Book Chat 11: Paranormal Nonsense
The holidays are upon us and things are busy so I’m posting this a little early. Additionally, this is our last 2021 Book Chat and there’s a lot to discuss so let’s jump in with the usual book basics.
Paranormal Nonsense: Blue Moon Investigations Book 1 – A Snarky Paranormal Detective Mystery by Steve Higgs
Book 1 of 21
Amazon: 4.2 avg, 479 global ratings
Goodreads: 3.97, 904 ratings
The paranormal? It’s all nonsense but proving it might just get them all killed.
When a master vampire starts killing people in his hometown, paranormal investigator, Tempest Michaels, takes it personally …
… and soon a race against time turns into a battle for his life. He doesn’t believe in the paranormal but has a steady stream of clients with cases too weird for the police to bother with.
Mostly it’s all nonsense, but when a third victim turns up with bite marks in her lifeless throat, can he really dismiss the possibility that this time the monster is real?
Joined by an ex-army buddy, a disillusioned cop, his friends from the pub, his dogs, and his mother (why are there no grandchildren, Tempest), our paranormal investigator is going to stop the murders if it kills him …
… but when his probing draws the creature’s attention, his family and friends become the hunted.
Negative Reader Review points:
-Locker room talk [misogyny, fat shaming, etc]
-Rambling/ irrelevant details “too much detail – too little story”
*There are two points regarding negative reviews that I’d like to bring up here as well. A few reviewers focused on the author instead of the book. Now clearly, I can’t and shouldn’t dictate what any other reader puts in a review. I would like to encourage all discussions here to be centered on the book only. I always see discussions on this in readers group whether we should separate the artists from the art. I definitely fall more on the keep things separate side. The second point is the criticisms of American readers about British words. I’m an American so I feel okay calling out other Americans on this. If the book is set in England and the characters are English, I assume the words will reflect that. Yes, there were words that didn’t mean what I know them to mean and I even looked up some. Did you know ‘plip’ is used to describe locking a car? I see it as a chance to learn and I don’t feel pointing those out in a review in a fair complaint.*
Okay, back to our Chat now!
As I’ve noted previously, I’m an impatient reader so I can appreciate this critique. I did find there was too many details that didn’t hold my interest. The exact food for almost every meal and clothing choices of every minor characters typically didn’t advance the plot. However, I do think the style of writing requires it – it’s almost a journal entry set-up and he is a private investigator. I did as I often do and skipped parts that didn’t interest me.
Unlikeable MC/ Locker room talk
While I didn’t click with Tempest, I didn’t find him absolutely unlikeable. TBH, the characters I connected to the most were the pups, Bull and Dozer. As for the humans, there were discussions on ‘shagging’ women, “wonderfully bouncy lumps” (yes, that’s a quote), and the MC’s pants reacting to the presence of almost every woman. There are also detailed physical descriptions for most all characters and the females’ breast size was often mentioned. Again, ‘not my style’ doesn’t mean others won’t get a kick out of it. However, if this is something that is triggering for you then I’d skip this one. If you enjoy a bit of rough around the edges talking, then you should be fine.
Overall, I’d give this one 2 stars. I liked the premise but certainly wanted more paranormal as it is marketed as a fantasy book. I didn’t find myself engaging with the characters or overly concerned about their fate (other than the dogs). The author’s style doesn’t quite suit me either but there were some great lines.
“If I drew a cartoon of him, the thought bubble would be empty.”
“Ever hopeful, like all the rest of their canine brethren, they forget each meal as soon as the last bite is swallowed and immediately revert to hungry.”
Both of the above refer to the dogs. However, there were some lines that just made me cringe and those were always about people.
“She was about as butt-ugly as he was.”
“She very definitely wore the pants in in their relationship. I wondered sometimes if she wore the penis also.”
This book wasn’t the best choice for me which is something I suspected before starting, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you and other readers…and that’s okay. We need to have a variety of books to meet all of our reader needs. While agreeing on a favorite book does encourage us to be friends, disagreeing about a book shouldn’t make us enemies.
There’s one more thing I’d like to bring up here – author gender. It was only with this book that I realized all previous book chat reads were by female authors. The husband/ wife team of Ilona Andrews is the only other exception. Yes, women authors dominate in UF/ PNR but I did want to expand my horizons and stuck by this choice even though it didn’t seem like the best one. I am glad I read it and yes, I learned from it. Readers, do you pay attention to the gender of the author? Follow up question, do you try to interact with authors? I’d love to hear from you if you’d like to share so please don’t be shy.
Bottom line, it’s not the book for me…but it could be a great choice for you so check it out!
Now, we’ll switch gears and move on to the writer portion of our Book Chats. You can skip to the end for links and TWO cat pictures if you’d like. As there are 2 pups in the story, I had to share pictures of 2 of my cats!
Yes, fellow authors, it’s time to chat about this book from a writer’s perspective and see what we can learn.
Again, I want to mention the reviews that focus on the author. Two reviews I remember noted that the author did not respond well to them. Have we all heard the advice to NEVER respond to reviews? How though do we handle it when readers reach out to us? While I haven’t had this experience, I hope the distance of electronic communication will allow me to ignore any emotional response and reply with professionalism if a reply is needed at all. I think it’s important to remember we don’t have to engage – we don’t owe anyone an explanation nor do we need to apologize. I think a ‘thank you for reaching out’ might be the best default setting here. We, unfortunately, cannot know when a reader will share our response in full or even a redacted version. I’m certainly open to your thoughts and experiences. You can comment here or contact me and allow me to share your experience here without naming you.
I do think it’s important to think about these things now before we are faced with the situation. Do you have a policy in place? A plan?
While I didn’t mention this above, there were reviews that questioned whether this belonged in the UF subgenre. I don’t want to spoil the book here, but I do want to bring up a few points we’ve discussed in previous chats. It’s important to know your genre/ subgenre and pick it well. The choice impacts your cover, tropes, reader expectations, marketing, and more. While I didn’t always read in my genres (hence the need for this Book Chat series), I am making that effort now. If you’re a new author and avoid reading in your genre so you don’t unintentionally steal anything, I’d encourage you to reconsider that plan. I ignored the advice from many sources before accepting I needed to read more in my genre and I’d like to save you that pain. 😉
The author updated this book with a note in 2020. The message shares a bit of his writing journey and why he elected to leave the book as is. Have you included personal correspondence to readers in a book?
As a relevant follow-up, have you revised and updated or re-released books? My Rahki series was originally published in 2014/ 2015. After pulling both books, it wasn’t until the fall of 2018 that I re-released. The bare bones of the story remained but pretty much everything else changed. It was quite the experience. To be bluntly honest, the stories weren’t ready and neither was I.
If I can help any fellow writers with a single tip, it is this – BE PATIENT. The choices of when and how to publish are yours. Be sure that you and your book are ready.
As always, I’m open to your thoughts and experiences, fellow authors. This is the last 2021 Book Chat, but you can contact me via my website at any time!
Okay, readers and writers, that brings our 2021 Book Chat to an end. You can click HERE to get the initial blog which has links to all individual book chats at the end. Additionally, this is our new 2022 Book Chat post. It only contains our calendar for now, but I’ll start adding the monthly links there.
I’ve certainly had a wonderful time and learned so much. I hope you also got something from this blog series and I hope you’ll join for next year’s too. The blog is open to guest posts from authors and readers so please reach out if you have a bookish topic in mind.
Thank you and all the best to you and yours as 2021 ends and we start fresh in 2022!
US Amazon link for Paranormal Nonsense