I’ve become a huge fan of Joseph’s since before I’d actually finished (or read, for that matter) one of his books – many moons ago, I read some of one of Joseph’s unpublished novels (to date, that is, though it’s on the way to the shelves), and loved what I’d read. That led to him organizing copies of Meat and Garbage Man for me to read, and also led to me ordering Meat, Garbage Man and The Kill Crew for the bookshop I work at.
As soon as the books arrived I eyed The Kill Crew, an innocently slim book, perfectly priced, and bought it as soon as I had the money. I read it and enjoyed it, despite its slimness.
The Kill Crew
The Kill Crew is a story about a group of people who have survived, and continue to struggle to survive, in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. I hear you thinking, Man, that’s a tired plot, come on, seriously? Everyone has written about the Zombie Apocalypse! And you’d be right – but this is the thing that generally gets a writer’s blood pumping – taking a tried and tested plot and injecting something new into it; something that Joseph excels at.
Case in point, the Zombies in The Kill Crew aren’t what you’d come to expect from zombies – they are extremely dangerous, yes, and they do have a proclivity for ripping you to shreds with their teeth, sure, but as the story progresses the mystery surrounding them only grows bigger, until what seems to be a Zombie Apocalypse might actually be an apocalypse of a completely different kind. You’ll understand what I mean when you read it, but it does give us a refreshing and interesting angle on the whole zombie-phenomenon.
Also, Joseph gives the characters in The Kill Crew a tight emotional focus, which brings a razor-sharp intensity to the story. The tale blazed through my mind, chilling me, especially towards its climax, which really hit me like sledge-hammer. After just over an hour of reading I was left slightly breathless – that’s one reaction I’m pretty sure every person who has read Joseph’s work will agree they’ve felt.
So if you’re looking for something to read that will chill you, challenge your preconceptions, and leave you rocked in your seat, then The Kill Crew should be what you read next. It won’t take up much of your time, sure –though it does have a certain epic quality to it- but it is memorable, slightly disturbing and, in places, tearfully poignant. The perfect read, in my opinion, and a book that yet again shows just what a damned good storyteller Joseph is. Highly recommended!
Snake Eyes consists of two tales that were highly entertaining for two very different reasons.
In A Man of Will and Experience we meet Robert Johnson – he wakes up one morning and realizes that he is seeing something, attached to people, trees, mountains, etc. that he just can’t believe he hasn’t noticed before. This realization leads him on a journey that is both fraught with danger and also points him to deep and resounding realizations about himself and his place in the world. What makes this story so special is that
a) Joseph plays with different genres in this one tale, sort of like when you listen to a song by Queen and catch all the different styles of music in that one song – it opens with cringe-inducing Horror, follows with Metaphysical Mystery, next up is a Dystopian Sci-Fi yarn, and then ends with what could be an Alternate Reality view of one of the World Wars.
b) In each tale I met the same character, though each tale showed me a different side of the character, until, when everything is revealed, I understood the character deeply, having been treated to an all-encompassing view of not only the character himself but the worlds he exists in (and no, I’m not giving away anything with that last…). It’s the kind of tale that shows that Joseph can play with different styles and genres while not losing that which connects the reader to the central character, and I really dig this tale.
The star of the book has to be, in my opinion, A Trespasser in Long Lofting. I found this morality tale / satire / black-comedy / to be absolutely brilliant! Not only did I find it to be a morality tale that pokes fun at, among other things, morality, but the comedy in this story is amazing and sharp and, when it needs to be, incredibly subtle. As a satire this tale made me look at the world and giggle at everything that seems so serious, so done, so proved and so this is the way things are. One of the highlights is a priest-type character who almost, in my opinion, steels the show, and Joseph also gives one of the characters a prop that, when put up against the very similar other prop, seems more important and crucial to existence. It’s a tale that plays with Good and Evil, concepts of Heaven and Hell, even Demons and the funny intensity of small-town life. What also makes it so damned good is the fact that when you put this tale up against Meat and The Kill Crew, it shines so hard that it blazes because it shows a side of Joseph’s writing that may not be as apparent in his other tales.
All things considered, I didn’t want Snake Eyes to end – it’s a book that you can read in a day (or two days, a day for each story), and I highly recommend it. It deserves a resounding 9 / 10. 🙂
To order your copies of Snake Eyes, click here. And remember, if you want signed copies of Joseph’s work, head on over to The Big Green Bookshop, and if you want to find out more about Joseph and his work, click here to go to his blog. 🙂
Until next time,