JUST FINISHED: The Sacred Book of the Werewolf

 AUTHOR: Victor Pelevin

TITLE: The Sacred Book of the Werewolf AUTHOR: Victor Pelevin

There are a lot of books about Werewolves, however Victor Pelevin’s novel isn’t really one of them.  There is a werewolf in the book, actually a few but the story spends most of its time focusing on the life and times of a werefox, and probably with good reason, as a werefox is the main character and the entire story is shown through her eyes.  I also am not quite sure how sacred of a book  it is.  The title has to refer to the book one is reading as it begins by telling you that you are reading a literary version of found footage.  However aside from explaining to you the main character’s theory its not very religious or spiritual.  Instead its closer to a love story than anything.

The book itself takes place mostly in a near-modern Moscow, with a feeling of the late 90’s firmly in place.  It is heavy on the politics of Russia at the turn of the century, heavily mixed with Chinese culture whether on accidental or the author’s intention.  There is also heavy emphasis on entertainment and pop culture that really gives the book a time and place.  All of these elements give the book’s setting a feeling of both familiar and foreign at the same time.

But  will you enjoy your time in Hu-Li’s seedy Moscow, with blood, sex, fur and claws?  Well its definitely a possibility, of course you could also hate it.  Yeah its really one of those type of stories.  But werefoxes are known for their casting of illusions, so its right on point.  But whether its something up your alley you will need to read on to find out.

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JUST FINISHED: Odd Thomas

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Before cracking the spine, of Odd Thomas I had not read anything by Dean R. Koonz since I as about thirteen, back when he was a contemporary with Stephen King and Clive Barker and an icon of horror.  But as we know whether we’ve read anything by Koonz or not, he’s not really looked at like that anymore.  For the last decade or so he’s been doing his level best to write something is just about every genre.  And there has been a lot of books.  But as the name suggests, even amongst a collectic rabble, Odd Thomas, seems to stand alone.  The premise alone is what made me chose this book when deciding to revisit an old favourite of grade school years.

The books titular character, Odd Thomas is pretty ordinary for the most part.  He’s a fry cook living in a small town in the shadows of San Diego.  He isn’t necessarily athletic or good looking, and his goal in life appears to be marriage and working in a tyre shoppe (should he ever have have the strength  to quit his job as at a local diner).  But outward apperances can be deceiving even if his name tends to belay his obvious nature.  Odd, has a singular ability that sets him apart from Anyone else in Pico Mundo, he can see dead people.

And its this ability that sends him hurling into head first into a terrorist plot with his beloved small town in the epicenter.  But does this mystery meets the occult novel fun to read or merely just Odd?   Read On to find out.

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JUST FINISHED: Crooked Little Vein

crooked

So after a considerable amount of time standing steward on my book shelf (Even the hardback edition is like the size of a small paperback so it’s easy to miss!)—I finally got around to reading Comics writer Warren Ellis’ debut novel “Crooked Little Vein”. Told through the often grime coated lens of a down trodden detective who somehow manages to attract the most obtrusive articles of our society.  And with this very ability as the point of interest, Mike McGill is hired by the US Government to track down a mysterious missing part of the US Constitution.

The novel combines the social pace of Jack Kerouac with the lucid flavor of William S Burroughs.  Brought to the attention of its readers right on the dust jacket as, “bringing the Noir style kicking and screaming into the 21st Century” it seems to beg for attention.  But is this self- proclaimed update to the Moody Pulp Detective the change we’ve all been looking for, or is it merely drawing from a well of piss and vinegar?  How about following me down this Crooked, Little Rabbit hole?

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JUST FINISHED: A Certain Magical Index (vol 1-3)

Certain Magical Index Cover

Certain Magical Index Cover

A Certain Magical Index is a series of light novels by  Kazuma Kamachi that tell all the strange happenings that one Tōma Kamijō, goes through after meeting a girl who has memorized 103,000 magical books and documents.  Set in a ficticious ultra technologically advanced section of Tokyo called Academy City, the series explores both the real world costs of science and technology, juxtaposed with the fall out of psychic powers and dynamic magic abilities.  If this sounds like an anime series, well there have been two, not to mention a manga, a spin off book series and a feature film.

For those unfamiliar with Light Novels, they are a Japanese version of the illustrated novel.  In length they are to be considered novellas and many tend to be collected serial chapters from fiction magazines.  A Certain Magical Index is illustrated by Kiyotaka Haimura. Due to the brevity of each volume, I decided that I’d review the first three volumes in one review, as a way to feel that I obtained enough character and plot information to give a full review.   NOTE: For those who have seen the anime, Wikipedia informs me that volumes 1-3 would be following up to episode 14, though I have yet to see the show so I don’t know how accurate this is. Continue reading

JUST FINISHED: Hugh Monn

Hugh Monn final coverI’ve read a decent amount of New Pulp in the last year and a half.  This has greatly been the bi-product of wanting to support writing fellows.  Of course it is also the genre that many anthologies my own writing has been included in for the last six to eight months or so.  And if there is one thing I’ve noticed is that  New Pulp feels less protean than Classic (OG, Real, the original, etc) Pulp in the types of stories that fall under its banner.    Most of what you get with New Pulp Novels is The ‘Man of Action’ type of stories.  And where this surely can be debated, as I’ve not read even close to the tremendous bulk of New Pulp Novels that seem to flow in a never ending stream; it’s not rare for me to feel déjà vu when I read something in the genre.  I often ask myself, where are the Psychotropic stories of creatures from other planes, where are the planet shuffling captains of space, Where are the gun slinging outlaws, Where are the soldiers cracking wise, and most importantly where are the steamy noir detectives?

When I opened up Hugh Monn, Private Detective by Lee Houston Jr and saw the cover art I instantly knew at least two of my favourite tropes of largely ignored subject matter was going to ready for me.  But surprisingly I got a bit more than that.  I got stories filled with real people, I loved and loathed.  Despite being set in a Philip K Dick-isque vision of life on another planet.

Hugh Monn is a collection of old Noir style Detective stories that have heart and human warmth that has been missing in just about any story in the genre I’ve read thus far.  An emotional transparency that lets you get past the flaws it does have and enjoy some good stories.  Read on if you’re interest is perked.

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JUST FINISHED: Dillon and the Voice of Odin

9780595299683_p0_v1_s260x420In order to give my thoughts on various bits of media, perhaps shedding a little light on my mind, or maybe it’s just the aching of my journalist backbone I routinely write reviews.   This time I’m reviewing Derrick Ferguson’s First Dillon Book, The Voice of Odin.

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You really don’t need to have read any of the Dillon Books to get an idea of who this man is, and how any of his adventures roll along.  The novels really tend to be self-explanatory.  If you’ve ever read James Bond, Jason Bourne, Doc Savage or ‘Man of action’ style globetrotting hero for hire sort of book, then you know the sort of fair.  That is not to say Dillon is simply a carbon copy of these classic heroes.  But he’s ripped from same mold, but the substance is a little different.  But is Dillon different enough to deliver an enjoyable experience, or does The Voice of Odin, hit a sour note?   Read on.

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