books

Serpents in the Cold – paperback out tomorrow (5.24)

SERPENTS IN THE COLD paperback comes out tomorrow, May 24th.

Noir meets historical crime fiction in a dark tale of redemption during the worst winter on record.

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Critics and authors praise SERPENTS IN THE COLD:

“Brutally realistic . . . The authors give us one last, lingering look at the good-bad old days.” Marilyn Stasio, New York Times

“This is a bone-crunching, gut-wrenching novel.” Kirkus Reviews

“Serpents in the Cold is a startling work of art, a beautifully rendered, atmospheric tale of crime and punishment set in mid-twentieth century Boston.” Reed Farrel Coleman, award-winning of Robert B. Parker’s Blind Spot

“[The authors] have delivered a love-letter to a Boston that’s long gone.” Publishers Weekly

“Serpents in the Cold lovingly revisits the hardboiled noir.” Stewart O’Nan, author of West of Sunset

“Serpents in the Cold is a great addition to the canon of gritty Boston street fiction, a no-punches-pulled look at a bygone era.” Chuck Hogan, author of The Town

“Melancholy as a lonesome train whistle, beautifully written, as well as thrilling, Serpents In The Cold is a tight little gem of characterization and suspense.” Joe Lansdale, author of The Thicket

“Purdy and O’Malley resurrect the neighborhoods of 1950s Boston in faithful, brutal detail — and in language so lush and gorgeous that you’ll fall in love with reading it all over again.” Elisabeth Elo, author of North of Boston

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A Meaningful Life, L.J. Davis

There is no other novel like it.

A Meaningful Life is a seething assault on what it means to live in New York City, how a life of little substance gets absorbed into the great melting-pot mass and slowly loses its shape, its purpose, its meaning. This is urban existentialism and dread narrated with acidic reflection, brimming with metaphors that are ugly, mean-spirited, but downright hilarious in how they skewer the ruined psyche of the main character, Lowell Lake. How Davis manages to be so bleak and so damn funny at the same time is truly a marvel. He peoples his world with characters who are all unlikable. They come in and out of the narrative like demented caricatures, indifferent losers, miserable blowhards. Nobody likes living in the city yet nobody can escape.

Read this as a parody lined with razor wire, a biting commentary on gentrification, or a scalding critique of the WASP mindset, but also read it for the playful cruelty that Davis indulges his descriptions with. On every page, he’s like a cat playing with a crippled mouse. There is so much to love about this grotesque little book. Parts Bruno Schulz and Hubert Selby, Joseph Heller and Gilbert Sorrentino, this book will change the way you look at real estate and home renovation, as well as marriage and family. A major book about a minor apocalypse, this one goes to my top shelf.

Excerpts:

‘Not even the spectacle of his wife coming in the door at her usual time could rouse him from his torpor; his psyche was in limp tatters, like an old kleenex dredged up from the bottom of a purse.’

‘The little girl and an even smaller boy were seated rigidly side by side on an enormous, spavined, yellowish sofa that was much and questionably stained and which stank to high heaven with an odor that resembled a superhumanly protracted fart.’

‘He regarded the bag of shit that was about to fall on him with a kind of fatalism. He’d always known this was going to happen.’

‘The drunks next door never said a thing. Lowell had a bad moment the first time he had to pass them, but they just sat there and looked at him with a very total kind of indifference as if he were a traffic accident or a fly.’

31 Days of Horror Book Covers: #27

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#27: Weaveworld – Clive Barker (Pocket Books, 1988)

Not sure if this dude on the cover just won the lottery, or got kicked in the nuts…? Despite the questionable cover art, I dig the gold texturing. The novel itself is an epic of horror and fantasy.

Here’s the artwork under the front cover:

ma_Warren_Weaveworld_1050_591_81_s_c1Yeah, it does look like he just got kicked in the nuts.

31 Days of Horror Book Covers: #25

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#25: Life Keeper – Mike McQuay (Bantam, 1984 – cover art by Alan Hashimoto)

In the 1980s Horror Boom, computers went mad and thought they were Gods.

31 Days of Horror Book Covers: #24

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#24: The Nebulon Horror – Hugh B. Cave (Dell, 1980)

Back in the 1980s Horror Boom, every child was possessed, pissed, or eating the souls of their elders.

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Soul Eater – K.W. Jeter (Tor, 1983)

31 Days of Horror Book Covers: #23

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#23: The Color Out of Time – Michael Shea (DAW, 1984)

I couldn’t think of a better cover to celebrate Friday. Electrified hobo with six-pack abs? Ridiculous and wonderful at the same time.

31 Days of Horror Book Covers: #20

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#20: Killer Crabs – Guy N. Smith (Signet, 1979)

Look out, Maryland.

Guy N. Smith was known for his no-nonsense books. Hence this title, and others such as The Sucking Pit and Slime Beast.