by Stephen Brophy
When I was first introduced to
this book, I thought it might fall alongside books such as “Grunts,” by Mary
Gentile, books that show a story from the “other side.”
Sidekicks of villains rarely have a
place in the sun and usually end up in dire straits as the good guys triumph.
When I started reading, though, I
saw a lot more of Terry Pratchett in it, but if this book is any indication,
Stephen Brophy can give the esteemed Mr. Pratchett a run for his money.
book is taut, well-edited, and well-crafted.
Characterization is detailed
without being tedious, and the storyline quickly draws the reader in.
There is a good deal of literary
tension that qualifies this book as a page-turner.
On top of that, it is darn funny.
The humor, though, does not get in
the way of the plot, as it does in so many other books, but rather supports it.
While it echoes Pratchett to an
extent in the feel of the humor, where Pratchett elicits his humor in action and
general observations, Brophy’s humor centers on the personal thoughts and
attributes of the protagonist.
To me, that brings a deeper
relevancy to the humor.
I could identify with it.
"HandCannon" LaRue is a bad guy,
have no doubt about that.
He is an ex-con, a crook, a killer
(although he’s killed fewer times than someone might suspect.)
He isn’t concerned about what his
boss, Dr. Eye, might do with an item he’s sent to retrieve.
On the other hand, he dotes on his
diabetic cat, Miss Lady, and loves his six-year-old daughter.
He has the same problems as so many
of us have—an ex-spouse, paying for a mortgage for a house in which he no longer
lives, a job that interferes with his domestic life.
He may be a baddie, but we can
relate to him. I think that is a key to the book, and when Handcannon says he’s
a bad dad for something he’s about to do, we’ve all been in that type of
is a funny book, but it is not just a platform for one-liners.
There was nary a weak spot, and I
enjoyed every page.
This is one of the very best books
I’ve read this year, and I give it my highest recommendation.
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