Cover Story: Pulp Fiction

Upcoming literary releases offer the guiltiest of pleasures in a variety of genres

 
Ryan Greis



Contrary to what people say, we believe that the best books come with embossed covers. Who needs another look into Hemingway's life and times? We carry with us a certain fondness for tales of sex, murder and midget mutant vampire prostitutes from outer space. We are grateful the literary world is happy to oblige. So we'll display our sultry curves lying in side-by-side coffins while reading the best of the best guilty pleasures landing in grocery stores in the next few months.

Adam and Evil by Gillian Roberts — This ninth installment of the adventures of English teacher Amanda Pepper involves a misunderstood student and murder in the rare book room. (Ballantine, July)

Black Notice by Patricia Cornwell — Quincy, move over! Kay Scarpetta is a medical examiner beset by a French werewolf and fraudulent e-mails. Scooby-Doo, where are you? (Putnam, July)

Catch Me by A.J. Holt — Internet geek and Manson-spawn Billy Bones is out to do nasty things to former FBI agent and aspiring glassblower Jay Fletcher.

Too bad they don't get along. They sound like a perfect match. (St. Martin's, August)

The Cold Truth by Jonathan Stone — A local waitress gets stabbed to death. Clearly, the clientele wanted better service. (St. Martin's, July)

Come Out Tonight by Richard Laymon — No glove, no love. The quest to practice safe sex leads to rape, beheading and an incident with an electric drill. Celibacy looks better and better. (Cemetery Dance, July)

Dark Lady by Richard North Patterson — It turns out to be murder as a brand-spanking new sports stadium is meant to inject life into a Midwestern city. Hmmm, where have we heard this one before? (Knopf, July)

Dead on Her Feet by Christine T. Jorgensen — Death of a Dustbunny author Jorgensen returns with this tale of attempted murder on the local theater circuit. With mystery, romance and exotic pets. (Walker, July)

The Descent by Jeff Long — It's the end of the world as we know it. And who could be behind such a diabolical demise for the millennium? Could it be Satan? (Crown, July)

Disco Bloodbath: A Fabulous but True Tale of Murder in Clubland by James St. James — True crime hits the dance floor in this tabloid tale of drugs, drag and dismemberment. (Simon & Schuster, August)

Don't Forget to Die by Margaret Chittenden — Charlie Plato, the proprietor of a CHAPS bar in San Francisco, plays detective when her business partner's father is found dead in a storage locker. Along the way, she finds a bit of romance. (Kensington, July)

Downers Grove by Michael Hornburg — Is there a curse on Downers Grove High? Or are the rapes, suicides, acts of arson and dead animal pranks just the usual high school hijinks? (Morrow, August)

Dr. Laura Schlessinger: The Unauthorized Biography by Vickie Bane — Radio talk-show moralist and amateur nude model, Dr. Laura Schlessinger gets raked over the coals in this unflattering bio. Enjoy it with your "shack up" sweetie. (St. Martin's, August)

Fetish Fantastic edited by Cecilia Tan — Eleven stories make up this anthology of futuristic S&M. One tale, M. Christian's "Guernica," examines a future in which kinky sex is a crime punishable by prison or death. Not in my future, buddy! (Circlet, July)

Fire and Desire by Brenda Jackson — Sexy geologist Corinthians Avery gets hot with head foreman Trevor Grant in the jungles of South America. (Arabesque, July)

From Girls to Grrrlz: A History of Women's Comics from Teens to Zines by Trina Robbins — From sweet Betty and sultry Veronica to "Hothead Paisan, Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist," it just doesn't get any better than this. (Chronicle, July)

Girls On The Verge: Debutante Dips, Gang Drivebys, and Other Initiations by Vendela Vida — Obviously the move into womanhood involves more than those monthly visits from Aunt Flo. (St. Martin's, August)

Graveyard Dust by Barbara Hambley — A voodoo priestess gets connected to infectious diseases and murder. Like voodoo priestesses don't have a bad enough rap as it is! (Bantam, July)

Hunting Down Amanda by Andrew Klavan — But whatever will we do with her? The author of True Crime pens a tale of a little girl, a plane crash, psychic clarity and a mysterious team of villains. Shades of Dean Koontz? (Morrow, July)

In the Spirit: Conversations with the Spirit of Jerry Garcia by Wendy Weir — Jerry may no longer be of this world, but if you're channeling on the right plane, you can converse with his oversoul. Unfor-tunately, Weir's conversations with the dead Dead guitarist take a backseat to her own tale of spiritual enlightenment. (Harmony Books, July)

Into the Wild Wind by Jane Goodger — When Hannah Wright's husband disappears into the San Francisco gold rush, she hires a legendary sea captain to help her in her search. Of course, the lusty old salt falls in love, but Hannah, whose father who was also a sea captain, has vowed to never marry a sailor. In Freudian terms, a classic example of the Popeye complex. (Signet, August)

My Date With Satan by Stacey Richter — An island of hunky boyfriends, lovelorn devil-worshipping headbangers and chat room sex partners are just a few of the subjects in this collection of 13 stories. (Scribner, July)

One Night For Love by Mary Balogh — Is that all? Not if Major Lord Newbury has his way, in this historical romance set in Portugal, France and England. (Dell, July)

One Summer Evening by Mary Lynn Baxter — In Louisiana, 18-year old Cassie Wortham has a fling with her father's best friend, the handsome and virile Austin McGuire. Cassie winds up pregnant and, to legitimize the baby, marries her no-good boyfriend, Lester. Will Cassie ever get back with Austin? And what about Lester? Will he beat his illegal weapons charge? (Mira, August)

The Pledge by Rob Kean — The Sigma fraternity not only runs things at Simsbury College in Maine, but they also control the FBI! When a fraternity hazing prank turns deadly, former frat boy Mark Jessy threatens to blow the lid off of an alumni conspiracy with national implications. Preppy beauty and ski-champion Shawn Jakes lends a hand. (Delacorte, August)

Presumed Guilty: An Investigation into the JonBenet Ramsey Case, the Media & the Culture of Pornography by Stephen Singular — More speculation about the crime that has captured the hearts and minds of Kroger shoppers everywhere. (New Millennium, July)

Rot by Gary Brandner — Reanimated by a gypsy after her rape by the revolting Gerstner brothers, Marianne Avery becomes a slowly decaying, sex-starved zombie bent on revenge. "Do I make you horny, baby?" (Cemetery Dance, August)

Someday My Prince by Christina Dodd — Blazing hot sex spices up this otherwise clumsy historical romance set in the 19th-century European kingdoms of Bertinierre and Sereminia. (Avon, July)

Star Trek: Vulcan's Heart by Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz — Spock finally meets a nice Vulcan girl and goes all the way. Set your phasers to LOVE. (Pocket, July).

The Sub: A Study in Witchcraft by Thomas M. Disch — Meet Diana Turney, the girl with something extra. The substitute second-grade teacher likes to seduce men, transforming them into physical reflections of their obnoxious traits. Charmed, we're sure. (Knopf, July)

Sweetwood Bride by Pamela Morsi — Tired of reading about the beautiful people? Pamela Morsi writes earthy, backwoods romances about snaggle-toothed hillbillies like you and me. (HarperCollins, July)

Tall, Dark and Deadly by Heather Graham — A handsome psychopath kidnaps beautiful lawyer Marnie Newcastle ... and they were married happily ever after. (Onyx, July)

Through Alien Eyes by Amy Thomson — The last time we checked with Dr. Juna Saari, she had been abandoned on the planet Tiangi. This time out she's back on Earth accompanied by a couple of Tendu. To find out what this means, you'll have to read this thoughtful novel of Earthlings and extraterrestrials. (Ace, July)

Tom Clancy's Op-Center: State of Siege created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik — As if this guy didn't write enough novels. And now he has help! In this, the sixth in the series, it's time for another terrorist group to set their sights on the United Nations. When will they ever learn? (Berkley, July)

The Trench by Steve Alten — The star of this novel is Angel, a giant killer shark who escapes from the Monterey Aquarium and eats everything in sight, including a lovable whale named Tootie. Throw in a few terrorists and an evil billionaire, and you have the makings of a first-class thriller. (Kensington, July)

Tripwire by Lee Child — His hands are certified killing machines. His chest serves as its own protective armor. He is Jack Reacher: a new breed of action hero. (Putnam, July)

Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash by Susan Strasser — Garbage gets its due in this scholarly study of the social ramifications of chicken bones, tin cans and sanitary napkins. (Holt/Metropolitan, September)

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