“Harbor” by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Thomas Dunne Books, 2011)


From the international bestselling author of Let the Right One in and Handling the Undead comes another unique and moving tale.  Readers will wonder what Sweden is truly like during the winter, as Lindqvist sets this story on a remote island in the Swedish archipelago.  John Ajvide Lindqvist has created a thrilling, psychological horror novel in Harbor.

It seems at first that Harbor is an ordinary tale of loss, as the book opens with Anders and Cecilia living in a cute little cottage on the small island of Domarö with their adorable six-year-old daughter, Maja.  One winter afternoon, before dinner, they go on a walk across the snow onto the frozen channel.  There they discover an old lighthouse and go in to explore; they travel to the very top, looking out across the ice.  Maja says she is bored and goes back down, venturing out onto the frozen channel . . . then she disappears.  Anders and Cecilia looked away for just a second and Maja vanished.  They begin searching the ice and the area around, looking for her, calling for her, become more panicked by the minute.  A search is done over a number of days, but the little girl is never found.

The loss of Maja destroys the family and Anders and Cecilia separate.  Anders has problems getting back to any sort of normal life and spends more and more time in the cottage on the island, getting to know the people better and slowly lose his mind.  He begins to hear weird sounds and feels that the spirit of Maja is close by, but at the same time knows this cannot be true.  While it seems like Anders is just losing his mind over the loss of his daughter, and then the end of his marriage, it turns into something else as he learns more about the island of Domarö and the payment it has exacted from its inhabitants for many decades . . .

Harbor proves Lindqvist deserves to be added to the great horror writers of today, with his unique stories; normal, realistic characters; and his unforgettable depictions of the dark and terrifying places throughout Sweden that would be considered normal and quite beautiful, until he inserts one of his terrifying tales.

Originally written on November 20, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Harbor from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

BookBanter’s Top Ten New Releases for Tuesday, November 29

BookBanter Top Ten

It’s a new week and a new round of new releases.  I guess the week after Thanksgiving is a little slow or something, as I was stretched pretty thin this week in looking for new releases in the genres of fantasy, science fiction and horror, especially in hardcover.  So we have some regular fiction books again, as well as mystery/thrillers, and a number of them new in paperback.

So here’s the top ten new releases for Tuesday, November 29th.

Scottish Prisoner

The Scottish Prisoner by Diana GabaldonA new release from Gabaldon’s bestselling Lord Johnseries.  It’s 1760, in London, and Jamie Fraser isn’t doing so well, but then he could be doing a lot worse.  As he deals with haunting dreams of his lost wife, an old friend, Tobias Quinn, shows up in his life.  Quinn has a plan to search for a lost relic, but Jamie isn’t having any of it, and then Lord John Grey shows up with some damning documents, just to make his life more complicated.To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.
Lost Gate The Lost Gate by Orson Scott CardThe first in Orson Scott Card’s Mithermages trilogy, The Lost Gateis now available in paperback.  Card introduces readers to Danny, a boy who has always known he is a member of an important and power family who all have talents for creating things like fairies, ghosts and golems.  But Danny worries he will end up being the odd one odd, useless and talentless.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Final Judgment The Final Judgment by Richard North Patterson

In this gripping new mystery from Richard North Patterson – now available in paperback – a man is found dead, his girlfriend at the scene of the crime, but pleads she is innocent, even though the murder weapon bears her fingerprints and she’s dripping with blood.  Her aunt, an attorney, is summoned back to New England to help defend her.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Pale Demon Pale Demon by Kim Harrison
In the ninth book of the Hollows series – now available in paperback – Rachel Morgan has but three days to get to the annual witches’ conference and prove her innocence in the allegation of using black magic.  There’s also an ancient demon looking to devour her soul.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Deep Black Death Wave Deep Black: Death Wave by Stephen Coonts
From bestselling author Stephen Coonts comes Deep Black: Death Wave– now out in paperback – where a very dangerous shipment of twelve nuclear warheads has vanished in Asia, stolen by a new alliance of deadly terrorists.  It will take a secret group within the NSA – Deep Black – led by Marine sniper Charlie Dean to see if they can get that nuclear arsenal back before the terrorists trigger the devastating tsunami they’re planning.To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.
Hellhole Hellhole by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
The intrepid duo of Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson are back with the first book in the Hell Holetrilogy, now in paperback.  The planet of Hellhole is the last place anyone wants to be, ravaged by destructive storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, and devastating volcanic eruptions.  Only the most unwanted end up in this place.  What no one knows is that this seemingly doomed planet holds a deep secret of an ancient alien civilization and an important record of their past.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Queen of America Queen of America by Luis Alberto Urrea

Teresita Urrea, known as the “Saint of Cabora,” flees with her father from the horrible Tomochic rebellion to the calmer state of Arizona.  As she is pursued by assassin and besieged by pilgrims, she travels turn-of-the-century industrial America, visiting San Francisco, St. Louis and New York.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Blood of Aenarion Blood of Aenarion by William King
A new Warhammer novel of the Tyrion & Teclistrilogy, available in hardcover, follows the story of the most renowned elves in history: the Aenarion.  This first book focuses on Tyrion through his first wife and the story of the immortal Daemon prince, N’kari.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Brain Boy

Brain Boy Archives by Herb CastleFrom the Dark Horse archives comes the Brain Boy Archives, featuring the story of Matt Price, who was affected in a freak accident with an electrical tower while in the womb.  Since then he’s had special mental powers like telepathy and levitation, and even mind control.  The government recruited him right out of high school and now he battles evil and danger, protecting the American people.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Honor Among Thieves Honor Among Thieves by David Chandler

The final book in the Ancient Blades trilogy is now available in paperback, where the kingdom of Skrae is under attack from invading barbarian hordes.  But a host of unusual and interesting characters appear to show these hordes something else.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

For last week’s top ten new releases for Tuesday, November 22nd, CLICK HERE.

“The Chronicles of Harris Burdick” edited by Chris Van Allsburg (Houghton Mifflin, 2011)

Chronicles of Harris Burdick

Many readers, no matter what age they might be, are familiar with Chris Van Allsburg’s unforgettable, award-winning classic, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, presenting fourteen unique and incredible illustrations that spark the mind and begin moving the gears of the imagination.  The illustrations have gone on to serve as great starting points for many schoolkids around the world looking to engage and develop their storytelling and writing abilities; a number of them still have those original stories they created when they were kids (my wife is one of them).

Now, over twenty-five years after the publication of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, fourteen renowned and well-known authors put their own minds to the task of creating original stories from these iconic works of art.  The likes of Louis Sachar, Sherman Alexie, Kate DiCamillo, Cory Doctorow, Lois Lowry, and even Chris Van Allsburg himself, create their own moving and special stories, most of them published here for the first time.  Stephen King also takes on the story of the house launching itself into the sky, originally published in his Nightmares & Dreamscapes short story collection, it is reprinted here.  The Chronicles of Harris Burdick also features an introduction from Lemony Snicket, with some of his thoughts on where these illustrations might have come from.

 The book is a keeper, to be added next to one’s own copy of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, and to be picked up and read, as well as read aloud to others, over and over again.

Originally written on November 20, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Chronicles of Harris Burdick from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

BookBanter’s Top Ten New Releases for Tuesday, November 22

BookBanter's Top Ten New Releases

One of the big things I feel I’ve grown out of touch with since the closing of Borders is my knowledge and awareness of what the new book releases are each Tuesday, and I’m sure some of you also feel that unless you have a bookstore nearby, you don’t have this information readily available either.  So to help improve my awareness and get myself back in the game of knowing what’s new and coming out each week (I used just know this stuff automatically, whether I had read or would be reading any of the new releases or not), as well as to help you readers keep informed, we have BookBanter’s Top Ten New Releases.

So each Tuesday morning there will be a post on the BookBanter Blog and on the BookBanter site giving you my top ten new releases of the week.  I’ll be going through everything I can find coming out for that particular Tuesday and choosing the top ten important ones.  They’ll be mostly hardcovers, with some occasional paperbacks, focusing on Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, and occasional Fiction books.

So here’s the top ten new releases for Tuesday, November 22nd.





by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

Found within the late Michael Crichton’s files, Micro was only a third complete when HarperCollins brought Richard Preston on to complete the book using Crichton’s notes and outlines. In the thrilling style of Jurassic Park, Micro is the terrifying story of that which we cannot see. Three men are found dead, murdered. The only evidence is the bodies riddled with minute cuts and mysterious a tiny-bladed robot.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.



Explosive Eighteen
by Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich is back with her eighteenth Stephanie Plum novel, and this time she’s pulling out all the stops. Stephanie finds herself immediately getting into trouble as soon as she arrives back in Newark after a terrible vacation in Hawaii. What’s worse is her seatmate never returned during their layover in Los Angeles, and now he’s dead, the body stuffed in a garbage can, and the killer could be anyone, anywhere.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.





Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan began his career through small press publishing, and is now joining the grand stage with a big, international publisher. Theft of Swords collects the first two books in the Riyria Revelations series – The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha. People looking to discover a great new fantasy series should grab Theft of Swords, and meet the infamous and elusive pair of thieves, Hadrian and Royce.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.




The Third Reich by Robert Bolano

Originally written in 1989, The Third Reich was found amongst Robert Bolano’s papers after his death. This is the thrilling story of death and intrigue, surrounding a brilliant strategy game called The Third Reich, which seems to bear some devastating consequences for anyone who plays it.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.




New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird edited by Paula Guran

Cthulhu and the works of H. P. Lovecraft have never been more popular. What better way to get started, or perhaps to improve your collection than with this original anthology of Cthulhu stories. Edited by Paula Guran, it features stories from the likes of Neil Gaiman, Sarah Monette, China Mieville, Cherie Priest, Charles Stross and more.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.




Well-Tempered Clavicle by Piers Anthony

Pier Anthony is back with a new Xanth novel, the 35th, in Well-Tempered Clavicle. The likes of Picka Bones and Joy’nt are off on an adventure with newly arrived creatures from Mundania. Anthony fans will not be disappointed.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.




Lightspeed Year One by John Joseph Adams

Lightspeed is an award-nominated online science fiction magazine edited by bestselling, renowned editor John Joseph Adams (Living Dead). In Lightspeed Year One, Adams collects the first year of fiction published by the online magazine, featuring the likes of Vylar Kaftan’s “I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See you in Reno,” as well as reprints from such great authors as Stephen King, Ursula K. LeGuin, George R. R. Martin and more.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.




Somewhere Beneath Those Waves by Sarah Monette

From bestselling author Sarah Monette comes the first non-themed collection of her best short fiction. This collection is a great addition to any fan of Monette’s work, and for anyone looking to try out this great author for the first time, Somewhere Beneath Those Waves is a perfect place to start.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.




Autumn Disintegration by David Moody

The penultimate chapter in the terrifying horror series from David Moody, Autumn Disintegration reveals a world forty days after its end, where billions of corpses now walk the earth. There is one group of eleven, fighting to survive, doing whatever it takes, while another group employs tactics, subtlety and planning to keep themselves alive. Moody skillfully brings the two groups together, as they all know the final battle is about to begin.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.




When the Saints by Dave Duncan

From author Dave Duncan comes the great sequel to Speak to the Devil. When the Saints picks up where Duncan left off: Anton Magnus must defend the castle from the attacking neighboring state, but fortunately Cardice has a secret weapon in Wulfgang Magnus. Only Wulfgang must choose which side he is to fight on, and whether the love for one beautiful Madlenka will sway him.

To purchase a copy from Amazon and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Upcoming Author Blog Tours on BookBanter

It’s taken me a little while, but I’m getting on this whole host author blog tour gig, finally.  So here’s what’s coming up on the BookBanter Blog:

December 19th – 23rd

Michael J. Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan
Blog Tour

Michael J. Sullivan, author of the popular Riyria Revelations, will be blogging on the week of December 19-23, just before Christmas, covering a topic each day on the following:

  • Contracts and big-six publishing
  • Query or self publish which is the best path in today’s climate
  • Outlining verses discovery writing
  • What authors really need to know about writing for a living
  • Traditional or self-published which do you prefer


Coming in January 18th

Ryder Islington

Ryder Islington
Blog Tour

Ultimate Justice
Author of Ultimate Justice

And any authors out there reading this and wanting to do a guest post on BookBanter, just shoot me an email at alex@bookbanter.net.

11/18 On the Bookshelf . . . “Settlers of Catan” & “Theft of Swords”

Settlers of Catan  Theft of Swords

Think of it as Settlers of Catan the book, which is exactly what it is, from a German author — Rebecca Gable — who has studied Old English and is a big fan of the Middle Ages.  And then there is Theft of Swords the first (joined) volume of the Riyria Revelations from Orbit Books (originally published as The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha).

From the Stove #6: Lentil Soup

Lentil soup

Time for the next From the Stove recipe, and this time we have lentil soup from the great Alton Brown.  This comes out absolutely delicious, is great if you’re looking for a non-meat dish, and literally lasts you for days!  For two people, it can last you at least 4-5 days.

The original Alton Brown recipe can be found here.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground toasted cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise

We’re not too big on celery, so we usually just add extra carrots and another onion.

Here are the directions:

Place the olive oil into a large 6-quart Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander, cumin and grains of paradise and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Using a stick blender, puree to your preferred consistency. Serve immediately.

Lentil soup

After cooking up the onions and carrots and celery for a little while, you just throw everything in, ending up with a colorful looking stew.

Lentil soup

After it cooks for those 40 minutes, the lentils miraculously transform from sad little dry seed-looking things, swelling into a corn-like meal, thickening the dish into a hearty soup.  I often think one could in fact just enjoy the soup as it is at this point.

Lentil soup

But after blending it with an immersion blender, it turns into this wonderfully tasty soup.

Lentil soup

Served with bread, it’s delicious!

Swimming with the Fishes: An Interview with Juliet Eilperin

Juliet Eilperin

Juliet Eilperin

Juliet Eilperin is a journalist who started working for the Washington Post in 1998, covering politics. In 2004 she switched to covering the environment, which led her to writing about our world’s oceans and then sharks. Demon Fish is her first book. In the interview she talks about how she got started as a journalist, what it’s like writing for the Washington Post, and whether she thinks humanity will ever come to full accept sharks. Read the interview . . .

Demon Fish

“Those Across the River” by Christopher Buehlman (Ace, 2011)

Those Across the River

In his debut novel, Christopher Buehlman does a great job of keeping the reader on the edge of their seat, with a gripping plot that will have the reader hooked to find out where it is going and what is the big story behind it all.  Set during the 1930s, Buehlman keeps his language fresh, his characters interesting, and his history and mystery both compelling and terrifying.

Frank Nichols is leaving his failing academic life for the small town of Whitbrow, Georgia, where he has been bequeathed a house he was demanded not to live in, but just to sell.  Nichols has little choice and other ideas, moving into the house with his beautiful wife: she will teach at the local school, while he will work on a book about his family and the history of the old estate his family used to live on: the Savoyard Plantation.  Frank and Eudora begin fitting in nicely, enjoying the small town feel, and making friends with the locals.  As Frank learns more of his family history, he is warned it is a story best left untold for the bad things that went on there, and something he really doesn’t want to dig into and learn about.

There is the strange regular ritual of the running of the pigs, where the two largest prized pigs of the town are released into the wild, across the river.  No one really knows why it is done, just that it is a ritual going back for generations.  And even though it’s been going on for many years, the pigs are never found in the woods.  Then when the town decides to stop the ritual – since times a very hard and everyone is struggling to get by – bad things begin to happen to the town of Whitbrow and its people.  Before long, Frank and Eudora feel they have made a very big mistake coming here, but it may already be too late.

While set during the Great Depression, Those Across the River blends a combination of interesting history with that great, old, creepy town feel where everything seems nice and ordinary, but soon turns into something far more horrifying.  The characters feel real in how they act and interact, and while the eventual revelation of what is behind all this turns out be something many people know all too well, Buehlman nevertheless keeps the story going at a great pace, and readers will be kept reading to the very last page.

Originally written on November 10, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Those Across the River from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.