Friday, 15 February 2013

GoodReads reviews - The Troubleshooter: New Haven Blues by Bard Constantine.

The Troubleshooter: New Haven BluesThe Troubleshooter: New Haven Blues by Bard Constantine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*Pulp Warning* My online reading is mostly epulp related and as such my opinion of a story's worth also tends to be epulp skewed. Review-reader beware :) *Pulp Warning*

Overall score: 5 stars (highly recommend)

The Troubleshooter was a joy to read. With all the zaniness you could expect for your epulp reading dime The Troubleshooter throws you into a very different world, one that is part Bladerunner, part 1930s America and then continues to heap on the weird and zany. All to the quirky, jargon-deep voiceover of our protagonist Mick Trubble. It's fast paced and constantly confronting the reader with whacky new ideas as we follow a bad, yet fairly typical day in the life of Mick Trubble. And if you like zany epulp style sci-fi/noir shenanigans then this is definitely the story for you.

Pacing and action: 5 stars.
This story is ludicrously fast if you're watching the clock. Within the space of 24 hours Mick Trubble does an insane amount of running and gunning yet amongst it all the reader still gets a fairly comprehensive story of political intrigue. Everything from sci-fi car chases to stand offs with leather clad assassins. You will not e left wanting for action.

Pulp concept: 5 stars.
It's a little complicated but essentially the world of The Troubleshooter is retro-style dieselpunk world with a reasonably believeable justification. Don't think too hard about it, but by pulp standards it's pretty good and creates a world full of potential future adventure while giving us plenty in the present. The setup also turns out an impressive number of whacky yet cool supporting characters. And that's what good pulp does.

Character development: 4 star.
The achilles heal of pulp, when you're doing all that running and gunning the characters can often get left behind. The Troubleshooter did this better then most with a comprehensive character story that Mick Trubble himself has to uncover. It's not brilliant but we at least get a good sense of who Mick is, even if the supporting cast can be easily forgotten as characters. Bit harder to forget them as garrishly dressed hitmen though. They're definitely better as archetypes than they are as fleshed out characters. But Mick himself saves this from being 3 star.

Production: 5 star.
This thing has been editted properly (I mean spelling, grammar, formatting - everything. It's a professional product) with good cover art and nice touches like the glossary at the front. 5 star production from a genre that can often be lacking in this department.

Series potential: 4 stars.
It's definitely there. If Constantine can come up with just as many whacky characters for a sequel then this will be quite the epulp series. Fingers crossed and here's hoping.

Wrap up.
Definitely one of the best epulp stories I've had the pleasure of reading. It's quality, it's fun, it has a unique and endearing style. It leaves you wanting more. And that's good pulp.

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