Penny Dreadful
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Penny Dreadful (Phineas Poe #2)

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  849 ratings  ·  41 reviews
When Phineas Poe is enlisted by his old ally, Detective Moon, to find a missing cop named Jimmy Sky, he is drawn into the Game of Tongues, a violent fantasy game played by the disaffected and delusional in the punk clubs, rooftops, and sewers of Denver. With everyone he meets possessing multiple personalities and his own identity slipping away, Poe realizes if he can hang...more
Trade Paperback, 309 pages
Published November 3rd 2006 by Lawson Library (first published 2004)
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Geek Love by Katherine DunnLamb by Christopher MooreThe Contortionist's Handbook by Craig ClevengerA Dirty Job by Christopher MooreKiss Me, Judas by Will Christopher Baer
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31st out of 598 books — 542 voters
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64th out of 116 books — 204 voters

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Community Reviews

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As much as I really liked Kiss Me, Judas, I loved Penny Dreadful that much more. To steal an overused cliché, this book was a "tour de force" (which I'm not really even sure what that means other than perhaps, tour of force?). Either way, overused descriptions aside, this book is in a word, awesome.

Baer really outdid himself. I enjoyed the first entry but was a little weary about starting this one (despite the fact that I went on and on about how much I enjoyed it). I think it was partly due to...more
Luke Stafford
Dear Jude. I'm ready to agree that 'Penny Dreadful' is probably even better than 'Kiss Me, Judas', and that's saying something. I finished this book last night and awoke with a powerful hunger for The Pale and a need to read 'Hell's Half Acre'.
Apr 07, 2008 Shannon marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: palahniuk fans who fell on their heads
Shelves: own
I started reading this and, literarily speaking, it's horrible. Someone below said they'd recommend it to Palahniuk fans. There are plenty of negative things to say about Palahniuk but, he is definitely more clever than this guy. At least his stuff is intriguing. Baer is trying WAY too hard to be shocking, I can tell. Something about that always annoys me. You can't FORCE disturbing imagery. Either you have a knack for it (see: The Museum of Love by Steven Weiner) or you don't. Also apparently t...more
Krok Zero
Will C. Baer's first novel "Kiss Me Judas" was a dark beauty, an existential nightmare drenched in neo-noir style, but Baer's reach exceeds his grasp in this disappointing follow-up. Damaged ex-cop Phineas Poe is back, but this time he finds himself in the middle of the dangerous "game of tongues," which is intriguing at first but soon proves to be Baer's dumping ground for a boatload of tired ideas about fractured identity and reality vs illusion. Baer treats this well-worn material with crushi...more
Just re read this guy. This time I ran through the MacAdam hardcover. First time I read it was my old $1, used Viking hardcover. The MacAdam's a much cooler design. Anyway, the story's an awesome head trip. Of the Phineas Poe Trilogy, this one, as the middle novel, is the odd cow. It's a cool juxtaposition of noir and reality games -- nearly a fantasy. Rather than stay in Phineas' point of view as the other two books do, Baer takes you into all of the primary character's heads. You get to see th...more
Colin McKay Miller
Two stars.

Omnibus review:

Will Christopher Baer is a more respectable version of Chuck Palahniuk. They’re very similar—both are dark, first-person storytellers with a predilection for the twisted underworld of sex and violence—but I’d place Baer more on the side of dark storyteller and Palahniuk on the side of shock writer. Plus Palahniuk bled one narrator into (many, but for sure his initial) four novels; Baer just accepted his love for that voice and made a trilogy.

The Phineas Poe trilogy—Kiss...more
And this is one of those rare sequels that, in a lot of ways, eclipses the accomplishments of the previous tale. Astounding. Also disturbing, but in really terrific and interesting ways.
Weirdly fascinating.

This novel holds its strange world together (barely!) with pure determination. Not everything makes sense, but then I don’t think it’s suppose to. Ultimately, you have to go along for the ride and cast aside all those nagging doubts that keep springing up.

Will you be rewarded in the end? Meh. Sort of. Depends on how you accept nebulous packaged conclusions.

It’s surely not a bad novel, I’m simply not sure it’s a great one. Yet, it keeps me reading. It pulls a few surprises. A...more
Michele Manara
Riassunto della puntata precedente (senza spoiler):

"Baciami Giuda"
Phineas Poe, ex poliziotto le cui responsabilità per la morte della moglie sono ancora tutte da chiarire, una sera si reca in un bar. Qui conosce Jude, e la mattina dopo si risveglia in una vasca senza un rene. Seguono allucinanti vicende, durante le quali Phineas, che nel frattempo ha sviluppato una massiccia assuefazione da morfina, gira per gli Stati Uniti con Jude e con una borsa frigo, contenente il proprio rene.

"Penny Drea...more
Apr 16, 2007 sean rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anne rice lovers
well i never heard of this author and after i read the excellent "smonk", yes i know books don't go in quotes, i looked on some of the user lists on amazon that list that book... anyway, tom franklin, of smonk fame, was listed by this guy as one of the edgy new authors akin to palahniuk and franklin.

i will readily admit, the writing was strong, i had to reread many sentences in the first quarter of the book to figure out what exactly was going on, and the writing is just the way i like it... gr...more
In Penny Dreadful, the various identity crises from the first book are smashed to pieces. Without the security of being close to Jude, Phineas struggles to regain a foothold on his life back in Denver. His withered sense of self finds an outlet however: the vicious game of tongues, which at least half of Denver has succumbed to (including everyone from lowly video store clerks to cops). The disintegration of the characters' identities is what drives the plot. The narration in the chapters altern...more
Apr 16, 2008 Michael rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of the Kiss Me, Judas and mental disturbances
I was worried by the original Kiss Me, Judas that any follow-up wouldn't be able to to match up to the disturbing depth and noir nature of the book, and though not far off, Penny Dreadful is by no means something to pass on. The sequel contains what it should, with a rather original plotline from its predecessor and some new interesting style concepts thrown in. A for effort, but 3 stars because it just seems like Baer is trying too hard for a cynically-inspired philosophy to emerge, taking away...more
Writer's Relief
PENNY DREADFUL is a sequel to Baer’s novel, KISS ME, JUDAS, though, never having read the first one, I didn’t realize this was a sequel until after I’d finished it. I could pretty much keep up, I just thought the author jumped into the story pretty quickly without giving much background information. The book follows an ex-cop who is searching for his missing friend, Detective Sky. His leads bring him to investigate a strange, drug-induced role-playing game, “The Game of Tongues.” The plot is biz...more
Karen San Diego
This Phineas Poe novel is unimaginably rich. It's like reading a video game or something and I didn't expect it to be this good. The novel was evenly-paced, and I found it a bit boring at the beginning, since Jude isn't there to manipulate everything. It's very creative though; the Game of Tongues is like a fantasy lived in the streets of (was the setting Denver?) Yeah, that. I eventually found myself wondering how it would be like to play it and that's just creepy. Eve here became a more centra...more
Jasmine Woodson
what on earth

and the Ulysses passages were a big fat sweating UH UH
HHS Staff
Trying to offer another view of Italy beyond the romanticized images of such books as Under the Tuscan Sun, Jones looks at Italian politics, football, television, child rearing, gender roles and more. Corruption abounds and somehow most all of it involves Silvio Berlusconi. Excellent for a more well-rounded, authentic view of life in Italy for Italians. For a good time, read it on a flight to Rome.

Reviewed by:
Mark Janda
Social Studies Teacher
Jan 16, 2008 Angella rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Palahniuk fans
Shelves: disturbing
This was an interesting book. It could have been excellent. It aspired to a level it didn't quite reach in terms of meaningful existentialism. It became a little pretentious in its literary references and suffered from small fits of overwrought analogy.

But it was still a good story, and I felt compelled to read until the end.
Not quite up to the level of its preceding piece I still enjoyed most of this book. The game the characters play is a bit interesting but I find it hard to believe it could continue without anyone of authority getting involved. Also glad to see detective moon back because he's such a slob but I love his character
May 20, 2012 Jim rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
Here we go again down the rabbit hole that is Phineas Poe's drug-addled schizophrenic world, but in this book almost all the characters have multiple personalities, and cops are disappearing. Not as satisfying as Baer's first injection, but isn't that how it is with drugs, always chasing after that first high.
Livius Nedin
Book two in the Phineas Poe Trilogy has a distinctively different feel from Kiss Me, Judas. It revolves a lifelike roll playing game in which Phineas becomes caught up. Again, much like Kiss Me, Judas, and absolute must read for everyone!

This is my second reading of this book.
Stephanie A. Higa
-one of the few books I've ever willingly given away to charity
-one of the few books I hated from the first line
-one of the very few books I didn't finish at a time when I finished nearly every book I started
-the only book that has ever given me a headache
This is a hard one to rate. Baer's writing is so descriptive, sometimes alarmingly so. When he describes a look, smell, taste, etc, it's real. But it took me 1/2 the book to start really following it and the "underworld" he created never really drew me in.
one of the strangest books i have ever read, i thought it was awful but now i find myself thinking about it like nine months later, so thats why it gets a three and not a two star rating. also i liked that it was written about my town.
Carlos Chavez
A big improvement on the way he writes. I just feel he needs to come up with better stuff to write about. Mainly his story line it's like the guy just doesn't know where to go with the story and doesn't much care.
Grant Frazier
Beautifully elusive, and maddeningly hypnotic. Slick prose that just kinda floats over so much glorious violence. I loved the ending. I expected nothing less. Going to save the next one for a special occasion.
Not as good as Kiss Me, Judas, but still worth reading if for no other reason than there is simply a dearth of noir fiction being written. Baer knows how to set a mood and torture his characters.
Nov 19, 2007 Robb rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Noir fans, dark fiction
Shelves: 2007, favorites
This book was weird, in my opinion, a total departure from Kiss Me Judas. I wasn't as fond of this book as the first, but still Baer is an incredible writer. 'm looking forward to see what's coming.
The Pale is what makes this all worthwhile. A hallucinogenic drink that makes you part of an underworld Dungeons and Dragons Game. This is my favorite of the trilogy, and is so dirty.
Richard Thomas
Kiss Me, Judas may be the first Baer (and you never forget your first) but this may be my favorite. The game of tongues is so rich and deceptive, a captivating read. Neo-noir.
Second in the Phineas Poe trilogy, and just as dark and disturbing as the first (Kiss Me, Judas). They're not for everybody, but they do hold your interest throughout.
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Will Christopher Baer is an American author of noir fiction, often delving into sex, violence, mystery and erotica. Currently published works include Kiss Me, Judas, Penny Dreadful and Hell's Half Acre, all of which have since been published in the single volume Phineas Poe. His long-awaited fourth novel, Godspeed, was originally set to be published in 2006, but saw several delays before publisher...more
More about Will Christopher Baer...
Kiss Me, Judas Hell's Half Acre Phineas Poe: Kiss Me, Judas / Penny Dreadful / Hell's Half Acre Godspeed

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“A friend is like anything else. A dog, a plant. You ignore them and they tend to die on you.” 8 likes
“ are much softer than women, more sentimental. They cry at the movies and pretend not to. The male of the species is weak. He doesn’t tolerate pain well.” 4 likes
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