Friday, July 1, 2011

Barry's Reviews

LAZARUS: A Gary Drake Mystery, Michael LaRocca, Mocha Memoirs Press, $5.99 eBook, 232 pages, ISBN: 9780984609376, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

This is the sequel to VIGILANTE JUSTICE that was reviewed several years back and it is nice to find familiar characters in new and unexpected situations, LaRocca has several other titles available as well including CONUNDRUM (reviewed last issue) featuring Gary Drake in one of his incarnations.

This time out Gary wakes up in a prison hospital after being killed in an ambush. The only problem is that Gary has lost the last twenty years of his memory and has no idea how he ended up in prison. Dr Nicholas has used an experimental drug named Lazarus to save Gary’s life.

Nicholas is unsure as to the origin of the drug and what side effects will follow. Gary finds out that all of his family is dead and the reason he is in prison. He learns that his wife died from Aids, but the Lazarus injection may have cured him.

As the story goes on, an old friend comes to help him come to terms with his situation, but not before becoming an experimental subject in the Lazarus field tests. Government involvement, murder and gruesome experiments fill out an interesting tale that lays the ground for other volumes in LaRocca’s series about Gary Drake.

LaRocca is an interesting writer and Mocha Memoirs is a new imprint with the motto, “offering new flavors in fiction” that fits well together and leaves you with a pleasant taste and a craving for more.

REVELATIONS: Osguards, Book Two, Malcolm Dylan Petteway, Rage Books, 294 pages, $14.50, ISBN: 9780984364510, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

In this addition to the Osguards saga (two others follow), we learn more of the history of the Osguards and their actions on Earth during the Civil War and a police investigation in the present. This is going on as Kie Ritchen of the Kulusk has released a virus on Millmum Capitol Station.

It is up to Juanita Genesis-Clark to find the one person with the cure – and he is on the Kulusk home world. Juanita discovers events hidden at the turn of the century and while concerned with the FBIs search for her 5 year old cousin’s killer on Earth, must choose sides in the Kulusk civil war.

Petteway seems at his best writing about the events on Earth and fills it with historical accuracy and makes it interesting. The characters are all well drawn and interesting and will draw you into the story and create interest in the following titles, ARMAGEDDON and REVENGE. Check out for all the details.

ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN AND ZOMBIE JIM, Mark Twain and W. Bill Czolgosz, Gallery Books, $15.00, 274 pages, ISBN: 9781451609783, mentioned by Barry Hunter.

I can’t really call this a review. Huck and Tom and all the characters that Mark Twain created are childhood friends of mine and hold a special place in my heart. By the same token, George Romero and his Night of the Living Dead and other films in the series have a spot there. Romero was the first one to really bring zombies to life (lol) and scare the crap out of me.

This novel idea of bringing both of them together and presenting them together is a fun read sort of scrambles the memories of the book and the movie together to make it a “Duh” moment.

There are other “Blood Enriched Classics” out there. Be on the lookout for them and see what other classics get the treatment.

THE HORROR HALL OF FAME: The Stoker Winners, edited by Joe R. Lansdale, Cemetery Dance, $35.00, 336 pages, ISBN: 9781587670268, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

There are not enough adjectives and adverbs available to describe the stories in this collection. The writers and the stories are all tops in the field and after you read them, if you haven’t before, you will know why. Jack Cady’s “The Night We Buried Road Dog”, Harlan Ellison’s “Chatting With Anubis”, and “Orange is for Anguish, Blue is for Insanity” by David Morrell are some of the finest writing ever. Robert Bloch, George R. R. Martin, Jack Ketchum and Nancy Holder are other wonderful tales.

There’s not a bad story here. It’s easy to see why they were award winners and it’s a great volume filled with Glenn Chadbourne illustrations and a cover by Alan M. Clark. Don’t let this one get past you.

VINTAGE CONNOR: The Blonde in the Lotus Elite, Robert Baty, R.J. Buckley Publishing, $19.00, 324 pages, ISBN: 9780981965475, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Ray Connor was a cop in Oakland and is not into classic cars. An old friend asks him to investigate the death of her daughter at a classic car show. The death was ruled a suicide, but it might have been a murder.

This book is in the vein of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett and is a modern day tale written in the noir style of the forties. It is a fun ride in a classic car while following clues in the world of the elite collectors, money flowing like water, and California settings to make it authentic.

Baty knows the scenery and the background and this makes this an intriguing read. There should be more to come from Baty as there are still plenty of classic cars and stories out there.

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