One of the pleasures of visiting Baltimore was getting a chance to meet the editors of Raw Dog Screaming Press, an indie publisher that has been putting out fiction that might otherwise fall through the cracks. RDSP books tend toward the gritty or the surreal, often flirting both with what you might call "literary" and what you might call "pulp." There's a definite hyper-real noir vibe to their books as well--a wonderful energy and visceral quality that helps lift their efforts above the ordinary. Editors Jennifer Barnes and John Lawson have a definite vision for their press and I expect them, over time, to become a major player in the indie press. Here are a few recent titles of interest...
Welcome to Oakland by Eric Miles Williamson - From the Washington Post's review: "The novel swirls through a series of half-plots, portraits and anecdotes of Murphy's various bar buddies, interspersing diatribes on race, class and literary fiction, among other things. Williamson rails against almost everybody, including readers and critics who live in a fantasy world of justice and resolution. Between its episodic structure -- brilliantly echoing the rhythms of jazz, by the way -- and the blunt-force trauma of the narrator's attitudes, what emerges is no easy read. T-Bird navigates a sea of violent revenge with a cargo of rot-gut booze."
Finale by Paul A. Toth - When Jonathan Thomas receives a threatening letter apparently sent by an ex-girlfriend, he pursues the sender but finds himself unraveling another mystery he would have better left unsolved.
Unintended Consequences by Larry Fondation - The fourt installment in Fondation's "LA Stories" series. This new collection reveals with precision the way life can tangle good intentions and trip up even the most sure-footed among us. Compact city fables for our times.
D.D. Murphy, Secret Policeman by Alan M. Clark and Elizabeth Massie - D.D. Murphy has a way with words-or is it that words have their way with him? Work the clues alongside this unlikely sleuth to reveal an underground cabal of letters, a conspiracy of meaning, right below the surface of the everyday world. Murphry is both hero and villain, an unforgettable personality who will have you cringing while you laugh and rooting for his every misguided plan.
Cursed by Jeremy C. Shipp - "A tightly written story of suspense and occult horror. Nicholas believes that he has been cursed, and he is not alone; his eccentric love interest, Cicely, is convinced that the fate of the world depends on her possession of a tennis ball...Using Nicholas's idiosyncratic voice and fondness for lists, Shipp effectively conveys the claustrophobic world of people caught up in events beyond their control." - From the Publishers Weekly review.