Terror with Sherer — Winter ’10 Edition

You know I love scary books, but this time, I am definitely SPOOKED by what I’ve been reading lately.

The joy of working in a publishing company is that you get to see books early. The down side is you get excited about books that won’t be out for quite a while. So, forgive me, but I’m just dying to tell you about this fall title.

IN WITH THE DEVIL / James Keene

St. Martin’s Press
September 2010

I love stories about prison-life. HBO’s “OZ” was another brilliantly scripted and performed series that gave viewers a peek into the daily lives of criminals. Of course I have no idea how accurate it was (I’ve yet to be arrested for the time I “accidentally” walked out of a Duane Reade with a packet of handi-wipes) but it sure looked real to me. And that’s what we have here with IN WITH THE DEVIL. This often chilling prison story is told by James Keene, a convict that was asked by the FBI to wrangle a confession out of a serial killer and fellow inmate. In exchange for the confession, James’s 10 year prison sentence would evaporate. How could Keene say no?? Well, he didn’t. And that’s how Keene’s very scary quest to befriend a serial killer begins…

Sorry, this is so far in advance, we don’t have a cover for it yet, but be on the lookout for it.

Coming up in a few weeks is,

CURTAINS/ Tom Jokinen

Da Capo Press
April 2010

I desperately wanted to love Thomas Lynch’s THE UNDERTAKING: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade — the classic text on the business of burying the dead. (It was a finalist for the National Book Award and highly recommended to me by a colleague at W.W. Norton.)

Well, I didn’t. So when CURTAINS: Adventures of an Undertaker-in-Training by Tom Jokinen came across my desk, er, when my husband found it in his office and thought “oh wow, my wife loves stories about death” I tucked right in.

CURTAINS, about the author’s year-long apprenticeship in a funeral home is a nice compliment to the very entertaining STIFF and HBO’s brilliant “Six Feet Under”. Hey, did you know that some dead bodies are buried in their underpants?? Caskets, crematoriums, embalming, the politics of ash-scattering – yup it’s all there. And it’s fascinating.

Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-in-Training
Tom Jokinen
Retail Price: $15.95
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press – (2010-03-23)
ISBN / EAN: 0306818914 / 9780306818912

And, here’s what’s been scaring me that’s available now:

SHUTTER ISLAND / Dennis Lehane
HarperCollins
Now Available

During Christmas I treated my mother and husband to the movie UP IN THE AIR (based on Walter Kirn’s book — which I can’t wait to read, hint, hint, Random House.). As we sat together in the overcrowded theater, a preview for the film adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s creepy SHUTTER ISLAND came on. And oh my god I couldn’t wait to read the book. I begged my pal Virginia Stanley for a copy and read it over a weekend.

Okay, so you have these two cops investigating the disappearance of an inmate on this remote island institution for crazies, but nothing is what it seems… My dear librarians, it gave me nightmares! Talia “the terror” Sherer was spooked! I kept obsessing about it and wondering how on earth I fell for “it” … Well I can’t tell you what I fell for, but it was intense… Oooof. Read an excerpt here.

Shutter Island
Dennis Lehane
Retail Price: $7.99
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2009-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061703257 / 9780061703256

DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER / Jeff Lindsay

Vintage
Available Now

I got to know Jeff Lindsay’s conflicted part-time serial killer and full-time Blood Spatter analyst Dexter Morgan, by watching Showtime’s adaptation, first. Oooh! I think I see a pattern here! I have this tendency–apparent to me only after writing this column–of watching movies and television shows FIRST and THEN reading the books they were based on… What’s up with that? Actually, there are two glaring exceptions to this rule: Henning Mankell’s “Kurt Wallander” series and John A. Lindqviste’s LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.

OH MY GOD – Dexter Morgan is complicated and hot (definitely hot). But, was that what Dexter Morgan’s creator had in mind? Showtime definitely amps up the violence, plots, and love triangles, but Dexter’s “eccentricities” are very accurate. Check out this excerpt if you don’t believe me.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Jeff Lindsay
Retail Price: $7.99
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Vintage – (2009-08-25)
ISBN / EAN: 0307473708 / 9780307473707