Category Archives: Reading List
The Devil You Know follows Evie, a young reporter working on the breaking Paul Bernardo story. (For those of you who don’t remember Bernardo, he was a serial killer and rapist who terrorized the Scarborough area in the 1980s.) Evie is haunted by the memories of a childhood friend who was murdered — which parallels author de Mariaffi’s own life. She spends her time researching other murdered and missing girls, to the point where she spends more time with the dead than the living.
Evie is also being stalked by a man who lurks on her fire escape, just outside her kitchen window. Or is she? The stalker is a phantom, never truly seen. He may be a killer waiting for the right moment to strike or he may just be someone she’s dreamed up. To say any more would be to give away too much of the story.
The settings of The Devil You Know are modern-day gothic: a newspaper vault that bears more than a passing resemblance to a tomb, the eerily empty cottage at the edge of civilization — hell, the man on the fire escape invokes the spirit of the vampire at the window. It’s a creepy, eerie book, one that’s made all the more powerful because it makes you realize that this is simply the daily life for many women around the world. The Devil You Know is the devil we all know.
I’ve published a piece called B.C.’s Bookish Blades over at the Province. It features three insanely talented writers from B.C. talking about their new books: CC Humphreys, Sebastien de Castell and Ian Weir. These are the writers who make other writers insane with jealousy because they have both the commercial chops and the literary language. Great stuff. Check out their books today!
Historical thrillers are nothing new. In fact, they’ve been around since we started recording history. What are The Odyssey and Beowulf if not their era’s version of Dan Brown or Andrew Pyper?
But a trio of B.C. authors are writing a new chapter for the historical thriller genre, and they’re turning to past masterpieces for inspiration. C.C. Humphreys, Sebastien de Castell and Ian Weir are also breaking down some of the walls between genre fiction and literary fiction to write perhaps the most literary thrillers yet.
Lots of people have been arguing online about whether or not adults should read YA books, so I decided to chime in over at The Province.
Admit it. You’ve done it. You’ve read a YA book and you liked it.
That’s YA as in young adult. And the odds are that if you’re reading this, you’re a fully grown adult. Maybe even a senior citizen.
So why are you reading books meant for teens?
Help fund the first all-women Lovecraftian anthology, edited by editors extraordinaire Silvia Morena-Garcia and Paula Stiles. Why a woman Lovecraft tome? Silvia explains:
Why did you decide to do this?
Do girls just not like to play with squids? That’s the question an editor asked on Facebook, wondering about the lack of female writers in his TOC. What followed was a long discussion on Lovecraftian fiction and women, and the need for an answer.
At first I threw the idea of collaborating on a book of Lovecraftian fiction by women on Facebook and it seemed like it could be a small project between friends. But somehow the word spread and suddenly I was getting dozens of messages and e-mails from women asking if they could contribute to the project. I realized that there were a lot of women who were suddenly very interested in getting together. These responses prompted me to crowdfund an anthology.
I’ve been trying to catch up on my reading lately. Between writing and trying to parent a three-year-old boy (note the “trying”), I’ve had little time to read. I think I may have to schedule an hour each day, like they used to do in elementary school back in the day. My mind is feeling malnourished, as if I have some form of literary scurvy.
I did recently manage to finish one of the strangest books I’ve ever read though: Tony Burgess’s The n-Body Problem. I posted a little review of it over at The Province. If you like crazy, insane zombie stories, then this is the book for you!
Also, is it a coincidence that I developed the man flu the day after I posted the review?
I discuss Edward Riche’s Easy to Like over at The Province. Spoiler: I like it.
I just finished Craig Davidson’s Rust and Bone, after reading his Sarah Court a little while ago. I don’t have much more to say than my Amazon review — “Davidson writes like a madman possessed by a drunken saint” — other than to mention that if you liked Please, you’ll love Rust and Bone. There are many moments in Davidson’s book that I wish I’d thought of for Please, but he plucked them out of the ether and laid them on the page first. He’s a rare breed: a writer’s writer that regular readers will enjoy too.
At first read, Felix Renn is a familiar character: a wisecracking private investigator who has a troubled relationship with the authorities and who’s caught up in supernatural shenanigans in a noirish world. He’s a character that’s walked the pages of many other tales. But throughout Ian Rogers’ three chapbooks — Temporary Monsters, The Ash Angels and Black-Eyed Kids — Renn establishes himself as different from your usual, run-of-the-page private dick. For instance, he likes to name drop David Mamet and Blade Runner. And his taste in scotch is Canadian — you probably didn’t even know there is Canadian scotch, did you?
Rogers’ tales are different too. Very different. They’re mysteries where nothing is quite as it seems, and they’ll keep you wondering what’s going on until the last word. They’re also eerie enough to make even the most jaded reader get up and check the locks once or twice while reading them. They feature Renn trying to solve various mysteries involving The Black Lands, a parallel dimension that intersects ours and is home to all sorts of nasty creatures. There’s a touch of Lovecraft here, as Renn encounters situations and weird entities he can’t really beat by force, and he must use his wits not only to solve the case but also to survive.
Rogers has a nice style – hitting just enough notes with Renn to give him his own voice without going over the top into caricature, as too many other writers do. And Rogers is a hell of a plotter – good luck trying to figure out these stories before you reach their surprising endings.
Rogers has created an intriguing world in a relatively small body of work so far, and he’s continuing to flesh it out with each instalment – offering plenty of surprises along the way. I could go into more detail here, but really, you should just buy the whole series, pour yourself a scotch — Glen Breton — and sit down for a good read by the fire. Just remember to lock the doors.
Also, congrats to Burning Effigy for putting out some damned fine looking books. This is definitely a press to watch and support.