It's a busy publication month for my reviews. Yesterday, my April review column dropped. Click
Today the April 1, 2023 issue of Booklist is live and I have 2 reviews, one by a Lifetime Achievement Award winning Horror authors and the other a long awaited new novel by a best selling authors. Both are great.
Below I have my draft reviews with extra info and of course, my three words.
To begin, I have Justin Cronin's brand new, eagerly awaited new book, a stand alone dystopian novel that well, read the review....
By Justin Cronin
May 2023. 560p. Ballantine, $30 (9780525619475); e-book (9780525619482).
First published April 1, 2023 (Booklist).
Fans of The Passage series have been waiting for a new book by Cronin since 2016, but thankfully, it was worth it as he delivers a chilling, original, and immersive standalone science fiction tale perfectly rendered for our tumultuous times. Proctor Bennet lives on the island of Prospera, where everyone is protected from the horrors unfolding on the mainland. The people of Prospera are healthy and wealthy, everyone spends their time pursuing their passions, and when their time is up, they retire to the Nursery, an island where they are “reiterated,” their minds erased before being reintroduced back into society. As the head “Ferryman,” Proctor is in charge of this journey, until that is, he is called to the home of his estranged father to facilitate a rare forced retirement, and this unsettling and sinister dystopia begins to implode. At its heart, however, this is a novel about storytelling, a meticulously built tale that begs the reader to allow themselves to be swept away, greatly rewarding those who surrender and trust the designer to sail them to the finish. A great option for fans of the accessible, compelling, and thought-provoking science fiction of authors such as Blake Crouch, Cherie Dimaline, and Neal Stephenson.
- The less you say about plot here the better, not because it will give anything away, but because it is getting lost in the storytelling that will allow you to love this book– very much like Blake Crouch– who readers trust to take them to the finish. Don’t try to figure it out. JUST READ. Old fashioned in that sense and yet, the story is very much driven by right now.
- Takes on so many social, economic, and climate issues, without feeling like it is doing to much. Storytelling!
- Original, thought provoking, and immersive, but most importantly, accessible, Cronin has delivered a standard bearer, a Science Fiction tale for our times, once that seamlessly incorporates many themes and concern of our very best stories.
- Unsettling from the opening prologue, setting itself up as a recognizable sinister, dystopian novel,
By Owl GoingbackMay 2023. 300p. Cemetery Dance, $18.99 (9781587678745); e-book, $4.99 (9781587678851).
Robert, Janet and 10 year-old Krissy, have come to central Florida for a vacation at a remote fishing camp. On their first canoe trip, they discover an eerie swamp, a swamp that readers know, by way of a visceral and terrifying prologue, was the home of an evil Voodoo priest who was defeated but not destroyed in 1831 by the Seminole Tribe, setting in motion a tale of a vengeful ancient evil, the solitary Semiole Indian who has been left to protect the world from its return, and the young girl who is sucked into the horror. With multiple points of view and a strong sense of place, Goingback adds nuance to what could be stereotypical portrayals, all while the pacing and dread uncomfortably increases, until it bursts open in a horrific finale. Evil Whispers stands as proof that the classic, pulp horror storytelling style can not only remain vibrant but that it can also pay homage to its inspiration while actively casting off the racism and cultural appropriation that anchored so many titles from the Paperbacks from Hell era.Further Appeal: Owl Goingback is a HWA Lifetime Achievement Award winner, a Native American writer who paved the way for so many while writing award winning classics pulp horror. I love how he always takes the recast Native American trope and turns it on its head. Click here for a list of his awards and a bio. Goingback will be a Guest of Honor at StokerCon 2023 and will be appearing at Librarians' Day. Click here for more on that.
- Mayan Blue by Sisters of Slaughter
- Queen of Teeth by Hailey Piper
- Anything by V. Castro but the best match here is Goddess of Filth
- Jackal by Erin Adams