Before you read the following review, I want to tell you that Michael Faust, the sequel is expected to be released in June. I spoke with Jeremy Kline a month ago for a brief moment. I’m excited to see what the sequel looks like. Lazarus Cane was a very fun read.
Those of you who frequent the Shortbus know I love disclaimers. So, here we go with a whole list of them.
1) Although author Jeremy Kline and I have the same publisher, neither D.B. nor Mr. Kline had asked me to write this, (and both would rather I not write about them, given the bad reputation of the Shortbus to Hell.)
2) I am not a book reviewer, I am a creative writer. If I read a book and it moved me to write a creative piece about it, I will tell all – the good, bad, and ugly. (I will review books for authors after establishing a relationship, meaning only after I’ve abused them at least once, and they want more – except Chuck. You’re no longer welcome on my bus and have been kicked to the curb.)
3) I buy all my books, and I’m talking paperbacks, not e-books. Meaning — I paid for my opinion.
4) For once I didn’t have to steal; Jeremy Kline released this picture of his book-cover to me without fore-knowledge of my lack of style.
Now, let the beatings begin!
Here is a very brief depiction of the novel, Lazarus Cane.
A doppleganger (AKA mimic, AKA shapeshifter) is hunting down serial killers in the US and killing them. But, a shadow-organization similar to the FBI is hunting Scott Cane, who is the doppleganger. This is a thriller with sci-fi adaptations.
Lazarus Cane begins with a bit of lesbian action. Hot lesbian action, and tastefully done. It got my attention, but my initial feeling was that it was just a gimmick. But wait…
Let me back up a couple paces, I had just thrown away Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted after reading the first hundred and seven pages of ‘what the hell do you call this?’ I promise I will never read another of Chuck’s books – I am so done with you dude.
So when I started Jeremy Kline’s book I was still holding some residual apathy after Chuck’s junk. It took fifty pages before remembering that I wasn’t reading mass-market garbage, and by page eighty I knew Lazarus Cane was going to be a satisfying read.
The lesbian scene in the beginning turned out to be very important to the creation of all the characters in this book. All of them were very identifiable and easy to accept – all of them – even the bad guys. It turns out that Jeremy Kline is really good with characterization.
Mr. Kline uses very short chapters to move his story along at a quick pace. Sometimes, a little too quick. There were a couple points where I’d wanted to relish in a potentially bloody scene, but was sent to the next chapter. When certain bad guys are getting their just desserts, Jeremy Kline’s keen ability as a writer whipped my blood-lust into a frenzy, but Mr. Kline still pulled his punches. Lazarus Cane is his first novel, he may have been nervous about bloodying my nose, but I can take it. (Off the record, I pulled a couple punches in my first one too.) With that being said, I did not expect ‘a Tim Marquitz’ level of violence and mayhem, but I had anticipated a little more of ‘the ugly’ in this book.
Lazarus Cane is truly a fantastic read, but you must push beyond the very beginning to see how fantastic this story is. In the first thirty pages, the characters appear stereotypical like Dexter/CSI/Dragnet type of caricatures, but by page ninety, they had all fleshed out and satisfied a deeper interest than my original opinion. The three main characters in this volume were strong and memorable. Upon reaching the end of the story, I was pleased to see that Mr. Kline is going to use them in at least one more novel, and hopefully a couple more.
The idea of Lazarus Cane fits the definition of ‘dark fiction,’ but the blood I’d thirsted for was delivered like a fine-looking stripper who refuses to take off her top. She’s standing there, she is super-hot and we know she’s got a good jumblies, but “for Christ’s sake, take off the top already!” As I got closer to the end, the darkness that I’d hoped for did become thicker and complimented the masterfully directed tension with a few unexpected twists. Figuratively, I said, “Oh thank heaven, she’s taking it off…” but she’s still wearing pasties over her nipples. (In other words, a villain or two could have died a bit more violently and I’d have been pacified.)
If I was a reviewer and I intended to score this read, I’d give Lazarus Cane a 7.5 to 8.2 on a 10-point scale. Have no doubt, this is a thrilling read, and the strong characters made for a refreshing page-turner. As Mr. Kline unfolded his story, the drafting and layering kept me intrigued. The greatest asset to this book was the interactions between the many characters felt solid and believable. Jeremy Kline’s ability to convey doubt, as well as to raise cheer is very adept. There were many satisfying revelations along the journey of this story.
I will be looking for his second book to add to my shelves.