Alex Bledsoe is one of these.
I just finished reading his new book, THE HUM AND THE SHIVER, and man, does it ever make you do both! The book's official release date is tomorrow, September 27th, and I was fortunate enough to get an advanced reader's copy from Alex's agent, the lovely Marlene Stringer. (Thanks, Marlene! I owe you one.) I'm going to tell you why you want to run out tomorrow and get a copy of this book.
But first, let me tell you about Alex. Alex and I first stumbled across each other when we were both finalists in the contest that led to our inclusion in the Llewellyn/BBI Media joint project, THE PAGAN ANTHOLOGY OF SHORT FICTION. We bonded over the shared torture of waiting to find out if either of us won (I came in third...the only time I've ever beaten Alex at anything, and at that, I think he was robbed) and then later over shared interests and beliefs. We've never met in person, because he lives in Wisconson and I live in upstate New York, but we keep in touch and applaud each other's successes.
I fell in love with Alex's writing with the publication of his first book, THE SWORD EDGED BLONDE. Who wouldn't love a guy who could create a world that is a cross between traditional sword and sorcery and a hard-edged detective novel...and pull it off beautifully. Genius, I tell you. The Library Journal called it "A well-crafted gem of a tale," which sums it up pretty well, I think. And the two books that followed it in the series just got better. (Number four is coming soon.)
Now there is THE HUM AND THE SHIVER. Here's the blurb from the back of the book:
No one knows where the Tufa came from, or how they ended up in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, yet when the first Europeans arrived, they were already there. Dark-haired, enigmatic, and suspicious of outsiders, the Tufa live quiet lives in the hills and valleys of Cloud County. While their origins may be lost to history, there are clues in their music—hints of their true nature buried in the songs they have passed down for generations.
Private Bronwyn Hyatt returns from Iraq wounded in body and in spirit, only to face the very things that drove her away in the first place: her family, her obligations to the Tufa, and her dangerous ex-boyfriend. But more trouble lurks in the mountains and hollows of her childhood home. Cryptic omens warn of impending tragedy, and a restless “haint” lurks nearby, waiting to reveal Bronwyn’s darkest secrets. Worst will need to summon the strength to take her place among the true Tufa and once again fly on the night winds. . . .
The Tufa are a fascinating people with secrets hidden underneath their secrets, and Bronwyn is an imperfect and tortured protagonist who nonetheless captures your heart. Bledsoe's writing is as sharp, evocative, and forceful as any author I have ever read; he draws you so deeply into the East Tennessee world of the Tufa, you are shocked to put down the book and find yourself on the couch at home. You live and breath and sing with the Tufa, and ache and cry and wonder with every character in this entralling book. There is magic hidden on the gravel roads of Cloud Country; the kind of magic that could only come from the creative mind of the amazing Alex Bledsoe.
I can't wait to read the next book in this series. And I can't wait to hear what you all think of this book. So here's what I'm going to do. I happen to have an extra copy of his second book in the Eddie La Crosse series, BURN ME DEADLY (The Sword Edge Blond's follow up). In hardcover, no less. I'm going to give that book away to the first person who buys a copy of THE HUM AND THE SHIVER, reads it, and posts a review on either Amazon, Goodreads, or both. (Of course, you have to come back here and tell me you did it.)
And of course, I want all of you to check out this amazing book and tell me what you think. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. Here are links to Amazon, so you can check out the book, and to Alex's website, so you can check out the guy himself. Be sure and tell him I sent you :-)