Monday, November 30, 2009

New Author Alert: Patrick Wensink

Patrick Wensink Is a New Author Worth Getting to Know
By Alan Eggleston, writer, editor, and bookseller

There's a new humor author to discover: Patrick Wensink. His new book, his first, titled Sex Dungeon for Sale! is getting many great reviews over at and, which is always a strong endorsement.

Sex Dungeon for Sale! is a short compilation of humorous - one might say whacky - short stories in the New Bizarro Author Series. I haven't had the opportunity yet to read more than a sampling of Mr. Wensink's new work yet (he just wrote me about his book today!), but from what I've seen, there is much to like about this new author's style and to enjoy in his stories. Many have compared his writing to David Sedaris, David Cross, Chuck Palahniuk, or Robert Anton Wilson. Perhaps even Christopher Moore, from the sounds of it. "My Son Thinks He's French" is a fun, quick narrative of child-inspired imagination anyone who knows creative, obsessive children will enjoy.

If you like off-the-track humor, or any of the authors mentioned above, I'd give Mr. Wensink a try. As part of the New Bizarro Author Series, it's great to meet a bright new author at an introductory price, and this is your chance to meet an up-and-coming new writer who's making a name for himself now.

Mr. Wensink e-mailed me to tell me about a little promotional contest he is running through December 14 that he thought you might find fun. From his press release:

Patrick Wensink recently decided there’s only one way to celebrate the release of his book, “Sex Dungeon for Sale!”. And that is by holding a coloring contest.

He had a series of illustrations created based on some of the book’s stories, including a Kindergartener who thinks he’s French, a puddle of ketchup shaped like Elvis and something called, “Chicken Soup for the Kidnapper’s Soul.”

While the coloring contest sounded like fun, Wensink added a little excitement by offering an autographed stack of his favorite books from 2009 to the winner.
  • Fool - By Christopher Moore
  • Tales Designed to Thrizzle – by Michael Kupperman
  • AM/PM – By Amelia Gray
  • Help! A Bear is Eating Me! – By Mykle Hansen
The contest ends December 14.

For all the details visit
When Mr. Wensink wrote me, I did a little research to learn more about him and his book. I wasn't going to promote just anyone. I was impressed by the reviews I found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, the sample chapter I read (on his website), and the personableness of his e-mail. I'd be interested in your impressions, too.

(Book links to through my online book store, through which I may receive commissions for sales. No recompense received for reviewing this author or passing on author information.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Invasion Loses Me as Naval History Instead of Sea Adventure

Book Review: Invasion by Julian Stockwin

By Alan Eggleston, writer, editor, and bookseller

In October, Julian Stockwin released the 10th in his Thomas Kydd sea adventure series: Invasion. Stockwin is a fine writer of sea adventures, but in this story, he loses his way as a writer of naval history.

In Invasion, Britain worries over its imminent invasion by France's madman Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, and an American inventor, Robert Fulton, seems to be England's greatest hope. He's known to be in France trying to sell Napoleon on the new war concept of submarine and torpedo warfare, and it becomes the mission of Commander Thomas Kydd and his best friend, Renzi, to entice Fulton to come to Britain and bring his technology to England's aid.

I'm not big on stories the central theme of which is built around the idea of a past famous person interacting with the book's main fictional character, and I wasn't keen on it here. The Thomas Kydd series of sea adventures are full of the excitement of sea battles and the dangerous life on tall ships at sea. Miring these rich, deep characters in the false sense of meeting up with real people with whom they likely would not have met get in the way for me. In the case of Renzi, it works all right, and Stockwin moves Kydd's interaction into sea action, so it's not too distasteful. However, I read the Thomas Kydd sea adventures for sea adventure, not not naval engineering.

One thing I'll say about Stockwin is that I respect his research and his use of the details he uncovers and uses in his works of fiction. I trust him to make good and accurate use of facts. At the end of the book, he tells us that Fulton was indeed in France at the time and did work on submarine and torpedo warfare, then went on to England, where he continued his work. For that reason, I am able to slightly suspend my disbelief.

If you read Stockwin because you appreciate his fine use of detail and like his excellent narrative in sea battles, you'll enjoy some of that here, but a good part of the book is taken up in meeting up with Fulton in France and with developing weapons in Britain. It made me miss his earlier works on Kydd in the Caribbean and the journey around the world, and it reminded me somewhat of his work on Kydd in North America while stationed in the United States.

I haven't given up on Stockwin's earlier storytelling of adventure. I'm sure he will bring it back in books to come. He's a fine author.

(Book links through my online book store, through which I may receive commissions for sales. No recompense received for passing on author information.)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Author Christoper Moore News

Christoper Moore, Humor Author, Posts First Two Chapters of Next Book

Christopher Moore yesterday sent out an e-mail to fans announcing some exciting news:

First, he's posted the first two chapters of his new book Bite Me (due in stores April 1) for fan previews.

Second, for those of you in the East, he's doing an “evening with” event with the New Jersey Shakespeare Company on November 19th. He will talk, they will do dramatic readings from Fool with "real Shakespearian actors," and he will sign books. Moore says there will be "swag, t-shirts and hats, maybe even some early copies of Bite Me, if they’re ready by then. This is a one-time event, with no rehearsal, so it should be strange and fun."

Moore is a humor writer of such popular titles as Fool: A Novel; Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal; Bloodsucking Friends: A Love Story; A Dirty Job: A Novel; You Suck: A Love Story; The Stupedist Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror; and Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Wale Sings, among others. My personal favorites are Lamb and Fluke. Moore has a great rapport with his fans, and if you write to him he's been known to write back!

(Book links through my online book store, through which I may receive commissions for sales. No recompense received for passing on author information.)

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Lost Symbol Is Typical Dan Brown Suspense

Review: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

I am a big Dan Brown fan. No one paces a suspense story like Dan Brown, keeping you surprised right up to the end. He has kept up that pace in all his past books. Just when you thought you knew who done it, it wasn't until the last chapter that you found out who had really done it. However, he breaks that well developed writing style in The Lost Symbol, and I have to say, I was disappointed.

Don't misunderstand me; The Lost Symbol is full of surprises and suspenseful moments. The writing is still excellent and the pace is still brisk. My attention was rivetted after about the 15th short chapter. And to be fair, there are twists and turns in the plot right up to the end as Dan Brown leads you to the whereabouts of the lost symbol. Yet, I felt let down after the conflict between the protagonist and antagonist was resolved and chapters still remained. Oh, yes, we still have to point out the whereabouts of that pesky "lost" symbol.

If you like mystery, if you adore thriller or suspense, if you aborb conspiracies and like to untangle knotty plot twists, The Lost Symbol will be a good read for you. You may even find some of the plot holes don't matter so much -- like the tiny matter of the head of CIA security taking the lead in investigating internal U.S. security issues: Isn't that the perview of Heartland Security or the FBI? There were a few more little iniquities that bothered me, but I allowed to go unresolved because the story was too good to spoil with mere nits.

However, if you aren't a fan of Dan Brown's other works, you aren't likely to like this one, either.

Review Disclosures
(Book links above through my book store, for which I may receive commissions for sales.)