Alex Byron

Within the confines of this bookstore, my safe haven, I have many monikers which I happily respond to. 
A hopeless romantic, I find myself most often lingering around in our classic's section, which is conveniently located between our eclectic selection of vinyl records and graphic novels. There is little that can lure me away from Chaucer, Parzival, Sir Gawain & The Green Knight, Poe, and that Lovecraft guy as I drop the needle on some spinning wax for maximum effect and deliver my pitch.
I am a father of two awesome girls; you probably know them. They are always by my side. One is "pride" and the other is "joy".

As a certified Histologist, I spent the past 19 years working in an Anatomic Pathology Laboratory setting, first in Detroit and more recently with our local hospital. 
Reassessing life, I needed to make a change, and that brought me here to McLean & Eakin Booksellers where I am enthused to be working with the public and meeting all of these educated and learned people of our community.  It really was a pre-determined path for me to fall into. The bookstore is the place that I most consistently shopped around town, with weekly visits for my comic pull-list and grabbing classics for my daughters to read. 


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Unbury Carol: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399180163
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Del Rey - April 10th, 2018

Like an 1800s period piece, an intriguing cast of characters emerges from the dusty sands kicked up by heroes and bounty hunters on horseback, trekking across the terrain of the tiny western towns in which this story resides.  Along “The Trail” headed to “The Harrows,” each chapter gives glimpses into their backstories.

For her entire life, Carol has been afflicted with a peculiar disease in which her body slows down and presents as if it were dead.  As a youth, her mother kept close watch over her as the states of paralysis left Carol lost and trapped, endlessly falling through darkness.  Her first love, having been tasked with the responsibility of watching over her should she ever fall still, departed with her heart years ago and hasn’t been seen or heard of since; an outlaw on the run.  Her flamboyant best friend is the only confidant in her life, apart from her husband who knows of the disease and it’s afflicting symptoms.

What happens when her friend passes away prior to her finding another loyal confidant, and her husband remains the only keeper of this knowledge and stands to inherit her family’s fortune upon her death?

For fans of westerns, horror, or classic fairytales, Josh Malerman has delivered another tale preying on human fears.  We are thrilled for Malerman’s upcoming presentation with us this summer.  He delivered a multi-sensory experience with Bird Box.  He revisted us with another sensory overload in his presentation of Black Mad Wheel.  We have major expectations for his multi-cast presentation for this newest release!  Make your reservations; this will be one not to miss.

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Beautiful Music Cover Image
ISBN: 9781617756276
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Akashic Books - May 1st, 2018

As I completed reviewing an Advanced Reader Copy of Zadoorian’s Beautiful Music, a giddy sense of excitement overtakes me in thought of sharing this book with our customers, more specifically our customers with roots well established in the history of the Detroit area. With music as it’s vehicle for quieting the mind and forging meaningful connections between the characters contained within these pages and the reader. For me, this is the first time that I have read a piece of historical fiction that takes place in a city that I am completely familiar with. As Zadoorian mentions roads native to Detroit and various landmarks, I smile in recognition of knowing precisely where in my home town any character from the pages of this story is at any given time. This is a must read for any Detroit native. The story centers around the Yazminski family, a polish family in Detroit, and the son Daniel’s experiences of love, loss, and racial tension in the most transformative years of the Motor City’s history. This is a coming of age story and music serves as the vehicle for relating to experiences. The magnificent power of music and it’s ability to quiet an unsettled mind in stressful times, becomes a tangible friend to rely on through life’s difficulties and tenuous moments. Music often evokes an emotional response from it’s listener, as Daniel associates various music to events he experiences in life, like the death of his father and the confusing struggles he faces as an adolescent, to witnessing no holds barred race riots in and around his school. An empowered Daniel takes on the role as school announcer and gains control of the music intro and outro, preceding and following the school news announcements overhead. This empowerment of selecting tunes, gives Daniel his identity and purpose for moving forward, he has a plan to become a radio disc jockey much like the characters he grew up listening to with his father, familiar names sure to rattle some forgotten memories of time in the D, while his mom tunes in to the Action News with Bill Bonds. The familiar sounds surrounding specific events, of loss, of first loves, of conflicted times form the stage for this poignant lesson in history to take place. You will want to read this one before Michael Zadoorian joins us for a presentation this summer. His previous piece The Leisure Seeker has now become an emotionally driven full feature film in theatres now.

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The King in Yellow, Deluxe Edition Cover Image
ISBN: 9781782273769
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pushkin Press - February 27th, 2018

If you were presented with a book of stories based upon a banished play that was known to induce audience insanity and despair, would you choose to indulge? If I were to mention that a mere glimpse of the first page of Act II is alluring enough to draw in the reader, would you test the pages? Even if it meant the demise of your very core and mental constitution? Knowing my love and admiration for H.P. Lovecraft, I was recently presented a copy of such a collection, with said disclaimer proceeding. With great anticipation, I hurried home to tear into the pages of The Yellow King, and further fuel my obsession with Lovecraftian lore. Never before have I opened the pages of a book that had H.P.’s stamp of approval printed on the dust cover: “Altogether one of the greatest weird tales ever written.” – H.P. Lovecraft

Robert W. Chambers, a successful American author in his time and noted as the greatest influence upon Lovecraft’s style and motif originally released the four tales found in this collection back in 1895. These stories continue to be heralded as some of America’s most influential and time transcending tales. Pushkin Press presents us with a nicely packaged hardcover collection of these tales, individually inviting and unsettling, collectively woven together and connected by a golden thread of mysterious underlying themes. This collection is haunting. Chambers’s method of suggestion and hint dropping leaves the reader wanting to know more; a need to decipher the proposed concepts, needing to understand what is happening on the pages of this book, and how the themes are connected.

“The Repairer of Reputations” is a strange tale of mental instability, contending with the struggle of ego over paranoia. “The Mask” is a story of love and art forged in dreamlike experiments of trust and science. In “In the Court of the Dragon” we find a character struggling to save his soul from a sinister organ player. Paranoia sets in as an artist trys to work under the ever-present albeit distant eye of the creepy church watchman in "The Yellow Sign."

From one Alex to another, I thank you for placing this in my hands!

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Milk and Vine: Classic Vine Poetry Cover Image
ISBN: 9780999752708
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Adam Gasiewski - October 22nd, 2017

Strolling the aisles of the grocery store, I ask my middle school daughters, “Is there anything else we need?” Without hesitation I hear in response, “He need some milk," followed by laughter.  Is it me they are laughing at?  I don’t need any milk. Am I a caveman? Have I created cavewomen?

“Dad, it’s a vine.” 

Well, what in the hell is a vine if grapes don’t grow from it? 

What I have learned is this: a vine is a six second video clip that has become the lasting legacy of a misguided generation. 

I did my research. 

I watched six-second clip after six-second clip of foolishness, dumbfounded by the asinine scenarios I was exposed to. Finally, I get it, and I can even beat the kids to the punch, cunningly dropping my Vine quotes at the most inappropriate times, for only the mislead to understand. 

Now it all makes sense when our family friend Will states, “My name is Jeff.”

With Milk and Vine, Gasiewski and Beck have bridged a communication gap between generations with their play on the success of Rupi Kaur’s collected poems in Milk & Honey.

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Strange Weather: Four Short Novels Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062663115
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - October 24th, 2017

In his upcoming collection of four short novellas, Joe Hill's talents continue to develop, solidifying his name as one of the horror genre's great contemporary authors.  Hill has the capability to prey upon our innermost fears.
I find myself returning to re-read and reflect upon the mounting feelings and emotions that I experienced in "Snapshot," where young Michael Figlione's experiences were so real they felt as if they were my own.  A tattooed Phonecian snaps shots of unsuspecting subjects, forever erasing their memories.  And then the Phonecian encounters Michael.
"Aloft" addresses the fears of sky jumping when the main character, Aubrey, is forced into confronting these fears but ends up swept away in a predicament with a cloud who has a mind and motive of its own.
"Loaded" is a racially-charged, finger-pointing, whodunit murder in the mall.  The mall security guard is our hero, as he prevents a mass shooting.  Touching on themes of guns rights activists, legalities in carrying firearms, public security, nosey journalists looking to make a story, and stereotypes pigeonholing all ethnicities, this selection unraveled like a ball of yarn rolling down a steep hill.
In the apocalyptic, "Rain," the skies open up to drop skin-shredding shards of crystallized metal.  In this time of fires, hurricanes, flooding, and earthquakes, this selection hits close to home.
I found myself completely enveloped by these four short novellas and have engaged in deep discussions regarding the content.  I find it intriguing that reading the same story can evoke such dramatically different feelings and responses.  The impact it left on me in regard to story telling, summoned a response full of wonder and racing thoughts.  I eagerly await this release in October so that I can share this collection and discuss these tales with our loyal customers.  

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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525434818
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - May 1st, 2018

Through the various themes of innocence and evil, outcast queers, addicts, Muslims, and orphans, find happiness in the struggles they overcome.  
Anjum, a hijra or hermaphrodite, was born an outcast.  Anjum lives her life finding her place in a world where where her abnormality is labeled and shunned.  The love that she and the other rejects of society have to offer while raising children, living in a graveyard, and sleeping between headstones, lifts the veil between the living and the dead.
In stark opposition, Tilo is a successful architect and activist, born gifted with the attractions of both mind and beauty.  She lives her life enveloped by men who compete and vie for her love.
Guih Kyom may have been my favorite character though.  He's a kind and gentle soul in the form of a dung beetle, whose goals and concerns are for all other souls existing in this world, living to do what he can to keep the world a safe place for all of its occupants by lying on his back, feet pointed to the sky to keep it from falling on all the love he feels and shares.
I left the pages of this novel with a new appreciation for the differences that exist within and without, differences that make up individuals.  These differences evoked an overwhelming response of love from deep within my very core, eyes opened wide; a new love for every soul I pass on the street or have the fortune of sharing a moment with in the bookstore.
It is the theme of love we share that must not be forgotten; everyone needs love, all are capable of sharing their love, and the diversity of humanity is beautiful.
In explaining her goal of wanting "everybody to open their eyes," Roy quotes Cezanne, "I know what I am looking at, but what am I seeing?" 

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Parzival: A Romance of the Middle Ages (Vintage Classics) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780394701882
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage -

Arthur, Gwenevere, The Red Knight, The Fisher King… The Holy Grail!

Wolfram von Eschenbach’s 13th century adaptation and conclusion to Chretien de Troyes’ Arthurian Quest for the Holy Grail is a romantic story of love, suffering, healing, and overcoming.  Set in the chivalrous and mystical time of the noble King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, the young and naïve Parzival sets out on a path of discovery that will ultimately define his life.  Innocence lost, Parzival is given a second attempt at healing the wounded Fisher King and thereby realigning the lost and sacred relationship between spirit and a world emaciated by famine and drought, representative of greed and loss of spirituality.

A medieval German Knight himself, Eschenbach lived the life of chivalry inspired by Chretien.  As a poet (journalist) of the times, Wolfram spread the tale of triumph tested and tried by moral, character tests, tempted by love, power, and greed.  Riddled with themes pertinent to man’s inner core, I find myself frequently revisiting the lessons of love, life, and man’s flawed nature demonstrated by this timeless piece.

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Sleeping Beauties: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501163401
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - September 26th, 2017

A sleeping syndrome has taken the world by surprise.  Without warning, women are falling asleep and not waking up.  There is a fibrous thread that forms a cocoon around their bodies, a thread emerging from their eye sockets and nostrils.  There have been attempts to remove this cocoon from the face of beloved ones, resulting in viscous and ferocious attacks from the women who were once consoling mothers, loving wives, and innocent daughters. 
A murder, an explosion of a meth lab, and flurries of moths emerging from thin air weave a mysterious, thrilling tale from King and son.  Their project has an  extensive cast of characters, but you will quickly feel that you are a part of a small town being overtaken by an unknown phenomenon.
Relevant to today's discussions of masculine and feminine dynamics and roles, this selection drives us to consider the connection and bond between men and women.  Sleeping Beauties offers hope for our society.
What would a community do if one sex was removed from our lives?  Is there a check and balance in relationships that relies on healthy respect so the sexes can co-exist more peacefully?  Or, would one sex better survive without the other?

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The Rainbow Goblins Cover Image
ISBN: 9780500277591
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Thames & Hudson - June 17th, 1978

 The recent release of Primus' album The Desaturating Seven, is noted as "A record of treachery and virtue," inspired by the 1978 release of the terrifying children's story The Rainbow Goblins by European artist Ul de Rico.  (Think: the original brother's Grimm.)
The Rainbow Goblins are on a quest to absorb and feed on the colors of the rainbow that will follow the storm that is coming across the sea, building as it travels.  Seeking shelter in a cave, their plan is overheard by the roots of the local flowers and foliage who spread the word through the natural world.  The goblins' plan is foiled when the flowers of The Valley of the Rainbow beat them at their own game and drink up all of the colors of the rainbow before the goblins have the opportunity to capture the colors with their lassos.  In an unexpected turn of events, the flowers unleash a flood of color, drowning the greedy goblins.  The depth of Ul de Rico's landscapes are truly captivating.  The color, depth, and movement of the illustrations guide the reader through a frightful world so simple, yet so twisted.  
And simple and twisted are in the same vein as Primus' The Desaturating Seven album.  It is pressed on rainbow splattered colored vinyl and follows The Rainbow Goblins' theme of rainbow colored tracks listing each associated with a theme.  For example, Side A includes "The Valley" in red, "The Seven" in Orange, and "The Trek" in yellow.  Reading the book gives a better interpretation of the direction in which Primus was headed when they crafted the tracks.  The book and album go hand-in-hand as a perfect gift combo!

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The Last Temptation of Christ Cover Image
ISBN: 9780684852560
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 1st, 1998

Nicos Kazantzakis’ presentation of a young man struggling with finding his path, tortured by the voices in his head, wrestling with the duality of man’s internal struggle ultimately finding himself in fear of nothing, is an empathy evoking tale of Jesus of Nazareth amidst his notable transformation. 

The Last Temptation Of Christ is a tale told through the perspective of The Messiah, depicted by a tortured soul experiencing Divine calling.  A fictional, first-hand account of his experiences, trials endured, relationships forged in overcoming the anguish of suffering, carnal temptations, and fear of death.  Jesus manifests and teaches a message of love, hope, belief, and acceptance as a model for man’s existence in our world.

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Breakfast of Champions: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385334204
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Press Trade Paperback - May 11th, 1999

Written in his comically poignant, controversial voice, the characteristically Vonnegut-esque perspective, we are left questioning whether man possesses “free will” or if our lives are pre-determined, as Vonnegut implies in his own control over the characters within this story.

Through the experience and thoughts of his cast, Vonnegut tackles the theme of influence and impact that artists have on society, his very own, most powerful and impactful attribute as a reputable and consistent author!

Knee-deep in an emotional breakdown, Dwayne Hoover, a successful used car-salesman, stumbles upon a little known short story entitled Now It Can Be Told written by the co-protagonist Kilgore Trout, an aging and unrecognized author.  The impact this story has on Dwayne spirals his life out of control in this dark, satirical comedy.  Dwayne embraces the intent of the story’s author, adopting the belief that he is the only man in this industrial, capitalist world, who possesses the quality of “Free Will”, in a world overrun by robots in the machine that has become our world.  

Beneath the veil of this darkly twisted, sci-fi comedy is an empathetic story of kindness, and respect for fellow human beings.


"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." – KVJr

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The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101911532
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 30th, 2018

Christopher Knight, an intelligent, young 20 year old, conscientiously made the decision to live alone, on his own terms, as he stepped away from “the grid”.  Into the wilderness of Maine, this young man drove into the forest until his gas tank had been expended, threw his keys on the dashboard of the car and wasn’t seen or heard from for the next 27 years. 

In this “Extraordinary Story of The Last True Hermit”, we learn about this young man’s survival free from the constricts of society, as he relies on his wits to survive bitter winters, his ingenuity in storing of food and water, his innate ability to avoid serious illness and death. 

With Knight’s arrest for pillaging necessities from local community homes he frequented, we learn about the challenges he overcame to survive. In the interviews conducted by Finkel Knight give us his answers to the basic question “Why?”.

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The Night Ocean: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101981092
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - April 3rd, 2018

Can the art be separated from the artist, or are the two inseparable and reflectively entwined within one another?

Like most fans of HP Lovecraft, The Night Ocean’s narrator documents the obsession that consumed her husband’s life, ultimately leading to his disappearance, and the spark that ignited her own obsession. 

This novel unfolds like the layers of an onion being peeled away. Seeking the truth behind the Erotonomicon, Charlie Willet finds himself interviewing witnesses of Lovecraft’s life, interviewees whose identities come into question in this twisted quest to find the truth behind Lovecraft’s life. 

Spanning decades of characters, we discover the motives that guided the various contributors of this story, to contrive such an entangled and inviting web.

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The Only Child Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476755212
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - May 23rd, 2017

Bearing witness to the traumatic and horrific murder of her mother as a young child influenced and paved the path to a lifelong career in forensic psychiatry for Dr. Lily Dominick.  More specifically, she developed a professional, clinical obsession with the inner workings of the minds of psychotic criminals admitted to the asylum where she spends her days. 

Within the pages of The Only Child, Andrew Pyper delivers a fast-paced, psychological thriller that escalates with intensity as the audience learns more and more unsettling details about Patient 46874-A. 

Who is this man who claims to be hundreds of years old?  Who is this man who claims to be the inspiration behind some of literature’s most notable characters?  Could one man truly be the monster that influenced Shelley’s Frankenstein, Stoker’s Dracula, and Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde? 

Dr. Dominick discovers that there is a common thread that binds her to this unknown patient.  Their individual pasts have molded their present and will ultimately define the future rolls of which they are individually destined to fulfill.



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