Broadcasting the Poetry of Horror

Review--Gateways to Abomination A parade of horrors files past in Matthew Bartlett’s Gateways to Abomination, accompanied by the strains of an otherworldly broadcast. The discord awakens both terror and fascination, makes our eyes pop even as we struggle to look away. The writing—poetic, detailed, traumatizing—gives lift to hairs we didn’t know we had at the back of … Continue reading Broadcasting the Poetry of Horror

Nice Bump for Two Pumps

Robert Bruce Cormack penned a few kind thoughts on Two Pumps for the Body Man. Read more about his hilarious satire You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can't Make It Scuba Dive). Ben East has created a wonderfully wacky consular bash in a place called The Kingdom, a nightmarish place straight out of Catch-22 where bureaucrats … Continue reading Nice Bump for Two Pumps

Review: The Brothers Connolly

Ted Prokash employs a rich, poetic voice to tell his story of middle America, giving The Brothers Connolly the quality of an epic. His narrator breaks this novel free of its small-town confines. The writing, here, is the main event. Prokash is skillful and convincing in his portrayal of life in Napawaupee, Wisconsin. He renders with equal … Continue reading Review: The Brothers Connolly

Foreign Service Writers

The March issue of the Foreign Service Journal covers the annual book fair and includes a call for FS-affiliated writers to submit news of forthcoming and recently published books for the November round up. Authors are also invited to submit work for review on this blog: I recently reviewed retired FSO James F. O'Callaghan's No Circuses. See below. From the FSJ … Continue reading Foreign Service Writers

Infidelities for Valentine’s Day

It’s just like Michael Hemmingson to be gone. Just when I wanted to thank him for his black Valentine’s Day messages. There’s a world of hurt in his collection Pictures of Houses with Water Damage (Black Lawrence Press, 2010). It’s a numbed kind of hurt, the kind of pain felt after a breakup, whether you wanted to … Continue reading Infidelities for Valentine’s Day

Review: Foreign Service Fiction

Anyone who thinks diplomacy is about choosing the right fork at the right time should think again and read James O'Callaghan’s clever satire No Circuses (Tacchino Press, 2015). Forget preconceived notions of dinner-party diplomacy: keeping one’s elbows off the table, tangoing the rival into submission, and writing it up the next day in communiqués to DC. What diplomacy’s really about, in O’Callaghan’s world, … Continue reading Review: Foreign Service Fiction

Reviewers’ resource

If you're looking to sink your teeth into reviewing books, Atticus Review is a good place to start. You can hear from their book review editor, Sam Slaughter, at Citizen Lit. He offers up a few thoughts on the art of the review and his approach to guiding writers in the process. Listen to the whole thing … Continue reading Reviewers’ resource

Cheney: still wrong after all these years

Former veep, elegantly cloaked in fiction Crediting Dick Cheney for his rebuke of Donald Trump's bigotry gets no traction with me. Sorry Dick: you can’t make up for decades of reckless decisions and bad policy based on one easy moment of obvious decency. You’re still a modern architect of the very party now on the verge of nominating a racist … Continue reading Cheney: still wrong after all these years

The Blind Rooster Jumps to Paperback

Preston Lang’s The Blind Rooster (Crime Wave Press) is now more pulpy than ever before. It's recently been made available in paperback! Reading this dime-store crime tale is a lot like people-watching at the Laundromat: the major figures resemble coin-op types, people resigned to the vague indignity of paying to have their underwear tumble around in a public washer. And don’t … Continue reading The Blind Rooster Jumps to Paperback

Review: C.S. DeWildt’s Love You to a Pulp

C.S. DeWildt’s Love You to a Pulp packs two narratives, tight spirals driving like hammerdrills against the cranium til they breach the dark cavern beneath. You’ll know it when you get there underground with him. In the first narrative glue-nose dick Neil McGrath sniffs out a mystery involving the pharmacist’s daughter in a Podunk southern town. In the … Continue reading Review: C.S. DeWildt’s Love You to a Pulp