Thursday, August 3, 2017

Book Review: "Ten Dead Comedians" by Fred Van Lente

Fred Van Lente's debut novel is "Ten Dead Comedians". Fans of the mystery genre will quickly determine it is a modern satirical take on Agatha Christie's classic "Ten Little Indians." His attempt to pay homage to Dame Agatha falls flat for this reader.

Ten comedians are invited to a Caribbean island by comic legend Dustin Walker. Upon arrival, they find themselves cut off from the outside world...and one by one they are cut down in some ingenious...often gory ways. 

On the plus side, the author has concocted wicked caricatures of some of the top stand up comics of recent years. Readers who are fans of comedy will recognize Larry the Cable Guy, Joan Rivers/Don Rickles, and Carrot Top/Gallagher in the mix. However, that might be the highlight of the book for the casual reader.
I really wanted to like this book, but I found it lacking for several reasons.  Interspersed between the murders and a couple of interesting plot twists, the reader is subjected to comic routines that just aren't funny. I found them to be repetitious and boring. My Kindle version of the book had these in red type. I found myself rapidly skimming/skipping these whenever they appeared.

These comedic tirades as well as most of the group's conversations are profanity laced. It gets old very quickly. Maybe I'm too old school...but a teacher once told me that "Profanity is the language of the inarticulate." Its overuse made this book very tiresome to read.

Finally, I didn't find the humor in this book to be that funny. It reminded me of some of the young comedians when they first began their careers. Performances for some were mediocre and cringe worthy. The jokes lacked true comedic timing for me.

Overall, I found this book a tedious and difficult read. 
I give it two stars.

*I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion in any way!*

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Book Review: "The Vampire Kitty-cat Chronicles" by Ray Rhamey

Being a cat person and a fan of urban fantasy, I was intrigued by the the title of this book. It did not disappoint. It introduces us to Patch, a calico cat, with an attitude.  On his way to a romantic encounter with a Persian, he was attacked and turned into a vampire kitty. His apologetic attacker becomes his associate and together they navigate the world of newbie vamps.

The author gives us a new slant on some of the classic plot lines in vampire classics. They include the an anti vampire preacher, the angry mob he inspires, and  power struggles in the vamp community. Told from Patch's perspective these cliche moments become fresh and new. 

A cat person will see flaws in the way people interact with Patch. It takes a while for a cat' associate to know what its facial expressions or meows mean. Everyone who met Patch seemed to know immediately.

"The Vampire Kitty-cat Chronicles" might not win any awards as great literature. However, it is a fun filled, tongue in cheek satire that both cat and vamp lovers should appreciate. It gets four stars from me.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Book Review: "Very Important Corpses" by Simon R. Green

I just finished "Very Important Corpses" by Simon R. Green. I found it very enjoyable. For those of you unfamiliar with Green's work, he is one of the most creative/inventive writers that I have read in a long time. He specializes in tales of the paranormal with a touch of SciFi and Fantasy mixed in to make for an extraordinary read. He is the author of the "Nightside" books, "Ghost Finders" and the "Secret History"books to name a few of his series.

"Very Important Corpses" features Ishmael Jones, an agent for a secret agency called the the Organisation. He is assigned to investigate the murder of one of his fellow agents at the annual meeting of the Baphamet Group. His mission is twofold: solve the murder...protect the members of the Group. They are among the secret rulers/power brokers of the world.

Ishmael is uniquely qualified for this task. He is an abandoned alien..yes...of the E.T. variety. His ship had crashed back in the 60's. The ship's technology transformed him into a human being. Unfortunately, the process left him with amnesia. He has forgotten his past life. His physical abilities do surpass humans.

 If you take the classic English country manor house mystery, toss in an abandoned alien with amnesia, and combine it with one of the secret groups that control the world you would have the basic plot for "Very Important Corpses". Mystery fans will enjoy trying to solve the murder. SciFi and Fantasy fans will enjoy the alien aspect. 

"Very Important Corpses"  might not be Green's best work. However, I would recommend it as a solid summer read. This book can be read as a standalone. 

I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Book review: Mason Dixon: Monster Hunter By Eric R. Asher

"Mason Dixon: Monster Hunter" is the latest addition to Eric R. Asher's body of work. This book is actually a novella written for young adults. It introduces us to Mason Dixon, host of a web series, called "Cryptid Hunter".  What his viewers fail to realize is there are no special effects on his show...unless you count the ones where the video is purposely fuzzy to obscure the fact that there are plenty of monsters alive and well in the rolling hills of Missouri.

This book should please any  urban fantasy fan. Mason hunts monsters to try to save them from being revealed to a society who is unaware that the things that go bump in the night are real. His goal is to save the monsters from extinction. In his quest, he is aided by Emma (his right hand), Himari ( a techie who is enthralled with cryptids), Noah, his handler, and Larry, the owner of a orchard which is really a cryptid preserve. Mason makes it clear to all that he does not kill a monster unless they are killers.

Eric fills this novella with a blend of action, humor and of course the things that go bump in the night that dwell in the rolling hills and hollers of the Ozarks. He introduced me to many new monsters. While I remember Momo (short for Missouri Monster), I had never heard of a gowrow, jimplicute, Ozark howler or a snawfus until this book.
His best character (other than Mason) is Sonny. I had to smile while I read about Mason meeting Sonny...a tech savvy Sasquatch. Mason and Sonny's bonding while drinking Larry's moonshine was a true laugh out loud moment for me.

The only thing that bothered me about the book was the way it opened during one of Mason's cryptid's hunts. I would have liked a little backstory filled in such as how did Mason become a monster hunter in the first place, how he was recruited by the church to be a hunter, how he met Noah, and most importantly...why did his parents name him Mason Dixon?

If you like the urban fantasy genre, I recommend "Mason Dixon: Monster Hunter".

Book Review: "Rattle the Bones" by Eric Asher

"Rattle the Bones" is Eric R. Asher's sixth book to feature the necromancer, Damian Vesik, and his cohorts. It is an action filled romp filled with heroic characters, necromancy, supernatural creatures and maybe...a chimichanga or two.
Rattle the Bones (Book 6)

Eric has the ability to captivate the reader with a compelling plot, a myriad of supernatural characters (both good and evil), and fantastic battle scenes filled with blood and gore. His characters are unique. I love it when Aeros or Happy make an appearance. Mix in his sometimes dark sometimes snarky sense of humor and the reader is left with a deep sense of satisfaction.

"Rattle the Bones" continues Vesik's battle against Gwynn Ap Nudd, the Fae king, and his dark-touched. Vesik and his allies face their biggest challenge to date in a thoroughly enjoyable read.

While I enjoyed, the book immensely, it is not without its flaws. Flaws might be too strong a term...Eric might have crossed the boundaries into a few of my pet peeves. Here they are:
  • It is a continuing saga. Each book in the Vesik series builds on each other. Just once I'd like the story line to end so a new one can begin. 
  • Since it's a continuing saga, I don't always remember what has gone on before. A synopsis or foreword to remind the reader of what has gone on before would be greatly appreciated.
  • Cast of thousands in each book. It seems like every character that has appeared in his previous books are always included. Sometimes the dead should stay buried...even though we are dealing with a powerful necromancer.
  • Sometimes it seems like authors like to use profanity for profanity's sake. I know the common trend/reason is it adds realism to a story. I read to escape the real world. I don't need profanity to bring me back into the real world. However, it doesn't bother me if it makes sense in the situation. It did bother me immensely when Vesik proclaims "I trained with Leviticus Aureus". I hate it when the F word becomes someone's middle name.
I admit I'm a dinosaur. A teacher once told a group of us when I was much younger that "Profanity is the language of the inarticulate." It has stuck in my mind all these many years...For what it's worth, I pass it on to my nephew...Eric R. Asher.
Despite, my pet peeves "Rattle the Bones" is a solid book. While it could be read as a standalone,  I would strongly suggest that the reader start with the earlier works. It would help to understand both the story line and help to establish the characters in your mind.