Monster by A. Lee Martinez (review)

monster-almartinez

This isn’t my first jump into the mind of A. Lee Martinez and most certainly won’t be the last. He’s a wonderful mix between Robert Asprin, Terry Pratchett and Christopher Moore. The latter being reflected more in his latest book, MONSTER.

Monster has been peddling through life. His job is going no where, his girlfriend is a loveless but sex hungry succubus, and his assistant is a constantly correcting paper gnome from another dimension. Oh, and Monster is also cursed. Every time he wakes up he’s a different color which imparts some physical power whether useful or not.

Monster works the late shift as a cryptobiological control agent who contracts with local Animal Control to take care of situations that are a little stranger than a cat in the tree, or a snake in the drain. Despite most humans not recognizing creatures and things that go bump in the night, or wanting to believe in them, they do exist and it’s Monster’s job to capture and contain them before the human world is too inconvenienced.

Sure capturing monsters for a living might sound one big adventure after another, however, things have been slowing down and it really isn’t much different than rescuing a stranded cat or a stuck snake. It’s just the JOB. That is until Monster meets Judy who seems to have a bizarre knack for attracting cryptoparanormals.

Judy is somewhat in the same situation as Monster. Things aren’t going her way. She’s stuck in a dead end job as a late night clerk at a grocery, she doesn’t seem to have any motivation, doesn’t have a boyfriend so to speak, and has a judgmental older sister. She’s also a light cog. Judy is able to cognitively recognize monsters and magic when she sees them, but unable to retain the memory of the events or creatures. Unlucky for her most humans aren’t able to perceive these things and live their lives in blissful ignorance.

The meeting of Monster and Judy is the pretext that takes the reader down the road to an end of the world adventure as old as time itself. They just have to capture a few monsters along the way, and try not to kill each other.

Like with many of Martinez’s books, there isn’t much dwelling of the past, the story is about the here and now and the reader is carried through by the actions and interactions of the characters. Having read all of Martinez’s books this is one of his bests, it brings us back to the buddy book GIL’S ALL FRIGHT DINER which is still my favorite. I’d recommend this as a great summer read. It’s fun and doesn’t take itself too serious.

Daybreakers (Trailer)

I’m kind of a classic horror fan. Give me vampires, werewolves, zombies galore. I love them old school or mixed up modern. I especially like them when they stray from the mold and give us something with a twist. DAYBREAKERS looks interesting to me. Vampires aren’t the minority, they’re the majority and they’re running out of food. If they don’t find a solution they’ll revert into primal forms and start feeding on each other, kind of like those creatures in PITCH BLACK. Not such a bad thing, but this kind of means the end of the Human race too.

PLOT: In the year 2019, a plague has transformed most every human into vampires. Faced with a dwindling blood supply, the fractured dominant race plots their survival; meanwhile, a researcher works with a covert band of vamps on a way to save humankind.

STARS: Ethan Hawke, Willem Defoe and Sam Neill

Luka II (Poem)

This poem was inspired by the song “My Name is Luka” by Suzanne Vega. So that puts it somewhere in or after 1987. At the time my Mom was working in the Child Protective Services and that was probably a bit of influence as well. If you are familiar with the song, you know it’s about child abuse.

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The Last Airbender (teaser trailer)

I’ve been a fan of the Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender. When I heard they were going to make a movie, I was thrilled. When I heard it was going to be live action and directed by M. Night Shymalan I was scared. But these teaser trailer gives me hope. The movie is going to be titled The Last Airbender because of James Cameron’s Avatar which is releasing later this year possibly.

Ode to a Blue Jean Jacket (poem)

Amazingly, I found a poem I wrote in 87, possibly earlier, dedicated to my favorite 80’s attire, the blue jean jacket. I actually had a spring/fall denim and a winter denim. Ah those were the days. Anyway, it’s a possitive poem, not negative or dark. Surprised?

Ode to a Blue Jean Jacket

My friend you are there
In rain, sleet or snow.
Summertime is near.
Sadly meaning your time to go.

You were a shadow and a symbol
Following me everywhere.
You have a style about you
That was acceptable to wear.

Our parting shall be brief,
In three months we shall see
Changes have been made
But you’ll always stay with me.

Beat the Reaper (review)

3173125It was by chance that I found Josh Bazell’s debut novel, Beat the Reaper. My local stores have a poor track record of picking up first time novelists’ books, so unfortunately a lot of my book buying is online. Fortunately while purchasing another novel Beat the Reaper was recommended. So I took a look at the description and the plot grabbed me.

Dr. Peter Brown is an intern at NYC’s worst hospital, Manhattan Catholic. He’s also a man hiding from his past under the protection of the Witness Security Program (WitSec). That past, a former mob hitman turned informant, catches up to him one evening while making rounds as he runs into a familiar face, a mobster dying from an aggressive stomach cancer. From there we are taken on a roller coaster ride of violence, love, loss and redemption through the eyes of Peter Brown aka Pietro Brnwa aka “The Bearclaw”.

Josh Bazell is a unique voice, mashing up a blood soaked crime thriller with a detailed medical procedural, that pushes you from cover to cover causing both awe and revulsion. I could not put the book down despite some questionable scenes that were both probable or improbable. My favorite bits were the footnotes through out the book that filled in the reader on medical knowledge. I will never forget ‘degloving’.

Beat the Reaper is a great novel debut from Bazell and I can only imagine how he will follow it up. This books is not for everyone with it’s violence and profanity, but with flavors of Chuck Palahniuk, Charlie Huston with a touch of Mickey Spillane it might have an appeal to those readers.

Related Links:
Visit JoshBazell.com
Buy the Book (hard bound)
Buy the Book (Kindle)

Heart of Town (poem)

“Heart of Town” was written somewhere between 1988-1989. No date on the print out, but those were the years I was most productive. This poem is somewhat sing-songy, though like most of my poems kind of dark, a bit brooding, and a bit naive. Some of the rhyme and rhythm is forced. I chose this poem because today while I was walking during lunch through town it came back to me. Reference to “snow” is pretty dated. I guess if I were writing it today, I’d have to use crystal instead. Continue reading “Heart of Town (poem)”