Monday, November 2, 2009

Three from Me

STUFF TO SPY FOR, Don Bruns, Oceanview, $25.95, 305 pages, ISBN: 9781933515229, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

It seems that ever since James Lessor and Skip Moore bought the box truck in STUFF DREAMS ARE MADE OF, and used it as a snack unit at a tent revival in STUFF TO DIE FOR there has been nothing but trouble and more trouble in their life. Should this adventure be any different? Of course not.

Skip is hired to install a state of the art security system at Synco Systems. Synco does work for the government and other clients and since it is located in a seedier part of town, they need to have new equipment put in place. Skip hires James to be one of the installation supervisors on the job. In addition to being in charge, Skip must portray the boy friend of Sarah Crumly, an old flame, who needs to keep her affair with the boss, Sandler Conroy, below the radar of Conroy’s wife, Carol whose father owns the company.

Just as they get started, they discover the body of Ralph Walters, the company VP. It is considered to be a suicide, but there are doubts. Shortly after, Skip gets a call from Carol Conroy, who has a proposition for him.

Now James and Skip begin to be spies in more than name only with their box truck as a spymobile. As things usually go, it turns into a comedy of errors with James and Skip becoming the spied on spies.

Bruns has written another fun adventure that turns thriller novels on their side and inside out as the truth is finally revealed. It’s like Travis McGhee teamed up with Laurel and Hardy. You need to be reading this series and anything else you can find by Don Bruns, he’s that good.

A BOOK OF WIZARDS, edited by Marvin Kaye, SFBC,, 402 pages, ISBN: 9781582882925, an impression by Barry Hunter.

Although I don’t receive as many review copies as I did years ago, every now and then one slips through the cracks and is not reviewed or mentioned, that is the case with this one. I remain in the Science Fiction Book Club for offerings such as this and other multibook volumes that they publish strictly for members. This is reason enough to remain a member or join if you are not.

Marvin Kaye has done many themed anthologies, this is number sixteen, and every one of them deserves a space on the book shelf no matter how crowed they may have become. Sometimes they are picked up by a major publisher for a trade or regular paper back. Far too often, they are only appreciated by the SFBC members. In 2005, the World Fantasy Convention saw fit to award him for his collection, THE FAIR FOLK.

There are seven very good reasons to pick up this volume. Six of them are Kim Newman, Margaret Weis with Robert Krammes, Holly Phillips, Tanith Lee, Peter S. Beagle, and Patricia A. McKillip. They are the contributors of NEW not reprinted stories to this volume. The seventh is Marvin Kaye. He was able to coax wonderful stories of six talented and different writers. All are known for their fantasy writings and all are well known for their longer works. Marvin Kaye has them polishing their craft in a shorter work. Be on the lookout for this title, its well worth the hunt, even if you need to join the book club to get it.

DUSK, A Graphic Novel, David Doub, $10, 104 pages, ISBN: 9780578014364, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

This is a self published graphic novel written by Doub with pencils by Maki Naro, Jerry Gonzales, and Frank Czuba; inks by Chris Scott and Jerry Gonzales; and, lettered by Jaymes Reed.

This is the story of the adventures of Eve, who is the assistant to the vampire hunter, Ash as they seek to eliminate the bad seeds in their community of the undead.

In the first adventure, Eve must discover the victim of a young vampire and try to help him understand what is happening to him. Things don’t always end well for the creator or his new creation.

The second tale explains how Eve came to be where she is today and why she prefers living with the dead.

In the third story, a vampire has joined forces with a Socialist group in order to further their ambitions. It’s Eve’ and Ash’s job to stop them.

In the final story, Eve must straighten out a spell cast by an outcast teenager that has dire consequences for his high school.

This is done in black and white to keep the darker nature of the tales in perspective. While not as violent as manga comics, there is some similarity in style. Look for this at your local book store or With all of the interest in vampires, this is an interesting look with a different slant on the topic.

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