Pay Me Bug

pay_me_bugCaptain Grif of the Fool’s Errand is brash, foolhardy, and lucky to be alive. He’s also unlucky enough to have pulled off the kind of score that attracts the wrong attention. When the powers-that-be want him to pull it off again, he has no choice but to hope for luck again. Luck had other plans.

This is a fun space opera romp with a ship and crew from the wrong side of the space station. The title comes from the fact that Grif’s crew commonly make side bets on their various success or failures, with Ktk (the bug of an unpronounceable race of an unpronounceable planet) often taking bets against their success. The crew and denizens vary across several races, so this is not a human-only setting, with some like Ktk much less human than others. But they were all quite fun.

The score they have to pull off turns into an involved heist at the behest of one government against another. They’re essentially after a McGuffin, but that doesn’t diminish the fun. Plenty of things go wrong, and they can almost never catch a break, but in the end, Grif and his crew are able to turn even the worst hand into a winner.

Think Firefly with more dirt.

About the reviewer:

dan_thompsonDan Thompson started writing fiction at the age of ten. Luckily for the world, all copies of that early Star Wars rip-off have been lost to time and Sith retaliation. Moving on from that six-page handwritten epic, he has self-published two books with more on the way – honest!

He lives near Austin with his wife and three children, drives old police cars, wears kilts when the weather permits, and is generally considered to be the weirdo next door. Fortunately, the neighbors don’t know how weird he really is.

Find out more about Dan at

Matryoshka Blues

matryoshka_bluesOnce in a while, I get outside my comfort zone and read something I’d normally pass up. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. Some of the stuff? Let’s just leave it as “not my cuppa” and move along without recriminations.

Then there are stories like Shawn Harper’s Matryoshka Blues. This is Shawn’s first novel and the amount – and quality – of work he demonstrates in this book made it shine for me.

The first in what I hope will be many stories in the Average Joe series sizzles with a kind of foul-mouthed, self-deprecating wit. It recaptures the kind of raw, noir detective feel from earlier masters and layers on a complete disregard for their language sensibilities. It’s what Mickey Spillane might have written if he could have dropped a few f-bombs.

No, I’m not saying Shawn’s the new Mickey Spillane and “Average Joe” isn’t Mike Hammer. Yet. If he keeps at it, he might be.

This is a fast read that kept me delighted as I dug out the nuggets of the narrator’s backstory from the barrage of cynical commentary on modern life that drives a relentless push to find the puzzlebox and keep himself out of jail for murder.

Want a clever mystery? Grab a sample of Matryoshka Blues and see if you can resist clicking the buy me link when you get there.

[Transparency: I met Shawn Harper at the Colorado Gold Conference last month. He was second runner up in the simile contest with an entry that referenced “…like a chimpanzee’s fuzzy kumquats without the pleasing after taste” (I’m probably paraphrasing because my memory is not that good.) TBH, that’s the only reason I know about the book – or the author – but I just had to share.]

About the reviewer:

NathanLowell_150x150Nathan Lowell has been writing science fiction and fantasy most of his life. He started publishing in 2007 and has no intention of stopping any time soon.

Learn more about Nathan Lowell and his works at

[Note: You’re seeing more reviews from me because fellow authors aren’t sending reviews of the books they like. If you’re an author, consider the submitting a review about an indie book you loved. The submission guidelines link is at the top of this page.]

Command Decisions

command_decisionsAs a reader, I have to listen to the narrated stories of Terry Mixon’s The Empire of Bones Saga. Listening to them is wonderful. Waiting for them to come out is painful and slow. The audio book’s narrator, Veronica Giguere, bring extra life to the story and its characters that make the waiting for the next in the series bearable.

From his biography, I know Terry Mixon is a Texas writer and former NASA subcontractor at the Johnson Space Center and his life experience brings extra life to the third book in the series Command Decision. In this story, the protagonist has found help from an ancient ship, but they still have to survive those from their past. The author knows how to keep the story flowing and the pace is perfect for those who are trying to survive so far from their home.

Mixon has published the fifth book in the series, and I will have to wait for them to come out on Audible. When the next book becomes available, I will happily use one of my Audible credits to purchases it when on the first day.

About the Reviewer

Charles Eugene ‘Chuck’ Anderson lives in Colorado. He’s been lucky enough to be published in many publications for the past twenty years. When Chuck isn’t writing, he likes muscle cars, running, and baking. Find out more about him at