Archive for the ‘ Reviews ’ Category

GOBLIN – A REVIEW OF JOSH MALERMAN’S LATEST CREATION

goblin_cover

Josh Malerman is the author of the novels Birdbox (nominated for both the Shirley Jackson Award and Bram Stoker Award®) and Black Mad Wheel, and his most recent book from Earthling Publications is a fragmented novel called Goblin. I was fortunate enough to receive an Advance Uncorrected Proof to read and review.

Why am I reviewing this? Well, Josh is an all around nice guy, and he happens to write incredible fiction. I adored his debut novel, Bird Box, and highly enjoyed the next, Black Mad Wheel (although I love the Brazilian title Red Piano (Piano Vermelho) perhaps more than I should). I have also had the opportunity of publishing a few of his shorter works, including “The Bigger Bedroom” in Chiral Mad 3, and his Stoker-nominated dark sci-fi novelette “The Jupiter Drop” in You, Human. And later this year, Dark Regions Press will be publishing Bird Box Special Editionwhich I had the pleasure of designing inside and out, and which contains a new tie-in novelette called “Bobby Knocks” (pre-order for the deluxe hardback edition has since sold out, but copies of the 500 signed / numbered edition are still available).

Bird Box Special Edition - Cover

Also, I am a big fan of fragmented novels, or meta-novels (all four of my own novels, published and yet-to-be-published, are in this strange format), so of course I took an interest in Goblin, “a novel in six novellas.”

The first page of the Advanced Uncorrected Proof, as well as the back cover, totes heavy praise for Malerman’s latest: “Goblin is a mesmerizing, terrifying tight-rope walk” from Clive Barker; “Malerman has created a Derry for a new generation” from Sarah Pinborough; “Goblin is another triumph from Josh Malerman” from Christopher Golden; and many others. So what kind of blurb would I give? How about this, something longer and encompassing his other works:

“Josh Malerman’s Bird Box is a mastery of fear, capable of holding breaths hostage until the very end, while Red Piano (yes, I’d use that title) reveals he’s not yet done holding our throats. He is a writer capable of forcing us to turn the page, turn the page, turn the page. Goblin is Malerman having absolute fun with his literary hand, an apology of sorts, to all of us, really, Josh saying “Here, have something  lighthearted to read for once, but while you’re at it, I’m going to keep you captive in this devilish little town I’ve created.” Stephen King gave us the end of his Castle Rock with Needful Things, and now Josh Malerman gives us his Goblin, yet it feels like a new beginning of this crazy town.”

So what is Goblin? At first I thought the book might be about goblins, something tongue-in-cheek, something not-so-Malerman, yet I was quickly pleased to discover Goblin is the name of a small town in which all six of the linked / intertwining novellas take place. In Goblin it rains, unrelentingly, and surrounding the town are the terrible North Woods, as green as the book’s cover, and living within the town limits is a great jelly bean assortment of odd characters.

A Man in Slices starts things off, about a young man in a love so deep he sends body parts through the mail to his girlfriend. This is followed by Kamp, a ghost story, of sorts, the title of which is the main character, who lives in a hollowed-out skeleton of an apartment and sleeps on a Plexiglas bed in fear of nightly visitations. Happy Birthday, Hunter! centers around a meat-themed birthday party for a man addicted to big-game hunting, with all the town invited, and his fascination to take down the endangered Great Owl of the North Woods. In Presto, a young boy learns real magic from a magician calling himself the Roman Emperor. The penultimate story, A Mix-up at the Zoo, is perhaps my favorite of the six, in which parallel stories about Dirk Rogers, who works at both the Goblin Slaughterhouse and the Goblin Zoo, clash during his emotional breakdown caused by working such odd jobs. Finally, The Hedges, probably my second favorite tale, is about Goblin’s biggest tourist attraction, a seemingly never-ending hedge maze crafted by a man’s struggling with loss. Each of these stories mesh, and are a hoot (I couldn’t help myself, since the Great Owl plays a big part in all of this).

Some of the most brilliant novels are titled after main characters, and Goblin is no different. The most addictive character, perhaps, is Goblin itself … a fun little town.

Goblin is available for pre-order from Earthling Publications (October 2017), and features beautiful cover artwork (pictured above) by Allison Laakko, an introduction by James A. Moore, and interior artwork by Glenn Chadbourne. You can find the pre-order page by clicking any of the Goblin links on this site, or by clicking on that glorious cover.

If you are a fan of Josh Malerman, you will want a copy of this book.

VIRAL MAD – PART 2

[ click to start voting ]

Chiral Mad is nominated for “Anthology of the Year” by This is Horror, alongside a list of splendid anthologies. Click the image above to see nominees for all categories in the This is Horror Awards 2012. The voting is simple. Email awards@thisishorror.co.uk with a subject line of ‘Awards 2012 Votes’. Write the category and your first and second choice for each award (or only one). I can only hope you vote for Chiral Mad, but it’s up to you. Below are the five nominees for anthologies, so you can get an idea of what the book is up against. Some fine company. Voting ends January 4th.

1. Chiral Mad, edited by Michael Bailey
2. Terror Tales of the Cotswolds, edited by Paul Finch
3. The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandemeer
4. The Best Horror of the Year Volume 4, edited by Ellen Datlow
5. The Mammoth Book of Body Horror, edited by Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan

I am more than honored to see Chiral Mad on the shortlist for this award, especially since This is Horror is based in the United Kingdom, which means the anthology is making its way around the globe. In fact, this blog for has already reached nine countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, India, Finland, South Africa, Switzerland, and Netherlands (WordPress has some nice built-in analytics).

The London Book Festival has just named Chiral Mad as the Winner of their Compilations/Anthologies category!

London Book Festival 2012[ click for results ]

Chiral Mad was also recently recognized as an Award-finalist for the 2012 USA Best Book Awards in multiple categories (Best Cover Design: Fiction, and Fiction: Anthologies). Click the award logo for a full list of winners and finalists.

The 2012 Halloween Book Fest Awards, held in Hollywood, California, also recognized Chiral Mad as an Honorable Mention earlier this year.

Bram Stoker Awards, you say? Why not? According to the official recommendation list, Chiral Mad has been recommended for the award by multiple parties, as well as three of the individual stories: Inevitable” by Meghan Arcuri, “Experiments in an Isolation Tank” by Eric J. Guignard, and “Some Pictures in an Album” by Gary McMahon.

The latest review of the anthology comes from the San Francisco Book Review: “Chiral Mad positively affects the world before negatively affecting your psyche.” The review specifically mentions “Need” by Gary Braunbeck, “Brighter Her Aura Grows” by David Hearn, and “Underwater Ferris Wheel” by yours truly. Read why San Francisco Book Review calls the anthology “the perfect book for fans of psychological horror, people who like to be truly bothered rather than splashed with blood and gore” in their four star review.

I would also like to thank Jack Ketchum for his continued efforts to promote this book. He has tweeted about the anthology on five separate occasions, and each time it has directly impacted sales. He has quoted lines from three Chiral Mad stories: “Mirror Moments” by Christian A.Larsen, “The Apologies” by Erik T. Johnson, and “There are Embers” by Chris Hertz, and has sent the following messages to his thousands of followers: “Want a copy of CHIRAL MAD? Check http://bit.ly/Tapp4o  for details. Did I mention all proceeds go to Down Syndrome charities?” and “Friday reads: CHIRAL MAD, solid antho edited by Michael Bailey. All proceeds go to Down syndrome charities — and I’m happy to be in it…” Jack Ketchum, you are incredible.

Last but not least, the money. I will post the amount on a separate line for impact…

$3,000 and counting.

Good work, everyone. Continue spreading the virus that is Chiral Mad. Many more reviews are one the way…

VIRAL MAD – PART 1

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, viral marketing has played a major role in the success of Chiral Mad thus far. So, to keep the virus spreading, I’ve collected a plethora of information about the anthology here, including some awards, reviews, and other promotion. Read and spread. That’s how it works.

First, the awards. Chiral Mad was recently listed as an Award finalist for the 2012 USA Best Book Awards by USA Book News, and in two separate categories: Anthologies: Fiction, and Best Cover Design: Fiction. It was also a finalist for the 2012 Halloween Book Fest Awards earlier this year.

Second, the official reviews. There will be a lot of reviews coming in for this anthology in the near future (and I’ve been asked three times this week for additional review copies… one in Italy, even), so I thought I’d collect them in various blogs as they arrive to keeps things simple for those that are interested and want to follow along. For those that choose to skim, I’ve created some review cliff notes below, although I’d recommend reading the reviews in their entirety.

Horror World review of Chiral Mad
“Get this book… as win/win as it gets.”
“Little slices of life as seen through a gaze set firmly askew.”

This is a great review of Chiral Mad by Horror World, and I couldn’t be happier. I am also noted as a recognizable name alongside Jack Ketchum, Gary Braunbeck, Gene O’Neill, Gary McMahon, Gord Rollo, and Jeff Strand, which is quite the honor. While I don’t quite agree I should be placed on the same virtual pedestal/ bookshelf as these amazing authors, it’s already been said and can’t be taken back! The review mentions Jack Ketchum’s “Amid the Walking Wounded,” (‘delivers the goods’), R.B. Payne’s “Cubicle Farm,” (‘hell of office drudgery examined with wonderful results’), Gary A. Braunbeck’s “Need,” (Braubeck never disappoints… weird and dark and downright depressing’), Gary McMahon’s “Some Pictures in an Album” (‘a reason to be frightened… plenty of paranoia’), and A.A. Garrison’s “The Bad Season” (‘a glimpse of a mad man’s mind’).

Hellnotes review of Chiral Mad
“Every contribution is well written and literate, most are highly compelling, and each is constructed with an entire test tube full of asymmetric molecules.”

Hellnotes offers another good review of Chiral Mad and I love the blurb. The review mentions R.B. Payne’s “Cubicle Farm,” Monica J. O’Rourke’s “Five Adjectives” (‘deceptively simple’), Gary McMahon’s “Some Pictures in an Album” (‘the ultimate tale of paranoid creepiness’), Gord Rollo’s “Lost in a Field of Paper Flowers” (‘punch-in-the-gut’), and Jeff Strand’s “A Flawed Fantasy” (‘quality snuff literature’). This review is kind of a mixed bag of tidbits, but it’s a good one.

Kirkus review of Chiral Mad
“A glimpse into the lives of people entering or already inhabiting the soul of darkness.”
“A compilation of entertaining, if often disturbing, stories.”
“Skillfully mixed and matched.”

Another good review (if you go by the blurbs above), provided by Kirkus Reviews, mentioning the many topics of horror and madness captured in the anthology: Monica J. O’Rourke’s “Five Adjectives” (‘things that can trigger madness’), Ian Shoebridge’s “White Pills” (‘tenuous perception of reality’), Meghan Arcuri’s “Inevitable” (‘sense of desperation’), Gord Rollo’s “Lost in a Field of Paper Flowers” (‘memories and the damage they can cause’), Chris Hertz’s “There are Embers” (‘sudden emergence of repressed memories’), Michael Bailey’s (yours truly) “Underwater Ferris Wheel (‘casually chilling’), Jeff Strand’s “A Flawed Fantasy” (‘gritty’), and Julie Stipes’ “Not the Child” (‘dreamlike’).

Third, fan reviews. Sometimes the best reviews are those by readers, so I’ve included reviews by both Goodreads and Amazon. If you’ve read Chiral Mad, I highly suggest that you write a review, even if it’s only a few words of positivity/negativity. Writers love reviews of all kinds. The more the merrier.

Goodreads reviews of Chiral Mad
“I’m not sure I’ve read another anthology that was as pleasingly edited as this one by Michael Bailey. It is chiral, by definition… There are thirty great reasons to buy this anthology. Twenty eight of them are the stories it contains, the twenty-ninth is the editing, and the thirtieth is because you need to be looking out for your fellow travelers on this planet.”

Amazon.com reviews of Chiral Mad
“A success story in the anthology department!”
“A perfect book for cuddling up with on a cold fall night. Each story is unique, spooky and thought provoking.”

There are currently two five-star reviews on Amazon. They specifically mention Gord Rollo’s “Lost in a Field of Paper Flowers,” Chris Hertz’s “There are Embers,” Gary Braubeck’s “Need,” Patrick O’Neill’s “Alderway,” P. Gardner Goldsmith’s “Sigil,” Jon Michael Kelley’s “The Persistence of Vision,” and Pat R. Steiner’s “The Shoe Tree.”

Fourth on the viral agenda are the various bloggings and tweetings, and facebookings:

Jack Ketchum has helped the virus spread by Tweeting a quote from the book (‘Kids see things differently; that’s why they make such great victims’ – Christian A. Larsen, “Mirror Moments”) and commenting on the book, calling it “a solid antho.” (thanks Jack!)

Speaking of Christian A. Larsen, he has been regularly blogging about Chiral Mad as well, which you can follow by clicking on his name. Not to mention some of the other contributors of Chiral Mad: John Palisano on his website and Erik T. Johnson at Yes Trespassing, Pat R. Steiner, A.A. Garrison at Synchroshock, Eric J. Guignard, Andrew Hook at Nitrospective, and the one and only P. Gardner Goldsmith.

Chiral Mad was recently featured on Darkeva’s Dark Delights Friday Fright Feature, mentioned as a well put together anthology for a worthy cause, with book information and a link to the book trailer.

If you are blogging about Chiral Mad without my knowledge and helping to spread the infection, I sincerely thank you, and I hope you reach out to me to let me know so I can mention it in VIRAL MAD – PART 2.

I think that’s it for now…