In 1977, Donald E. Westlake released a book called Enough. Here in the states, that book collected two works, the short novel “A Travesty” and the novella length “Ordo”; in the UK that book included only the short novel. Enough went out of print a few decades ago. Luckily, the good folks at Hard Case […]Read more "One Hell of a Detective: “A Travesty”"
This month we return to our Jeff Strand mini-reading series for a few more works. This is due in no small part to the release of the author’s fifth Andrew Mayhem novel (hooray). It is also providing me the chance to catch up on some of the author’s other novels and novellas, many of which […]Read more "Stop Being Polite and Start Being Real: Jeff Strand’s An Apocalypse of Our Own"
The Signalman is an agent for a shady government organization. As The Agents of Dreamland opens, he is waiting in a small diner in the blasted Arizona landscape for a meet with a woman called Immacolata Sexton—and isn’t that a wonderful name? The two are tied to an investigation of a cult known as The […]Read more "The Best Foreshadowing Never Seems Like Foreshadowing: Caitlin Kiernan’s Agents of Dreamland"
This month we kick off a new mini-reading series for our short subject Sunday reviews, checking out a few works from prolific writer Jeff Strand. For those not familiar with the author, let’s set up our subject. Regular readers of our Thursday reading series know how Donald E. Westlake invigorated the comic caper through his […]Read more "The Grin in the Floor: Jeff Strand’s Facial"
Long, long, long, long before author Dean Koontz kicked off his spree of releasing original novellas tied to his latest novels, he wrote a slender action thriller under pseudonym. This is no real surprise. The sixties and seventies saw Koontz trying out a variety of fiction genres using a stable of pennames. Fun fact: The […]Read more "His Name Is Whatnow?: Dean Koontz’s Chase"
Dean Koontz’s Wilderness is an eBook exclusive story, not quite novella length, released to engender reader interest in his novel Innocence. Although Wilderness is short and eschews a traditional narrative structure—it does not give readers the conclusion they might be wishing for—the story also manages to contain some of the most evocative and lyrical prose […]Read more "The Hunted and the Hunter: Dean Koontz’s Wilderness"
The dame could have walked into a dozen offices in town, why did she have to walk into mine? For the third installment of his Makani trilogy, Dean Koontz slyly references the stereotypical hardboiled detective fiction opening. There’s no office, no bottle of gin in a bottom drawer, no dame and no burned out detective. […]Read more "Downright Supernatural: Dean Koontz’s Troubled Times"
After pitting his surfer enthusiast protagonist Makani Hisaka -O’Brien against a psychopath with special paranormal powers of his own, Dean Koontz decided to switch things up a little for his characters and for his readers. A little, but not a whole heck of a lot. However, the devil is in the details, so let’s take […]Read more "She’s a Monster: Dean Koontz’s Final Hour"
When Makani Hisaka-O’Brien first meets up with Rainer Sparks, she is bemused by him. This is something new for the young woman. She is an attractive enough human being, as our author relays in a brief passage: In a bikini, she was a flame that drew young men as surely as a porch lamp at […]Read more "I Want to Play a Game: Dean Koontz’s Last Light"
A young man stands perched atop a building and watching the people of his town coming and going on the street below. It is from here that he meets a mysterious fellow almost as ugly as he is. Howie was disfigured by a childhood encounter with evil—a crazed father who cottoned to the notion if […]Read more "Birds of a Feather: Dean Koontz’s Darkness Under the Sun"