Sunday, 2 October 2011

Books Received | The BoSS for 02/10/11

In The BoSS this week: to bid a warm welcome to the spookiest month of the year, returning favourite October, at least two spooky books! Also, one strictly embargoed book, which may or not be spooky. Who could possibly say? Not I.

Let's just do this thing before I get myself arrested.

(+10 credibility to anyone who can correctly identity the obscure British band I just referenced.) 


by Stephen King

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 08/11/11
by Hodder & Stoughton

Review Priority
5 (A Sure Thing)

The Blurb: WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11/22/63, the date that Kennedy was shot - unles ...

King takes his protagonist Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, 2011, on a fascinating journey back to 1958 - from a world of mobile phones and iPods to a new world of Elvis and JFK, of Plymouth Fury cars and Lindy Hopping, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake's life - a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time. 

With extraordinary imaginative power, King weaves the social, political and popular culture of his baby-boom American generation into a devastating exercise in escalating suspense. 

My Thoughts: Talk about starting the show with the show-stopper.

11.22.63 is of course the next novel by Stephen King. Not unlike last week's Reamde, it's about 1000 pages long. Very much unlike the latest from Neal Stephenson, however, 11.22.63 is about time travel, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and how the past makes us who we are in the present... maybe. I wouldn't know. Leastwise, I signed a thing which says I couldn't tell you even if I did, which I don't, so that's, uh... that.

What I can tell you - what I can assure you of, in fact - is that you can count on a review of 11.22.63 from me, whether it ends up here or elsewhere, pretty much the minute the embargo on this gorgeous, gargantuan thing lifts. Only five weeks to go!

by Julianna Baggott

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 02/02/12
by Headline

Review Priority
4 (Pretty Bloody Likely)

The Blurb: We know you are here, our brothers and sisters. We will, one day, emerge from the Dome to join you in peace. For now, we watch from afar, benevolently.

Pressia Belze has lived outside of the Dome ever since the detonations. Struggling for survival she dreams of life inside the safety of the Dome with the 'Pure'.

Partridge, himself a Pure, knows that life inside the Dome, under the strict control of the leaders' regime, isn't as perfect as others think.

Bound by a history that neither can clearly remember, Pressia and Partridge are destined to forge a new world. 

My Thoughts: I should note that that there is actually the US cover of Pure. The design of the proof I have - stark and white and slightly reflective in the right light - would be practically impossible to capture as a still image, but suffice it to say, it's an eye-catching thing.

Of course I'm not so keen to read Pure simply because the proof is nicely put together. Primarily I'm interested in this new series because of the blurb Justin Cronin's given the first volume -- that is to say, Justin Cronin of The Passage fame... or infamy depending upon your perspective.

Me? I loved The Passage. And I don't think that Cronin is the sort of author who'll blurb anything that crosses his desk, so I'm cautiously optimistic about Pure. I think it's safe to say we'll talk more about it closer to its due date... next February.

The Burning Soul
by John Connolly

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 01/09/11
by Hodder & Stoughton

Review Priority
3 (We'll See)

The Blurb: Randall Haight has a secret: when he was a teenager, he and his friend killed a 14-year-old girl.

Randall did his time and built a new life in the small Maine town of Pastor's Bay, but somebody has discovered the truth about Randall. He is being tormented by anonymous messages, haunting reminders of his past crime, and he wants private detective Charlie Parker to make it stop.

But another 14-year-old girl has gone missing, this time from Pastor's Bay, and the missing girl's family has its own secrets to protect. Now Parker must unravel a web of deceit involving the police, the FBI, a doomed mobster named Tommy Morris, and Randall Haight himself.

Because Randall Haight is telling lies...

My Thoughts: Lucky number thirteen in the long-running series of books starring paranormal PI Charlie Parker, discussed here on The BoSS before, The Burning Soul has had a great reception to date - everyone seems to love it, in fact - but sadly I've got ten or so of Charlie Parker's adventures still to read before I'm halfway caught up enough to discuss it with any authority.

I will say, though, to those of you who recommended I give this series a shot: you all were right. I adored Every Dead Thing.

But it's getting difficult to talk around this book without even glancing at the synopsis, for fear of spoilers ten books hence, so let's move along.

The Darkest Part of the Woods
by Ramsey Campbell

Vital Statistics
Published in the US
on 30/08/11
by Tor

Review Priority
4 (Pretty Bloody Likely)

The Blurb: The inmates of Mercy Hill in England have visions -- the remnants of their 1960s experiences with the hallucinogens growing in Goodmanswood, to which Dr. Lennox Price, intending to study them, fell victim instead.

The rest of his family wasn't immune to the woods' allure, either. His younger daughter, just returned from the Americas, went there ostensibly for research for her next book... his grandson discovered himself unable to leave the area, even for a job interview... his ex-wife wandered the woods in search of objects for her art and, after Lennox's death, saw him in the woods' shadows.

His elder daughter, though, seems resistant to the madness that plagues the family, yet something in Goodmanswood awaits her, too. At the woods' heart stand the ruins of a tower that once belonged to an alchemist contemporary to the infamous Elizabethan magician John Dee, and there is something far older and more powerful there, as well.

My Thoughts: You know, I remember lusting after this book when it was released here in the UK as a strictly limited edition by the good folks at PS Publishing, some ten years ago. In the end the price of entry was too high for a teenager on minimum wage, and not even that with any regularity... so I waited.

In actual fact, I hadn't even realised I was waiting till I heard that Tor would be re-issuing The Darkest Part of the Woods in a more affordable format -- and just in time for Halloween, too!

Hmm... how terribly, terribly timely.

End of an Aeon
edited by Bridget & Marti McKenna

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 15/07/11
by Fairwood Press

Review Priority
3 (We'll See)

The Blurb: Bridget McKenna and Marti McKenna published fourteen issues of Aeon, an e-book magazine, between 2004 and 2008. End of an Aeon collects the unpublished stories and poems from their final inventory.

Now, seven years after the magazine began, we come to the end of an aeon.

My Thoughts: There've been quite a few short story collection in The BoSS of late, haven't there? Well, this one's a different kettle of fish, I expect; an anthology of short speculative stories by an array of authors by and large entirely new to me.

Saying that, I see Lavie Tidhar, Jaine Fenn and Amanda Downum on the list of contributors to End of an Aeon, and that's enough of a comfort that this anthology could be the perfect opportunity for me to broaden my horizons a bit. At the very least I'll pull a Short Story Corner or two from the pages of this lovely little book.


Right-ho, folks... I've gotta go.

I think you can all imagine what I'll be reading this week. Probably all week, at that, but by the dead, that's not a thing you'll hear me complaining about.

Not even if I wanted to! :)

But what about you guys? Anything shiny and new on your towers of books to be read?


  1. Thanks for the heads up on that Campbell. Boy do I want to read that...

  2. Lush was not so obscure. In fact they were quite famous 20 years ago and still are one of the most referenced to bands when shoegaze is discussed. And, I must say, shoegaze gains popularity as a music style in recent years. Many new Indie bands are reinterpreting it.

  3. Guess again?

    I meant Gomez. But Lush... ah, Lush.

  4. You find the BEST books out there! First time seeing King's new one and I'll definitely look forward to it! Thanks for the info :)

  5. @Silver Thistle - They find me! :)

  6. I love that your copy of Pure is white, mine is black! And woot I finally got an ARC you got too!!