David Gordon shoots and scores again with his latest novel, The Bouncer. After I read his Mystery Girl and The Serialist, I am convinced Gordon is one of the best crime writers I’ve encountered in a long time. His books are hilarious and keep your attention. He knows how to tell a good story, create memorable characters, and engage the reader. And, dammit, he’s already put out a sequel to this book which I’ll have to buy. I’m never going to finish Dodge in Hell or Youngblood Hawke.
One of the greats of 20th-century genre writing, Frederick Brown was accomplished in all areas of popular fiction. Science Fiction, fantasy, detective, mystery, thrillers; the man wrote in every area. I’m sure there were a few…
It’s not often that the sequel to a great piece of literature surpasses the original. The Blood Star, the follow up to Nicholas Guild’s The Assyrian, manages to do this with little effort. Every now and then I put a book down and say, “Wow, I’ll never equal this.” Such were my feelings after I read the final page of this solid piece of literature.
“The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell is one of those short stories everyone has either heard about or read. First published in 1924, the story is about Sanger Rainsford, a big game hunter who finds himself marooned on an island off the coast of South America. He finds a large palatial estate on the island inhabited by a former tsarist general, Zaroff, and his deaf-mute servant Ivan. Rainsford discovers Zaroff has been hunting shipwrecked sailors as game on his estate ever since he became bored of animal hunting. Zaroff turns the hunter into the hunted in his next game, but Rainsford is able to elude the general with his superior skills. It’s implied Rainsford triumphs in the end.
So, you ask, what is this book about? It’s about Moore’s old Northampton neighborhood, which he terms “the boroughs” throughout the book. However, we don’t just see the outer, physical Northampton; we see it as a collection of ectoplasm layers. It’s all part of a multiverse created by the “builders”. These are angelic creatures who work to construct the “mansoul” or continuous reality of the boroughs.
They came around the sand dune and stopped. All twelve of them. In front of the trio stood twelve Nazi Zombies. They even had on the torn black uniforms. It was possible to see the naked, flesh through rips in the uniform. Most of the heads were gone, but some kind of tentacle thing moved around what was left. The game designers overlaid the enemy bots with enough visual nightmares for ten lifetimes. The sheer appearance of these creatures in the daylight startled them. By the time the NZ’s had turned in their direction, they swung up and leveled their guns. The women turned to him for guidance, but Kurt shook his head.
“So long as we get enough out of this run to make it worthwhile,” she told him. “The last tomb we explored turned out to be empty. And we had to clear out the demons inside of it to boot.” She was the only member of the team who didn’t need to wear armor. As a healer, she could repair any damage done to her person so long as it wasn’t fatal. Enlil still didn’t think she needed to tempt fate, but whatever. They’d return to the starting point if all of them were killed.
“The game is still in play,” Camilla announced. “The company thinks it can manipulate it, but there is too much already set in motion before they tried to alter the rules. There are some things they can change and some things they can’t. Yes, I still control the access point, but they may have found another one into this place. I won’t pretend to be a demi-god, not even in a virtual world. I realize Vince is still hooked up to his sleeping body and the two of you are programs that will eventually need to access your physical forms. Just listen to me and I’ll try to help you.”
The Assyrian by Nicholas Guild (Scribner, 1987) The Assyrian, by Nicholas Guild, is one of the few historical novels that look at the Ancient Near East (ANE). The book is a massive epic that covers…