Reviewed by Theodore Feit
** (T)he Sueño and Bascom investigations (are) set in South Vietnam after the armistice. This, the 13th in the series, is the most dangerous one yet for the irreverent pair, taking them directly into conflict with the North Koreans at the DMZ.
They are tasked with going right up to the line dividing North and South because of the murder of a South Korean corporal assigned to U.S. troops. The body lies across the line and they drag it back to the south, nearly causing a new war on the peninsula. An American private eventually is blamed, to assuage the North Koreans, but neither Bascom nor Sueño believes him guilty. However, they are taken off the case (but that doeesn’tstop them from pursuing it). Meanwhile, they have another case involving a bored wife of a Corps of Engineers Captain who goes missing.
The author, who served a decade in the Army in Korea, applies his intimate knowledge to the fullest extent with detailed knowledge not only of Army life,but the conditions of the South Korean population. Written plainly with clever plotting, the story will keep the reader turning pages until he/she reaches the extremely unexpected conclusion.
** A correction to part of the original review was issued by the publisher. Under the circumstances, the options available involved correcting the error according to accepted standards (using ellipses to indicate extractions and using brackets to indicate insertions) or to remove the content. The amount of ellipses required were distracting. I have therefore removed part of the content and revised the initial sentence used here according to accepted standards. Toe Six Press does not rewrite material; other than minor typos any significant changes must follow acceptable presentation for extraction and insertion or be completed by the author.
Darrin Doyle’s short story collection, Scoundrels Among Us, hit shelves this week and Darrin is here to talk about the common thread that ties these stories together. “A lot of fiction contains somebody doing something bad or wrong, but often they’re making bad decisions for themselves (or to themselves). My collection features many folks (mostly men) behaving in creepy, questionable, violent, or otherwise unseemly ways.”
I found the collection to be a celebration of the absurd and highly entertaining. Darrin also shares what’s on his TBR pile – including works such as Louise Erdrich’s The Plague of Doves, Christine Schutt’s All Souls, Christine Sneed’s The Virginity of Famous Men and Katie Chase’s Man & Wife.
Hunter Shea admits his love for Real Housewives and talks about the scariest night of his life and inspiration for Creature. Hunter also talks about his cats, Iris and Salem, in this author assistant feature.
Judy Penz Sheluk talks about her writing companion, a pup named for a character from NCIS: Gibbs
James Oswald talks about writing from the female perspective, insights from social media and claims to be “rubbish” at performing one specific author task.
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse reviewed by Sandra Ruttan
Scoundrels Among Us by Darrin Doyle reviewed by Sandra Ruttan
Solemn Graves: A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery by James R. Benn reviewed by Theodore Feit
The Sinners by Ace Atkins reviewed by Theodore Feit
A Book To Look Up
What is ‘voice’ anyway?
Thoughts on Horror
I suspect there could be as many conversations about what horror is as there are about what noir is. Laura Lauro’s tweets pointed me to the Aeon.co article by M.M. Owen, which is well worth a look.
“Horror is what anthropologists call biocultural. It is about fears we carry because we are primates with a certain evolved biology: the corruption of the flesh, the loss of our offspring. It is also about fears unique to our sociocultural moment: the potential danger of genetically modifying plants. The first type of fear is universal; the second is more flexible and contextual. Their cold currents meet where all great art does its work, down among the bottomless caves on the seabed of consciousness. Lurking here, a vision of myself paralysed in the dirt, invisible to those I love.”
“In (Bill and Fiona’s) escape to freedom, which goes from New York City to Oklahoma to Cuba and back, they run into all sorts of oddball characters, including a freaky assassin in an Elvis costume and a foulmouthed octogenarian with a deep, dark secret.” – Nick Kolakowski
Check out our Q&A with Nick about his latest novel, Slaughterhouse Blues.
Macbeth and The Dark Clouds Shining are reviewed.
Benjamin Sobieck takes us inside his writing space.
Plus: Tweets of the week and links to interesting articles.
And, in our Flashback Feature, check out what Jess Lourey has to say about the shallow dating pool, getting a 12-book deal and gravy-drippers.