Serious Moonlight (How to be Dead) by Dave Turner

CORRECTION: I said in an earlier version of this review that this book was last in the series. I am overjoyed to learn that it’s not.

 

Publication Date: December 31, 2018

 

Dave Marwood and his girlfriend, Melanie, are due for a bit of a break in the country after saving the City of London from destruction. It’s a bit of a worry that Death, the last standing Horseman of the Apocalypse and Dave’s employer, is having a bit of an existential crisis and Dave has been acting as his flip-flopped toy scythed stand-in, but a relationship needs tending. The break, however; is not the peaceful time away the couple anticipates when they find themselves beset by ghosts and the people seeking them.

Serious Moonlight by Dave Turner is the fifth book in the How to be Dead series.

 

Part of my life’s work is finding books that give me the feeling I got when I first read the works of Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and Jasper Fforde. The beautiful humor and massive creativity of the aforementioned authors are qualities shared by the great Dave Turner. The wealth of imagination is staggering and the experience of the reader is one of fun and time truly well spent. 

Once again in Serious Moonlight world collide with Dave and Melanie heading off for a weekend break in the country at an inn that touts itself as being haunted. Dave and Melanie are bonding on the drive up when they come across a ravaged animal that spooks them both a bit. There’s always a logical explanation, right? Readers get a lot of relationship-building in Serious Moonlight. We see the playfulness of the characters and a depth to their connection. There’s an intimacy and a natural awkwardness so fitting for both of the people we’ve come to know.

Serious Moonlight takes place in the English countryside with all of the characters that readers of Stella Gibbons novels (Cold Comfort Farm) would expect to see but they all have a surprising edge. The book is cognizant of its Dad humor and is riddled with it. One of my favorite things is the frequent callback to the sinkhole opening in London in the previous Dave book. Very smoothly presented, people offer platitudes while expressing their opinions on how it might have happened. From the start of the book when we join Dave in ferrying a jogger who died of a heart attack, it comes up and it’ss almost seems a relief to Dave to be upfront with someone. He later fights back and urges just to be the one who cracks the world and the reality of their strange life. He’s living and in that moment, and readers will just feel his pain bonded by this journey we’ve all been on together.

The How to be Dead novels are technically novellas but there are no shortcuts in Turner’s work. The stories are whole, realized and as resolved as installments in a series will be. The flow is beautiful and I can’t speak for anyone else, I am entranced. I recently re-read Four Horseman and it was just as brilliant the first time. More brilliant than the first time as I’m convinced Esuries needs to be a Dr. Who villain.

Serious Moonlight is fifth in the series but can easily stand alone, but you are missing most of the story if you start with this final installment. Start with How to be Dead and read as languidly as you can. Relish them. Cherish them. When you’ve finished the fifth book join us in aching for more.

The sixth book in the How to be Dead series, Near Life Experience will be out soon.

If you’re looking for the perfect Halloween read, pick up the How to be Dead series. If you’re looking for a Christmas gift for the Jasper Fforde lover in your life. If you just want to be entertained, pick this series up today.

 

Read an excerpt and buy Serious Moonlight by Dave Turner on

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Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

Publication Date: September 3, 2019

 

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. SayersWhose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers is the first novel of the Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey series. Lord Peter is financially independent and has a special hobby; he solves murder cases. When an unknown dead body is found in Mr. Thipps’s bathtub, he is on the case. With the help of his butler-friend Bunter, a talented forensic and semi-professional photographer and his friend Charles Parker, who works for Scotland Yard, he sets out to solve this mystery.

Whose Body? was released in 1928 and, like many first novels of a series, the reader is introduced to a number of characters that reappear as the series continues. The protagonist, Lord Peter was born in 1890 and is a World War I veteran. In the series, he ages in real-time making him 28 years old at the time the first book was released.

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers is a procedural-police meets private-inspector investigation story that is told by Lord Peter and Scotland Yard inspector Parker. Therefore, readers have a great overview of all on-going investigations and can solve the crime along the way. Continue reading Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

Song of Nümenstar by A.J. Feagin

Publication Date: August  25, 2019

 

In the Song of Nümenstar by A.J. Feagin, a group of Daejic students disappears. Commander Karawn Kross and the female Mystik Ka’myla Ad’uar embark on a mission to find them. What they find instead while searching the catacombs beneath the highly secure city of Soaleste can change everything.

 

A lot of authors attempt to boost their writing credibility by saying that their stories are like those of popular or bestselling authors and seldom can the similarity been seen by the reader. And, when it is, it comes off as a poor copy. This is not the case in Song of Nümenstar by A.J. Feagin. The Amazon entry likens Song of Nümenstar to Dune and Star Wars and I can see the likeness. The similarity falls in the incredible work Frank Herbert did in building the world of Aarkis. It’s in the pageantry and diversity of Star Wars. Continue reading Song of Nümenstar by A.J. Feagin

Reviving the Commander by Nadine Keels

Publication Date: June 4, 2019

 

Reviving the Commander by Nadine C. KeelsIn Reviving the Commander by Nadine C. Keels, Opal, to the outside world, seems to be happy, carefree and content with her spinsterhood. When she meets the Commander Exemplar of Diachona’s Army, a man who longs for his late wife, she feels an undeniable and yet hopeless attraction. The Exemplar is the first man she’s felt a pull within a long time, but he’s the father of the king. Opal has a dark secret. Is she destined to live her life alone?

Continue reading Reviving the Commander by Nadine Keels

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Publication Date: May 1, 2009

 

In The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, it’s 1985 in the fictional world that is parallel to our own. Someone is kidnapping literary characters. It’s the job of Thursday Next, the occupant of our world but the detective in the Literary Detective Division, to find the culprit and stop them before it’s too late.

 

Every book claims to be like the work of a bestselling author. They’ll up the ante saying that the work is by an author who is the modern version of the author to whom they’re likened. Usually, they could not be less like the author whose name they use to promote themselves. In the case of Fforde, it would be in no way inaccurate to liken him to Douglas Adams. It would also not be inaccurate to say that they are nothing alike. Fforde and Adams share a well-defined imagination with a lightness of being. Their worlds are intricate. Fforde is extremely well-read. The characters created by others in his story are wholly within character. The description of the fictional world is beautiful and complete. Continue reading The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel by Tara Jenkins Reid

Publication Date: March 5, 2019

In Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel, it’s the early 1970s and Daisy Jones is a major L.A. talent playing in small clubs and dreaming of living life to its fullest and making the kind of music she loves, but she and her record label have different ideas of success. When Daisy meets Bill, they clash in a big way but together they will become epic. Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel is a rock & roll autobiography set in the days of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

 

 

The literary circle in which I travel has been raving about this book for a few weeks, so I decided to pick it up and ended up reading the 336-mock-rock history in one sitting. Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel is a visual read. Framed as an oral history, it starts with Daisy, the poor little rich girl. She is a free-range child with a big talent and is broken in a way that leads her to the sort of self-destruction that will lead readers to think they’ve heard the story before … because they have. In fact, I have read that this novel is a fictionalized version of Fleetwood Mac, a band about which I know almost nothing (I was only permitted to listen to gospel music growing up so my actual rock knowledge era is the 1990s and Queen) so caught none of the parallels.

Overall Daisy Jones & The Six is a generic saga of decadence in the era of bell bottoms, booze and blow. There is a heavy reliance on readers being familiar with the decadence of the rock scene in the 1970s. Reid paints a very accurate emotional picture of the era. The fashion and music culture read true. Reid in no way goes for broke. She alludes to the uncomfortable, skirting around it. There’s something to be said for a lack of gratuitous self-destruction but that’s the 1970s; you do it or you don’t and there are ways not to celebrate the illegal. Word on the street is that the novel is becoming a movie and to translate, the screenwriters will sensationalize, so in the end, discretion is not valorous.

Daisy, herself, is somewhat poorly characterized. She is an amalgamation of troubled female singers. I have seen the hand-wringing and worried trigger warnings. Let’s be clear, a lot of what is on the page is very general. There are groupies and there are no ID checks. There are some really questionable things but they’re glossed over. There is a saint vs. whore subtext for Daisy and another female character that is perplexingly overdone in literature and discredits everyone, and really, distracts from the core story adding a tragic Janis Joplin spin without the emotional impact because that’s hard to connect with the cliff notes of a 1970s singer. This is in no way a spoiler because I don’t know if readers, in the end, will care if Daisy wins or loses … and in this case, winning is perhaps not holding the expected definition. We know Daisy captivates because we’re told she does, it isn’t something we see.

If you’re considering reading Daisy Jones & the Six, do it because it’s getting rave reviews and I may be the lone 2-stars. If you’re looking for a really interesting story of the 1970s, head over to Netflix and watch When You’re Strange; a film about The Doors.

If you like the 1970s, check out Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel by Tara Jenkins Reid on

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About Tara Jenkins Reid
For more information Tara Jenkins Reid and her work, visit her website. You can connect with her on FacebookGoodreads, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter @tjenkinsreid.

Romy: Book I of the 2250 Saga by Nirina Stone

Publication Date: August 14, 2015

Book Review: Romy: Book I of the 2250 Saga by Nirina Stone, science fiction trilogyIt’s 2250 and an apocalyptic event has destroyed civilization which is now divided into three categories and life is a perilous proposition. Romy is 20 years old and aspires to the highest level of society. She’s worked hard and yet seems to come up short. How will she handle the truth of her situation? Continue reading Romy: Book I of the 2250 Saga by Nirina Stone

The Desolate Garden by Daniel Kemp

Publication Date: September 23, 2017

The Desolate Garden by Daniel KempHarry Paterson’s father, Lord Elliot Paterson, is murdered and because he stands to inherit the title, Harry is the #1 suspect. Judith Meadows is assigned to stay with Harry during the investigation to keep him safe and also garner whatever information she can to help solve the case. Together they look into strange messages that Harry received from his father before his death regarding strange transactions at the family bank. Continue reading The Desolate Garden by Daniel Kemp

The Fated Stars by Veronica Scott

Publication date: November 4, 2017

 

The Fated Stars by Veronica ScottIn The Fated Stars by Veronica Scott, Samell is an empathetic priest who was kidnapped and sold to a carnival where he’s forced to tell the fortunes of paying guests. He is resigned to his existence until mercenary, Larissa, steps into his tent and he sees in her a fierce spirit with the potential to keep him alive. When Samell and Larissa attract the attention of dangerous foes, can they get out alive? Continue reading The Fated Stars by Veronica Scott

Stateline (Dan Reno Detective Noir Mystery Series) by Dave Stanton

Publication Date: January 4, 2014

 

Stateline (Detective Noir Mystery Series) by Dave SantonIn Stateline (Detective Noir Mystery Series) by Dave Santon, Dan Reno is hired by a powerful man to find his son’s killer. He soon finds cops on the take willing to do anything to stop him. Can Dan find the killer and manage to stay alive? Stateline is the sixth book in the Dan Reno series.

Continue reading Stateline (Dan Reno Detective Noir Mystery Series) by Dave Stanton