I was given an advance copy of this book, but I must say, I would have been more than willing to pay for it. I'll give you the bottom line first, in case you're the type to only read the first couple sentences of a review:
Some of the stories are better than others. A few are a bit derivative and many are very topical (*almost* to the point of being preachy), but for the most part, they were a lot of fun. Mr. Hutchings is quite fond of puns and inside-type jokes, which can be old if you don't like play on words (which I do) or are not familiar with what he is referencing (which, luckily, I was). He spins many idioms on their heads and I think what I enjoyed most was his strong use of voice and language. I was surprised by the number of poems in the work as I do not see many people who do both prose and poetry these days. I particularly enjoyed the poems based on works by HP Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert Howard (so if nothing else, at least I know that Mr. Hutchings and I would have similar tastes). I think the author provided a good mix of humor and tragedy (frequently in the same story), and all together, this is a collection of both heavy thoughts and light ditties. My absolute favorite story was 'The Adventure of the Murdered Philanthropist,' which was not only puntastic but the kind of story I'd love to see made into a little animated short. Some of the ideas and topics are repeated, such as love (or the frustrated search thererof), fame, the poor, the misuse of power, and theology, but while these are clearly things the author considers frequently, it never reached the 'beat the dead horse' level. I can't say this collection is for everyone, but as independent titles go, I must say this has been one of my favorites.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)