Sunday, May 27, 2012


by Chris F. Holm

Fear not: the skull is plastic. As far as you know. And sadly, this is as tidy as this shelf ever gets.
Asking an author, "What's on your bookshelf?" is a dangerous question. On occasion, as with the shelf pictured above, it's even a dangerous shelf. Said shelf is one of six in our house - "our" in this case being me and my lovely wife, Katrina Niidas Holm, who writes reviews for The Maine Suspect and The Season's mystery section as well as blogging for Criminal Element, three endeavors that only serve to grow the pile(s). All six shelves are just as overflowing as is this one, and a complete inventory of their contents would still neglect the dozens, nay hundreds, of books stacked on, around, and/or under every coffee-, end-, and bedside-table we own. Not to mention the heaps of digital prose stashed on our Kindles.

Since my Collector series borrows heavily from the classic pulp tradition, I've talked at (possibly mind-numbing) length in many an interview about my influences (the latest of which can be read here), so rather than rehashing them once more, I thought I'd use today's question to talk about three recent additions (debuts all) to my bookshelf I'm quite looking forward to reading: two print, and one digital. (It's a compulsion, isn't it? Buying books, I mean. The fact I already own a lifetime's worth of reading material is no deterrent whatsoever.) Full disclosure: I met these three authors a Bouchercon last year, and count them friends. Fuller disclosure: I count them friends because they're good guys and hella talented, so don't let the fact that they had the dubious judgment to hang out with me a while deter you from checking them out.

So, alphabetically by title and without further ado...

Chad Rohrbacher

Chad Rohrbacher is a man after my own heart. (Hopefully not literally, though having read some of his darker short fiction, you never know. Point is, I'll be keeping an eye out for scalpels when next we meet.) He likes to dabble in many a literary sandbox. Crime, horror, sci fi - you name it, he's done it. His stories have appeared in such publications as Needle, Crime Factory, and Big Pulp, as well as a slew of anthologies, but the stingy bastard's denied us a bigger helping of his fiction... until now.

THE AZREAL DECEPTION is being billed as a cyberpunk collection. That sits just fine with me. But the fact is, Rohrbacher's so good, he could have called it MY COLLECTED GROCERY LISTS and I would have checked it out. And at under three bucks, I think you ought to, too. (Really, Writer-Boy? You're going with "to, too"?)(Yes I am, Hostile Condescending Parenthetical, so shut up.)

Peter Farris

When a book's being hyped by the likes of Frank Bill, Duane Swierczynski, and Douglas Preston, you'd better believe it's gonna catch my attention. When that book is described as a "backwoods fairy tale of fate and flight that is also a dark, modern thriller," so much the better for this born-and-raised country boy. Throw in a bank heist and a double-cross that leaves the robber and his hostage on the run from the cops, the Feds, and the Aryan Brotherhood, and this one looks to be one hell of a dark, uncompromising, thrilling read. I can't wait to dig in.

Owen Laukkanen

In the short time since its release, THE PROFESSIONALS has been burning up the charts in Owen's native Canada. With ebullient blurbs from such blockbuster authors as Lee Child, John Sandford, and Jonathan Kellerman, I suspect it's not long before Laukkanen becomes a household name (which I further suspect will cut down on him having to take the time to spell it for people.) Four friends, jobless recent college grads all, hatch a kidnapping scheme to make ends meet. For two years, it goes like clockwork. Then they kidnap the wrong man. Tell me that's not an irresistible premise.

Oh, and now for a little blatant self-promotion for any CM readers in the greater Albany, NY area: I'll be reading, signing, and generally dancing for your amusement at Flights of Fantasy on Sunday, 6/10 at 2PM. I'd love to see y'all there. And as an added bonus, Flights of Fantasy is giving away two copies of DEAD HARVEST! All you have to do is shoot them an email ahead of time. Click through for details.

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