string of less-influential but still widely-hailed work. Varley, as my friend Laura noted upon reading this book, sure loved sex...and with a hippyish abandon that manages to rationalize the adult-adolescent relations in some of these stories (most of the lovers, however, are age-appropriate to each other, even when they have migrated to new youthful bodies...Varley's characters often live in a future where one changes bodies as we might now change clothes, with gender swapping a matter of course). Meanwhile, Varley offered vivid description of how humans might be able to live on the neighbor planets, and what their lives might entail there, what they might find. For some reason, the quick, grim "Air Raid" gained a sustained audience appreciation, enough so that a bad film and not first-rate noveliztion by Varley would take up a lot of his creative effort over the decade after its publication...when first published in Asimov's, Varley had put his usual writing name on the other (and, I think as I believe he did, better) story he had in that issue ("Goodbye, Robinson Crusoe"). But the first story I read by Varley was the title story, a near-future speculation that had a built-in appeal to the alienated, bright young reader I was, and not I alone (as it won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards for its year) much so that I could and did accept, for the purposes of the tale, the notion that the community of the deaf and blind described might have developed a superior way of life...even with the story's organic slip over into fantasy by its end. Varley wouldn't write a good novel for two decades after this book was published, but with short fiction of this caliber of invention and casual conceptual challenge, he didn't need to.

Wild invention and deepset humanist compassion bridge both these collections.

For more Friday "Forgotten" Books, please see Patti Abbott's blog...for last week's limited list of FFBs, see below.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday's Forgotten Books, for the Abbott Vacation Friday

For convenience, I decided to break this off from the post below and set it up as its own post:

For further "forgotten books" this Friday, a weekend FFB host Patti Abbott has taken off, please see:

Bill Crider, The Tell-Tale Tart by Peter Duncan
Scott Cupp, The Spider vs the Empire State by Norvell Page
Ed Gorman, No Way To Treat a Lady by Harry Longbaugh (William Goldman)
Glenn Harper, Obsessions by Julia Kristeva
Randy Johnson, The Kissed Corpse by Asa Baker (Davis Dresser, aka "Brett Halliday")
BV Lawson, Shroud of Canvas by Isobel Mary Lambot
Le0pard13, Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, plus film and song choices
Steve Lewis, Die a Little by Megan Abbott
Todd Mason, This Fabulous Century edited by J. Korn(?), and The Brittanica Book of the Year edited by divers hands

For the regular weekly roundup of "forgotten" books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

FFB, Patti Vacation Edition: THIS FABULOUS CENTURY, ed. J. Korn? (Time-Life Books 1969); BRITANNICA BOOK OF THE YEAR, edited by various (EB, ongoing)

My folks picked up over the years an odd assortment of Improving books, having lost most of their initial adult libraries in a 1967 flood of much of Fairbanks, Alaska by the Cheena River (which runs through it). Somewhere in my parent's collection there's a photo slide of my mother's waterlogged back issues of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine piled on a table, and somewhere presumably nearby my father's already moldering Galaxy and Astounding/Analog and If and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction issues, perhaps wadded up in front of their television/stereo console, along with most of their books. But they slowly built the book collection back up, with such purchases as a 1973 Brittanica and a wildlife encyclopedia aimed at kids, a Reader's Digest Encyclopedic Dictionary they still use while working crossword puzzles and various odds and ends such as four volumes of the Time-Life book series, This Fabulous Century (apparently, my folks deemed the series too expensive to continue with)...they are definitive coffe-table books, rather quick and glossy glosses over the times, leaning heavily on the Life photo archives. If I can find it online, or find the copy I have of the 1930-1940 volume, I'll post the fine photo of a midwestern newsstand sometime in the mid/late 1930s, festooned with photo magazines such as Life, Look and Ken, pulps including prominent placements of Weird Tales and Golden Fleece (which shortlived latter should narrow the date range considerably) and such perennials as Harper's and The Atlantic Monthly...only one of the pockets of culture and history the books breezily introduced me to. Not too many books, even in several volumes, will tell you just a bit about Father Coughlin and the Jack Benny/Fred Allen "feud", and run an excerpt from Booth Tarkington's Penrod while also offering stark battle and Dust Bowl photography, and accounts of the emergence of jazz...certainly not too many history texts an eight- or nine-year-old was likely to run across.

The Brittanica Book of the Year was, of course, EB's yearbook supplement to their sets, and typically for EB, strove to be the most comprehensive, as opposed to similar productions from the World Book and Encyclopedia Americana folks, and such. In the 1970s, there wasn't too much coverage of Ghana in the Hartford Times (I think the Courant was the morning paper, delivered too late for my folks' liking), the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the Nashua Telegraph, or even the Boston Globe, but you could rely on the BOTY to have however brief a rundown on Suriname or San Marino--I have always treasured the deadpan with with the BOTY reported the trade agreement between the USSR and newly-elected Communist government of San Marino, ca. 1978, SM being a country the size of a large town completely surrounded by Italy but never joining in during the turn-of-the-20th-Century reconsitution of that country nor since. The electoral politics articles were consistently fine, in fact, and while the pop-culture articles were somewhat lacking in scope, they were nearly unique, at least for what was available to me at the time, in the breadth of their coverage...not too many other places I knew of had much information on Japanese or South American television programming, or even as good coverage of the British.

My folks kept getting the BOTY for a decade, cancelling their subscription with the 1982 volume, and while I haven't actually seen a volume since mid 1990s, I am quite amused to learn that they are continuing to publish the books even now (the 2010 edition is pictured above). They certainly exposed me to aspects of human endeavor I might not've considered otherwise. And now the volumes I read nearly four decades ago collect dust, wherever one finds them.

For further "forgotten books" this Friday, a weekend FFB host Patti Abbott has taken off, please see:
Bill Crider, The Tell-Tale Tart by Peter Duncan
Scott Cupp, The Spider vs the Empire State by Norvell Page
Ed Gorman, No Way To Treat a Lady by Harry Longbaugh (William Goldman)
Glenn Harper, Obsessions by Julia Kristeva
Randy Johnson, The Kissed Corpse by Asa Baker (Davis Dresser, aka "Brett Halliday")
BV Lawson, Shroud of Canvas by Isobel Mary Lambot
Le0pard13, Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, plus film and song choices
Steve Lewis, Die a Little by Megan Abbott