You Can’t Please ‘Em All…

So, over on Amazon I received a new review on The Adventures of Lazarus Gray. The previous 25 reviews were all 4 or 5 stars but this one… this one will bring the overall average down a bit. James A. Pappas, Jr. gave the book 2 stars and said the following:


Old timey – like reading the script of a radio play contemporaneous with The Shadow or Charlie Chan, but in a bad way. Seriously, everyone in this universe is a martial-arts master or a gum-snapping moxie or both. There’s Eun, who is a “master of martial arts” and “Korean”, but that’s pretty much all we know about him. How’d he get so good at them martial arts, what do those martial arts look like in practice? We don’t know, and never find out, and everyone seems to be able to punch a demon into unconsciousness, no matter what flavor of fisticuffs they favor. Morgan is a former wiseguy of some sort, who shoots stuff, punches stuff and generally knows people named Lefty, Muggsy, or Bugsy. Samantha is a total fox, we are told, who is also a master of martial arts, and doesn’t realize how attractive she is (seriously that could be a verbatim description from the book).

The title character, Lazarus Gray, is a kind of Doc Savage-type, a mystical pugilist or something, who seemingly knows everything about everything, even though he starts as –sigh– an amnesiac on a beach. It hurt me to type that last bit out. Every so often when we need the plot to advance without killing a good guy, Lazarus will “recall” the necessary plot information and solve the whole caper with some fiddly bit of ritual magic or ritual magic interference. Every villain is some sort of cabalist, illuminati, demon, witch or what-have-you mystical hoodlum. There’s a character named The Peregrine who is a millionaire in Soveriegn city and also a masked vigilante who, wait for it, saw his parents gunned down as a child.

This sort of thing was original and engaging maybe the first few times Alan Moore or Warren Ellis did it in comic form, now it’s just another tired cliche by an author who couldn’t produce one original thought in 400 pages of stilted chop-socky.
+1 star for it being 99 cents. Give it a pass.

Well, James, I’m sorry that the book didn’t please you. Sometimes you stumble upon something that you really enjoy and sometimes you end up with a dud. I’m pretty proud of the Lazarus Gray series but it’s obviously not what you were looking for.

Better luck next time!


  1. It takes TREMENDOUS courage to share your work. It takes even more courage to put your work out there, actively seeking a paying audience. But it takes SUPREME courage to face the withering critiques with the maturity and grace you’ve demonstrated. For every Mr. Pappas, I promise, there are five John Q. Publics yearning for your story. Write hard, comeback strong, we’ll wait.

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