Posts Tagged ‘trent zelazny’

A few days ago, this happened: a rave review of my novel Relative Karma.

This is a big deal. To me. All reviews are important, and I greet each one–whether good or bad–with gratitude.

But this latest one knocked me back a step. Because the review was done by Anthony Servante. And if that wasn’t enough, my book was given to Servante by one of my literary heroes, Trent Zelazny.

And, though Relative Karma was published second, it is actually my first novel. A novel based loosely on real-world events. My world. A world I hope never to revisit. Somehow, inexplicably, this book continues to connect with readers. I don’t understand that, and I don’t have to. I just have to be grateful.

And I am. Because reviews like this make me keep going. It’s possible that someday I will be able to carve out a living doing what I love: writing books and stories. For now it is enough to know I am doing it, and doing it in a way that seems to be working.

Mr. Servante’s review is below. When you are done, read everything else he has done and be glad you made his cyber acquaintance.

And read Trent Zelazny‘s work. All of it.

Click on the picture to read the review:

 

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And if you are interested in more from me, click on the image below.

 

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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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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: People Person

Posted: September 24, 2013 in Book Reviews
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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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Author Interview Special Edition – Trent Zelazny, American Writer.

This blog could simply say, “Trent Zelazny’s Too Late to Call Texas is available for pre-order on Amazon.”  And that would be enough, should be enough, to send you scampering to the link to place your order (incidentally, every time you see an underlined word or phrase in this post, it will take you directly to the Amazon page for the book—you can even click on any of the images herein and also be whisked away to the Land of Amazon.  Why not zip over there now?).   What?  You need a reason?  You don’t know who this Zelazny character is?

Ahem.  If I may.

I’ve likened Too Late to Call Texas elsewhere as “Shakespeare- tragedy-meets-Tarantino brutality.”  Not since Jack Bauer have so many characters been in so much danger.  The body count is high, the feel-good quotient low.  But this is what Zelazny seems to know and do best, which is to deny us relief, shun our pleas for leniency.  If you’re looking for sunshine and roses look elsewhere.  On the other hand, if you like tragedy (Shakespeare) and ugly, in-your-face grit (Tarentino), then look no further.  Zelazny knows this territory, maybe too well.  And he’s not afraid to grab the reader by the scruff of the neck and say, “Pay attention, this is what despair feels like; what it looks, and smells and tastes like.”  I find all of this immensely refreshing.  We are being told and shown the truth.  The prose is so good, the voice so damned convincing, that we don’t care what the story’s about. We’ll follow these characters down any festering hole they stumble into because Zelazny makes it impossible not to believe.

We talk about this writer’s or that writer’s latest offering, and how that writer is “working at the top of his form.”  Well, I’m not sure Zelazny has a lower position in his form.  He seems to do what he does so effortlessly…well, it’s scary.  And encouraging.  If he doesn’t slow down, we have much to look forward to.

I don’t know the man, so I am going out on a limb in saying Zelazny is not slanting for any particular market, he is stilling some very aggressive personal demons.  If I ever get to meet him, I’d like to talk with him long over coffee and beg him never to stop writing.  At least until the demons have had their say.

I’ve raved about Trent Zelazny before, will continue to do so, and this latest work only proves my previous rants.  This boy can write.  You should be reading his work.  Zelazny may well be the rightful heir to the dark landscape of fiction perfected by Cornell Woolrich—Yes, he is that good.