Me and Bobby McGee by Chad Coenson

 “Fine, fine,” I said, “We appreciate your business of course and stand by our product and such. But let me cut right to the chase here, boys. You know that we are a respectable underground corporation doing the world a grand service by recycling unwanted human life, giving it a purposeful existence, while at the same time curing the laziness of another more important person,” I paused and looked in all four of their eyes simultaneously to make sure our value proposition resonated clearly in their minds.

Chad Coenson, Me and Bobby McGee

–from page 196, at the very bottom.

 

The above paragraph is the key to this book. I couldn’t have picked a more spoiling excerpt from Me and Bobby McGee—yet I promise—I’ve given you nothing. Not only is Me and Bobby McGee an original satire worthy of several nods, it is also the silver winner of the 2011 Independent Publisher’s Award, and received  honorable mentions for general fiction at the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Book Festival.

 

I’d heard Chad Coenson’s prose and writing were similar to Kurt Vonnegut and Jack Kerouac. Perhaps there is some of that, but I saw clearer influences of Johnathan Swift and Hunter S. Thompson. I mean the early Thompson, before his writing got so angry.

 

Me and Bobby McGee is the story of Keesey Cypher, ex-assassin for the CIA, now washed up and burned out. Despite Keesey being a likeable character, by Mr. Coenson’s narration, I would call Keesey an anti-hero more than a protagonist. He’s a drunken poker player whose blackout antics manage to get him in big trouble with some local hustlers in New Orleans. Little does Keesey know, this mess will lead him into the strangest sort of love interest, an unlimited mountain of wealth, and a (relatively) greater purpose in life than fall out drunken poker.

 

BobbyMcGee1

 

The title, Me and Bobby McGee, is a little misleading. Being one who greatly appreciates classic rock, I recognized the Janis Joplin association. Coenson’s book inspired me to look deeper into Janis’s tragic life before reading—and then learned this book has nothing to do with Janis Joplin.  Turns out Bobby McGee is an important character. Hot-bodied and packing iron, Bobby’s mission is to escort Keesey across the country to ensure his debt is paid—one way or the other. She is not only Cypher’s ‘babysitter,’ but now his new infatuation and next love interest. As a character, Bobby is both complex and dysfunctional, and Keesey is quite smitten. There were several places in this tale where I had to set down the book just to laugh, overcome with dark humor and deep cynicism.

 

Those of you who follow my reviews know I don’t believe there is such a thing as a perfect book. If Jesus wrote a book, it might have been perfect. Luckily, he didn’t, I’m sure everything else would seem stale in comparison.

 

Me and Bobby McGee is exceptionally good for a debut release, and I look forward to reading whatever else Coenson writes. My only criticism is there were a few places where Keesey gets a little longwinded. I encountered one (only one) character whose voice I couldn’t quite find and/or had difficulty believing. It was a farmer who spoke far too elegantly for the salt of the Earth. Maybe the farmer was educated, but given the setting and Chad’s otherwise flawless characters, I found this one character to being a chink in an otherwise well created story.

 

There is also a giant hole in the last couple chapters, but I’d guess that is probably intended for a future sequel.

 

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Final words–

Me and Bobby McGee is great storytelling and a fun ride. The book has an original voice and potent writing. The peaks and valleys within this tale are delivered sharp and pointed. The tension was masterfully achieved in several scenes, especially the US/Mexico border scenes. Clever, dark humor filled this volume and I will gladly read Coenson’s next book.

 

I found deep satisfaction while reading this book. I’d recommend this book to any reader with an ounce of wit and plenty of bad humor. Anyone who appreciates satire and values cynicism will revel in this story. If you loved the book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, this could be your next greatest thing.

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50 Shades of Decay

Angelic Knight Press has put together a new anthology. I can proudly say I am one of 50 authors to have been selected to be in this collection. It is a collection of zombie stories – Valentine’s Day short stories – okay, flat out, it is zombie smut.

Decay

It was an opportunity for talented erotica writers to join with talented horror writers – and one fantasy author – to showcase their humorous sides. I don’t know the bigger names in erotica, but the names I recognized from horror were Armand Rosamilia, Tim Marquitz, Blaze McRob,  and Tim Baker. There were other names on the back cover that feel familiar, but I don’t know yet, but will soon.

In the Table of Contents, there is true brilliance in these titles. Here is a tease of what you will be reading while cuddling in bed on Valentine’s Day.  “Dead Things Don’t Rise”  “Til Decay Do Them Part” “Some Like it Rot” “Pretty Kitty’s Post-Apocalyptic Porn Palace” And “Her Z-Spot.” There are 45 more titles just like these. This is going to be fun (and maybe a little gross,) but definitely a fun read.

 

Tim Marquitz and the Demon Squad

[This is among my earliest book reviews. It is a bit raw and unrefined. I’ve kept this one to remind myself of how art grows and matures at a pace with the artist.]

 

The first Damnation Book I read was Tim Marquitz’s Demon Squad: Armageddon Bound. For the events of this review, I will refer to it as AB. The second book I read from Damnation Books was Tim Marquitz’s Demon Squad: Resurrection, which for this review I will call DSR. I am going to read the third one when it is released since I’ve enjoyed both books greatly.

I must give you a fair warning, this is dark fiction at its darkest. It is also dark humor at its funniest. If you are afraid of the dark, Tim’s book just might kill you.

How dark is dark? If your life ambition is to be more like Rick Warren, you might want to skip reading this one. But, if you think a succubus making out with a severed zombie-head is funny, these are the books you’ve been looking for.

I was in love with Tim’s idea by the time I’d read page 6 in AB. AB was a gruesome and gritty read from the very beginning. Neither of the stories gives the reader too many time outs, the action is always moving. Tim Marquitz weaves an action packed occult/fantasy tale with no comparison that I’ve yet read. I suspect as I read more of the Damnation Books there will be other daringly similar projects, but this tale is truly unique.

The premise of Tim’s idea is after eons of dispute at man’s expense, Lucifer and God call a truce. They leave the universe to another dimension to sort out their ills, but life here on earth continues as the status quo. The hierarchy of demons, without the strong rule of Lucifer, begins battling over who gets what.

Triggaltheron, or better known as ‘Frank,’ is a half-demon who resides on earth. He likes it here and he is content that Armageddon has been put on pause. He has even decided to help humanity by associating with a group of psychics, wizards, and a couple angels and other similar misfits that don’t want to see the world end or overrun with demons. They call themselves D.R.A.C. short for Demonic Resistance and Containment. Hence the name – Demon Squad.

But some angels from the Angelic Host – the servants of God– have gone mad in the absence of their loving creator. God’s last standing order before he left was to see to the end of the world. Hence the name – Armageddon Bound.

These stories are very fun as long as all the taboos that are broken don’t make you faint. Although some spots had me sweating bullets, I felt the story appealed to me personally. Tim has proven to have balls of steel in crossing as many lines of social acceptability as he did in writing AB, it compelled me to purchase the second book in the series which crossed even more lines than I thought even existed. It certainly stretched my imagination.

My only real complaint is DSR took a while to arrive from Amazon. I wonder if they had run out and needed to order more prints. That is good news for a writer, but sucks for the reader. When I got the book, I was saddened, the book was smaller. (Honestly, I think they figured out a way to fit more words on each page, because the story was packed.)

If you read AB, but you are an art snob, and didn’t think the quality of the writing in AB was good enough, there are evident advances in Tim’s storytelling ability in DSR. I didn’t think there were too many gaps in the first one; it was everything it promised to be – daring, violent, and dark. But the second one steps up to the next level, and I’d bet the third one will also be a little better than the second one.

The humor, which was great in the AB, is even better in DSR. Here was one of the spots in DSR that had me chuckling and telling my wife . . .

My life flashed before my eyes and I realized I was doomed. In brilliant colors, everything that ever meant anything to me ran across the screen of my mind. Not surprisingly, all I saw were boobs. Life had been good.” (page 74)

She wasn’t as impressed as me, but then, she isn’t quite as cultured in male priorities as some of us are. I would hope that before I die, like Frank, this could be my final revelation as well.