Review: Meddling Kids, by Edgar Cantero

First published on Shoggoth.net:

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cangtero

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

To be entirely honest, when I first picked up my audio copy of Meddling Kids, by Edgar Cantero, I had no idea that I would be writing a review for Shoggoth.net. As a matter of fact, I only picked it up because I remembered reading somewhere that it’s an adult parody of Scooby Doo. To that point, it absolutely is a 100% homage to Scooby Doo, but it is also an homage to Lovecraft, the mythos, and the other players in the mythos.

The story takes place in 1990, 13 years after the Blyton Summer Detective Club (BSDC), aka the Scooby Doo gang, solved their last case. It starts with their last masked villain getting out on parole and being confronted by the slightly more aggressive version of their Daphne. In this, she goes by the name of Andy and she’s only the Daphne character because all of the others were already taken. In this opening scene, it becomes quickly apparent to Mythos fans that this is going to be a Lovecraftian tale.
From there, Andy collects Carrie (Velma), and Nate (Shaggy), and since we’re 13 years past the BSDC days, Shawn’s (Scooby’s) grandson, Tim. Our Fred is the first obvious casualty. He died a few years before this reunion after a stint as an actor ended in a drug overdose. This is how they introduce that all of their lives aren’t what they had expected and they are sure that the real mystery behind their last case wasn’t a masked villain, but was instead an actual lake monster that the news covered up. Ever since they were scared by that real monster, their lives have been hell. Shaggy is in an asylum in Arkham, Velma got her biology degree but instead waits tables at a bar, and Daphne is a former Air Force soldier who escaped from prison.
Needless to say, their lives are shit and they know that they need to confront whatever it was that they ran away from if they ever want to get their lives back on track.
The book is filled with some great call backs to the original Scooby Doo (there’s a Zoinks River) as well as some references to Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and other childhood mystery stories. As a Mythos tale, Edgar Cantero doesn’t shy from the deep end of the mythos and plays as fully in that as he does the Scooby Doo stuff.
The negatives about this story resolve entirely around the writing style, which switches between standard novel-style and screenplay without any warning. It’s jarring and sometimes confusing, but as an audio tale it was generally alright to follow. It took me about three or four times before I stopped paying attention to it, but you do notice it. The other thing is a lot of the made up words and overly cartoonish descriptors. The made up words are simple to understand the meaning of, but those and the odd descriptions pull you from the story as you stop to rewind in your mind what you just heard/read and decipher it again in the context of the scene.
Outside of that, I thought the book genuinely enjoyable and had a great time reliving the good ole days of Scooby and the gang (and yes, Fred/Pete is in it…in a way). I also loved an interesting twist at the very end involving the newest Scooby of the gang, Tim.
Another thing: every now and then Tim does speak, just like Scooby Doo does, but this is explained away in a very clever way as a part of Nate/Shaggy’s hallucinations as a generally insane guy. It’s really well done and still gives us the Scooby scenes without breaking the reality that the story tries to weave.
4 out of 5 stars. Great book.
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Satan’s Salesman Review!

A reader on Goodreads discovered Satan’s Salesman and had an interesting time reading it. I love seeing people enjoy my book, especially when it was a departure from my usual style. Check out what “Swiffer” had to say!

Review: The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft

The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft

The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft

(First publisher for Shoggoth.net)

Normally, I have mixed feelings when it comes to anthologies. It’s not that I don’t like them, my problem is quite the opposite. I love them, but once I get to the point in an anthology story where I want it continue divulging the secrets it’s only just now begun to show me is when the story ends and we shift gears into an entirely different story.

I feared that would happen with The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft, but I wanted to give it a try anyway because I’m a huge fan of Donald Tyson’s Necronomicon books and knew that he had written the descriptors of the gods between each of the individual stories.
I was pleasantly surprised to find every story in this anthology pleasant to some degree. I still suffered, especially at the end of tales such as A Dying of the Light by Rachel Caine.
This anthology was well put together, in that it introduced new tales with very beautifully written takes on the different beasts of the Mythos, while still making itself a primer for each of them. It works well as an introduction to the Mythos, or as a database to update your knowledge if you’re fairly involved in the lore, but haven’t had the time to read any of the Clark Ashton Smith stories (for example).
That leads me to my favorite bits. I haven’t read much of Clark Ashton Smith, but I’ve read some and have only really read the Wiki page for Tsathoggua. With that being said, one of my favorite stories from this mix was The Apotheosis of a Rodeo Clown. This story was one of the few that left me begging for it to continue, as it ends with some revelations about the main character that I think (I need to read CAS to be sure) harkens back to the original Tsathoggua tale.
On the other side of that coin, my other favorite stories were Dream a Little Dream of Me (Jonathan Maberry), In the Mad Mountains (Joe R. Lansdale), and Down, Deep Down, Below the Waves (Seanan McGuire). In the case of Dream a Little Dream of Me, we got some great pulp adventure while expanding on the Dream Lands and the Night Gaunt Mythos. In the Mad Mountains seemed to create a new interpretation of the Mountains of Madness, while also creating an absolutely horrific tale. Down, Deep Down, Below the Waves was simply great Innsmouth story telling and kept me on the edge of my seat. I didn’t know who to cheer for and that, in itself, was somewhat horrific.
At the end of this book, I was left craving more, so much more and encourage everyone to pick up a copy. This was a 5/5 star anthology.

Review: I Am Providence by Nick Mamatas

I Am ProvidenceI Am Providence by Nick Mamatas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I went into this book pretty excited. The premise sounded like a lot of fun, and I liked Mamatas’ The Damned Highway. Unfortunately, this was a 3 star book for various reasons that only managed to get its fourth star from me because I did find myself regularly compelled to continue turning the page just for the murder mystery plot.
Unlike other reviewers, I mostly enjoyed the protagonist, Colleen Danzig. The parts that bothered me revolved around the victim’s point of view. Originally, those chapters were very entertaining and promised a very Lovecraftian answers. I felt that the story never delivered on those answers.
Once again, the murder mystery plot was very good, and felt like an homage to Poirot or Sherlock.
What Mamatas did, and what I think makes me uncomfortable enough to lose enjoyment during this novel, was write a novel aimed at the very specific audience of the Lovecraft crowd, and then use that sniper focus to shine a jaded mirror on that very same crowd, all while stating very plainly in that reflection that they are all whiney and opinionated enough that if they complained there would be no validity to their man-baby cries. My question is why someone would pick a target audience to write to and then insult it.
The answer, that I suspect, was that Mamatas was going for realism, but from the point of view of a fan who was tired of his fandom’s more negative people. If you’re a fan of Ghostbusters, Star Wars, or just about any series that’s been rebooted or sequeled in the last few years, than you’ve probably experienced similar feelings. You want to enjoy the medium, but when you go online, have a conversation with someone, go onto a Facebook group, or actually go to a CON than you’ll run into so many people that are adamantly argumentative about things you thought were just fun.
You can see this also in Mamatas’ mention of the Indie Author crowd. He brings up how getting found doesn’t mean anything other than a few more bucks and maybe a movie deal that won’t ever happen. How everyone with a pen makes an anthology or a publishing house. He complains from the perspective of someone who’s tired of hearing everyone else complain.
And he gets kind of mean about it.
I get it, there are a ton of stereotypes regarding the fans of Lovecraft, and honestly, I’ve never attended more than one convention-styled event, in a guy’s basement, filled with some of the stereotypes described in his book. The problem was that this book comes across as an angry “letter to the editor” about the fandom, his dislike of the conventions, and the people that he’s been stuck at his author booths talking to. As if he wrote this on a grumpier day in his career.
The last page of the book, the Acknowledgements, even states “First I must thank Jeremy Lassen, whose desire for one more Mythos novel from me inspired this book. He will never ask again, clearly.” And then he ends it with “As it turns out, writing a novel is a lonely business.”
Wow, that’s just bleak as Hell.
But the plot for the murder mystery was great. There’s a great story in this book and for that alone I think this novel deserved praise. Mamatas obviously wanted to put forth a good story.
It’s just unfortunate that his good story got mired in his hate letter to his fans.

View all my reviews

Arrow 6×07 “Thanksgiving” Review

Per the usual disclaimer: This is recaps and highlights of my favorite superhero shows from the CW. There will be spoilers. If you are not caught up on ARROW this week you will not want to read beyond this point.
 
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…
 
I’m also going to try doing it in a simpler format. I’ve gotten rid of my play by play reactions and am opting to write a single shorter review post for each show instead of the super long reviews I have been doing. Let me know what you think.
Oliver gets arrested and Cayden James has a huge secret vendetta against the Green Arrow.
Oliver was finally arrested by the Feds, and after a huge episode about the importance of promises kept to children, Oliver is pissed because the Feds are making it look like he broke his promise to his kid. Cayden James and his evil team are making it look like they are going to build a nano-thermite bomb and blow up a stadium at a Billy Joel concert. All of this happens while Diggle tries Curtis’s prototype nerve-damage repair tech, and goes into major steroid withdrawals over it. If he continues to be the Arrow, he’ll become completely paralyzed.
Nice going, Curtis.
Oliver decides that how he’s treated John during the whole “nerve-damage” scandal isn’t fair, so until Diggle can put the hood back on, Oliver is going to do it again. He confronts Cayden James at the concert while Team Arrow takes out a bunch of fake cops, and Cayden explains that there is no bomb, not yet anyway, he just wanted a moment alone to tell the Green Arrow that for some secret reason that has to do with Cayden’s kid, he’s got a big and bad vendetta against him.
We are left to speculate what that Vendetta could be.
In the meantime, somebody video taped Team Arrow fighting the fake cops and released it right before the Vigilante vote, causing vigilantism to become illegal in Starling City again.
The other two big things that happened are Oliver lied to William about putting on the Hood and Thea Woke UP! The lie is going to bite Oliver in the ASS very hard, but it’s ok to ignore that because THEA WOKE UP.
After Wally’s return in The Flash and now Thea in Arrow, I’m wondering what kind of antics we can expect to see in the big Crossover event from those two.
As for my thoughts on this episode, we got to see the return of Oliver as the Arrow, which I liked, and we saw more of Captain Lance which is never a bad thing. We also have the motivations of the bad guy set up, nowhere near as solid as in The Flash, but its there.
The big fail, is this stuff with the Feds. I feel like Lyla would have got them off Oliver’s back by now, and whereas she also wasn’t anywhere around when Diggle was in the hospital. That’s kinda weird.
Can we get to the Crossover now?

Legends of Tomorrow 3×07 “Welcome to the Jungle”

Per the usual disclaimer: This is recaps and highlights of my favorite superhero shows from the CW. There will be spoilers. If you are not caught up on LEGENDS OF TOMORROW this week you will not want to read beyond this point.
 
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…
 
I’m also going to try doing it in a simpler format. I’ve gotten rid of my play by play reactions and am opting to write a single shorter review post for each show instead of the super long reviews I have been doing. Let me know what you think.
The team ends up in Vietnam during the height of the conflict and it looks like Grodd has been kidnapping and brainwashing people from both sides of the conflict. The other big plot is Mick (our favorite) meeting his father before he can come home to raise, abuse, and die at Mick’s hands. Mick is weird about it, he doesn’t want to meet the man he burned to death, it kind of defeats the point of the murder.
This episode was great in that it brought back Grodd, and I love Grodd, but it also gives us some great backstory on Mick. The other big thing it does is ask a question that has been on everyone’s mind since Stein’s relative showed up in Victorian England: Why are this anachronisms occurring around the relatives of the Legends? First Stein’s ancestor, then Ray as a kid, and now Mick’s dad. Is someone trying to take out the Legends, or maybe change who they are?
We also get a Jax in this episode who wants to see if he can survive on the team as a hero without the use of Firestorm (if Stein leaves). Jax manages to save the President of the United States without lighting up.
It was a great episode and makes me excited to watch what happens at the Crossover next week.
Love the Ghostbusters reference, by the way. “There is no Sara, only Grodd.”

The Flash 4×07 “Therefore I Am” Review

Per the usual disclaimer: This is recaps and highlights of my favorite superhero shows from the CW. There will be spoilers. If you are not caught up on THE FLASH this week you will not want to read beyond this point.
 
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…
 
I’m also going to try doing it in a simpler format. I’ve gotten rid of my play by play reactions and am opting to write a single shorter review post for each show instead of the super long reviews I have been doing. Let me know what you think.
The Flash opened up this episode exactly where the last episode took off.  Clifford DeVoe is a guy in a wheelchair who couldn’t possibly be The Thinker… Except that he is, and Barry knows it, but there’s no way to prove it and all of Team Flash thinks he’s being Barry from last season. If you recall, that Barry was paranoid and angry. He’s seeming super paranoid this time around, but it’s well founded. I mean, DeVoe is in a wheelchair…Flash learned a long time ago that he shouldn’t trust a guy in a wheelchair.
That being said, there are two big contradictions in this episode. The first being that Barry is off the wall paranoid. To the point that he is sloppy.  The second contradiction is that Team Flash doesn’t believe Barry. At this point, it’s completely out of character for any of them not to believe  Barry. They trust Caitlyn to not be Frost, but that can’t trust the Forensic Specialist/Superhero.
The best part of this episode was all of the flashbacks. We got some great shots of Wellsobard (Eobard Thawne as Harrison Wells) from season 1 as well as a great backstory for the villain. The backstory, this early in the season, gave us more flavor for the villain, and humanized him, than if we did it later, like with Savitar. Instead of making the big suspense about who he is, which is a cheaper suspense, they make the big bad scary by giving him a backstory and showing that he’ll go to any length for what he wants. Now we have to worry about how smart he is and what he’s capable of.
Either way, this episode rounded up with everyone believing Barry after Clifford confesses to him.
This was a good episode, but as far as feel, it felt like a mix of Barry from season 3 and villain from season 1.
The most important part of this episode is that Wally is back, and he fought Starro! Starro is Earth-1 canon now. Woot!

CW Shows Week 6 (Fall 2017)

Per the usual disclaimer: This is recaps and highlights of my favorite superhero shows from the CW. There will be spoilers. If you are not caught up on SUPERGIRL, THE FLASH, LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, or ARROW this week you will not want to read beyond this point.
 
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…
 
Supergirl 3×06 “Midvale”
-Theme this week is “Sisters.”
In an episode that can only be properly be described as Smallville 2.0, we got a great reminder of what makes Supergirl one of the best CW Shows: Alex and Kara’s relationship. The episode has a short intro with Kara and Alex going back to Midvale to spend a weekend trying to get over being bitchy. During that time, we get an episode worth of flashback where Kara learns what it’s like to be a human as well as a hero and Alex learns to accept freakin’ weirdos and aliens. It was a great episode who’s only flaw was making me wish for a series called “Midvale.”
Thoughts as I watch: (These are written down live as I watch the show)
  • Hey, they borrowed J’onn’s car! Love that car.
  • DEO death package pays really well. That is a nice house.
  • Alex is vulnerable. We know this because they take a moment to examine her after the shower. Showering people are vulnerable people.
  • Eliza should worry more about Kara than Alex. Kara is an emotional wreck.
  • Kara, you totally hashed this out in the first and then the second episode. Get over it. That being said, props to Eliza for rocking the the mom powers.
  • “You can make it Irish.” Kara’s the sister I never had.
  • Damn straight Alex! Tell her off! Kara’s being stupid!
  • Most sisterly fight they’ve ever had.
  • Little Alex and Kara are perfectly cast.
  • Really makes you think the Kents had it easy with having no other children and with Kal-el being a baby.
  • Really, I just feel bad for Eliza.
  • Haha, Kara is a Superman fangirl.
  • Oh hey, it’s the Midvale chapter of the Mean Girls.
  • Same school colors as Smallville.
  • Astronomy Fun! She’s going to cry over Krypton. I’m calling it.
  • Nope, no tears. She almost kissed a human, though. Seems dangerous. Passing alien plagues and such.
  • Shit! When he said “You’d be surprised what it sees,” I suddenly remembered the Tom Welling from Smallville using his telescope like a peeping tom.
  • Alex is not cool.
  • Oh No! They Killed Kenny!
  • Tough girl Kara, getting up in the jock’s face.
  • I like this cop. Must be the badguy.
  • Heat-visioning Alex might not make her like you more.
  • Clark has a friend named Chloe!!! WITH A WALL OF WEIRD! There’s a Chloe on Earth 38! I’m so happy! So Happy!
  • Shit! The Teacher is a pedophile…
  • I’d watch a Midvale series. Seriously.
  • “Crikey, watch as the sisterly bond develops between the adolescent human and her adopted alien sister. This is where it could all go wrong, or all go right! Keep back now, we don’t want to anger the females.”
  • Erica Durance is really J’onn. No one could look like her mother to that degree. J’onn’s an ass.
  • Kara needs family. Why hasn’t she called Clark.
  • Way to reverse psycho out your sister, Alex.
  • Sheriff is the Killer. That sucks. I liked him.
  • Email from CHLOE!!!!!
  • I’ll bet Alex lives…
  • Wait, random thought. If Chloe is here, does this mean that there is also a version of Oliver on this Earth that likes near-neon colors of green?
  • “Screw it,” Good call, Kara!
  • Badass Alex is always badass. It’s somehow genetic. Btw, Badass entrance for Kara.
  • Kenny Lee was cool with Secrets. He could have been Kara’s Chloe.
  • Lesson for the adults: “I’d rather be human than risk losing you.”
  • Now Kara can be a peeping tom just like her cousin.
  • Took her 10 years to set up that telescope. That’s what happens when you give a telescope to someone with telescopic vision.
  • Awwww, “I feel at home with you.”
  • “That possum came from nowhere.” – Kara, showing that she cares more for possums than white martian lives.
The Flash 4×06 “When Harry Met Harry”
-When I heard that this episode was going to happen, it became the episode that I was dying to see almost as much as the big crossover event.
The Flash plot for this story is around training Ralph to be a superhero instead of a cop. About how it’s not always about catching the bad guy so much as protecting people. Ralph learns it the hard way when he does catch the bad guy, but a little girl got hurt. Ralph learns his lesson (while making a great point that The Flash should be fast enough to catch the bad guy and protect the civilians, but plot) and ends up befriending a little girl.
The other plot in this episode revolves around Harry putting together a think tank to locate the Thinker. This is a thinly veiled reason to examine the fact that Harry doesn’t know how to make friends. He tried making friends, and the Council of Wells was made. Using Multiverse Holographic Telephones, he gathered the council and they fight too much, so Cisco has to step up and teach Harry to not look for the annoying things but to look for the things that make them the same. That’s how friendship works, by recognizing similarities to bond over.
I’m pretty sure that’s what the second plot was about. I was too busy enjoying the Council of Wells. They were hilarious.
Thoughts as I watch:
  • Same crook tries to rob Barry that did in Season 1.
  • “Stop shooting him!” -Barry, I’m kind of on Ralph’s side on this. That dumb crook sees that when he shoots Ralph he gets shot instead and then proceeds to shoot him again. Idiot.
  • “What’s the second job? Long-winded lectures before noon?” – Ralph
  • “One day, I’m going to throw a lightning bolt so far up – I’m taking him to the hospital.” Frustrated Barry is hilarious.
  • Damn, the Thinker is good. That was cool.
  • Cisco has ran out of damn’s to give.
  • Harry has friends? Haha.
  • “Pretty sure I relived my own birth.” – Cisco
  • The Therapist comes back!
  • Woah! Meta moves statues! Night at the Museum, anyone?
  • “Remember the days when we wouldn’t calmly consider a stone statue a prime suspect?” – Barry
  • Council of Wells!!!! Harrison Wolfgang Wells, H. Lathario Wells, Wells 2.0, and Wells the Gray!
  • Of course Cisco names them…
  • Wells 2.0 ate his Cisco… That’s pretty fucked up.
  • Dark Matter is the new meteor freak from Smallville. Not complaining, just noticing.
  • Puppy’s raincoat!
  • I kind of agree with Black Bison. Choke the asshole!
  • Barry Savatar’d the suit of armor.
  • “I can see your frank and beans.” – followed by – “Baby violence solves nothing.” – Council of Wells
  • “It’s like your junk has been burned into my brain.” – “You’re welcome.”
  • Ralph dropped the ball.
  • No HIPPA Laws on Earth 1. Barry and Ralph can hear a full medical diagnosis for a kid they have no reason to know anything about.
  • “I hate them, I hate them all.” – “I’d like to gouge out the other eye.” – Harry on the Council of Wells.
  • “Sometimes, you’re a Wizard, Harry.” – Cisco with the Harry Potter reference.
  • Seriously, I love the Council of Wells.
  • Touching Ralph and Barry moment.
  • Black Bison is quick with her hands.
  • Onions Everywhere! (I don’t remember why I wrote this note, so if anyone doesn’t mind reminding me. I’d appreciate it. Maybe I’ll rewatch the episode this afternoon.)
  • Dinosaur time! Getting Harry Dresden vibes…
  • Good Job Barry!
  • Good guy Ralph mailed the necklace back to the Sioux Reservation.
  • Hospitals let stretchy pervs into people’s rooms. Seriously, why would they let him in there?
  • Council of Wells succeeded!
  • Woah! The Thinker changed his outfit pretty quickly.
Legends of Tomorrow 3×06 “Helen Hunt”
-Helen of Troy is an anachronism. She ends up in 1937 at the WB and starts a corporate war over her beauty. While the Legends try to fix that issue, they also have the issue of Stein and Jax switching minds and Damien Darhk trying to use Helen to destroy time.
Thoughts as I watch:
  • 1937 at the WB, great start CW…owned by WB…
  • Holy Canoli!
  • Love the old timey Legends Logo!
  • Nanites courtesy of Ray Palmer!
  • Ha! They’ve been freaky Friday’d.
  • Great actors. Well done on the switch.
  • Hollywood Trojan War
  • “Don’t knock the Academy, Gray.”
  • Helen’s a perfect victim. Like of all time. And why do WB Execs carry guns?
  • Gray has it bad for Hedy Lamar. Of course he does.
  • I like Nate’s hat. Of course I do.
  • Mick doesn’t even try to dress up. Love it.
  • “I’d do her.” – Mick.
  • Why doesn’t Helen ask why nothing makes sense or why she’s even there?
  • Oh, they answered that.
  • Darhk is her agent and now a series regular? Love him as a villain, so I like this decision.
  • By the way, when the Crossover happens are they going to address the whole Oliver not knowing that Darhk is alive? I feel like he wouldn’t be too happy about this.
  • I’m liking the advance of the Totem plot.
  • She’s totally Amaya’s descendant.
  • Mick is crazy smart.
  • Ooooh! Ray knows her! She has to be Amaya’s descendant. He knew the water totem lady from the cartoon. They are bringing more cartoon info into it. Love it.
  • Nasty in the pasty. haha.
  • Is Helen blind? They ARE killing each other in your name.
  • I hope Helen falls for Sara. That’d solve everything.
  • Why can’t they take the mini-time-ship thing?
  • “Better not be calling in your hall pass, Gray!”
  • Sometimes, you have to be crazy if you want to burn bright. – That’s a good quote.
  • How does Darhk use magic now? In Arrow, he had that head thing that provided magic based on how many people you killed. He doesn’t have that now.
  • Pee Break!
  • Fight Time!
  • Hedy believed the nuclear man thing very easily.
  • Sara is so kickass. Seriously. Great fighting.
  • Oh right. Hedy is smart.
  • Eleanore is Darhk’s daughter!!
  • Kickass Gray!
  • “Please tell me Firestein’s a thing!” – Nate
  • Gray gets hit on by Hedy. That’s fun.
  • Thymescara is part of the Arrowverse! That also means that Zari knows about it from 2042. So, Wonder Woman must come about before then.
Arrow 6×06 “Promises Kept”
-This continues last week’s episode with Slade joining his son in the Jackals. Slade is torn between helping his son and being the better person and stopping his son’s terrorist actions. Oliver helps him figure it out.
Team Diggle, I mean, Team Arrow meets the Dragon who also happens to be Diggle’s dealer. So he has to struggle with taking out the drug dealer and not getting any more drugs, or coming clean literally and figuratively with the team. He makes the right choice and we see Lyla and Connor for the first time in a while.
Thoughts as I watch:
  • Deathstroke with nothing left to lose. Yikes.
  • Flashbacks! Touching flashback with flashbacks in it. Meta flashbacks!
  • Diggle’s drugs are wearing off.
  • Enter the Dragon!
  • Lyla! Haven’t seen her in a while. Maybe now would be a good time to ask her about getting the FBI off of your … oh, nevermind. You’re just gonna bang her.
  • Shit! No more drugs.
  • Reassignment of Resources? Vaguebook much?
  • I don’t like this Nylander guy who keeps teasing Deathstroke.
  • One Year Back From The Dead is totally a thing in the Arrowverse. Sara Lance celebrates Deathaversaries. So does Thea.
  • Somebody wishes Oliver was really his kid…
  • Mirakuru flashbacks?
  • Dragon supplies Arrow with Drugs. Introducing Ricardo Diaz.
  • Deathstroke doesn’t want to kill anyone.
  • Stress-eating time! Wild Dog is my kinda teammate.
  • Diggle knows Ricardo!
  • Honest up, Diggle, please.
  • Oliver got caught by Nylander? Right. I’ll believe that the same day I believe that Mick isn’t the best thing about Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Ghost Shadow is a bitch. Anybody weirding out seeing Slade makeout with the air? I guess they wouldn’t say anything. He might get stabby.
  • Diggle is telling Lyla! First right thing he’s done all season.
  • Blade by the eye. Not cool.
  • Oh, Joe. Don’t threaten Oliver’s son. That’s the dumbest thing you could do.
  • Yes. That was a “little too convincing.”
  • Poor Slade. Gonna have to kill his son.
  • Oliver is great this season. He’s turned into a legit good person.
  • Ricardo Diaz doesn’t show up on traffic cams, but they have surveillance of him so he’s not that good.
  • Ricardo fights with his men. That’s a good bad guy boss to work for.
  • Your days as the Arrow are done now, Diggle.
  • Nylander is totally the fall guy. Cane/Joe knows that the guy who pulls the trigger is going to die.
  • Oliver is killing again. If you recall, he kills because he “likes it.”
  • I said last week that Joe totally saw Slade kill the spy on the camping trip.
  • Brother Drop! Grant? Is the Flash his brother? Oh, no, he killed him.
  • Both of them? How is Slade going to find both of them. Grant’s dead.
  • Neat mist vanish scene.
  • Aww, Diggle’s doing the right thing!
  • Ice cream for dinner. Felicity gained cool points.
  • Damn straight you’d better apologize to Wild Dog!
  • Curtis is so right! Literally used science to make a woman walk again, he can fix your nerve damage. Seriously.
  • Haha, “Kiss ass.”
  • Of course Dinah is keeping the secrets now.

Review: Reanimatrix by Peter Rawlik

Reanimatrix by Peter Rawlik

Reanimatrix by Peter Rawlik

Reanimatrix is the third in a series of books written by Peter Rawlik that focuses on a world that Peter has built out of H.P. Lovecraft’s works focused around the story Herbert West: Reanimator. In the previous stories in Rawlik’s world, he’s introduced his own reanimators and several other characters, but weaves them into the Lovecraft mythos flawlessly so that you can see exactly where these characters are even when you’re just reading Lovecraft’s stories. He fills the gaps, so to say, and he’s very good at it.

Reanimatrix follows a protagonist who has seen some weird stuff, a la Lovecraft, and after being indoctrinated into the world view that this weird stuff is kind of everywhere, he becomes a local specialist in Arkham. He’s the guy on the police force that the police send to the weird crimes.
After meeting a woman, Megan Halsey-Griffith, briefly before his police career, the protagonist, Robert Peasley, falls in love with her from afar. Alas, this romance isn’t to be, as the next time that Robert sees Megan, she’s dead and entangled in a fisherman’s net.
When her body disappears, and the case seemingly gets closed, Robert becomes obsessed. He buys her house, reads her diaries, goes off the deep end essentially.
Then things get really weird. Her diaries map out her interesting history, her lineage tied back to the actions of Herbert West and events that took place in the first book by Rawlik as well as in Lovecraft’s tale.
The Bad: 
It has a very slow pacing. The most interesting scene in the beginning focuses around a botched version of the Reanimator Formula in France that has people reliving their last moments. This scene did well to introduce the concept but also made me wonder if following that serum and it’s use (maybe in criminal investigations) might have been a stronger narrative. That is the only really exciting bit at the beginning, and after that it becomes incredibly over-descriptive in every possible scene, slowing the pace even further. I’ll be honest in that I picked up this book about a year ago, stopped reading it only a quarter of the way through, and only recently decided to finish it last week.
The pacing does pick up, although the description of every little thing never stops, and this book really picks up pace when Robert finds Megan’s body. Then it gets weird… There’s lineage stuff in this book, and sex is a big part of how lineage comes about, obviously, but instead of explaining that people have sex, the story disembarks “Weird Murder Mystery” and suddenly jumps the track to “Esoteric Eroticism” but for only two scenes in the whole book. These scenes weren’t necessary for the plot and only came across as the author looking to exercise his skill set. Somewhere along the lines, it feels like he wanted to know if he could write weird sex scenes (weird like Lovecraft with fish people and zombies, not weird like “eww sex.” Sex scenes have their place, even weird ones), and so he did and then he put them into a story that’s weird pacing hadn’t revolved around weird sex scenes. It would have made sense if he continued to pepper them through the story, but he has only two and then an exposition on how one of the main characters will be trained in the arts of sex but then never touches on it again. I guess my concern is: What was the point?
The Good:
The things that I liked about this book were plenty, and weighed heavily in it’s favor. Rawlik does what I’ve done with some of my stories (looking at you Dr. Doran) and weaves a tale that tries to incorporate multiple stories from the Mythos. We have the Reanimator, obviously, but also the Dunwich Horror, The Witch House, Thing on the Doorstep, Shadow Over Innsmouth, Whisperers in Darkness, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, and more. Every chapter touches on a different aspect of the mythos and flawlessly weaves it into the narrative.
Also, I joked earlier about Robert’s obsession with Megan, but that wasn’t really a problem. His obsession is obvious, as he’s seen weird things and he’s gotten a crush. His obsession with the weird sets him out on a mission to either save, protect, or solve the mystery that is Megan Halsey-Griffith. Taking us down the Rabbit-hole this way makes Robert seem not weird, but enlightened.
I really liked the portrayal of Herbert West throughout this story as well. He’s creepy, but not just Lovecraft-creepy, as I feel this version definitely embodies Jeffrey Combs.
I mentioned the clever weaving of Lovecraftian mythos into this story, but Rawlik also involves several other stories from that time. I had to google the obvious mentions, but there’s one that references Ms. Halsey-Griffith visiting a cousin who just so happens to be from a movie out of the 30’s regarding reanimation, and yet another that I can’t recall at the writing of this review. Rawlik has a gift for stitching together narratives in a way that makes it seem natural.
I did like this book, a lot. The slow pacing, weird sex scenes, and descriptive nature of the story don’t detract from the strength of the addictive plot that pulls you in and makes you want to solve Peasley’s case with him.
I give this story 4 out of 5, but hope that future installments go back to the Weird Company side of Rawlik’s writing.

Review: An American Weredeer in Michigan by Phipps & Suttkus

An American Weredeer in Michigan (The Bright Falls Mysteries Series Book 2) by [Phipps, C. T., Suttkus, Michael]An American Weredeer in Michigan is the newest urban fantasy novel from C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus. The book takes place a year after the events of the first book, I was a Teenage Weredeer, and follows the same protagonist, Jane Doe. The entire series takes place in a world that has gone through the “Reveal” a time in which supernatural elements of the world are known to everyone and the world is still reacting to that information. Michigan is, more or less, a safe place to be, but a lot of people didn’t react well to the revelation and a new type of racism bursts forth.
So, when the new Shaman of Bright Falls, Jane, discovers a mass grave of discarded babies she already had a lot on her plate. Someone has been discarding newborns for the last hundred or so years, and it’s an atrocity that can’t go unpunished. Teaming up with her crew from the last book, Jane is on a quest to stop the murder of innocent lives…
Until a few more things come up. First, there’s a cult leader/wizard who wants to find the person or being responsible for the massacre and harness them for his own purposes. Also, money is an issue for the young and inexperienced Jane, and she’s struggling to make ends meet when the current leader of the werewolves wants to buy out her family business. Jane is, of course, reluctant to sell.
Oh, and her boyfriend’s brother is super into her. Her day is going to be a busy one.
Jane is a snarky protagonist in the vein of Harry Dresden and I love her for it.
I like ( a lot) how Phipps makes you feel the tension between Alex, Jane, and Lucien. The relationship, or confusion considering it, between herself and Lucien, and herself and Alex, is something that Phipps and Suttkus build up really well. Robyn, a new character introduced in this story, I like specifically because of her “Watson-esque” role she’s taken over for Jane. She becomes our outsider that helps us understand things while playing a pivotal role to the story, and I love that. She also feels like she came from Straight out of Fangton (another book that takes place in this universe, but not in this series), in her personality, which really helps tie the two series together in a thematic way.
I can’t recommend the Weredeer series by Phipps and Suttkus more. We have books that we read for fun and enjoyment, and we have books that we read as guilty pleasures. This is one of my guilty pleasures, falling into the snarky hero/urban fantasy genre that I always go back to.
5 out of 5, will grab up the next one as soon as it is out.