Alibi V.13 No.1 • Jan 1-7, 2004 

Speed Reader

An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves and the Creation of America

Henry Wiencek
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
hardcover
$26

Among the pantheon of Founding Fathers, Washington often gets short shrift. In Wiencek's book, because the old general arranged to free his slaves after his death, Washington gets the respect he deserves. By all appearances, An Imperfect God seems to be an important new work of early American history.

The Darkest Part of the Woods

Ramsey Campbell
Tor Books
hardcover
$24.95

Campbell is one of the most widely respected crafters of dark fantasy in the world. This creepy horror novel revolves around a forest containing hallucinogenic moss and a bunch of institutionalized crazies who lost their minds after ingesting the weird flora. This one will freak you out.

Monstrous Regiment

Terry Pratchett
HarperCollins
hardcover
$24.95

This satirical novel about the idiocies of war is another fine entry from this habitually underrated author. With a vampire, a troll and a young woman in military drag, Monstrous Regiment is as good an introduction to Pratchett's writings as any of his books.

The Distant Echo

Val McDermid
St. Martin's Minotaur
hardcover
$24.95

In the middle of a snowstorm, four students happen across the body of a stabbed and raped woman. From this kernel sprouts McDermid's finely honed tale of revenge. Advance readers say The Distant Echo presents the British writer at the top of his game.