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The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig
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The Blue Blazes

by Chuck Wendig

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    reconditereader: Both are about tough guys battling in supernatural, violent underworlds... but their secret weakness is always the people they care about. Both are real page-turners that keep things moving, too!
  2. 10
    Kill the Dead: A Sandman Slim Novel by Richard Kadrey (ShelfMonkey)
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    Madhouse by Rob Thurman (ShelfMonkey)
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Mookie Pearl is a great creation, a fictional protagonist who just for once isn’t gifted, handsome, wise-cracking or a wizard. He’s an ugly, pug-faced lunk (albeit an unusually intelligent lunk) who breaks heads and solves problems with blunt instruments as a mob enforcer. He’s a heavyweight of the underworld – and in this universe, a compelling, coherent construction from the pen of Chuck Wendig – Mookie moves effortlessly from the criminal underworld to the subterranean, paranormal underworld. That’s where goblins and ghouls and bad things lurk, and where Mookie does most of his work.

This is a hard-assed, no-holds-barred blend of black-humoured noir and the sinister supernatural, with substantial action set pieces thrown in. There’s little philosophising or moral debate, but a whole chunk of inventive concepts stitched together into a convincing construct and peopled with realistic characters (and that’s surely saying something for half-men half-goats, or the living corpse of a fire victim).
It righteously rattles along, deftly pulls the plot lines together, and offers a far more substantial read than the average ‘wizard high jinks’ urban fantasy. There’s quite a few tributes to ‘golden age’ horror tales in here, too.
There's more about the plot and characters over at
https://murdermayhemandmore.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/blue-blazes-modern-urban-fantasy-meets-old-time-evil/

The Blue Blazes is also blunt, violent and bloodily explicit, so not for folks who lean more towards the ‘romantic’ side of the supernatural spectrum. This is hard-boiled and reasonably hard-core, and a blast from beginning to end.
9/10 ( )
  RowenaHoseason | Jun 22, 2016 |
More Reviews on my blog

Well, um, wow.

It's no secret I'm a fan of Wendigs work. His site Terrible Minds offers some of the best, most creatively profane writing advice you could ever read. His books are excellent. The man can write.

Blue Blazes is excellent. Not perfect. Few things are, but - oh so close. You know when you read a book and something about it just leaves you in a strange place, distant. You've inhabited this new world so completely, so utterly, that now it's over you don't know what to do with yourself. This book does that.

The writing, oh the writing. Wendig is just as gloriously, unashamedly, creatively foul-mouthed in his fiction writing as he is in his advice. It's not just fucks and shits all over the place - Chuck Wendig turns profanity into poetry. Perfectly used to add depth and a sense of character to the novel. Good. Obviously, those of you who do not appreciate foul language will not approve. He does often rely too much on short, shoppy sentences, though. It can feel a bit stilted in places.

Story. Oh, story story story. Impeccably constructed, all things seeming like natural and organic happenings, rather than feeling forced and unnatural. If there isn't at least one moment that makes you giddy with excitement and realisation, you are a faulty human being and should return to the factory. Can't think of anything here that I hate.

It's just a good book. I don't even like fiction about criminals, I much prefer fiction about detectives. I don't like crime capers and mob bosses and drug dealing. I don't! But I loved this. That is how good it is

5 out of 5. Yes.

Provided for free by Angry Robot through Netgalley
Related articles ( )
1 vote Violetthedwarf | Oct 23, 2014 |
More Reviews on my blog

Well, um, wow.

It's no secret I'm a fan of Wendigs work. His site Terrible Minds offers some of the best, most creatively profane writing advice you could ever read. His books are excellent. The man can write.

Blue Blazes is excellent. Not perfect. Few things are, but - oh so close. You know when you read a book and something about it just leaves you in a strange place, distant. You've inhabited this new world so completely, so utterly, that now it's over you don't know what to do with yourself. This book does that.

The writing, oh the writing. Wendig is just as gloriously, unashamedly, creatively foul-mouthed in his fiction writing as he is in his advice. It's not just fucks and shits all over the place - Chuck Wendig turns profanity into poetry. Perfectly used to add depth and a sense of character to the novel. Good. Obviously, those of you who do not appreciate foul language will not approve. He does often rely too much on short, shoppy sentences, though. It can feel a bit stilted in places.

Story. Oh, story story story. Impeccably constructed, all things seeming like natural and organic happenings, rather than feeling forced and unnatural. If there isn't at least one moment that makes you giddy with excitement and realisation, you are a faulty human being and should return to the factory. Can't think of anything here that I hate.

It's just a good book. I don't even like fiction about criminals, I much prefer fiction about detectives. I don't like crime capers and mob bosses and drug dealing. I don't! But I loved this. That is how good it is

5 out of 5. Yes.

Provided for free by Angry Robot through Netgalley
Related articles ( )
  Violetthedwarf | Oct 23, 2014 |
Originally posted at FanLit:
http://www.fantasyliterature.com/reviews/the-blue-blazes/

Mookie Pearl is a big ugly brute who works for the boss of New York City??s criminal underworld. Mostly heƒ??s called on to be a thug ƒ?? itƒ??s the thing he does best. One of his specific jobs is to manage (i.e., cajole, threaten, beat up) a team of workers who descend into the underground to collect the blue powdery drug that allows its users to see the supernatural creatures who have lived among us ever since some New York City miners accidentally blew open a portal to Hell while tunneling under the streets.

Things are never really safe in Mookieƒ??s line of work, but everything suddenly comes to a head when the boss announces that heƒ??s dying and leaving his son Casimir in charge of his criminal empire. When all the gangs in the city sense an imminent power void, and when his own immature teenage daughter makes a play designed to get revenge on the daddy who was never there for her, Mookieƒ??s normally dangerous life gets even deadlier.

Even though heƒ??s a big scary thug, you just canƒ??t help but love Mookie Pearl. Heƒ??s got a soft spot for his daughter, his ex-wife and his friends, and heƒ??ll absolutely melt over a plate of perfectly executed charcuterie. You get the feeling that in another world Mookie might have made a good accountant or IT technician if, because of his size, he hadnƒ??t caught the eye of a crime boss. You get the feeling that Mookie regrets what heƒ??s become and realizes it was all his own fault. I was surprised to find myself rooting for Mookie, even against his own daughter. Wendig also made me care for some of his other colorful characters, particularly Mookieƒ??s lesbian butcher and a gang of 1980ƒ??s style roller derby girls. Nora, Mookieƒ??s daughter, is a little too emo, but this works well with the story and Iƒ??m guessing that sheƒ??ll be more tolerable in future installments of the MOOKIE PEARL series.

I tend to enjoy stories that are set underground, so itƒ??s not surprising that I found Wendigƒ??s supernatural world fun to explore. The portal-to-hell device is certainly not original, but itƒ??s still fun, especially when itƒ??s located directly under the streets of New York City where evil monsters can find their way to the surface. Necessary information about the underworld is relayed with chapter-opening journal entries written by a deceased ƒ??cartographerƒ? of the underworld. This serves to keep Mookieƒ??s story moving quickly. At a couple of points the plot goes a little over-the-top, bordering on farcical, but Wendig always brings it back under control.

What I liked best about The Blue Blazes was Chuck Wendigƒ??s writing style. His sentences are short and razor sharp, his imagery is vivid, his dialogue is spot-on, his occasional use of humor is pleasing, and he writes the most wonderful metaphors and similes. I actually heard myself sigh in pleasure at a couple of his gruesome similes, just like Mookie moaning over his charcuterie. Hereƒ??s what Mookie sees when, under the influence of the Blue Blazes, he visits Mr. Smiley:

What he sees instead, what the Blue Blazes shows him, is a man whose face is a nearly perfect mix of serpent and humanƒ?? The eyes are wide coppery diamonds whose irises shift and warp like youƒ??re staring through a childƒ??s kaleidoscope. The mouth, still smiling for he is always oh, so very happy, ill conceals not just a pair of curved fangs but rather a whole maw of them. A wet pink tongue, not forked but thin and prehensile, slides over them like a slug over piano keys.

Thatƒ??s so bad itƒ??s good!

The Blue Blazes is fast-moving, violent, and dark, but Wendigƒ??s style and the feeling that Mookie Pearl might really be a softie gives this novel a spark that makes it feel less grim than it is. I listened to Patrick Lawlor read the audio version produced by Brilliance Audio. This was a great way to read The Blue Blazes and I look forward to listening to the second MOOKIE PEARL book, too. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Have you ever walked into a party and seen someone just command everyone’s attention? Maybe they're telling a joke, a captivating story or performing some ridiculous feat, you're not sure. You lean over and ask someone what's going on. They either shush you or they calmly say, "Oh, that's just , he's/she's awesome." That's Chuck Wendig.

Chuck is that guy that everyone is talking about that somehow you don't know. He's been building his reputation over the years with some critically acclaimed work but unfortunately, I've had my blinders on preferring to narrow my reading material to a select few genres and authors. It wasn't until this year that I've really started to broaden my horizons and Chuck Wendig is one of my latest discoveries.

I first stumbled across Chuck when I was prepping for an interview with Adam Christopher. I wanted to avoid asking Adam anything that he'd already been asked a thousand times (a difficult task) when I came across an interview he did with the website, Terrible Minds. Terrible Minds is a blog created by Mr. Wendig where he interviews other authors and muses about anything that crosses his mind. Not only did I become a fan, I saw that he was also an author. Not only is he an author but an author that had a book scheduled to be released by Angry Robot – a publisher that I've become enthralled with over the past few months. When I saw that the ARC (advanced reader copy) became available, I snagged it as quickly as possible.

The Blue Blazes is an urban fantasy tale that mixes the criminal underworld with the spiritual underworld. When combined, it produces a hard hitting and brutal exercise in awesome. Mookie Pearl works for The Organization, a gang that holds great power and influence over the majority of the organized crime within New York City. When its leader becomes stricken with terminal cancer, Mookie is sent to retrieve a cure that may or may not even exist. The prospect of traveling within the local underworld is not something Mookie is looking forward to but seeing as his loyalty is unwavering, he sees no other option.

In mixing the surface dwellers with the underground, the underground have an advantage in assuming a physical appearance akin to ours. The only way to see them for who they really are is to smear a clay like substance often dubbed, "Peacock Powder" on each of their temples (think Roddy Piper's shades in They Live!). As the novel progresses, Mookie hears of another drug similar to the blue called "The Red", in which an acquaintance explains:

"..that shit's like bath salts had a baby with steroids or something, man. Makes you go crazy. He went nuts. Tore up his mother’s house. Ate her dog."

The underworld is filled with these select pigmentations that can alter one's perception, strength or even cure diseases. The one Mookie is after is labeled Death’s Head, or sometimes known as "The Purple". Long considered to be an urban legend, Death's Head is believed to cure the incurable and bring those back to life that had passed on.

Not only does Mookie have a hell of a challenge ahead of him (mind the pun) but he also has to deal with his rebellious daughter, Nora. Nora was more than a little tired of living in her father's shadow and playing a background character to his duties with the mob. So she chose to hit him where it hurts, his father figure boss. Despite his frustration following her actions, his love for her never falls to the wayside. Given his career choice, what option did he have? In order to function like the hard-ass that he was, he had to push his family to the back burner.

"Mookie's not a man given over to much guilt. In his line of work, guilt is a boat anchor around the ankle, a too-full colostomy bag hanging from the hip. It's a burden. A does-nothing-for-you-but-slow-your-ass-down burden. Guilt will make you hesitate. Shame makes you weak. And Mookie's tough. Tough like an anvil."

Chuck's got some excellent writing chops. Like the above, there are more than a few lines that had me laughing out loud. Aside from both the action and intensity that Chuck writes with, he isn't above throwing in some abrasive comedy to boot.

"He wants to know who did this. So he can break a baseball bat off in their bowels."

"..And it's then and there that Mookie decides he's going to steal a fucking city bus and hit the Holland Tunnel and find this guy’s house and drive the bus over his head".

I was seriously hooked on this. The Blue Blazes feels like it should exist in the same realm as Frank Miller's Sin City, both have lovable oafs in Mookie Pearl and Marv respectively and a similar level of extremely stylized violence. Wendig crafted a world here that could produce an endless number of stories. Possibly a prequel or spin-off in regards to the brief introductions for each chapter from an early underworld explorer attempting to map out its environment.

It should be worth noting that Angry Robot is kicking out some fantastic cover art and The Blue Blazes is no exception. Working with Joey Hi-Fi, the same artist as his previous novels, Chuck has some great eye-grabbing artwork to grace the cover. The smaller shot I have at the top of this review seriously does not do it justice. Head over to Terrible Minds to see a hi-res shot.

I'll be checking out some more Wendig going forward. His Miriam Black series has received a great deal of praise and I doubt it'll be long before I catch up.

Cross Posted @ Every Read Thing ( )
  branimal | Apr 1, 2014 |
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They have a name for it, in myth.
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Book description
Meet Mookie Pearl.

Criminal underworld? He runs in it.

Supernatural underworld? He hunts in it.

Nothing stops Mookie when he's on the job.

But when his daughter takes up arms and opposes him, something's gotta give...

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Family Matters | When Underworlds Collide | Thrill of the Hunt | Chips and Old Blocks ]

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0857663356, Mass Market Paperback)

Meet Mookie Pearl.

Criminal underworld? He runs in it.

Supernatural underworld? He hunts in it.

Nothing stops Mookie when he's on the job.

But when his daughter takes up arms and opposes him, something's gotta give...

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Family Matters | When Underworlds Collide | Thrill of the Hunt | Chips and Old Blocks ]

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:00 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Meet Mookie Pearl. Criminal underworld? He runs in it. Supernatural underworld? He hunts in it. Nothing stops Mookie when he's on the job. But when his daughter takes up arms and opposes him, something's gotta give.

» see all 2 descriptions

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