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Smashwords book reviews by col

  • The Second Bat Guano War on Jan. 11, 2013

    Blurb….. Rats ate his baby daughter while he partied in a disco. Now Horace "Horse" Mann is a drugged-out expat teaching English to criminals in Lima, Peru. Oh, and doing the odd favour for the CIA. When his Agency contact, Pitt Waters, goes missing, Horse's desperate efforts to find his only friend lead him to a Buddhist ashram on the shores of Lake Titicaca. There Horse uncovers his friend's involvement with a group of Gaia-worshipping terrorists who want to kill off the human "disease" infecting the earth. Can Horse find his friend in time? And when he does--will he want to stop him? I haven’t read much fiction set in South America, scratches head……..err change that to none whatsoever, though I’m sure there’s something from Bitter Lemon Press on the pile that’s set in Argentina……… now to look it up……….yeah – Rage by Serge Bizzio. Well having contributed to several Lonely Planet travel guides for the region, the author has a familiarity with the locale and paints a vivid picture of the seamier side of Lima. Porup introduces us to a variety of miscreants; a Chinese drug dealer, a corrupt cop, whores, a pick-pocket, a CIA assassin and Horse, himself – as in hung like a…. Horace, close to rock-bottom after losing his daughter and wife is surviving giving English lessons to criminals, trying to numb his pain with a daily cocktail of drink, drugs and soulless sex. Meeting Pitt in a bar, brings him a small sense of purpose. Pitt, son of the American Ambassador and a clandestine operator for the agency befriends Horse and drags him into an agency operation. Complications arise with Horse screwing Pitt’s mum and Pitt turning rogue. Horse seeking to find some answers encounters his wife in the sanctuary of a crazed cult, one with big plans for the world’s future. Horse has to choose between allowing Pitt to complete his latest mission or achieving some measure of redemption. The Second Bat Guano War is a decent read, depicting some of the less savoury aspects of life in a South American capital city. The characters whilst not always likeable are interesting and entertaining. Porup throws in some history lessons as well, explaining the legacy of bat guano and the way it has shaped this part of South America. Some pithy observations on corporate America add to the blend. On the whole, different but enjoyable. 4 from 5. I read this one as a free download from Smashwords. It’s available from Amazon on Kindle and will be in print sometime soon. Visiting Porup’s website he has a previous book out – The United States Of Air, which has attracted some decent reviews and which I might be checking out once I’ve put a dent in the TBR mountain.
  • The Book of Skin on Sep. 24, 2015
    (no rating)
    Another Benedict Jones – Charlie Bars offering – The Book of Skin and another great short piece at 26 or 27 pages long. Plenty of depth and substance to it. Charlie is looking into the disappearance of a £10k rare book, bound in human skin from a university. Subject of said missing tome – a 19th century study of sex magic! Great dialogue, great one liners – on his way out of the uni, Charlie spots a security guard he knows…. “Money’s good and I might get to smack a student in the mouth.” He grins at me. Always did have an aversion to learning. With more valuable books left alone and after an inventory check some more on a similar subject matter also missing; Charlie has an inkling on the reason for the theft, and a possible suspect. There’s some steamy sex with another employee of the university and after a second round of frolics, Charlie sustains a beating. His sex partner having set him up - The Book of Skin is in demand. Persons unknown want to get their hands on it. Following up on our hunch, Charlie has a bruising encounter with a frustrated spinster and her sturdy rubber sex toy. He’s solved the case and recovered the goods. However a final twist still hits us, as Constantinou is forced to display a certain amount of pragmatism in the face of a threat to his mum. Our avaricious collector is determined to have the book at any cost. The Book of Skin has a new home. Top story, superb characters, plenty of action and dialogue. Charlie Bars has a certain rogue-like, wide-boy quality that makes him excellent company and one of the most interesting series characters I have read about in the past few months. Street smart and loyal, definitely a man you would want on your side. 4.5 from 5. Benedict J. Jones – Skewered and other London Cruelties was recently enjoyed.