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Tim Powers has a new novella, Salvage & Demolition, due in December from Subterranean Press that has a delightful noirish mystery/time travel mash-up vibe. Our hero is San Francisco rare book dealer Richard Blanzac who obtains a collection of literary artifacts from a small time beat era poet via her niece (the poet in question having long ago died). While perusing the collection (a few boxes that contain some first editions, an odd Ace Double Novel, a verse manuscript by an unknown author, etc.), reality starts to bend and Richard finds himself back in 1957 San Francisco with an apocalyptic cult, the beat poet (Sophie) and a plan to call up a Sumerian deity to basically end the world. (It's kind of retro Buffyesque plot-wise and I mean that as a high complement.)

The adventure is a little wild and the cult (aside from the real guns) just this side of silly/crazy but the book is so much fun that any questions about how the whole thing is happening are easily cast aside. Richard & Sophie have a very Nick & Nora banter style which is even sillier as the first time he meets her is the second time she has met him (time travel never works easily, does it?). There's style here - serious style - and the 1950s comes alive in fabulous fashion. The mystery is great, the bookishness of it all is pure candy for me and the romance is sweet. As to whether or not any of it could happen - who cares? Purely joyful reading from start to finish. (Oh - and includes JK Potter's excellent moody illustrations!)

Kelly Armstrong also returns this December with another fun outing with her werewolf couple Elena Michaels and Clayton Danvers, Forbidden. These books are adult paranormal of the best sort - the couple interplay is realistic as hell, the mysteries solid and while sex is present in the narrative it's not of the ridiculous over-the-top sort (looking at you Laurell K Hamilton), but more of a "the kids are back at home, we've got a few hours to wrap up this mystery and then we can squeeze some time in at the local motel - booyah!" kind. It's charming and smart and grown-up in the best sort of way. The interplay between Clay and Elena is the biggest part of why I look forward to these books and why I feel they succeed so well.

This time around there is a new character, Morgan, whose hoping to talk to Elena about joining the pack. He gets waylaid enroute in an innocent seeming small town (with a very dirty underbelly) and as the heroes comes to the rescue they uncover a dead body and lots of general weirdness. The plot, as they say, thickens. Stuck with slit truck tires, bad weather, lots of questions, and too many lying locals, the werewolves are determined to get to the bottom of things (as we know they will). Morgan has lots of future storytelling potential and Elena & Clay do not disappoint. I don't feel like I've indulged in a guilty pleasure when I read Armstrong books - I just feel happy. *grin*

[Both books provided by the publisher - Subterranean Press. You should be buying their books; I have and they are fabulous!]


Katherine Langrish

A new Tim Powers? ! Yay!
And Kelley Armstrong is always a fun read.

They are both just flat out fun - perfect winter reading, in my book!

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