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09-03-04: How to Find a New Author of Interest; Were I At WorldCon #1

A Casebook Example #1: Jay Caselberg

Damn. How could I miss this? Guess there's no "UK writer as published in The Third Alternative" blurb.
One of the most enjoyable and essential tasks of any reader is to find new writers to read. On one hand, they pop up so often it's like playing whack-a-mole at the bookstore. But when you only have so much time to read, you surely don’t want to waste your time with something less than stellar. So how do you find -- and choose -- a new author? I'm here to offer you a case in point, Jay Caselberg.

I know that I saw 'Wyrmhole' Jay Caselberg's first novel go by last year, and I said to myself, "Well...maybe...uh...not right now." Damn. Missed one. Well, that can be rectified. Earlier this year, I fired off a subscription to 'The Third Alternative'. And when the spring issue came in the mail, what should I find but a short story by Jay Caselberg. I've got to admit that I didn't recall the name and only vaguely recalled the novel when I saw it listed in his author credits. But his story in TTA, 'Iridescence' was to my mind quite compelling. He offered great writing and a wonderful sense of mystery. I bookmarked the name in my mind by actually writing about the story, and noting that he resided in the UK, always a good sign as far as I'm concerned.

Lasts week, Jay's newest novel arrived. 'Metal Sky' (Roc/Penguin-Putnam, September 7, 2004, $6.99) would have looked pretty interesting even had I not read the story. Given my enjoyment of the story and the verve with which Caselberg created a world that was compelling and mysterious, it went straight to the must-read list, along with its predecessor, which I went to some pains to obtain. So now what I have are two hotly anticipated-by-me novels from a UK writer that first see publication in a by-definition cheesy US mass-market paperback format. That's a whole bunch of good signs.

'Wyrmhole' introduces Jack Stein, psychic investigator. He looks for people -- in his dreams. So here's the setup: a far future where humanity is splattered across the stars, stabbing and grabbing, polluting and looting. Stein lives in the Locality, where the bottom layers swarm with scum and the upper levels sing sweet hymns to riches -- and the rich. Stein is hired by Outreach Industries to find some missing miners. But a minor piece of evidence lands him in major trouble. It's PI 101 in space. Not a bad concept to start with, and Caselberg's story in TTA suggests that he'll be able to pull it off with some style and lend mystery to the mystery. This novel manages to hit a lot of points of interest to me, and having a UK connection for this cheesy paperback certainly helps. match my metal brain.
'Metal Sky' takes up two years after 'Wyrmhole'. Jack's moved to a new town, with a kid in tow, and Yorkstone is a lot classier than the Locality. So classy, in fact biz looks dangerously bad until it becomes dangerously good -- with the classic hot-babe client showing up on his doorstep. She's just hiring him to snatch back an artifact from an antique-dealing acquaintance. Or so she says.

Both of these books seem to offer a very nice combination of classic mystery fiction tropes and surreal science fiction tropes. I know from reading TTA that Caselberg can deliver on the prose side and the SF mystery side. By SF mystery, I mean the old mystery inherent when one is presented with an unreal world -- "How does this world work? How is it connected to ours?" What inspires my buying dollars is that he's matching that with a mystery genre spin that I suspect he'll be able to handle very enjoyably and very well. In fact, he's the kind of author one wishes had first showed up in hardcover, where we might have been more inclined to pay attention to that first novel. Well, I guess that's what I'm here for. See? We do do our job, finding new authors and helping readers find new authors. I'm pretty strangled for time to write and read, so I may not always be the first on the block, but damn, we do bring 'em in. And when you find a writer with the potential of Caselberg you a) attend the con he's at and hear him speak, b) give those low-cost books a spin and send a fiscal message to the publisher, c) enjoy the hell out of the process and result of finding a new author.

A List of Panels that Would Interest Me

Where I am.
So, were I at WorldCon today, here's my short list of the Panels I'd be hoping and hopping to see. Readers can see the full schedule at the website and those actually at the con can thrill to the last minute changes and additions. No readings, kaffeeklatches, or signings listed. Just a way to give readers a look at what a con is like. I'll try to have something up for Saturday and Sunday. To my mind, the Monday items are rather sad -- I mean the con is over, it's time to call it a day...for us, last time, it was the end of a very nice vacation.

I've linked the list separately -- and posted it yesterday to increase usefulness, so as to give those who only want to view this that choice.

09-02-04: Who Chooses the Hugos?, Colin Wilson Speaks

Noreascon 4 Begins

Here come the Noreascon 4 Lens Family.
Most of the SF readers will be aware that Noreascon 4, the 62nd WorldCon is starting today in Boston. Alas, it's not possible for me to be there. While last year was eminently enjoyable, scheduling conflicts prevented our planned attendance. So, like many people, I have to poke about the website to see what I'm missing and hope that someone who is attending is kind enough to send me a spot of email. I'm pretty sure that Jeff VanderMeer with collaborator Mark Roberts will be there, hopefully to collect a Hugo for the work of his I had a very minor part in, 'The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases'. Terry Pratchett, whom I interviewed last year is the Guest of Honor.

The first novel by Charles Stross. Read my review here.
SF Classics time with Dan Simmons.
Readers who can't attend can amuse themselves with a peek at the Official Hugo Nominees Website, which has been up for months. And for months, the information book buyers might find of interest has been staring us in the face. That information is the actual number of votes that will determine who wins the various awards that will be bestowed upon suspecting nominees on Saturday night. When I attended last year, and even when I wrote my article about awards last year, I never thought about how many people might actually be voting and thus deciding the awards. To my mind, it was always just "a lot".

I suppose as I strolled through the convention halls in both of the WorldCons I've attended I imagined "a lot" to equate to maybe one or two thousand people. As I mentioned in my article, that still leaves lots of room for bias and local vote manipulation. (The Home Boy Makes Good Effect.) By now, you've probably looked at the web page; if not, let me tell you. The biggest vote, for the most important fiscal category, Best Novel was 462 ballots. Split across five novels, that seems pretty damn small, frighteningly so. The least voted category, Best Fan Artist, garnered just 190 votes. Huh? These are fans voting fercrissakes! The mind boggles. But I suppose that it has ever been thus. If I'm not mistaken, individual vote totals will be released sometime in late September. Readers can get an even better idea then of who won and by how much.

Taking a look at today's schedule, all I can say is damn. Jay Caselberg moderating a panel on great new British Sci-Fi and Fantasy? I'm there - not! And this is just the beginning. I have to say that the panels look particularly good, and this just the first day. On the other hand, one can get fatigued just looking at the schedule. I remember running with my wife from panel to panel at Torcon. It was fun but rather stressful. But part of that was down to the often-significant distance between the panels. That might not be the case at Noreascon.

As we await the results of the Hugo votes, as participants scurry between the panels, as Noreascon progresses -- my congratulations go out to all the nominees, the participants, the organizers. Yes, I'm having a wonderful time, and I wish I was here. Or as Buckaroo Banzai would put it -- "Wherever you go, there you are."

Fortean Times 188

Only 23 strange days?
One of the more interesting brouhahas of recent publishing history was the publication of famous Fortean author Colin Wilson's autobiography 'Dreaming to Some Purpose'. Wilson burst upon the scene in 1956 with a philosophical novel titled 'The Outsider'. He followed that up with what used to be innumerable books. But as of the release of his autobiography, we know all too well how many books he's written -- 110, many of them published.

Wilson is known primarily as a sort of tweaked, philosophical Charles Fort. He's published books on UFOs, alien abductions, Atlantis, pretty much you name it and he's written on it. But to most accounts, not well. To give readers an idea of Colin Wilson's output, I'd suggest they look up a movie titled 'Life Force'. It's based on Wilson's novel 'Space Vampires', and features an early performance by Patrick Stewart and, more importantly, a Penthouse "model" as one of the vampires, wandering about London in the altogether and flaring bad special effect lightning bolts at hapless men who shrivel up into human prunes. One imagines it was not a literary high point either.

'Dreaming to Some Purpose' has been described as "jaw droppingly -- one might say cringe-makingly -- honest and often unintentionally hilarious." So where else do you find an inteview with an aging fetishist and UFO researcher? The latest Fortean Times. He discusses his "prodigious output and an overdraft to match" with Gary Lachman in a conversation sure to provoke either laughter, anger, or tears. And he mentions his crowning achievement not as 'The Outsider', but rather the 'Spiderworld' series. You know they had a couple of those sitting around at Logos for literally years, but only the first two. That's because, I suspect, there were only two. "I hope that in 100 years, if you say 'Colin Wilson' to some teenager, he won't think of The Outsider, but of Spiderworld." Now there's a quote you're not going to come across in any other magazine.

Elsewhere, there's a very nice cover story about American UFO's -- probably to balance out that recent issue about the nasty Nazi UFO's. A new department debuts with four solid pages on UFO's, presumably gearing up for the forthcoming re-make of yet-another-movie-that-does-not-need-to-be-remade, War of the Worlds. And cashing in on the current wave of sightings -- remember folks, multiple UFO sightings are called a flap. It's a flap of UFO sightings every month in Fortean Times. Joy!

You also get an article on my favorite Saint, Hildegard Von Bingen, who created some of the most haunting music ever to be actually written down. And sadly, actually, they've solved the Maryland Monster Mystery. Turns out the hoyote --a critter that got caught on video several times and looked like a cross between a hyena and coyote -- is only a red fox with a bad case of mange. But there's a monster that's at least undeniably real. They caught it and they're going to cure it, then send it out into the wild after it's been restored to health. I think FT has similar plans for Colin Wilson.

09-01-04: A Solid Bloch of Everyman SF

The Fear Planet and Other Destinations from Subterranean Press

Robert Bloch's 'Psycho'.
Readers know that success can hurt a writer as much it can help a writer. Robert Bloch is known first and foremost for writing the novel 'Psycho', the basis for Hitchcock's iconic horror movie. No, you can't even find his name on the poster for the movie, although the screenplay by Joseph Stefano was based on Bloch's novel. Stefano would later go on to create 'The Outer Limits'. But mention Bloch and 'Psycho' is soon to follow. Many of us have fond memories of reading Bloch's Lovecraftian stories, a series of works that he wrote in a sort of call-and-response to correspondent H. P Lovecraft. But Bloch wrote more than horror.

Subterranean Press, still conquering the world (though they bear no resemblance to the inverted ice-cream cone of 'It Conquered the World') is starting off a new series of collections of Robert Bloch's heretofore uncollected short stories in 'The Reader's Bloch'. Volume 1, 'The Fear Planet and Other Destinations' (Subterranean Press, November 3, 2004, $40.00 Deluxe hardcover) collects Bloch's early little-known science fiction and offers a wonderfully informative introductory essay by editor Stefan R. Dziemianowicz.

Bloch's first sale to Amazing.
While Bloch was cementing his reputation as a horror writer, he was busy writing science fiction and getting it publishing in classic genre magazines like 'Amazing Stories', then under the helmsmanship of Ray Palmer, who with Richard Shaver, would later bring the world The Shaver Mysteries. In those days, editors welcomed the different, the odd, the counter-point stories. The fiction that filled the pages of the early SF pulps is full of big-brained mad-scientists, and their intellectual foes, spacemen with ray guns and a thoroughly progressive attitude. The typical character was a can-do guy who has done something incredible. And while Bloch was perfectly capable of writing something like this -- his first sale to Ray Palmer's 'Amazing Stories, 'Secret of the Observatory', which also earned him a cover, was along these lines -- this wasn't his prime interest.

Bloch himself said that "..You're talking to someone who knows nothing whatsoever of the hard I like to be able to control the material that I work with...I don't want to be bound by hard and fast scientific laws and premises..." So when Bloch wrote SF, it wasn't about the cutting-edge scientist, but rather, malfunctioning gadgets and under-achievers in a near-non-future filled with narrators who say things like "I know just about enough science to change a washer." He'd emphasize comedy over solemnity, and humanity over machinery. In that sense, he'd prove prophetic.

A haunting image from the pulps. This issue included 'Grandma Goes to Mars'.
In many ways, with titles like 'Grandma Goes to Mars' and 'Beep No More My Lady', Bloch anticipated the work of Philip K. Dick, another notable fan of everyman science fiction. Like Dick, Bloch placed his characters in worlds of machinery they didn't quite get. And he laced his visions with humor, which fully blossomed in his Lefty Freep stories.

Subterranean Press is one of our most dependable publishers and we can be assured of a gorgeous quality volume. Of particular interest is Dziemianowicz's introduction -- and every story within.

This is not to say that they're all excellent, well written stories -- but even the clinkers offer a look at a time when science fiction was young and ungainly. And the clinker here -- Bloch's 'Secret of the Observatory' is arguably the first story to envision the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. But remember that science fiction isn't about prophecy or the future, really. It's the present, gussied up in a glittering spacesuit, rescuing the damsel about to be in distress.

08-31-04: Two Walters

Walter Jon Williams and Walter Hunt Wage War in Space

A pretty stunning 3-d cover.
It's fun to note that though some novels may look quite similar on the outside, and even have similar content, when it comes down to the writing, they manage to differ wildly. The two Walters here are a perfect example. Let's start with Walter H. Hunt, who's on the third novel in 'The Dark' series, in this case, 'The Dark Ascent' (Tor Books, August 1, 2004, $25.95).

In the first two novels of this series, humans have fought a war with a race called the zor and won. But that war was just a shadow puppet, and the race pulling the strings, confident it can eliminate both species, has now revealed itself. The hero known as 'The Dark Wing' is now long-dead, and a new hero, rebellious Space Commander Spiff, no, no, space commodore Jack LaPierriere has come forth.

'The Dark Ascent' is the Atkins diet of space opera -- it's all meat, no carbs, just enough grease to make it go down fast. From the rather stunning 3-d imagery on the cover to the pages of dialogue and action that follow, you have a no-holds-barred war.war.war on your hands. And not just a space war -- you've got a symbolic sword and echoes of martial fantasies. High-tech sorcery and hypnotism present themselves, standing at stern attention. One envisions the music to accompany this novel as consisting mainly of orchestral strikes and brass marches. With a hardcover original first edition, you'd better believe that there are a lot of readers digging this series. And while the relentless pacing of such novels does seem to send one hurtling towards a heart attack, that's the point, isn't it? This is the small, well-defined but remarkably successful sub-genre known as Military SF in peak form. Blazing spaceships, perilous politics, alliances made and re-made, personal promises that put lives on the line, this is military drama cranked up to eleven and fired off into space. Hunt spices up his battles with intriguing slices of Zen Buddhism and Taoist philosophy, and augments the text with a bevy of chapter-opening quotes that keep the reading lively.

Well, manners don't really do so well in cover art.
Sitting right next door is Walter Jon Williams second novel in the "Dread Empire's Fall' series, 'The Sundering' (Pocket Books/Simon and Schuster UK, October 4, 2004, £6.99). Now, readers should know I read and loved the first novel in this series, 'The Praxis'. And like Hunt's novel above, you've got a mixture of humans and aliens duking it out in space and on the surface of a selection of planets. You've got the manipulators and the manipulated. But Walter Jon Williams builds a rather different type of novel out of the same elements. Following up on the battle that started in 'The Praxis', Williams offers a more humorous view of these affairs. But this isn't just a simple parody, Instead, Williams serves up surprising sophisticated novels of mores, manners and a rigid society crumbling away under the stress of its own rules. Of course, part of that crumbling society is out tooling about the cosmos in starships, firing weapons at enemies perceived and actual. But another part is demonstrating that peculiarly human ability to sit round and yak about problems without ever getting round to actually solving them. In Williams' hands, you get almost a comedy of manners played out against a backdrop of zooming spaceships and laser battles.

Even within the most specialized of specialized sub-genres, you can find a pretty interesting and entertaining variety, and a fair amount of entertaining reading. It certainly makes for more variety than you'd guess -- even in the uncharted depths of space.

08-30-04: Caitlin Keirnan's Books of the Damned; John Pelan Turns Out the Lights; The Dangerous Games

Silk, Murder of Angels and To Charles Fort, With Love?!?!?

The original MMPB and Gauntlet's deluxe edition, illustrated by Clive Barker.
Last month I wrote about Caitlin Kiernan's forthcoming SF-horror novella (perhaps a short novel), from Subterranean Press, 'The Dry Salvages' and her sequel to 'Threshold', 'Low Red Moon'. Apparently, she's been a busy girl because this month she has a sequel to her novel 'Silk' out, 'Murder of Angels' (Roc/Penguin; September 7, 2004; $14.00). I have to say, it looks like a pretty weird and wild deal. And that's precisely what we hope for from our fiction.

I picked up the original mass-market paperback copy of 'Silk' from Roc when it first came out, six years ago in June of 1998. Damn, Y2K was only a year and half away and I was sweating bullets over compliance issues for the ancient VAX I'd inherited. Funny how much that matters to me now, (i.e., not at all) compared to this tiny paperback, currently the focus of all my attention. 'Silk' received the kind of praise the critics cannot give; it was published in a limited edition by Gauntlet Press, with illustrations by no less than Clive Barker. And consider yourself lucky, because I believe that you can still buy copies direct from the publisher. At least, for now. No guarantees on that later! 'Silk' is a pretty damn hard novel to pin down. Looks a bit like a Goth-vampire book, but that's not how it pans out. Instead, you have an almost Faulknerian novel of hallucination, torment and interior horrors externalized in dense, intense prose. All this and characters you give a shit about. Good thing, too. They didn’t all die when 'Silk' ended...though some of them might have wished to.

I'm guessing that's the Bridge of Sighs.
Ten years later, Daria is in denial and a career in music. Niki has been diagnosed as schizophrenic and is lost in a world of anti-psychotics. But she's beginning to doubt that everything she sees is a hallucination. She's having visions of an alien world, where her one-time lover, Sypder -- who more than lived up to her name -- is a power to be reckoned with and she herself is the Hierophant, a sorceress who can open up a portal between worlds. In the abandoned house that Niki and Daria have tried to forget, there is the slow creaking of doors.

I for one can’t wait to read this peculiar mix of high-fantasy, urban horror and Southern-fried pathos. Kiernan has a nice drug-laced prose style that's absorbing and affecting. And, she's a Fortean fiend, a fan of the Charles-Fort influenced movie 'Magnolia'. Too bad they don't give Oscars® for Best Rain of Frogs. And that leads me to perhaps the most intriguing thing about this novel. It lists among her works, 'To Charles Fort, With Love', which, a quick look at her website tells me, was supposed to be forthcoming from Subterranean Press, but alas is not listed amongst her work there now. It appears to be a collection of her short stories, but with a title like that, she's got a lot of expectations to meet.

I asked Caitlin about this collection and here's what she told me. It's even better than one could have hoped:

"Originally, this collection was to have been titled WORSE THINGS YET. But then Poppy Brite and I did WRONG THINGS, and I was afraid people would mistake a collection of my fiction entitled WORSE THINGS YET as some sort of collaborative sequel to WRONG THINGS. It took me about a year to think of a new title. One night it finally just came to me. TO CHARLES FORT, WITH LOVE. Charles Fort has been an enormous influence on my work, and I think it shows in these stories, especially. I get labled Lovecraftian a lot, and it's true that Lovecraft is an important influence, but I think Fort's been just as important. But he's less well known, so hardly anyone makes the connection. I don't get labled Fortean very often, though I'm surely as Fortean as I am Lovecraftian. Sometimes, it feels like I reach for THE BOOK OF THE DAMNED and LO! as often as I reach for Webster's and Roget's. Anyway, TO CHARLES FORT, WITH LOVE seemed a fitting way to draw attention to Fort's impact on my work. Hopefully, it will motivate people who've never heard of him to pick up one of his books. This collection will consist of about fifteen or sixteen stories, some interconnected, all written since late 1999."

I'm looking forward to this even more now. Too few writers have the perspicacity to recognize the influence of Charles Fort on speculative fiction and even science itself. Kiernan's interest in the works of Charles Fort speaks volumes about the volumes she writes. Had Fort known her, she might well have been in one herself -- she certainly belongs in 'Wild Talents'.

'A Walk on the Darkside' Edited by John Pelan

No publisher like Pelan.
I met John Pelan ages ago at the World Fantasy Convention that was held in Monterey California, the scene of this year's Left Coast Crime convention (described here and here). He was already a force to be reckoned with back then, and now he's one of the major publishers and editors in the world of horror and science fiction. He works at all ends of the spectrum, from the small press pages of his own Darkside Press, publishing young new writers and iconic texts from greats the likes of Fritz Leiber and hot damn -- John Wyndham. 'No Place Like Earth' is a collection of the short fiction of John Wyndham, author of 'The Day of the Triffids'. Now, I don’t know about you, but for me 'The Day of the Triffids' in its original movie incarnation was one of the first works of science fiction I remember enjoying, even though it scared the bejesus out of me. And thus, this collection of short fiction, which, Pelan observes is likely to go out of print practically instantaneously is something we'd really like to buy and buy in advance to ensure it does not escape our sweaty hands.

Pelan also has a novella forthcoming from no less prestigious a publisher than Cemetery Dance. 'The Colour Out of Darkness' (like me, Pelan and Lovecraft both prefer the British spelling of certain words) is a sequel to 'The Call of Cthulhu'. The miracle club-drug Essence opens doors of perception that are best left closed. And through those doors will come some entities with names familiar to many a horror-reader. Damn, I love this already.

With 21 stories, it's more than a walk.
But Pelan not only talks the talk, he walks the walk of the Darkside by publishing with the big boys, in this case, Penguin Putnam. He's been doing a series of stuff-em-in-your-back-pocket anthologies that also manage to win Bram Stoker awards and get nominated for International Horror Guild Awards. The latest version is 'A Walk on the Darkside: Visions of Horror' ( Roc/Penguin-Putnam; September 7, 2004; $6.99), and how can you resist a deal like that? You've got Caitlin Kiernan (see above), Jeffrey Thomas, Mehitobel Wilson, Brian Hodge, hot new guy Brian Keene, Tom Piccirilli, Tim Lebbon and Brett Alexander Savory, iconic Michael Shea, Pelan himself and many, many more. As with any anthology here, the real treats are the unknown names that three, four, five years hence you're reading about again in this column, with their first novel, their first collection, their first screenplay or adaptation. With titles as appealing as 'Little Miss Muffet is Dead, Baby' (by Michael T. Huyck Jr. and Michael Oliveri) and 'An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Flesh' (Hodge's entry), it's hard to resist. The emphasis is on short stories, though there are a couple that must at least be novelettes if not novellas. How can you go wrong for $6.99. Stuff it in your pocket or purse, lug it to lunch and enjoy a bit of pitch-black darkness with your tacqueria fare. Get yourself a nice introduction to the work of John Pelan and then follow the road back, back to darkness.

New Mysteries by Our Ladies of Darkness, Marcia Muller and Laurie King

"Don't drink and drive, don't drink and drive.... then how am I going to get anywhere?"
Around our house, there are certain things we do with great regularity and predictability. One of those things is to buy the books of Laurie King and Marcia Muller. Yes, I'll admit it, my wife is the big Marcia Muller fan, but I've been around Muller's work long enough to know that it will appeal to me, so I'm hunkering down to read her latest, 'The Dangerous Hour' and Laurie King's latest (both my wife and I have read King), 'The Game'. These are the two most recent entries in series that have been in life for many, many years. I think Marcia Muller was there first, so that's where I'll start.

Somewhere around our house is a paperback copy of Muller's 'Edwin of the Iron Shoes', the novel that introduces Sharon McCone. Muller's latest novel of Sharon McCone is 'The Dangerous Hours' (Mysterious Press/Warner Books, July 28, 2004, $25.00). Now McCone's been around long enough to be as involved in the business end of running a private eye business as she is in the private eye end. She's managing her money, her employees and her only problem is that her lover has proposed marriage, which brings out her full-fledged fear of commitment. Every girl should have such problems! It takes just one phone call for it all to unravel.

A favorite employee has been charged with credit card fraud, and McCone finds the goods in the company stockroom. Soon it becomes clear that someone is intending to ruin McCone's reputation and her life. And it becomes equally clear how far she'll go to protect herself.

Look, all you have to do is pick up this book, like I did, to be engaged by the immediacy of Muller's prose. Any writer would do well to read Muller's work, because it's such a great example of prose that puts the reader in the character's sensible shoes. She achieves the kind of clarity that modern prose is all about without sacrificing her own or her character's personality.

The most dangerous great game.
Laurie R. King achieves many of the same goals, but she plays a very different game. In 'The Game',(Bantam/Dell/Random House, March 2, 2004, $23.95) her seventh novel of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, King brings in, I’m told, the best Mary Russell novel to date. I remember years ago when 'The Beekeeper's Apprentice' first appeared at Bookworks in Aptos, with the little label 'Local Author!' stuck in front of the shelves. Now King's a bestseller and her Mary Russell novel are her most popular work.

In this outing, Russell and Holmes must make their way to India incognito, to pursue a famous and now missing intelligence operative, who had ostensibly left 'the Great Game'. But his disappearance puts Russell and Holmes right in the midst of this game.

I quite enjoyed King's novel 'Keeping Watch', which did an excellent job of weaving the history of the Vietnam war into a contemporary mystery of bad seeds and missing children. I'm looking for one hell of a lot of fun in the style of 'The Alienist', and hoping that somewhere along the way, they meet with a certain Dr. Lambshead. He'll be a right and proper help should they find themselves falling under the spell of one of those nasty diseases foreign climes are so well known for. So look for this reader to leap-frog from the land of Faerie to heavy-duty mystery in the coming weeks and hope that I don’t suffer from jet lag. Or one of those diseases, such as Third Eye Infection, so easily caught in the crowded streets of Bangalore.