RaveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksJeremy Robert Johnson is a fantastic new voice in mainstream fiction, but to understand him, you must investigate the scene where he has already been a well-known pillar for over a decade ... His work is most aptly described as a mixture of all these things — thrillers that become bloodbaths, horrors that blend into fantasies, and apocalypses that transcend into high art ... Johnson’s short story collection I described in another review as crackling with \'dirty electricity,\' a term used in the book for a particular kind of high, but also perfectly describing Johnson’s focus on the democratic nature of chaos in the world ... The Loop is the kind of book that is best enjoyed when unprepared for the weirdness within ... Johnson’s greatest gift is not his ability to imagine the worst things and present them in pulsing Technicolor — it is the human connection he makes with his characters ... Like the best of Crichton or Benchley, it is a great beach read, but it is infused with the neon blood of a brave new writer with his finger on the racing pulse of our society and everything wrong with it.
Laura Van Den Berg
PositiveLos Angeles Review of Books\"On paper, The Third Hotel has all the makings of a horror movie itself. But much like Twin Peaks: The Return, van den Berg only allows us slight glimpses of terror before yanking us back, insinuating a greater meaning, a deeper connection than just fear itself ... he tinges of surrealism are just enough to keep the reader on their toes — a touch of Lynch without the violence, or Cronenberg without the gore. At its heart, The Third Hotel is a novel about precarity — the fragile nature of memory, sanity, and how the reality we perceive constantly changes.\
RaveElectric Literature...a cerebral haunting in book form, a page-turning, suspenseful read that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it ... Like the work of Leonora Carrington, the effective terror of The Grip of It comes with sudden juxtaposition of the surreal, both in the subject’s environment and within the subject’s persona ... The Grip of It stalks the reader through its pages with a silent, grayscale terror, like the brush of a web against your cheek in the dark ... Jemc is telling us the story of the putrefaction of a relationship. This relationship is not clean-cut and bookended by dramatic flares?—?it festers, untended, a thriving hotbed for the things that break us down, cell by cell ... What makes this novel so powerful is the acknowledgement that intimacy does require a trust beyond logic, that 'ruin' can come just as easily to the guilty or the guiltless, and an embrace of the chaos is sometimes the only way to make it out to the other side.
RaveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksThe style of The Changeling will be familiar to those who enjoy Twin Peaks. In true Lynchian fashion, the story subtly explores the line between reality and unreality, how stark the text can be in its visage, and how disturbing it becomes when one crosses over to the other. The story is a long, slow burn with a lingering sizzle, a burn that scabs over into a shape not unlike the face of your dead father ... The Changeling is all about the challenges of raising a child, how being a parent is a truly sacred task, never to be taken for granted. The task of a guardian is one that must be earned rather than given. This is something that both Apollo and Emma Kagwa, and LaValle’s readers, are about to learn on a journey they’ll never forget.
RaveElectric LiteratureThis novel is a stunning example of science fiction, but more than that, it is the most human book I’ve read in years ... Borne is a spectacular, meticulous, and gorgeous novel?—?much like the creature Borne itself, it is utterly complex and yet presented in relatable and riveting form ... This is Science Fiction doing what it does best. VanderMeer has created a narrative familiar and close to the hearts of many?—?the struggles of parenthood?—?and enmeshed the reader emotionally in these characters, despite the weirdness of the premise. His master-stroke waits down the line, as he takes this amazing world he has built and manipulates it in gut-wrenching ways ... I have no doubt that Borne will be considered a giant of Science Fiction, alongside masterpieces like Dune, the Lilith’s Brood trilogy, and Childhood’s End.
PositiveElectric LiteratureMartin’s approach to narration on this subject, where the young woman simultaneously realizes both the logic and ill-logic of her behaviors, is where the novella finds its purpose ... Like the narrator, Mickey can be described in a myriad of contradictory terms. It’s funny, tragic, relatable, fantastic, dark but also, in its own unique way, weirdly hopeful.
RaveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksTremblay focuses on creating very real worlds with evils more nebulous and less tangible than those that plague typical gorefests. He doesn’t spill much ink on monsters — he focuses instead on fully realized people whose lives readers might connect with ... Tremblay exhibits an exceptional ability to capture the vulnerability of teenagers and preteens.
PositiveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksLike Nishikawa’s titular gun, the book is simultaneously fascinating and repellent. Nakamura paints his main character with a stark realism that rejects the romance of the misunderstood noir hero.