Nash’s bio not your typical rock book
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.