Tonya has an unusual passion for books, even for a librarian. When her books are harmed she takes it personally. When people turn up dead over damaged books, there are questions to answer. When the killer is a weresquirrel, the questions become more confusing.
There is a certain pretentiousness in classical literature. Elegant writing filled with meaning both astounding and sublime. This is not that. Not horrific enough to be horror, nor humorous enough to be comedy, welcome to Chip’s Dollar Dreadfuls. There may not be any fundamental truths, but there will be blood…so much blood.
Two things stick out at this point. One – I’ve gotten to see Chip in action over on Facebook, and he’s a sarcastic, funny, fun-loving guy. Two – (and Chip did warn his readers when this book came out) – the series title brings a sense of foreboding about the quality of the work. With those two things in mind, I really was expecting something completely different than I got.
Modern Earth, modern times; there shouldn’t be much need for world building, right? Yes, and no. There’s enough of the strange in this book that needs some context for the reader to fully understand. Chip does a nice job building up that understanding layer by layer and adding new pieces to help keep the story interesting without flooding you with a macabre set of unbelievable facts. The story’s not quite enough to qualify as urban fantasy, though it’s close. (Something I’m aware other readers may dispute due to the weresquirrel inclusion.)
Despite the blase approach to world building, Chip really excels in this department. Lots of mystery develops around the protagonists. Enough at times I thought I’d figured out who was doing what, only to have that expectation turned on it’s head. Each of the main cast, and most of the “extra” cast are fully developed people. Even if they only appear once or twice, they still manage to provide the feeling that you’ve met them before… somewhere. Chip does a wonderful job pulling on characteristics across the spectrum to make the final group more than just a pasted together collection of characters – there’s a cohesion between the characters than meets the eye.
Another spot Chip does extremely well. While this story has a bit of a slow start, due I think more to the mystery slant to the story than anything else, it’s a steady increase through the end. There’s definitely enough action to throw a few kinks in the road as you read your way through, and you don’t want to miss any of the fun along the way.
A very thorough 5 of 5 paws from this pukah. Despite the series name, Chip’s funny sarcastic side takes his choice of names and makes it a virtue, rather than a liability. Definitely recommend you head on over to Amazon Here and pick up a copy. (Non-spoiler warning – read it front to back. Do NOT read the last page first!)
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