Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

It so happens I do enjoy long walks on the beach. Probably not with you, but then I don’t really know you, do I? You could be a perv, or a serial killer, or a Trump supporter. I’m sure you’re nice, but I just can’t take the chance. You could be…

Wait, where was I? Oh, right, I hadn’t actually started yet. Well, here’s the thing: this post is not about walks on the beach, long, short, or otherwise. It’s about interviews. Or, more to the point, an interview with me. The folks over at Serious Reading were kind enough to post the interview and if you click on my serious face below you can read it.

 

mott author

 

I considered doing an interview with Frivolous Reading, but that would require you to click on my silly face below. But don’t do it. Do NOT click on silly face. Ironically, I’m serious about this. Don’t click on it.

 

Mott silly

 

Told you.

Anyway, an interview is an interview is an interview, and the best part about this one is those Serious folks also posted a review of my novel A Fractured Conjuring, which you can read by clicking on the image of the book below. Go ahead, it’s safe.

 

A Fractured Conjuring - Concept 2 Variant - Large

 

That’s all I have for you at the moment.

Oh, and in case you got frivolously caught up in all the seriousness and forgot to click Serious Me, here’s another opportunity. Click away.

 

mott author

 

And if you are so inclined, you can find the rest of my books over at those madcap guys and gals called Amazon. Click on my logo below and check it out. Then you might want to go soak that clicking finger–it’s had a tough day.

 

Martin Logo

Review: Voiceless

Posted: October 20, 2014 in Book Reviews
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Voiceless
Voiceless by Trent Zelazny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

***Slow Burn, Intense Heat***

Voiceless left me Breathless. Think that’s hyperbole? Read this book and prove me wrong.

The last 100 or so pages were so intense I’m surprised the Kindle survived my sweaty grip. I barely breathed through the last 60 pages. The slow build to the barn-burner of a climax was nearly flawless. Voiceless may be one of the most perfectly paced novels I’ve ever read.

One gets the sense after reading a Trent Zelazny story that he couldn’t possibly do it again; no one could plumb the utter depth of hopelessness again and again without eventually reaching the bottom…could they? No, they couldn’t. But Trent Zelazny can and does. Because he has lived this pain. I’m not saying his work is autobiographical (although I sometimes wonder), only that he is intimately acquainted with genuine misery and is not afraid to tell us what it looks and feels like. Not many writers can do that without coming off heavy-handed. But nothing Zelazny does is heavy-handed. He leads us quite gently through the dark hallways of depression and self-loathing; through doorways and into rooms clotted with anxiety and a panicky sense of mental instability. And we go willingly because we want everything to be okay. We want the ending to show us a glimpse of hope. Sometimes it does; more often it does not. No matter the outcome, we are wiser for the journey. And maybe we see our own world a little more clearly, with a little more of that elusive hope. I think, through all the angst-littered pages, that’s what Zelazny wants. For us to have a better time of it than those who inhabit his pages.

But first we have to walk those gloomy hallways with his often damned protagonists; to take their clammy hands and see how bad it gets before it can get better.

Read this book. Read all Zelazny’s books. There is no one doing what he does, the way he does it. No one.

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Damnation Alley
Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a second trip through Damnation Alley for me. I loved it the first time and loved it again. Roger Zelazny is far more than a Sci-Fi writer; he is a literary craftsman. There are moments of true transcendence here. Highly recommended.

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Review: The Gates

Posted: June 5, 2014 in Book Reviews

The Gates
The Gates by John Connolly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Terrific Demonic Fun

In which young Samuel Johnson (no, not that Samuel Johnson) takes on the demonic hordes of Hell with the aid of his dachshund, Boswell…

John Connolly is a pro when it comes to dark whimsy, or whimsical darkness…or whatever.

The Gates is no exception. Pure demonic fun from start to finish. It may not always be (as some reviews state) “laugh out loud funny”, but you will find yourself chuckling merrily more often than not. And Connolly’s footnotes are a delight, as are the multiple literary allusions to past horror masters (streets named after Poe, August Derleth, even Aleister Crowley).

Fans of British humorists Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett will not be disappointed.

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To Sleep Gently
To Sleep Gently by Trent Zelazny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*** Zelazny Wins Again ***

Trent Zelazny’s gift is a little frightening. The highest praise I can lavish on any writer is to admit that I cannot say why he is so good from a technical standpoint. Zelazny’s skill lies in the ability to make his presence as an author damn near invisible. We are not reading, we are witnessing.

With To Sleep Gently he offers up what seems to be a simple caper story with noir undertones. Our hero is Jack Dempster, a career criminal fresh out of the joint who is immediately roped into a heist. Of course the heist is a near sure thing, and of course things fall apart. None of these plot elements is anything new. But as with all Zelazny’s works the story is not about what it’s about. The ill-advised theft and the bumbling crew are set dressing for what Trent Zelazny really wants to tell you, and that’s how life is not always a friendly mistress. The author also has something to say about the past and how a decades-old indiscretion can haunt you forever.

There is so much depth here, so much pure, gut-wrenching angst. Which simply means this is one more in a long line of brilliantly executed stories for Trent Zelazny. He is, as always, writing at the top of his form.

Read his work. Everything you can find. With Zelazny, it’s all A game. If he has a B game, I haven’t found it yet.

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Review: Carnival Freak

Posted: February 27, 2014 in Book Reviews

Carnival Freak
Carnival Freak by Billie Sue Mosiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Cautionary Carnival Ride

Yowsa (this is a technical term describing the visceral reaction to a piece of fiction that reaches up from the page and smacks you in the face…repeatedly).

Billie Sue Mosiman is a wicked, wicked writer. She sets up the reader beautifully, even as the carnival barker sets up those few guests willing to take that ill-advised step from relative light into unknown darkness—where they have been warned they might not want to go. Down that long dark hall where the real freaks are waiting.

Of course the question is always the same: Who ARE the real freaks?

This story, as with all really good short fiction, has a twist (and what a deliciously mean twist it is), but it works beautifully without it…which is also the mark of truly fine short fiction.

This was my first Mosiman tale. It will not be last. Bravo.

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Review: Enoch’s Devil

Posted: February 14, 2014 in Book Reviews

Enoch's Devil
Enoch’s Devil by Suzi M
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Lighthearted Toe-Curler

Enoch’s Devil is one twisted little tale.

Suzi M has knocked out a tasty treat for Lovecraft fans, as well as those with a darker, biblical mythology fetish.

This is a quick, one-sitting read that manages to be almost cute while still making the reader squirm.

Well done.

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Review: Revival House

Posted: November 2, 2013 in Book Reviews

Revival House
Revival House by S.S. Michaels
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First, to soothe my conscience: I don’t like giving 3-Star reviews. There needs to be a 3.50. Or, in this case, let us say, a 3.827.

I hope that clears things up a bit.
Someone described S.S. Michaels’s Revival House to me as “a corker.” It certainly is that. I would describe it as a light-hearted, Grand Guignol B-Movie. Think Quentin Tarentino meets Christopher Moore.

I must steer clear of details because much of this story’s magic depends on surprise. I wouldn’t dream of ruining that. The only real issue I had (and why I couldn’t quite notch it up to 4 stars) is that some of the surprises were not terribly surprising.

But, and this is a considerable but: I’m not convinced that Michaels intended the surprises to be surprises. I suspect the author was thinking: “Yes, what you think is happening might be what’s happening. You’re safe to assume such and you may continue on, turning pages, a little closer now…closer.”

Said the spider to the fly.

Who’s on first? I don’t know. No, he’s on second base.

Guess away as you turn the pages. You may guess correctly, but you will not be disappointed if you do. This is a pure, balls-out, rollicking good time.

Wear your safety goggles and glove up. You’re gonna get messy.

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Review: People Person

Posted: September 24, 2013 in Book Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

people person
People Person by Trent Zelazny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

** A Wink and A Shiv ***

Don’t turn your back on Trent Zelazny…ever. The boy just doesn’t play fair.

His latest offering (to my knowledge) is People Person—a nasty little slice of business that you will read in one sitting, right before taking a long walk to clear your head…and try to avoid watching the neighbors, whether or not you consider yourself a people person.

Jeffrey Carlisle is a people person, and a heck of a nice guy. The story opens with Jeff staring into an empty ditch, looking for clues as to the whereabouts of his long-missing sister Jessica. The ditch is as empty as Jeffrey, offering no solace or respite from a life steeped in almost mind-numbing drudgery.

There’s not a lot I can tell you about this story without spoiling it—it’s a novella and what transpires in these few pages happens at once slowly and quickly. In many ways nothing at all happens…until it does, until you are comfortably pacified.

But here’s the thing: Zelazny somehow manages to make the mundane compelling, which may be the ultimate testament to his brilliance. That’s a rare gift. Show us a man repeating the same scenario over and over, walking around his kitchen, peeking out at the neighbors…and make it riveting?

There is of course more to this story than a lost man’s boredom and aimlessness, much more. But it is our duty to live with Carlisle—to feel his loss, to wander lonely stretches of road, to wonder why bad things happen to good people. We must walk a mile in his shoes, and as the story unfolds try to deny how well those shoes fit our own feet.

Bravo, Mr. Zelazny. Again.

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