Friday, March 07, 2008

Book Reviews

Okay, okay, okay. I know I have a section of my website that's supposed to be for book reviews, but the spousal unit is way busy with school, so until he can update the site, this will have to do.

Dead To Me by Anton Strout
In the interest of full disclosure, I must say that Anton is a good writer-friend of mine (as you've already figured out from my posts here and here). I didn't know until I bought the book that my mentor, Kelly "Y" McCullough, blurbed it. I can totally see why he did; there are a lot of similarities between Kelly's and Anton's storytelling (first person, fast-paced, world-based.)
Dead To Me follows Simon Canderous, a guy who is psychometric. What's Psychometry, you ask? It's the ability to divine the history of an object just by touching it. Cool, right? Not so much when you touch a potential girlfriend's cell phone and learn enough about her last tryst to completely turn you off. However, this ability is great when you work for the Department of Extraordinary Affairs in New York City. The members of the DEA spend their under-budgeted, over-worked time solving crimes of the zombie-vampire-otherworldly sort. Simon's got a "misspent youth" past that lends a little bit of credibility to the character without making him unlikeable. The plot was at times a little jumpy, but the writing was crisp and funny and so I could go with it. I would recommend it if you're looking for an enjoyable way to kill a few evenings.

Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry
I don't know Mark at all, but let me tell you, I can't wait to meet this guy at a con. Any married man that can write about clothing by name-dropping designers is tops in my book. Happy Hour of the Damned follows a Seattle woman named Amanda Feral who, unbeknownst to her and against her will, gets made into a zombie. Amanda is bitchy, shallow, materialistic, and selfish; all of this is okay, though, because Amanda is well aware of her flaws and refused to apologize for them. She is who she is and if you don't like it, fuck off. She quickly befriends Wendy (a like-minded zombie), Gil (a flamin' gay vampire) and Lisel (a succubus). Lisel sends Amanda a text message that simply says "Help" before disappearing off the face of the earth. Amanda and her friends try and find her and get tangled in a World Domination plot along the way. There's lots of fun world-building here, as well as gratuitous cursing, bulimia jokes, splatter-rific gore, and fashion. While the plot is a little jumpy (at one point I had to flip pages to refresh my memory about a character who turned out to be A Bad Person.) Amanda is wonderfully flawed, the tone is satirical and fresh, and there's footnotes. Reading this was time well spent, but stay away if you find eating homeless people insulting.


Mark said...

"stay away if you find eating homeless people insulting."

Do you mean to the palate?

Kelly Swails said...

Or, you know, to the system. They give some people gas. Homeless-intolerance is more common than one might think ...