Posts Tagged ‘Literacy


Literacy, huh?

(I’ve gotten away from Legal Disclaimers — see about author if you are insulted by anything I’ve written.)


I don’t have too many nice things to say about Las Vegas, but the rent is cheap.

C-Jane and I participated in World Book Night. What is that? Well, thirty (30) fabulous and fantastic authors like Stephen King, Alice Sebold, and Orson Scott Card all donated thousands of books without expectation of payment to promote literacy in the US. As an author myself, I value literacy.

The deal is this, C-Jane and I volunteered to give away 20 free books from an author of our choice. I chose Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card since it was one of the books I read in college that inspired me to become a writer. I was pretty jazzed to give twenty copies of this awesome book to new readers.

So, C-Jane and I went to our local supermarket, and spoke to the manager, and they agreed with our cause. Literacy is good, M’kay? We could stand out in front of the store and promote literacy without going to jail for unlawful assembly, but we were not allowed to fist fight with the patrons of our neighborhood grocer.

I said, “Excuse me, but do you like to read?” And the giant fat guy with the tattoo on his 25-inch circumference neck with his equally huge girlfriend with rhinestone piercings through each of her cheeks looks at me and says, “I f**kin hate reading!”

“Have a nice day.”

The tall oriental guy with the UNLV hat says, “Why are you doing this? No one reads unless they are in jail.”

It was 101* Fahrenheit this afternoon, we gave it a solid hour, more like ninety minutes. “Excuse me ma’am, I’m giving away a free––” And she interrupts me, “I’m not voting for Obama, he is a liar! I hate him and all Democrats, they should all choke on their own vomit and die!!” And I say, “I just want to give you a book.” She continues, “I hate all of them, they all need to go to hell, they can all go burn, that god-damn Mitt Romney too, F-him and the Mormon Church he rode in on!” After a ten minute tirade, she then went to harass C-Jane. I wasn’t worried, C-Jane knows karate and she just learned the move called ‘Face-Smash.’ Thank you Sensei James for teaching her that one, and not a day too soon.

C-Jane also got the lady who said, “I only read the Bible.” Don’t get me wrong, I think Jesus rocks, but the gospels are not nearly as much fun as Ender’s Game. And then there was the meth-freak who laughed when I offered a free book. He said, “Dude, you got ten dollars I could have?”

Ninety minutes, we took the abuse of our ultra-ignorant neighbors. We did give away six books each, but it was horribly demoralizing. Las Vegas has got to be the dumbest city in America. I’ll get rid of my other fourteen books this Friday. I have a book signing at the renaissance festival in Boulder City. I’ll offer free books to people while dressed as a jester, waiting for the last five literate people of Las Vegas to find me. Hopefully the people of Boulder City don’t suck as retarded as the people in our neighborhood.


The Killer Awoke Before Dawn

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.


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