#FridayReads 2020-09-11

My September and October reading will be mainly driven by the Halloween Bingo game that I’m playing. I have twenty-five squares to fill with books that match twenty-five different themes. Here are the four I’m reading this week:

‘We Sold Our Souls’ by Grady Hendrix (2018)

Grady Hendrix is a Manhattan-based American writer who came to fame with his novel about a haunted IKEA, ‘Horrorstör‘. 

I enjoyed his latest novel The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires’ and decided to try out his earlier books. I bought ‘My Best Friend’s Exorcism’ and the one I’m about to read ‘We Sold Our Souls’

The ‘We Sold Our Souls’ title reminds me of the old (1975 and yes, I do remember it coming out) Black Sabbath compilation album ‘We Sold Our Souls For Rock And Roll’ which went Platinum but made no money for the band because of a deal their agent made without their knowledge when they were changing labels.

‘We Sold Our Souls’ is a more extreme take on that kind of behaviour with the lead singer of an about-to-make-it-big Heavy Metal rock band achieving solo success by selling the soul of his bandmate, Kris. When Kris eventually finds out, decades later, she’s not happy. When she finds out what it means for the world as a whole, she’s furious.

The publisher’s summary describes the book as:

‘A furious power ballad about never giving up, even in the face of overwhelming odds, We Sold Our Souls is an epic journey into the heart of a surveillance mad, prescription popping, paranoid country where only a girl with a guitar can save us from eternal damnation.’

I’m hoping it will be a hoot.

The North Waterby Ian McGuire (2016)

Ian McGuire is a Yorkshire man, born in Hull, who became a lecturer in American Literature at Manchester University and later founded their Centre For New Writing. His third novel, ‘The Abstainer’ about an Irishman spying on the Fenians in nineteenth-century Manchester, comes out this month.

I’ve picked his second novel, ‘The North Water’ to read this week. It’s a dark and violent piece of historical fiction set on a whaling ship headed from England the Arctic Circle in 1859. Patrick Sumner, the newly-appointed ship’s surgeon is an Irishman whose Army career collapsed in the Siege Of Dehli, a key battle in suppressing the Indian rebellion of 1857, and who is now penniless and haunted and looking for a place to survive. He’s about to encounter the monstrous Henry Drax: harpooner and thrill killer.

This one’s been on my shelves for more than three years now. I’m using Halloween Bingo as an opportunity to find out if I’ll love it or hate it.

‘Tilt A Whirl’ by Chris Grabenstein (2005)

Chris Grabenstein is an American improv comedian turned writer, based in New York City, who writes books for adults and children.

‘Tilt A Whirl’ is the first book in what is currently an eight-book series of mystery novels featuring a John Ceepak, former Military Police officer (hey, just like Jack Reacher) who is now a member of the Seahaven Police Department and is dedicated to keeping his small piece of the Jersey Shore safe. When the body of a prominent real estate agent is found on the Tilt A Whirl at a local Amusement Park. Ceepak is perhaps a little too dedicated and little too nice but fortunately, he doesn’t know that.

I’m hoping this will be the start of a light, fun mystery series. I’m also hoping that it has enough Carnival in it to match it to the Creepy Carnivals square.

‘Bannerless’ by Carrie Vaughn (2017)

Carrie Vaughn describes herself as an ‘Airforce Brat’ who grew up all over America but who has now settled in Boulder Colorado. I was a fan of her Kitty Norville werewolf books, especially the very first one, ‘Kitty And The Midnight Hour’

This week I’m reading her Philip K Dick Award-winning novel ‘Bannerless’. which in the Coast Road community of a future America so many decades after the fall of the old world that there is no one alive who remembers how things used to be. How they are is that people live in small, self-sustaining communities with a strong system of population control where only those who earn a Banner by proving they can contribute to a household, can have a child.

‘Bannerless’ is a murder mystery where a young Investigator who normally has to arbitrate on disputes between neighbours or enforce population control measure, is asked to investigate a suspicious death that may be a murder.

I’m hoping for some great world and character building as well as an interesting murder mystery to solve.

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