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The Licking Valley Coon Hunters Club [Paperback]

Brian A. Hopkins
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

March 2000 A Martin Zolotow Mystery
The LICKING VALLEY COON HUNTERS CLUB is a science-fiction, action-adventure, mystery-P.I.-suspense, humorous horror novel. Yep, it really is. You have to read it to believe it.

Those of you who haven't read any of Hopkins' Zolotow tales, you have quite a treat in store. Those of you who are familiar with this intrepid P.I. won't be disappointed -- this is perhaps the best one to date.


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Review

"... fasten your seat-belts and join Martin Zolotow, memory-impaired P.I., for a visit to the Panhandle." -- Lynn Abbey, author of JERLAYNE, and creator of THIEVES' WORLD

"It has everything a P.I. book should... a hard-boiled but chivalrous P.I. [and] lovely ladies in distress ..." -- Lee Killough, author of BLOOD WALK and BLOOD GAMES

This is an in-your-face tale of today's weird science, bad behavior, and human cussedness that kicks butt." -- Ed Bryant, author and reviewer

About the Author

Brian A. Hopkins has published more than sixty stories in a variety of professional and semi-professional magazines and anthologies, including DRAGON MAGAZINE, ABORIGINAL SF, REALMS OF FANTASY, and the Stoker Award Winning anthology HORRORS! 365 SCARY STORIES. 1995 saw the publication of SOMETHING HAUNTS US ALL, a collection of Brian's short stories. In December of 1997, Brian's short novel, COLD AT HEART received high praise and was nominated to both the preliminary ballot for HWA's coveted Bram Stoker Award and SFWA's Nebula Award. Known for his innovative use of email and the internet to reach his readers, Brian released a 30 story anthology on a limited edition CD-ROM entitled FLESH WOUNDS. As Lone Wolf Publications, Brian is also producing a CD-ROM anthology, EXTREMES: FANTASY AND HORROR FROM THE ENDS OF THE EARTH. Brian appreciates feedback and can be reached online at brian_a_hopkins@sff.net.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Horrible Title But A Great Read July 25 2002
Format:Paperback
There is a long standing tradition joining Detective stories with the supernatural or involving a science fiction twist. Clive Barker, Phillip K. Dick and Arthur Conan Doyle have dipped their literary toes into this particular pool with fantastic results. Brian Hopkins has added another quality, fast paced volume to the sub-genre with The Licking Valley Coon Hunter's Club.
The hero, Martin Zolotow, joins his predecessors with a few interesting twists of his own. He suffers from a unique malady that can cause bouts of memory loss. It's not the focal point of the story, as is Leonard's little memory quirk in Momento, but it does provide an interesting trait to the character. This little complication explains how his mind is able to make some bizarre connections between pieces of evidence and gives him an excuse to pepper in bits of obscure literary references, poetry and Shakespeare. (Zolotowmemorized bits of prose to train his recollection as a child).
Unfortunately, this same interesting quirk also serves the authors inclusion of several distracting flashbacks of the hero in therapy with the one woman that he seems unattracted to. While these vignettes from his recent past are interesting and do add quite a lot to Zolotow's depth of character, the structure removes the reader from the action and breaks the pace of the story. I wouldn't want to see them removed so much as condensed and possibly included as a prologue or serving as the opening chapter. This however, is the one minor misstep in an otherwise cracking good novel.
The pace is incredibly fast and the action virtually nonstop. The villains are properly menacing and sinister with loads of interesting little eccentricities of their own. Not only that, but there were plenty of them.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move Over McGee, Zolo's Aiming at Those Windmills Now! Sept. 25 2001
By Judi Rohrig - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This first novel for Brian A. Hopkins features one Martin Zolotow, a rough hewn, ex-cop with a soft spot for well-turned ankles and a hard fist for nasty, bad guys. He's puppy-dog lovable and wild-animal rugged all in the same breath.
The story opens with Zolotow ("Zolo" to his friends and the ladies) painfully parting with his current lover, a young hooker he's taken off the streets, loved, and is putting on a plane that will send her back to an innocent life with her family. What he finds out immediately after her departure is that some rather creepy bad-guys are waiting to abscond him and whisk him away to... Oklahoma City!
Once in the Sooner state, Zolo's taken to a secluded stronghold somewhere in the OK panhandle, but not before he's recruited to rescue the daughter of a major crime figure. His incentive (besides just staying alive) is the young woman he had just put on the plane. He fails; she dies.
Put through his paces in this wild, action-packed adventure, Zolo battles both the members of the Licking Valley Coon Hunters Club (they're originally from Ohio and not native Oklahoman bad blood) and his own muddled memory, an affliction that is at once his Achilles heel and a strange endearing quality. He's beaten with a ball bat, dragged through cow manure, chased, and shot at, but never totally thwarted because the poetry-spouting detective's acerbic wit and undaunting sense of what's right makes him too driven to stay down. Oh, and also some very lovely women come to his aid.
Mix in a snarling dog, a gaunt bad-guy in a wheelchair, some women who can handle both being sexy in bubble baths and in employing martial arts kicks--oh, and vampires!--and the action is non-stop!
Hopkins takes the reader on a wild romp with sure ease in his knowledge of weapons, chemistry, and women. Yet it's Zolo's revealing himself as kindhearted as Joe R. Lansdale's Hap Collins (and just as unlucky!) and as blindly chivalrous as John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee that make Zolo a whole new breed of hero, the kind who would attack a windmill on a seatless motorcycle in a tiger print bikini brief to save a lady! But that's another adventure all together.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent debut novel! April 22 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Take a sarcastic private detective, add in rednecks from Oklahoma, genetically engineered vampires and enough action for three John Woo movies and you've got a killer debut novel. Hopkins delivers and he's got a bright future ahead of him. Get in on the ground floor and hang on for a wild and fun ride.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is so freaking good, I'm nearly at a loss for words! April 21 2000
By Peter Burke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A private investigator novel at it's heart, this fabulous book crosses over into so many other genres, in such entertaining, insightful, creative, clever, and wickedly witty ways, I was having cerebral orgasms as I whipped through the pages, breathlessly awaiting the next fabulous development, which is rarely more than a page or two away. When this much fun is packed into so tight a package, there should be a warning label about the potential for the volatile mixture to explode in your brain, a situation which could lead to a permanent, one-way trip to a multi-faceted-consciousness that will never let you see the world in the tired old way in which you're accustomed to seeing it, again. If you don't want to risk this kind of mind-expanding literary experience, you're browsing in the wrong isle. But give it a try, anyway, no one has ever been sorry to take a path like this before, and you can believe me, because I never lie, and I'm always right. No brag, just fact.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Horrible Title But A Great Read July 25 2002
By Stephen Cords - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There is a long standing tradition joining Detective stories with the supernatural or involving a science fiction twist. Clive Barker, Phillip K. Dick and Arthur Conan Doyle have dipped their literary toes into this particular pool with fantastic results. Brian Hopkins has added another quality, fast paced volume to the sub-genre with The Licking Valley Coon Hunter's Club.
The hero, Martin Zolotow, joins his predecessors with a few interesting twists of his own. He suffers from a unique malady that can cause bouts of memory loss. It's not the focal point of the story, as is Leonard's little memory quirk in Momento, but it does provide an interesting trait to the character. This little complication explains how his mind is able to make some bizarre connections between pieces of evidence and gives him an excuse to pepper in bits of obscure literary references, poetry and Shakespeare. (Zolotowmemorized bits of prose to train his recollection as a child).
Unfortunately, this same interesting quirk also serves the authors inclusion of several distracting flashbacks of the hero in therapy with the one woman that he seems unattracted to. While these vignettes from his recent past are interesting and do add quite a lot to Zolotow's depth of character, the structure removes the reader from the action and breaks the pace of the story. I wouldn't want to see them removed so much as condensed and possibly included as a prologue or serving as the opening chapter. This however, is the one minor misstep in an otherwise cracking good novel.
The pace is incredibly fast and the action virtually nonstop. The villains are properly menacing and sinister with loads of interesting little eccentricities of their own. Not only that, but there were plenty of them. Every character, save our hero, a misplaced grad-student and a group of kidnapped prostitutes, wears a figurative black hat. Zolotow was really up against the wall in this one.
Licking Valley is a nice, quick read that will leave you wanting more. Hopefully the subtitle- "A Martin Zolotow Mystery" is indicative of the fact that there will be more adventures of my favorite, brain damaged detective forthcoming.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wild Ride Sept. 21 2001
By Daniel G. Keohane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Brian A. Hopkins's short fiction for years. He has a way of bringing the reader into the depths of a character's mind and soul, whether they want to be there or not. I find myself being dropped into his stories, rather than simply reading them. You don't even know it's happening until you're done, and exhausted. It's a sure sign of a smooth and confident writing style. However, picking up Brian's first full-length novel, I didn't know what to expect. I mean, with a title like The Licking Valley Coon Hunter's Club, I had to assume it was going to be a LITTLE lighter than his usual fare. My assumption was correct, but the crisp writing, the feeling that you, as the reader, are in the story rather than simply an outsider, is there as much as ever.

Without rehashing the plot as earlier reviews have done, I WILL say that this book starts with a bang, grabs you by the hair and drags you along on one of the most bizarre and wild adventures I've read in a long time. I was bruised and bullied as badly as Mr. Zolotow, and loved every minute of it. I found myself hoping the author would keep up the break-neck pace until the end, like a kid on a carnival ride not wanting it to ever stop. He didn't disappoint. We occasionally leap into the past, to a quiet interplay between Martin and a police psychiatrist, and the subtle mind games each play against the other, but we're in these moments only long enough to catch our breath, when the ride starts up again.

Is this a horror novel? Well, sort of. I'd be more likely to classify it as an action/mystery story. Take the fun of a Grafton, the action and violence of Block, a likeable main character as you might find in a Hillerman novel, put them together with the voice and style of one of the best new writers out there today, and you've got an eclectic, fast-paced, sometimes-nasty but always-fun read.
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