Review: The Final Winter

The Final WinterThe Final Winter by Iain Rob Wright

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What do you do when the end of the world is upon you? Grab a beer of course. The Final Winter centers around a bar of people stranded during what appears to be the apocalypse. Ian Rob Wright masterfully portrays this group of characters making you, at times, love and detest each of them.

The Final Winter is very character driven and not a ton of time wasted on world building. He is so good at ensuring the dialogue moves the story line along, there is little world building necessary. Most of the story takes place in a traditional English pub providing most of the setting.

While I hate spoilers in reviews, suffice it to say the characters have to figure out what is going on and not is all that it seems in a world gone mad. Their small assemblage is complicated by the appearance of a serial killer, a movie crazed teen, a drunken murderer, a war vet who loves to be as drunk as possible, and a few other people… and non-people. This whole situation is complicated by the sudden appearance of a few others threatening to end them all.

My one criticism, and it is minor, is that I did figure out the major plot twist early on. That in no way changed my level of enjoyment, and to be fair I usually figure out the major plot twists early.

I can highly recommend The Final Writer by Ian Rob Wright. It is a gripping dark tale, guaranteed to suck you in!

-Bryan the Writer

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Review: The Big Get-Even

The Big Get-EvenThe Big Get-Even by Paul Di Filippo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is little I love more in the literary world than a truly bad protagonist and an even worse antagonist! Enter Glen, a recent ex-con who is trying to figure out what to do with his post prison life. Bad decisions leaves him trying to figure out his next move when onto the scene stumbles Stan, another ex-con who Glen saves the life of one night on his way home. From there, things get interesting quick with the addition of a cast of strange and fun characters.

The two hatch a plan, based on the hatred of a man who had a hand in ruining many of people’s lives.

The Big Get-Even by Paul Di Filipo is one of those books I read in three sittings (a quick read). The story is engaging, characters loveable in an unlikable kind of way. I could not put it down and actually woke up early one morning just to read.

I am a firm believer that not all books need to be so in depth that it buries you in detail after detail until your head is swimming. This is just a fun ride and a great story. The story is well executed and everything I would expect in pulp fiction.

My only complaint, and it is minor, is that I figured out the ending before I got there. However, I want to impress upon the gentle reader of this review that it in no way detracted from the fun ride that I had reading this book.

If you are looking for a good read for a vacation or waiting around the doctor’s office, I can highly suggest The Big Get-Even by Paul Di Filippo. You will love the world of Glen, Stan, and the others.

-Bryan the Writer

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Review: Serial Killers and Psychopaths

Serial Killers & PsychopathsSerial Killers & Psychopaths by Nigel Cawthorne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Serial Killers and Psychopaths” really sums up well what you get in the book by Greig and Marlowe. As I study serial kills for my own writing, I thought it an interesting title. First thing you need to know is that this a non-fiction work and is really a collection of the world’s worst the world has to offer.

I give them a great deal of credit for this book, it is well written, seemingly well researched, and well organized. I picked up a copy of mine at a bookstore and worked my way through it. It is long, but broken up well in smaller vignettes on each of the cases.

I knew some of the cases, but not all. In the ones that I already knew, I found them to be good summaries. Although the re-tellings are a bit wave-top in that they don’t really have time to go into great detail, they do a nice job. There are a couple of notable characters missing, but those cases I know are huge and likely are not really re-countable easily. The case of the BTK killer, Dennis Rader, comes to mind as a notable gap in the collection. Charles Manson is also ignored for some reason.

Certainly, there is enough to sink your teeth into to send you to the internet to look up more information on a particular person, or persons. This is really more of a quick reference guide and something good to have on hand if you are looking for information on a particular person as a starting point.

This is a bit of a time investment, but worth it if the topic of how horrible human beings can be to one another interests you.

-Your Humble Servant,

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