[This feature is a brief monthly summary of new books on my radar, roughly in order of my personal interest in them.]

The Devil All the Time, by Donald Ray Pollock (7/12)*

Pollock’s debut story collection got a rave from our own David Duhr, and Pollock’s upcoming first novel sounds like a hell of a ride, too. A husband-and-wife serial-killing team, a demented veteran, an orphan boy, a priest on the lam, and a lot more. Mix in some violence, some hopelessness, and some “taut narrative” and you’ve got the makings of a depressing novel, but also an engrossing one.

Iron House, by John Hart (7/12)*

John Hart’s last book won the Edgar for best novel last year, and it remains one of the most gripping mysteries I have ever read. So I’ll definitely be checking this one out.

Supergods, by Grant Morrison (7/19)*

Grant Morrison is a comic book writer and insane person. He’s written a book about the lessons comic books can teach, the history of the superhero, and how he, Grant Morrison, is insane and does insane things. For instance, he once wrote for 50 hours straight in order to induce delirium. Sounds like a nutty little ride.

The Map of Time, by Felix J. Palma (out now)*

In a steampunk Victorian London, time machines might be real. A man tries to go back in time to save his love from Jack the Ripper, a woman investigates what looks like a weapon from the future, and H.G. Wells cavorts with the Elephant Man.

Dominance, by Will Lavender (out now)

A wrongly imprisoned man teaches a lit class from prison, and a student eventually clears his name and frees him. 15 years later, people are getting murdered in exactly the same way… It’s not a terribly mind-blowing premise, but I got hooked by this oblique detail: interested parties unravel the literary hoax at the center of this mystery by playing a game called the Procedure. How does that work? What does it look like? That’s what I want to know.

Johannes Cabal the Detective, by Jonathan L. Howard (out now)*

Pretty awesome name. Pretty awesome cover. And it’s about a necromancer on an “aeroship” who stumbles across, and then attempts to solve, a murder. Not a bad trifecta.

Black Lung Captain, by Chris Wooding (7/26)

The paperback and ebook edition of the sequel to the rather amusing Retribution Falls arrives later this month. I don’t think these pulpy sci-fi novels are worth spending for hardcovers, but paperback money (or a library trip) will be well spent.

Rule 34, by Charles Stross (out now)

Rule 34 states, “There is porn of it. No exceptions.” Stross’s latest novel follows the Rule 34 squad of the police department of future Edinburgh. This carries a near-guarantee of grossness, and a fair chance of failure, but… I can’t help but be curious…

The Last Werewolf, by Jay Duncan (7/12)

Publishers just love this “paranormal” crap these days—paranormal having somehow become shorthand for “vampires and werewolves.” I’ve fallen for the hype before, but I’ve never seen it pan out. It wasn’t true when a talented director tried his hand, and it definitely wasn’t true when a literary author did the big crossover. So it’s going to take more than hype for me to try this book. It’s going to take, say, an armed maniac threatening my life.


[*C4 review coming soon]