September 2010 Pull List

September 1, 2010

After the jump check out the September 2010 releases that I’m looking forward to.

How about you, what are you looking forward to?

Zift by Vladislav Todorov from Paul Dry Books (don’t have)

The Moth, Zift’s main character, finds himself in jail for a murder he didn’t commit during a diamond heist. He starts serving time before 1944 (the year of the Bulgarian communist takeover), and is released some twenty years later into a radically transformed totalitarian reality.

The Slug—the mean and calculating architect of the heist and the actual murderer—snatches the Moth at the prison gates. Though he manages to escape the clutches of the Slug, the Moth spends his first night of freedom—and the last night of his life—in a breathtaking chase with time, in search of lost love, truth, and revenge. His frantic flight through Sofia draws the map of a diabolical city—decaying neighborhoods and gloomy streets, bathhouses, train stations, the city canal, a hospital, a cathedral, pompous works of communist architecture encircling the mausoleum, smoky joints, bars, and, finally—the graveyard. In the course of the night, the Moth runs into a bizarre parade of characters: state agents, policemen, students, artists, professors, medics, barflies, outcasts, and gravediggers. When Moth finally tracks down Ada, his former lover and partner in crime, secrets from the past start unraveling.

Zift unfolds in the course of a single frenetic night and offers a fast-paced, ghoulish, grotesque, hardboiled, and enchanting tour of a shadowy socialist Sofia. It is dark spoof of totalitarian absurdity combining the methods of American crime fiction and film noir with socialist symbols and communist ideological clichés.

Variety called the film version of Zift “an instant midnight fest fave.”

Here is the trailer for the film version of Zift

Sarah Court by Craig Davidson from ChiZine Publications (don’t have)

Sarah Court. Meet the residents . . . The haunted father of a washed-up stuntman. A disgraced surgeon and his son, a broken-down boxer. A father set on permanent self-destruct, and his daughter, a reluctant powerlifter. A fireworks-maker and his daughter. A very peculiar boy and his equally peculiar adopted family.

Five houses. Five families. One block.

Ask yourself: How well do you know your neighbours? How well do you know your own family? Ultimately, how well do you know yourself? How deeply do the threads of your own life entwine with those around you? Do you ever really know how tightly those threads are knotted? Do you want to know? I know, and can show you. Please, let me show you.

Welcome to Sarah Court: make yourself at home.

Bad Penny Blues by Cathi Unsworth from Serpent’s Tail (have)

Policeman Pete Bradley is working the nightshift when he stumbles across a young woman’s body. A prostitute, she was strangled and her body dumped by a riverbank. His search for her killer brings him deep into London’s underbelly.

Meanwhile Stella, a young fashion designer with a promising career ahead of her, is woken by terrifying nightmares that echo the last hours of the dead women . . .

The Adjustment by Scott Phillips from Phoenix Books (don’t have)

Wichita, 1946. The war is over, and the boys are coming home. But some cannot adjust to the nonviolent world of civilian life.

The Adjustment follows Wayne Ogden careening like a pinball through a troubled postwar Midwest. Wayne, an ex-supply sergeant, black marketer, and pimp, is trying hard to make it as a husband, father and civilian in Wichita, Kansas. But old temptations keep crying out to him as he serves as bag-man and procurer for his elderly and increasingly debauched boss, Everett Collins, founder of Collins Aircraft Company, and Wayne’s wandering eye makes it hard for him to stay true to his beautiful, trusting young wife Sally.

A series of events further complicates matters: A boardroom conspiracy at Collins aimed at throwing him out on the street; his increasing certainty that he knows the identity of the Wichita Butcher, whose specialty is leaving severed body parts in public places; and finally, his failure to identify the author of a series of poisoned pen letters from someone who knows more about his recent past than he wants revealed. When these elements converge, it’s all Wayne can do to keep his wits about him and orchestrate a bloody series of events that will determine whether he can stay in his hometown or go on the run.

Wayne’s problem is that he doesn’t know which prospect sounds worse.

The Damage Done by Hilary Davidson from Forge (have)

Lily Moore, a successful travel writer, fled to Spain to get away from her troubled, drug-addicted younger sister, Claudia. But when Claudia is found dead in a bathtub on the anniversary of their mother’s suicide, Lily must return to New York to deal with the aftermath.

The situation shifts from tragic to baffling when the body at the morgue turns out to be a stranger’s. The dead woman had been using Claudia’s identity for months. The real Claudia had vanished, reappearing briefly on the day her impostor died. As Claudia transforms from victim to suspect in the eyes of the police, Lily becomes determined to find her before they do.

Is Claudia actually missing, or is she playing an elaborate con game? And who’s responsible for the body that was found in the bathtub? An obsessive ex-lover? An emotionally disturbed young man with a rich and powerful father? Or Lily’s own former fiancé, who turns out to be more deeply involved with Claudia than he admits?

As Lily searches for answers, a shadowy figure stalks her and the danger to her grows. Determined to learn the truth at any cost, she is unprepared for the terrible toll it will take on her and those she loves.

How to Survive a Natural Disaster by Margaret Hawkins from The Permanent Press (don’t have)

“I didn’t speak until I was seven. I didn’t feel the need,” May tells us on page one of How To Survive A Natural Disaster, a story of family rivalry, betrayal, violence, and forgiveness told in six voices. May, the strange, silent Peruvian orphan who is adopted and brought to a leafy suburb north of Chicago at six months old to mend the lives of an already troubled family, might not talk, but as her Grandma Jack observes, “That baby studies people.” Next, we hear from May’s mother Roxanne, who hopes a baby and religion will fix her marriage; May’s father Craig, an artist who’d rather be anywhere but home until he falls in love with this strange dark child, April; May’s beautiful brilliant adored older sister who wants to be an actress and who appears “to breathe light like some benign dragon;” Mr. Cosmo, their three- legged Weimaraner; and Phoebe, the morbidly depressed, morbidly obese, agoraphobic neighbor who is the one who finally must rise to the occasion when May finds her father’s loaded gun hidden under his dirty laundry. As each voice makes a case for his or her own side of the story the reader learns that blood ties aren’t what make a family and that sometimes survival is only possible through forgiveness.

[All information pulled from Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites]

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Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

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5 Responses to September 2010 Pull List

  1. Jedidiah Ayres on September 1, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    New Scott Phillips is right around the corner, The Adjustment won’t be out for another year though. Too bad, as it’s just so wrong. Really. Wrong. Meaning good. But look for “RUT” soon from Stona Fitch’s Concord Free Press. Probably Oct or Nov on that one.

  2. Brian Lindenmuth on September 1, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    I thought I remembered something hinky with that one but I couldn’t remember. With that and other delayed releases since I started doing this column I figured I should start adding the Amazon disclaimer.

    Thanks for the correction.

  3. Paul Brazill on September 1, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    I’m still catching up with ‘old’ stuff. But I did read Bad Penny Blues and loved it. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, to be honest. The Damage Done is the big one from that list for me, I think.

  4. Scott Phillips on September 1, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks for the mention….”Rut” should be out in October, and “Adjustment” was delayed until October 2011 because Phoenix Books went belly up and it moved with its editor over to Counterpoint.

  5. Hilary Davidson on September 1, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    That’s an exciting list. Very glad to be on it!