Categorized | Fiction

Dead to Me Fiction Review

Posted on April 7, 2008 by Flames

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I have a cold, and it’s crept through my sinuses to my brain. Not the ideal situation for reading, but I do what I can when I can.

I like reading Anton Strout’s blogs; I especially like that he’s written (or wants to write) a novel about a made-up band. If that novel doesn’t find a publisher I will be very disappointed, because I think it sounds like terrific fun. I’m imagining Spinal Tap in a book, though I think Mr Strout’s novel featured/will feature a punk band. Though if he writes about a skater-punk band, he will be sent to the naughty corner.

But let’s talk about what’s actually been published, shall we?

In Dead to Me, reformed petty-crime naughty boy and psychometrist Simon Canderous (whose surname probably means something, but I haven’t checked the dictionary yet) works for New York’s Department of Extraordinary Affairs. Psychometry made me think of Kim Wilkins’s Gina Champion series, and the government made me think of Shane Maloney’s Murray Whelan series. But Anton Strout’s Simon Canderous is neither a teenage girl nor a political adviser (and not Australian, for that matter).

On the novel’s cover (notice how the New Yorkers are wearing black – that’s not a stereotype; not at all), Simon appears to be in Times Square and has blue electricity spouting from his fingertips. But I don’t remember a Times Square scene, and it would’ve been more appropriate had Mr Canderous been wielding a baseball bat. But that’s an idea for future cover art.

The author is clever with wordplay (note the titles of Inspectre and Enchancellors), even though some character names are somewhat ridiculous (Thaddeus Wesker and Argyle Quimbley). The relationship between Simon and his mentor is a healthy one. As for the romance angle…I won’t spoil it for you, but I would’ve preferred Mr Canderous stick with the other woman instead.

Within these pages is a wonderfully creative idea called Ghostsniffing, but I’m leaving it to you to learn the fascinating details of that. But overall the book did not live up to my high expectations…maybe because I’m still sulking over the lack of the band novel. I’m petty that way.

Any publishers interested in publishing a band novel should contact Mr Strout’s agent.

Review by Tez Miller

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