This week I finished a novel. It was a long haul and an instructive experience and I may just write about it here one day. For now, here are a few books I should have been talking up long ago. And not just because they were all written by buddies. Readers, have I ever steered you wrong?
After the Workshop, by John McNally. Oh, man, did I enjoy this book. First of all, John McNally writes with an old-fashioned device that I still enjoy: a voice. And I do like books about the writing life, especially when they’re satires and comedies. In my library, this one goes right up there with Russo’s Straight Man and Chabon’s Wonder Boys, and I’ll revisit it again for entertainment and comfort as the years go by.
So Cold the River, by Michael Koryta. This is Koryta’s breakout book, and you’ll see why when you read it, even if you’ve never read him before. I like how this guy rolls. In an age of social networking and hectic self-promotion, Koryta, for some crazy reason, is still fixated and what matters most to good fiction: craft and story. And he’s not even 30. I have a right to despise him for that, but he’s too good, so I forgive him. Buy it now, and read it when the leaves are changing. If you don’t have leaves that change where you live, go ahead and read it now.
The Deputy, by Victor Gischler. You say you like Victor’s work for Marvel Comics titles like Deadpool, X-Men, and The Punisher? Me, too. You like gonzo crossover fiction like Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse and Vampire a Go-Go? Me, too. But once upon a time, Gischler was known primarily for writing straight-up crime fiction the way only Victor Gischler can write it, and here’s proof. If you also like books that feature a protaganist whose gun and badge are so heavy that they pull down the waistband of his sweatpants when he goes to work, you’ll want to look into this one.
The Cold Kiss, by John Rector. This one’s still hot off the press, so get it while it’s piping. A tight, character-driven noir tale set in a roadside motel during a blizzard. If you need more of a description than that, then you and I differ. But you can still trust my judgement. This book is in development as a feature film, but you’ll want to read the book before you see the movie. This John Rector is on his way places. Check it out and you’ll see.