Armada – #Book Review

Have you read this before? yes. Yes you have.

Sometimes you read a book full of pop culture references with a cool story about a video game player and you think, “I wish Steven Spielberg would make a movie out of this.” And sometimes the author of that book writes a second book that proves that was a one time experience. Welcome to Armada by Ernest Cline.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Actually, scratch that, don’t stop me because you have heard it before but read this review anyway.

From the opening moments of this book, I kept wondering what science fiction story this was ripping off. The answer? All of them. I mean it. There is pretty much no science fiction story here that is not referenced or mimicked in this book. It is so chocked full of direct quotes and references that I began to wonder what percentage of a book has to be original not to be considered plagiarized. I know that a lot of people like Easter eggs and find them fun when you can recognize them in books or movies. I like it too, especially in a Marvel film that might give a hint of what’s to come. But this wasn’t like that. It was more like the Easter bunny firing a rapid fire Easter egg grenade launcher at your face.

I wish that was the only problem with this book but boy, howdy, is this thing a walking disaster.

Has this ever happened to you? You’re a senior in High School on his last semester who has daddy issues because your father died in a sewage treatment explosion just after you were born. To deal with the tragedy, you spend your life obsessed with all the video games, movies, books and music that your father left behind. You play a new game called Armada but are a little worried about your mental state because your father left some notebooks behind with a timeline that seems kinda crazy. Not only that but the notebook makes it seem like there is a global conspiracy to cover up the fact that we have already made contact with aliens. Then you see a spaceship that looks directly like the one from Armada. Your boss who is a used video game store owner shows up with a secretive government agency right out of the video game you happen to be really good at. You get recruited to fight against these aliens by playing your favorite video game that is now real. Lucky for you, you are recruited moments before you were about to beat up a guy with a tire iron because he said bad stuff about your dad. While waiting around to get the full story, you meet a beautiful girl who is smart and also an awesome video game player who is instantly attracted to you. Carl Sagan then gives you a briefing about the aliens and how every science fiction movie, book, or video game has been used to get the population prepared for the knowledge that aliens are out there. Not only that, Star Wars, and all the cool stuff you love, was actually funded by the government for that very purpose. Oh, and not only that but the video games you have been playing happen to function the exact way the real weapons that the government has reverse engineered from the aliens work. Since the whole world plays video games, our best and brightest aren’t people like astronauts and math geniuses, it’s actually the people who have been logging the most online hours playing video games. This all seems pretty weird to you but you roll with it because you feel like you were always meant for some bigger destiny. You are also shocked and amazed at every single new revelation in the whole thing. Like you see the video game ship in real life and go, “That’s not possible.” Then you are taken into a big old government training facility and see the guy from the video game and go, “Even though I now believe the ship is real, I don’t believe the dude is real” And then you find out your dad is alive and had been recruited by the video game dude years ago and you go, “Even though I now believe the ship is real and the dude is real, I don’t actually believe my dad is alive.” And then they take you to the moon to meet your dad and you go, “Even though I now believe the ship is real, that the video game dude is real, that my dad is alive, I still didn’t really believe there was a moon base…” (Ok, I think you get the point.) Then on your first mission with the real drones you screw up but still get to fight because, you’re still good at the video game. Then your dad tells you all about how he figured out there was this conspiracy and not only that, your dad thinks that the aliens may not actually want to kill us. Then you watch your dad almost die trying to prove his point. Because you have a very hard time believing things that are clearly obvious, you still don’t quite believe him so you go back to your home town of Beaverton, Oregon and run it by your two best friends. They argue a lot, while your mom and dad get reacquainted and you convince everyone your dad was right. Well, almost everyone because the video game guy doesn’t believe it and wants to blow the aliens to kingdom come. So, now you need your two best friends, the people you met on the moon base, your dad, and the hot girl you met at the mission briefing to help you out while you go blow up the super weapon that Earth has come up with before we do something really stupid and get the whole planet destroyed by these aliens. You are also able to excuse global warming and a whole host of other problems because clearly the aliens are a bigger threat. So, after your dad actually gets himself killed, on the day that you finally met him, you go after the weapon and blow that to kingdom come. Then the aliens start talking to you and telling you that humanity has just passed “the test” so we’re all good now, welcome to a new galactic society that you as the dude who blew up that weapon get to decide if we are joining or not. Thankfully you say yes because no would have meant that the aliens would blow us up anyway. Also, the aliens aren’t aliens but actually just some kind of robotic thing that was left behind on Europa to, you know, watch us. Then you go back home, get to run the used video game store, are a celebrity, sign an autograph for the guy you almost beat with a tire iron that one time, get married to the beautiful girl you met at the briefing, and have a kid you name after yourself and your father. Then you basically get to live out a normal happy life.

Spoiler alert. Shoot, probably should have put that up higher.

Here’s a few answers to if this has happened to you from some random people I polled on the street.

Ender Wiggins [Ender’s Game] – “Sounds pretty familiar but it was a little different”

Alex Rogan [The Last Starfighter] – “I think I was in that story”

Doug Masters [Iron Eagle] – “Well, there were no aliens but my dad’s plane did get shot down”

Well, there you have it folks, it’s a pretty common occurrence. Even with that being said, I still had more problems with this book.

  • I actually listened to this as an audiobook and while I love ya Will Wheaton, your Carl Sagan somehow sounds exactly like George Takei. How is that even possible?
  • They claim that the government funded Star Wars??? Hands off my favorite film franchise man, I’m not having it! It made me want to get Daisy Ridley to slice the book in half with a lightsaber.
  • It made zero sense to me that the government goes to all that expense of cover ups to then just be like, yup there are aliens everyone, watch out when the aliens attack
  • There are a lot of crazy things in this book and I am pretty good at suspending my disbelief but there is no way that Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Neil Degrasse Tyson all went in on the covering aliens up thing. Not a freaking chance, period. To me, this was the least believable thing in the book.
  • They recruit these gamers under complete duress and basically kidnap them and tell them they can either sign up or wimp out cause the aliens are about to attack. The second I got back from that, I am hiring a good lawyer and getting out of this contract.
  • Finally, this book was just such a huge disappointment because Ernest Cline has written a good book. I hope he has it in him to pull out another good story, but man am I going to be hesitant to give it a try.

Next week I am going to get off the Sci-Fi bandwagon and give a read to Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare. I wasn’t sure which Duke she was talking about but it’s romancing the Duke, so it’s that one.

Repetitively Yours,

Slick Dungeon

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Awesome blogs to read for #NationalBookLoversDay

Friday August 9th is #NationalBookLoversDay! On my blog I usually tear into books that I did not enjoy reading. However, I do love books and reading. Below are a bunch of blogs that I really like to read that have to do with books. After that, when you are ready once again to find out what books not to read, come back to and read about the worst of the worst. Until then, enjoy these blogs.

A Book. A Thought: Very insightful reviews and book related happenings here:

A Book Nation: Lots of book reviews and recommendations here. Also if you are a budding author, this blogger offers a manuscript service. Might be a good idea to splurge on that if you want to keep your book from being reviewed on my blog:

A World of Books: A seriously impressive amount of reading and reviewing goes on in this blog. A book a day? That’s a tall order:

Adventures of Bibliophile: Stephanie claims to be a bibliophile and boy does she prove it! Tons of reviews here:

Ailish Sinclair: This one is not a book review blog but rather an author who has a blog. The site is seriously worth checking out though because the photographs posted are stunningly gorgeous views of Scotland and other places around the world. She has a novel coming out soon and if The Mermaid and the Bear is even the least bit like this blog, it’s bound to be magical:

Alys in Bookland: A book review blog that has won a fair share of awards. This blogger from the Phillipines is well worth checking out:

Big Comic Page: Are comic books books? Heck yes they are! And you know what? If you want to see some great reviews of those books, check this blog out:

Bookidote: Two reviewers for one on this site, Trang and Lashaan cover a wide variety of genres and topics. Both are worth reading:

Bookish Connoisseur: All things bookish are reviewed here with a particular interest in YA and Sci-Fi/Fantasy books:

Books and Strips: Reviews of novels and graphic novels? Sign me up!

By Gabbie: This blog doesn’t just cover books but there are many, many book related posts here:

Fantastic Book Dragon: Not only a cool name, this site features a voracious reader with lots of reviews to check out:

Food in Books: So great, you’ve just read a passage in a book that has described the most amazing meal and you are now starving. What do you do? You check out this blog where you can find the book and the recipe to make said delicious food here:

Keeper of Pages: This blog is for those obsessed with crime fiction books. Great reviews to check out:

Never Not Reading: Katie is a mom who doesn’t have time to read but does it anyway. She also probably doesn’t have time to run a book review blog but does a fantastic job of it considering the amount of awards she has won:

Read and Drink Tea: Reading and having a cuppa? Pretty good combo if I do say so myself:

Sci-Fi & Scary: Here’s a blog that focuses on the important things in life, science fiction and horror. Oh yeah… give me more!

Slick Dungeon’s Dusty Tomes and Terrible Films: Okay, I know I said you should come back to my blog after you read all the other good ones I have listed. But sometimes you get tired of reading about great literature. When it’s time to find out what not to read and watch, this blog is the one to go to.

The Bibliophagist: Great reviews of Young Adult, New Adult and Romance books:

The Book Review Directory: Looking for an easy way to find books and book reviews? This blog is perfect!

The Critiquing Chemist: When you get a chemist reading literature, you know an analytical and well thought out review will appear. Read them here:

The Never Ending Unread: I don’t know about you but I definitely have more books lying around waiting to be read than I know what to do with. This site tries to help catch you up:

Thrice Read: Three friends who love stories and want to share their reviews and reactions with the world. Lots of good stuff here:

Written Word Worlds: An Australian blogger who always has two books in her bag just in case she finishes the first one. I can so relate to that.

So look, I know I have missed a gajillion great blogs that I have forgotten or don’t know about. I hope this list could at least give you something cool to look at for a few minutes on #NationalBookLoversDay. I would spend more time trying to find more blogs for you to check out but I have to finish my review of the entirely disappointing second novel from Ernest Cline, Armada. Once you have read everyone else on this list, come back here and check that out.

Also, what are some of your favorite blogs? Always looking for recommendations so post away in the comments below if you know of any. Thanks for reading.

Book Lovingly Yours,

Slick Dungeon

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Jane Carver of Waar – Book Review

Biker Chicks fighting Cen-tigers? I’ll pass

Have you ever started watching an original Star Trek episode and said to yourself, “You know what would make this better? If Captain Kirk was a bisexual biker chick on the run?” Yeah me too. But guess what? The reality of that is terrible and the proof is Jane Carver of Waar.

The plot here is pretty simple. Jane Carver is somewhere in California when a rude jerk in a bar hits on her. She gets pissed and throws a punch at him. Unfortunately for her, she’s kind of big and strong and her punch accidentally hits the dude in the throat and kills the guy. Not knowing what else to do, she runs away, ends up in a cave, touches a gem and ends up on an alien planet. Then she has adventures on her way to try to get back home. Other than it being the biker part and a woman, it really does remind me a lot of Star Trek. But you know how that show could be charming sometimes and even have deep political implications on occasion? Yeah, this does not. Like really does not.

Jane wakes up under a weird sky and realizes pretty quick she’s not in California any more. Also, she sees a bunch of dudes killing each other and they have purple skin so that’s probably a second clue. These guys are dressed up Conan the Barbarian style and are using swords so it’s a good bet they don’t have a transporter to get her back home. Jane watches the fight play out and then goes to talk to the loser of the fight, a dude named Sai. She then proceeds to follow him around for the entire book. I guess if you have no other friends stick with who you’ve got?

This book being extremely convenient, Jane is somehow able to talk with these aliens because, magic. This Sai dude has had his true love stolen and he has to get her back. Jane tries to help but they get captured by some Cen-tigers (centaurs but with a tiger bottom) and made to be slaves. Then they get free. Then they find another guy who is Sai’s friend and then they try to wear disguises to get to the place where the wife kidnapper is. Then they get captured. Then they get free. Then they wear disguises to get on a ship. Then they get captured and sold as slaves. Then they get free. Then they wear disguises to go to the place where the wife kidnapper is again. Then they get captured. Then they fight and Sai gets the girl, the book ends and Jane gets transported back home.

If you are thinking that description sounds a lot like lather, rinse, repeat, that’s because it is. Why in the blistering blue blazes they don’t think to do anything but wear a disguise and/or get captured in this whole book is completely beyond me. So that’s the plot for ya. Let me tell you a few things that annoyed me about this book.

  1. Jane has a bit of super strength because of the gravitational differences on the planet Waar. She’s able to lift really heavy stuff, take Hulk sized leaps, and is a bit bigger than most of the humanoids on this planet. Conveniently, it fails her when the plot calls for it, and works when the plot calls for it. I know a lot of stories do this kind of thing but it’s super noticeable here.
  2. Jane is attracted to every person and Cen-tiger who is nice to her for even a second. She’s always going on in her head about how she wants to get some from pretty much everyone. And this includes people that made her a literal slave. Umm… what? I know Kirk does that in Star Trek but Jane would easily give him a run for his money.
  3. There’s a political intrigue side plot that is about as exciting as watching the galactic senate negotiate trade relations in Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace
  4. Cen-tigers? Come on man, do better. How the hell is it likely that these things evolved? What are the odds that there were tiger creatures that were centaur like?
  5. As you can see from the cover of this book, Jane is supposed to look exactly like Red Sonja. Metal bikini and all. Jane spends half her time complaining that she doesn’t have good armor and then when she does get good armor, it’s in the form of a metal bikini. That’s terrible armor!!
  6. There’s evidence that people from earth have been here before. There’s a paved road, airships and other items that just seem like they came from our home planet. This is never even close to explained. I suspect you would have to suffer through the rest of the series to find out more. I’ll pass.
  7. Let’s try disguising ourselves! Dangit, we’re captured. Let’s try disguising ourselves! Dangit, we’re captured. Let’s try disguising ourselves! Dangit, we’re captured. I think Einstein would define these people as crazy.
  8. Jane goes back an forth in her head over and over about whether it is right or wrong to kill a guy, while killing a bunch of guys. She has moral issues about it even though it’s clear at times that the person really deserves it or it was a complete accident. I’m not saying you shouldn’t consider your life choices if you are likely to kill someone but I didn’t really care about Jane’s agonizing over it.
  9. Sai was about as boring and stupid of a sidekick you could find anywhere. This dude had zero personality.
  10. This whole story is framed around someone finding a recording of Jane telling this story. Yet the person believes this crap, rather than thinking, uh whoever this woman is, she needs to find a psychiatrist stat.

I’m keeping this one short because, this book was flat out too long and I’m tired of talking about it. Next week I will review Armada by Ernest Cline. He wrote Ready Player One which was great novel. I’m sure his second novel will be an amazing read and extremely entertaining. We all know how second books are so much better than the first right?

Lucklessly yours,

Slick Dungeon

The Creatures are Stirring and I Apologize

Slick Dungeon here. Normally at this time on a Friday I am dropping a fiction review for you all to enjoy. Unfortunately for me, this week has been a bit hectic. I’ve had to fight off Cen-tigers (Centaurs but the bottom half is a tiger), been chased out of my usual dungeon area and dealt with watching a Tromaggot. I haven’t had the time to finish reading Jane Carver of Waar but as soon as I am back where there is adequate light, and a decent wifi connection, I will post my review. Until then folks, stay as weird as possible.

Inadequately yours,

Slick Dungeon

A Time to Love (Quilts of Lancaster County #1) -Book Review

What’s wrong with this picture?

But Who Will care about the Children?

If you are looking for a romance book that is extremely chaste and never wades into any kind of inappropriate territory, this one’s for you. No steamy scenes because, well, this book is about an Amish community so it fits that there’s no heavy petting. Ever wondered what an Amish romance book was like? Nope, me neither. At least, not until I heard they existed. Guess what? They’re pretty much like other romances except, much, much tamer. I have no problem with the romance part of this book, or the Amish part of this book. I wouldn’t want to live in a community without electricity or buttons, but if that’s what floats your boat, float away.

That’s not to say that there weren’t things about this book that bugged me. I’m gonna list ’em after a quick plot summary.

Jenny, the main character is recovering from a difficult surgery she had to have after suffering a bomb blast while doing her job as a journalist overseas. To recuperate she visits her grandmother Phoebe who happens to be Amish and live in Lancaster County. While there she reconnects with Mathew, a man she knew long ago and nearly married. Mathew married while Jenny was away and had three children. Mathew’s wife died and it’s been a couple years since that happened. Now would be a good time for Mathew to move on and as luck (or God as the book states) would have it, Jenny seems to come back at the perfect time. Everyone ends up happy because, well, what do you expect out of an Amish romance?

My annoyance with the book is as follows:

  1. Jenny is a a journalist working for [unnamed network] recovering from a bomb blast she suffered in [unnamed country]. I put the brackets there because the author chose not to actually name the network or the country. Jenny was always overseas. What was she doing overseas? She was making sure that [the people] knew that there were children there who were suffering. I think this was mentioned roughly twelve times per chapter.
  2. Is there an adorable little kid in this book meant to tug at Jenny’s and the reader’s heart strings and says things like “Read me a stowy.” Oh you betcha. It’s like the plucky kid in apocalypse novels but you just know they are going to make people get married in romances, not get themselves killed the way they do in the other books.
  3. This is an Amish community we are talking about and Jenny is there recovering which is fine, but they keep talking about how much hard work there is to do. Yet Jenny, who more or less recovers doesn’t seem to do any hard work. She does try and cook one meal but I kind of think the author sold it short cause I am sure that there really IS hard labor to do in these places.
  4. It’s mentioned like a zillion times how the Amish children are so good and clean their rooms and do their chores and help out and never, ever complain. I have two thoughts about this. First, I bet that some Amish children DO complain on occasion. Why? Cause they are kids and sometimes kids complain. Second, there are plenty of non-Amish children that are good. But the author bludgeons us about how lazy the “Englisch” (the Amish term for people living outside their community) children are because they watch television. I sort of felt, more than once, like the author had not really interacted with real children over the age of three.
  5. Jenny has suffered what would be a real, major trauma. I mean life changing. She is described as being scarred across the face. She is constantly fretting about this. Of course Mathew and everyone around Jenny who all love her think it’s no big deal. I agree. Having a scar on your face doesn’t disqualify you from love. It doesn’t mean you are not beautiful. It doesn’t mean that anyone should think less of you. But you know what bugs me to no end? Look at that cover image. You know what I don’t see? A Scar!!! Come on cover designers, own it! I doubt this was the choice of the author so I can’t fault her but jeeze, let’s judge this book by it’s cover. Jenny should have a scar. Have the guts to put it on the cover. Okay, I am getting off of my body image soap box now.
  6. Another thing Jenny agonizes over is that if she doesn’t go back to work for [unnamed network] then no one, and I mean no one, will ever care about the children in [unnamed country]. Jenny is quasi famous and people on the street recognize her now and then. She is occasionally told by nurses or other random people how no one has gone back there. No journalist has gone back overseas (interesting how everyone on the street calls it overseas too instead of naming a country) to talk about the children. So her choice seems to be Mathew or go to [unnamed network] to work again. But Jenny’s colleague has this idea to interview her so the audience of [unnamed network] can see that she is okay. She does the interview and when it airs, they put a few charity phone numbers on screen. In Jenny’s mind that seems to clear the problem up. Yup, want to help out orphans in war torn [unnamed countries]? Two options. First. Jenny. Second, phone numbers on a screen. Either one will most definitely fix it.
  7. While cooking the one meal that Jenny makes, she tells Phoebe about microwaves. She says that microwaved food doesn’t taste as good because they don’t put love into the food the way her grandmother does. Note to self: invent microwave that operates on love. Also, I don’t know about you but I’ve loved me some hot pockets and microwave pizza rolls on occasion and no one’s grandmother made those.
  8. Mathew works very hard and loves his children. This is perfectly obvious from the descriptions of what he does and it’s no surprise. We wouldn’t want our main character to fall for a jerk of course. But not only do we have to see that revealed through his actions. No, everyone around him has to say pretty much every time he leaves the room how he works hard and loves his children. I think we get it.
  9. Since this is a romance, there has to be a setup for a continuing series. I think that’s a contractual obligation for even thinking of a romance concept. I’ve got good news. Mathew has a sister, Hannah. She’s Amish and lives in Lancaster County. Hmmm…. You don’t think… I mean could it be… Wait guys, it is, it really is… The sequel is about Hannah! Groan. It couldn’t be more obvious if they had put Hannah’s phone number on the television screen during an interview. Wait, that doesn’t make sense, Hannah wouldn’t watch television and it’s a community phone. Ah, never mind. I will say though that it bothers me one hundred percent of the time when you know that the sibling of one of the love interests is going to star in the next book. I read that there is a brother or sister who is not in a relationship and I know right where it’s going.
  10. Okay so part of this is me and part of this is not. This book has a long subtitle involving quilts. There is a quilt mentioned at the very beginning and it shows up a lot. But see, I thought that we were going to see Jenny learn to quilt or do all sorts of quilting or something. She doesn’t even begin to quilt until the second to last chapter. I was like, where’s the quilting? I want to see transformative, life changing quilting and I want to see it now. I think that was my misconception. But the quilt also wasn’t all that essential to the plot either. So, maybe make less of a big deal in the subtitle if your not gonna make a bigger deal of it in the book. Like they say, if you see a quilt in the first act, you should see quilting all through the book. I may have that quote wrong. But anyway, more quilts please.

I’m going to stop there but to finish my summary, I am going to give it over to the wisest, smartest, most celebrated poet of mine or any other generation. “We been spendin’ most our lives livin’ in an Amish Paradise” – Weird Al Yankovich.

After all this non-quilting peaceful time spent in Amish country, I need to spice things up. Come back next week when I will review Jane Carver of Waar by Nathan Long. I’m sure there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for the extra a. I’ll let you know what it is.

This guy gets it –

Image result for scar lion king
Beautiful and Proud

Dare to Die (Death on Demand Series #19) – Book Review

I have questions

Slick Dungeon here. What are the odds that a person with the last name of Dungeon is trapped in a dungeon? I’d say pretty high since here I am. I’ve slogged through another mystery book this week. While Death on Demand was actually not a bad book exactly, it left me with many questions.

If you like tight little mystery books, seriously you could do worse than this one. It is the 19th in a series though, so at points I was a little lost as I haven’t read the others. But I have questions. So many questions. One of them involves salty snacks and soda fizz. This book led my mind to some strange places.

The story centers on a bookshop owner who runs a little place called Death on Demand, that sells mystery books. Apparently, Annie, the bookstore owner has been involved in solving some crimes in the past, including clearing her own name and later her husband’s name of murder. For this entry in the series, a young woman named Iris comes back to the island everyone in the book lives on, gets invited to a party that Annie is hosting and winds up dead. Annie, her husband and the local police solve the murder. Since this book is a decent enough read I am not going to spoil the plot too much in case anyone wants to read it. But I am going to ask a few questions. If you have answers, let me know in the comments.


  1. Does every mystery author have to name drop Agatha Christie?
  2. There’s a pretty funny part with Annie’s mother-in-law who teaches Tai-Chi in the bookshop. How big is this store? Is there really room to do Tai-Chi?
  3. If it weren’t for the deaths I would say this book is full of first world problems, these people drive around in golf carts, have oyster roasts and are moving into this big house. So my question is, who did they kill to get all that money?
  4. Okay, so if Annie was once suspected of murder, and so was her husband, Max, why the heck would cops be so friendly with these people? Cops can be jerks (not all cops but some) when you haven’t done a thing so why be so deferential to two people who keep getting wrapped up in murder cases? Nothing suspicious here!
  5. With all these deaths on the island of Broward’s Rock, why do people freaking live here? I mean the scenery seems nice and all, other than the dead bodies you seem to practically trip over.
  6. If Annie and Max have solved crimes before, and their friends who might be suspects in this murder investigation know it, why would anyone talk to Annie and Max? I mean the killer does try to kill them but why lead them on at all. Hey Annie and Max, – bang your dead, seems like a more effective way of silencing them to me.
  7. More to the point, if Annie and Max have been framed for murder, and presumably almost been killed before why o why would they talk to people who might have murdered someone else? That’s just asking for it.
  8. Okay, so ignoring questions 6 and 7, let’s say it was fine for these people to talk to Annie and Max, they are not police. Whatever evidence they gather wouldn’t really be admissible in court would it? So what’s the point? Let the cops do their jobs in this case guys!
  9. As a way of deluding herself into thinking that she isn’t really getting involved in the case, but helping Iris’ soul to find peace, Annie calls all of Iris’ old friends to get information for a “spirit poster”. Is that a real thing? I mean what is that? I get having nice blow up pictures of the deceased for funerals but seriously, is a spirit poster a thing? Everyone in the book seems to know what that is and I was like, what is a freaking spirit poster?
  10. At one point in the book a character says this, “Of course I can smell. It’s my head that hurts not my nose.” Are noses no longer considered part of the head?
  11. Does this book have to name drop ever mystery book and author that ever lived? Here’s a quote from the book, “She had delighted last week in pointing out to Annie the little-known fact that the office of Charlaine Harris, bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern vampire series was decorated with black-and-white photos of New Orleans grave art. Annie wondered if Charlaine Harris enjoyed Sarah Stewart Taylor’s mysteries that celebrated funerary art.” I wonder if Carolyn Hart had a word count to fulfill and realized paragraphs like the one quoted above would help her with that.
  12. No but seriously, is it every mystery book ever? Here’s another quote,”A poster of Allies Day, May 1917 by Childe Hassam rested on an easel. Annie nodded her approval when she saw the books with their roots in World War I: The Murder Stone by Charles Todd, Angels in the Gloom by Anne Perry, Pardonable Lies by Jaqueline Win-spear, The Mark of the Lion by Suzanne Arruda, and Twenty-Three and a Half Hour’s Leave by Mary Roberts Rineheart.” The book is littered with passages like these. So many mystery novels, so many. Yo Dawg, I heard you like mysteries so I put a mystery in your mystery so you can mystery while you mystery.
  13. An odd quote to me here, “She attracted men from nine to ninety…” Never met a nine year old man myself, but I guess you never know?
  14. This question is my most vital question. I have to know the answer to this. If anyone out there in the internets can answer this, even if you ignore all the rest of my blog post, I will be eternally grateful to you. There is a part in the book where a character asks “You like peanuts in your Coke?” The book seems to indicate this is a southern thing. IS THIS REAL? Like for real, do people do that? If so that utterly blows my mind. Who thought to do that? Where does that come from? Why? Please let me know, my life is incomplete until I have an answer.
  15. Back to the thrust of the book. In one part Annie goes back to the woods where the murder happened and thinks to herself there is no danger now. Why would she think that? Dead bodies, attacks on her life, and the dang crime scene is safe? I don’t think so.
  16. In addition to all the name dropped books, did we have to go into extreme detail about every meal that Annie and Max ate? I get you want to say they are eating dinner but is this necessary? “He deftly served their plates, flounder with mushrooms and sour cream and grilled asparagus for Max, fried oysters on an onion bun and a hot German potato salad for Annie, Two unsweetened iced teas.” I’m no professional writer or script doctor but I think I can safely say, typing out a menu doesn’t drive the plot forward here. Also, Carolyn Hart is totally trying to meet her word count right?
  17. Another quote that struck me as odd, “Nice thing about an island is that everybody’s here unless they’re not.” Isn’t that true of all geographical locations? If I was not in this dungeon, I would not be here. Then again, maybe I’m out. I’ll have to check later. (A few minutes later) Nope, still here.
  18. In the climax of the book, they ask all the suspects to gather at a pavilion. Why would someone smart enough to murder the right people just show up to this?
  19. On that note, just because you know who had motive to kill someone doesn’t mean you have the actual evidence, This happens all the time in mystery novels but you really actually need hard evidence in a murder case and all the motive is just figured out by Annie and Max, I don’t think you’d have to be a good lawyer to get the murderer off. Pretty easy to sow doubt and say, who are these people that got to go interrogate witnesses. What’s the badge number? This is more a criticism of mysteries than this book in particular but it will always bug me.
  20. Are Annie and Max going to start hanging out with Agatha Raisin? I think they could have a nice little serial killers who got away with it brunch together sometime.

Twenty seems like a good round number to end on. Next week I will be back to review A Time to Love (Quilts of Lancaster County Series #1). Is it a quilt with a picture of Lancaster County or just quilts that belong to Lancaster County? Who is Lancaster County anyway? Sounds like a cowboy name to me. Do cowboys like quilts? Why won’t my brain turn off? Anyway.

Despairingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

In Defense of the Awful

Part 2 – Books

Welcome back to the place where the lights are dim, the air is musty, the danger is clear and the media I consume is… awful. Yes, I admit it, by most objective standards the things I watch and read are bad. But I believe they are also, essential.

In my last post in this series (does two count as a series?) I argued why I thought that bad movies were important to exist and even be watched. Today I make my case for bad books.

I’ll admit that I have a harder time defending bad books than I do defending bad movies. Movies have a large structured studio system where in order for any creators to make any real money they have to be a part of it. People can and do produce independent films but it’s a relative term. There are independent films with budgets of ten million dollars. I think we can agree that the majority of us do not have access to that kind of money and unless your film is released by a studio, not that many people are watching.

You might argue that books have something similar. There are large publishing houses and it’s not like just anyone can get published by them. The major authors, people like Stephen King or James Patterson are advertised by companies with serious money to get the word out there. Just like Hollywood can advertise the biggest blockbusters.

Unlike film though, authors can and do write something, put it out there and be published on a large retailer instantly. Don’t believe me? Look at the vast amount of kindle books out there by independent authors. Some of them sell very well. A lot of them are not very good, but due to the subject matter might be purchased frequently.

And with books, unlike films, I think a good story will always rise to the top. Harry Potter isn’t famous due to its advertising budget. Although that certainly helped, that story is flat out brilliant, well written and above all, fun to read.

So who wants there to be bad books around? I do. Why? I ask myself. There are a host of reasons and I will do my best to summarize them all but I may forget a thing or two.

First of all, books cover literally every topic there is. I suppose you might say film does too, but I don’t think film covers as much, otherwise people would not say that certain books are “unfilmable.” Since books cover such a range of experience, books that might be considered bad may actually speak to a person in ways that I wouldn’t relate to. I’d hate for a reader to miss out on that experience.

Some people out there feel like Harry Potter is too tied up in “dark magic” to be okay for children. I obviously think that’s ridiculous but those people will certainly say that Harry Potter is a bad book series. Some of those people want those books to be banned, They want them banned from schools, libraries, bookstores and anywhere else you can pick up reading material. Harry Potter isn’t any kind of hate speech, it isn’t attacking a protected group or assailing an individual in an unfair manner. Yet some people think it deserves to be destroyed.

I flat out disagree with that. We shouldn’t be destroying books, even if we think that they are bad. I know, this is just an argument against censorship, not an argument in favor of badly written books.

Well, here’s one. Sometimes an author can write a bad book and then, write a really good book. I’m not going to name names here but there are authors that I like that had books I could not stand at first, then came out with something that blew me away. If that first book did not exist, then the later book would not have been printed and I would have less joy in my life.

Also, like a bad film, sometimes a bad book can be so bad that it’s good. It’s not so entertaining to read perhaps, but it’s definitely something to talk about. And, personally I like putting my thoughts about these things out there in the world. I can acknowledge how much time and effort it took the author to create something and how much bravery it takes to publish it for all to see. Of course once something is out there in the public sphere, it’s free to be reacted to. My particular reaction happens to be to poke fun at these books.

And, like in film, books that speak to a certain category or group that is underrepresented need to be out there. We need books out there for girls who want to be scientists and boys who want to be ballet dancers. Or books that boys can just relate to and the same for girls.

I guess my argument when it comes to books is that, more is better. The more books we can have out in the world, the more likely someone will have a transformative experience because of it.

Now just because I think Agatha Raisin is a terrible series about a self indulgent woman, whom I simply cannot stand, does not mean anyone else has to think that way. If you love Agatha, love away. I’ll disagree with you but, hey if those books bring you pleasure, entertainment, or make you think, good on you.

It’s hard to know what is bad and what is not in fiction. It’s not something everyone will ever agree on. But don’t you think the right to have what you like and what everyone else likes is important to be protected? Even if the thing being protected is a terrible book? I know I do.

Okay, I am getting off my soap box now. Who left that in here anyway?

Thanks for reading if you got this far. And please, let me know what you think.

Loquaciously yours,

Slick Dungeon

Dead in the West – Book Review

Zombie tropes? We got ’em

Fiction Friday is filled with zombies in my dungeon this time. They’re pesky undead creatures that I learned to deal with long ago. Sure they try to bite, but they make decent can openers if you time it right so the teeth bite the can and not you. I just light a fire at the entryway of any room I am in and then the zombies stay away unless I put it out. They typically aren’t fans of fire or bright lights. Or bullets to the head. They really don’t like that. And in a pinch my dapper cane smashed into their craniums works. It’s a bit of a pain to wash the blood off though, so I try not to do that too often. Plus it musses my tuxedo and I simply won’t tolerate that.

How do I know so much about these suckers? Well, I’ve read a zombie book or two thousand in my time. Some are great. Cell by Stephen King is an exceptional standout in the genre to me. And of course the now finished but never forgotten The Walking Dead comic book may be the most brilliant zombie story to ever be told, no matter if you are tired of the television show or not.

But I can tell you that those examples are the stunningly rare exceptions in a genre with a zillion books. This week I read Dead in the West by Joe R. Lansdale. I’ll give you a quick summary of the plot, then we are going to run through the zombie trope checklist together and see how many boxes we can mark off. Fair warning, spoilers follow.

It’s old west Texas, and a preacher comes into a small town called Mud Creek. Prior to his arrival, the town had unfairly executed an Indian medicine man and his innocent wife. The Indian laid a curse upon the town with his dying breath and the dead begin to rise. The preacher and his allies attempt to stop the undead, and only the preacher survives with his life.

Here is our checklist

  1. A lone hero with a storied past comes into town – check
  2. A plucky kid meets the lone hero and we know he is going to a. save the life of the main hero and b. die in the end, even though the hero does not like the kid at first. – double check
  3. A beautiful love interest for the lone hero – check
  4. The father of said beautiful love interest is the first one to trust the hero and figure out what’s going on – checkity check
  5. Hands come out of the dirt in a grave yard – this has not been new since Night of the Living Dead and is no longer necessary to any story but we checked this one off anyway!
  6. A mystical force of evil is causing this, even if you can kinda understand where the evil is coming from – large check
  7. The hero is an alcoholic or has some other life struggle – blindfolded I check this box
  8. Hero teaching the plucky kid how to shoot – was this ever in doubt? Check this box!
  9. No one believes the scientist (in this case a doctor) when he figures it out even though the evidence is extremely obvious – check it in bold
  10. Hero admits he loves the beautiful woman even though it’s been a very short time that they have known each other – Put a heart around this check
  11. A total racist jerkwad who basically causes the whole thing and is then torn apart by the living dead – shredded check mark!
  12. A sheriff who could have stopped the damn thing but through inaction allows everything to go on – put a badge on this check
  13. Dead people moving around left and right but most of the people don’t even notice until it’s too late – sneaky check mark!
  14. Body parts falling off shambling zombies – arm shaped check mark
  15. Love interest blowing her own brains out so she doesn’t become a zombie – gore splattered check mark circled with a broken heart
  16. Plucky kid getting in a few distracting licks so that the hero can survive – made this check with my foot
  17. Hero being unable to shoot plucky kid after he is bitten even though that’s the one darned thing the kid specifically asked him to do – put a bullet hole in that check box
  18. Daylight coming along and frying the big bad, but just a little too late to save the town – sun soaked checkity check mark
  19. Hero riding out of town feeling lost and like he failed – lonely check mark
  20. The feeling that you have read this book before – blood read check mark

Okay, so checklist made. Now for a few things that stood out in this book as, umm… different. First, though, I do want to say, this is not by a long shot, the worst zombie book I ever read. I have read a lot of them though so I don’t know how much that’s worth. I feel like the author might have other good books, and he has certainly written a lot of books and won awards for them. I just feel like this one was too typical of the genre to stand out in any significant way.

So the interesting stuff.

There are a few sentences in this book that I didn’t understand. It could be that’s because this story is part of a larger series or it could just be that I’m not catching a reference. But here’s one. “He had the cool, blue eyes of a cold killer – the eyes of a man who had seen the elephant and seen it well.” Umm… I’ve seen an elephant too. And seen it pretty well, I mean it’s kind of hard to miss and I even gave it an address since it was wandering in my dungeon. I don’t think that’s what makes someone a killer somehow though.

Another odd metaphor, “The sun was easing up over the horizon like a sneaky, blond baby raising its head.” Later in the page, “The blond head was coming up faster, strands of light, like fine lines of hair were lightening the lower edge of the sky.” Now, I’ve been down here in the dark for a while but I have seen sunrises. You know what they never, even once reminded me of? An infant’s head.

The preacher who is the hero of the book rolls into town, gets drunk, shoots a spider in his hotel room, leaving a hole in the wall and causing a ruckus, but seems to think people should treat him nicely.

The author at times, seems to have an unhealthy obsession with describing things in comparison (for lack of a better word) to dung. “The river itself was darker than the s***t from Satan’s bowels.” Later in the paragraph, “Up s***t river without a paddle.” An odd image if I do say so myself.

Usually I am not too annoyed with typos and misspellings. I mean, I know I make those mistakes myself, although I do try to proofread my posts before posting. But this one stood out as either an egregious error or a major Freudian slip. Either way it made me laugh. “…Matt said and walked out of the mom.” I wondered to myself how he got in the mom in the first place.

At the end during the climax, the preacher had a line that stood out as ridiculously funny to me in his righteous fury, “Hallowed be thy name, oh Lord – and shotgun do your stuff.” That sentence belongs in a b movie horror film immediately.

And the weirdest thing I have saved for last. Also, the grossest. The preacher is guilt ridden because he slept with his sister. Then he gets attracted to the woman that he says he loves in the town mostly because she looks like his sister. I’ve gone over this before but let’s leave this stuff to George R.R. Marin please. I don’t need to read any more of that. Also, this preacher seems to be mad at God and his father both, for thinking what he did with his sister was not okay. Clue for ya buddy, it’s not.

To review, zombies make good can openers, they can be fun to read about, but most books in this genre have done everything to death (pun seriously intended). If you want an average time of reading a zombie book and have a couple hours, Dead in the West is not your worst option. But if you have higher standards skip this one and read World War Z or something like it instead.

Come back to my dungeon next week when we will continue with the dead theme for no apparent reason as I read Dare to Die (Death on Demand series #19). Is death on demand a video streaming service? Can I get it for free if I sign up for Amazon Prime on Prime Day?!

Forlornly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Pets in a Pickle – Book Review

They lied to me about the pickle

Welcome once again to my dungeon. It’s here that I am stuck, here that I spend my days with nothing but bad books to read and bad movies to watch. Perhaps one day I will escape to greener pastures and be able to breath the free air once again. Literally you could say I was in a tough situation. Just don’t tell me there is a pickle involved. There are no pickles here. You know where else there are zero pickles? Pets in a Pickle by Malcolm D. Welshman.

I thought that I would end up hating this book more than I do. I will admit there is some decent humor in it and if you love The Sound of Music, animals, and bad puns, this is the book for you. Unfortunately, I cannot stand The Sound of Music, only appreciate my own bad puns, and am so so on animals in general. As far as animals go, it really depends on if they are the type to try to bite me or not.

The basic plot is that Paul is a new veterinarian in a small country town and there is a series of cute-ish stories where a pet needs some attention, Paul has no idea what he is doing, but somehow manages to save the pet anyway, repeat. Instead of really analyze the plot I am going to just point out some things that either made no sense or I personally disliked.

I am not sure if it’s the case that Paul comes from a very bad veterinarian school, or if he is just dumb. In the first chapter he sticks his hands into a cage, then is surprised by the fact that his finger gets bit by a hamster. He didn’t even seem to know that he was going to see a hamster. Let me give you a clue, dude, check the chart first! Or if you can’t even do that, ask the owners, what have you got there for me in the cage?

In the second chapter, Paul, sees a bird and doesn’t seem to know what to do to treat it. He figures it out but acts like he has never seen a bird in his life. So, what exactly was he studying? This goes on like this, chapter after chapter. Horse? Never foaled one before. Cow? Haven’t seen one. Pig, nope. He does seem to know what dogs and cats are at least, so I’ll give him those. I get that he is new and all, but come on man, tell me you at least saw a freaking lecture on this stuff or something. If that’s how human doctors learn, I am glad I am stuck down in this dungeon, not at the doctor’s office.

Paul has a serious Julie Andrews obsession. Like in a majorly unhealthy way. He goes to interview for his job at a vet’s office and the vet in charge reminds him of Julie Andrews. Specifically Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. Now, it’s my personal hang up that whenever I hear Do Re Mi, I go into an uncontrollable rage, plug my ears and start singing Hell’s Bells by AC/DC just to counteract it. Years and years of a younger sister and repeated rainy day viewings of that film classic will do that to you. But Paul’s thing just gets weird.

Why is it weird? Glad I asked myself. So, for starters, Crystal (the vet) is married to Eric (who also works in this office) and Paul is dating a vet’s assistant named Lucy (who also works in this office). Yet, Paul is constantly fantasizing about being with Crystal in a romantic sense, picturing her as Julie Andrews. I’m talking at least three times a chapter. And even stranger, he tells us at one point, that he keeps thinking of her that way because his mother was in a play version of The Sound of Music so that’s why he is attracted to her. A, ewwwwwwww. B, this kind of thing is reserved for George R.R. Martin ok? Find your own creepy material.

The puns in this novel are relentless. Non-stop. Never ending. And seriously predictable. Is there a pig in the chapter? Paul will save his bacon. Is Paul waiting in a field with a cow? He could be there till the cows come home. Is Paul seeing a bird? Don’t ruffle his feathers. If you need a few thousand dad worthy puns, this is your book.

This is a vet’s office right? But a guy brings in a snake and literally everyone but Paul and Crystal clear out as if the place were on fire. I know some people have phobias and all, but if you work in a vets office that takes all animals, you’re gonna have to expect some snakes. Besides, it could be worse, they could be on a plane.

Lucy and Paul live together for a good chunk of the book but she seems to sour on the relationship near the end. It’s never really explained why she sours on Paul or exactly why she wants to be with him at the end. If you are going to have a falling out with the main love interest in the book, do the audience a favor, and explain what it’s all about. There is a sequel to this book so it could be there, but no way do I care enough to find out. I’m going to give you my reason. Paul probably wouldn’t shut up about Julie Andrews, Lucy saw Paul looking wantonly at Crystal and figured things out, then Paul mentioned his mother and Lucy left as is reasonable. That’s just me speculating though.

Remember when I said I wasn’t sure if Paul was dumb or if it was a bad veterinary school he came from? I can’t say for sure about the vet school but by the end I was convinced Paul was dumb. Why? He talks to, is attracted to, and gets a hug from a firefighter and is not sure if she is a woman until she specifically says she is. I know it can be hard to tell gender (no judgments from me on what gender (or non-gender) you choose to be) and firefighters can have a lot of gear on, making it tough to see who is inside, But Paul was right up close talking to her, found her attractive, and instead of thinking, this is probably a woman I am talking to, starts to question his own sexuality. Maybe I am wrong though, maybe Paul is actually just visually impaired? I don’t know, it was weird and it made me think Paul was dumb from the way it was written.

Finally, and I will tell you this is my biggest problem with this book, there were no pickles mentioned. Where were the pickles? Big green pickles? Pigs eating some pickles? Tiny mice somehow literally stuck in a pickle (or even a pickle jar)? A game of pickle from baseball where an animal is running from base to base? NOPE! Not a single pickle. Never once mentioned. And the potential for puns in all of those situations is astronomical. I want my money of the zero dollars I paid for this book back. Plus a pickle.

Next week I will be back to review Dead in the West by Joe R. Lansdale. I wonder if that’s preferable to being dead in any other particular direction?

Frustratingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Fatal Justice – Book Review

The manliest manly man to ever manly man

Here I am again, sitting in my dungeon, waiting for more light to seep through so that I can enjoy some of the myriad books I have on my shelves. Although, to be honest, I am not sure enjoyable is a word I would associate with this week’s book.

Many of my books are full of action and revenge plots. But none of them try to outdo the machismo that shows up in Fatal Justice. It’s not just hyper masculine, it’s downright hyper annoying. Let me give you a little summary of the book. Spoilers follow obviously.

A small town sheriff, Jack Lambert, spends a day and a half doing no sheriffing, drinking at a bar, hanging out with his girlfriend and murders a few bad guy mobsters. That’s the whole plot except to add that he also works for a secret government agency and has some spy equipment. Plus he has a dog.

There’s just not a lot to this book. It’s quite short (which I appreciate) but it’s also not surprising at all, very straightforward, kind of dull, and not a good book. It’s never a good sign when there are ads for a free book at the beginning and two other books in the series at the end. This author is begging for people to keep reading his stuff rather than, I don’t know, writing a good story and hoping people want to keep reading.

Jack spends the entire book thinking about guns, murdering people, sex, beer, and his dog in that order. Over and over again. I’m not sure if the author is really obsessed with these things, or just thinks that’s what a macho guy should think. It got pretty uncomfortable living in this guy’s head after a while. Let me give you some examples of his thoughts.

“…my Glock always gave me a warm fuzzy…”

“…if there was one thing I was really good at, and I mean Super Bowl Champion good, it was getting away with murder.”

“I shook away the vision of shooting all three of them in the parking lot and stuffing their bodies in the trunk in a compromising sexual position before taking a photo, posting it on their Facebook pages, and driving into the woods and setting it on fire.”

“She had probably been attractive sixty years ago, but old age and dementia didn’t excite me like they used to, so I kept my distance from her.”

“I flexed my pecs and drank some beer.”

“He had officially risen to equal the IQ of my dog London.”

That’s a small sampling but the entire book can be summed up with those quotes. It’s the same stuff throughout and it’s super clear the author just wants his character to be Dirty Harry. I’ve seen Clint Eastwood and Jack Lambert is no Clint Eastwood.

I should also mention that Jack is not that bright of a person, despite what this book wants you to think. This guy is some kind of super spy who does consultant work for this secretive agency. But unlike any good spy, he never seems to act in the capacity of his cover job of sheriff. He pretty much goes to a bar and drinks, but doesn’t seem to see the need to enforce any laws or even fill out paperwork or anything. At one point in the book he is trying to memorize a license plate. Normally I would say, sure that can take some mental capacity and depending on your vision you need to get up close to catch all the numbers and letters. However, the license plate in question is KING REX. That’s it. Pretty sure with normal vision you can see that and it’s not hard to memorize. Yet Jack makes specific mention of memorizing the plate and adds to himself that Rex in Latin means King so in effect the plate reads KING KING. So it wasn’t hard to memorize, he should be able to see it, and it’s unique in the little town he is in. Yet he spends like five minutes later in the book sneaking up on the car in the dark to see if he can see the plate. He seems to get really up close to the car too. That’s just not the work of a good spy.

Additionally, Jack takes this evil mob guy off to kill him but instead of doing the sensible thing and just shooting him and dumping his body, he just dumps the body into a well and then shoots. That clearly only happens so the mob guy can come back again. What kind of trained spy doesn’t make sure the body is dead?

Jack also thinks that a guy who has his life threatened by gunpoint and begs to be let go is “a submissive pansy.” Not everyone can be a manly man like you, Jack. It’s so great that manly men like you are around to do manly man things. Now to be fair the “submissive pansy” doesn’t do anything to try to stop a woman from getting nearly sexually assaulted, so it’s not like I like that character. I’m just saying that when your life is threatened, it can be reasonable to try to escape the situation.

I also thought this was a weird comment in the book in Jack’s head. “I silently vowed that my next girlfriend would be repulsive even to Shrek.” So a couple things here. One, Jack is so obsessed with how women look and bend over that even as a joke this doesn’t really work. Two, Shrek is all about inner beauty so uh, I think you were too dumb to understand Shrek there, Jack. Also, in the climax of the book when Jack is trying to get his girlfriend freed from the mob boss he thinks about how the forest always smells so good to him. Jack, focus. You need to focus here dude.

Now, Jack isn’t the only character in the book that either has odd thoughts or does things that make no sense. Here are some examples. Two mob goons call a waitress a wench. Wench? Really? Did we suddenly go the ren fair? Jack’s girlfriend, out of nowhere and with no previous mention of it, knows Judo. The mob boss saves his own life because he was a Boy Scout. That last one I didn’t have that much of a problem with but in the same section, he feels uncomfortable and disturbed because he is in the woods. Isn’t that where he learned his Boy Scout skills? At one point when the mob boss has Jack’s girlfriend hostage, and knows Jack is on his way to where they are, he takes the time to literally fondle and smell her high heels. Gross. And what? What kind of moron does that when you might get killed. I died sniffing sweaty shoes, but it was worth it!

In the end, Jack of course saves his girlfriend, gets to get away with murdering three people, feels no remorse about it other than the fact that his dog died (hmm… the dead dog thing reminds me of a certain film series) and continues to live in this town. Not sure why the town pays him to tell you the truth cause he just does murdery stuff and drinks. Although, technically Jack only throws the mob boss out of an airplane and doesn’t confirm the dude is dead, so maybe he only killed two people after all.

So, in conclusion, if you want a great story about a guy who is overly masculine, just re-watch Die Hard. You’ll have a much better time.

After all the violence, beer, sex and dogs of this book, I am going to try something a little lighter next week. I’ll be giving a read to Pets in a Pickle by Malcom D. Welshman. I’m thinking it’s either a really large pickle or small pets cause otherwise can’t they just eat their way out of it? We’ll see next time.

Miserably yours,

Slick Dungeon