Larry Correia. Kevin J. Anderson. D.J. Butler. Orson Scott Card. Mercedes Yardley.
Would you like to know - I mean, REALLY know - what they're doing when they go to those fancy comic-cons? Because it ain't just writing.
See, every year, thousands of people attend comic-cons dressed as monsters. Of course, you probably already knew that. But did you ALSO know that... every year, thousands of MONSTERS attend comic-cons dressed as PEOPLE.
Sure. Nothing could POSSIBLY go wrong there.
Luckily, the con organizers have placed Wardens throughout the conventions. These undercover supernatural troubleshooters are tasked with stopping mayhem before it starts . . . or solving the murders after they happen.
I'M MICHAELBRENT COLLINGS: author of this book, and one of the Wardens. My job is to go to the cons, where I sell books, make fans, and kill the occasional monster.
It's not just me, either. Those authors I told you about, and even more . . . you'd never guess what many of your favorite authors are REALLY up to at the conventions.
Luckily, though, you don't have to guess.
JUST READ THIS BOOK.
And get ready to have . . . your . . . mind . . . BLOWN.*
One of the most versatile writers around, Michaelbrent Collings is an internationally bestselling novelist, produced screenwriter, and multiple Bram Stoker Award finalist. While he is best known for horror (and is one of the most successful indie horror authors in the United States), he has also written bestselling thriller, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, humor, young adult, and middle grade works, and Western Romance.
In addition to being a bestselling novelist, Michaelbrent has also received critical acclaim: he is the only person who has ever been a finalist for a Bram Stoker Award, a Dragon Award, a RONE Award, and a Whitney award: and he and his work have been reviewed and/or featured on everything from Publishers Weekly to Scream Magazine to NPR. He is also a frequent guest at comic cons and on writing podcasts like Six Figure Authors, The Creative Penn, and Writing Excuses.
At first, I thought it was a little distracting to use real-life Con folks (fellow authors) as characters. By no means do you need to know who they are to have a great read, and it ended up adding a layer of fun to know who they are in real life. (I haven't met them all yet, but now I know who to look for!) I was chugging along with the funny characterizations when WHAM! The story hit and pulled me in. This is a full-blown vampire vs werewolf murder mystery with more clues than I could keep track of. The end is masterful as Michaelbrent stacks up one surprise revelation after another, only to point out that the clues were lurking in the background the whole time.
Aside from the mystery, I loved the undercurrent showing the power of family and what you will do for those you love.
If you've ever been to any kind of sci-fi / fantasy fan convention, you'll want to check out this book. If you are into the whole paranormal-hunter thing but want something more wild and comedic, this one is also for you. The whole "secret con within a con" of what's actually going on behind the scenes (because those horrible monsters of legend like to cosplay, too) is really fun. I know a lot of the people mentioned in the book, which probably ratcheted up the comedy factor for me a little bit. To me, it felt a lot less bitter than Bimbos of the Death Sun (which was more of a straightforward murder-mystery set at a convention), and a lot more playful.
"I had begun to throw on my clothes, but the way Larry said that stopped me with one leg in my jeans, the other hanging in air as I hopped around with all the dignity of Kanye West at the Grammys."
The Longest Con by Michaelbrent Collings is a semi-autobiographical horror comedy that takes place during a Comic Con type convention. There are cos-players, panels, vendor booths, celebrities like Stan Lee, a game room, and everything else you'd expect at such a convention. However, there's also a hidden world of supernatural creatures including brownies, dwarves, vampires, werewolves, witches, succubi, gremlins, and so forth who like to go to conventions dressed up as people... and not all of them like to play nice.
All writers base their characters on themselves at least a little bit, but in The Longest Con, the main character is Michaelbrent Collings himself. He's a fiction writer who goes to conventions to sell his books. He also knows about the hidden supernatural world and is tasked with solving a murder in which the prime suspect is a vampire.
Many of his fellow writers are also characters in the book. Larry Correia is a weapons expert, D. J. Butler is a cyborg, Blake Casselman is a martial artist, Mercedes Yardley is a succubus, and Kevin J. Anderson and Orson Scott Card are both wizards. Dan Wells makes a cameo as himself and Collings' mother is also one of the main characters.
While there is the supernatural horror angle, this book is first and foremost a comedy. Collings is a self-described smart ass and usually has a sarcastic comeback handy for any situation. He breaks the fourth wall throughout this book, sometimes including footnotes commenting on his own writing. It's written in a conversational tone which I liked.
I've got to say it was very brave to put so much of himself into this book. By the end of it, you really feel like you know him as a person, warts and all. Much of the humor in the book is self-deprecating, (which is safer than poking fun at others and risking offense, although he does that too) but it sometimes felt like he was being too hard on himself.
I liked the scene in which a vampire self harms by drawing crosses on himself. The crosses burn him, sizzle for a second, and then heal. I thought that was pretty clever. I also liked another scene in which Collings is thrown into the ceiling, hangs there for a second, then "gravity showed up" and "reminded everyone who was boss."
Most of the humor didn't work for me, although a lot of humor is in the delivery, so I probably would have enjoyed the comedy more in an audio format. Plus, everybody just has a different sense of humor. You might find this book more hilarious than I did. That said, I did like a few parts -- like when a slime bog monster threw up, then ate what came out, then threw up again -- because it reminded me of my dog. I also liked that a grenade designed to kill a variety of monsters containing silver, holy water, garlic, and wolfsbane was "developed by a Catholic, Buddhist, and Unitarian partnership." That was pretty funny.
There is a bit of a conservative slant to this book (Collings is not a fan of Bill Clinton for one thing), but it's not overly political so I think liberals will still be able to enjoy it for the most part. I personally didn't care much for the testosterone-fueled opening chapters of this book, but I stuck with it and I've got to say this book is one that keeps getting better as it goes along, and everything falls into place nicely by the end.
I received a copy of this book directly from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed this book so much more than I thought I would—but oh how I’d hoped I would! The Longest Con by Michaelbrent Collings was a quirky mix of Comedy, Urban Fantasy, and Detective Mystery. It’s full of hilarious, often snarky comments from the main character, and strange colorful characters that range from ex-succubi, mafia-like nerds that seem to rule conventions, and Kevin Bacon look-alike brownies.
Technically speaking, the book was well written. There were a few minor typos, but nothing book-breaking. In fact, the only real complaint I have about the writing throughout the entirety of the book is that sometimes the comedy of the narrative style and the main character tended to overshadow the plot of the book. There were lots of asides and quirky comments that made me laugh out loud, but it did tend to distract from the mystery.
That aside, I loved the book. The author has a definite talent for humor, and the strange and unique characters I encountered kept me interested in the story. If you want something fun to read, and you enjoy conventions and general geekdom, I would highly recommend you pick up this book and give it a try. It was a spectacularly fun adventure, and I am most definitely a fan.
Ever wonder what authors REALLY do at all those Cons they attend? Well MBC spills the beans in The Longest Con...and would you just know it, they fight to stop wars between supernatural beings with us humans caught in the middle! Thanks authors!
If you've ever had the chance to talk with Michaelbrent even for a few brief moments, or attend one of his panels, you'll know he has quite the sense of humor for a horror writer. The Longest Con is bursting with that humor as he navigates the story with his usual tight prose. The story itself is fun, original, and well worth the price of admission. If you ever see MBC or other writers at a Con, thank them for keeping the party safe...except Kevin J Anderson...he might kill you with a thought.
Side note- My wife and I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Anderson at a writers convention while he waited for the elevator. Apparently when we walked up, he had been waiting for awhile. He didn't seem happy. At all. I was quiet uncomfortable as we chatted...and now I know why thanks to The Longest Con. I am grateful he didn't take out his wrath on my wife and I.
I haven't enjoyed reading a murder mystery at a comic con since "Bimbos of the Death Sun." This one is WAY better! Fast and funny and completely un-put-down-able. Though the character motivations sometimes felt a bit convoluted, the sheer, glorious entertainment of the story pushes this from 3.5 stars to 4.
FanFamFunComCon has started and everyone is hustling about their business. There are major media stars, and lesser known ones, competing against other draws for the attention of the attendees. The people have come to share in their fandoms, listening to the stars and experts talk about the entertainments they enjoy. Many in attendance show their enthusiasm by dressing up as their favorite characters—cosplay. Not everyone at the convention is who they look like. More so, not everyone is who they seem.
The Longest Con by Michaelbrent Collins is a who-done-it mystery set at the FanFamFunComCon. He presents his story in the traditional style of first person noir detective thriller. Of course, true to his personal style, there are twists he throws in making the story a fun read. I enjoyed it from beginning to end.
Collins is the lead character, so the narration is from him. Because he is an author, he understands the style requirements of the story he is telling and plays with them to great effect. But, he is not the only person you will recognize in The Longest Con.
Other authors are cast to play themselves in the story. If you have been to a convention and been around where the authors are, you will recognize the names and already have a visual reference to whose includes. Each of the characterizations builds on the personas we have come to know and expect from the other authors we enjoy. Then, he takes it a step further into the realms we, the regular conventioneers, haven't been privy to. When we move into that new direction we meet conventioneer we didn't realize we've been bumping shoulders with.
These other attendees are those we wouldn't want to accidentally run into at other times. The races of fantasy come to the conventions because they can easily mingle. They easy fit in with those of us having a good time, and we even may be having our picture taken with those who have accomplished such outstanding cosplay.
From beginning to end The Longest Con takes the reader on a clue chasing adventure around the convention to find out who committed the murder, how it was done, and why. The twists and turns are present, as well as all the clues for those readers who look for them.
Many of us have already suspected this was happening at the conventions we go to. Now, it is in writing, from a firsthand perspective, to remove our doubts. In the very least, the next time I wander along looking for another book to buy in the artist section, there are some authors I am going to give more respect to.
Thanks to Michaelbrent Collins for the opportunity to review his book.
Originall y published on email@example.com
Well, I can't say my mind was blown but I did laugh my butt off. A lot. After having just finished a very good, but a little depressing, book it was just what I needed.
If I could name two flaws that The Longest Con has it would be these. Being so funny I can't say that it was very scary. And it made me jealous that I've never been to a Con! of any kind. If you read the book you'll get the exclamation point.
I do urge you to read it. It's hilarious and it was interesting to see some favorite authors in more...unusual roles. I have a few books by Michaelbrent Collings and they are now pushed to the top of the To Be Read pile.
Don't get me wrong, though. It's not all joke after joke. The Author/Warden works them in very naturally with the rest of the plot that's going on around him. That's no mean feat. Sometimes if a book tries too hard for the jokes the plot becomes unraveled or hard to follow. That is not the case with The Longest Con. There is a plot and it's a good one with lots of twists and turns and a host of fascinating characters.
It also accomplished another very important thing. It made me want to read the other authors mentioned. I have read some by Mercedes Yardley, mostly short stories but they were great.
As I said I've never been to a Con! of any kind but he really made me feel like I was there. The Otherworld creatures were also described very well. I also loved the footnotes, which were generally funny.
All in all if you're going in expecting gore and terror (and if you're expecting that from the description what's wrong with you?) you will be disappointed. However, if you're looking for a rollicking good time with humour and mind-bending twists then that's what you'll get. I honestly think that's the first time I've used the word 'rollicking' in a review. Ever.
MbC has gone (more) psycho, and broken (or tried to) every rule of Creative Writing. Buy this before the Writing Police burn it!
First rule he breaks is to write himself into the story. That is a Cardinal Sin! Of course, he's not Catholic, which is no secret, he makes it clear in the book (another no-no), and he also makes clear that he doesn't follow the rules–ANY rules, including DON'T INCLUDE PERSONAL DETAILS ABOUT YOURSELF OR YOUR FAMILY!
Heck, I'm no expert so I won't enumerate the number of rules he shredded, just be assured that the Writer Nazis have probably taken him into custody right now. That's the last we'll ever hear from him. RIP, MbC, we'll have fewer nightmares without your novels to enhance our sleep.
I'm sure that the organizers of Comic-Con and other such conventions will be delighted with his arrest: I doubt the Wuhan virus pandemic hurt them as much as all the death and mayhem and the revelation of the numerous non-humans–invluding dwarfs; faries; gnomes; shape-shifters; werewolves; and wizards. And an assortment of clueless humans are included–just so we won't feel left out (and will buy more books)?
I absolutely loved this book! I'm a big fan of Mr. Collings' horror but I gotta say, this foray into humor has to be my favorites of all of his books. Having himself as the main character and having real-life authors as supporting cast in this book turns it into part supernatural murder mystery, part comedy, part tribute, and part personal memoir. And it is a spectacular combination. I laughed out loud more reading this book than I think I ever have with a novel. You also get a rather personal look into Michaelbrent's family, at his parents, wife and kids. There are some very profound and moving moments within the silliness and all the wisecracks. And don't forget to read the footnotes! If you've ever been to a comic con, or even if you haven't, this book is well worth your time and money! This is some of Michaelbrent's best writing yet! Disclaimer - this book deals with some pretty adult topics, though it doesn't get graphic. It may be a bit much for more sensitive readers and definitely not for kids. There's also minimal swearing.
I'm still trying to work out whether this book deserves 5 stars or not, because it's a damn good read. However, I feel that not knowing the people involved can be detrimental to enjoying this book. It's a whodunnit, but not your normal whodunnit. It's set at FanFamFunComCon, a convention that allows supernatural beasts and monsters to visit alongside humans. The murder victim is a werewolf, the catatonic vampire next to her is also really a werewolf, and MichaelBrent Collings is the Warden assigned to investigate. MB is the real author as well, and he writes it as if he were narrating the tale. Several famous authors make an appearance, including Larry Correia (which is where I first head about this book on his blog). It has great twists and turns that take you places you didn't expect, and in the end, MB gets his man.. I suspect that people heavily involved in the Con scene probably know most of the bit part characters as well, but not knowing doesn't detract from the story enough to ruin it.
When I first started this book, I got the impression that this was a comic satire on the order of Ludlum's 'Road to Gandolpho.' It seemed lighthearted and very clever. Then it took a dark turn toward a much more serious plot. The reasons for the original killing became serious and the idea that monsters were actually dangerous came to the forefront. It was no longer just fun and games. The final twist really grabbed my stomach and gave me the willies. I also wanted to say how brave and original I thought it was of the author to use real names and places for this story. By using real horror fiction authors and sci-fi authors as characters at a real Comic-Con the story had greater weight and depth. It was so cool that way. I really liked this book.
Michaelbrent Collings stars in his own book! In The Longest Con, MBC is a Warden that helsp keep the peace between the Real World and the Otherworld of Cthulhu, vampires, werewolves, dwarves, and the like. But now he has to solve a murder mystery. The Lycan princess has been murdered right before a treaty between the Lycans and the High Court of the Vampires was to be signed. The murder needs to be solved before the treaty was to be signed or war is likely to break out. Since MCB is the only Warden at the con, he gets the job. Mind you he has help of a sort from The Dead Ones - sort of wizards who are also authors (Orson Scot Card, and Kevin J. Anderson) and other assorted friends and acquaintances. So no pressure, right? So if you enjoy mysteries, SF cons, and/or mash-ups of genres, join in the fun at The Longest Con!
I really enjoyed this book, the plot was fast moving, with lots of fun characters. The action was good, and if you have a vague familiarity with conventions, you'll enjoy it even more. I went down to 4 stars versus 5 because there seemed to be a bit of a mismatch between the fun/comedic tone of the writing, with the fairly dark details of the plot. I know that may have been the point, but it just didn't come together properly for me.
And on an individual note, (no really, don't reveal this if you haven't read the book yet. Trust me.)
Science fiction/fantasy conventions are a place where people dress up as their favorite book and movie characters and geek out together. Vampires, werewolves, and other monsters also come, dressed up as humans or other such characters. Author Michaelbrent Collings comes to cons to make sure everyone gets along and obeys the law. He gets assigned to investigate a murder of a werewolf at FanFamFunComCon. (I think I remember that right.)
My hubby and I bought this as a Comic Con, so I of course loved the con setting, which is perfectly authentic, and the frequent sci-fi/fantasy references are great. I've met Michaelbrent and several of the other author "characters" in this novel. While it stays funny and wanders into downright silliness at times, the mystery and danger are very well done. As far as murder mysteries go, this is one of the best plots I've read, full of twists and surprises and a big climax. I did NOT see that coming, I admit.
As a self-published work, the book uses straight quotes and has some editing issues.
We got our copy autographed by Michaelbrent, Dame Ginny (Mrs. Collings), Larry Correia, and Dave Butler. I hope to get a few more "character" autographs next con.
I have read and reread this book now 4 times. I really enjoy it. It’s got action and humor and sex and and self loathing and self love and self pity and more humor and guns and like every sort of monster or witch or Lucan or vampire or pixie or troll you can think of. I’d totally read more of this story. I know the writer mostly writes horror and sadly that’s not what I read. I read about wizards and weeeomwolces and the occasional vampire. So this is right up my alley.
Ahead of time I figured this would be mildly enjoyable as an inside joke about cons as it includes several authors as characters.
What I got was a thoroughly enjoyable supernatural murder mystery. One of those where the murderer must be found to advert a war among groups. The inside stuff was fun along with that authors included, but I believe this novel would stand on it's own merit even if ignorant of the inside stuff.
So this author has certainly intrigued my interest.
The Longest Con is a funny, disturbing tale! It contains elements of humor, horror, sci fi, fantasy, and mystery. I loved every minute of it! The characters were so much fun. Michaelbrent Collings has an imagination like no other. I loved that he, his family and other authors were cast in this tale. I would certainly enjoy reading more books like this one! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JWK8T56?...
I'm not that big on horror horror, but I love funny horror, especially when everything is unexpected. This book has a lot going on. Comedy. Mystery. Monsters. And touching thoughts of family. Oh, most importantly, a kickass old lady because that is my goal in life -- to be a kickass old lady. A very imaginative and amusing novel. A likeable protagonist surrounded by cool characters, especially his kickass mom.
A very different kind of offering from MBC. This was a delightful romp of a tale taking place in a comic-con venue. As you go along you don't always know who is doing a little cosplay and who are actually the characters they portray. Great fun abounds! Perhaps when MBC wants a little break from scaring the beejeebers out of his readers , he will revisit his talent for tongue-in-cheek comedy. (but come back to horror, ALWAYS come back pleeeeeeease).
This fantasy whodunit is a fun read, especially because it includes authors I love and read in a Fantasy Con setting. You will gain a new appreciation of Larry Correia, DJ Butler, Kevin J Anderson , Orson Scott Card and Mercedes Yardley. Collings is a horror writer but this book was so funny too! I am not a COS Player but have been to some cons and book signings and this book is over the top.
You have to read this one, especially if you are a fan of any of the authors listed above!
What a great premise for a story. Humans go to comic cons. So do monsters. But you wouldn't know them because they go as monsters or dress up as people or comic book characters. That's where wardens come in. Someone has to keep the peace. And it can be broken when werewolf royalty is killed just days before a treaty is to be signed between the vampires and the werewolves. If the killer can't be found, all out war will break out threatening to kill not only vampires and werewolves, but everyone.
I'm struggling to figure out where all the clues are in the story. They're supposed to be there, but I don't remember them. Even when they're brought to light. This isn't quite a fair-play mystery. But it's FUNNY. I laughed out loud several times.
But there are some other flaws that could be avoided. I expect a small number of typos, grammatical errors, etc. But the last 1/3 of the book seems to have lots more than the first 2/3. This is often an issue with self-published books. One good read by a professional editor or proofreader would have fixed the issue.
But in the end, I recommend this book. It's not a cozy mystery, but it's as close as you can get without being there.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I really enjoyed the story line and found myself laughing out loud in several places. I've read books by some of the authors named in the storyline, except for Larry Correa (I've read all of his). I will definitely be checking out more of Mr. Collins work. Great job!
TLC is extremely different from MbC’s other works. There’s plenty of snark and a murder mystery but the urban legends were the most entertaining, for me. Mr. Collings blended all of that with a few laugh out loud moments. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the author and this is my honest and freely given opinion.
I have just finished the book and I totally loved it! A self-defacing main character (i.e. the author!) that nonetheless struggle to get an imposed job (solving a murder) done while surviving in a monsters ridden con. Highly recommendable!