Saturday, September 29, 2007

New Ed Gorman Novel: SLEEPING DOGS

I’m back, sort of—my posts will very likely be limited, and don’t be surprised to see a few reruns. But today’s post is new and about something pretty exciting. I recently had the honor of conducting an interview with one of my favorite writers: Ed Gorman. (You’ll be able to read the interview over at Saddlebums in the next few weeks.) And while I was doing a little research I bumped into the artwork for an upcoming novel of his titled Sleeping Dogs.

Information is a little difficult to find on this one, but I have it on good authority that it is a “political whodunit.” It’s nice to see Ed back in the mystery novel game—the last few years most of his work has been squarely in the western genre.

Speaking of Ed Gorman mysteries, his latest Sam McCain novel, Fools Rush In, is currently out in hardcover from Pegasus. (I received my copy a few days ago, and hope to get to it very soon.) It has been receiving some praise not only on the Web, but also in print: Jon L. Breen wrote a nice review in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and Bookgasm loved it.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Minotaur
Release date: April 2008
Price: $23.95

Friday, September 14, 2007


You have probably noticed--at least I hope you have noticed--that it has been deathly quiet around here this week. I have more things to do than time to do them, and unfortunately Gravetapping is at the bottom of my "to-do" list. So, I'm going to bug-out for a few weeks--two is the plan--and be back spry, chipper, and hopefully more interesting than the blank screen of your computer. Meet me back here around the end of the month.

Until then, you can still catch a glimpse of a review or two at, or Saddlebums--I just posted a review for James Reasoner's (published under the name Mike Jameson) Tales from Deadwood.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Masters of Horror: Incident On and Off a Mountain Road

This is a repeat post. It originally went live December 18, 2006.

This is another busy week for me, but I plan to get at least three posts up, and I'm hoping at least one of them will be an original review. To give you a taste of what might (I stress might) be in the works here at Gravetapping over the next few weeks, I just finished Steve Hockensmith's terrific novel Holmes on the Range, and last night I started Andrew Neiderman's latest horror novel Unholy Birth.

I recently discovered—or more aptly put, remembered—the Showtime series Masters of Horror. I know nothing about the actual series, other than it was created and is produced by Mick Garris, and airs on Showtime; I'm one of the remaining three or four dozen people without a cable or satellite connection in my home. (It's expensive, and hell, it leaves me more time to read.)

I have, however, been watching the individual episodes as they are released on DVD, and while the series is a little uneven, a few of the episodes have been terrific. One such episode is, Incident On and Off a Mountain Road. Incident is based on a short story written by Joe R. Landsdale and directed by Don Coscarelli, who also directed the wonderful Bubba Ho-Tep starring Bruce Campbell, which also just happens to be based on a Joe Landsdale story.

Incident is a tour-de-force horror film. It is part slasher, part psychological thriller, and completely and outlandishly entertaining. The cinematography is beautiful, the acting is better than competent, and the direction is great. Incident On and Off a Mountain Road is very nearly the perfect horror film--its length, at just under an hour, is ideal for the story, and the story is told with a sharpness and style that slasher films rarely exhibit.

While I have never read the Landsdale short story on which Incident was based, I can only bet the film served its interpretation well, and I hope, oh how I hope, to see Coscarelli and Landsdale team-up again. Rumor has it, they are in the process of putting together a sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep.

While the DVD-version of Incident On and Off a Mountain Road is a little overpriced at $16.98, you should make an effort to find it in a library or at your local video store. It's well worth the rental fee. At least, I think it is.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

"Scream Queen" by Ed Gorman

Jason, Spence, and Bill are in their early-twenties working dead-end jobs—they work at a locally owned video store, and after closing each night they fall back to Bill’s apartment with cheap beer and campy DVDs. They share the dream of escaping their boring Midwest lives to the excitement and glamour of Hollywood. The three know that if they could ever get the courage, they could make it big as directors.

Everything changes for the boys when one evening a woman who looks strikingly like the Hollywood actress Michele Danforth—the scream queen a few years back who disappeared from Hollywood without a whisper—walks into their video store. The boys quickly formulate a plan to discover if the woman is Michele Danforth, and it doesn’t take them long to go too far, and their actions reveal a seamy and dark underside that will betray not only their friendship, but very nearly their lives.

“Scream Queen” is a nifty little thriller of a short story—it is less mystery, and more dark suspense, but no matter where it is categorized, it is both entertaining and thought provoking. It is entertaining in that it kept me guessing until the very end, the characters felt real, and the atmosphere was perfect—it was dark and heavy without being morose and depressing. It also tackled a few deeply felt human emotions like sex, friendship, betrayal, and even perception. But mostly, it was a lot of fun, and very much worth the price of admission.

“Scream Queen” is in the current issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (September / October 2007), and it can also be found in the anthology Midnight Premiere, published by Cemetery Dance and edited by Tom Piccirilli.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- Main Theme

I don't know if I should admit this, but I'm big a fan of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series; the first three seasons were terrific. The characters were well drawn, fun, and very likable. The plotlines ran from the usual--classical horror and science fiction fare--to something more original, and then there is Buffy. Who could ask for a better protagonist? She was tough, vulnerable, and super cool.

Here is the opening credit sequence from the second season.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Hubble Space Images: Nebulas

I recieved an email recently from a regular reader, or so I presume, who asked me why I don't follow a more usual pattern of reviews, book-talk, etc. My answer: I post what I enjoy, and while I do enjoy the world of fiction--both novels and film--I also enjoy a few other things. And looking at photographs of space objects is one of my favorite things; actually now that I think about it, looking at photographs of darn near anything is one of my favorite things.

So here are a few photographs I found on the Hubble Space Telescope website. This time I chose four of my favorites from their Nebulae section.

This first photograph is titled: Stellar "Eggs" Emerge from Molecular Cloud: Closeup of Evaporating Globules in M16

This one is titled: Star-Birth Clouds in M16: Stellar "Eggs" Emerge from Molecular Cloud. And my only thought is wow!

This is the Reflection Nebula NGC 1999.

This is the The Bubble Nebula NGC 7635. This one reminds of a special effects for Star Trek--can't you nearly see The Enterprise making ts way through this beautiful place?

To visit the Hubble photo gallery click Here.