First up, let me give the official full title:
Jack Daniels and Associates: Paralyzer (Kindle Worlds) by Silas Payton
It’s a little long to look good on my blog, especially if you’re reading on a mobile device, but that’s the official full title of Paralyzer. It immediately begs a few questions: who is Jack Daniels, who are his associates, and what is Kindle Worlds? Well, for starters, you’re wrong. Jack’s a woman (Jacqueline) not a guy. That still doesn’t answer the question and I hate it when people point out I was wrong.
So that still leaves the three questions, all of which can be answered quite easily. Those answers will make this kind of a special review because while Payton’s story is really cool (and creepy as hell), what he did is also really cool (and not creepy as hell). So, we’re gonna break this review down into a few sections and answer:
- Who Jack Daniels and her associates are
- What Kindle Worlds is
- The actual review of Paralyzer
I love numbered lists.
So, to start this off, Jack Daniels is a creation of Joe Konrath. She (and her rogues gallery of associates) are characters created by Konrath in novels like Shot of Tequila, Bloody Mary, Rusty Nail, Whiskey Sour, and Dirty Martini. Note to self: need a drink a now. JA Konrath is a well-established author with more books under his belt than I’ve written words. At some point in the past he was approached by Amazon to take part in a new concept they had: Kindle Worlds.
Which leads to point number two: What is Kindle Worlds? Well, Kindle Worlds is a chance for authors to experiment with the characters and worlds of other authors. Take their creations and use it as the backdrop for your own story.
If that sounds a lot like fanfic you’re absolutely correct: it’s exactly fanfic. There’s a general feeling that fanfic is somehow a bad thing, but that’s a bit misleading. Sure, there’s some real crap out there, but there are also some remarkable things that have come from fanfic. Sure, Fifty Shades of Gray started its life as Twilight fanfic and has sold 125 million copies worldwide. You may not care for the story, but it’s hard to argue that something that started as fanfic can resonate far and wide, far beyond its original source material (not that the Twilight series is a failure. It, too, sold a bajillion books). If you need another example of this take a gander at Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy. Heck, take a look at any of the myriad Star Wars or Star Trek books out there. Sit back, take a deep breath, and realize those are all essentially fanfic. And some of them were pretty damned good. Check out FanFiction sometime, there’s some good stuff on there.
So, this leads us to the final section. The actual review of Silas Payton’s Paralyzer.
Paralyzer, as has already been established, is part of the Kindle Worlds, but the story is all Silas Payton. It takes place in Toronto, not Chicago, has additional characters beyond Konrath’s, and tells a story that makes use of Konrath’s world without invading it. And Paralyzer has some seriously freaking creepy scenes.
Imagine finding yourself paralyzed and strapped to a table, able to feel everything but unable to move or scream while a doctor slowly cuts out your organs and dismembers you so he can sell your parts to rich people. That’s the bad guy in Paralyzer and that’s what he does. Even beyond the general terror of that situation, Payton does a miraculous job of ratcheting up the tension and maintaining it throughout the story. I don’t like to throw out nonsense like “Edge of the seat” or “Couldn’t put it down”, but after a certain point in the story I just had to know how the story ended and found, much to my chagrin, that I couldn’t put it down.
Paralyzer is gritty crime drama, full of characters I’d like to know more about. It also features the world’s meanest cat and has some genuinely funny moments. The characters will hook you, the humor will keep you entertained, but it’s the tension that will keep you rooted to the book.
By the way, in keeping with Konrath’s tradition, Paralyzer is both the title of the book and a drink. Here’s the recipe from Drinksmixer. You’ll need to provide your own ambulance.