CONFESSIONS OF A PUNK ROCKER
SERIES: LIVING DEAD WORLD #0.5
BY: NESSIE STRANGE
GENRE: PARANORMAL/URBAN FANTASY
PUBLISHER: ETOPIA PRESS
PUBLICATION DATE: SEPT 25, 2015
Jack Norris just lost his best friend—who also happened to be his band’s drummer—to a drunk driving accident. As he navigates the uncertainty of the band’s future, as well as his own personal demons, his life spirals out of control. To make matters worse, his dead friend is back, and it’s wreaking havoc on Jack’s sanity. When a new acquaintance not only hooks him up with a drummer, but promises to help get rid of his ghostly stalker, Jack’s life does a one eighty.
Drew MacLellan, the new drummer, is helping to bring the band back from the dead. He’s also got an insanely hot older sister who is definitely not Jack’s biggest fan. Jen MacLellan is nothing like the women Jack’s dated in the past, but the more he gets to know her, the deeper he falls. The only problem is, she’s got a boyfriend. Caught between his growing attraction and the desire to do the right thing, Jack does everything he can to keep things as just friends. The longer it goes on, the more he realizes it isn’t possible. Can Jack win the heart of the woman he’s fallen for? And can he figure out how to help his dead friend rest in peace…permanently?
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A Bookaholic’s Fix Review:
I had the pleasure of reading one of Strange’s stories in the Love Least Expected Anthology last year so when the review option for this one came through my inbox, I just had to sign up.
So this one features a punk rocker on the rise to fame, a dead best friend, and the girl that’s off limits. Honestly, I would have read that without knowing anything about the author’s previous work. The story is told in first person perspective from Jack’s POV and it is written in present tense. Now this usually is problematic for me but I have to give the author credit, it was amazingly well done. Jack’s voice is strong and it never seems to slip; I knew throughout the story everything was his–thoughts, perceptions, feelings, etc. And as for the tense–it was so well done that I didn’t even notice. I never got that ‘off’ vibe that clues me in to this particular style. I actually noticed it when I went back through the text to make sure I had my details right.
When I sat down to review, I went back and looked at the other story I’d written a review for and noticed something similar about the characterization in the books. The main characters start off a little weak for my taste but once again, Strange makes it work.
At first, I hated Jack. There, I said it. He came off as whiny, self-centered, self-absorbed, self-destructive… His whole poor-pitiful-me routine made me want to kick his ass up between his ears. Now, I admit my opinions are tainted a bit because: 1) I am the oldest child so I don’t relate to the baby of the family mentality and 2) By my early twenties, I was already married with children so the concept of being young and doing normal stupid-kid-stuff is kinda lost on me. I really related more to Jen because taking on too much responsibility has always been my gig. Anyway. As the story progressed, I began to understand that Jack’s familial strains weren’t just his imagination or a matter of faulty perception, and I began to feel sympathetic to his plight. I guess he grew on me the same way he grew on Jen.
I did like the other characters tremendously. Like I said, I get the older sibling mentality so I actually liked Ashton even if he was a bit of an ass. I loved PJ and Ethan because everyone needs weird friends. Drew was the typical little brother–having 2 of my own, I know they tend to be both wonderful one moment and a PITA the next. Then there were the depictions of family relationships. I loved the way she captured different family dynamics through the descriptions and personalities of the various parents (and the interactions with their children) present in the story. Strange managed to create an entire community of separate and interconnected people which gave the characters and the story a tremendous amount of credibility.
The Paranormal elements were great. Ghosts, talking with the dead, crossing over–these were handled wonderfully. I did like the more gruesome factor the haunting had. It reminded me a lot of R.M. Gilmore’s Dylan Hart books. The author took a different approach and instead of doing the cliched type of ghost story, she created something raw and gritty. I love the paranormal genre but it is super popular right now and sometimes is in danger of becoming homogenized. Stories like this provide novelty and keep the genre fresh and alive.
This is definitely a 5-star read. I can’t wait to read the other books in the series and I fully intend to stalk–um, I mean follow–this author to discover what other amazing stories she concocts.
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ALSO BY NESSIE STRANGE:
LIVING DEAD GIRL (BOOK #1, LIVING DEAD WORLD SERIES)
Jen MacLellan has hit a dead end…
Jen knows tattooed, blue-haired Jack Norris is trouble the minute he opens his front door. And being a mortician in the avante garde East Side of Providence, Jen has seen a lot. Jack has recruited Jen’s teenage brother Drew to play drums for his less-than-respectable punk band, and Jen has no choice but to follow their gigs to keep her little brother out of trouble. But when Drew goes missing, she finds herself in the awkward position of asking for Jack’s help. Shocked that he agrees, Jen decides she may have misjudged him. Worse, she might even like him.
But when Jen is brutally attacked, she awakens in the hospital where a Sid Vicious look-alike greets her with the news: she’s dead, and he’s the reaper assigned to take her away. Yeah, not so much. Refusing to leave, Jen’s spirit watches helplessly as her loved ones suffer, powerless to ease her family’s grief or prevent the police from accusing Jack of her murder. Desperate to help them, Jen convinces the reaper to bring her back. But reanimating corpses isn’t as easy as it looks, and neither is finding a killer before it’s too late…
REAPER MADNESS (BOOK #2, LIVING DEAD WORLD SERIES)
This isn’t the afterlife she expected…
Jen MacLellan can’t get the hang of being a reaper. She’s been separated from Jack, the man she loves, and is stuck with an annoying telepathic link to her ill-tempered mentor, Sam. Now Death is breathing down her neck, promising to remove that annoying link if she gives him what he wants. But when reapers begin to disappear back on earth, leaving behind walking, talking dead people, Jen and Sam are thrust into a dangerous mission to recapture the souls, and a passionate physical relationship that complicates everything.
Jack Norris has no memory prior to waking up on the half-demon Nulcifer’s couch six months earlier. As he begins to investigate his past, he discovers a string of past lives tied together by a beautiful, mysterious brunette. Who is she? And why does finding her seem like a life or death proposition?
When Sam falls victim to fate during a routine visit to earth, Jen’s devastated. Desperate to get him back, she runs smack into the man she never thought she’d see again—Jack. She tries to keep her distance, but there’s no time to be awkward if they want to save Sam. When sinister plots are revealed, and betrayals threaten everything, she’s forced to make some tough choices—and learns that life is just as difficult when you’re dead.
VALENTINE’S HEAT I (SHORT STORY/LIVING DEAD WORLD SERIES)
“Lost Soul, Lost Love” by Nessie Strange
The Living Dead World Series
It’s Jen MacLellan’s first trip back to earth as a new reaper, and Mardi Gras is in full swing. When she happens upon Chip, a partier stuck in a perpetual 1983, Jen decides to help him
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nessie is a Massachusetts native and mother of two who has dabbled in everything from abstract painting to freelance sports reporting. She also loves a good story, whether it’s reading or writing one. The first two novels in her Living Dead World series–Living Dead Girl and Reaper Madness–were published in 2014.