Shatzer’s recent book The Beach Wizard cemented his place on my Mount Rushmore of comic novelists. It’s a fantastic mixture of absurd comedy and stoic philosophy. I’ve read it twice since it debuted in August. Everyone should read it.
But, anyway; about this book. It’s the third book in Shatzer’s series of cozy mystery parodies, starring amateur sleuth Roberta Smith, her cat Mr. Bigfluff, and their idyllic (aside from the surprisingly frequent murders) town of Quaintville.
You have to read the first two books in the series to get the most out of this one, but as they’re all extremely short, this shouldn’t be a problem. You can read the whole series in about an hour.
Now, I’ll admit to the possibility that this particular brand of parody might not be for everybody. You have to be familiar with the cozy mystery genre to get why it’s funny. I suppose if you’ve never heard of cozy mysteries before, you’ll find it a bit baffling. But then again, who hasn’t heard of cozy mysteries?
Additionally, an Indie-Skeptic may argue that the books are (a) very short or (b) contain typos. I have seen these arguments made many times by readers who hesitate or outright refuse to spend money on indie books. Sometimes at the same time, which doesn’t even make sense. It’s like the old joke about the restaurant where the food is terrible and the portions are too small.
The argument that a book is too short doesn’t hold up. You’re not paying for the words, you’re paying for the effect they produce.
As for the typos, I’ve pretty much reached a point as a reader where I hardly notice them, unless they actively impede my understanding. Yes, of course, in an ideal world, there would be no typos, and all spelling and grammar would be perfectly uniform. But we’re not in an ideal world, and this is far from the main reason why.
One of my hobbies is reading old books, especially those from my favorite historical period, the American Revolution. One thing I quickly noticed was that spelling was very much an inexact science in those days. George Washington himself struggled mightily with orthography.
The snobs of the world who sneer at typos in indie books would no doubt say, if transported back to Colonial America, “This man’s letters be full of errors most grievous against our Common Tongue. Hark ye, sirs and ladies, never could he lead a ∫ucce∫sful revolution against the Crown of England!”
Or words to that effect. But old George seemed to do all right for his country, and Zachary Shatzer has done all right for the art of writing comic fiction. Like I said at the outset, folks: Mount Rushmore.
Shatzer’s books never fail to make me laugh out loud, and this one is great for getting in the Halloween spirit. (Not that I need help with that, but…) I highly recommend it.