Audiobook Review: Tiger Shrimp Tango by Tim Dorsey

19 02 2014

Tiger Shrimp Tango by Tim Dorsey (Serge Storms, Bk. 17)

Read by Oliver Wyman

Harper Audio

Length: 9 Hrs 44 Min

Genre: Florida Thriller

Grade: A-

I always enjoy a well constructed plot. Stories that structure themselves well, with a natural progression, well timed twists and reveals, and conclusions that tie up all the tangents the authors went on in intriguing ways. Except when it comes to Serge novels. For some reason, the more scattershot, unstructured the plot is in one of Tim Dorsey’s Serge A Storms novel, the more I cackle in glee. The latest novel, Tiger Shrimp Tango has Serge at his manic best. Sure, there is a plot. Former Police nemesis, the noir speaking Mahoney is now a Private Eye, and has hired Serge to track down scam artist in an attempt to recover the money they took for their marks. The tracking down part isn’t hard for Serge, it’s the discipline not to kill them in elaborate ways were Serge is lacking. Tiger Shrimp Tango has everything you love in a Serge novel. While not the best plotted novel of the series, it’s full of twists and tons and tons of laughs. When not working on Mahoney’s projects, Serge is attempting to bring together the polarized sides our modern political landscape in some of the most hilarious moments of the series. As someone who considers himself and extreme moderate and politics junkie, the pot shots at both sides of the spectrum had me holing, especially the segment where both parties attempt to explain why Jesus would make a horrible political candidate.  On top of all that, Serge comes up with some of his best kills and most deserving prey. Tiger Shrimp Tango is another great example of how Dorsey takes the already zany over the top Florida Thriller genre and ramps it up to absurdity all to the delight of this particular listener.

Oliver Wyman can make even a mediocre Serge novel into audio gold, and in Tiger Shrimp Tango, he delivers another performance so hilarious you want to avoid drinking dairy products unless you enjoy the feeling of milk gushing from your nostrils. For some reason, I always tend to listen to one of these novels when I am out and about shopping in public places, and the stares I get from my inappropriate laughter makes it all worth it. Wyman gives Serge and Coleman and almost cartoon character feel, yet infused with a humanity you can’t overlook. Yet, one of the highlights of the novel is the assortment of colorful characters, lowlifes, flim flam men and women, innocent dupes, political protesters and other not quite typical character  that Wyman brings to life is such wonderful ways. Tiger Shrimp Tango is one dance you wouldn’t want any other voice to cut in on.

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Going Public… In Shorts Presents Oliver Wyman Reading Pickman’s Model by H.P. Lovecraft

23 06 2013

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June is Audiobook month (JIAM 2013). The audiobook community is giving back by teaming with the Going Public Project by offering a serialized audio story collection. All proceeds will go to Reach Out and Read literacy advocacy organization. Throughout June, 1-2 stories will be released each day on the Going Public blog and on author/book blogs. The story will be free (online only – no downloads) for one week. In collaboration with Blackstone Audio, all the stories will be available for download via Downpour. The full compilation will be ready June 30th.

The full schedule of the story release dates and narrators are at Going Public. Engineering and Mastering are provided by Jeffrey Kafer and SpringBrook Audio. Graphic design provided by f power design and published by Blackstone Audio. Project coordination and executive production by Xe Sands.

Today I am blessed with the ability to bring you the work of one of my favorite narrator, and someone who I personally consider a heck of a good guy.  I first discovered Oliver Wyman as the voice of the beloved Serial Killer and Florida Enthusiast Serge Storms in Tim Dorsey’s series of madcapped adventures. I will often credit Oliver Wyman’s performance in Hurricane Punch as the catalyst that moved me from Audiobook listener to insatiable Audiobook Fan. So, really blame him.

Oliver has been a guest before here at the old ‘lobe and is one narrator that has more than gone out of his way to embrace fans of audiobooks. Make sure you check out our interview, which I bribed him into through a series of veiled threats and pictures of Robot kittens. As an added bonus, I have included my ode to the Going Public…. In Shorts program with this series of poorly written Haikus.

They Show us their legs
By Going Public In Shorts
Raising love of words

Oliver

Our Hirsute Hermit
Whose Voice Brings to Vivid Life
Shoggoths and Killers

Beloved Xe
One whose voice rhymes with sexy
Still our Ferret Hearts

So, now I present to you, one Mr. Oliver Wyman reading H. P. Lovercraft’s Pickman’s Model.

Make sure you follow Oliver on twitter at @mrkawfy.

Check out his Facebook page. 

Go listen to him at Soundcloud.

For more Going Public in Shorts fun, please check out yesterday’s entry featuring Cris Duheheart at The Book Tart.

Tommorrow, one of my favorite Bloggers host one of my favorite narrators when John Lee stops by Beth Fish Reads.





Audiobook Review: Dinocalypse Now by Chuck Wendig

22 04 2013

Spirit of the Century presents Dinocalypse Now by Chuck Wendig (Dinocalypse Trilogy, Book 1)

Read by Oliver Wyman

Audible Frontiers

Length: 7 Hrs 56 Min

Genre: Superhero Pulp Fiction

Quick Thoughts: Dinocalypse Now is the literary equivalent of a decadent dessert. It is pulp fiction at its finest, a fun story full of wonderful characters told in a way that makes every moment of the novel count. If you don’t have fun listening to this novel, than you, Sir or Madame, have no soul.

Grade: B+

I was going to start this review by saying that I used to watch the Superfriends all the time when I was a kid, but that’s not precisely true, I still watch the Superfriends. Well, I watch it with my nephews and with the special needs kids I work with… since I bought the DVDs for my nephews and the special needs kids I work with. I still love the show, whether it’s Wendy, Marvin and Wonderdog or Zan, Jayna and space monkey Gleek. I loved Mr. Myxaptl and Bizzaro Superman and that flying Darth Vader head, and the fact that the Superfriends kept robotic copies of themselves just in case they had to fake their own deaths. Almost all of my superhero knowledge came from that show. I almost never read comics, the medium just doesn’t work for me and so I never really experienced the dark side of superheroes. They were always these all powerful uber-men who were stoic and morally true and dispensed out morality tales to kids and laughed at corny puns even childhood me thought were lame. They were about as close to perfection as you could get, like Jesus with X-Ray vision. They were never really human to me. Their morality tales held little sway, because these were perfect examples of the greatest of humanity so they knew not to vandalize their teachers room or they may end up falling down a broken elevator that someone unwisely left open with nothing but a small sign to prevent such a thing from happening. So, recently, I have been on a bit of a Superhero kick, trying to explore different, darker angles of these mighty heroes, from authors like Larry Correia, Adam Christopher, Peter Clines and many more. Now, I would like to say this is why I decided to listen to this latest audiobook release by Chuck Wendig, and sure, it had some bearing, but people, the book is called Dinocalypse Now. It has psychic dinosaurs, Conquering Sentient Apes, a potential world ending invasion and is narrated by Oliver Wyman. PLUS, superheroes… How could I NOT listen to this one?

When the Centurions, a group of "potent heroes of action" discover an assassination plot against FDR, what they weren’t expecting was an invasion by mind controlling psychosaurs, because let’s face it, no one ever expects an invasion by mind controlling psychosaurs. Yet, this is just the first wave of an attack, being orchestrated by Gorilla Khan, the conquering Ape, father of the Centurion advisor Professor Khan, and aimed directly at the Centurions. Now, those who manage to escape the trap, Jet Black, Sally Slick, Mack Silver "The Silver Fox" and others, must band together with Professor Khan to save the earth from Gorilla Khan, and a powerful enemy working behind the scenes. This book is set in the 1920’s Alternate history world of the Spirit of the Century RPG but no prior knowledge of the world is needed. In fact, one of my favorite aspects of the novel is the constant reference to other adventures, each one seeming crazier and even more over the top than the last. Now, I know more and more we are recommended to eat well balanced meals full of proteins and whole grains and the like, but every once in a while we must simply splurge on something decadent. Dinocalypse Now is like chocolate wrapped in bacon wrapped in THE GREATEST THING YOU EVER STUCK IN YOU MOUTH! It’s got everything you want in a great pulp fiction novel, like Jet Packs, Pterodactyls, Atlantis, Cavemen, soppy romance, women with tools and dirigibles, plus a plethora of things you didn’t even know you wanted. Wendig, who wrote some recent favorites of mine like Double Dead and the Miriam Black series, continues to impress me. He is simply a storyteller. It amazes me how much he can get across with such an economy of words. The action just leaps of the page, because there are no superfluous words holding it down. He deftly captures the rhythms of the speech of that time combining the sharpness of the 1920’s setting with ostentationsness of heroes. I really liked how these heroes seem just like you or me, just a bit enhanced, with the heroic ability to fling themselves into danger with abandon. There are no Supermen or Green Lanterns with extraordinary powers, just people who are a little faster, a little stronger but are mostly heroes because they choose to be. There are even little moral lessons, particularly in the development of Professor Khan, who steals the show, and Mack Silver, but it’s not beat you over the head moralistic life lessons, but true character development that serves the story. And really, this is the key impressive fact of Dinocalypse Now, every crazy moment, every wonderful character and well crafted phrase serves the ultimate goal of this story, to give the reader one hell of a good time. And I had one hell of a good time listening to this tale. Dinocalypse Now is the literary equivalent of a decadent dessert. It is pulp fiction at its finest, a fun story full of wonderful characters told in a way that makes every moment of the novel count. If you don’t have fun listening to this novel, than you, Sir or Madame, have no soul… or perhaps just different taste in entertainment than me.

It’s no secret that Oliver Wyman is one of my favorite narrators, and I simply must give a shout out to the sick minds who cast these audiobooks for Audible, because he was really the perfect choice for Dinocalypse Now. I mean, we know the man can do voices. I would venture to guess that the number of voices bouncing around in his skull would make Sybil shake her head in wonder. I find it important to find one quality of Wyman’s narration to point out in each review, instead of simply a laundry list of awesomeness. With Dinocalypse Now, Wyman is a human Cliffhanger machine. He manages to channel his inner "Meanwhile at The Hall of Justice" voice and end each chapter in a way that made you think that the world would come to a gruesome end if you didn’t continue on to the next chapter THIS. VERY. MINUTE.. This was simply perfect in creating a comic book feel for this novel. Wendig’s writing style is perfectly suited for audio, precise matter-of-pact pacing that allowed the listener to follow the action and Wyman just enhances this effect with his solid narration. This is a team that should be paired up more often, despite the potential for inter-dimensional chaos when they are. Luckily for us, this is the first of a trilogy, so there will be more Wendig and Wyman. I know I will be listening. 





Audiobook Review: The Riptide Ultra-Glide by Tim Dorsey

29 01 2013

The Riptide Ultra-Glide by Tim Dorsey (Serge A. Storms, Bk. 16)

Read by Oliver Wyman

Harper Audio

Length: 9 Hrs 20 Min

Genre: Florida Thriller

Quick Thoughts: The Riptide Ultra Glide is a screwball comedy on meth, told in Dorsey’s signature interlocking style. While I found the plot of The Riptide Ultra-Glide to not be as satisfying as other Serge tales, Dorsey makes up for it with a lot of other flourishes that had me laughing, cheering and considering what items I could turn into a bong (for scientific purposes.) Any time I get to spend with Serge and Coleman is time well spent, as long as I don’t end up in a burning boat.

Grade; B+

I honestly think that working for the Florida Chamber of Commerce or Tourism Bureau as a special liaison to the fans of Florida Thrillers would be an interesting job. Let’s face it, Florida as a vacation spot seems like an idyllic choice. Warm weather, sunny beaches, hot night life, Disney, Cape Canaveral and many boutique Touristy places make it a pretty easy sell to those wanting to escape the drudgery of there normal life for a little fun and magical vacation time. Yet, I am someone who has spent more time reading about Florida than actually standing on its earth. My impressions of Florida come from Carl Hiaasen, Tm Dorsey, James W. Hall and Paul Levine among others. In the literary Florida, tourist end up washing up dead on the beach with a toy alligator lodged in their throats, and that’s only if they aren’t mistaken for a drug dealer, framed for murder or scammed by telemarketers and confidence men. In literary Florida, crazy serial killers roam the highways looking for rude tourist to become contestants in one of their elaborate murderous game shows. How exactly do you sell a 4 Day 5 Night package to people who may be wary of their Cruise Line being hijacked and your only hope is some hippyish roustabout who spends his free time tying fishing lures? Yet, part of me realizes that maybe the mad-capped hijinks of our favorite Floridaphiles may be the exact motivation needed to tempt us bibliophiles to the Sunshine State. I for one have always wanted to be taken on a tour of the Florida hotspots by some mentally disturbed yet somewhat lovable spree killing maniac and his substance abusing friend.  Of course, I’ve been told I’m not quite right.

The Riptide Ultra-Glide is the 16th edition of Tim Dorsey’s hyper kinetic somewhat deranged love song/cautionary tale of his beloved Florida through the eyes of the ultimate Florida superfan and often times elaborate killer Serge A. Storms. This time, Serge, along with his trusty yet smoked up companion Coleman is shooting a reality show about Florida. Lucky for them that they happened upon a too nice to be true couple, Patrick and Barbara MacDougal, who are in the midst of a nightmare Florida vacation, where they have been robbed, injured, mistaken for drug dealers, slandered and scammed. This, in Serge’s mind, makes them the luckiest people on earth. The Rip Tide Ultra Glide is a screwball comedy on meth, told in Dorsey’s signature interlocking style. There are so many literally laugh out loud moments held within the digital pages of this novel, that I scared my share of small children and pets with my inappropriate laughter. I loved every minute of this tale, but I have to admit, this wasn’t my favorite Serge Storms novel. While I love all the zaniness of Serge, typically his homicidal wackiness ends up having a positive net effect on the storyline, yet, here I didn’t feel it. Serge is more of a passive observer in this tale, and doesn’t truly get involved in the story until far too late. I was much more fascinated by Pat and Barb’s tale of the WORST VACATION EVER. I genuinely liked this couple and hoped that things would end up all working out in the favor, yet, I feel the payoff never truly came. There were so many other things to really love about this novel that it made up for it’s less that satisfying plot. While Serge’s violence was a bit more restrained in this novel, his commentaries on cultural issues were spot on gut busting hilarious. Even better, I thought this was the first time that Coleman actually was a more interesting character than Serge. At points in the story, Coleman out-Serge’d Serge, becoming a guru to the stoner elite, and pulling a strange sort of brilliance out when you least expect it. Like Pizza and sex, even when the Serge A Storm’s novel your reading isn’t the best of the series, it’s still a lot better than sitting at home alone watching old episodes of Coach. While I found the plot of The Riptide Ultra-Glide to not be as satisfying as other Serge tales, Dorsey makes up for it with a lot of other flourishes that had me laughing, cheering and considering what items I could turn into a bong (for scientific purposes.) Any time I get to spend with Serge and Coleman is time well spent, as long as I don’t end up in a burning boat.

Part of me thinks that I should recuse myself every time I review an Oliver Wyman performance of a Tim Dorsey novel because I am totally biased by its awesomeness. I will posit that Oliver Wyman’s bringing to life of Serge and Coleman is some of the purest forms of audiobook joy I can think of. It’s hard for me to give a true critical analysis because while I’m listening to it, I’m like an audiobook nerd jumping up and down constantly repeating "My God… My God.. My God…" So excuse my fanboyish excesses when I say that Oliver Wyman gives another brilliant, funny, even somewhat touching performance in The Riptide Ultra-Glide. Well, maybe not touching. My tears were probably more from laughing so hard I burst retinal blood vessels, but still. Dorsey creates some wonderful characters. They are often over the top and possibly even cartoonish, and Wyman never fails to create the perfect voice for each of these characters. Wyman doesn’t bother with restraint, he just goes at each character like a neutered dog humping a stuffed animal to show his dominance. He wrings as much humor out of each one of Dorsey’s elaborately set up situations while deftly leading you though the mayhem, never leaving the audience behind. It’s a heck of a fun ride, and while you may be scared at times, Wyman never loses control of the vehicle.





Audiobook Review: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

11 01 2013

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

Read by Oliver Wyman

Harper Audio

Length: 11 Hrs 39 Min

Genre: Literary Fiction

Quick Thoughts: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a funny, farcical look at America in the 24 hour a day news culture where wars and tragedy become just as much entertainment as Football and movies. Fountain will have you laughing away the tears as you fall for Billy and his odd group of brother soldiers.

Grade: A

I learned the hard way that I can be a rather awkward when meeting someone I consider famous. When I was a teenager, me and my best friend went to see our favorite band at the time, a Christian Contemporary Rock band, called Petra, who was playing at a festival at the Philadelphia Race Track. The band played two sets, to a screaming twenty or so fans, and between the sets the various band members were on stage, and interacting with the fans. Being that me and my best friend made up nearly half the fans waiting to interact with the band, I got the chance to tell all my Petra stories, make my Petra jokes and blather endlessly about my Petra experiences. At one point, while retelling my stories to the keyboardist, it became apparent that I was annoying the hell out of the guy. Sadly, it took me longer than anyone else to realize this. I was mortified. Ever since then, when I met someone I liked, whether it is a musician, politician or author, I’m very wary of interacting with them. I remember plainly when I met Ed Rendell, who at that time was mayor of Philadelphia, at a fundraiser for a theatre I was working for. I tried my best to avoid him, but when I finally had to shake his hand, our interaction was basically, "So what so you do here?" "Sound." "Well, good job." "Thanks." Of course, then I worried that instead of annoying them, my brief terse conversations were offensive and cold. It seems its human nature to assume things about people who we feel a connection with, and assign qualities we respect to them without really knowing them. In Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk author highlights this phenomenon from the other side giving as a look into Billy Lynn and the Bravo Company as they interact with people who believe them to be heroes.

After a brutal battle between Bravo Company and insurgents in Iraq that was captured by FOX news, Billy Lynn and his fellow soldiers are on a brief stateside publicity tour before heading back to finish their stint in Iraq. While attempting to find a movie deal for their story, the boys of Bravo company finish out their final stop on Thanksgiving Day at Dallas Stadium, where they shake hands with powerful business men, mingle with the legendary Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders and try to deal with being in the spotlight before returning to the front lines. Told from the perspective of Billy Lynn, a soft spoken 19 year old, now thrust onto the national stage, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a wonderful mix of humor, emotion and Americana run amok. For those who follow this blog, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a bit of a departure from my usual fare. I probably wouldn’t have listened to it except that it made a large number of end of year lists and was narrated by one of my favorite narrators, Oliver Wyman. Luckily, I did give it a listen and found it to be one of the more rewarding side jaunts for me this year. Billy Lynn is full of heart and humor and the ostentatiousness of America culture. Fountain manages to blend a pretty straightforward, accessible tale with moments of almost stream of consciousness as Billy and Bravo interact with streams of fans, all who assume that their politics and values are shared by the heroes. Set against the backdrop of the biggest America show their is, NFL Football, with it’s grandiose productions, hit musical acts and over produced Half Time Extravaganzas, Fountain manages to use the hugeness of it all to give us an intimate look at the conflicted soldiers. Fountain manages to evoke a wide array of emotions, from anger and embarrassment, to a bittersweet sadness, all through the eyes of a naive and conflicted soldier still attempting to deal with his grief while being gyrated against during Destiny Childs Half Time show. It these moments that really make this novel stand out, where the ridiculousness of the surroundings accentuates Billy Lynn’s internal conflicts. It’s a novel full of such contrasts, that you can’t help but see a little bit of yourself in the good and the bad. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a funny, farcical look at America in the 24 hour a day news culture where wars and tragedy become just as much entertainment as Football and movies. Fountain will have you laughing away the tears as you fall for Billy and his odd group of brother soldiers.

When a narrator of the caliber of Oliver Wyman says that a book is his favorite narration of the year, I pay attention. Wyman manages to capture the heart and humor of this novel perfectly. Wyman has a wide array of alter egos, ummm…. voices, to call on, yet none of them feel stock in anyway. Each character, from Billy himself, to the many people he interacts with along the way, are voiced with such authenticity, you almost forget your listening to a novel, but instead eavesdropping on hundreds of separate conversations. Wyman handles the interactions with the endless lines of glad-handers and well wishers especially well, allowing you to feel the frustration that Billy Lynn is too polite to show externally. If your an audiobook fan, and have yet to listen to one of Oliver Wyman’s narrations and are wary of quirky serial killers, spaceships and monster hunters, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk could be the perfect introduction to one of the best narrators out there.





Audiobook Review: Legion by Brandon Sanderson

5 12 2012

Legion by Brandon Sanderson

Read by Oliver Wyman

Audible Frontiers

Length: 2 Hrs 8 Min

Genre: Science Fiction

Quick Thoughts: Legion is the kind of story that totally defies genre. It’s simply a fascinating tale with an amazing character that should please anyone who has two spare hours and needs something fun to fill up that time. Don’t let any misconceptions of prejudices of genre writers to allow you to miss this fun little story.

Grade: A-

Note: Legion is currently Free to all Audible members until the end of 2012. Even if you are not sure you will listen to it, you should hurry up and download it anyway. You never know when you will find yourself needing two hours of quality audio to listen to.

I am usually a pretty good planner when it comes to my audiobook listening. I create a general weekly listening plan, but I build flexibility into it in case a surprise release comes out or I receive a review copy earlier than I was planning. I typically fill my MP3 Player up with about a weeks worth of audiobooks, and have a bunch of books from my backlist To-Be-Listened-To pile there just in case I really don’t like an audiobook, or my mood calls for something different than I had planned for. Because of this, I usually find myself with a lot of options. Yet, last week I planned poorly. I had just finished a longer audiobook series, which, although spread out over a few books, I planned as a single post. Because of this, I had a bunch of shorter audiobooks planned out in order to give me plenty of material to post this week. Yet, I figured the timing out poorly and was left with two hours of time to fill. I didn’t want to start a longer book, because I was really looking forward to starting the new Harry Bosch book the next day, but all the audiobooks I had on my player were all 10 hour plus. Luckily, I remembered that months ago, I had downloaded a free audiobook on Audible called Legion by Brandon Sanderson and I could pull it up on the Audible app on my phone. I had never read Sanderson before. I have heard quite a lot of good stuff about him, but he typically writes Fantasy Epics, and while I have enjoyed a few epic fantasy series in the past, it’s not my favorite subgenre. One of the problems with epic fantasy, for me, is they take a lot of commitment. For example, Sanderson’s Mistborn series is about 90 Hours of audio spread over three books and a novella. Even for me, that’s around two weeks of listening. Yet, I decided Legion was the perfect choice to fill up my two hour gap, particularly because it was narrated by the rock star of audiobook narration, Oliver Wyman.

I absolutely love Legion. I mean, a love so enthusiastic that I would give it a huge manly bear hug without bothering to take a moment to glance awkwardly around for witnesses. Legion introduces us to one of the most interesting characters I have met in a long time, Stephen Leeds. Leeds, called Legion, has a strange blending of genius with an almost pop culture mental illness that allows him to create other tangible personalities to filter his genius through. Or something like that. There really is not way to truly explain what this character does, because the character himself doesn’t truly understand it. Leeds works a as a sort problem fixer cum detective. His specific mental condition combined with what we can only label genius, allows him to approach issues that most traditional people, no matter how brilliant, wouldn’t have the mental flexibility to take on. Now, I’ll be honest, I enjoyed this character so much, I would have probably raved about a tale of Leeds solving the mystery of who was stealing food from the workplace fridge, but, instead, Sanderson creates a plot that tickles all of my speculative fiction buttons. The story takes on time travel, a missing person mystery, the potential for science to change our very existence, and even the nature of religion it self. It’s a wonderful little story, with a touch of action, a whole lot of humor and just enough of a taste of a series mythology that I may be saying a prayer everyday for a novel sized book featuring this character. Legion is the kind of story that totally defies genre. It’s simply a fascinating tale with an amazing character that should please anyone who has two spare hours and needs something fun to fill up that time. Don’t let any misconceptions or prejudices of genre writers to allow you to miss this fun little story.

Legion is the perfect little audio-novella to highlight the skills of Oliver Wyman. Let’s face it, I’m not all that sure that Oliver Wyman is entirely sane. It’s hard for me to believe that those great voices he consistently brings to his work aren’t actually self aware creatures already living somewhere within Wyman’s head. Hiring Wyman to read your audiobook is like getting 20 people for the price of one crazy, hirsute hermit. Wyman brings his own style of crazy and his vast menagerie of voices to his reading of Legion, making it a highly memorable listening experience. I have this crazy image of Wyman sitting in his small studio, with 5 empty chairs around him for all his alternate voices as he brings this tale to life. Leeds is a character who is just made for audio, and I enjoyed every darn minute of the experience. My only complaint is that it was too short. I need more. Much, much more.





Audiobook Review: Monster Hunter Legion by Larry Correia

17 09 2012

Monster Hunter Legion by Larry Correia (Monster Hunters, Bk. 4)

Read by Oliver Wyman

Audible Frontiers

Length: 16 Hrs 35 Min

Genre: Paranormal Urban Fantasy

Quick Thoughts: I had a hell of a lot of fun with Monster Hunter Legion. Correia brings all our favorite characters together, throws in a few new ones, and puts them up against one kickass Monster that really is all monsters. Its nonstop actiony goodness at its most pleasurable. So, if you like Monsters, killing monsters, guns, explosions, and smart assed dudes with smart wives, well, I’m pretty sure you’ll like Monster Hunter Legion, because, well, I did.

Grade: A-

I have been thing a lot about the term "guilty pleasure." As a reader who reads mostly what is called "genre" fiction, I have often heard this term applied to books that I enjoy. I will hear someone talk about one of my favorite space operas or military science fiction tales and they will say it is one of their guilty pleasures. I have seen this tag put on authors from Grisham to Danielle Steele. Well, I have decided that I hate the term. When it comes to reading, really, why should one feel guilty? If reading John Ringo gives you just as much pleasure as reading Kerouac, then shout it from the heavens. The weird thing is that the term itself is so pointless. Placing the term "guilty" in front of the word "pleasure" is just a useless value judgment. If there is someone in your life who will actually judge you based on what you read, well, that person is a pretentious jackhole. Do you really want to impress a pretentious jackhole? I had someone like that in my life. He used to ask, since I read so much, why don’t I focus on things of value, like nonfiction. Now, I wanted to impress this guy. He’s always been the aloof type that for some reason made me think his aloofness meant he was more an arbitrary of cool than I was. Then, I realized the only book I could remember him admitting to reading was the autobiography of former Phillies catcher Chris Coste. One book, versus the close to two hundred I read in a year and he gets to influence me as an arbiter of cool. No way, jackhole. So, from now on, when I read books about zombies and ghouls, murder and mayhem, I am going to simply call them pleasures. Screw this guilty shit.

Monster Hunter Legion, the latest novel in Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series, is simply that, a pleasure. It is a gun shooting, explody, monster killing, testosterone filled slaughter fest with twisted mythologies, kick ass heroes and heroines, and an awkward but likable main character. Sometimes I wonder if Correia is a misunderstood marketing genius. He comes up with this idea for a great character, gives him a mysterious background, puts a complex mythology in place, but tops it all off with the awesomesauce of having him part of a highly specialized business that handles the hunting of Monsters. And what does he call this book series, Monster Hunters. I mean, really, if anyone comes up to you with and asks you, "ummm…. what is this book Monster Hunters Legion about?" All you need to say is "Well… Monster Hunting." Pure genius. In this latest entry, Owen Zastava Pitt and his fellow members of Monster Hunter’s International are ready to blow off steam in Las Vegas as they attend the first annual convention of Monster Hunting groups at the Last Dragon Casino. Yet, as all the groups come together and share info, they begin to realize that something strange is happening all around the world. As they begin to pool information, there is a strange attack, a dark force that can tap into people’s very nightmares is unleashed, and it’s up to the Monster Hunters to stop it. First off, holy crap. Imagine a creature that can tap into your nightmares, and manifest them. Then imagine it comes upon a group that hunts monsters for a living. Think about what may keep those men and women up at night. Yeah, pretty badass. One of my favorite things about this series is that Correia manages to mix classic monsters, with strange exotic ones, yet spins them in a way that makes them all seem new and frightening. Every time I think Correia has topped himself with a twisted new monster, or a new manifestation of an old one, he then gets all cocky and tops himself again. It’s like exponential badassery. If you can’t tell, I had a hell of a lot of fun with Monster Hunter Legion. Correia brings all our favorite characters together, throws in a few new ones, and puts them up against one kickass Monster that really is all monsters. Its nonstop actiony goodness at its most pleasurable. So, if you like Monsters, killing monsters, guns, explosions, and smart assed dudes with smart wives, well, I’m pretty sure you’ll like Monster Hunter Legion, because, well, I did.

I have this vision of Larry Correia, all large and awkward, in some dark basement, in robes and candles performing some ritual enchantment to the gods of audiobooks. Or maybe he just sacrifices a chicken everyday to some nymph or goddess who rules over the sounds of the spoken word. Whatever he does, it works. Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International, and its performance by Oliver Wyman, was beat out in last years Audies by Larry Correia’s Hard Magic, which was performed by Bronson Pinchot. If I were to make a list of my five favorite male narrators, Oliver Wyman and Pinchot would be there, pretty close to the top. Wyman continues his trend of kicking ass in this series with another great performance. Honestly, I can think of few better matches in audiobooks today then Wyman and a series like Monster Hunters, with all its Lovecraftian, Tolkenesque and basically just straight out of your head, crazy ass Monsters to voice. Wyman doesn’t hold back at all. What makes things even more fun for Legion is the slew of new international Monster Hunters we get to meet, including Aussie boys, a sly Korean Huntress, and some strict professional, but still ass kicking German Hunters. Monster Hunter Legion is like a narrator smorgasbord, and Wyman laps it all up. Despite Monster Hunter Legions 16 1/2 Hour running time, Correia and Wyman somehow manage to fit 20 hours of non-stop, well paced, highly visual action into this book, and it still felt too short.