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Book Reviews
Watchers by Dean Koontz

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I had never read this blockbuster author before, who, in a long stretch of heyday, was often compared with Stephen King.
Main similarity I detected was that both could use an editor.
Way - way too many words to tell a pulpy yarn of science gone bad and conspiracy cover-up.

At the core is a smart dog (named Einstein - give me a break) who can fetch beer, play checkers, probably build an inter-galactic teleporter if given half a chance.
Yes, a magical dog.
There's a lonely, mopey Mister Downer who meets an insecure, emotionally abused Ms Downer.
Do they fall in love? Do they bloom into well-adjusted heroic types?
Sure - just like your cross-eyed relatives or pebble brained coworkers.
Best character - aside from the dog, for all you canine fans - is the hitman.
Koontz must have felt the same way as he succumbs to letting the character become a full bore wacko.
Law enforcement types are introduced, they amount to nothing.
Scientists = meals.
One of the lamer books I have read in awhile.
well, I guess it's fitting to have an incredibly lame cover for a lame book. Seriously, who designed that turd?
A Little Purple Book Of New Orleans Stories by Poppy Z Brite

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Poppy was one of those dark horror flames, known in the genre, who never broke mainstream.
Her work was always too edgy, too alienating for the mob, and too sexual for the gorehounds.
Most of the sex was homo in a field that is determinedly hetero.
Hurricane Katrina had a profound impact on Brite, who wrote less and less.
Poppy transgendered to Billy Martin in 2010, around the same time he announced the creative fire was gone.

This is a nice gathering of his New Orleans themed stories.
Some are disquieting observations, others are funny (“The Devil You Know” shows the problems Diablo has with staff), a few are wistful memoirs.
Perhaps difficult to find, the edition suffers typos and poor typeface. An increasingly trend, I fear.
Noir City Annual #7 by Eddie Muller

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Another packed issue.
Several articles devoted to Ray Milland.
Christa Faust contributes an essay on modern femme fatales.
Three reviews of “Silent Noir” were interesting, though a stretch as Noir began, more or less, in the 40s.
Numerous pages on “Western Noir,” equally intriguing, with more credibility since many Noir directors and actors worked in select grim, fatalistic Westerns.
Also interviews, DVD reviews, tributes, dozens of other essays.
As always, must read for Film Noir aficionados.
Little Gray Book Of Grim Tales by Ray Garton

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Brief - very brief - book of Horror shorts.
I often roll my eyes at this author, thinking he is written out, but I keep buying.
This opens with a cat story, or rather, a cat lover story.
A man suffers a stroke and cannot move from the floor.
His loyal cats, eight or nine of 'em, meow anxiously, though after a few days they start getting hungry.
Another good story is what happens in a blissful neighborhood once resident discover one of the quieter members actually films Internet porn. Using their teenage children as "actors."
The final story is about missing pets, who eventually return ... infected.
Last one perhaps could have been expanded into a novel, though animal rights activists would holler plenty.
Quick read, and worthwhile for Horror fans.
Deadlock by Tim Curran

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Card player, mid level gangster gets in debt to mob boss.
Boss offers a deal. Spend the night on this cargo ship I just bought and your $50000 obligation is gone.
Oh, yeah, the ship is supposedly haunted.
Haunted as in every crew has either disappeared or been found dead.
Still - $50K for one night? Easy money.

Sloppy writing mars the first third of this novella, with author Curran showing a stingy word selection.
The sentence structure is high school simple and relies on stock phrases such as,
“His stomach filled with butterflies,” or “he was sweating bullets,” or “his heart skipped a beat.”
Professors of English 101 read freshmen efforts like this and roll their eyes.
The narrative gradually improves as the claustrophobia tightens aboard a vast, empty ship.
That is a neat trick in itself.
Panic creeps in, as do erotic overtones.
Probably worth a read, though bear with the lame first act.
How Music Got Free by Stephen Witt

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Fairly entertaining read of the decline and collapse of the music industry.
Circa 2000, the development of mp3 technology and peer to peer platforms such as Napster.
The first chapter is the most technical, laboriously detailing the struggles and frustrations of the mp3 code.
Not to mention competitive rivals who had inferior tech but more clout.
Another thread follows the fortunes of Doug Morris, a powerful exec I remember from WEA and later UNI.
The third story is of Dell Glover - who? - the pirate’s friend, a low tier drone who smuggled thousands of albums from the CD factory in North Carolina, ripped, converted to mp3, and lofted to a heady Scene group.
Witt is an acid tongued, snarky writer who does not hesitate to scorn popular sh!t of the day.
This ought to hold the interest of the curious, though insiders might appreciate more.
I recently read this one:
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Pretty decent, loved the black and white illustrations:
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But I zipped through it in two hours, I wish it could have been longer to include more heart which the author has a knack for.

I also read:
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Holy shit! I NEED to get the 2nd book and find out what happens next, book one was flawless IMO.
I may be an A-hole, but I'm not 100% a dick - Han Solo
Currently working on: Mad Max: Fury Road (silent edit)

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