Kelly strikes again – a review of Found Aliens (The Galactic Pool Comedy Adventures Book 3)

Kelly strikes again with another great offering in the Galactic Pool franchise! I took the opportunity to pre-order this ebook a couple of months ago and then promptly put my Kindle aside and waited impatiently. It was worth the wait, hence the 5 stars on the amazon.com site.

This author has long ago, in my estimation at least, pushed himself above the pack of emerging authors by pursuing a brand that is all his own. It is truly remarkable that this is the third installment and the gags keep on coming. It is funny, it is intelligent, it is innovative. The characters we have come to know and love and/or just know are back and continuing their respective quests for publication, domination, film making and revenge.

Too many times by this stage of a series the author will spend the majority of the time recapping the events of the previous books to the extent that the actual new data is limited to a couple of sentences at the end. Kelly does not do this, so you will get the new, pure, good stuff and if you are like me you will want to go back and read them all again.

It is notable and extraordinary that there is still a willingness to try new things, to keep all of the strands going, to at times be confusing and just keep going. This is a genuinely rare approach and even considering the list of referenced authors that inspired Kelly the Galactic Pool is cutting edge.

I await with eagerness the production of the main characters as little figures that shall surely go alongside the film adaptation.

Advertisements

Ebook review: Freed Aliens: The 2nd Galactic Pool Novel by M. Sid Kelly


Publication Date: March 19, 2014

From the dust cover: “Freed Aliens is the 2nd Galactic Pool satirical sci-fi comedy novel. It offers you the old-fashioned, high-quality naughty behavior you’ve come to expect. And it’s all in a 100% new story.
Their failed invasion of Earth wasn’t for nothing. The aliens came away with Jimmy Fresneaux’s TV fishing show and a lot of other great ideas for expanding the Galactic Broadcasting Company. Now the Galactic Pool establishment faces a rebellion triggered by a swarm of empowered filmmakers and other so-called pest species.
One particularly nasty politician has a plan to zap the rebels. But a diverse cast of heroic aliens and abducted Earthlings is on the job – whether they realize it or not.
The local Higher Power is still paying attention too. And he’s getting more and more confused all the time…
*Maintains the first book’s low 10,000-to-1 ratio of regular words to F-words.
*The sex scenes are beyond telepathic this time, but may require some imagination.”

About the author: “M. Sid Kelly grew up in a globe-crawling military family with his English mum and California hillbilly dad who engineered Air Force base TV stations. So young Sid grew up surrounded by TVs – with British comedies, U.S. fishing shows, and 1970’s Tagalog-language kung fu movies competing for the best naughty bits. He graduated with a four-year degree in marine biology eight years after enrolling at Humboldt State University. Having completed two years in Africa with the Peace Corps, he got a job as federal fisheries bureaucrat – until too many dead fish had piled up. Now he consults on fish protection measures for bridge construction projects in order to pay the bills, and he wrote Used Aliens in order to become a zillionaire one day. His conclusion after having run around all over the place looking at stuff: Space aliens are going to think we are the strange ones.”

My Ebook review: if I have managed to persuade anyone to read this blog on even a slightly regular basis then it would come as no surprise that I am a fan of this author and have even gone so far as to interview his characters in a previous entry: http://littleebookreviews.com/2013/10/23/200th-blog-post-and-used-aliens-character-interview/. So when I heard that the sequel to Used Aliens was out I simply had to get my hands on it. Luckily the weekend was preposterously filled with enough spare time to allow me to engorge “Freed Aliens” in a manner that would have made even some of his characters blush.

A heck of a lot is expected of sequels and I was not holding back my expectations as I read this one. The most endearing features of the first book, namely the intelligent writing and the slapstick comedy resurface as we catch up with old friends and new friends, old enemies and other beings of indeterminate pleasantness. It picks up where “Used Aliens” left off with our heroes spread wide across the galaxy almost blissfully unaware that they are about to be thrust once again into a vast adventure.

In “Freed Aliens” Kelly allows his education fired imagination to unfold across the pages and unabashedly portrays a delightful range of alien forms and I really enjoyed the range of non-humanoid forms acting appropriately according to their tentacular, proboscistised, wingéd or slimy natures. All this is written carefully, intelligently and in a way that adds to the story rather than distract from the plot. The plot is an epic adventure, or even several intertwined adventures that weave an exciting path towards (well you need to read it for that part). Basically, the plot is splendid and the breadth of the story is spectacular and so clearly absurd that it certainly must be true.

What makes this book both interesting and funny is the satirising of our own world and humanity combined with the occasional scene of side splittingly funny slapstick / burlesque that had me in fits. Beyond that though, “Freed Aliens” does not try to make the aliens either superior beings, monsters or cartoon characters, they are believable entities that have their own drives, selfish stupidity, lust along with diverse character flaws that create a melting pot from which a masterpiece is forged.

Did I enjoy the reading experience?: You bet your sloth I did, in fact I think that I will go back and read it a second time straight away. I am hoping to find that there will be room for another “Galactic Pool” instalment to extend this powerhouse franchaise!

Ebook review: Peripheral Involvement by Bob Waldner


Publication Date: February 12, 2014

From the dust cover: “Jack Caufield never imagined that he would wake up one day and find a dead woman in his bed. That sort of thing wasn’t supposed to happen to guys like him. He was on his way to law school, but instead of fielding Socratic questions from law professors, he finds himself facing the third degree from a bunch of angry cops. Despite their efforts, they find nothing incriminating, and Jack is allowed to get on with his education and his life. Over the next fifteen years, he becomes a modestly successful corporate lawyer, a well-paid but insignificant cog in the Wall Street machine. He’s resigned to playing a disappointing role in the system that he has come to disdain, until he learns that his encounter with that unlucky girl may not have been coincidental. Confronted with the possibility that the men who run the prestigious financial institution that he now represents may have been involved in a shocking conspiracy, his search for the truth is complicated by the knowledge that discovering it could cost him the success that he’s spent his life chasing.”

About the author: “Bob Waldner was born and raised in New Jersey, before heading off to Duke University and the University of Michigan Law School. He practices law in New York, where he lives with his wife, Erinn, and his daughters Maureen and Madeleine. Someday, he hopes to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up.”

My Ebook review: the author describes in his acknowledgements that “Peripheral Involvement” took a very long time to write. Interestingly, the book itself also covers a long timeframe and in a sense felt like more than one story pushed together until the subtlety of the plot plays out and the big picture comes into delightful focus.
Caufield is a splendid character who somehow feels like he is a passenger in his own life story. Occasionally he lifts his head up and makes a clear and rational choice to give direction to his life and yet at most other times he is happy to go where the wind blows him and to take advantage of the adventures that life puts in his way. Watching his evolution, we are able to consider our own choices, what would we have chosen given the circumstances and could we have managed to get the job done when it counted.
Caufield is not only a fine character to read but a vehicle for communicating a number of salient facts about life that are often not understood or appreciated until too late, life hacks as they are sometimes described. I very much appreciated his dialogues and insightful critique of various important structures and could feel an inner turmoil seething sometimes below and once in a while above the surface. Caufield’s ultimate choices fitted consistently with his deepest character.
The greater plot is fabulous as it unfolds in various degrees of complexity and with a neat cast of characters set against a nicely described background. There is a sense of the slightly incredible but plausible about the story which drags one in and keeps the pages flying past.

Did I enjoy the reading experience?: Clearly yes, there was a gripping plot, a cast of intriguing characters, insightful almost philosophical discussions and a mystery. I just hope that the next one does not take so long!

Ebook review: Deep Sleepers (A Tom Blake thriller) by Adrian Wills


Publication Date: January 18, 2014

From the dust cover: “Deep Sleepers is an action adventure thriller featuring former special forces psychologist, Tom Blake.

He should be the perfect spy. After all Ben Proctor has no idea of his true identity. He’s been planted deep undercover with a radical right-wing political party steadily increasing in popularity as the country’s anti-Muslim fervour grows. But when Proctor is recruited by a secretive neo-Nazi terrorist splinter group calling themselves the Phineas Priests, his mission begins to unravel at terrifying speed. He’s abducted, branded with a mysterious symbol and initiated in an eerie moonlit ceremony. The Priests have spotted Proctor’s potential and want him to lead a deadly terrorist bomb plot that is destined to kill hundreds of innocent people.

As the perfect spy threatens to become the perfect terrorist, one man’s tasked with stopping him – the man who’s already inside his head. Tom Blake is a former Special Forces military psychologist who now works for British MI5. He’s supposed to be controlling Proctor using an experimental hypnotic technique developed with a black ops SAS unit. The only problem is that Proctor has gone missing – and the countdown to the bombing has already begun.

And so starts a frantic hunt for the missing spy before it’s too late. With his MI5 masters demanding action, Blake needs all his military experience to track down his man and avert tragedy. Meanwhile, in the heart of London’s Canary Wharf, a Texan oil billionaire makes a rendezvous with his super yacht for a secret meeting that could be about to change history. How much does he know about the Phineas Priests and could he hold the key to stopping the bombing?

And an investigative reporter finds himself hot on the heels of the biggest story he’s ever chased – with the help of a mysterious blonde trying to find her brother who she fears has been murdered in Brazil.”
About the author: “Adrian has been writing for as long as he can remember but Deep Sleepers is his debut novel. He’s been a journalist for all his working life, forging a career in local newspapers and in regional television news. He is married to fellow indie-author, Amanda Wills. They live in Faversham in Kent with their two sons, Oliver and Thomas.”

My Ebook review: what is there not to love about an action adventure thriller with a blurb like that of “Deep Sleepers”? Whenever MI5 enters the plot there is the feeling that anything can happen, nothing is impossible and the plot can only possibly get more complicated as the story unfolds. When the bad guys have a cause and money then the game really is on.

Wills builds the story rapidly and confidently without too much fanfare and excellent scene setting rolled out in an uncomplicated and interesting flow. Once the story is going it is a race to find out what is going to happen next and quite how all of the apparently unrelated pieces of information tie together into splendid finale. Blake is an excellent character who we get to know on a relatively superficial level but this is perfectly in keeping with his covert status but no doubt we will get to know him better in subsequent additions to this series. The bad guys are delightfully menacing, wonderfully clandestine and all too plausible. The innocent bystanders get dragged into a situation that is far too big for them to comprehend but add a human side to the equation of the plot as well as a level of complexity that helps to raise this book to an excellent level.

Did I enjoy the reading experience?: Oh yes, “Deep Sleepers” is an action adventure thriller that kept me turning the pages from the start to the finish.

Ebook review: The Perfect Game by Stephen Paul


Publication Date: February 20, 2014

From the dust cover: “In a dark Manhattan alley, a young woman suddenly collapses from a brain hemorrhage. The statistics say it’s rare to have happened to someone so young and healthy, yet all signs point to natural causes. But when Kyle Vine, the man she was supposed to meet that night, learns she wasn’t the only victim, he knows there’s something more going on and soon discovers a mysterious link to the sudden success of a journeyman pitcher for the New York Yankees.

As the lethal brain bleeds continue to strike, Kyle and the woman’s eccentric uncle work together to unravel a mystery unlike any the world has ever seen in order to stop a ruthless killer from striking again.

Stephen Paul’s debut supernatural suspense thriller, The Perfect Game, is a fast-paced gripping ride that will continue to keep readers on the edge of their seats while trying to figure out who’s behind the deadly episodes, how they’re doing it and, perhaps most shocking of all, why.”

About the author: “Stephen was raised in the suburbs of Long Island and now lives with his wife and son in New York City. When not crusading on behalf of the design professional community, he enjoys writing thrillers with a supernatural touch.”

My Ebook review: “…thrillers with a supernatural touch.” is a pretty good hook and sums up very well an exciting debut novel. Like all the very best stories that involve the supernatural, there is an almost plausible rationale, a tangible feeling that the well chosen touch of fantasy could just about happen. Certainly, the characters are all recognisable and their motivations seem clear on the surface. It is the consequences of the actions of Kyle’s not entirely appropriate motivations that throw our unlikely hero into a complex situation that he can neither predict nor control.

The pace of the book is good and the scene setting is excellent and a tension is built and maintained through the book as it navigates the twists and turns of a well executed plot.

Did I enjoy the reading experience?: Yes, “The Perfect Game” was an excellent thriller with just enough supernatural behaviour to be interesting but not absurd, it added to the plot rather than take over the plot.

Ebook review: Stand and Deliver by Adrian Marshall


Publication Date: February 10, 2014

From the dust cover: “Picture the scene; in my early fifties I was made redundant from the world of IT, and judging that there was more chance of me seeing Lord Lucan riding Shergar to victory in the next St. Leger, than continuing in my chosen trade, I bade a fond farewell to the computer business and took the next logical and blatantly obvious career move. I would be a Chinese Takeaway Delivery Driver.

These are some of my experiences, in no particular order, as an ‘Oriental Comestible Transportation Executive,’ with liberal scatterings of general observations on life, the universe and everything. Most of the stories contain a certain percentage of poetic license, plus necessary name, location and setting changes, but there is more than a grain of truth in them all.”

About the author: “I am a retired male living in the UK. That is enough about me; let’s get on with the more interesting subject of BOGOF the Supermarket Cat. Please visit BOGOF’s web site at http://bogofthesupermarketcat.co.uk for FREE Wallpaper/Background, to contact me, Hilda, or BOGOF, and find out about BOGOF’s next exciting adventure.”

My Ebook review: whilst I have not read the BOGOF series my attention was grabbed by the author’s page. “Stand and Deliver” is a short, funny and also interesting ebook that sees our delivery driver get into and out of all sorts of fixes. Whether or not it is based on real life was not really the point for me, the anecdotes have the flavour of the absurd nonsense of everyday life.
My only gripe was that it was all over too soon.

Did I enjoy it?: Yes, there are a number of very funny anecdotes, some excellent observations and I never knew that the prawn crackers were made that way! A happy, jolly and quick read.

Ebook review: Half Wise: Wizard with a Gold Tooth by Joshua Bayard


Publication Date: January 29, 2014

From the dust cover: “Sixty woodcutters have vanished. Hamet was there when it happened, but he can’t stop singing. Evil sorcery has come to the town of Gullywine. When the Mayor summons a wizard to help for the first time in generations, the stranger who arrives has a checkered past and troubles of his own. And, the lost woodcutters are running out of time.

WIZARD WITH A GOLD TOOTH is the first HALF WISE story. This e-book is a 14,527 word novella. It’s recommended for people who like offbeat fairy tales and unpredictable adventures.”

About the author: “When Joshua Bayard isn’t writing weird fairy tales, he’s trying to teach himself the ukulele, daydreaming, or eating breakfast. He lives in Denver with his lovely fiancée.”

My Ebook review: I read this novella a couple of weeks ago and for some reason am only now getting to writing my review which is perhaps a strange way to start but on reflection helps me make the point that it is still strong in my memory. Bayard did a very good job of giving us a glimpse into this universe, letting us know that we do not know all of the rules and let a story unfold in a reasonable way. The efficient use of language packed a great deal of story into an exciting novella that hopefully promises a lot more from the ‘Half Wise’ series.

Did I enjoy it?: Yes, although clearly a quick read it captures the imagination and is a breath of fresh air which makes me hope for more.

Ebook review: SAR: RAF Helicopter Search and Rescue – A Pilot’s Account by Jake Watson


Publication Date: January 21, 2014

From the dust cover: “Jake Watson is an accomplished military pilot, flying Sea King Search and Rescue helicopters for the Royal Air Force. In the course of his flying career he flew over three hundred rescue missions, day and night, in all weather conditions and in all environments. Jake left the Service in 2007 as a Squadron Leader, active front-line pilot, and the Commanding Officer of one of the six RAF Search and Rescue bases in the UK. This is Jake’s story.

Alone, in the dark, in a life threatening situation, injured, or just lost, is not a nice place to be. A bright yellow Sea King coming over the horizon might just be the thing to make your day a whole lot better.
The UK’s moors, mountains, coastlines and sea routes are patrolled and protected, day and night, in all weathers by the crews of the Royal Air Force’s Search and Rescue helicopters. On rescue sorties, the crew of four are given very short notice to use anything at their disposal, usually just themselves and the helicopter, to save life. The task could be a stranded yachtsman, miles out in the North Atlantic, an injured climber, crag-fast in a blizzard, a fisherman suffering a heart attack on the North Sea’s Dogger Bank, or a missing child in the Peak District. The possibilities are endless and the challenges often uniquely complex. It is a job that requires great skill, nerve and courage to face the unknown and the unpredictable. This book is an emotive, personal account of the missions flown by Jake and his crews. The highs and the lows, the heartbreak and the elation are all evident alongside the tenacious and professional approach in the story told behind each rescue mission. Take an enigmatic journey with Jake through the range of search and rescue sorties eloquently described in ‘SAR’.”

My Ebook review: I will start this review off by saying that I like flying in helicopters and have had a few opportunities to do so including being taken through a few minor ‘stunts’ on one trip. These flights all had one thing in common: they were in the summer on nice days. It is also true that I am a big fan of career ‘voyeurism’, I like to read about the experiences of people whose day to day is very different to my own, because I can almost, for a few moments at least, live vicariously through the author’s prose. So ‘SAR’ was a clear opportunity not to be missed.
We are served a behind the scenes look at what it takes to keep a SAR operation ready for action 24/7/365, what the crews are asked to do and how a safety net exists to help the unfortunate when they need it most. Importantly, from my perspective, we are introduced to the routine, the rules and to some extent the technical challenges; this gives depth and insight for the reader.
The author also helps us to see the human side of the work between life saving sorties, the cups of tea, occasional boredom and humour that are also a part of the work.
Watson has the sort of highly efficient writing style that one would anticipate from years of having to communicate precisely, quickly and efficiently sometimes highly complex information. This makes for a very pleasurable reading experience because the descriptions are so crisp and clear that I was transported to the mountains, I could almost feel the wind as sorties were described. What was palpable was the sense of teamwork, the training, the skill and the bravery of the crew as they push the limits to save lives.
If you want to read one book this year that makes you feel a huge range of emotions whilst opening your eyes to a world that few of us will encounter then ‘SAR’ would be my recommendation.
Did I enjoy it?: Clearly yes, fascinating, fabulously written, and sometimes deeply moving.

Ebook Review: Jack Knifed by Christopher Greyson


Publication Date: January 19, 2014

From the dust cover: “Police Officer Jack Stratton is back. Jack’s nightmares have forced him to start searching his dark past and the secrets that lay hidden there. With Replacement at his side, Jack travels to Hope Falls to solve a murder that occurred before he was born.
Everyone in the small town remembers the gruesome killing, but after 27 years, no one thought that someone would look into it. They don’t know Jack.
Christopher Greyson’s latest novel weaves a tale full of mystery and action with humor and suspense. His unique stories and no-nonsense style of writing will take you on a page turning rollercoaster ride of emotions right up until the end.”

About the author: “Christopher Greyson is an author, actor, martial arts instructor and storyteller. He has degrees in Theatre, Communications and Computer Science.
Christopher currently lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two children.
His love for tales of mystery and adventure began with his grandfather, a World War I decorated hero. Christopher will never forget being introduced to his grandfather’s friend, a WWI pilot who flew across the skies at the same time as the feared legendary Red Baron. His love of reading and storytelling eventually lead him to write Pure of Heart, Girl Jacked Jack Knifed and Jacks are Wild.”

My Ebook review: this is the second in the Jack Stratton Mystery series and I reviewed ‘Girl Jacked’ along the lines:
“In one sense this is a quite normal crime thriller and follows a pattern that will be recognisable to readers of this genre. On the other hand there is always the required thrill in reading a well executed plot and so the author should be applauded for that. It never quite got to the point of brilliance but it is certainly a fine book.
If I understood correctly, there will be other stories with our damaged hero and it will be interesting to see how Greyson develops his style.”
In a sense this is a book that picks up exactly where the first one ended and that should mean that having read ‘Girl Jacked’ would be mandatory, but in fact this is a book that stands well on its own. The plot is clear and distinct.
Our ‘damaged hero’ has a mission and he has a companion, he has a history and he knows that he needs to learn more. The plot thickens as he is dragged into a story that he knew nothing about. He did not go looking for trouble but like a lightning rod he seems to attract it.
There is a murder and there is a small town and there are lots of secrets and many closets with skeletons. As Jack gets drawn into the mystery he is forced to look at himself and walk a dark path through a tragic set of lives. Replacement is also a mystery and Jack needs to work out if he wants to solve that one.

Greyson’s style is no-nonsense as advertised and also appropriately descriptive. The scenes are well set and the dialog is sharp, on top of that the plot is fabulous in ‘Jack Knifed’. There is complexity and simplicity; there is love interest and a good degree of violent exchanges. We delve into the characters and we watch them try to solve themselves whilst battling with inner demons.

This is the real deal and the Greyson style is exciting and crisp and all the right choices were made in ‘Jack Knifed’.

Did I enjoy it?: Yes, from start to finish this was an ebook that made me want to read more and now that it is done I am looking forward to the next one!

Ebook review: Wet Dreams Dry Lives by Barry Cain

Publication Date: December 2, 2013

From the dust cover: “You hold in your virtual hands a story about an infatuation that leads to madness. About a man murdering his father and his son before killing himself. About the joys and horrors of sex. About jealousy and hate and love and depravity. About the sadness of time and the hunger for survival. About gangsters and perverts and condos in Los Angeles. About the desire for fame eroded by the desire for drugs. About decapitation. About dreams coming true and schemes to untie them.
Or is it…?”
About the author: “Six years ago my first book and only other book, ’77 Sulphate Strip, was published. It’s an account of one year in my life when I became a music writer and went on the road with bands like the Sex Pistols, Clash, Stranglers and The Jam.”
My Ebook review: a complex and intriguing story which, on the face of it, looks at the world of a disenchanted man whose life and career has diverged from where he wanted it to be at a stage when thoughts of mortality mix with all of the ‘might have beens’. What happens next is a little bit coincidence and a lot drug fuelled fantasy. Add into the mix a love interest and dependent parents and an estranged son and what we get is a potent mix.
Cain writes in an evocative style and I was interested from the start. The plot develops to a delightful level of complexity and at times becomes a little challenging to keep up with but that is what you get when the main character goes through skunk like it was going out of fashion. It keeps you guessing to the end.
Did I enjoy it?: it is a well written and captivating ebook and it did get superbly weird and wonderfully complex.