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Find more Seeing Red
SPONSORED CONTENT FROM MINOTAUR BOOKS
[Editor’s note: Talia Sherer, Director of Adult Trade Library Marketing at Macmillan, adores gore—and the bloodier the better. Her special reading tastes are well known in the library world, so much so that librarians love to tip her off to new books in which the severed-part count reaches double digits or beyond. As a service to other thriller fans who prefer to see plenty of red as they turn the pages, we asked Talia to share some of her favorite recent reads. Frankly, we were a little surprised with the results. The dirty secret about Talia’s reading taste is this: she’s far more literary than she lets on. Sure, if you read Talia’s gory favorites, you’ll find the occasional spleen enjoying the open air rather than resting quietly wherever it belongs inside our bodies, but beyond that, you’ll also find a bunch of richly satisfying stories peopled by multidimensional characters who will make you think as much as they make you retch. —Ed.]
Evil at Heart, by Chelsea Cain (Minotaur, 2009).
My obsession with, er, admiration for, Chelsea Cain started after I read Heartsick. In Cain’s debut as a thriller writer, we met Gretchen, the coolest and sickest serial killer ever. Archie the cop was pretty dang hot, too. Their “affair” was tortured (literally) and twisted—an incredible page-turner. The torture scenes are shockingly gruesome and reminiscent of Silence of the Lambs. The relationship between Gretchen and Archie is very powerful and complicated and similar to the one between Agent Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter. I need more!
In Sweetheart, Gretchen and Archie were still at it, but something was missing. In Evil at Heart, though, I’m thrilled to say that Chelsea is baaaaack. Although Gretchen and Archie are not the main attractions, their places on the marquee are ably taken by Archie’s former sidekick, Henry; Susan, the Archie-obsessed reporter; and a copycat killer whose appreciation for Gretchen’s artistry is all too evident. Sensitive reader GO NO FURTHER! In Evil at Heart, you will learn about the painful (to some) art of body suspension. And one final warning: Do Not allow that random dude you met on Internet to remove your spleen!
Flesh House, by Stuart MacBride (Minotaur, 2008).
MacBride is one of my favorite writers because he’s funny (without being goofy) and extremely violent. In Flesh House, there’s a loon on the loose in Scotland skinning people alive. Oh, and he enjoys cooking body parts and feeding them to his prisoners. You’re thinking Hannibal Lecter again, but this time you’re wrong! MacBride is a much better writer than Thomas Harris. With characters like DS Insch (McRae’s overweight boss, who loves candy, especially Jelly Babies) and DS Steel (McRae’s other boss—a hard-boiled, fiftysomething lesbian with an addiction to cigarettes, alcohol, and karaoke), can you really go wrong? Run to your nearest library, and check out Flesh House, but don’t stop there. You’ll also need Cold Granite, Dying Light, and Bloodshot.
Shake the Devil Off, by Ethan Brown (Holt, 2009).
The 2006 ALA Annual Conference was the first major trade show to be hosted in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Yay, librarians! Although the city was still recovering, the locals were smiling, and the hotels and restaurants were open. What we didn’t know was that the relationship between NOLA locals Zack Bowen (an Iraqi War veteran) and his girlfriend, Addie, was unraveling. The pair that famously partied through Katrina (see New York Times) was quickly becoming a casualty. But Shake the Devil Off is more than grisly true crime; it is a fascinating exploration of the profound emotional toll that Katrina and the Iraq War have had on all involved.
The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson (Doubleday, 2008).
Although we have plenty of good reads over here at Macmillan, a colleague of mine sent me an ARC of The Gargoyle. Yes, I inhale gory mysteries, and even though The Gargoyle is not being billed as one, I found it equally gripping—and not without its share of blood. The descriptions—everything from a car crash to the narrator’s burns—are so vivid! I was hooked after only a few pages. I’ve never read anything quite like it. Yes, the relationship between the narrator and Marianne Engel is reminiscent of The English Patient, but The Gargoyle is so much more romantic—and far creepier.
Snow Angels, by James Thompson (Putnam, 2010).
Endless Winter + Deep Freeze = Time for Someone to Die. If you’ve read any Scandinavian crime fiction, you’re familiar with this formula. Recently, my dear colleagues at W.W. Norton, Penguin, and Random House sent me three novels set in Scandinavia: Henning Mankell’s The Man from Beijing and two debuts (Camilla Läckberg’s The Ice Princess from Norton/Pegasus and James Thompson’s Snow Angels). All three ARCs featured beautiful and haunting snow-covered scenery. All three promised very sinister stories within. But I had to pick up Mankell first. I’ve read his entire Kurt Wallander canon and have dabbled in his many stand-alones. As I read The Man from Beijing, though, I couldn’t help but miss the moody and brilliant Kurt Wallander. Dang you, Inspector! How did you get under my skin?
After a very reluctant good-bye to Mankell, I skipped over to Läckberg’s The Ice Princess. And just after discovering a frozen (and dead!) body in the bathtub, I looked over and saw “endless night can drive anyone to murder” on the cover of Snow Angels. Wow. Winters in Finland are dark. All the time. (Until spring, that is.)Although this is Thompson’s U.S. debut, it has all the qualities of Mankell, Indridason, Eriksson, and Fossum—with, thank goodness, a little more blood!
Constant drinking, depression, and a quiet hatred for all things “other” in the Arctic Circle mean savage death for a famous movie star. Tell me more! Our hero, Inspector Kari Vaara, thinks he’s already solved the case. But now his ex-wife, the mentally challenged son of Vaara’s partner, and the dead movie star’s father are all behaving very strangely. Snow Angels is a dark and incredibly fast-moving thriller. Don’t miss it.
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