Thursday, November 4, 2010

Speculative Previews: Panopticon; The Choir Boats; Dusty Waters; The End of Marking Time; The Noble Pirates


Speculative Book Previews:  Our previews contain book blurbs, author information and purchasing links, all put together for less surfing for you on books you may be interested in. Opinions will be coming with a personal review.

Books included in this preview are from small presses, independently or self published and listed below:

  • Panopticon ~ by David Bajo
  • The Choir Boats ~ by Daniel Rabuzzi
  • Dusty Waters  ~ by Laura J. W. Ryan
  • The End of Marking Time ~ by C.J. West
  • The Noble Pirates ~ by R. L. Jean


Panopticon ~ by David Bajo

Blurb:  As the California borderland newspaper where they work prepares to close, three reporters are oddly given assignments to return to stories they’ve covered before each one surprisingly personal. The first assignment takes reporter Aaron Klinsman and photographer Rita Valdez to an abandoned motel room where the mirrors are draped with towels, bits of black tape cover the doorknobs, and the perfect trace of a woman’s body is imprinted on the bed sheets. From this sexually charged beginning on land his family used to own Klinsman, Rita, and their colleague, Oscar Medem understand that they are supposed to uncover something. They just don’t know what.

Following the moonlit paths their assignments reveal through the bars, factories and complex streets of Tijuana and Otay, haunted by the femicides that have spread westward from Juarez, the reporters become more intimately entwined. Tracing the images they uncover, and those they cause and leave behind, they soon realize that every move they make is under surveillance. Beyond this, it seems their private lives and even their memories are being reconstructed by others.

Panopticon is a novel of dreamlike appearances and almost supernatural memories, a world of hidden watchers that evokes the dark recognition of just how little we can protect even our most private moments. It is a shadowy, erotic novel only slightly speculative that opens into the world we all now occupy.

Author Bio:  David Bajo was raised on the California-Mexico border and has worked as a journalist and translator. He is the author of The 351 Books of Irma Arcuri and teaches writing at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where he lives with his wife, the novelist Elise Blackwell, and their daughter.

  • Hardcover: 345 pages
  • Publisher: Unbridled Books; 1 edition (October 19, 2010)
  • Literary Fiction (with a touch of the speculative)

Amazon purchasing link for US/UK/Canada.

A definition:  Panopticon is a type of prison building designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in 1785. The concept of the design is to allow an observer to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) prisoners without the incarcerated being able to tell whether they are being watched, thereby conveying what one architect has called the "sentiment of an invisible omniscience”. (taken from Wikipedia)


The Choir Boats ~ by Daniel Rabuzzi

About:  London 1812/ Yount, Year of the Owl ~ What would you give to make good on the sins of your past? For merchant Barnabas McDoon, the answer is: everything.

When emissaries from a world called Yount offer Barnabas a chance to redeem himself, he accepts their price—to voyage to Yount with the key that only he can use to unlock the door to their prison. But bleak forces seek to stop him: Yount's jailer, a once-human wizard who craves his own salvation, kidnaps Barnabas's nephew. A fallen angel—a monstrous owl with eyes of fire—will unleash Hell if Yount is freed. And, meanwhile, Barnabas's niece, Sally, and a mysterious pauper named Maggie seek with dream-songs to wake the sleeping goddess who may be the only hope for Yount and Earth alike.

Author Bio:  Daniel A. Rabuzzi's debut fantasy novel, The Choir Boats, was included on January Magazine's "Best Books of 2009" Children/Young Adult list. Daniel's short fiction and poetry has appeared in Sybil's Garage, Abyss & Apex, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Mannequin Envy, Scheherezade's Bequest, ChiZine, Goblin Fruit, and Shimmer. His blog, called Lobster & Canary, is about speculative, fantastical and surreal fiction, poetry, and visual arts, fairy tales, oral epic, & children's literature.

Daniel lives in New York City with his wife Deborah Mills, an artist and woodcarver who also illustrated The Choir Boats. They share their apartment with two cats who don't get along at all. Here area some links to find out more about Daniel on Goodreads, his websitehis wonderful blog. and a recent and musical post from Daniel at the lovely Cabinet Des Fees ~ a journal of fairy tales.

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: ChiZine Publications; 1st edition (September 15, 2009)
  • Young Adult Fantasy

Amazon purchasing link for US/UK/Canada.

Layers of Thought: The second in the series is to tentatively to be published in Spring/Summer 2012.  His artist wife created the gorgeous wood carving for the cover of the book.


Dusty Waters  ~ by Laura J. W. Ryan

About:  Dusty Waters is a ghost story, a family saga, the history of a haunted house, and a biography of a folksinger. Dusty's friend, Katharine, has volunteered to help her write the official biography, but there is one piece of her life that will not be part of the biography, she can see ghosts; Dusty's ancestral home Tanglewood is filled with them. This inherited sight adds a vexing dimension to her psyche that becomes an uneasy burden.

Bio:  Laura J. W. Ryan is an artist, a writer, and lives in an old farmhouse on top of a windswept hill with Fred, thier son, four cats, and one dog named Max. For more information about the author, please visit her blog, and her Goodread’s author page.

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Field Stone Press (June 19, 2009)
  • Literary Fiction/ Paranormal

Amazon purchasing link for US/UK/Canada.

Layers of Thought: Laura is an author who is a reader on Layers of Thought. The cover for the book according the Laura is “a photo I took at the Fox Sisters homestead site in Hydesville NY, the place where the Spiritualist movement started”.


The End of Marking Time ~ by C.J. West

About:  Gifted housebreaker, Michael O'Connor, awakens inside an ultramodern criminal justice system where prison walls are replaced by surveillance equipment and a host of actors hired to determine if he is worthy of freedom. While he was sleeping, the Supreme Court declared long term incarceration to be cruel and unusual punishment and ordered two million felons released. The result was utter chaos and the backlash from law-abiding citizens and police departments reshaped the United States. Felons now enter reeducation programs where they live freely among the population. At least that's what they think. In reality they are enslaved to an army of counselors and a black box that teaches them everything they failed to learn from kindergarten through adulthood. Michael believes he's being tested by the black box, but what he slowly begins to realize is that everything he does is evaluated to determine whether he lives or dies.

Bio:  CJ West writes thrillers set in New England. His first published novel, Sin Vengeance, was optioned for film in February 2008. The film is currently in the financing stage. Find out more about CJ on his website, and his Goodread’s author page, facebook, and twitter.

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: 22 West Books (May 22, 2010)
  • Dystopian

    Amazon purchasing link for US/UK/Canada.


    The Noble Pirates ~ by R. L. Jean

    About: A woman from 2009 unexpectedly finds herself in the 18th century -- amidst pirates. The notorious bad boys of the Golden Age of Piracy, Edward England, Howel Davis, and “Black Bart” Roberts, become Sabrina’s means of survival in the past, and ultimately, her key to returning to the future.

    Author Bio: R. L. Jean is a mother, writer, and pirate enthusiast. After a dismal law school experience, she floundered a bit before accepting her calling: storytelling. She resides in Houston with her wonderful husband and two beautiful daughters. Have no fears: she is writing the sequel. Find out more at her blog and/or the book’s web site, where you can read a few chapters.

    • Published: Sep. 30, 2010
    • Genre: Time Travel, Historical Fiction

    Ebook purchasing links via Amazon for Kindle only US|UK|Smashwords.

    Layers of Thought: This ebook was won via the Spooktacular Blog Hop and I just love the cover!

    Which books interest you? and which would you chose to read first?

    Thanks for reading and have a great day!


    NancyO said...

    Panopticon is an amazing book! I enjoyed it so much that after I finished the ARC bought a real copy.

    Unknown said...

    Nancy -
    Excellent then I am even more looking forward to reading it.

    Looks like we have a number of books in a common interest area - even better.

    Cheers :)

    @parridhlantern said...

    Panopticon, has me intrigued it sounds like something I would enjoyed thanks for the pointer. Parrish.

    Unknown said...

    Gary -
    I had never heard of a Panopticon before seeing this book. Thank Gods for wikipedia.

    I have read the first several chapters and its got the kind of style that I like.

    I am hoping your checking out this literary blog hop - right in your interest area. :)

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