Black Mad Wheel By Josh Malerman

Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman

Josh Malerman’s Black Mad Wheel is an excellent tale of a 1950s army band recruited to track down a mysterious musical weapon (and its equally mysterious owner) in the South African desert. The title could refer to vinyl records or the spin of  reel-to-reel recording decks. It might refer to the tires of an army jeep stuck in the sand, or the ever-turning wheel of history. Or it could refer to life itself, the way we circle back, again and again, to the things that hurt and haunt us. Malerman leaves it open, and Black Mad Wheel is all the better for the ambiguity.

Protagonist Phillip Tonka should have listened to his mother when the army requested his band, The Danes, travel to South Africa to investigate a strange and potentially dangerous sound.

“Mystery,” she says, “is bad enough on its own. But mystery with the army?” She shakes her head. “Means they’re hiding something.”

Indeed, Black Mad Wheel is packed with twists, turns, betrayals, and a few moments of hold-your-breath suspense. This novel is not only set in the 1950s, it has a post-war mood that reverberates throughout the story, including a budding romance between Phillip and his nurse, Ellen.

“I’m sorry,” she says. “I suppose we’re all a bit wounded.” 

They stare at one another, connected by the hospital and more.

Perhaps the most interesting twist Malerman presents is that the sound is not a weapon, but the opposite, something capable of stopping the endless cycle of war.

While the ending hits a few sour notes, this book is 95% awesome. Malerman strikes a memorable chord in the pantheon of musical fiction with Black Mad Wheel.

And Her Smile Will Untether The Universe By Gwendolyn Kiste

And Her Smile Will Untether The Universe By Gwendolyn Kiste

Gwendolyn Kiste has a wonderful way with words. In her hands they are beautiful and savage, comforting and terrifying, heart-wrenching and healing.

And Her Smile Will Untether The Universe contains some true gems, tales thick with atmosphere and murky mood. “Evening settles softly on the orchard like black tar dripping from the sky” and later, “the air tastes of nicotine and abandoned dreams.

These stories are about dysfunctional families, twisted sisters, and haunted mothers and fathers.  “The Clawfoot Requiem” is reminiscent of William Faulkner’s “A Rose For Emily,” while “All the Red Apples Have Withered to Gray” reads like a nightmarish fairy tale about forgotten princesses.

“My father counts the money each night, pacing circles like a vulture that dines on the carrion of frail dreams.”

and

Little girls don’t earn the right to question the wisdom of men. We can smile and blush and nod our heads, but we can’t tell them no.”

and

“Girls are always expected to carry an impossible burden in life, like a thousand bushels of apples strapped upon a single back.”

Stories like “The Man in the Ambry”, and “Ten Things To Know About The Ten Questions” showcase Kiste’s powerful prose and unique take on familiar horror tropes, while the title tale, about an old film star brought to life by a fan’s love, is fueled by poetry and romance.

“The way you hold me,” you said, your gaze bright as wildfire, “it’s like I’m falling, but you’ve already caught me.”

And the final line:

“And in the final frame, as the universe fades to black, you’ll save each other.”

Indeed, if only we could all save each other. And Her Smile Will Untether The Universe is a brilliant, lyrical, and moving collection of tales.

The Mud Man rises March 27!

Order Now!

Born of mud. Made for murder.

On November 8, 2016, a “Man of Stone” savagely attacked a quiet law office in rural New Jersey. Ten people were brutally mutilated and murdered, the killer was never caught, and the legend of the Franz Rock Monster was born.
The Mud Man is a fast-paced thriller laced with horror and dark humor. Inspired by Frankenstein, folklore, and media freak-shows; The Mud Man explores what it means to be human, the transformative power of grief, and the fine lines between fact and fiction, man and monster.
Some fathers will do anything for their daughters…even raise the dead.
The Mud Man is available in both paperback and digital editions exclusively at Amazon.

New Book Coming March 27th! Autism Dad 3!

Autism Dad 3: Life Skills & Life Lessons: Preparing Our Special-Needs Child For Adulthood

My new book, Autism Dad 3: Life Skills & Life Lessons: Preparing Our Special-Needs Child For Adulthood,  comes out March 27.

Order it here!

Teenagers with autism need life skills and job training. Life Skills & Life Lessons: Autism Dad 3 is a personal memoir told with humor and grace that looks at the unique challenges facing special-needs children transitioning into young adulthood. This collection of essays not only details a father’s take on raising a special-needs child, but tells the story of a family shaped by the everyday challenges and rewards of raising a child with autism.
Essays include…
* What Causes Autism And Can It Be Prevented?
* Teething Pain Is Only The Beginning
* Autism And The Art Of Toilet Seats
* Help Wanted: Employers With Open Hearts And Minds
* Celebrity Autism Insults Real People Struggling With ASD
* Precocious Pre-Teen And Racy TV Ads Yield Parental Torment

Autism Dad 3: Life Skills and Life Lessons
ISBN-13: 978-1983499593
ISBN-10: 1983499595
$10.99 print/$3.99 digital