Yancy Lazarus is having a bad day: there's a bullet lodged in his butt cheek, his face looks like the site of a demolition derby, and he's been saran-wrapped to a banquet table. He never should have answered the phone. Stupid bleeding heart - helping others in his circles is a good way to die - just ask the gang members ripped to pieces by some kind of demonic nightmare in LA.
As a favor to a friend, Yancy agrees to take a little looksee into the massacre and boom, he's stuck in a turf war between two rival gangs, which both think he's pinch-hitting for the other side. Oh, and there's also a secretive dark mage with some mean ol' magical chops and a small army of hyena-faced, body-snatching baddies. It might be time to seriously reconsider some of his life choices.
Yancy is a bluesman, a rambler, a gambler, but not much more. Sure, he can do a little magic - maybe even more than just a little magic - but he knows enough to keep his head down and stay clear of freaky-deaky hoodoo like this business in LA. Somehow though, he's been set up to take a real bad fall - the kind of very permanent fall that leaves a guy with a toe tag. That's unless, of course, he can find out who is responsible for the gangland murders, make peace in the midst of the gang feud, and takeout said magical dark mage before he hexes Yancy into an early retirement. Easy right? Stupid. Bleeding. Heart.
©2014 James A. Hunter (Adam W. Strode) (P)2015 James A. Hunter (Adam W. Strode)
Not a fan of the narration. The Yankee accent makes this guy's voice so monotone it's grating. I'm only two hours in so far, and I'm not sure I'll be able to finish because of it. The story itself isn't bad, and the main character is okay, but I would recommend trying the printed version of this book, rather than the audio book.
In listening to this novel I found that the story itself isn't too bad. Character development seemed good and the plot was solid. However, the use of cliches throughout the main characters diatribe started to get old at about chapter 5. Don't get me wrong, using cliches isn't bad but when someone can't describe something without using them it gets old really quickly.
Another thing that bothered me was that the narrator had a Brooklyn accent - but he apparently grew up in South Carolina. I am NOT sure who came up with the idea that the narrator should have a Yankee accent when he obviously should sound as southern as Rhett Butler but it's something that I couldn't get past once he mentioned where he grew up.
Also - as a result of this "wiseguy" accent he comes off as monotone. He does intonate and there are a few chapters where there is more emotion, but it's not where it should be. For most of the book I was rolling my eyes because of the cliches and the monotone Brooklyn accent.
The story is good though - I think it could be better with the right narration, but this isn't working for me. Others might enjoy it... once you get past the obvious disconnect regarding where he grew up and what his accent sounds like. I think the narrator could do different accents - he did a great job at the other characters (Indian, upper class British, hispanic) but I guess no one thought to read the book before settling on the main characters accent.
A lot of other reviews mentioned the narration was lacking. I don’t know Charlie Kevin’s voice sounds like a real tough guy, the kind of guy who is a real badass who can freeze your eye balls. I don’t know I think it is ok. Yancy Lazarus was born in Montana and grew up on North Carolina, maybe he would have more of a southern twang who knows?
If you can get past the first few hours, it starts to get better. The thing I did not like was the constant smart ass remarks. OK, I get it Yancy is a cynical bastard enough already.
Overall it was an interesting 6 hours. Fast pace, interesting magic, alright characters, alright plot, it's an alright book.
The story is a good first book in a series. The biggest problem I have is the narrators accent given the main character was born in Raleigh, NC, and lives in New Orleans, LA. It sounds more like he took a side street and picked his accent up in Brooklyn, which grades on me.
A monotomsus voice for the main character, with a deep suthen drawl. I ended up feeling annoid with the main character. The narrator only have a few chances to prove that he have acting skills as the main character inner monolog takes up 80% of the book.
It is now well written, there is a lot of words that just take up space, they are say to fill the pages, and don't add anything to the narrative.
I fleet that I was lisenting to a hobo-version of an uninteresting Harry Dresden. I could not even be bothered to hear the last hour of the book.
I feel like the narrator never took a breath or even tried on this one. It sounds like someone reading a story as quickly as they can without observing any punctuation. The whole book sounds like one long run on sentence because of how it is read.
Where you might think the characters or story would be cheesy, it managed to completely NOT be. Well thought out. Lovable characters even for gunrunners. And the whole bit about ribs and blues just made me smile. A good time had in every way.
I'd have to class it a guilty pleasure.
If you read the reviews of it as a book, just about everyone reacts negatively to the constant cliches spouted by the protagonist. They're not just laid on thick, they're spackled on with a trowel. And then poured on with a concrete mixer.
But weirdly, it all works. It's a little too heavy handed to compare to something like The Dresden Files, but it's clear that's the sort of thing the author was aiming at. So it's a good light snack of a book while waiting for the next Harry Dresden novel.
Which was the most memorable potato chip in the bag? I'm not sure there really are any particularly memorable moments, but the whole thing rolls along nicely, taking you with it for a pleasant ride.
Favorite? Hard to say. About the only actually fully realized character is the protagonist, Yancy Lazarus. And Charlie Kevin gets him perfect.
The character can't finish a sentence without a half-dozen tired cliches. In another narrator's hands, it would get insanely tiresome. But Kevin manages to make it work, and those cliches come off as just wryly sarcastic enough that you experience the character as world-weary and self-deprecating enough that you could really believe he'd talk that way.
I enjoyed it. I'd buy the next in the series (if it's ever recorded, and narrated by the same narrator.)
It's pulp fiction, and should be judged by those standards. And by those standards, it's pretty darn good.
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