Friday, January 27, 2017

Sick to DeathSick to Death by Greg Levin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gage had stage three pancreatic cancer. After despair came anger and a self-righteous urge to flex his “nothing to lose” muscles. He satisfied his murderous urges by dropping lethal amounts of cyanide into the cocktails of known pedophiles and rapists. Soon he coaxed two members of his support group to join him. Ellison succumbed to his cancer after only a couple of hits but Jenna had found her calling. What was Gage to do with the monster he created?

Greg Levin is a darkly funny guy. Sick to Death is loaded with gallows humor and irony. The characters are fairly well developed but this is a story that is mostly told as opposed to shown. For the ominously breezy tale that it is, it moves a little slowly. Mr. Levin also lets his political agenda shine through the pages for which I do not begrudge him however much I may be in opposition. Nonetheless, Sick to Death is a clever story that is good for a laugh.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

American Government, Inc.

This is an unconventional book, so I will write an unconventional review. I opted to read it because the description sounded like my own book, Capital Blues. The similarity ended there. First of all, George Abraham Lyndon is a pseudonym. The author tells us in the afterward that he chose the given names of the three presidents he admires most. One must worry about anyone who claims to admire Lyndon Johnson, the founder of the Great Society that still burdens us sixty years later. American Government, Inc. is a parody of a hypothetical Donald Trump presidency as viewed by a denizen of left. The story is told as pure narration by a researcher 130 years in the future, therefore, there is no dialogue nor developed characters. The characters are merely names that the narrator continually pummels. The only good guy is, not surprisingly, named Lincoln. The hypothetical president is named Powers and he runs a mega corporation that he uses to build all the projects he proposed in his campaign promises, such as the southern border wall and a myriad of infrastructure projects. Paradoxically, the infrastructure projects create plenty of jobs but the unemployment rate still rises. Naturally, Powers prospers personally from all this. On the first day of his presidency, he signs something 250 executive orders that the reader is expected to digest. This book was made for skimming. Of course they are all Donald Trump’s ideas and they are put forth with the implication that they lead to catastrophe. The catastrophe they incite is no less than civil war. American Government, Inc. is a short book and I guess the best thing I can say about it is that it’s priced right. It’s free.

I only found it at Smashwords. Here's the link if you're brave or foolish.

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Good Idea at the TimeA Good Idea at the Time by Greg Carter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Flying Officer Hacker had a knack for doing things “detrimental to retaining rank.” He was also a highly effective fighter pilot. Wing Commander Padshaw had a knowledge of Chinese languages. Commanding Officer Marsland ran an air base in the middle of the Indian jungle. Coronel Connor led a mule train through the monsoon to resupply the air base. A mysterious civilian named Smith seemed to know everyone and everything. The paths of these, and even more characters, converge and diverge as the British try to dislodge the Japanese from South East Asia.

A Good Idea at the Time is a unique book in that it follows several concurrent plots. There are scads of characters, all well developed, and given singular voices with which to tell their stories. Mr. Carter has told this tale of the perils of World War II from scores of viewpoints. The narration gets into the head of nearly every character who is introduced. I can hear the editor types scratching this book off their ‘Want to read’ list, but that would be a mistake. Once the reader makes peace with the juggernaut that is the narration of A Good Idea at the Time, it becomes a very compelling read. One will find a little bit of Catch 22, a little bit of Mash and something completely different that can’t quite be categorized. The plethora of characters will require some discipline to keep them straight but it’s those characters and the vivid depiction of aerial combat that made this reader unable to stop, until I got the end, and fell off a cliff. The ending is truly a whiskey, tango, foxtrot experience. Unorthodox as it is, I loved it.

97,000 words
$4.99 at Smashwords; $5.12 at Amazon (What's that about?)

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