Book Review Balticon 2012 Book Tour: Murder at Avedon Hill

I Big Bear am at it again with another book review, see I can keep at this blogging thing(more likely use the scheduling tool…oops) but never the less I will talk about a wonderful Fantasy novel by P.G. Holyfield, Murder at Avedon Hill.


This was an absolute delight to read or listen to in the case of the podcast. Why you may ask? well I will tell you. I am a absolute nerd one of my favorite things is to play D&D(Dungeons and Dragons for those who don’t know) a table top RPG and my favorite class is Monk. I said that to explain that the main character in this novel is well a Monk, so I was down from word one. In true Monk fashion our main character Arames Kragen wields  the martial weapons and semi supernatural abilities, even some psychic abilities.  So already I am speeding down a path of stats and dice rolls that no normal reader should even attempt to venture toward because it would lead to all kinds of nerdy debauchery.

The story of this novel that plays out around Arames is there has been a murder(obviously) of a women that was a key figure in the town of Avedon Hill and rumors abound about the manner of her death thus the town is closed and Arames and his companion Aaron are stuck in town when all they wanted was passage through the mountains  Thus the story kicks off into a whirlwind of characters, monsters, and intrigue. I could go on and on about the characters in this story but P.G. does that enough in the story, which does run on a bit long it feels but he does a good job giving you actiony bits and some comedic scenes to break it up.

As an RPG’er the thing that absolutely blind sided me in this story is the lore. Oh my goodness does P.G. build a world full of color, flavor and texture that scream to be explored. In the podcasts first episode P.G. explains this is a story that simply happens in one small part of this very large and flushed out world, which is the absolute truth. One of the things that will strike you is the Tales of the children referred to at the beginning of every chapter and through the story. These children are the deities of this world and fill it will myths and legends of all sorts.

A problem I had with the world P.G. built was that some of its parts were a bit more interesting that the happenings going on in the story at some points. Also this wonderfully built world tended to over shadow some characters mainly Aaron, Arames’ companion who you find out through the progess of the story is a very important person but is very subdued to the plot even though he is a key figure in workings of the world. Aaron is also used a big ol’ sequel sign at the end of the book. I felt this was rather blatant and was an unneeded cliff hanger when the  revelations in the meat of the story did this rather brilliantly.

As this is a murder mystery of an epic fantasy proportion alot of dialogue is needed which can drag down the story at points. I felt that some of the back tracking the characters had to do was a bit over done to play of the mystery element of the story. along with some avenues that felt should have been obviously explored took a bit to get to, though the web crafted to make the mystery was good it was still out shined by the world it took place in. Over all I am chomping at the bit for more from this universe, and more on the travels of Arames Kragen and his companion Aaron. If you love the fantasy genre, and a good mystery to boot then Murder at Avedon Hill is just for you.

By BigBear85 Posted in Books

Book Review Balticon 2012 Book Tour: Closet Treats

Well Big Bear is back once more to talk about and discuss my addiction, books and today I have a doozy for this tour oh mine. Which you ask well it’s Closet Treats by Paul Elard Cooley. so shall we? I think we shall.




I am a horror nut, I watch horror movies, I read horror stories and with the sensation of American Horror Story I can watch a horror TV Show. With my love of such media it takes a lot to make me uncomfortable  to creep me out, or to think “that was just wrong”. Well Mr. Paul Elard Cooley does the trick with his book. I am going to do my best to not spoil anything in this because the smallest of slips would ruin the utterly dark, twisted places created by this story.

Cooley tells the tale of another one of his fiends. This one however hinges on the primal fear we all had as children, the fear of something under the bed or in this case in the closet. We all have our personal boogeymen as kids but Cooley takes that to a whole new torturous level. The world build by Cooley is unmistakably unique and as dark as the shadow publication motto “shadow publications were we don’t believe in happy endings”. A great treat I feel in a horror author is the will and fortitude to brooch topics that most folks wont even look at let alone talk about, Cooley goes there in closet treats and he does it in a way that makes you feel so wholly with the main character that you feel like his pain is your pain. I will not disclose what this is but I will say this could be a deal breaker for many because I know a lot of people who find such things to much.

Closet Treats has a wonderful cast of characters, whom you can identify with as you come to know them and ultimately find out there fate at the hands of the lord of Fiends Cooley. I really wish I could go in to more detail about this story but it would just be rife with spoilers and I can’t do that with this book. So please go read this, or listen to the podcast of this story them come here and lets discuss because closet treats is well…A treat.


Book Review Balticon 2012 Book Tour: Enemy Lines

So to start what I have been calling my Balticon 2012 book tour hehe. I am going to talk about and review a few books in the weeks to come. Why associate these with Balticon you say, well I met these authors at this years Balticon(man I can’t say this year for much longer huh?). These authors are John Mierau, Paul Elard Cooley, and P.G. Holyfield. There will be some more authors added to this list and most likely they will be Nathan Lowell, and Mur Lafferty only issue is it’s been awhile since I read the books I want to review and they both did 5 book series that were just amazing, so going back to read them will take sometime. Well With out further here is stop one on this tour of mine, Enemy Lines by John Mierau.


I am well a hard and easy consumer of books to make happy. how can I be hard and easy at the same time you ask well it all hinges on the balance of action in the story. This said I had my doubts about Enemy Lines being able to deliver the goods. Yet this story is many things all rolled into one, intense, thrilling little story. Showing I was very, very wrong in my doubts. It gave me action, from a genetically engineered super human(from space) that a win in my book. Aliens which is another win, and evil corporations and government cover ups win and win. Oh and did I mention gun fights, explosions, that both take place on earth and in space plus Yakuza and international thieves? So if you haven’t rushed out and got this book or downloaded the podcast, i will give you a quick run down of the plot.

This is the tale of a group of people coming together to benefit the human race. To guide it with the help of some interstellar beings into prosperity one scientific discovery at a time. Now the government obviously wants to know whats the deal with the little grey men as is always in such stories. while the giant corporation wants to monetize the discoveries and utilize the best for there own gain and acquisition of more Alien inspired tech. Pretty boiler plate from the sounds right? Well on the surface I would agree with you whole heartily but as the old adage goes “the proof is in the pudding”.

The story as many crime films/government conspiracy films are, is told from different point of views. Yet blends then together and constructs a patch work of intrigue that I personally didn’t think it would. This multiple points of views style however gets a bit muddled in the beginning because of a time jump that was needed to progress the story. A reader can not honestly think an author is gonna write several years of scientific research, meticulous planning and conspiracy can you, not unless you want to be snoozing by page 50 of a 2000 age book lol. I simply wish it was bit more defined one minute we are with our cast of characters at the start of somethings, then boom its some years in the future. A little more transition would have helped this though I again openly admit this was needed to progress the story and to get into the meat of the story.

The development of characters is done well, you get to know them, you feel for them, and you hurt for them during there times of lose and pain. In this story you want them to win against their opposition. this is something different from a lot of stories I have read and films of this nature I have seen. The beings your reading about feel just like that empty being vessels to push the plot while Enemy Lines makes you love these guys and Mr.  Mierau has no issues with killing folks let me tell.

Your probably reading this and wondering why I haven’t talk specific of characters, well I feel this would take away from the story by helping to give insight into the story that is revealed through the well done development. Now I did find some parts of this story to be a bit slow but with these type of stories you tend to get slow bits because of the mass amount of information needed to be given. Also the love story in this was very plane and obvious, I personally felt it wasn’t needed at all. also some characters though developed were not flushed out as much as others one of which is the bodyguard of our international thieves. He grows a bit and develops some but is still left well in a shroud that separates him form the reader which made me think he could die or live and it wouldn’t really touch me as much as some others. which is a shame because he is a fun character not your typical bruiser.

All in all Enemy lines delivers the intrigue, fun, and action that one gets when Xfiles meets Jason Bourne, sprinkled with some space battles and intergalactic micro worm hole travel you got the recipe for a good book.  Plus Mierau gives you hope for a sequel. An when it comes this guy will be reading and or listening to it immediately. So go check out Enemy Lines, its good stuff.

By BigBear85 Posted in Books