Wednesday, August 19, 2015

REVIEW: Braineater Jones

Braineater Jones
By: Stephen Kozeniewski

Genre: Mystery, Horror, Hard-Boiled
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Publication date: 10.9.2013
Pages: 235

Date read: 8.10.2015

I receive thirty or more emails a day from authors wanting to be on The Gal or, at the very least, wanting me to review their books on here.  Some of these authors are quite memorable, Stephen being one of them.  When I received his email, and followed the links to Amazon to find out more about them, I found out that I had already purchased both of his books.  We laughed and laughed - I mean, how likely was it that would happen? - and have since become friends.
            Every time one of his books is mentioned in front of me, he'll make some sarcastic remark about how he STILL has not been on The Gal, which I find funny because all of my author friends know that I am going to be harder on them than I am on an author who I don't know.  I mean, these people are on my Facebook, they read my blog, they KNOW better, or at least they should. 
            So, Stephen - since I know you're reading this - sit down, take a deep breath, prepare yourself...

At the time I purchased this book, I had really had it with the whole zombie 'thing.'  I had seen SO many movies and read SO many books that were all pretty much the same, that I had sworn off the lot - and was avoiding dystopian as well, since so many authors seem to believe that zombies and dystopian go hand-in-hand.  I was absolutely sure that there was no one who was going to be able to come up with something new and fresh, something exciting and out of the ordinary... 

That's when I stumbled upon this book.  As usually happens with me on Amazon (and Pinterest - my apologies to anyone who follows me there), I was looking at one thing and ended up, thirty minutes later, looking at the cover of this book.  It completely caught my attention and, after reading the book description, I knew I needed to try this out.  Maybe it's been done before, but I hadn't seen a zombie PI from back in the 30s and this grabbed my attention on so many levels.  I mean, I'm a big fan of mysteries and noir, so how could this be bad?

Trust me - it wasn't.

The main character, Braineater, is pretty awesome.  He's sarcastic as hell, and I have this thing about sarcastic main characters.  He's new at this whole zombie thing, having recently died, and there are a lot of things to get used to (not even including the fact that their bodies start to change after awhile).  Throughout the book, he has some small mysteries that he tries to solve with his new PI business, tries to figure out who murdered him, avoid getting into trouble (which he's not always successful at) - and he meets some crazy characters along the way.  

The story itself is so good.  The mystery of his murder - and the truths that he finds out along the way - are really thought out and well written.  And you can tell that he knows a lot about this era (or did a lot of research) - the terms he uses, as well as social and behavioral points he touches on in his story.

My favorite part of the whole book is the brothel.  Wow!  It was so out there and different - and absolutely hilarious.  And I love the "guy" that Braineater ends up partnering with.

Considering the different genres that this book could fall under, I can see a lot of different readers liking this book.  And it's definitely recommended - this is going on The Gal's best read list this year and I wish it hadn't taken me so long to read it.

About the book:
Braineater Jones wakes up face down in a swimming pool with no memory of his former life, how he died, or why he's now a zombie. With a smart-aleck severed head as a partner, Jones descends into the undead ghetto to solve his own murder.
            But Jones's investigation is complicated by his crippling addiction to human flesh.  Like all walking corpses, he discovers that only a stiff drink can soothe his cravings.  Unfortunately, finding liquor during Prohibition is costly and dangerous.  From his Mason jar, the cantankerous Old Man rules the only speakeasy in the city that caters to the postmortem crowd.
            As the booze, blood, and clues coagulate, Jones gets closer to discovering the identity of his killer and the secrets behind the city's stranglehold on liquid spirits.  Death couldn't stop him, but if the liquor dries up, the entire city will be plunged into an orgy of cannibalism.
            Cracking the case is a tall order.  Braineater Jones won't get out alive, but if he plays his cards right, he might manage to salvage the last scraps of his humanity.

About the author:
Stephen Kozeniewski lives with his wife and two cats in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie.  He was born to the soothing strains of "Boogie With Stu" even though The Who are far superior to Zep, for reasons that he doesn't even really want to get into right now.
            During his time as a Field Artillery officer, he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where, due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star.  The depiction of addiction in his fiction is strongly informed by the three years he spent working at a substance abuse clinic, an experience which also ensures that he employs strict moderation when enjoying the occasional highball of Old Crow.
            He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor's is in German.

1 comment:

Stephen Kozeniewski said...

So, you think I'm reading this, eh?