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Tag: thriller

The King of Las Vegas, by John Van Stry – book review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

The King of Las Vegas, by John Van Stry
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, March 2016, trade paperback $10.99 (234 pages), Kindle $3.99.

John Van Stry has written four Hammer Commission novels; The Hammer Commission, Wolf Killer, Loose Ends, and The King of Las Vegas. They are set in a world where demons, devils, monsters, and vampires are real. Three of the four feature Mark Levin, a demon-devil-monster-vampire hunter for the FBI and Interpol who is a monster himself. Mark and his French partner Jake are minor characters in The King of Las Vegas, which features a rakshasa.

A traditional rakshasa is an Indian (Hindustani) demon, usually described as a huge fanged cannibal who can shape-shift and live hundreds of years. In Van Stry’s novel, it’s a tiger-striped shape-shifter who can turn into a tiger (not a were-tiger; the distinction becomes important in the story) that happens to be a good guy. Rafael is an American college student on vacation in India who is captured and enslaved by a Rakshasa (Van Stry sometimes capitalizes it) and is turned into one himself.

Eleven years later Rafael escapes to American Catholic missionaries in India, and is turned over by them to Mark and Jake. When they determine that Rafael doesn’t want to prey on anyone, he just wants to return to America, they help him out. As a rakshasa, he needs lots of meat, he feeds on strong emotions, and he has to be near tigers. The best place in America for that is Las Vegas – the casinos provide plenty of cheap meals, the gamblers provide the strong emotions, he can pass his tiger stripes as makeup or tattoos for an act, and several Las Vegas attractions and magicians have live tigers.

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Zootopia – movie review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

posters-for-disneys-zootopia-and-pixars-finding-doryZootopia, directed by Bryon Howard and Rich Moore; co-directed by Jared Bush; produced by Walt Disney Motion Pictures. 108 minutes. March 4, 2016.

Zootopia has already been anticipated, seen, and covered more thoroughly than any other anthropomorphic motion picture in furry fandom history.

We know that its theatrical release has stretched from February 10 in Belgium to April 23 in Japan. (Dogpatch Press has covered its furry fandom theater parties throughout the U.S. and in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, and Sweden.) We know that it was originally intended to be released as Zootopia worldwide, but due to various legal reasons it has become Zootropola in Croatia, Zootopie in France, Zoomania in Germany, Zootropolis in Denmark, Spain, and other countries, Zveropolis in Russia, and Zwierzogród in Poland.

It grossed $75,063,401 on its opening weekend in 3,827 theaters in the U.S. and $232,500,000 worldwide, breaking the records for the premiere of a Disney animated feature (Frozen with $67,400,000 in November 2013) and for any March animated feature (Illumination Entertainment’s The Lorax; $70,200,000 in March 2012). Its voice cast features Ginnifer Goodwin as Judy Hopps, Jason Bateman as Nick Wilde, and numerous others ranging from celebrity actors to professional voice actors, and including directors Howard, Moore, and Bush as minor characters. It debuted with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 92 reviews. Disney reportedly hired at least one marketing agency to promote Zootopia to the furry community.

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Cat Out of Hell, by Lynne Truss – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Cat Out of Hell, by Lynne Truss.
London, Hammer Books, March 2014, hardcover £9.99 (233 pages), Kindle £4.31.

British cover

British cover

As usual, this review lists the first, British, edition. American readers will find it easier to get one of the American editions (Melville House, March 2015).

An unnamed narrator is writing from an isolated English seaside vacation cottage. His wife of many years has died; despondent, he quits his dead-end Cambridge librarian’s job and rents this cottage in an off-season winter month to wallow in grief. But it is too lonely, and he becomes bored.   He has his laptop computer, and when a Cambridge ex-colleague e-mails him some lengthy mysterious text and audio files named “Roger”, he opens them.

The files, from Roger and a man identified only as “Wiggy”, make it clear that Roger is supposedly a talking cat. Although incredulous at first, the narrator gradually comes to believe that the files are genuine. Roger really is a talking cat. What most convinces the narrator is Wiggy’s unmistakable denseness. The witty, sarcastic Roger constantly makes references and comments that go over Wiggy’s head, which the narrator gets. (Wiggy also tells enough about himself in bits and pieces to identify himself as a youngish amateur actor in Coventry named Will Caton-Pines.)

The first files relate to a screenplay about a talking cat that Wiggy is writing and is enthusiastic about selling. Roger is bored out of his mind. He doesn’t want to reveal himself to the public, and he is sure that Wiggy’s screenplay will be unsaleably bad. Different parts of the files explain how Wiggy acquired Roger (he was the pet of Wiggy’s sister, who has disappeared), and give Roger’s life story at length.

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