Zero Saints (Book Review)

BxqvUknIAAAy34-When I was younger, I would use certain words until their meaning lost all impact. One of my favorite words was INTENSE. School was intense, my love life was intense, every movie was intense. It was a wonder I made it through my everyday life without being consumed by the intensity of it all.

Reading Gabino Iglesias’ crime fiction novel Zero Saints brought this word to my forefront of my mind. I probably told myself this book was intense about every twenty pages or so and I meant it everytime.

The main character Fernando tries to make a quiet life as an illegal alien in Austin, Texas, but can’t seem to escape the violence of la frontera aka the border between U.S. and Mexico. He sells drugs and works as an enforcer to make ends meet. But after he gets thrown in a trunk and forced to watch his friend’s head get cut off by some heavily tattooed gangsters, everything begins to fall apart.

There’s a good amount of Spanish in here, but Gabino does a great job of conveying the meaning through context. Don’t let a dash of another language scare you away. I promise you it’s worth it and adds to the rich flavor of the narrative.

The supernatural elements running through this book are on point. This is the first time I’ve seen santeria, orishas, voodun and other not so well-known religions find there way into a crime fiction book.

Zero Saints hits you like a freight train and doesn’t let up. It’s full of grit, desperation, and a dark intensity that might swallow you whole if you’re not careful. This is everything I wanted and more in a crime novel. I pray to Santa Muerte that Gabino pens another crime fiction book in a similar vein (the Russian hitman deserves a solo book).

Buy the book here:

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The Return…to America

IMG_0331 Almost forgot to tell y’all I’m back in the states. It’s been two years. Definitely a weird experience. Everything seems much more expensive and I forgot how big everything is (portion sizes, bathrooms, houses, cars, etc.). Still, I miss Espana like a mofo.

I’m finally settled into a place and it feels good to have a solid routine. Most of my time is spent going to class learning announcing skills and working on my articulation and ish. It’s strange being back in Fort Meade. I already ran into a couple people who were in charge of me back on the USS John C. Stennis (aircraft carrier). Now they teach at the Defense Information School. It’s a small world.

shine onWhat does this all mean creatively? Well, I don’t have a car anymore so I’m spending more time at home and pretty much zero time partying. This basically means I’m much more productive now. Working on a few books as usual. One of which is God’s Leftovers. Let’s just say it’s my cannibals in the desert book. Throw in some hippies and mysticism and you might have an idea where I’m going. Plus, I need to get Young World done pretty soon too.

I know it’s seems like I’ve been quiet with my creative output. Just know I’ve been working behind the scenes.

New music on the way too.

Let’s get it!

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Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks (Book Review)

51bPggF4OFL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_QL70_Most of the time I see a movie trailer for a new slasher flick, part of me gets excited and the other part groans. Let’s be honest, most of the slasher territory has been run over to death, but I always believe there’s new land to be discovered. This is where Christoph Paul comes into play with his slim book Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks, his New Bizarro Author Series debut from Eraserhead Press.

Imagine a future where Slashers are groomed and are free to run the country and kill Finals (normal people) at their will. Enter Jason Voorheesberg, a young Slasher, who is afflicted with Slash Anxiety and struggles to live up to his true potential. He gets sent to a low level slasher summer camp where his mom hopes they will turn him into an ultimate Slasher. Eventually, he befriends a slasher named Candybee Wamack (loosely based off me) and begins to fall head over heels for one of the camp counselors named Rachel.

A series of events lead to inevitable face-off between the Finals camp and the Slashers in training. This is where we really get to see if Jason is up to snuff and you’ll be presently surprised to see how he grows.

Horror fans in general should pick this book up. The last third of the book becomes deadass serious. I’ve read some of Christoph’s previous books which are little heavy on the humor. With Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks he manages to bring fresh air to the Slasher sub-genre of horror and pulls it off with ease.

Buy the book here:

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Post Halloween Madness

halloween2015It’s raining Komodo dragons and sangria outside my window now. I’m feeling a little out sorts since this was my last weekend in Spain and I fly back to the states this Friday. It will be weird adjusting back to the states. I’m used to clubbing all night on the weekends and eating dinner much later than usual. My Spanish has improved ten-fold. If I had another year out here, I’d become pretty fluent. I guess all good things have to come to an end and I can use some change in terms of the workplace. Espana will always be a part of my corazon though.

J.David Osborne recently announced that Broken River Books will be publishing a crime fiction book of mine next year. And yes this is that same book, Black Gypsies (working title), I’ve been talking about forever. Most people know me as a bizarro writer and nothing else so I’m excited for people to read this since it’s based off some real life experiences I’ve had and it’s full of black culture.

Also, my homie Christoph Paul and I have started a new press called New English Press. Our mutual love for hip-hop and a need to fill the void of black weird fiction served as the metaphorical catalyst for the press. A lot of exciting stuff in the works so go ahead and like that Facebook link.

I can’t wait to get back on my music grind under my new rap moniker Jacque Mirage. I’ve been itching to record some new tracks. I have a couple covers and names for future projects ready to go.

I’m going to Broadcasting “C” School in Fort Meade, Maryland until Spring so that should be interesting. I really need to brush up on my video skills before I hit South Korea so this should definitely help.

And now a little motivation soulful music for that ass.

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Bucket List Goals

So I found out that I was selected as one of the 15 Small Press Studs. This no small feat and I’m super excited to see this post below. I can check this off my bucket list and die happy now.


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Kanye West Reanimator (Book Review)

kanyewest-reanimatorKanye West-Reanimator is the debut novella by Joshua Chaplinksy who is known as the managing editor of Litreactor.

This slim book centers on Kanye West’s come up in the music industry and juxtaposes the story of the Reanimator with West’s widely successful music career. We follow West as he struggles to be recognized for both his production skills as well as his rapping. Somewhere along the way, he becomes obsessed with reanimating the dead via his potent music.

The story is told by a Lovecraftian narrator who poses as West’s friend throughout the book and co-conspirator in West’s efforts to re-animate the dead. The prose may be off-putting to those unfamiliar with Lovecraft’s work, but the rhythm should be easy to get used to.

Kanye stans with an open mind should enjoy the hell out of this book. I can see a few people getting a little mad because a few jabs are taken at Kanye. However, it’s done in good taste and it’s obvious the author knows Kanye’s musical path pretty well.

Kanye West Reanimator is quirky yet entertaining biography of Kanye filtered through a Lovecraftian lens. It’s a testament to Chaplinsky’s skills as a writer that he could take two different worlds (hip-hop and Lovecraft) and seamlessly stitch them together into a helluva entertaining book.

Shoutout to Dyer Wilk (art) and Matthew Revert (design) for the dope ass cover.

Buy the book here.

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4 Poems Drowned in Lean

leaned outI got 4 new poems published at Horror, Sleaze and Trash. They involve ufos, pizza, dead saints, and potholes. Check em out at the link below.

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