A new review of The Dishonored Dead appeared over the weekend, this one courtesy of Buy Zombie. In the lengthy review, the reviewer says the book is "a definite page turner with lots of action, tension and suspense" and that "the characters are well developed, the action is tight and the storyline is smooth." But the reviewer does pick up on one interesting point:
The entire storyline could be exchanged to depict cops versus robbers, CIA versus terrorists, US Army versus Taliban, etc. The only reason this story is listed as a zombie novel is that the main protagonists consist of decaying zombies who must apply lotion to their skin to slow down the rotting process and their hunt for living humans. As stated, those primary groups could be exchanged for any two groups of people and the story would still be an action packed, suspenseful, political thriller.
And it's true -- in many ways the novel is a political thriller that just happens to feature the decaying dead. I'll admit that while I've always known the novel was somewhat rife with social commentary, the idea that it was also a political thriller never crossed my mind. Maybe because I'm not a big fan of political thrillers and never intended on writing one. And I guess that also begs the question of just what makes a thriller a political thriller. Like the Jack Reacher novels -- many deal with political issues, but are they political thrillers in the same way a Tom Clancy novel is a political thriller? Could we go so far as to call The Dishonored Dead an allegory?
Then again, in the end, does it really even matter?
You can read the rest of the Buy Zombie review here.
Yesterday Robin Vidimos reviewed the Hint Fiction anthology for The Denver Post and said many nice things, including:
"Hint Fiction" is not a collection of memoirs, but a collection of short stories meant to challenge and enlighten. These works feel like a beginning with a number of possible conclusions, it is left to the reader to do the heavy lifting.
The resulting stories offer a punch that runs intuitively counter to their length. The resulting volume will end up broken-spined and well-thumbed, because the favorites are ones that will be returned to and shared, time and again.
Whisper n Thunder has been inspired by the NPR piece to hold a Hint Fiction contest of their own, with some pretty decent cash prizes.
Friday night was the last stop on the mini Hint Fiction tour at the Big Blue Marble. Not many pictures were taken, but those that were can be found here.
Finally, depending on what time you read this, you might be able to check out my live interview with Sean Moncrieff of Newstalk, Ireland’s independent talk radio station. It's supposed to start at 3:30 GMT (10:30 am EST) today. You should be able to listen live on the website, I believe.
Coming soon: a non Hint Fiction post. I promise.
Well it was bound to happen. I knew the streak of pretty positive reviews wouldn't last forever. Emily St. John Mandel over at The Millions gives the anthology a mixed but very thought-provoking take. (I wanted to include some kind of image with this post, like The Millions' logo, but when I looked for an image on Google nothing came up except that small thumbnail. Very strange.)
Anyway, I'll mention this again at the end of the week, but if you're in the Philadelphia area Friday evening, feel free to stop by the Big Blue Marble Bookstore where we'll wrap up this mini Hint Fiction tour. Contributors scheduled to appear include Randall Brown, Frank Byrns, John Cashman, Bruce Harris, Minter Krotzer, and Don Lee (yes, that Don Lee). Festivities start at 7 pm, so I hope to see some of you there!
The Hint Fiction event at McNally Jackson last Wednesday night was a blast. I almost didn't make it in time, though. Let me explain. My wife and I arrived in New York the night before. We stayed at The New Yorker Hotel, which, thankfully, was bedbug free. The view, however, was not ideal.
The next day my wife wanted to visit Ground Zero so downtown we went. There really isn't much to see except a lot of construction and some homeless-looking people trying to sell you pamphlets of 9/11, holding the booklet open to a picture of heavy smoke coming out of the two towers. I can't decide what's worse -- the fact they try to sell that stuff or the fact people actually buy it.
Anyway, the trip wasn't a complete loss. While we were down near the financial district we stumbled across the Amish Mafia's New York headquarters.
Then we went back to the hotel. As you can imagine, parking is horrendous in the city. I'd printed out two coupons before we went for two separate parking garages. You save $20 bucks for 24-hour parking. So in the process of moving my car from one garage to the next, I happened to take a wrong turn and found myself headed for the Lincoln Tunnel. This was around five o'clock, rush hour, and the event at McNally Jackson was supposed to start at seven. So there I am, stuck in traffic, wondering not only how long it's going to take me to go through the tunnel, but how long it's going to take me then to come back and get changed and take the train down to the bookstore. I even called my wife to let her know the situation.
She said, "You're joking."
"No, I'm serious."
"You're right outside the door, aren't you."
"I am completely serious right now. I'm stuck in traffic and about to go through the Lincoln Tunnel."
Luckily, seconds later, I managed to spot a way out of the gridlock and did a (what was no doubt illegal) U-turn and made it back to the hotel with not too much time lost. Then we headed down to McNally Jackson. In the door was this nice big sign.
The contributors who attended were Randall Brown, Frank Byrns, Tara Deal, Bruce Harris, Donora Hillard, Jason Rice, Samuel Rippey, Jess Row, and Kathleen A. Ryan. Even some Norton people came: my editor, Amy Cherry, her assistant, Laura Romain, and my publicist, Jessica Purcell. Pictures are posted at the Hint Fiction Facebook page but I definitely need to include here a picture of my wonderful editor. Amy's e-mail a year and a half ago made all of this possible and I'll be eternally grateful.
The next day my wife and I went down to Fifth Avenue and braved the Veteran's Day Parade to meet up with Jess who took us into the NPR studio. I showed the picture of me in the booth last week, so instead of showing it again here is me and my awesome publicist just outside the studio.
What were we doing at NPR? Well in case you missed it on Twitter or Facebook or even on the radio over the weekend, the one and only Scott Simon invited me on Weekend Edition Saturday to discuss Hint Fiction. It was a great experience, though I must say it was rather nerve-wracking being in the recording booth. I was told to sit in a chair, position my mouth beside the microphone so I wouldn't be talking into the microphone -- which, by the way, picked up everything. Any little movement, swallow, whatever, was amplified in my headphones. Even when I picked up the anthology and grazed my finger over the cover it created a massive scratching noise. So I basically just sat as still as possible and waited until Scott Simon came on the line. He conducted the interview out of their Washington, D.C. studio. It was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity and I'm glad everything worked out as well as can be because later this past Saturday when the feature aired the sales ranking for the anthology skyrocketed on Amazon, so much so that for an hour or two it made it into the top 100.
So this past week? I can't complain.