Book Review: Like Lions by Brian Panowich

 

Publishing Date: April 2019

Publisher: St. Martins

ISBN: 9781250206947

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 2.4/5

Publisher’s Description: Clayton Burroughs is a small-town Georgia sheriff, a new father, and, improbably, the heir apparent of Bull Mountain’s most notorious criminal family. As he tries to juggle fatherhood, his job and his recovery from being shot in the confrontation that killed his two criminally-inclined brothers last year, he’s doing all he can just to survive. Yet after years of carefully toeing the line between his life in law enforcement and his family, he finally has to make a choice.

Review: This was a conflicted read for me. As the novel came to an end, there were no exclamations of wonder as to the profound impact the story line had on my being. More like air escaping a slowly flattening tire. Here’s why.

Sheriff Dingus…..er, Clayton roams around in a world of constant inner negativity. This condition is bludgeoned into the reader page after page between trysts of drugs and alcohol abuse. The trope of “Down and out lawman solving a problem bigger than himself” is often used by writers to manufacture an easy story line in hopes of a movie deal.  Although Clayton is written very well, there is nothing really different about him. He is basically a negative asshole for most of the novel, and this is somehow supposed to make us sympathetic to his plight. His wife on the other hand, is an interesting piece of work and should have been expanded upon to widen her more visceral side.

The bad guys are typically Deliverance style bad in both demeanor and countenance with the usual acts of casual killing littered throughout the novel. The instances are not real believable and tend to be artificially expanded to include any Film Producers that are lurking in wait. All the women are hillbilly hot and the men, repugnant or ruggedly handsome.  The idea that in the modern age, one family controls everyone and everything through fear, is Hollywood genuflecting, at it’s best.

To me fiction is best served skittering along the fringes of reality and this did not take me anywhere near it.

 

Advertisements

Book Review: Drowned Under By Wendall Thomas

Publishing Date: March 2019

Publisher: Poison Pen Press

ISBN: 9781464210624

Genre: Mystery

Rating: DNF

Publisher’s Description: Eggnog notwithstanding, travel agent Cyd Redondo is not looking forward to the holidays. The borough of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn—along with most of her family—holds her responsible for landing her Uncle Ray in a minimum security prison. So, when Cyd’s ex-husband, Barry Manzoni, announces his parents have disappeared from an Australian cruise, she rushes Down Under to enlist the help of travel liaison and friend Harriet Archer, who offers a free cabin on the Tasmanian Dream and insider assistance with the search.

Review: I am wondering how anyone can find this novel (tripe) entertaining. In the author’s attempt at being glib and funny, the pages are peckered with this constant stream of internal dialogue that is supposed to encompass every scene with commentary in the form of witticisms. Add in how hot she thinks she is and how every guy wants a piece of her middle aged flesh and you have pure literary drivel. What really detracted from the overall story line was the focus on all of Cyd’s accessories. From designer bags, dresses and shoes, this barrage of nonsensical bullshjt was never ending.

Cyd’s characterization is at once vapid, scattered and vaguely offensive to females.  The supporting characters are one dimensional and drive the scenes to awkward resolutions that favor dimwits flouncing act. The scene development is right on the verge of fantastical. I think the author hoped this would add vibrant movement, only it comes off as thinly sheathed in reality and lacking in clarity.

Author James W. Ziskin is not only in the preface, hailing accolades of this work like a Perseid meteor shower, but rates this novel a 5 star work in Goodreads. Coincidentally the author lists James Ziskin in the acknowledgments. We also have Kirkus Reviews spinning their paid-for shtick as well. I would skip all of Ziskin’s novels as anyone who had really read this is busy self-defenestrating.

Book Review: Androcide by Erec Stebbins

Publishing Date: September 2017

Publisher: Twice Pi Press

ISBN: 9781942360322

Genre: Thriller/Fiction

Rating: 0.1/5

Publisher’s Description: Detectives link gruesome murders to the Eunuch Maker, a serial killer targeting men. The stakes soon escalate to global proportions.

Review: This started out pretty good as the story line is split and the commonality hard to determine. And then it goes to pure shjt.

What do I always say about authors inserting their own political perspectives couched in effusive moral platitudes? DON”T DO IT!! Well this douche wastes no time (while wasting ours), with super lesbian geniuses, trans-gender genius cops and a genius Asian hottie (with a limp) that saves the fooking world. Can’t forget the lengthy illegal alien dialogue (whitey bad) which has absolutely nothing to do with the novel. Forget that all white people are portrayed as evil hate-filled Nazis because they prefer the opposite sex.

This author makes a real effort to twist A Republican candidate into some myopic vision of horror in an alternate universe. I get that people have opinions but this reveal shows someone whose identity is warped by their own misplaced ego.

Book Review: Illusion by Stephanie Elmas

Publishing Date: June 2018

Publisher: Endeavour

ISBN: 9781549655173

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 4.8/5

Publisher’s Description: London, 1873Walter Balanchine returns home from his travels with an air of mystery and magic about him. His lockets, potions and spells soon attract a favourable audience in Victorian London. But a labyrinthine path of sorcery, scandal and mortal danger unfolds when Walter encounters the beautiful and brooding Tamara.

Review: This novel received very high reviews but for one millennial reviewer. She wrote that she liked it but gave it a low rating. She rants about “triggers” and  other identity nonsense while trying to be self-deprecating in the process. As to why anyone would give a shjt whether your’re offended or not by literary content, is laughable. Wow, the ego sure is expanding logrithmically these days.

This was a fine read. Constantly entertaining with characters that explode off the pages and movement that quickens the fire in your veins. A wonderfully crafted novel that embodies everything that makes a novel soar. Get this, and hope that Walter continues on in subsequent novels by this gifted writer.

Book Review: School For Psychics by K.C. Archer

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Publishing Date:

ISBN:9781501159336

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 1.3/5

Publishers Description: When a series of bad decisions leads Teddy to a run-in with the police, a mysterious stranger intervenes. He invites her to apply to the School for Psychics, a facility hidden off the coast of San Francisco where students are trained like Delta Force operatives: it’s competitive, cutthroat, and highly secretive. They’ll learn telepathy, telekinesis, investigative skills, and SWAT tactics. And if students survive their training, they go on to serve at the highest levels of government, using their skills to protect America, and the world.

Review: I really liked the beginning of this novel. Grunge gambling, Teddy. Cruising the strip in search of a score. Banished from college for gambling, Teddy is trying to pay off a large debt when she is pulled out of the fire by some clandestine operatives. And then it goes to shit.  What was once a gutter waif with some skillz, turns into….wait for it………Super Speshul Psychic Gurl!!!! YAY!  Not only is she super hot and sexy, she can telekinithipath yur ass. Oh, and she can also astrally project herself into your MIND and see that you used to masturbate to Farrah Fawcett’s poster.

I guess the biggest question I have is why ruin a perfectly good character with patterned YA romance? There is the sordid love tribangle, a group of psychic rascals called the “misfits” and an evil government operation from which asshat was spawned.

It really feels like I have given the same review to different authors multiple times. I just can’t seem to winnow out the chaff based on the publisher’s descriptions. They are pretty good at hiding the intended audience by listing this as “Adult”.  I can’t wait for Book 2 in this series. LOL.

Review: Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

Publisher: DoubleDay

Publishing Date: January 2018

ISBN: 9780385542494

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Rating: 4.3/5

Publishers Description:  When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied. 

Review: A real solid read in terms of character development and storyline progression. Vega is one trippin’ complex bounty hunter that keeps you entranced with her unexpected actions. Coupled with Max, Nell and all the weirdo’s, entertainment value is high indeed.  I stayed up late for two nights getting into it, and I am hopeful that another will follow……SOON!

Review: Nail’s Crossing by Chris Lackey

Publisher: Blackstone

Publishing Date: October 2017

ISBN: 9781470814076

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 3.4/5

Publishers Description: In a remote corner of the Chickasaw Nation, tribal Lighthorse policeman Bill Maytubby and county deputy Hannah Bond discover the buzzard-ravaged body of Majesty Tate, a young drifter with a blank past. They comb Oklahoma’s rock prairie, river bottoms, and hard-bitten small towns for traces of her last days.

Review: An entertaining read that has a unique style of delivery. Often abrupt in scene progression and dialogue, the story line was rendered in interesting fashion.  Maytubby was a great character that brought an intense procedural mien to the fore. The world building was pretty good in that you would never want to live under that areas intense heat and 1,000 yard stares. 

If you’re expecting a Tony Hillerman type mystery, forget it. This is more police procedural than mystery where the bit players are impacted by happenstance and the bad guys are known. The ultimate bad person is an unexpected event  in that they were never a relevant part of the story.

I really enjoyed the style of writing but this could have used a big dose of “whodunit”.