I like cozies. I might as well be honest about that. Also happy ever afters. Further, in the interests of full disclosure, you should know that I readI like cozies. I might as well be honest about that. Also happy ever afters. Further, in the interests of full disclosure, you should know that I read AFRAID by Jack Kilborn (with a view to a review) because Joe Konrath dared me to do so.He has a thick skin, and a strong stomach... and anyone who reads AFRAID needs both.
This is not a book to take on a fishing trip, especially if you've left your loved ones at home, alone. In fact, this book ought to come with a free membership of the NRA. You'll want your Brinks alarm turned on, and a loaded shotgun under your mattress if you read AFRAID in bed at night. You might want one of those panic button pendants, too.
Be warned. It is gruesome. AFRAID is the sort of book to be read aloud, in a large group. Maybe journalists who need to be kept up all night --for a slow-to-break story on Airforce One, for instance-- or secret types on a stakeout, would get a bang out of AFRAID.
The villains are seriously, SERIOUSLY, nasty. My own most horrible villain (Insufficient Mating Material) rendered his victims insensible, had his wicked way, then took a small plug of pubic hair for a souvenir. Jack Kilborn's baddies do a great deal more than that. You get a sense of the horrors to come when a faceless bad guy sits on his first victim's bed, and when she asks what he's going to do to her, he says "Everything."
And that's just page 7.
Jack Kilborn is exceptionally readable. His prose is clear, elegant, vivid, and intelligent. I'm hooked....more
It doesn't seem fair to rate the entire anthology, when I've only read one story. However, I would like to share my review of JA Konrath's "S.A."
SomeIt doesn't seem fair to rate the entire anthology, when I've only read one story. However, I would like to share my review of JA Konrath's "S.A."
Some of us push the envelope... JA Konrath's S.A. begins with a most unhappy --but healthy-- gentleman crossing a snowy parking lot, carrying a semi-see-through, blue plastic box containing a large stool sample. In fact, it's not a sample. It's the whole enchilada.
He's taking this vigorous specimen to his doctor because there's something unusual about it. There are buttons and coins embedded in it. Now, it's nothing like that health insurance advert where the patient has money coming out of the wazoo, as the western oriental ER surgeon explained when making one of those predetermination phone calls.
The coins are small change. The doctor's advice about unhealthy midnight snacks is... priceless.
After a thorough rectal exam which brings to light many strange things and leads to some unpalatable conclusions in the mind of our hero, he waddles off to search the internet for clues as to whom he's been eating when the moon is full.
Just when I thought I'd read every dragonish permutation of bad people tasting good (or bad), or good people tasting bad (or good), JA Konrath comes up with a fresh twist.
This story is a riot. I laughed out loud three times in the first three pages. Of course, there are certain bathroom words that will make me laugh out loud. One of them is poop.
The would-be sci-fi writer in me appreciated the elegance of JA Konrath's solution as regards mass. The hero has a mind-boggling telephone conversation with a were-squirrel... who collects nuts... and he asks both questions that spring to mind, much to this reader's delight.
I'm not going to tell you what "S.A." means, because I enjoyed guessing.
Poop is a very good place to start, when one is creating a convincing werewolf. Done right, starting with the scat is an excellent short cut to world-building.
Jacqueline Lichtenberg advises world-builders to start with the sun. But for a short story about a magical being, why not start where the sun don't shine? I'm not a gentle reader. I don't suspend disbelief easily. I'm not programmed to trust my author, no matter how outrageous. Not at first, anyway.
I can give a turd the benefit of the doubt for several reasons. For a start, the narrator is embarrassed about it. That's believable. He's also frightened. He's not Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs), so he's probably not inclined to put it through a sieve.
If there are bits of teeth, chips of bone, coins, buttons, a crucifix, a clump of dead man's beard... I get the picture. I don't worry about the force of a werewolf's bite, or his stomach capacity, or the inhuman speed of his digestive processes whereby the indigestible evidence of his midnight feast ends up in his morning toilet bowl.
This short story straddles rather too many genres for my taste. It's heart pounding, fast paced action, humorous horror, satire, paranormal with (lite) romantic elements. I hope someone has the wit to publish this short story as a stand-alone e-book!
In the beginning, Joe wrote these words (among others) "…And it's going to freak you out. If you're easily disturbed, have aUpping The Ante On Nasty.
In the beginning, Joe wrote these words (among others) "…And it's going to freak you out. If you're easily disturbed, have a weak stomach, or are prone to nightmares, stop reading right now. There are no sexy teen heartthrobs herein. You have been warned…."
I do have a weak stomach, I am prone to nightmares, and I don't enjoy fainting. But I also have a strong contrarian streak, so when Joe Konrath warns me that I'm probably not going to want to look at his collaborative effort with Jeff Stand, Blake Crouch, and F. Paul Wilson, curiosity will impel me to look.
But, I started cautiously at the back. Worth the entire $2.99 by themselves are the bonus stories, one of which begins with the awesome line, " The hardest thing about killing a hitchhiker is finding one to pick up."
“DRACULAS“ is worth its weight in gold for the bonus material alone.
Curiosity, killed cats, and other red herrings aside there's another reason to devour every bit of this exceptionally well-written, highly entertaining and disturbing book. Joe Konrath hangs ten on the crest of the most powerful waves and this book could be the way authors write faster, add extra value and thrive.
Here's how. Four first rate spec fic and occasionally hilarious authors put their heads together to horrific effect. Each chose their own hero/victim/evil-doer from a cast of characters, and each dashed off a parallel novella of approximately 20,000 words, then they sliced and diced and cobbled each author's bits together into the literary equivalent of a Frankenstein's monster. Only, it's Freddy on steroids. It gives a whole new dimension to sucking face, and not a nice one.
The dedication --"For Bram Stoker, with deepest apologies"-- is a perfect foretaste of what to expect from “DRACULAS“. Irreverence. Dark humor that is so wry, it's twisted. Offensive stuff, and indeed there is a scene involving bowels and a clown who likes to make rather different balloon animals…. Lots of "wet work", and they maybe ought to have offered apologies of some depth to Clint Eastwood, too!
The prologue (not that they call it that) contains the mother of all hooks. Erroneously, I imagined the conversation those 4 bad boys of grim *might* have had, before I looked at Joe's generous back matter, and learned how it really was. Their conversations make entertaining reading!
"Let's dig up a head." "Let's make it really old…" "And evil. It must be evil." "Let's attach something nasty to it. What?" "A curse." "Wicked teeth." "Maybe we make those teeth like… like Sleeping Beauty's spindle." "Dracula's deadly prick…" "We need sex…" "You can't have sex with a severed head…" "Oh, yes you can!" "Look, we'll call the person who gets hold of the head More Cock." "And we'll give him an incurable disease."
The foregoing is my imagination. This conversation did not happen… but the gentle reader should remember that Joe Konrath aka Jack Kilborn once wrote a Christmas story about an amnesiac werewolf who discovered that his midnight snacking habit was abnormal after he noticed buttons and coins in his poop.
These "Draculas" have the compassion of hornets, the dentition of sharks, the voracious appetites of shrews and no respect for garlic whatsoever. If you can contemplate a rabid, blood thirsty Edward Scissorteeth in a maternity or pediatric ward, using a severed artery as a drinking straw, or lashing out among the blind… go for it, but with your eyes open.
Do not pay $2.99 merely to find out what's in “DRACULAS“ (and don't go looking for it on the pirate sites, either). There's more than enough in the free sample chapters to give you an accurate idea what to expect. Here: http://www.amazon.com/DRACULAS-Chapte...
Know before you buy that you're going to be ambushed by some of the grossest, sickest, most disturbed, politically incorrect and indiscriminate bloodlusty slash fest that four insensitive guys can think up.
Disclaimer. This is an author review. 4-stars is as low as I go. Five Stars!
“Maybe, sweetheart, we should have sex to prove to you that you can and will enjoy it.” “I enjoyed itINSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL
A Tricky Experiment
“Maybe, sweetheart, we should have sex to prove to you that you can and will enjoy it.” “I enjoyed it once. I am very happy with my memories. I don’t need you or your experiment to prove anything,” she said stiffly. “Once?” He raised an eyebrow. His lips twitched. Too late, Martia-Djulia realized that she had just contradicted one of her earlier statements. “The Aim of the Experiment is to discover whether or not we are sexually compatible,” Djetth said loftily. She suspected that he was amusing himself by parodying a formal checklist. “Method: to have mind-blowing recreational sex using positions and techniques that mitigate or avoid unfortunate consequences. Expected result--” “What unfortunate consequences?” “Insects in your hair?” he teased. “Sand in your baby box. A baby. Infection. Injury. Legal consummation of a Mating we might not want.” His gaze flickered. Martia-Djulia had the impression that his list was deliberately ordered. “Injury to whom?” she asked, ignoring the glossed over “baby.” “I’ve wondered why you haven’t blasted me backward onto my butt since our Mating Day. I’ve certainly deserved it.” “Yes you have!” she agreed heatedly.
***** Five Stars! Excellent adventure and highly recommended! ~ Detra Fitch, Huntress Reviews
This book has one of the best ending sequences. … Ms. Cherry has created a seriously evil villain. … Trust me, Insufficient Mating Material is a book you don’t want to miss. Be sure to check out the back-story in Rowena Cherry’s Forced Mate. ~bookmaedin, for www.ibookdb.net
Stellar wit, wonderful characters and amazing research into basic and not so basic survival techniques... This was without a doubt one of my favorite reads of 2007! ~Kenda Montgomery.
INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL takes up where FORCED MATE ended, with Djetthro-Jason (Jethro-Jason) severely beaten, about to undergo surgery to change his face and identity before his shotgun wedding to the frivolous Princess Martia-Djulia (Marsha-Julia).
No one gives a thought to how Martia-Djulia might behave when she realizes that it’s not her unsuitable lover, Commander Jason, but a stranger being frog-marched up the aisle, and her surprising reaction sets off a firestorm of rumor… and rattles a murderer who thought he’d gotten away with an ancient crime.
INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL is an outstanding sequel to FORCED MATE! Cherry skillfully combines mystery, romance, and humor with a fast-paced science fiction adventure. I couldn’t put it down! ~ Jean, Fallen Angel Reviews
Rowena Cherry is one of the best sub-genre writers due to her skill at placing the heroic characters in impossible scenarios ~ Harriet Klausner, Affaire de Coeur
For those of you who read and enjoyed FORCED MATE, the long awaited story about Commander Jason is finally here and what a story it is! It was well worth the wait! I highly recommend running to get this book the minute it hits your local book store! ~Kathy Boswell, The Best Reviews
…. a powerful romance laced with devastating family secrets, treachery and a sizzling passion hot enough to singe your fingers as you turn the pages. Ms. Cherry pens a compelling plot with vivid imagery and fascinating characters that will leave you breathless….Ms Cherry has become an auto buy author for me. ~Billie Jo, Romance Junkies
I really like Cherry's writing; it is literate and fast moving, with active imagery, and it challenges the reader. ~ Jean Cooper, reviewer, Fallen Angel Reviews
What reviewers are saying about Rowena Cherry's novel FORCED MATE
FIVE STARS! Well done and very romantic... a true page turner! ~ Cindy Lynn Speer, AFFWhat reviewers are saying about Rowena Cherry's novel FORCED MATE
FIVE STARS! Well done and very romantic... a true page turner! ~ Cindy Lynn Speer, AFFAIRE DE COEUR
FORCED MATE is a highly unique, funny and sexy read. FOUR STARS. ~Jill M Smith, ROMANTIC TIMES.
This futuristic romance is one that you won’t want to miss! ~ Cy Korte, eBookIsle.com and PNR REVIEWS
FIVE ANGELS! Rowena Cherry has crafted a fantastic tale of political intrigue, action, and humor that had me whipping through this 320 page novel in one night. I laughed so hard I cried. ~Izzy, FallenAngelReviews
FIVE ANGELS! This book is long and complex and I loved it. ~Jean, FallenAngelReviews
5 Blue Ribbons. FORCED MATE is one of the best science fiction romances I’ve read all year. ~ Nicole Hulst, Romance Junkies
Wow! What a book! ~Kathy Boswell, The Best Reviews, Vice President, Reviewers International Organization (RIO)
5 Stars. FORCED MATE is a terrific science fiction tale. ~Harriet Klausner, Sime~Gen, www.simegen.com
**spoiler alert** This was a gripping story, and I was riveted, right up to the final page. I found it topical, appalling, almost utterly believable,**spoiler alert** This was a gripping story, and I was riveted, right up to the final page. I found it topical, appalling, almost utterly believable, and quite infuriating.
I just happened to read this book at this time, with the greatest industrial pollution/deformed children scandal since Thalidomide in the headlines, not to mention the Acorn scandal, the Iranian election difficulties, and the swift passage of Bills in the US without time allowed for congressmen to read them.
It probably reflects life accurately, which depressed me unutterably. I find it hard to believe that the SEC would be blind to the insider trading. The political corruption, the vote rigging, the deceptive advertising, and the "buying" of a seat on a fictional Supreme Court were all plausibly written and very disturbing.
I highly recommend everything about this book except the ending....more