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A Rocky Road by Glen Ebisch

Publisher: Avalon ISBN: 0803496990

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

If Jessica Fletcher was 27 today, this is exactly the type of mystery she would find herself embroiled in; a group of strangers traveling together, a devious soul bent on evil intent and, of course, murder.  Susan Cantwell has left her secure but boring life in New Jersey as a school teacher behind, embarking on a new adventure as a tour operator across the Rockies.  What she never expected, was to find herself being thrust in the middle of a terrifying mystery when people on her first tour begin to drop like flies.  Also along for the ride is James Alston, a PI hired by the same company to investigate a string of identity thefts.  And when these get together to solve these beguiling crimes, sparks will fly.

This charming and all too brief mystery reads like a younger version of "Murder She Wrote" with all the essential ingredients; the older crowd, the likely list of suspects, and the dangerous evil amongst them.  Charming and easy reading, this will easily satisfy fans who like their mysteries clean and cozy.

 

H. P. Lovecraft: Tales   Edited by Peter Straub

Publisher: Library Classics of the United States. ISBN: 1-931082-72-3

Reviewed by Tim Davis, New Mystery Reader

I want to offer you three absolutely unassailable arguments why you must have this book.

First, this 838 page book contains twenty-two of H. P. Lovecraft’s most entertaining and disturbing tales of horror and fantasy. Read the tales and find out why Stephen King has called Lovecraft the “dark and baroque prince” of the 20th century horror story, and discover why Joyce Carol Oates has called Lovecraft “The King of Weird.” You will understand the accuracy of their praise and the devotion of millions of Lovecraft fans when you read this collection of fantastic tales, many of which were first published in the 1920s and 1930s in such pulp magazines Weird Tales and Amazing Stories. Enjoy, for example, “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,” a ghoulish detective tale in which a man succumbs to ancestral influence of alchemy and necromancy; explore the primal mythic mysteries in the haunting Escher-like Antarctic ruins of “At the Mountains of Madness”; accompany a frightened narrator as he encounters a small town’s horrifying subhuman population in “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”; and watch as a meteorite—if that is what it really is—releases its terrifying influence in “The Colour Out of Space.” And the eighteen other stories are equally fascinating.

Second, this hardcover book is superbly edited by the distinguished novelist and short story writer Peter Straub (whose works include Ghost Story, Floating Dragon, and In the Night Room). Straub has selected the best of Lovecraft’s many stories—although that was perhaps the easy part of his editorial challenge—but he has done something exceptionally noteworthy in this collection: Straub has provided a biographical and critical chronology to accompany the texts, and—even more valuable to all readers—he has provided a richly detailed treasure of annotated end notes for the individual stories.

Third, this exquisitely printed and produced book, the 155th edition in the Library of America’s prestigious series, is a handsome, enduring volume. Because of the publisher’s commitment to preserving America’s best literature in the best possible editions, you simply cannot find a better book (at such a reasonable price) anywhere else.

So, in the final analysis, the bottom line is simple: I give this book my highest possible recommendation.