Nash’s bio not your typ­i­cal rock book

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - BOOKS - By David Pitt

GRA­HAM Nash, the Bri­tish-born singer-song­writer, is a found­ing mem­ber of the Hol­lies as well as Crosby, Stills & Nash. His au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, Wild Tales (Three Rivers Press, 360 pages, $19), takes us through his fas­ci­nat­ing life from his early years right up to to­day. The book’s ti­tle is a tad mis­lead­ing: if you’re ex­pect­ing a typ­i­cal col­lec­tion of rock ’n’ roll sto­ries, you’re in for a sur­prise. There are some wild sto­ries here, sure, but mostly this is the story of a gifted man who has spent his life in search of new chal­lenges. When he was dis­sat­is­fied with the artis­tic di­rec­tion of the Hol­lies, for ex­am­ple, he struck out in a new di­rec­tion and formed Crosby, Stills & Nash. In the late 1980s, feel­ing he might have taken mu­sic as far as he could, he re­turned to one of his early pas­sions, pho­tog­ra­phy. Nash waited a long time be­fore writ­ing his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, but it was well worth the wait. Kim New­man’s cult-favourite 1993 novel Anno Drac­ula in­tro­duced us to an al­ter­nate world in which vam­pires and hu­mans co-ex­ist. The fourth in­stal­ment in the se­ries, Anno Drac­ula: Johnny Alu­card (Ti­tan Books, 509 pages, $17), tracks the ca­reer of vam­pire Johnny Alu­card, who we first meet hang­ing around the set of Fran­cis Ford Cop­pola’s mid-’70s film adap­ta­tion of Bram Stoker’s clas­sic novel Drac­ula. By the 90s, Johnny’s a hot­shot Hol­ly­wood pro­ducer. He’s got plenty of power, and he’s got a se­cret plan: to res­ur­rect Count Drac­ula him­self. New­man, a reg­u­lar contributor the Bri­tish film mag­a­zine Em­pire, could eas­ily have played this as an out-and­out com­edy (and the mul­ti­tude of pop­cul­ture ref­er­ences, from Amer­i­can Psy­cho’s Pa­trick Bate­man to Lieu­tenant Columbo, are quite en­ter­tain­ing), but in­stead it comes across as a sort of lit­er­ary B-grade hor­ror movie: goofy but grisly, hi­lar­i­ous but hor­rific. Cal­i­for­nia’s Mira Grant, au­thor of the grip­ping News­flesh se­ries, shifts gears here. In­stead of zom­bies, the vil­lain of Par­a­site (Or­bit, 544 pages, $17) is a ge­net­i­cally en­gi­neered par­a­site de­signed to live inside the hu­man body and pro­tect it from a va­ri­ety of af­flic­tions. Most peo­ple are walk­ing around with one of th­ese nifty par­a­sites inside them, but the par­a­sites are get­ting tired of be­ing trapped inside our bod­ies. They want to be the driv­ers, not the pas­sen­gers. How do you stop an en­emy that strikes from within? Where the News­flesh nov­els are fairly tra­di­tional zom­bie nov­els, Par­a­site is more of a hy­brid — a Michael Crich­ton-style techno-thriller with a heap­ing help­ing of hor­ror. Grant has a knack for cre­at­ing real, be­liev­able char­ac­ters, which is good, since her sto­ries are rather un­be­liev­able, and we need some rec­og­niz­able hu­man char­ac­ters to an­chor us. Very nicely done — comes out Tues­day. A re­tired marine gen­eral is as­sas­si­nated. The man’s son, who works for a highly clas­si­fied U.S. gov­ern­ment agency, is a skilled hunter of peo­ple who don’t want to be found. He knows vir­tu­ally noth­ing about the man who killed his fa­ther — he doesn’t even know if his fa­ther was the real tar­get, or col­lat­eral dam­age — but he’ll risk his life to find the as­sas­sin. The Kill List (Signet, 365 pages, $12), by Bri­tish nov­el­ist Fred­er­ick Forsyth, is a se­ri­ously good novel. Per­haps not quite as good as his best-known book, 1973’s clas­sic The Day of the Jackal, but very close, with the same sense of doc­u­men­tary re­al­ism and the same care­ful, pre­cise writ­ing style that makes a made-up story feel like it ac­tu­ally hap­pened. Another win­ner from a con­sis­tently ex­cel­lent writer. Hal­i­fax, Nova Sco­tia, free­lancer David Pitt’s col­umn ap­pears the first week­end

of ev­ery month.

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