Staff Reviews

Detroit Horror Writer Josh Malerman Releases His Second Novel, Black Mad Wheel

Michiganders might recognize the name Josh Malerman for a few different reasons. First, music fans might remember him as the lead singer of a band called The High Strung—a national rock act that toured the United States and even penned the theme song to the Showtime TV series Shameless. But Malerman also proved himself to be a talented novelist in 2014 with his debut novel Bird Box, which follows a mother and her children as they try to navigate a world dominated by an ominous force that, when seen, turns its victims suicidal. The book gained widespread acclaim due to its breakneck pace and minimalist prose, and earned praise from countless publications. The guy is multi-talented, to say the least.

Last month, Malerman released his follow-up to Bird Box. The novel, titled Black Mad Wheel, follows a washed-up Detroit rock band that is tasked with uncovering a dangerous noise in the heart of an African desert. With Malerman’s own experience in the Detroit music scene and Bird Box’s reputation, it’s one of my most anticipated books of the summer. You can check it out (or revisit Bird Box) in the links below.

Black Mad Wheel
Bird Box

Murakami’s Men Without Women Showcases Unique Talent in Seven Short Tales

Haruki Murakami is known for many things in the fiction world, but his brevity isn’t necessarily one of them. The Japanese writer—who achieved great success with massive tomes like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and IQ84—has gained a dedicated fanbase through his funny, moving, and completely unique characters who ultimately navigate dreamlike realities.

Though Murakami hasn’t published a novel since 2014, new and old fans will be delighted to know that a set of short stories is on the way to JDL. Titled Men Without Women, the seven-story collection explores characters who have found themselves alone in the world. With the collection quickly gathering critical acclaim, there’s no better time to check out Murakami’s unmistakable fiction, especially in such a manageable size.

Men Without Women
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
IQ84
Kafka on the Shore

Timothy Zahn Reintroduces a Beloved Star Wars Villain with Thrawn

The announcement of a new Star Wars trilogy was bittersweet for many readers. Of course, it was great news for obvious reasons: over the next decade, we’ll see plenty of new Star Wars films. But new storylines also meant that beloved books from the Star Wars’ extended universe were excluded from Disney’s new, proper canon. One of those storylines was Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy, a series of novels that took place following Return of the Jedi. The three books—Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command—were published to great acclaim between 1994 and 1999.

Dazzling fans with his terrifying intellect, the titular Imperial Admiral Thrawn became a fast favorite for Star Wars readers. With Disney’s official canon in place, Thrawn had been excluded from that story until this week, when Zahn course-corrected Thrawn’s place in Star Wars history with this new book. According to fans of the series, Thrawn paints an accurate portrait of the Imperial Admiral while integrating him into the new canon. With May 4 (as in, May the Fourth be with you) acting as the obvious date to celebrate all things Star Wars, there’s no better time to dive into Zahn’s new book.

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn
The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

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