Fantasy, Reality, Reviews and Drama Lessons from Gordon A. Long
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Why Are People So Stupid?

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Mind of the Beast 
The story starts thus…

“The flaming teddy bear sailed through the air like a cute and fluffy Molotov Cocktail.”

…and goes downhill from there. Rapidly, in a sleighride of emotion and suspense.

This is the next book in the “Sundancer” series, and the plot flows from “Demon Dancer” to this one with little break. Nick St. James continues to live his reclusive life in Seattle, but he is being drawn slowly back into the real world as he heals from the death of his wife, Ann. A big part of the healing is Thelma, the voodoo priestess/coffee shop owner (why not? A girl’s gotta have a job, and this is Seattle, after all) he is falling in love with.

The next thing we need is a villain. Actually, a mystery, which is caused by the villain. Once the hero solves enough of the mystery to discover who is causing all the trouble, he can get down to the battle with the bad guy. Which he does, in great detail.

If you want a universal mythical villain, you can’t go deeper into the human psyche than the fear of the forest, “the part of nature that rends and kills with no regard to honor or what you pathetic humans call good or evil.” And then we’re off on a roller-coaster of battles and fights and general mayhem, of both the mystical and the physical variety. At all of which the Freyermuth team excels.

I appreciated the finale. Often in super-metaphysical tales the writer gets overwhelmed by his own magic, and the reader is hard put to follow the hows and whys of what’s going on, The denouement of this story is action-packed, and the conflict, internal and external, is clear. The solutions are almost fathomable. Well, there has to be some mystery, after all. This is fantasy!

In general, this is a fun, exciting read, but I’d have to say it isn’t quite up there with Demon Dance. Perhaps the humour has become a little less fresh, both for me and for the writers. However, I still love the tone of the writing and the fascinating characters that populate Nick’s worlds, the human and the paranormal.

Recommended for Nick St. James lovers and paranormal fans. For the rest of you, read Demon Dance first. You’ll enjoy this one more.

Five stars out of five










Television series







Mind of the Beast

Brian and Juliet Freyermuth

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

Alan Bradley

Raven's Wing

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Mysteries of Shetland

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Ava's Man

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The Best Laid Plans

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Wordscapist: the Myth

Arpan Panicker

Murder and Mendelssohn
Kerry Greenwood

Drawing Conclusions
Donna Leon

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon
Alexander McCall Smith

The Dead in their Vaulted Arches
Alan Bradley

The Commons Book 1

The Journeyman
Michael Alan Peck

At War With Satan
Steff Metal

Phobos: Mayan Fear
Steve Alten

Linton Robinson

The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald

You Can't Get There From Here
Gayle Forman

Psychic Warrior
T. D. McKinnon

Peter R. Stone

Butterman (Time Travel) Inc.
PK Hrezo

Winter Fire
Laurie Dubay 

Canadian Pie
Will Ferguson 

Bertie Plays the Blues
Alexander McCall Smith

Miss Timmins' School for Girls
Nayana Currimbhoy

Peter Cawdron

The Twelve Rooms of the Nile
Enid Shomer

The Importance of Being Seven
Alexander McCall Smith

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic
Meghan Ciana Doidge

Unnatural Habits
A Phryne Fisher Mystery

Kerry Greenwood

Book I of The Glaring Chronicles

Matthew Krause

The Hundred-Foot Journey
Richard C. Morais

The Crooked House
John Longeway

Eye Candy
Ryan Schneider

Season of the Harvest
Michael R. Hicks

Chronicles of Trellah Book I:
The Perpetual Rain

T. S. Graham

The Casual Vacancy
J. K. Rowling
Alexander McCall Smith
Charlotte Henley Babb

David Litwack 
G. T. Denny
John Patrick Gallagher
Cas Peace
Steve Umstead
Mark Everett Stone