Tag: Atomic Moo Book Review (page 1 of 7)

Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Dust

An Atomic Moo Book Review of a New Sherlock Holmes Adventure!

Alright, El Moochadores, Titan Books has published another new Sherlock Holmes adventure by author James Lovegrove, and this time around the world famous detective, and Dr. Watson, are joined by none other than legendary hunter, Allan Quartermain in The Devil’s Dust! Here’s the synopsis:


It is 1884, and when a fellow landlady finds her lodger poisoned, Mrs Hudson turns to Sherlock Holmes.

The police suspect the landlady of murder, but Mrs Hudson insists that her friend is innocent. Upon investigating, the companions discover that the lodger, a civil servant recently returned from India, was living in almost complete seclusion, and that his last act was to scrawl a mysterious message on a scrap of paper. The riddles pile up as aged big game hunter Allan Quatermain is spotted at the scene of the crime when Holmes and Watson investigate. The famous man of mind and the legendary man of action will make an unlikely team in a case of corruption, revenge, and what can only be described as magic…

For my part, I enjoyed the hell out of this book. This last year, most of my reading has been from the self-help, and motivation, sections of the library. So it was kind of refreshing to get back to a fun work of mystery and fantasy. Also, I’ve read some of Lovegove’s books in the past, and he does a fantastic job of verbally recreating a late 19th century England where a Sherlock Holmes can meet an Allen Quartermain. To be honest, I don’t have any viable criticism of this book. I started reading it about two days ago, and I just sort of burned through it. I guess I was kind of hungry for something weird and geeky, and this story delivered by providing a sort of traditional Holmes and Watson, in an entirely new universe.

Also, on unrelated note, this book (indirectly) got me watching a bunch of the old Sherlock Holmes serials starring Basil Rathbone. Definitively not the same time period or style, but if you want more Sherlock Holmes you can find many of these videos for free on Youtube. You can also go to Titanbooks.com and purchase a great number of excellent Holmes stories, along with Devil’s Dust!

Check out the Titan Books online store to get you’re own copy of Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Dust. Also, dig some Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in a 1940’s Holmes adventure below.

Cheers!

Alien: The Cold Forge!

An Atomic Moo Book Review

Now out through Titan Books is a new addition to the Aliens universe! Written by veteran sci-fi author, Alex White, The Cold Forge picks up a short time after the events at Hadley’s Hope (Aliens) on LV-426. Here’s the synopsis:

A dramatic new Alien novel, as Weyland-Yutani seeks to recover from the failure of Hadley’s Hope, and successfully weaponize the Xenomorphs. With the failure of Hadley’s Hope, Weyland-Yutani has suffered a devastating setback–the loss of the Aliens they aggressively sought to exploit. Yet there’s a reason the Company has risen to the top of the food chain. True to form, they have a redundancy already in place… the facility known as The Cold Forge. Remote station RB-232 has become their greatest asset in weaponizing the Xenomorphs. However, when Dorian Sudler is sent to RB-232 to assess their progress, he discovers that there’s a spy aboard–someone who doesn’t necessarily act in the company’s best interests. For Dorian, this is the most unforgivable of sins. When found, the perpetrator will be eliminated with extreme prejudice. If unmasked, though, this person may be forced to destroy the entire station… and everyone on board. That is, if the Xenomorphs don’t do the job first…

To be honest, I wasn’t too excited for another Aliens story. I can’t say I enjoyed the last couple of films in the franchise, and I had a tough time imagining what else a person could do with super fast, acid for blood, murder machines. Turns out, a lot. I actually really enjoyed this book. The Xenomorphs still do their job of ripping innocent people to shreds, but White also added some great characters like the sociopathic auditor, Dorian Sudler, and the near invalided, Blue Marsailis. The two characters made this sort of great yin-yang of powerful versus weak, or ruthless versus cunning. In Sudler, I think White created a better monster than the Xenomorphs, and in Blue he created a protagonist worthy of taking over for Ripley. Sometimes the book did feel like it was crossing ground already covered by Jurassic Park, or the original Alien films, but White’s excellent portrayal of a murderous corporate auditor, and a bedridden genius, gives the story its own legs to stand on. No offense to Blue.

Actually, I really think the worse part of this story is that it’s not the latest film version. Instead of getting a character driven story like The Cold Forge, the last few years we got two Alien stories that somehow (amazingly) made Aliens not alien anymore. Fucking wow.

The book is out now and available in all major books stores or you can buy it online at Titan Books!
Cheers.

Tomb Raider: The Art and Making of the Film

An Atomic Moo Film Book Review

Following the recent release of the Tomb Raider major motion picture is a new art and making of the film hard back book from Titan Books! And we got one!

Now, I can’t review the film, because I haven’t actually seen it yet. My current budget (or lack of) isn’t allowing for any film reviews (though a couple of free passes from Warner Bros could totally fix that… just say’n), but we did receive a very cool edition of Titan Books’s 2018 Tomb Raider: The Art and Making of the Film. I love film and art books, and they’re a great resource for graphic inspiration, reference material, and plain old geeking out. Also, Titan Books has produced many high quality film books in the past, and this one is no exception. Written/produced by Sharon Gosling (She did the Art and Making of Wonder Woman we reviewed awhile back), the Tomb Raider film book gives a pretty damn interesting insight into the concept art, behind the scenes photos, stunts, and cast quotes about the movie.

This film book starts with forwards from director Roar Uthaug (might actually be a viking), and producer Graham King, then continues with more than 170 beautiful pages of film making. Like always, my favorite parts are the concept art used for creating the film. However, if you are more into the film making process, prop making, or sets, then there are dozens of pages covering all of that.

I’ve posted a few sample images (just taken from my iPhone) below along with the film official trailer and the official synopsis, but if you enjoyed the film (I wouldn’t know… too poor for movie tickets, popcorn, and candy) then I highly recommend finding a copy at your local Barnes and Nobles (or book store of choice), or even getting your own copy at Titan Books online store. Tomb Raider stars Alicia Vikander and is in theaters now! …or so I hear.

Cheers!

From Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Tomb Raider follows the treacherous journey of a young Lara Croft as she takes her first steps toward becoming a global hero. Academy Award™ winner Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl) stars in the lead role, under the direction of Roar Uthaug (The Wave). Showcasing lavish concept art, behind the scenes photos, insight into the stunts, and fascinating contributions from cast and crew, Tomb Raider, The Art and Making of the Film, is the perfect companion to this highly-anticipated release.


Seriously, WB! Don’t you want your movies reviewed by a website about a fire-breathing super cow!?! WTF WB?

What They Didn’t Teach You In Design School

An Atomic Moo Book Review!

I am not a graphic designer. However; Chud (Atomic Moo co-creator and my twin brother) is. Over the years Chud has collected an larger library of art and design books that I have only recently started to read. Which is weird, because I usually only read fantasy or science fiction novels. Seriously, it is very sad that I can only read a book if it has space ships blowing up or naked red Martian princesses in ’em, but something changed! These last couple of months I’ve been reading his collection, and now I’ll be posting all my muddled thoughts about them. Here we go!

Having now read What They Didn’t Teach You In Design School by Phil Cleaver (published How Books 2014) brought me to yet another realization that I have made some huge mistakes in my life. I should have gone into a creative field when I was a young man. If not graphic design, then certainly illustration… or anything else than what I did do. While reading this niffty little hard back, I kept imagining my current self some how going back in time and giving a 1999 version of myself this book and a bunch of advice. In my time travel fantasy I would appear in a flash of light wearing a silver cape (I am from the future) and blind my 1999 self with the powerful light of my iPhone 6 (it’s still from the future!) and command the attention of an confused young man obsessed with Star Wars and candy bars by saying, “Listen up Pork Chop! You’re going to art school!” Then I would also hand him a copy of Cleaver’s book. Yeah, I could probably just as well hand 1999 Trog a bunch of winning lotto numbers, and a sports almanac, but then fantasy he/me wouldn’t learn anything.

Anyways… What I hope 1999 me would get out this book is a deeper understanding of what it is to be in a professional creative’s career. What They Didn’t Teach You In Design School is like the Junior Woodchuck Guide Book of design books. I discussed the book with twin bro/Graphic Designer: Chud, and how it compared to his own start in graphic design, and he confirms that it covers a lot of areas universities, and art schools, leave out. Stuff like dealing with clients and co-workers, applying for the first internship or job, what it is like to be a junior designer, dealing with printers! It also contains useful stories from industry professionals about how they solved a particular problem or a unique design experience. The very book itself is an amazing example of quality design. There’s a beautiful uniformity to each page that clearly delivers the information and keeps the eye on the page. Also includes inspiring quotes and the ability to keep it in a coat pocket! Soon to, or recent, design grads should consider Cleavers book a necessary piece of armor in their battle for a satisfying career, because it lays down in clear terms a firm foundation of insightful knowledge absent at the university level. Hell, schools should just give graduating students this book along with their graphic design badges. Do graphic designers get badges? If not, they probably should. Badges just make jobs better.

Now at this point in my time travel fantasy, my future self is about to leave. It is 1999, and why the hell would anyone want to stay there, but past me is gonna have some questions:

“How awesome is the news Star Wars (Phantom Menace)?”
“It’s bad, kid. About as bad as Grandma dying, your girl friend breaking up with you, and finding out you were adopted all in the same hour. Heart breaking, really. Then Disney buys it.”
“And do they make it better?”
“No. Then it becomes like a corporation takes your dead grandma, puts her in a mini-skirt, and whores her out to morons drunk on PC culture. Then sometime later they chop her up, and force you to eat her.” (Which as I write this is the best way I’ve ever described Disney Star Wars. Disney Star Wars: Your dead hooker grandma chopped up and force fed back to you.)
“oh. Well, who’s the president?”
I rub my temples before answering, “Ehhhhh… Let’s not go there, but when it rains it pours.”
“Do I ever end getting married? Who’s my wife?”
“…Alyssa Milano,” I lie. Then I disappear back to the future.

If you read this review (I apologize) and you’re interested in getting your own copy of What They Didn’t Teach You In Design School, then go get a copy at Barnes & Nobles or order a copy online here!. Also, available on Nook!

Justice League: The Art of the Film

An Atomic Moo Book Review!

Happy Holidays, El Moochadores! For today’s post I got a hold of Titan Books’s hardcover Justice League: The Art of the Film! Now, I dug the book, but I can’t say anything about the movie itself because I haven’t seen it yet. Which is not a criticism of the film, I’ve just been either too busy, or too broke (or a combination of the two), to see films this last year. Anyways… Let’s review a book!

I think I enjoy “Art of” books way more than I do actual films anymore. Everyone of these books is filled with beautiful set design, concept art, costumes, and background information that appeals to my creative side, and Justice League: Art of the Film is no exception. The book begins with a forward by DC’s Geoff Johns and an introduction by the films producer, Charles Roven, then dives into over 200 pages of the films art production. Along with detailed images of concept art and costume concepts is a quote from the production staff or performer about the set, prop, or costume being used. There’s even one page which shows all the background Logo, poster, and ad work produced to flesh out their world. Which with us being design nerds, was kind of cool to see.

I also enjoyed the variety of costume designs featured in the book. Most of the images are labeled as “concept” so I don’t know how much of it made it into the film, but I kind of wish cosplayers would pay more attention to books like this. These books are awesome reference sources for costume ideas. It’d be great to see cosplayers bring these costumes to conventions instead of the now standard issued Deadpool and Harley Quinn that fill up every con. Also, I’m glad to see the kept the Wonder Woman costume hot ‘n sexy. What with this weird liberal puritanism fucking up our culture and creativity, its nice to some sexy back on screen. Though, that might just be Gal Gadot. I’m pretty sure see could wear a cardboard box and still be hot. Actually… that is hot. ANYWAYS, the other costume details about Flash, Batman, and the other heroes were also interesting to read and see in detail.

The film’s reviews haven’t been great, but this art book is actually pretty cool, and if you’re into costume design, set design, or even FX work, you might want to pick up a copy for yourself. You can get your own copy (why not, you got some Christmas cash coming in! X-mas bonus!!!) of Justice League: The Art of the Film in all major book stores or online at titanbooks.com!

Check out a proper synopsis, a few sample images, along with a trailer of the film! Sorry about some of the quality of the images, I had to use my iPhone and I wanted to show what the book actually looked like. Not just images pulled from the web – like above.

Cheers!

Inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans – Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash – to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions. Packed with stunning concept art, sketches, costume detail, stills, and behind-the-scenes shots from the set, this book is an invaluable insight into the world of Justice League.

The High Ground

An Atomic Moo Book Review

Way back in 2016 (if I can remember that far back) Titan Books sent me a pile of novels and “art of books” to review here on the Moo (heh). Anyways, 2016 was also a very tough year chuck full of scary personal problems. Notice how there hasn’t been a Moocast in a while? Well, probably not, but in the history of my life 2016 will go down as “not fun”, and that is despite going to comic book conventions as a vendor for the first time and kicking off both Atomic Moo #1 and Atomic Tails! However, things are getting a little better, and this pile of books sitting atop my Con Pile, is getting really annoying. Like a sort of silent guilt trip. Yeah, I took the books, I should read and review them. Which I’ve started to do again. Also, there’s a lot of creativity in these books, and we’re a geek creative website. It is very important to me to figure out how to be a creative professional, and peeking into the imagination of authors and artists I think can help. So, we’re back with another Atomic Moo Book Review! Better late then never, right?

First up is a paperback novel by writer Melinda Snoodgrass, a veteran SF and fantasy writer who has written for Star Trek, and worked with George (where’s the new damn book?) R. R. Martin. Keen.

The High Ground: Imperials Saga is a military SF novel set in a future galaxy conquered by humans and ruled by a mostly chauvinistic society. The story kicks off when, in a move to preserve power, the emperor’s daughter (Mercedes) becomes the first woman admitted to High Ground – an elite orbital military school. There she meets the son of a tailor (Tracy) who, despite his poor background, has won a scholar ship to the academy and hopes to one day rise above his “intitulado” (untitled) station in life. Then there’s some romance, political backstabbing, and all the cool stuff that goes along with alien subjugation, class warfare, and sexism. Keen.

For the most part, I did enjoy this book. Snodgrass creates an interesting future where humans have conquered a galaxy, yet (somehow) also reverted to an imperial government controlled by a patriotic aristocracy. Way back when I was napping through college I remember one of my anthropology professors discussing similar situations in world history. The idea being that as humanity has room to expand, and possibly compete with others, non-reproductive activity and rights take a back seat to baby making. In High Ground, Snodgrass presents a story where humans are desperate to fill planets with more humans so the rights of women and homosexuals take a backseat. I’m not saying I agree with this, but unconscious social decisions have always fascinated me. Like, cars. How the fuck did we all agree the car was a good idea. It sucks. It “Force Awakens” sucks, but somehow we all go along with it and spend way too much time starring at the ass end of a SUV with “Trump” bumper stickers all over the back of it! Digression aside, I also enjoyed how the current ruling families of her book evolved from the capitalism of today. The idea of Pepsi, McDonalds, and (gods helps us) Disney going on one day to spawn a ruling class of oligarchs, is really interesting. Also, this is a very feminist book. As a fully equipped dude, I think this should have bugged me a little more, but it didn’t. I think Snodgrass did a good job of introducing a bit of feminism into a military SF book without scaring guys away.

As far as criticisms of this novel go: I don’t think I dug the teen romance aspects of the book. Not that it wasn’t written well, or that others wouldn’t enjoy it, but I’m way past my teen years, and the “space high school” romances, and competitions, were tough for me to care about. My only other criticism would be that the book (mostly) sticks with the perspectives of Tracy and Mercedes, which gets claustrophobic at times. In a reading sense. Getting away from the protagonist and into the heads of some of the other characters would’ve been a nice trip at times.

So that’s the review El Moochadores! If you’re interested in checking out The High Ground you can currently find it in most bookstores or you can get your own copy online at Titan Books!

Cheers!

Invasion!

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An Atomic Moo Book Review of Luke Rhinehart’s New Novel!

Aliens have come to Earth and they’re here to play! Seriously, just play. Well, not seriously at all, but weird and funny in this new novel from Titan Books by author Luke Rhinehart where in fuzzy – shape shifting aliens from another dimension have come to Earth to change human attitudes towards money, power, sex, and everything else through the art of fun and play. The book is collection of fictional narratives most of which surround one alien (Louie) and his adoptive family, The Morton’s. Louie, and a few thousand of his fellow FF’s (funny fish), hop into of all sorts of trouble with the establishment until they are eventually declared a national threat and labeled as terrorists. Hilarity ensues. Here’s the books proper synopsis before the mostly half thought review:


It’s pretty weird. That’s what old codger Billy Morton thinks when “Louie” lands in his fishing boat and follows him home. He, his wife and two boys come quickly to love this playful alien, but when “Louie” starts using their computer to hack into government and corporate accounts, learn all that the NSA knows, and steal millions from banks to give to others, they realize that Louie and his friends mean trouble. The life of Billy and his family begins a roller-coaster ride of fame, fortune, jail, death, resurrection, and a distinguished ranking high on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” List.

When people (readers) go into book stores, they are going to find Luke Rhinehart’s Invasion in the science fiction/fantasy section of the store. Which isn’t where the book should be. The book is more of a political satire that uses aliens to tell readers of our own political and social errors. So, yeah there are aliens in the book, but this novel is about as much science fiction as Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five is about time travel. Though like Slaughterhouse Five, Invasion is chuck full of satirical intelligent humor.

Although I did enjoy the satire, and I agree with most of the authors sentiment toward our ruling political parties, I thought the book was way too long and often redundant. Also, many of the chapters that were supposed to be written by different characters often read similar (the Billy Morton chapters being the exception) and had a very “preachy” quality. It’s like the novel had a weird decision making problem of either being a funny satire, or going full sci-fi with its weird dimension hopping aliens. All of that aside; I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to readers. Part of me hopes this’ll be read by others who will then go out and end evil things like private prisons, the war and drugs, and Disney’s control of Star Wars, but I mostly think the book is above the heads of our current generation of bearded-man bun sporting hipsters, that already have a solid handle on blowing off the real world for play.

You can find your own copy of Invasion in book stores now or get a copy online at Titanbooks.com

Cheers!

The Age of Treachery!

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An Atomic Moo Book Review!

Okay, I’ve been trying to get this review done for about two weeks, but life just keeps getting in the way. So, I’m just going to start typing, and hopefully somewhere in the blathering that follows will at least pieces of a meaningful review. Here goes…

Gavin Scott’s Age of Treachery is an extremely entertaining suspense novel set in post World War II London. The story follows history professor Duncan Forrester, who has to prove that a friend did not commit the murder of a rival colleague in his history department. Trying to prove who murdered David Lyall is really tough though, because every one hated the man. Seeking the murderer takes Forrester across all of northern Europe and to some pretty fantastic encounters with some of the 20th century’s best fiction writers!

Usually, I don’t pick up mystery novels. So, I am a little grateful to Titan Books for introducing me to the genre and getting me this book to review. It kind of made up (a bit) for all the schlock entertainment flooding our televisions and movie theaters these days, and shows what a true art writing can be. I don’t know how a person even starts to write a mystery, but (by what ever method) Scott created a suspense filled story that was also thrilling and fun to read. The book takes a deep dive into post world war II history, and keeps a very “English/Sherlock Holmes” manner in its narrative. Which added a lot of charm to the story. I don’t think this will go down as one of the best mystery novels ever, but it definitely deserves a lot of credit for its unique mystery and incredible use of historical events (and literary assets like J.R.R. Tolkien) of the time. This is honestly one of the few novels where I don’t have any criticism after having read it. It was an intriguing, memorable, page turner. I was so into the book that I finished it in two days and I’m looking forward to future adventures of Duncan Forrester.

The Age of Treachery is available in all major book stores or you can get your copy online at Titanbooks.com!

It is the winter of 1946, and after years of war, ex-Special Operations Executive agent Duncan Forrester is back at his Oxford college as a junior Ancient History Fellow. But his peace is shattered when a hated colleague is found dead: stabbed and pushed from an upper window.
One of Forrester’s closest friends is arrested for the murder, but Forrester is not convinced of his guilt; the dead man had many enemies, and there are rumours that he was in possession of a mysterious Viking manuscript. A manuscript that may have been owned by a German spy…
Travelling from Oxford to bombed-out Berlin and to the fjords of Norway in his search for the truth, Forrester must use all his wartime skills to find the true killer.

Duskfall

Duskfall

An Atomic Moo Book Review of Christopher Husberg’s New Novel!

Okay El Moochadoes, I just finished reading Duskfall (Titan Books, 2016) by author Christopher Husberg, and… I dug it. So get in a mode for magic and fantasy as I review a book about folksy elves, religious zealots, and an amnesiac pulled from icy waters only to start kicking ass across a whole continent. No, not Bourne.

So, I was only half joking about that “Bourne” comment. The book follows three main characters and begins with Knot, a man found floating in an icy lake with a few arrows sticking out of him. Knot has no memory of his past life, and is named “knot” by the elves that found him, because of his remarkable ability to… tie knots. The elves of this story have fallen on hard times, and are considered by most to be second class citizens, but Knot lives with them for awhile and even agrees to marry the daughter (Winter) of the elf that found him, which would have been great if strange men hadn’t shown up on the wedding day and started to kill everyone. During this attack Knot shows that he can do much more than tie knots, by quickly killing the attackers, and then just as quick, abandons his new elf-wife to go figure out why he’s so good at killing. When Winter learns of his leaving, she tries to follow, but on her journey she also learns she can do a type of magic, but only at the cost of a horrible addiction. Meanwhile, in another city a priestess learns that her sister has discovered some ancient scriptures and has been communicating with their goddess. Which would be all good and well, if that didn’t mean a holy inquisition wasn’t about to hit her and her family full in the face. The story follows from there and eventually brings the three main characters together on an adventure that will bring them all face to face with old gods and dark daemons! Which I think is a demon or maybe a goth kid with shitty parents… I don’t know.

For the most part I think Husberg did a great job of creating a new fantasy world. His spin on elves (called Tiellan’s) as a down trodden, and forgot folk was unique. I also really enjoyed his new take on magic as special mental abilities, and I think Winter’s story, of learning to use this magic while fighting addiction, were my favorite parts of the book. Husberg did a wonderful job a creating a dark, and cold, vibe for this story, and because of this the story had a feeling (for me at least) of a world where magic was sort of dying out, but you could still trip over the odd vampire every now and again. Then the weird stuff happens with Jane and Cinzia, and POW! World chuck full of magic again. Oh, yeah. About the vampire; I should also mention that I enjoyed the character of Astrid. As far as Draculias go, she’s pretty cool.

The only criticisms I have for this story (just two) are minor ones. First: I felt Knots back story, when revealed, was a little convoluted. I’m trying not to spoil much here, but I think he would’ve been a better character without the amnesia and later reveal of what makes Knot a Knot. I can’t say what it takes to make a believable character in fiction, but in a lot of these stories I read it seems (to me) like writers make way too many excuses to explain why their protagonist is an ultimate bad ass, and also a heck of a good guy. I think a vivid memory, and free will, would’ve made a much better hero for this story.

The other criticism is more of personal one, and though I’m totally going to muck it up, I still kind of wanted to explain why it soured this book for me a bit. At a certain point in this story I suspected the author was LDS (Mormon), and although his being religious doesn’t bug me, having his religion pop in the story kind of does. I was raised in an LDS family, and I even did my missionary work in Brazil. Shortly after which I left the church. I’ve spent the better part of twenty years getting as far away from that religion (or any) as I can, so having it swing around again (even in the form of fantasy story) kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. Well, brain. Anyways; I don’t think these elements would hurt the story for any other reader, and it shouldn’t, but… eh, kind of took me out of the story, and it was hard to get back into it after that. It also has me pondering my personal biases and how I’ll expect enjoyment from any off the shelf fantasy novel I’ll pick up, but how quickly I turn my nose up at stories that contain any of my own past/personal religious myths. Which means that since reading this fantasy story, I’ve been spending too much time in the dusty parts of my brain, and I don’t like that. Though, Husberg did do an amazingly progressive spin on the Joe Smith story, and using priestesses, goddesses, and a little inquisition, made for a better story than the crud I had to sit through in Sunday school.

All the same though, readers can find of copy of Duskfall at all major book stores now, or you can get your own copy online at Titanbooks.comM. Check out a complete synopsis below!

Cheers!


Stuck with arrows and close to death, a man is pulled from the icy waters of the Gulf of Nahl. As he is nursed back to health by a local fisherman, two things become very clear: he has no idea who he is, and he can kill a man with terrifying ease.
The fisherman is a tiellan, a race which has long been oppressed and grown wary of humans. His daughter, Winter, is a seemingly quiet young woman, but behind her placid mask she has her demons. She is addicted to frostfire – a substance that both threatens to destroy her and simultaneously gives her phenomenal power.
A young priestess, Cinzia, hears the troubling news of an uprising in her native city of Navone. Absconding from the cloistered life that she has kept for the last seven years, she knows she must make the long journey home. The flames of rebellion threatening her church and all that she believes in are bad enough, but far worse is the knowledge that the heretic who sparked the fire is her own sister.
These three characters may have set out on different paths, but fate will bring them together on one thrilling and perilous adventure.

The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax!

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An Atomic Moo Book Review of Andrew Cartmel’s New Novel!

Andrew Cartmel’s The Vinyl Detective almost abates my hatred for hipsters. Almost. I don’t think anyone can stop hating hipsters. It’s just too easy to despise those bearded, coffee obsessed, man bun toting, shit bags that clog our beach streets with Fiats and Vespa scooters, but somehow (weirdly) Cartmel crafted a story that makes a coffee chugging – vinyl obsessed – hipster kind of cool. With a solid mystery to boot! Wow.

Written in Dead Wax begins when the nameless vinyl detective (later nicknamed “Chef”) is hired to find a rare Jazz LP by a now defunct 1950’s publishing label. Up until this point, Chef has eeked out a living by scouring London’s charity shops (I’m guessing that’s either like a pawn shop or a 2nd hand store…?) for rare records to sell online, or add to his vast collection. Then one day he is contacted by a foreign company’s very beautiful representative, Nevada, to help track down an incredibly rare jazz album, Easy Come, Easy Go, but finding the record won’t be easy. There just happen to be a pair of murderous blonde athletes also hunting the album and then there’s the dark mystery hidden in the record it self!

The thing is, I really enjoyed this book. Cartmel did a wonderful job of making his characters (though still disgustingly hipster-ish) likable and fun. Chef is an excellent detective, in a sort of not being a detective kind of way. He’s the total underdog hero, and as a geeky outsider myself, I can’t help but root for the underdog. I think the stories unique way of unfolding a mystery is also what makes the book such a great read. Written in Dead Wax takes it’s readers deep into the world of music, and (even better for geeks) collecting. I honestly have no opinion on what sounds better, CD or LP, but I’ve got a closet full of vintage Star Wars figures. I could easily tell you about the backing card, year produced, or existing variants of any of the collectible action figures (not dolls!) safely sealed away in the many containers which are piled to the ceiling in my closet. I can even spot reproductions and cheap knock offs. I don’t know why, but reading about collectors, and a mystery that goes deep into their respective world, was really refreshing. I honestly think this is one of the best mystery stories since The Big Lebowski! And yes, that was a mystery too. In fact; I’m almost willing (grudgingly) to consider the likes of Chef and Tinkler as geeks. Almost. ‘just have to lose the cats and any opinion about coffee.new16oz-coffee-cup Seriously!? What grown man keeps cats and gives a shit about the taste of coffee!? Coffee should be black and burn just as hard going out at as it did going in! That’s it. Its there to get the job done. You drink it, stay awake, and lose a year or so of unwanted life expectancy. When I put a $1.29 of hard earned cash down on the counter for my 7-11 what ever brew, I need it to do its goddamn job of keeping me upright and lucid for the next few hours. Not brag about its “aroma”, or what part of India a child laborer had to pull it out of. Coffee should be burly, stalwart, and humble. Just like my women. ‘merica.

Anyways… I’m very much looking forward to the release of the next book (The Run-Out Groove), and even if Titan doesn’t send me a review copy I’ll probably go pick one up. Yeah, I’m willing to spend my own money on the next edition. That’s how much I enjoyed this. Below I posted a copy of The Vinyl Detectives official synopsis. However, visit Titanbooks.com to get a copy of your own.

Cheers!

He is a record collector — a connoisseur of vinyl, hunting out rare and elusive LPs. His business card describes him as the “Vinyl Detective” and some people take this more literally than others.
Like the beautiful, mysterious woman who wants to pay him a large sum of money to find a priceless lost recording — on behalf of an extremely wealthy (and rather sinister) shadowy client.
Given that he’s just about to run out of cat biscuits, this gets our hero’s full attention. So begins a painful and dangerous odyssey in search of the rarest jazz record of them all…

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