Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Review Time! Christopher Bunn's "The Mike Murphy Files and Other Stories"

I'm a writer. And I read a lot. So I think I'm gonna start reviewing the works of fellow indie authors on the blog. Books I come across in one way or another and enjoy. Like should help like, and pay it forward, and all that cliched karmic crap. But I'm gonna keep these things as simple and informal as possible (notice the "gonnas"). No psychoanalyzing, no soapbox tirades.

And no, I do not know the author personally. And no, I took no handouts to write this review. I just really liked this book. And dude's an indie.

So here goes it:

A fan of humorous fiction, I stumbled across this collection of shorts and gave it a download. And I was not disappointed. Christopher Bunn has put together a great little compilation of quirky, hilarious tales.

I enjoyed the pair of Mike Murphy stories, especially the second. The repartee between Mike, a hard-headed ex-cop detective with an anti-noir streak, and his selkie girlfriend Maura, who is Irish, had me chuckling aloud. That's one crazy universe they live in. I hope Bunn revisits it.

“Planning Problems” is a cool take on nursery rhymes and fairy tales from the notes of a new employee of the weirdest Planning Department in America. “The Inheritance of Polly Inch” was a sweet little story with a final twist that left an ironic grin on my face.

“Fire and Ice” was different from the others, and my second favorite in the collection—just a smidgen short of tops. A pure fairy tale. A straight-up, in-your-face myth with a great ending. This prose in this story evokes and freezes and sizzles. I'm-a-gonna read this one to my daughter when she is old enough to appreciate it. Yes, it's that good.

“The Christmas Caper” was my favorite. I liked the explanation behind Santa's never-ending sack of toys: “something to do with some extremely good sewing and the fifth dimension.” Those elves know their knitting—and their Supreme Santa Sack Version 3.0s. And the fat, jolly one's sleigh runs on a cold-fusion reactor that powers a matter-displacement drive, cooked up in the Research & Development division of Santa's workshop, which is filled with boxing-loving, reverse-bungee-gun wielding elves who fly around in a fire-engine red '69 Camaro equipped with a jet engine, radar cloaking device, and quintessential espresso machine. Tell me . . . what's not to love about that?

Bunn has a wild imagination and a gift for compelling prose that rolls right along. Every last one of these stories are fantastic and fun. And well worth the read.

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