Michael Dean


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Smashwords book reviews by Michael Dean

  • Tales of the Red Panda: The Android Assassins on May 01, 2012

    If you are a fan of Decoder Ring Theatre's "Red Panda Adventures" audio drama, this is a wonderful expansion of that fantastic world. If you've never heard of the Red Panda, this is a fun, pulp-inspired tale os super heroics the likes of which are rarely seen these days. Inspired by the likes of the Shadow, the Spider, the Green Hornet and other Golden Age Mystery Men, the Red Panda and his sidekick the Flying Squirrel have to defend 1930s Toronto against Captain Clockwork's evil machines. Part super hero story, part mystery, all fun. An excellent throwback to the days of the pulps, when anything you could imagine was possible (static shoes, electric knuckles, retractable gliding membranes) and fun, exciting stories were the priority. Highly recommended.
  • Tales of the Red Panda: The Crime Cabal on May 15, 2012

    The first of Gregg Taylor's "Tales of the Red Panda" adventure novels is an impressive expansion of his Red Panda Universe. Taylor is terrific at telling these loving tributes to the heroes of Golden Age radio, pulps and comics. In "The Crime Cabal" our heroes - the Red Panda and his sidekick the Flying Squirrel - must face the combined power of Kid Chaos and Professor Zombie as they unit the remainder of Toronto's criminal organizations. If you enjoy the audio drama series, you will enjoy this book. If you've never heard the series, the first chapter alone will have you hooked. An excellent novel, about excellent characters, from an excellent author.
  • Tales of the Red Panda: The Mind Master on May 30, 2012

    Another fantastic outing for Canada's Greatest Super-Hero! A somewhat darker tale as Gregg Taylor sets the Red Panda against a foe whose mind powers possibly surpass those of our hero. Consider Taylor's reputed dislike of origin stories, this book contains a surprising amount of background information on the Red Panda. Taylor weaves the flashbacks throughout, revealing just the right amount of info as the story moves along. A very good "not-quite-origin" story. Again, if you're a fan of the audio drama, you'll enjoy the expansion of the universe. If you've never heard of Decoder Ring Theatre, this is still a great, pulpy super-hero story.
  • Black Jack Justice on Aug. 18, 2012

    Gregg Taylor's writing is fast-paced, witty, fun and exciting. This is the story of the first meeting between Jack Justice, hard-boiled private eye and Trixie Dixon, Girl Detective. If you're a fan of the audio drama, this is a must read. If you're not, this is still a fun and exciting 1940s detective story. The "Taylorian Banter" is rapid-fire and witty as our his-and-hers detective begin on opposite ends of a blackmail/divorce case that spirals into a murder investigation and then continues to grow. Taylor moves fluidly through the alternating first-person narration, while constantly moving the story forward, yet never leaving the reader confused about which perspective they are experiencing. That can't have been an easy feat and hats-off to him for accomplishing it. As much as I love Taylor's Red Panda novels, I honestly believe this is his best work to date.
  • Finn's Golem on Jan. 11, 2013

    I've watched the "Clean Slate" videos. I've listened to the "ID0" audio drama. Now, I've just finished the book, "Finn's Golem." Being someone who almost always prefers the book to the movie, I do believe this is the superior version of the story. Gregg is definitely at his most hard-boiled here, and it's an exciting, fun read that manages to surprise even if you're already familiar with the basic plot. Great book (but not for the young'uns). Should Gregg decide to revisit this world at some point in the future, I'd go along for the ride.
  • Tales of the Red Panda: Pyramid of Peril on Oct. 04, 2014

    Super heroes! Sorcerers! Pyramids! Ancient relics! Death traps! If you like all of those words, like I do, then this book is for you. Based on the awesome "Red Panda Adventures" audio drama, the Teriffic Twosome of Toronto travels to Egypt for a great Indiana Jones-style pulp adventure. Gregg Taylor continues to weave fantastic tales in all of his writing endeavors - audio drama, novels and comics alike. He remembers that super hero action stories are primarily supposed to be fun - something I feel lacks in a lot of modern super hero tales. His larger than life characters still feel like real people, and his witty dialogue is as sharp as ever. If you are already a fan of the "Pandaverse," you will not want to miss this book. If you are not familiar with these characters, but love fun action-adventure stories, why not jump in here. You will be glad you did.