Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: Unnatural Hairy Zomnibus On Sale Now

While I haven’t posted reviews of these 2 Dan Shamble novels (yet!), trust me when I say they rock.
Amazon says the paperback is currently out of stock, but it is available in Ebook (ewwwww) and physical formats.

Book 2, Unnatural Acts, has some frightening parallels to, and Nostradamus like predicting of, our current political situations while expanding and coloring the universe in a nice way.
Book 3, Hair Raising (my 1st exposure to this universe), has Dan & Co trying to bust up a illegal fighting ring.

This and the 1st volume are great ways to get on board and get all caught up with this series that I like to describe as The Rockford Files meets The Munsters.

Get it on Amazon or where ever you order books.

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TNB Book Club 3.01: Scooby-Doo And The Howling Wolfman

Scooby-Doo!_and_the_Howling_Wolfman_cover

Welcome Back To The Nerd Blitz Book Club!

In Episode 1 of this 2 part series, we discuss the 1st half of the 5th book in James Gelsey’s Scooby-Doo Mysteries series, Scooby-Doo And The Howling Wolfman.

Hear reminiscences of the 1st time Doom read this and got hooked on the franchise, and Fitz talk about sharing it with his kids.

Grab a copy and climb in the van, as we go for a ride with Scoob and the Mystery Inc gang.

URL: TNB Book Club 3.01: Scooby-Doo And The Howling Wolfman
Direct Download: tnbbc003001.mp3

Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: High Midnight Review

Originally published in the Straight Outta Tombstone supernatural western short story collection from Baen Books, The Chambeaux & Deyer Investigations crew are back and heading for a shootout in the Unnatural Quarter at High Midnight.
Does this story deserve to hang its hat next to the rest of the Shamble canon?
Let’s find out!

Consider this your official ***SPOILER ALERT***, gang.

Knowing how much I love this series, this character, and this world, it would take a lot for me to say it doesn’t deserve its place in the overall tapestry.
At this point, Shamble is like Scooby for me, KJA would have to really go off the rails and go in a ridiculous Get A Clue-esque direction to lose my interest.

As the story goes Robin (Deyer, Dan’s business partner) has helped work out the contracts to bring an old west show to the UQ, the main attraction being the ghost of a gunslinger named Deadeye One-Eye.
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that one of the things that makes this series so much fun is figuring out the rules and just how this world works and, once again, he adds another spoke or two to the wheel.
In Book 2, Unnatural Acts, we find out that there are ways to destroy ghosts.
In this story we find out a whole new way that they can get hurt and die…again!

After a display of his gunslinging abilities, Deadeye One-Eye gives Dan a vague threat about his Great-Great-Umpty-Ump Grandpappy, Dirk Chambeaux.
Says he’ll see Dan at High Midnight and pimps away…only to have gunfire ring out!
The promoter of the event, Mild Bill (the alleged ghost of Wild Bill), gets caught in the crossfire and is fatally shot with ghost bullets, which I know sounds hokey as shit but trust me, it works.
As he dies and fades away, he clues Dan & Co in on ol Dirk in a pretty cool way.
There is another cool world rule for ghosts that I don’t want to spoil, but it was so unexpected and I loved it.

KJA’s style is still colorful, but not overly detailed which makes it easy to devour.
You can tell he loves these characters, the warmth between the mains makes that obvious.
My way to sell this series for quite a while now has been to say that it’s like The Rockford Files meets the Universal Monsters, but the more accurate description would be The Rockford Files meets The Munsters with a pinch of The Addams Family.
It also helps scratch a long lasting itch I’ve had for some solid supernatural Western action.
It’s full of so much wacky fun, it’s punny, it’s clever, and there’s just not enough Dan Shamble in the world to satisfy my insatiable hunger.

I’m damn skippy this will be in the new Dan Shamble short story collection KJA has said is coming this fall.
If this is any indication of the quality of the other DSZPI shorts he’s written lately, we are in for some great shit when it drops.

Star Wars: Kenobi Review

Since it was published, this book was proclaimed to be one of the best books of the EU.
Written by one of my favorite Star Wars authors, focusing on one of my favorite Star Wars characters, can it live up to that hype and my own personal expectations?
Patience, my very young Apprentice.
We’re about to find out.

As per usual, this is your official ***SPOILER WARNING***

I didn’t know too much about this going in, just that it was set almost immediately after Ep III and showed Obi-Wan settling into his new reality as a guardian of the future, of hope.
And that is definitely here, Obi-Wan has the weight of the entire galaxy on his shoulders, and at times it’s pitiable.
The moments of torment as he laments his former life make him even more sympathetic.
The working in of the alien accountant that was *Jabba* in the 1977 Marvel adaptation of the movie is perfect.
But there are 2 things I didn’t expect.
1. I didn’t expect Obi-Wan to almost be a background character.
2. I didn’t expect the arc of A’Yark (I’ll have more on this in a bit, hang tight).

Concerning the 1st point, I have read John Jackson Miller and others talk about why we really only see Obi-Wan from everybody else’s perspective, and I have to say it really annoyed me at 1st.
But the longer it goes, the better it works.
Seeing everybody else try to crack this nut is far more effective in maintaining mystery and looking at an iconic character than just jumping into his head.
It makes things more challenging for the writer and the audience, which in the end I dug.
I do love the 1 sided meditation conversations with Qui-Gon as an insight into Kenobi’s thought process, but more importantly I just love seeing the training Yoda set out for him in the closing moments of Revenge Of The Sith.

As for the 2nd unexpected point, A’Yark is a Tusken leader that we spend a surprising amount of time with.
Probably like most people, I went into this thinking that Tuskens were animalistic savages driven by rage and some unknown destructive need.
We go into the head of A’Yark and see something far more fascinating, a deep seeded superstition based on Tatooine’s twin suns.
We see some actual critical thinking, instead of base urge.
We learn about the history of the wrappings and look of Tuskens.
It’s great seeing how they’re treated vs how they really are, and learning how them and their attacks have effected and molded this community.

The worst part of this book is that it was a victim of the great EU Purge.
As seen above, JJM was walking between worlds, he was clearly tying all of his Star Wars works together.
But mentions of Duchess Satine and their relationship, which is official Canon, are examples of great moments of connectivity the Canon is currently missing.
Maybe if they do a Obi-Wan movie they’ll retread this territory (why would you do that!?), but stories like this, that could fit so well into the tapestry of the singular cohesive story, are now slightly depressing to read.

Overall, I love this book.
Maybe I’m easy to please, but there is so much to love.
If you want more insight into this legend of Lucas, read this book and hold out hope something like this comes around again and Miller gets to work on it.

Star Wars: Ahsoka Review

She started as one of the most hated characters in Star Wars history.
After 5 and a half seasons of superb animation, she had become one of the most beloved characters in the entire franchise.
This untold tale of Ahsoka Tano in the fallout of Order 66 feels like it probably would have been a key part in the final Season of The Clone Wars, but the main questions are does this book do that spectacular series and character justice?

Heads up gang this is your official ***SPOILER WARNING***

No need for suspense, hell yeah it does!
The worst thing I can say about this book is the same thing we constantly said during Series 1 of The NerdBlitz Book Club, “Fuck, I wish this was animated!”.
Yes, it’s that damn good.

The plot is fairly simple, a year after Order 66, Ahsoka has abandoned her lightsabers and gone on the run from the Empire.
Moonlighting on an Outer Rim planet as a mechanic, she’s gotten pretty comfortable…until the Empire comes acallin’!
She steals a ship from the family that embraced her and heads for a moon so she doesn’t get discovered and cause even more havoc for innocents.

Tonally, this story really represents where it falls in the canon.
It’s somewhere between The Clone Wars and Rebels.
By that I mean it has darkness like the former, but not to the extent of the Maul arcs, and it is lighthearted like the latter, but not nearly as light as some of the chipper moments from Season 1.
E.K. has one hell of a balancing act here, too far one way or the other and you risk alienating a group of potential readership, but she hits the sweet spot.

Some of the things I truly love about this book are ties to the series that gave us Ahsoka and the series that brought her back to us.
One of the interstitial scenes actually takes us inside of Anakin’s mind on Christophsis, moments before Ahsoka entered his life.
A bit more light is shed on the process of bleeding lightsaber crystals to turn them red for Sith and their underlings.
We find out the fate of a planet from TCW, Ilum, that hundreds of generations of Jedi travel to to retrieve the kyber crystals for their lightsabers.
We meet another Inquisitor, The Sixth Brother.
We find out how she gets involved with the Rebellion, how and why she takes up the name Fulcrum, and most importantly we see her grow and gain her footing for the 1st time in her post-Jedi life.
All the moments we need to know about in her life are covered for sure.

Seeing the Empire come in and squash a moon under their collective boot, completely take over, and knowingly drain a planet of it’s resources to the point that the people who live there are better off just leaving helps paint the picture of how oppressive the Empire has become in such a short period as well.
That there is probably the thing I like best overall about this book, seeing those early days after Sidious took power.
It’s a time period that is sadly unexplored, and I fear it will be some time before we get more set in this era.

It really is a well written book that makes me hope E.K. gets another shot to play in the Star Wars sandbox, she hits the feeling of every era.
She plays well with all of the characters, including a cameo of a certain Prequel Jedi that I want more canon stories about.
If you like either of the big animated shows, read this.
If you want more Ahsoka stories, read this!
If you just want a good Star Wars story, read this damn book!

Firefly Returns!

Like a leaf on the wind, the Serenity soars again!
20th Century Fox has announced the return of Joss Whedon’s beloved, yet quickly cancelled, early 2000’s Sci-Fi franchise.
Sadly, not to screens, but in the best possible way that isn’t filmed, in my opinion.

In conjunction with Titan books, this fall will see the release of the 1st of 3 (for now) Firefly novels, overseen by Josh Whedon himself.
They will written by well known tie-in author Nancy Holder, probably best known for her Buffy novels (though I know from her great Smallville novels), Tim Lebbon, author of Star Wars: Dawn Of The Jedi: Into The Void, and James Lovegrove, a British writer whose works I sadly don’t know, though after searching him, his work sounds like something I’d be into.

I have wanted Firefly novels for a long time, so I am incredibly excited for these!
Hopefully sales are strong enough that it leads to more than just 3.
The 1st drops October 2018, and that can’t come quick enough.

Get the full details, including the 1st plot details, right here!

Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: Tastes Like Chicken Review

The Unnatural Quarter was changing, that was certain.
But the more it changed, the more it stayed the same.
I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

Those are the last 3 sentences of this book, and they ring true for this universe in a big bad way.

Let’s get this out of the way at the top, this is gonna be a suckfest.
I’m not quite sure if I mean in the Vampire sense or…anywhooo…uh, where was I?
Oh yeah!
My love for this series, these characters, and this world has been made crystal clear over the last 13 months and 4 days (yes, I keep track and looked) that it has taken me to read all 6 books and the comic.
I have not hated a single installment in the tales of Dan, Robin, Sheyenne, and McGoo that I’ve gotten my hands on.
I’ll even go a step further and say that at this point I’m damn skippy this is my favorite book series I have read.
It is that damn GOOD!

This is your official ***SPOILER WARNING*** as we dive in deep on this newest chapter in the adventures of Dan and Co.

The action starts early as Dan and McGoo are chasing down a murderous demon from the 5th pit of hell, and though that sounds like a world ending plot, this book reigns it in after the cataclysmic story that was Slimy Underbelly.
This is a more personal outing, a true buddy cop story, of 2 friends forced into fatherhood.

Sheyenne swoops in with a demon busting spell from a flyer and all seems well in the UQ…except for those damn feral chickens and Vamps starting to go apeshit after drinking overpriced, high sugar, extra foam, triple shot, hoity toity blood lattes and the like.
Not long after busting the demon, the plot thread I was hoping in my Slimy Underbelly review would be picked up in this book is reintroduced.
McGoo’s ex-wife, Rhonda, calls and tells him to get to the bus stop just as Spooky calls and tells Dan the same woman called the Chambeaux & Deyer offices with a similar message.

And this is when we start unburying the heart of this particular book.
Dan throughout the series has shown how much he loves and cares for Robin and Spooky, but this little Vampire girl, Alvina, that is forced on him and McGoo by Rhonda (who Dan had a short affair with after the split), is different.
The love we see Dan, McGoo, Spooky, and Robin shower this poor little girl with is something new for the series.
It adds a whole new dimension that I never would have thought to ask for, but I’m glad we got.
And she isn’t the pain in the ass little brat that a once great TV show brings in to try and rebound after the ratings have dipped a bit too low.
She comes off cutesy, but confident.
Smart, but not in a way that suddenly diminishes everybody else to drooling idiots that can’t do anything without her.
And it’s not out of the blue, as I said, the groundwork was laid last book for this to happen.

Alvina is a social media/blog/brand obsessed girl sharing her experiences as a young Vampire stuck in puberty who may be Dan or McGoo’s daughter.
They aren’t sure whose kid she biologically is and, since she was turned DNA tests are now unreliable, they probably never will.
This is another one of the things I love about this series, learning and trying to figure out the rules of it.
I wonder how well KJA has thought this series and its rules out?
To use a TV term, if he has a series bible for it?
Either way, it is damn impressive.

When a nefarious and bloody plot against Unnaturals puts Alvina in a coma, shit gets real for Dan and co.
From that point on, Robin and Spooky sort of take a back seat to these 2 Dads trying to save their girl.
It works so well.

Sadly, the one thing all of KJA’s books seem to have in common is that they go by far too quickly.
Like Hair Raising (book 3 in the DSZPI Series, for those keeping track) I finished this in 4 days.
In my experience, he writes short, easy to read, potato chip like chapters that make you think “well, maybe just one more” until you’re sitting there with an empty bag (or a finished book) hating yourself for being a hog and not making the goodness last.

Trust me, gang, there is far more to this book that I haven’t even touched on yet, but I feel like I’ve rambled and slobbered enough, and I don’t want to spoil it all for you.
I can’t say for certain if this is my favorite book in the series or not, but it is battling hard and holding its own in the fight.
I implore you all to give this series a chance, buy one or more of the books, because money talks and I want many many more full length stories with these characters.
Until next time, thanks for reading.