The Cultural Revolution has been a taboo subject in China, but confusing and forgotten to Westerners. The political upheavals instigated by Mao Zedong between 1966-1976 were baffling to those who observed and participated. Mao ostensibly sought to create a new, permanent revolutionary China, doing away with old ideas, old customs, and old culture, but his main aim was to purge all political rivals and enshrine himself as a godlike figure, which somewhat continues to this day. It is during this tumultuous era, that the novel Serve the People! by Yan Lianke takes place.
Larry Bond’s 1987 novel Red Phoenix detailed a second Korean War, day by day, hour by hour. Red Phoenix Burning by Larry Bond and Chris Carlson is a follow-up, a narrative of how North Korea collapses into a full-blown civil war.
An old evil awakens in the remote Indiana town of Isherwood. Hordes of ravenous vampires threaten to devour everyone and only one man, a Vietnam vet with lots of ammo, can stop them. This is the 1990 horror novel, Nightblood by T. Chris Martindale.
Since it’s spooky season, I wanted to highlight one of Japan’s most famous horror manga artists/writers – Junji Ito. For those not in the know, manga are Japanese comics, and Ito’s realistic and hyper-detailed artwork, combined with his macabre and haunting plots, are a perfect nightmare cocktail. Here are ten recommendations to start you off, from his longer-form works to short stories. Also, to existing Junji Ito fans, yes, there are plenty of well-known recommendations here, but if I didn’t list your personal favorite, well, there’s always next Halloween…
A false flag is defined as an “operation is an act committed with the intent of disguising the actual source of responsibility and pinning blame on another party.” There are many such incidents throughout history — the Mukden Incident of 1931 and the Gleiwitz radio attack in 1939 are two of the best-known examples. Couched in conspiracy and intrigue, false flags are prime fodder for thriller fiction, such as False Flag by John Altman.
World War II has been cemented of the national consciousness as a “good war” in the Allied nations – America, Britain, Russia – for decades now. However, the fourth major partner of the Allies – China – has only recently embraced this narrative and until fairly recently, even downplayed its importance. This shift is the crux of Rana Mitter’s new book China Good War. [Read more…] about China’s Good War by Rana Mitter Review
Shanghai, 1935 – a Japanese sailor is gunned down in the busy streets, escalating tensions between China and Japan. Doug Bainbridge, an officer in the ONI – the US Office of Naval Intelligence – is tasked to investigate. Joined by his friends, Doug is sucked into a whirlwind of intrigue, double-dealing, and espionage.
In 1943, Paris groans under the heel of the German occupier. After an intense chase, several French Resistance agents are captured by the SS, two of whom are the wife and daughter of Harry Mitchell, a British cryptographer. So begins Night Flight to Paris, a World War II thriller by David Gilman.
Berlin, November 1932. Inspektor-Detektiv Willi Kraus has been called in to investigate a gruesome case. A woman’s corpse has been discovered, her legs grotesquely mutilated backward. So begins The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman, a historical thriller set in the last days of the Weimar Republic.