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"First you're an unknown, then you write one book and you move up to obscurity." — Martin Meyers
I published a book in 2004. It became an immediate collector's item. In fact, I have several hundred copies collecting dust in my attic. Critics everywhere said it belonged right up there between Ernest Hemingway and Robert E Howard—on an alphabetical bookshelf.
My influences include Rocky & Bullwinkle, 1950s sci-fi movies, and silver-age comics.
I live in Texas with my Princess wife, and cats Rocky and Dusty. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
on Feb. 16, 2017 :
Out of Texas 4 is an immensely enjoyable reading experience. Within its three novella-length tales you’ll find side-splitting humor, intense action, poignant philosophy, and heart-breaking tragedy. The stories star J-man, a shape-shifting cat, and his friend Josie, the revitalized Viking Mummy from Outer Space. It also features many characters from previous books, now brought into the limelight. Most of the action takes place over a three-day Easter weekend. The stories are not complicated but are packed with events.
The first tale, “Strawberry Feels Forever,” takes place on Good Friday. It finds J-man and Josie at the mercy of a heartless man who has prolonged his life for over 200 years by swapping his mind into the body of others. Kind of a “Charles Dexter Ward” scenario. It leaves J-man badly damaged with severe headaches for the rest of the book.
Next up is “Vengeance Is Mein.” The chapter titles come from songs by the Doors. J-man has reached the semifinals of a fight tournament and promoter Gordon Paul is determined that J will not succeed. The next day, Easter Saturday, he sends him on a red herring mission hoping he will not get back in time for that night’s fight. The already damaged J-man gets involved in a terrific barfight. The next morning, Easter, our hero is sitting in a field of bluebonnets when an off-screen cloud of mosquitoes appear and coalesce into his friend Josie. A tornado drops down on them, but they survive. They find a hole by a stream and follow it to a cave system where the villainous Mein Herr awaits. He is a large, anthropomorphized rabbit. It turns out he is a returning minor character from the previous book. A nice touch has the rabbit wearing a Maltese cross armband, a homage I’m sure to Bugs Bunny writer Michael Maltese. Mein Herr plans to control the weather and influence the outcome of important events. He and J-man fight, a cave-in results and the cavern floods. Quick thinking on J’s part allows him and Jo to survive, after which he returns to Houston in time for his fight. Gordon Paul still has a trick up his sleeve and double-crosses J, leaving both him and Jo badly hurt. The ending, by the way, is outright hilarious.
Lastly, there’s “Embarrass the Wind,” a courtroom drama where J stands trial for the murder of one of Gordon Paul’s stooges. Josie, a law student, defends him, blowing the case at every turn. She believes he is guilty and does all she can to get the case thrown out or at least delayed. A funny exchange occurs when Josie talks of pulling some strings and J replies, "Texas justice duzn't pull strings; it yanks nooses." In the end J-man is exonerated, but the stress causes him and Jo to break up. It concludes with one of the most heartbreaking scenes ever.
The entire book appears to focus on the idea of change. J becomes less of a cat, the once-shy Jo becomes ever bolder in her actions, Gordon Paul’s attitude goes from open dislike to outright hate, Mein Herr transforms from an ordinary man into a microwave monster, and Justin Time, the villain from the first tale, constantly swaps bodies to stay alive. There is also the sheer amount of physical and mental punishment inflicted on our hero which he must endure while battling overwhelming odds.
Oh, and did I mention it’s also the funniest book in the series so far?
Check it out. It’s a long read, but worth the effort.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)