Friday, February 26, 2016

Quick: "The Order of the Forge" by Victor Gischler and Tazio Betin.

Quick: The Order of the Forge by Victor Gischler and Tazio Betin (illustrator), 2015, 9781616558291.

There are no page numbers but the nudity begins at about 1/6 mark.

Compilation of a comics run, same artist throughout. George Washington gets angry at his father and to spite his father George plans to chop down his father's cherry tree. George's ax slips his hands, the ax flies backwoods into the woods, and is embedded in an old totem pole. George pulls the ax, is struck with a burst of energy and his ax is engraved in runes.

George leaves home and gets a servant's position in Philadelphia. George has a best pal there,Paul Revere. Boss's English niece shows up. English niece is pretty and comic book breasted. English niece sneaks into Uncle's super secret room and overhears Uncle's evil plot. 

Niece runs to George for help. Niece, George, Revere, a horse, George's runed ax, and Ben Franklin are struck by lightning. All of them are struck by ax's magic. They realize Evil Uncle will use the magic for evil.  Chase ensues.

There are dog attacks. Ax attacks. Steampunkery. Scantily clad Niece pummels punks. Magic possessed horse. Trip to Roanoke. Undead Vikings. A Viking ship. Victorious George and Co. found the Forge brotherhood.

1. A fun comic. I would read a sequel.
2. Bad Gischler jokes that you like because they are bad.
3. Characters banter with snappy Gischler dialogue.
4. I liked the artwork. 
5. KRAK KRUNCH WHAK with some beheadings.
6. Gischler's Hellbound was recently nominated for a horror award.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Complete: "Stay" by Victor Gischler

Complete: Stay by Victor Gischler, 2015, 9781466838055 (Ebook read from

I think this novel is not as good as the other Gischler novels I have read. I think the book lacks the zaniness of Gischler's other work and I really like the zany. That's fine of course, this is more of a shoot'em up thriller. Maybe an attempt at a wider audience? Maybe the original title was Girl with the Commando Husband? Hell if I know. I do know I get fan-boyish with Gischler stories.

In fact, this felt more comic book than novel. Descriptions of exploding glass shards, hiding behind couches during a gun fight, bad guys who exist to die. Anyhoo.

David Sparrow lives outside New York with his State's Attorney wife and their two children. David has been playing house husband for the past few months. David is usually a Super Secret Commando Trouble Shooter. He's been on extended leave after the strain of his solo spy missions started burning him out. David wonders if he really is getting burned out and he wants to go back to work. But, David also enjoys being at home with his children.

David's wife is prosecuting a major crime boss in the City. Big Bad Crime Boss Dante Payne arranges for the shooting murder of the State's prime witness. The DA is wounded during the gun battle and can only get relief from Mrs. Sparrow who takes charge and takes her work home. David awakes at night to a noise in Mrs. Sparrow's home office. A fist fight ensues between David and intruder. Intruder escapes and David ponders.

David finds a flash drive in the piles of evidence the intruder was searching. David takes the flash drive to a former Army colleague who is a Whiz Banger Computer Dude. David is worried for Mrs. Sparrow. More violence ensues and David draws his money from the Central Trust and sends his children to Florida with his in-laws.

Dante Payne is not only a bad dude but has been hiring up the bad dudes the CIA and State Department have been sneaking into the country after the Bad Dudes helped the U.S. overseas. Payne is bussin' in trouble from outta state. One of those Bad Dudes was sneaked out of Syria by David. That Bad Dude blames David for the death of Bad Dude's family.

David and Mrs. Sparrow hit the bricks to escape violent bad guys. David discovers the DA is on the take. David and Mrs. Sparrow are hanging in the wind and David decides to take the fight to Dante Payne. Whiz Banger finds out where Payne is and guides David along. More violence ensues. Two handed gun play ensues.

It seems like David and Mrs. Sparrow's luck may have died. David's hidden job angers Mrs. Sparrow. Mrs. Sparrow wonders if their love may be cold. David and Mrs. Sparrow decide with each other they will stay. David smoochy-smoochies with Mrs. Sparrow.

David knows that his fight with Payne will not end. The end will be just winners and losers and he doesn't want to be caught on the wrong side of that line. David prevails and the epilogue ties things up for a sequel.

1. Sure, I complained about this book but it is still a Gischler novel. That means the book is above average and worth your time.
2. I'd give it a 3.5 out of 5.
3. Did you read The Deputy? That's a good very good one.
4. So is Pistol Poets.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Heard: "The Death of Kings" by Conn Iggulden

Heard: The Death of Kings by Conn Iggulden, 2004, download.

I finished this a while ago and am catching up on my book notes. An important note: this is not meant as fictionalized nonfic. Iggulden's author notes - maybe they were online - detail the differences between Iggulden's characters versus the real Romans he based the characters on. Anyway.

Julius Caesar has been sailing around the Med on a Roman ship after fleeing Sulla's bloody wrath. Caesar is an infantryman and an attack by his ship on the pirates gets Caesar, and other ransom-worthy Romans, captured. Caesar's family raises the ransom money but Caesar refuses to return to Rome. Caesar and Co. are left on the shore of North Africa and Caesar recruits the rest of the stranded crew to help him recruit North African Romans so they can all attack the pirates and recover the ransoms.

Caesar grows as a leader. Caesar makes a couple enemies. Caesar finds the pirate, recovers the gold, lands in Greece, puts down a Greek rebellion, rescues a Roman governor, receives an honour wreath and returns to Rome.

Meanwhile, Marcus Brutus has finished his tour with a Legion in Greece. He returns to Rome, lives on Caesar's estate, meets his high-price prostitute mother, has Marius's Legion reformed, and starts getting political.

Caesar returns and teams with Brutus. There is some friction but the two join together and their new Legion marches against Spartacus. Along the way Cato plots against Caesar and several Senators. Cato pays for assassins. Cato is slimey. Roman revenge is bloody and ruthless and just as slimey. Caesar and Brutus survive the slave rebellion but Caesar's family is murdered.

1. A good part of the book is a clear argument against the brutality of slavery. You'll grit your teeth thinking of the nitwits who say slavery wasn't so bad.
2. A reminder that Romans were assholes compared to today. Steven Saylor's (no relation) novels highlight the same inequalities as shown here. The rich make the rules.

Done Last Night: "The Age of Selfishness" by Darryl Cunningham

Done Last Night: The Age of Selfishness: Ayn Rand, morality, and the financial crisis by Darryl Cunningham, 2015, 9781419715983.

Comic book nonfic about Ayn Rand, Rand's love for self-love, and the author's thesis that Rand's philosophy of self-love love excused greed and led to the economic collapse of 2008.

I don't quite agree with everything in here. Greed is nothing new. Justifying greed is nothing new. Ayn Rand has certainly had a big influence though with the current Leader of the House Paul Ryan and former Fed Meister Alan Greenspan one of her acolytes in the '60s and '70s.

I've not read Rand's novels. I doubt I will read Rand's novels. Rand sounds like a selfish asshole. Heck, Rand was a selfish asshole and looked to justify her behavior.

Cunningham only spends the first third of the book on Rand and her personal and professional life. The rest is spent on the reasons for the financial breakdown, the aftermath and Cunningham's arguments about why it happened. I think the slick tricks of the credit swaps, derivatives, and fraudulent lending are always worth another brief.

Cunningham has as good sized section on the many differences between liberal and conservative mindsets. That section was interesting. Cunningham writes that recent research says those political/social beliefs are nature, not nurture. The many differences between the two groups: Reactions to danger. Inquisitiveness. Black and white versus shades of grey. Resistance or embrace of change.

Cunningham discusses the pros and cons of both sides and tries to lay the blame of the '70s crime wave on the liberalism of the '60s. (Okay, you can go with that but I'm not sure how you'll prove it.) He puts corporate greed and the screwing of the middle and working class on the Reagan conservative era starting in 1980. (Well, as a mostly-lefty I admit I am inclined to agree there.)

A big part of the book is the Golden Rule. Should we treat others with kindness or is that a wasted weakness? Rand would let them starve. Should those with all the gold make the rules? Rand seemed to want things that way.

We have a recent Rand bio here at work: Goddess of the Market, 2009. Goddess is listed in Cunningham's bib and has circ'ed 13 times. A DVD title, Ayn Rand in her Own Words has been out 11 times since April, 2011.

Finished: "Signature Kill" by David Levien

Finished: Signature Kill by David Levien, 2015, 9780385532556.

I was quite happy when I heard this new Frank Behr series novel was being published. This is a serial killer story which, to me, is not a good fit for a PI novel. The previous three Behr book were man alone stories. Behr is insular with few friends no work mates and revenge stories like Where the Dead Lay make more sense. Of course, this is a novel. You know... fiction.

Behr is living by himself because he is a jackass. His longtime girlfriend lives in her home with her and Behr's toddler son. Behr is still wrapped up in guilt from the death of his first son several years ago. He is unable to commit to Girlfriend because of this.

Behr works as a solo PI in Indianapolis and is without clients. Behr reads a billboard listing a reward for a missing woman. "Hell, why not? I need the dough." Behr calls number and visits The Mom. Missing Woman was a prostitute. Behr sleuths and discovers possible pattern of other missing women and prostitutes.

Meanwhile, we 1st person pal around with Bad Guy Serial Killer. Bad Guy Serial Killer likes blonds. Bad Guy Serial Killer enjoys artistic display so body parts. Bad Guy Serial Killer dumps his bodies around Indy. Bad Guy Serial Killer's dong digs dead dames. Things happen and Behr runs the case.

Behr is a large and powerful man and doesn't mind a few fisticuffs. Behr used to work for the Indy P.D. and the keep-the-public-from-panic topic of serial killers gets Behr hush-hush access to PD files. Behr has a suspect. Behr has dead ends. Behr shakes the tree and Bad Guy Serial Killer shows.

Big climax with violence. Behr wins out.

1. This entry did not have as much about Behr's fights, about Behr's exercise routine, about Behr's jiu-jitsu. All of these novels procedural mysteries with some bad guy 1st person.
2. I still have not seen any of Levien's movies. I did start watching The Girlfriend Experience but was sidetracked and never got back to it. He is also doing The Billions on TV which looks like a good show.
3. Not as much gratuitous gun love as before.

Done: "Buck Fever" by Ben Rehder

Done: Buck Fever by Ben Rehder, 2002, 1466414545. I think the ISBN is the hardcover or paperback. This is a Kindle title owned and published by Rehder.

Plugged by Crider as a deal of the day. I remember when this book came out but I never got around to the book.

Game Warden John Marley's best pal since boyhood is Phil Colby. A few years ago Colby had to sell his family ranch to wealthy lobbyist Roy Swank. Swank moved out from Austin to start a Big Time Game Ranch. Swank imported some Mexican deer fenced off much of his property.

John gets called out to the Swank place after a couple spotlight poachers ended up shooting a wildlife biologist by mistake. One of the deer is acting crazy and skittish - jumping and bucking - and Marley tranquilizes the deer. Well, Tranq Deer is Phil's former pet from when Phil owned the property.

Phil is happy for the chance to get his deer back. Warden John is happy to help give the deer back. Something sketchy is happening with Swank's deer. The Sheriff is a prick. The poachers are idiots. Swank is an arrogant SOB.

Things happen. Phil is injured and hospitalized. Warden John makes goo-goo eyes with Phil's nurse. Nurse makes goo-goo eyes at Warden John. Bad guys arrive to recover the drugs that were sewn inside the live Mexican deer. So on. So forth. Warden John and Nurse do the sexy sexy sex while captive to Bad Guys.

1. A fun novel. I couldn't help but compare setting and characters to Sheriff Dan Rhodes.
2. Some satisfying silliness.
3. Worth your time.
4. There is a shoot out.
5. There are a couple murders.