The Family Grace Gets Reviewed

grace_cvrLongtime reader Jose Rivera posted a review on Amazon.com of The Family Grace: An Extraordinary History. He gave it four stars and labeled it “A Wonderful Primer!” Here is what he had to say in total:

“I’ve been reading Barry Reese’s work for almost ten years. In that time I’ve seen the Grace sisters (Charity and Samantha) and heard about the adventures of other members of their family, but I never got to read them…until now.

The Family Grace is an omnibus of stories dealing with the Grace family and the world of shadows. Sometimes it features a Grace while others and sometimes its tangentially linked to the world of shadows. But you know what’s incredible? It all fits so well! You can read the first couple of stories and have all the context you need for what’s to come later in the book.

There’s a few genres here: we have fantasy, adventure, new pulp and slight horror. If at some point you were ever interested in dipping your toe into the world of Reese’s characters I would HIGHLY recommend this as it is an excellent primer for what you can expect in other works like Lazarus Gray, The Peregrine, Gravedigger, the Dark Gentleman, etc.

Give it a try! You won’t be sorry!”

Thanks, Jose! This was a strange book to assemble as it took many previously published tales from all over the place (several of which were out of print by this point) and put them into a single anthology. If there was ever a second edition of this, we’d have to go back and include a Gravedigger story since she’s a prominent member of the Grace clan that was created after this one was published!

Thanks again!

Lazarus Gray Volume 8 Gets Reviewed!

lg01_lazarus_solo_with_text_smallRay Bara posted a review of the latest Lazarus Gray collection on Goodreads. He gave it 5 stars and had the following to say:

Another sizzling edition of Lazarus Gray and Assistance Unlimited! Once again, Barry Reese shows why he is at the top of the New Pulp scene. He has crafted a wonderful world with Lazarus Gray and his band of heroes. Now into the eighth volume, Reese is cruising through one adventure after another with his spectacular cast of characters. And this time around, he brings back a prior villain (Nemesis), introduces a new villain who is sure to return (Bushido), and brings in a new open source hero (Golden Amazon). All the while, the action does not stop, whether Lazarus et al are battling a monster in the snowy woods, baby-snatching Shamblers in underground tunnels, or aliens in downtown Sovereign. Assistance Unlimited also suffers inner turmoil, with one member being impregnated by magic, and another member leaving the group over philosophical differences with Lazarus. This is another great read from a great author. Read this book and get ready for the next few volumes, which are coming soon!

Thanks, Ray! I’m glad you enjoyed this edition. You’re right that Bushido will return – in fact, keep an eye out for volume nine! I’ve actually written 13 volumes so you should have plenty of Lazarus to enjoy over the next year or two as Pro Se has an ambitious release schedule planned!

Babylon Gets Reviewed

babylon_small_no_textThe Pulp Super-Fan has reviewed The Second Book of Babylon. Let’s see what he had to say:

I recently picked up Barry Reese‘s newest work, The Second Book of Babylon (Pro Se Productions). While this is part of his Sovereign City Project and tied to his other works, I find this more superhero than pulp.

We are introduced in this work to the “spirit of cosmic retribution,” known as Babylon. His origin goes back to 1802 when black slave Gideon Black, whose master is devil-worshiping Abraham Black. Due to a series of events starting when Gideon has a son with Abraham’s daughter, he is bound to the Babylon armour and his future descendants would be able to summon and posses the armour, allowing them to be a “spirit of retribution.”

While we get hints of these past adventures, there is no “First Book of Babylon.”

This particular story is set in 2011. As shown in the Peregrine stories with the fourth Peregrine, the “Black Mass Barrier” has risen, causing the “World of Shadows” to merge with the real world, allowing various faerie races along with magic to be part of the world.

Due to a strange conspiracy, the world’s main magic users have been exiled. Someone of great power is trying to cut off England from the rest of the world, and had shut them out, and now Babylon, who is being hosted by Jennifer Black, must figure it out and save them. We also meet others, such as Johnny Galahad, another relative who for a time hosted the armour. There is also Michael Bolan who has a less-powerful set of armour, called Retribution.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read, and expanded his universe/timeline in the “modern times.” We are promised a Third Book of Babylon, but I wonder when/if this will happen. We don’t see this on his timeline, though I do see Lazarus Gray volumes 8, 9, and 10. Barry noted on his blog he’s completed volume 13 of Lazarus Gray, and that volume 8 should be out in August, with the next 6 coming out quickly. Can’t wait.

Me: Thanks for the review! I would definitely agree with your assessment that the tale is more superhero than pulp. I have started work on another Babylon story and the character makes guest-appearances in some of the upcoming Lazarus Gray books so you should see more of him in the near future.

Ouch!

img_8359The Adventures of Lazarus Gray: The Omnibus Edition received a new review on Amazon and, uh-oh!, they didn’t like it. The 1-star review was titled “Terrible” and was posted by a user whose screen name was Honest. The review is brief but let’s take a look at it:

This is comic book scripts that didn’t sell. Has no idea what noirs is. Waste of money waste of time.

Huh. Well, I can honestly say that the five volumes contained in this omnibus edition weren’t ‘comic book scripts that didn’t sell.’ I also would never describe my work as noir. Lazarus Gray is adventure fiction in the classic pulp sense – noir is something I sometimes dabble in as a fan but never as a writer.

Can’t win them all! Hopefully Honest will find something he likes better with his next purchase.

Bad reviews are always going to come along – you have to develop a thick skin to survive in this business.

Ki-Gor Gets Reviewed!

devilsDale has posted a 5-star review of The New Adventures of Ki-Gor: The Devil’s Domain. Here’s what he had to say:

Long regarded as the Jungle Lord, Ki-Gor was known for his ferocity and savageness as well as his love for the people and the animals of the Congo where he lived. Now two enemies have raised their banners and are threatening to take that title from Ki-Gor.

In THE IVORY GODDESS, Ki-Gor finds a local village that had been so much a part of his youth apparently abandoned without word. As he and his most trusted companion, Tembu George, begin to investigate, they are thrust into a desperate race against time with the discovery of a sole survivor of a lost safari fleeing through the jungle. Soon Ki-Gor will not only have to fight to save those lost, but will find his own world teetering on the edge of a monstrous evil.

THE DEVIL’S DOMAIN finds Ki-Gor and Tembu answering the challenge of two evil slavers while trying to restore a god’s favor to a lost and hidden people who have a terrible secret that must not be revealed into Ki-Gor’s jungle.

Ki-Gor was one of the more successful copies of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. for 16 years from 1939 to 1954, his adventures in the Congo and other locales were chronicled in the pages of JUNGLE STORIES. In the author Barry Reese’s own words…

“The Jungle Heroes of the pulps have always appealed to me, both for their exotic locales and the constant dichotomy between ‘civilized’ people and their ‘savage’ brothers and sisters.”

Reese’s love for these stories comes through as he skillfully recreates the fun and adventure…and the thrill… of the stories of the jungle and its protector.

If you love the old pulp stories…and especially those tales set in the wild jungles…this is a book you will absolutely enjoy.

Thanks, Dale. I grew up as a huge Tarzan fan and discovered Ki-Gor along the way. It was great to add to the character’s legend and I’m glad that you enjoyed the stories!

A New Broken Empire Review!

broken_empireRaven’s Reviews recently took a look at the first Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age novel, Broken Empire. Here’s what they had to say:

Assistance Unlimited, the next generation!

Lazarus Gray is now 59, still active, but not as involved in the daily affairs of Assistance Unlimited as he used to be. These are the adventures of Emily Grace, daughter of Samantha Grace, one of the original members of Lazarus Gray’s organization. Emily is getting a new partner, Benjamin Falk. Falk was on President Kennedy’s team in Dallas and blames himself for the assassination. But Gray referred to here as “the old man” sees something in Falk.

There are two interconnected stories in this volume.

Book One: The Rise of Helios

Marvin Levin and his crew of clones endeavor to reestablish the Fourth Reich. To accomplish the madman’s goal they seek supernatural objects either under lock and key in Assistance Unlimited headquarters or being actively pursued by them. But Levin has a rival… or is it more than one…

Book Two: Roll the Bones

Otto Darling, the current leader of SIGIL (Supreme International Group for Illicit Liaisons) is after the Chalice of Madness. Allying himself with Helios from Book One, he seeks knowledge that drinking from the chalice is said to bring. Or was that insanity and chaos?

I found the book exciting. The only complaint I have is that according to information at the end of this book, it is slightly out of sequence. Things that take place here are direct results of events in Lazarus Gray volume 8 which I am reliably informed will be out later this year.

That said, it does not really affect the story all that much since the focus is on the characters. The exact events of Emily’s birth and parentage being forthcoming does not stop the reader from enjoying what a kickass character she is. The character is 100% pure smashmouth pulp hero and the action never stops. There are over-the-top villains, world-shaking weapons, Nazis, the supernatural—what’s not to love? Encore! I say!

I give the book a resounding five stars plus!

Broken Empire gets reviewed!

thumbsupRay Bara has been a longtime supporter of the Reese Unlimited universe so it’s no surprise that his is the first Amazon.com review for Broken Empire. Ray gave the book 5 stars and titled his review “Loved the next wave of Assistance Unlimited” – here’s what he had to say in full:

I’ve been a big fan of Barry Reese’s Lazarus Gray series. It’s been a long time since the last novel (the publisher has inexplicably delayed publishing Reese’s already-written Gray novels), and this one is not a straight Lazarus Gray novel, but it is a great one nonetheless. Reese has skipped ahead a few years in this one, placing the story in 1964 instead of the 1930s. Assistance Unlimited, Gray’s group of heroes, has expanded and moved out of Sovereign City, Reese’s setting for his fictional universe. We see more focus on Emily Grace (the daughter of Samantha Grace) and Ezekiel Gray (Lazarus’ son). While the focus is not on Lazarus Gray, all the elements of a classic Barry Reese novel are there: lots of action, a great “pulp” feel, plenty of occult references, and great characterization. Reese also did a great job of moving Assistance Unlimited into the future; it’s great to see something “pulpy” that’s not in the 1930. I would love to see an actual new Lazarus Gray novel soon (I know they are ready to go), but Broken Empire is a wonderful way to spend the time while waiting. Go get this one!

Thanks, Ray! I’m really glad that you enjoyed the book. When I originally came up with the idea for the novel, I thought it would be fun to see Assistance Unlimited grow into a SHIELD or UNCLE type of organization – and since we’d established that some of the old crew were becoming parents, it just seemed natural for those kids to lead the future version of Assistance Unlimited.

As for the release of the other Lazarus books, I’m hopeful that you’ll see volume 8 before too long. I’ve written books 8-12 and am currently working on number 13. I sympathize with your impatience – it’s been three years since volume 7 was released! Pro Se is a big company, though, and they sometimes have to put their focus where they think it’s best. Our time will come.

Thanks again, my friend!

Two new reviews!

nightveilwatercolour3Nightveil: The Quiet Girls has received two new reviews. Let’s take a look at the first one:

Louis Davis gave the book 4 stars out of a possible five and titled his review “Not enough Femforce.” He wrote:

The story was well written and had an even flow to the plot.

Thanks, Louis! Sorry you didn’t think there was enough Femforce in the book – I wanted to keep the focus on our mystic maiden as much as possible but I did include a few cameos here and there… 

Dale also gave the book 4 stars out of 5. His review was titled “An evil that never dies!” Here was what he had to say:

May 1943 and the Blue Bulleteer once more enters the fray to save a life that can find no other to protect her. But…who are the strange, blood splattered twin girls who mysteriously appear and warn her to be quiet and then mysteriously skip off? The girl is saved… the cult put down…for now… and life goes on.

November 2016…73 years since the events of that night. Life goes on… Laura Wright is no longer the Blue Bulleteer but has found her new existence as Nightveil… owner of powerful magical abilities and responsibilities. The cult that she thought destroyed in 1943, once more raises its ugly head driven by a Baron Mort – a being of true evil. And…as it happened that night so long ago… the two blood splattered twin girls once more appear with the warning to silence. How are the two connected…and how will Nightveil stop the evil threatening the world?

Barry Reese has written a book that could be straight out of AC Comics with this story of superheroes and supervillains and undying horror. The author captures the feel of the comics and the characters that made them so popular.

I appreciate the kind words, Dale! I had so much fun writing the book and as a longtime fan of Nightveil and her companions, it was a delight to bring them to the prose world. 

Nearing the promised land

kiernan_shipkaI’m moving closer and closer to the end point for the current novel and it’s at this stage that I’m always bursting at the seams to go ahead and type, “The End.” I’m anxious to think about what’s next and the thrill of the current WIP has simply evaporated. I’ve lived with it for too long.

I was hoping that Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age Volume One would be out by now… not sure what’s holding it up at Pro Se but I’m sure there’s a good excuse. I’m thinking I might step away from Lazarus Gray until they catch up on the backlog – soon, they’ll have volumes 8-12, plus the Lazarus/Nightveil crossover book.

I’ve begun watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and I’m really enjoying it. Same for My Hero Academia, which was introduced to me by my son. There’s so much great television out there! A lot of it really inspires me and I just wish I had the time to do all the stories that I have in my head. I know, it’s the writer’s lament…

Our post today is accompanied by an attitude-laced photo of Kiernan Shipka, the star of the Sabrina series.

The “Other” Hero of The Peregrine Chronicles

Today I figured we’d spend a few minutes talking about the ‘other’ hero of The Peregrine Chronicles. Will McKenzie is introduced in the second Peregrine story and soon becomes not only best friend to our hero Max Davies but also a frequent companion on his adventures.

Some of the highlights include:

1937 – Will arrives in Atlanta and is introduced to Max by the mysterious Benson, a man who has risen above tragedy in his own life to become a hero in the employ of the government. The youngest police chief in the nation, Will has movie-star good looks and a fierce attraction both both the ladies and to danger. As we’ll see, the combination of those two interests is a particular problem for him! In his debut appearance, Will heads off into the Atlanta underground to help foil a vampire uprising “Kingdom of Blood”, The Peregrine Omnibus Volume One).

1939 – Max and Evelyn become parents to a son that they name William, after their good friend (“Abominations,” The Peregrine Omnibus Volume One). Later in the year, Will and an ex-girlfriend named Violet Cambridge become embroiled in a horrific adventure surrounding a cursed object, an ancient cult and Aleister Crowley (The Damned Thing).

1940 – Will travels to Berlin with The Peregrine and The Domino Lady to confront the organization known as Bloodwerks (“Bloodwerks, The Peregrine Omnibus Volume One).

1941 – Kidnapped by a Nazi agent known as The Iron Maiden, Will is able to not only escape her clutches but convince her that she’s fighting on the wrong side. Kirsten Bauer and Will are soon married (“The Iron Maiden,” The Peregrine Volume One).

Later in the Forties, we learn that Will and Kirsten are struggling to have a child. As of this writing, we don’t know if they ever succeeded or not. Will is actually in most of The Peregrine stories after his introduction but the above are some of the best. If you’re a big fan of Will, I’d definitely suggest you seek out “Kingdom of Blood” and The Damned Thing, both of which feature him very prominently.