Friday, October 31, 2014

Lovely Death (a book review post)

The worst thing, if you can call it a "worst" thing, about Brandon Meyers and Bryan Pedas (from A Beer for the Shower) is that their volume output exceeds my ability to keep up with it. Unless I want to just quit reading other authors for a while. I actually skipped over a few of their releases to go straight to this one so I could get to it closer to its release date since I was already way past on the others. I'm not sorry I did so. This is easily in the top three books I've read so far this year (Brave New World takes the #1 spot), so, see, it took an 80-year-old classic to beat it.

I hesitate to call Lovely Death a horror story although it does contain some horrific elements. I'd say it's closer to a psychological thriller with supernatural elements. More and more of them as you move along, but it's the psychological aspects that I found interesting. How does a man deal with guilt and what is that guilt even about? And what will people do for love? Even unhealthy love and even when they know it's unhealthy love.

The book has a lot of symbolism and recurring themes, like the car and the idea of "our song" (and what that song is). Some of these are internal, important only to the book itself (like the specific "our song" that's used); some are external, more indicative of people in general (like the car and its representation of freedom). Consistent use of symbols can be a difficult thing to do, and Meyers pulls it off much more than adequately.

Another difficulty in stories like this is consistent characterization, because you inevitably need someone to do something stupid, like go down into the basement, to move the plot forward. That's often the point where not only does the audience yell, "Don't go into the woods!" but "She would never have done that!" There are none of those problems in Lovely Death. The characters are believable and consistent. It was... refreshing.

The book's greatest strength is that it's not conventional. I'm not going to use words like "unique," here, but the approach was not one I've seen before. It causes a "What's going on here?" reaction that will pull you in. Unfortunately, the book's greatest weakness is it's rather conventional ending. The kind of ending that you'd expect in a movie, which, granted, is probably the kind of ending most people want. However, because the beginning of the book strayed so far from the norm, I was hoping for an non-traditional ending. None of that is to say that I didn't like the ending; I did. It's just the ending I expected and hoped against. Well, except for one dangling plot thread that makes me wonder if there are plans to do more with this. I suppose I will just have to wait and see on that front.

I suppose I should mention the editing, since I always do, but it almost seems superfluous to mention it when I'm dealing with products from Pedas and Meyers. Other than a philosophical difference about a particular type of comma usage, the editing in Lovely Death couldn't really be better. There was one thing somewhere near the end, a missing word or something. I've read more "professionally edited" books than I can keep track of that had errors on every page, every page!, so one dropped word in a 300+ page book is hardly worth mentioning. I hear you wondering why I'm mentioning it, then, which is because I'm pointing out how spectacular the job is.

If you like supernatural, scary, horror, psychological, thriller type stuff, this is a book you should check out.

Oh, I should mention: The cover was done by Bryan Pedas who also did the cover for my new thing
"What Time Is the Tea Kettle?" You should go pick up both books today!


  1. I'm behind on their books as well. Between them and Pat Hatt, I can't keep up. I do have it downloaded and look forward to reading it.

  2. Sometimes I walk around a book store or library and think "Man, there are more books than I could ever read in 10 lifetimes." Then I realize that the Beer guys alone could keep me reading nonstop for a year and I get even more sad.

    Their "Slim Dyson" was great; so is everything I read from them. Not surprised this ranks up there. I'll add it to the list.

  3. I enjoyed it too. I agree, it's not quite a horror but more of a get in your head kinda thing. Especially that song. I don't know about you but I hummed that tune way to much while reading that book.

    I love the cover Bryan did for you. Outstanding.

  4. Briane - if we could keep you entertained for a full year, I'd hardly call that an excuse to be sad.

    Thanks again for the review! - from Brandon. As for me, this was my favorite book of all the books I read this year, and I don't say that lightly. Also, I should mention that I served as Brandon's editor for the final draft, so I take partial credit for this book's awesomeness (not really).

  5. I love your new cover! Very awesome. And if this LOVELY DEATH is along the same lines as a Dean Koontz novel, I totally need to check it out.

    Unleashing the Dreamworld

  6. Oh cool, so glad you reviewed this Andrew. I saw it a Beers blog and was intrigued, so now I know I'll like it. Money well spent.

    Have a happy Halloween guys.

  7. Alex: It's them and Briane for me.

    Briane: Do you hear that?

    Read "Lost & Found."

    Elsie: Well, see, between Bryan's cover and his words about it, you should just go buy it.

    I'm not much of a hummer.

    ABftS: I wish I could have gotten it finished closer to the release, but you do what you can.

    Crystal: I haven't read any Koontz, so I wouldn't know.
    You should go add my cover to your collection. :P

    dolorah: Oh, man, I will feel so bad if you come back and say you didn't like it.

  8. Psychological thriller, sign me up. And I absolutely love hearing that the characters don't do anything stupid just to move the plot along. It brings a tear to my eye. I'm definitely going to have to put this on my to-read list.

  9. That seems quite interesting. I follow the Beer boys, but I haven't yet read any of their books.


  10. Jeanne: I don't mind characters doing something stupid if it's within the realm of things they would do, but, usually, with these kinds of thing, they're not the kinds of things people would do.

    Janie: I would suggest starting with "Lost & Found."

  11. Sounds like fun, and congratulations on your new release, too.