The last book I’d like to feature from my Colorado trip is another self-pub, and it’s my favorite of all three. And that’s saying quite a lot, seeing as I read through the entire Princess Academy series (which I rarely do), and Joss the Seven received a Squeaky Award. But this one was just as good as those others, it had absolutely no typos–zero, zilch, none (even Princess Academy had some!)–PLUS it’s funny!
The premise got me right off. I’ve got to post a bit of the prologue because Mr. Shultz does a much better job of setting things up than I can:
Not every story ends in “happily ever after.” In fact, most stories never end at all.
Every tale has consequences, you see–fairy tales in particular. You can’t expect everything to end happily when an entire country has just woken up from a hundred-year sleep. Or when a queen tries to murder the crown princess on the recommendation of her mirror. Or when giants fall from fifty-foot beanstalks.
The truth is, quite a lot happened in all the kingdoms of legend after “The End”–and it wasn’t all happy…
This prologue is being written by the main character, Mr. Nick Beasley, “the foremost private investigator in the Afterlands, famous for debunking magic and monsters. Until [he] got transformed into a monster, that is.”
That is an absolutely fabulous intro, isn’t it? Wit, creativity, and some tantalizing foreshadowing. The story that follows lived up to every expectation that prologue built up in me.
The plot is entertaining, but it’s the characters and their fantastically witty dialogue that truly shine in this story. Nick is a hardcore realist who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, and he doesn’t take any crap from anybody. Not from his inept younger brother who serves as his assistant. Not from the wealthy (and shady) Lord Whitlock, who hires him to find the ancient Clawthorn Rose. And not from the beautiful and equally strong-willed Lady Cordelia, Whitlock’s daughter. Nick takes the case simply to prove the rose is not magical. He, uh, gets much more than he bargained for.
Mr. Shultz spins out each scene with clever language and hilarious detail. I absolutely love the scene when Nick wakes up and gradually realizes he’s turned into a beast. Shultz is also masterful at comedic timing, and the clash of characters he’s created gives him so many opportunities to put that talent to use. I laughed all the way through. This one’s another easy Squeaky Award.
Okay, before I gush further, let me wrap things up with a strict admonition: You’ve got to pick this one up! It’s clean, it’s clever, and the whole story works. Just do it. Seriously. You can thank me later.
There are four books in the Beasley and Beaumont series. (I’m on book three!) Grab them from Amazon: