One of my favorite writers — Ray Zacek — got a great write-up at PJ Lifestyle

The DaguerreotypeOne of my favorite new media novelists is Ray Zacek (who is also a friend of this blog).  I’ve already given enthusiastic thumbs up to two of his novels: The Taxman Cometh, which I reviewed here; and The Daguerreotype, which I reviewed here.

Because Ray is a wonderful writer, he’s starting to garner the attention he deserves in the blogosphere. The latest example is a fairly in-depth interview at PJ Lifestyle. Enjoy the interview and then give yourself the gift of a good read by buying his books.

Book Review: Ray Zacek’s “The Daguerreotype”

The DaguerreotypeI’m always delighted when a friend sends me a book he has written and I love the book, since it means I can write an honest, favorable review.  I’ve already read and positively reviewed one book from Ray Zacek (The Taxman Cometh) and it’s my pleasure to give a positive, albeit short, review of his latest effort, The Daguerreotype.

I thought Zacek’s The Taxman Cometh was an excellent novella.  The Daguerreotype is even better, showing Zacek’s development as a writing.  Zacek is an economical writer who never uses one word more or less than is absolutely necessary to tell his tale.  That technique works very well in this book, which ties together two ostensibly separate stories, one set in early 1840s Paris and the other in modern-day America.  Both stories revolve around a daguerreotype and move, slowly but inexorably, from a prosaic beginning to a thrilling, and entirely unexpected, conclusion.

I highly recommend this book, which is perfect reading for a dark, rainy afternoon.  The book will make the afternoon fly by, while the ever-so-slightly claustrophobic feel of the rainy day will add a little something extra to this subtle, yet exciting book

Book Review: Ray Zacek’s “The Taxman Cometh”

As I’ve told many people who have offered to send me books to review, I’m a desultory reviewer.  The spirit really has to move me for me to write a book review.  I’m always happy to receive free books, but I do think the authors or publishers or publicity agents ought to know that I don’t guarantee to write a review.

I think this vaguely procrastinatory feeling I have about writing book reviews goes back to junior high and high school, when I read books I usually disliked and was then forced to write 750 words about them.  That was bad enough, but I was always miffed when the teacher later graded my opinion.

The end result is that, if I love a book, I’ll definitely rouse myself to write a review, while if a book offends me deeply either morally or politically I might be moved to write a negative review.

As for books in the great middle — eh, it’s hit or miss.  If someone was kind enough to send me a freebie or I know the author, I’ll write a review only if I really liked the book.  If I didn’t like it, I just don’t mention it at all.

With those confessions out in the open, let me say that I really liked Ray Zacek’s The Taxman Cometh(which I bought myself, rather than receiving a review copy).  Here’s the review I posted at Amazon:

I found this black comedy a peculiarly mesmerizing little book. Usually, within a chapter or two, I can predict a book’s outcome. On those rare occasions when I can’t predict the outcome, I’m often peeved because the author “cheated” by blatantly betraying his own plot trajectory and going somewhere stupid.

Zacek’s book, however, is a marvelous little gem. Every time it takes off in a wonderful, often macabre direction, Zacek deftly reveals an appropriate new fact, or explains a preexisting one, creating a seamless little book that’s full of surprises.

Because the book is short (novella length) and because it has so many unexpected twists & turns, while still maintaining overall narrative coherence, I don’t want to spoil any surprises by saying “It was great when THIS happened,” or “The scene with THAT event was side-splitting.”

It’s enough, therefore, for me to say that Zacek is a superb writer. He’s managed to take an IRS agent and turn him and the ghost that haunts him into worthwhile literary protagonists.

As an added pleasure, I really appreciated that Zacek is an excellent grammarian and that he (or his editor) carefully proofread the book before publishing it. Too many Kindle books have imaginative plots and interesting characters, but are impossible to read because they don’t quite cross the literacy threshold. Zacek doesn’t have that problem.

If you’d like a few enjoyable hours with a good book, I highly recommend “The Taxman Cometh.”

A friend has written a book!

One of my friends has written and published a book on Amazon and it promises to be good:  The Taxman Cometh, by Ray Zacek.  Don’t be scared off by the fact that the protagonist is an IRS revenue officer.  Ray Zacek, who wrote the book, is one of the wittiest writers I know, with a marvelous, mordant sense of humor.  Even though things involving taxes usually make me feel a little uneasy, I’ve already bought my copy  and am looking forward to reading it.