Category Archives: Off-beat

A Review of A Fistful of Clones by Seaton Kay-Smith

A Fistful of Clones

by Seaton Kay-Smith


When I read a book, I go out of my way not to have any preconceived notions about the story. Sure I will read the book’s description when it is first offered. How else would I know if I might possibly like to read it, but then I put the title in my calendar, and don’t read anything else about it until the date that I need to read it.

When I first started reading A Fistful of Clones, I didn’t really get it. Then it grew on me. I finally came to the conclusion that it felt like a movie. Kind of like one of the Coen Brothers films, think Fargo. The characters were all just a little off. Nothing was quite normal, but then once I got used to them, I started to see the humor in nearly everything that was happening. It was just absurd, but in a good way. I’m putting A Fistful of Clones back on my TBR list, maybe next May, because I want to read it again, but I don’t want to have it fresh in my mind. I think that it will even be better next time.

Now that I have read A Fistful of Clones, and I am preparing to review it, I discover that it started out as a screenplay. I can imagine that it would make a great film, if it was done right. It could be a real dog or a cult classic. The director would have to walk a fine line. He would have to keep his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, and allow the quirkiness of the characters to come out. It can’t be played straight. It really is a comedy, not a Sci-Fi flick about clones.

I give A Fistful of Clones 4 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! If you are ready for a subtly funny book, filled with odd characters, in odder situations, written by a new Australian author, then A Fistful of Clones is the book for you.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

A Fistful of Clones“If anyone else were to kill them it would be murder, for Henry, it would be suicide.”

Henry Madison is an apathetic young man with little to no ambition. When he loses his job and his girlfriend in one day, he is destitute and signs up for paid medical testing. the doctor creates clones of Henry and when these clones escape and start causing havoc in Henry’s life, he is hired in secret by the strange doctor and trained to hunt the clones down one by one and kill them. Henry soon finds out, however, that personality isn’t genetic but made of the experiences you have, and as time progresses, his clones become less carbon copied than he was lead to believe, growing their own identities and challenging Henry’s perception of what it means to be Henry Madison and of what it is right and what is wrong.

Seaton explains the genesis of his novel: “I first wrote ‘A Fistful of Clones’ as a screenplay between 2010 and 2011 and received an honourable mention for it in the 2011 Sundance: Table Read My Screenplay Competition. Then, not knowing how to get the screenplay made into a film, I decided in the summer of 2013/2014 to turn it into a book. So while it only took a few months to write the actual novel, I actually did the ground work and worked out the plot and the characters over a much longer time period.”

Book Details

File Size: 727 KB
Print Length: 192 pages
Publisher: AUS Impulse (March 1, 2015)
Publication Date: March 1, 2015
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
Language: English
ASIN: B00S47T19C

About the Author

Seaton Kay-SmithPreviously a writer and performer on Australia’s ABC2’s The Roast,  29-year-old Seaton Kay-Smith has also written for Dan Ilic’s A Rational Fear and performed stand-up comedy one-man shows at Sydney Fringe (2012-2014), Adelaide Fringe (2013) and Sydney International Comedy Festival (2013-2015).

Seaton is currently head writer at Sydney film and design collective, Paper Moose, where he has written several award-winning short films and an online sketch comedy series called Nick and Seaton (…).

Seaton’s one-act play Arctic Fevers was selected and performed as part of Theatre 451’s 2014 season in Melbourne. In 2014, he wrote, produced and performed in Lost Pilots, a comedy radio series on FBi Radio, Sydney (… ).

In 2015 Seaton released his debut novel A Fistful of Clones*, an e-book through Harper Collins’ Impulse Imprint. Seaton now has a feature film in development with Beyond Productions. He still performs stand-up comedy mainly in Sydney but also in other cities.

* Seaton was a finalist for a feature film screenplay, also entitled “A Fistful of Clones”, for Sundance: Table Read My Screenplay in 2011 and this screenplay was the starting point for his novel.

A Review of Mojo And The American Female by SW Hammond

Mojo And The American Female

by SW Hammond


I’m really not the target audience for this book. My son or daughter may even be slightly too old to get all the movie and television references, but they would get more of them than I do. Now I can connect to the music. I always keep current, so when Mr. Hammond is commenting about the Riot Grrrl movement, I get it. But those TV shows, I never did watch “Full House”, and who is John Stamos, and why should I care? Someone thirty years younger may get more of the topical items than I do, but I still relate to the actual message that this book is trying to convey.

And another thing! The blurb about Mojo and the American Female seems to indicate that this book is a collection of short stories. I don’t think so. This is more a print version of articles that were  published on Mr. Hammond’s website. If you call something a short story, that implies that it has some sort of a plot and a character or two. Short stories also mean fiction. But these articles are more autobiographical. Mr. Hammond may have distorted the truth, but that still doesn’t make this a book of fictional short stories. He may have changed some facts to fit the story that he wanted to tell, but I think it strongly follows his own life.

And speaking of story. This book really does have an underlying message. Even a 66-year-old guy can relate. If fact, I might get more out of this story than Mr. Hammond intended. He has one section of this book where he is talking about me. He figures that the only thing I have left is to wait until I die. I’ve got him fooled! My life is everything he is looking for in this book, and more. I found my perfect mate. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone anymore. I just get to have fun and that includes spending time with my family that I love and with my children and grandchildren who love me too! I’ve got what he only wishes he could find.

But back to the book. What is it? I think that this is a collection of semi-autobiographical stories that Mr. Hammond has written over the past dozen years. He discovered that he really was growing up in these stories, and thought that his struggles might be worth reading. Well, he was right. This collection is thought-provoking. You can zip though it in one day, but take a little time to let it stew in your brain. Maybe you can hear it speak to you, like it did to me.

I give Mojo and the American Female 4 1/2 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! If you are ready to take a little mind trip, join in, you really might learn something about your life, while reading about his.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

MojoAndTheAmericanFemale_400x533A collection of short stories spanning more than a decade woven together to create the misguided anti-love story of a young man learning about relationships and the opposite sex through music, movies, and television.

From music and baseball industry professional Sean Hammond, comes Mojo And The American Female, a collection of provocative short stories on his life as a Lost Boy in search of Winnie Cooper.

Raised on rock n’ roll, with a particularly strong affinity for women who rock, Hammond blends an unparalleled view of pop culture and philosophy that follows him from his early twenties through his early thirties. Mojo And The American Female is rich with photography capturing Hammond’s days as a tour manager on Warped Tour and working for Sony Music Entertainment, as well as bringing to life the music, movies, and television that has plagued his rational sense of love and relationships. From childhood viewings of Full House leading to his lifelong hatred of John Stamos, his introduction to the Riot Grrrl movement and Kathleen Hanna, and to a questionable infatuation with The OC’s Summer Roberts – each story blends a reflective Kevin Arnold-like inner monolog with Wild Turkey.

Mojo and the American Female is the byproduct of one too many romantic comedies. Inspiration, enlightenment, and delusion fuel Hammond’s quest as he searches for a bit of meaning to life and someone to share it with.

Book Details

File Size: 30091 KB
Print Length: 81 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Surf Star Media (April 7, 2015)
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

About the Author

seanaboutSW Hammond is a freelance writer and fiction novelist. His contributions can be found in music zines, athletic periodicals, and technical publications throughout the world. He has worked in the music industry for Sony Music Entertainment, Warped Tour, WAR Records / United Interest, and has managed and consulted a variety of artists. He has also worked in the baseball industry for the Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels / Diablo Stadium, and in the Commission’s Office of Major League Baseball.

Hammond’s writing style, particularly within his commentary, is often compared to Chuck Klosterman-esq with countless references to pop culture, especially music. His brazen and honest approach creates camaraderie with the reader, then tests the boundaries with sensitive subject matter. Philosophy, ethics, and nobility square off against a materialistic society driven by instant gratification, with Sean treading water right in the middle.

His fictional writing makes a conscious effort to blend perception, rumor, and fact leaving the reader to question reality. His stories often taking place in historical settings or playing on modern headlines, Sean uses common themes to drive home critical points about the human condition. Though often grand, epic, and futurist, the backbone of his novels hinge on honor and virtue, or lack thereof.

A Review of Icarus by Deon Meyer

Icarus (Benny Griessel #5)

by Deon Meyer


I really like this series. All of the detectives are quirky. They each have their traits that define them. The only problem you may have with this series is the sprinkling of South African words and phrases. Most of them are just what they sound like, but every once in a while you may be stumped. Thankfully, Mr. Meyer does include a glossary at the end of the book, so you don’t have to search the web.

In Icarus, Captain Benny Griessel, who is an alcoholic, falls off the wagon after nearly two years of sobriety. Mr. Meyers handles the struggles that he is going though very realistically. I could really identify with Benny. I could relate to the messed up thinking that is what an alcoholic has to fight against every day. Hopefully he will be able find his way.

This is a Police Procedural. There is a murder to be solved. The victim was the head of a software company that wrote an app that facilitated marital cheating. It produced alibis for its subscribers. At the same time as the investigation is proceeding, you are sitting in on a meeting between a lawyer and her client. This series of interviews gives you the history behind the South African wine industry, which then ties back into the murder.

Icarus is a serious book, with humor sprinkled in, not a cozy mystery. Even though everyone in the book has their funny side, it doesn’t get in the way of the story, but it does allow for a bit of comic relief.

I give Icarus 4 Stars out of 5, and a Thumbs Up! If you are ready to explore a different culture, and don’t mind having to jump to the glossary once in a while, then you should give this unique South African mystery series a try. I think you will like it.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the Publisher.

Book Description

Icarus by Deon MeyerSouth Africa’s preeminent crime fiction writer, Deon Meyer is internationally acclaimed for his razor’s-edge thrillers, unforgettable characters, and nuanced portrayals of contemporary life in his native country. The fifth pulse-pounder starring Captain Benny Griessel, a lead detective in South Africa’s priority crimes unit, delves into the country’s burgeoning tech and wine industries.

A week before Christmas, a young photographer discovers a plastic-wrapped corpse amidst the sand dunes north of Cape Town. The only thing found on the corpse is a dead iPhone, but it doesn’t take long for the police to identify the body as that of Ernst Richter—the tech whiz behind MyAlibi, an internet service that provides unfaithful partners with sophisticated cover stories to hide an affair. Meanwhile, Benny Griessel is called to the scene of a multiple homicide involving a former colleague, and four years of sobriety are undone on the spot. He emerges from his drunken haze determined to quit the force, but the take-no-sass Major Mbali Kaleni, now his boss, wants Griessel on the Richter case. The high-profile murder has already been the subject of fierce media speculation, with questions swirling about the potential for motive: could the perpetrator be one of the countless jilted spouses? An aggrieved client?

Before the week is out, an unexpected connection to a storied family winery comes to light, and Griessel’s reputation is again on the line. Mounting towards a startling conclusion, Icarus is another exceptional novel from the “King of South African Crime.”

Book Details


Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; Tra edition (October 6, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802124003
ISBN-13: 978-0802124005
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

About the Author

Deon MeyerDeon Meyer’s books have attracted worldwide critical acclaim and a growing international fanbase. Originally written in Afrikaans, they have now been translated into twenty-eight languages. THIRTEEN HOURS was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger and won the Boeke Prize in South Africa – the first time in the prize’s 16 year history that a South African book has won. His novels have also won literary prizes in France, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, and the film rights to seven of his novels have been optioned or sold. Deon has also written two television series, and several screenplays for movies. In 2013 he directed one of his original scripts for the feature film The Last Tango. Deon Meyer lives near Cape Town in South Africa. His big passions are motorcycling, music, reading, cooking and rugby. In January 2008 he retired from his day job as a consultant on brand strategy for BMW Motorrad, and is now a full time author. Visit the author’s website at and follow him on Twitter @MeyerDeon


A Review of Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

Wicked Charms: A Lizzy and Diesel Novel

by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

I always enjoy reading the latest book from Janet Evanovich, whether it’s one of the books from the Stephanie Plum series or the Fox and O’Hare series or this one, the Wicked series with Lizzy and Diesel. We first met Lizzy and Diesel in the Stephanie Plumb (Numbers) series, but they work much better in their own series since magic and “special abilities” really aren’t a part of the Numbers series. This book takes place in Salem, Massachusetts, and continues the quest that started in the first of the Wicked Books. Each of the books are complete in and of themselves; this isn’t a serial novel, but it helps to understand the story and characters if you read them in order.

Ms. Evanovich has teamed up with Phoef Sutton to write this book, but that doesn’t do anything to detract from the writing; in fact this may be the best book in the series. I think that Wicked Charms finally fulfilled the promise of this series. The story is funny, but still exciting; and the various characters are really coming into their own. In some ways, I am starting to look forward to seeing what Lizzy and Diesel are up to more than what Stephanie’s next adventure will be.

The Wicked series is a bit different. It combines a dose of magic and “special abilities” to a cozy mystery. Then there is the Janet Evanovich style of romantic interest and humor. All of this is mixed in just the correct proportions. What comes out is a very funny, sexy, lighthearted, supernatural, mystery; that can be enjoyed by either sex. If this sounds like something you might like to read, I would suggest that you start with the first book in the series, Wicked Appetite.

I give Wicked Charms 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! Read it, you will have fun.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

WickedCharmsHardcoverLizzy and Diesel are back in an all-new wicked adventure from #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich and Emmy Award–winning co-author Phoef Sutton.

Murdered and mummified nearly a century ago, notorious bootlegger Collier “Peg Leg” Dazzle discovered and re-hid a famous pirate’s treasure somewhere along the coast of New England. A vast collection of gold and silver coins and precious gems, the bounty also contains the Stone of Avarice—the very item reluctant treasure seeker Lizzy Tucker and her partner, Diesel, have been enlisted to find. While Lizzy would just like to live a quiet, semi-normal life, Diesel is all about the hunt. And this hunt is going to require a genuine treasure map and a ship worthy of sailing the seven seas . . . or at least getting them from Salem Harbor to Maine.

Greed is eternal and insatiable, and Lizzy and Diesel aren’t the only ones searching for the lost pirate’s chest. People who have dedicated their entire lives to finding it are willing to commit murder or make a deal with the devil just to hold the fortune in their hands. One of those people may even be Wulf, Diesel’s deceptively charming and enigmatic cousin. Wulf desires the Stone of Avarice. He also desires Lizzy. It’s hard to say how far he’s willing to go to gain either one.

Wicked Charms is a swashbuckling adventure full of raiders, monkeys, minions, and mayhem. Lizzy and Diesel are going to have to do everything they can to keep their heads above water and hope they’re living a charmed life.

Book Details

Series: Lizzy & Diesel (Book 3)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Bantam (June 23, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553392719
ISBN-13: 978-0553392715
Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

About the Authors

Janet Evanovich is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, the Fox and O’Hare series with co-author Lee Goldberg, the Lizzy and Diesel series, twelve romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels and Troublemaker graphic novel, and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author.

Phoef Sutton is a writer, producer, and novelist who has written for shows such as Cheers, News Radio, and Boston Legal. Sutton is also the winner of two Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, and a Peabody Award.

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A Review of One Murder More by Kris Calvin

One Murder More (Maren Kane Mysteries, #1)

by Kris Calvin

I am always attracted to a new author. I like to explore their first offering. Usually they put it all out there. They want to make a big splash, so they throw anything that they can think of into their first book. Sometimes that works, and sometimes you wonder if they even had an editor. If the author can write, and they have someone to help them reign in their imagination, then it can be a wonderful experience.

One Murder More is one of those debut novels that are a pleasure to read; for the most part anyway. Ms. Calvin does know her way around California politics and can write about the stories and the people involved in passing legislation in Sacramento. She has no problems spinning an interesting and exciting story. She has written an entertaining mystery with enough tangles and wrong turns to keep you puzzled until the very end. My only problems with her book had to do with her characters.

I know that this takes place in California, and people who live in California are different from the rest of us, but there were just too many names for the characters in this book that confused me. I kept thinking that these people were males when they were really females. It just interrupted the smooth flow of the story. I had to keep thinking, “Is Sal Castro a woman? What about Senator Rickman, and Wallis Lisborne?” Not to mention the main character, Maren Kane. But maybe that was just me. It does make reading much easier if you don’t have to stop and think about a person’s sex when you read their name.

The other character issue had to do with all the weird people in this book. Now don’t get me wrong, I like books with a few odd characters. They add that quirkiness that make a story fun. But it seemed like nearly everyone was too over-the-top, either that or they were drop-dead-gorgeous. Hopefully Ms. Calvin will be able to continue bringing us interesting characters, but just bring in a few more normal people. But then again, her book is set in California, and maybe those folks qualify as normal out there.

On the whole, One Murder More was a very enjoyable book, and I was glad that I had a chance to read it. I think that the characters and sub-plots of the book would appeal to women more than men. I liked it, but I think my wife will like it even more. It wasn’t quite Chick-Lit, but it was close.

I give One Murder More 4 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! If you think that you might like a fast-paced mystery novel steeped in political atmosphere with a bunch of quirky characters, then this book is perfect.

I received a hardcover copy of this book from the publisher.

Book Description

One Murder More 2In Kris Calvin’s debut mystery One Murder More, a beautiful legislative aide is found stabbed to death in California’s Capitol building. Maren Kane, a lobbyist for a fledgling Sacramento-based toy company, is in the midst of a legislative fight that could make or break her career. She doesn’t have time for a coffee break let alone involvement in a murder investigation.

But when police arrest Maren’s colleague for the crime, she’s certain they have the wrong man. The cops suspect a crime of passion―love gone wrong. Maren knows that in the capital, money and power drive all things tragic and scandalous. Sex and love are little more than window-dressing.

But will she be able to prove her theory―and free her friend―before she becomes the next victim?

Book Details

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Inkshares (June 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1941758088
ISBN-13: 978-1941758083
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

About the Author

b_w_finalA former local elected official, debut author Kris Calvin knows politics from the inside out. She lives minutes from Sacramento, capital city of California and has been honored by the State Assembly and the California Governor’s office for her leadership in political advocacy on behalf of children.

Educated at Stanford and UC Berkeley in psychology and economics, Kris Calvin uses her training to create “characters that all stand up in an emotionally rich and gripping novel” according to Kirk Russell, critically acclaimed author of eight thrillers.

One Murder More is the first in Kris Calvin’s new Maren Kane mystery series. She is working on Maren Kane’s next adventure, A Timely Murder, the second novel in the series.

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A Review of The City By Dean Koontz

The City
By Dean Koontz

This is a wonderful book to read slowly and savor. You need to take your time and live inside of this story for a few days. You don’t want to have to read this book quickly, just to say that you have, to write a review, to stay on track, to complete your task. Because this book is a book to read slowly and enjoy, it isn’t going please some reviewers. They want a book that they can sit down with and read from front to back, finish in a certain number of hours, and then sit down, break the book apart, and write a review. If you do this, the story will never make it past the walls of your analytical mind. You will be hung up on the style, or wording, or something else that will prevent you from swimming in the life of Jonah Kirk. So slow down, put off that deadline and just enjoy one of the best narratives of the year.

Mr. Koontz has given us a magical story, a story of a young man who was only ten in the late sixties, but this story is told by the Jonah Kirk of today. This narrative style allows for a foretelling of the future, since Jonah knows what has already happened. But he only give glimpses, no spoilers. This is a very unique way of telling the story.

The characters are so believable and full of life, and the writing is so richly textured, that you feel like you become part of the story. That is why you need to take your time, and allow everything to ripen, to become full of flavor.

This story has everything that you can wish for in a novel. It has heroes and villains, a bit of magic, young love, music, great quotes and ideas that make you think about your life, and fabulous writing to tie it all together. Mr. Koontz has outdone himself.

I know that I’m going to reread this book many times. I am also going to listen to the audiobook. My Public Library doesn’t have The City as an audiobook yet, but I will request that they purchase a copy.

I give The City 5 Stars out of 5, and Two Big Thumbs Up! This is going to be one of the “Must Read” books of 2014. Put it on your list, you won’t be disappointed.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from

Book Description
Release date: July 1, 2014

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz is at the peak of his acclaimed powers with this major new novel.

The city changed my life and showed me that the world is deeply mysterious. I need to tell you about her and some terrible things and wonderful things and amazing things that happened . . . and how I am still haunted by them. Including one night when I died and woke and lived again.

Here is the riveting, soul-stirring story of Jonah Kirk, son of an exceptional singer, grandson of a formidable “piano man,” a musical prodigy beginning to explore his own gifts when he crosses a group of extremely dangerous people, with shattering consequences. Set in a more innocent time not so long ago, The City encompasses a lifetime but unfolds over three extraordinary, heart-racing years of tribulation and triumph, in which Jonah first grasps the electrifying power of music and art, of enduring friendship, of everyday heroes.

The unforgettable saga of a young man coming of age within a remarkable family, and a shimmering portrait of the world that shaped him, The City is a novel that speaks to everyone, a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, it’s a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart.

Product Details

Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Bantam (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345545931
ISBN-13: 978-0345545930
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.0 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds

About the Author

Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

The book description is from Amazon.  The City

A Review of Shovel Ready: A Novel by Adam Sternbergh

Shovel-Ready-Adam-Sternbergh-CoverShovel Ready: A Novel
by Adam Sternbergh

An interesting book. Mr. Sternbergh uses a rather unique style. Much of the book is dialog, but there are no quotation marks or any indication of who is speaking. This is a bit challenging at first, but as long as you don’t go all grammar OCD on it, you will be able to follow everything just fine. This would make a very interesting audiobook, since there would be none of those annoying “so-and-so says” or “exclaimed Jack” that sometimes gets in the way of the flow of the story.

The story is fun, a quick read. You get caught up in Spademan’s tale. You flow with the near future sci-fi, kind of nearly steampunk, landscape that is New York City. Spademan “takes out” the garbage. He is a hitman. You go with him as he discovers that his target is pregnant, so therefore no longer a target. Then it starts to get really strange.

I enjoyed this first novel from Mr. Sternbergh. He is a talented writer, with a unique style. I would like to read more from him. I give this book 4 Stars out of 5.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from

Book Description
Release date: January 14, 2014
The futuristic hardboiled noir that Lauren Beukes calls “sharp as a paper-cut” about a garbage man turned kill-for-hire.

Spademan used to be a garbage man.  That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, before his wife was killed, and before the city became a blown-out shell of its former self.

Now he’s a hitman.

In a near-future New York City split between those who are wealthy enough to “tap in” to a sophisticated virtual reality, and those who are left to fend for themselves in the ravaged streets, Spademan chose the streets.  His new job is not that different from his old one: waste disposal is waste disposal.  He doesn’t ask questions, he works quickly, and he’s handy with a box cutter.  But when his latest client hires him to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist, his unadorned life is upended: his mark has a shocking secret and his client has a sordid agenda far beyond a simple kill.  Spademan must navigate between these two worlds—the wasteland reality and the slick fantasy—to finish his job, clear his conscience, and make sure he’s not the one who winds up in the ground.

Adam Sternbergh has written a dynamite debut: gritty, violent, funny, riveting, tender, and brilliant.

Product Details
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Crown (January 14, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385348991
ISBN-13: 978-0385348997
Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.1
Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces

About the Author

Adam Sternbergh is the author of SHOVEL READY, a thriller about a garbageman-turned-hitman in near-future dystopian NYC, blighted by a dirty bomb in Times Square. Currently the culture editor for the New York Times Magazine. Formerly editor-at-large at New York Magazine and editor of the Approval Matrix. Unstoppable reader. Genre-mutt advocate. Lowbrow-despicable, except when highbrow-brilliant.
The book description is from Amazon.  Shovel Ready: A Novel

A Review of The Creeps: A Samuel Johnson Tale by John Connolly

The CreepsThe Creeps: A Samuel Johnson Tale

by John Connolly

I quite enjoyed reading this humorous, absurd, farfetched fantasy novel. I imagine that it is geared toward the Young Adult reader, but I went right along reading like I was young again. I must admit that I have liked a few YA series, and this one had the same sort of feel as Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl does, not a rip off by any means, just a similar feel. When I get the time, I think that I will have to jump back and read the first two books in the series.

I give The Creeps 4 stars out of 5 and a Thumbs Up. If you like Artemis Fowl or Diskworld, you will like this.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from

Book Description

Release date: October 22, 2013 | Series: Samuel Johnson Tales

In this clever and quirky follow-up to The Gates and The Infernals, Samuel Johnson’s life seems to have finally settled down—after all, he’s still got the company of his faithful dachshund Boswell and his bumbling demon friend Nurd; he has foiled the dreaded forces of darkness not once but twice; and he’s now dating the lovely Lucy Highmore.

But things in the little English town of Biddlecombe rarely run smoothly for long. Shadows are gathering in the skies; a black heart of pure evil is bubbling with revenge; and it rather looks as if the Multiverse is about to come to an end, starting with Biddlecombe. When a new toy shop’s opening goes terrifyingly awry, Samuel must gather a ragtag band of dwarfs, policemen, and very polite monsters to face down the greatest threat the Multiverse has ever known, not to mention assorted vampires, a girl with an unnatural fondness for spiders, and highly flammable unfriendly elves.

The latest installment of John Connolly’s wholly original and creepily imaginative Samuel Johnson Tales, The Creeps is humorous horror for anyone who enjoys fiction at its best.

Product Details

Hardcover: 336 pages

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books (October 22, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1476757097

ISBN-13: 978-1476757094

Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches

Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces

About the Author

John Connolly is the author of The Wrath of AngelsThe Burning SoulThe Book of Lost Things, and Bad Men, among many others. He is a regular contributor to The Irish Times and lives in Dublin, Ireland. For more information, see his website at, or follow him on Twitter @JConnollyBooks.

The book description is from Amazon. The Creeps: A Samuel Johnson Tale

A Review of The Classic Horror Stories by H. P. Lovecraft and Roger Luckhurst

The Classic Horror Stories by H. P. Lovecraft and Roger LuckhurstThe Classic Horror Stories
by H. P. Lovecraft and Roger Luckhurst

H. P. Lovecraft, the classic horror writer, or so I had always heard.

I knew that I had read a couple of comic books based on Lovecraft stories many years ago, and I thought that there was a TV show or maybe a movie called The Dunwich Horror. But I didn’t really think that I had read any stories by H. P. Lovecraft. So here was my chance.

First off, let me say that the introduction by Roger Luckhurst is excellent. He suggests that you might want to save it until after you have read the stories, but I was glad that I had read it first. He gives you a lot of very interesting and valuable insight into the mind of H. P. Lovecraft. I didn’t feel that there were any spoilers, so that wasn’t a concern. Mr. Luckhurst chose a fine selection of stories for this volume and also included a short article from H. P. Lovecraft that explains his idea of “weirdly horrible tales”. Mr. Luckhurst concludes this book with an extensive section, entitled Explanatory Notes.

There are a total of 9 tales included in “The Classic Horror Tales”, but not a one of them would be considered a horror story today. In fact H. P. Lovecraft didn’t call them horror stories. He called them weird tales. Every science fiction, fantasy, or horror fan should read these stories, just so that you understand where H. P. was coming from.

Most of his tales are from a first person point of view. He will tell you that he has found something that is too horrible to describe, then go on spending a couple hundred words describing it. And speaking of descriptions, try to get this book as an ebook, so that you can use the built-in dictionary on your ebook reader, because H. P. uses a lot of words that you will have to look up. Mr. Luckhust has a note for many of them, but even those will be easier to use with an ebook.

H. P. Lovecraft had a whole made up universe. He referenced a bunch of nonexistent books by nonexistent authors such as “the Necronomicon by the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred”. Many of his experts came from Miskatonic University, a fictional college in Arkham, Massachusetts, a fictional town.
Many of his stories have an alien race that landed on earth long before there were any humans. Using various devices, he will let you know about these horrible creatures, but always is of the opinion that they are too terrible to be talked about, that people would go mad if they knew that such a thing had happened in the far distant past. H. P. Lovecraft is very wordy, but that isn’t always a bad thing, sometimes you can get into the flow of his many adjectives and adverbs and it is nearly poetic. Other times, not so much. These are good weird tales, just don’t expect to have the sh-t scared out of you, because these aren’t horror stories.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5 and a Thumbs Up! Read this if you have never tracked down any H. P. Lovecraft stories and always thought “I have to read H. P. Lovecraft sometime”. The introduction and notes from Roger Luckhurst make this volume the one to read.

I received this book for free from

Book Description
Publication Date: July 1, 2013

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) was a reclusive scribbler of horror stories for the American pulp magazines that specialized in Gothic and science fiction in the interwar years. He often published in Weird Tales and has since become the key figure in the slippery genre of “weird fiction.” Lovecraft developed an extraordinary vision of feeble men driven to the edge of sanity by glimpses of malign beings that have survived from human prehistory or by malevolent extra-terrestrial visitations. The ornate language of his stories builds towards grotesque moments of revelation, quite unlike any other writer.

This new selection brings together nine of his classic tales, focusing on the “Cthulhu Mythos,” a cycle of stories that develops the mythology of the Old Ones, the monstrous creatures who predate human life on earth. The stories collected here include some of Lovecraft’s finest, including “The Call of Cthulhu,” “At the Mountains of Madness,” “The Dunwich Horror,” “The Colour Out of Space,” “The Shadow over Innsmouth,” and “The Shadow out of Time.” The volume also includes vital extracts from Lovecraft’s critical essay, “Supernatural Horror in Literature,” in which he gave his own important definition of “weird fiction.” In a fascinating introduction, Roger Luckhurst gives Lovecraft the attention he deserves as a writer who used pulp fiction to explore a remarkable philosophy that shockingly dethrones the mastery of man.

Featuring a chronology, bibliography, and informative notes, this is a must-have critical edition for Lovecraft aficionados, and the best introduction to his work for first-time visitors to his strange fictional world.

Product Details
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (July 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0199639574
ISBN-13: 978-0199639571
Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

About the Authors

Roger Luckhurst is Professor of Modern Literature at Birkbeck College, University of London. An expert on science fiction and Gothic literature, he is the author of The Invention of Telepathy, Science Fiction, The Trauma Question, and The Mummy’s Curse: The True History of a Dark Fantasy.

H. P. Lovecraft was born in 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island, where he lived most of his life. He wrote many essays and poems early in his career, but gradually focused on the writing of horror stories, after the advent in 1923 of the pulp magazine Weird Tales, to which he contributed most of his fiction. His relatively small corpus of fiction–three short novels and about sixty short stories–has nevertheless exercised a wide influence on subsequent work in the field, and he is regarded as the leading twentieth-century American author of supernatural fiction. H. P. Lovecraft died in Providence in 1937.

The book description is from Amazon. The Classic Horror Stories

A Review of Double Whammy by Gretchen Archer

Double WhammyDouble Whammy

by Gretchen Archer

Davis Way is trying to find a job. She has two college degrees, one in Criminal Justice and the other in Computer and Information Science. She used to be the deputy for the Pine Apple, Alabama Police Force. Her father is the Sheriff. She is interviewing for a job in Biloxi, Mississippi. She has been interviewing for this job for six weeks, been to sixteen interviews, and now she is at the final interview with the CEO, Richard Sanders. Davis still has no idea what the job is. She takes the job and finds out that she will be doing undercover work for the Bellissimo Casino and Hotel.

Ms. Archer has written a fun, kind of slapstick type of female detective mystery. Davis gets in one tight spot after another as she tries to find out what is wrong with the Double Whammy Deuces Wild slot machines. They seem to be fixed. Her ex-ex-husband, Eddie Crawford, is right in the middle of the fix. Before too long the dead bodies start to show up and all the clues point right toward Davis. She ends up in solitary, the police don’t believe that her name is Davis Way, so she is listed as Jane Doe, and no one knows that she is even in jail, or where she is.

All of this makes for a very fun, humorous, and entertaining read. I enjoyed this new novel by a new author. I think that this series has promise and look forward to reading the next book by Ms. Archer. I give this book 4 Stars out of 5 and a Thumbs Up. I recommend this fine first novel to anyone who likes reading books with strong female leads, humorous situations, and romantic interludes.

I received this book for free from

Book Description

Publication Date: May 14, 2013

Davis Way thinks she’s hit the jackpot when she lands a job as the fifth wheel on an elite security team at the fabulous Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. But once there, she runs straight into her ex-ex husband, a rigged slot machine, her evil twin, and a trail of dead bodies. Davis learns the truth and it does not set her free–in fact, it lands her in the pokey.

Buried under a mistaken identity, unable to seek help from her family, her hot streak runs cold until her landlord Bradley Cole steps in. Make that her landlord, lawyer, and love interest. With his help, Davis must win this high stakes game before her luck runs out.

Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you’ll probably like them all! DOUBLE WHAMMY is the first book in the Davis Way humorous mystery series. Bonus: Includes book club discussion questions.


“Funny & wonderful & human. It gets the Stephanie Plum seal of approval.” -Janet Evanovich

Product Details

Paperback: 306 pages
Publisher: Henery Press; First edition (May 14, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1938383362
ISBN-13: 978-1938383366

About The Author

Gretchen Archer is a Tennessee housewife, mom of three, grocery-list and crime-caper writer. She’s the author of the Davis Way Mystery series.

The book description is from Amazon. Double Whammy