Review: Paint It Black by john Hartness

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Publisher: Bell Bridge
Publishing Date: November 2013
ISBN: 9781611943566
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3.7/5.0

Publisher Description: In the fourth installment of The Black Knight Chronicles, Jimmy Black is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day and a darned fine pity party, serving the finest alcohol, when a call from his not-quite-girlfriend-cop forces him to sober up and stare at jawbones.

Review: Whew does that cover stink or what? It looks like The old Hardy Boys were replaced with a retarded vampire. The Hardy Boys covers are still better.

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This is the fourth in this particular series. I had not read any of the prior novels so my main focus was if the novel could stand alone without the support from the previous stories. The author did a really good job referencing a prior instances in order to support the current story line without dragging it down. As a stand alone novel in a series, you can get right up to speed without slowing down for the usual lengthy back story.

The main character is a smartass vampire whom doesn’t really render insightful witticisms, more like this constant glibness that really gets tiring after awhile. The Trolls and goblins were really well done. You had this overt and stilted verbosity from the Trolls that would turn on a dime into this highly shrewd and intelligent creature. The goblin chef was aptly described and did not fail to entertain.
Abby, the hotty vamp, is really good. Her pointed comments and self-reliant and independent behavior is refreshing input into the so-so dialogue of Jimmy Black. Lilith, a succubus that is older than dirt, also injects interesting commentary into an otherwise flat diatribe. It is almost like the author tried too hard with Jimmy Black, to make him into this free-wheeling, witty, devil-may-care, undead vampire. What you get is this glib asshat who doesn’t really give a crap (or so you think) about anything, then all of a sudden cares about Sabrina and tries to be a father figure to Abby. He is at once indifferent then maudlin, vengeful then remorseful and glib then self-aware. Definitely not emotionally consistent to the extent that he is a believable character.

There were some fall downs with regard to firearm ballistics, firearm function and Sabrina’s mortal physical abilities to be on par or better with an undead vampires super strength and speed. The author states that the semi auto smith and Wesson gets cocked as Sabrina comes down the stairs. She first must rack the slide on a semi-auto 1911, then drop the hammer in order to re-cock it for live fire in this particular scene. In the case of the SW MP, there is no hammer to cock. Since Smith and Wesson does not make a .40 1911 series pistol, then I assume that Sabrina is carrying the M&P or one of its variants. The ballistics mentioned are not supportable either. “These cold iron bullets tumble worse than silver. Makes them drop six inches over ten yards.” While silver is not as dense as lead, silver still would accept the rifling of any barrel as “both lead and copper are common bullet materials.” The idea that silver bullets will “tumble” could only happen if the diameter of the bullet was not increased to accommodate the inherent shrinkage of silver when cast. Thus the use of a custom mold to cast silver bullets. If you’re going to use firearms in a novel, then be familiar with ballistics and the firearms basic functions.

If you like a really fun read and a good story-line with shallow character development, get this novel. It is at once entertaining and absorbing.

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