The Thief of Broken Toys / Tim Lebbon

June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

The 4th and final selection from our mini ChiZine Publications reading extravaganza is a fine little number by Tim Lebbon. In case we’ve never come out and said it, the novella is the ideal literary length.  Maybe we’ll wax eloquently at a future date as to why.  For now let us simply bask in the glow of Lebbon’s latest.  The tragic death of a child and the dissolution of a marriage is at the center of The Thief of Broken Toys.  There’s also a stranger amongst the cliffs of a little seaside village who dabbles with broken toys and painful memories.  Be wary when you find him.  Gifts don’t always come free.  This small book was recently nominated for a Shirly Jackson Award and added to the British Fantasy Award shortlist for Best Novella.  That usually makes authors happy.  Reading it certainly made us so.

Pick your poison:




Every Shallow Cut / Tom Piccirilli

June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

#3 in our current ChiZine Publications reading round-up.  In fact, it was actually the pulpster Piccirilli that turned our attention to this indie Canadian publisher.  Piccirilli has penned a hearty helping of steller crime novels in recent years and he delivers another solid effort with Every Shallow Cut.  He’s on our esteemed “Put Whatever Tripe You’re Reading Immediately Down and Pick This Up” list.  And picking up this novella you’ll follow the gradual unraveling of a man’s life.  If it was written any more sparingly it’d simply be the lyrics to a country song.  The wife has left, the bank account is empty, and the royalty checks have dried up.  He’s got a gun and a dog.  A bulldog:  Churchhill.  Which, by the way, if you own a bulldog and didn’t name him Churchhill you’re a douche.  We don’t even care if it’s cliched.  Piccirilli is cooler than a New Guinea penis sheath.

Sarah Court / Craig Davidson

June 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

 Dear gussie, Davidson can write a good sentence. Sarah Court is another fine nugget brought to you by the cool kids over at ChiZine Publications.  In an effort to curb any hyberbolic orgasmic praise on how awesome we think Craig is, let us simply submit a sample paragraph of his poke-me-in-the-eye that’s beautiful writing.  Please turn your books to pg 32 and read along boys and girls:

The sun slits through roadside poplars.  Feel of cocktail swords stabbing my corneas.  Scan for bodies: tough on corduroy roads as they get squashed between raw timbers and all’s you can identify them by is the crushed eggshell of their skulls.  Parkhurst smiling that sunny mongoloid’s smile.  A face pocked with old acne scars looking like a bag of suet pecked at by hungry jays.  By no means charitable but some men invite uncharitable descriptions.  Snap on the radio.  If it’s quiet enought I might hear the kid’s thoughts, which I envision as sounding much like a boom microphone set inside a tub of mealworms.

Ok, fabulous stuff, right? But because this little shit-shack blog operation tends to speak truth when it comes to pulp, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give Davidson one wee bit o’ criticism.  He frames these stories with a little sci-fi trope. It was unneeded.  These interconnected tales are brilliant and stand amazingly well on their own.  That bit of puffery on the end sadly slightly detracted from the whole.  But hey, author’s perogative and all that.  We’re still thinking this is our favorite read of the year so far.  Go read it.  Prove us wrong.

The Door to Lost Pages / Claude Lalumière

June 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

So we just discovered the brilliant indie publisher ChiZine Publications. We like their books so much we recently read 4 of their titles back to back.  They publish “…weird, subtle, surreal, disturbing dark fiction and fantasy” within which Claude’s The Door to Lost Pages nicely fits.  At the heart of these tales are two gods, Yamesh-Lot and the Green Blue and Brown God.  They battle it out with beasts and dopplegangers amidst alternate worlds and time shifting realities whereby a mysterious and magical little book store seems to be a crossroads of sorts between Us and the Other.  We dig these surreal interlinked stories and will certainly put Lalumiere’s first collection, Objects of Worship, on our TBR pile.

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