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Very Bad Deaths [Audio Cassette]

Spider Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Kindle Edition CDN $6.91  
Hardcover CDN $13.64  
Mass Market Paperback CDN $8.39  
Audio, CD CDN $29.95  
Audio, Cassette, Jan. 1 2005 --  

Book Description

Jan. 1 2005 Library Edition
Aging baby-boomer Russell Walker wants only to retreat from the world and the shattering death of his beloved wife, into the woods of British Columbia. But the real world won't let him become a hermit. Instead, he finds himself thrust into the mystery of a series of mass murders by a monstrous sadist and serial killer who makes Hannibal Lector look like a boy scout. And he is caught in a frightening predicament: He is the only possible intermediary between a telepath called Smelly, so sensitive he can't stand to be near most people, and a skeptical police officer who needs to hear and believe what Smelly knows about the fiend. This involuntary trio may be the only ones who can catch the inhuman butcher before he kills again-if he doesn't catch them first.
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

Award-winning author Spider Robinson is renowned for his "Callahan's Place" series of bestselling novels, the latest being Callahan's Con (Tor). With his wife, Jeanne, he has written the Hugo- and Nebula-winning "Stardance" series (Baen). He has been a favorite with readers from his earliest stories, which won him the John Campbell Award for best new writer. Since then he has garnered many other awards for his amusing, Heinlein-inspired SF, with the current total at three Hugos and a Nebula Award. He is frequently a guest at SF conventions across the US and Canada. His last book for Baen was the novel Lady Slings the Booze, an offshoot of the Callahan series. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From AudioFile

Best described as Stephen King on acid, this flashback-laden thriller has a paisley sense of humor and a grow-your-own sensibility. Our hero is an aging freelance journalist (played realistically by author Robinson) who is saved from the brink of suicide when an old college roommate suddenly bursts into his life. Quicker than you can fire one up, we are embroiled in a stream-of-consciousness battle between a highly sensitive psychic (the roommate) and a serial killer, clumsily assisted by the narrator. An inside-out crime tale with a warm and friendly aura provided by its author, VERY BAD DEATHS is humanistic entertainment. D.J.B. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy! Nov. 8 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
While I enjoy a good SciFi read, I cannot call myself a true devotee to the genre. I find it hard to classify Spider Robinson's writing as just "Science Fiction". In my experience, most Science Fiction doesn't make me laugh out loud while reading it. Any Robinson book is generally guaranteed to crack me up at least once, and Very Bad Deaths certainly delivers. As with all his books, Robinson manages to cross a great many genres in Very Bad Deaths. A supremely good story teller, he somehow manages with this book to deliver the afore mentioned humour, while at the same time writing believably about some extremely dark subject matter. I could see this book appealing to fans of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, or to literary omnivores such as myself.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Set's your spidey sense tingling. Dec 7 2004
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Spider Robinson's iconoclasic view of North America from his chosen retreat in rural Canada always provides a useful distance to view the oddities of the modern world. This was clear in LifeHouse, and in his other recent non-Callihan's books.

This extends the trend once again pitting a Spider-like hero against forces beyond his ability to understand much less conquer.

It's a gripping tale, held me tight, and I read it in one setting. I only wish that the antagonist now did not live in the back of my head. I've avoided reading Hannible Lecter, or the tales of Ted Bundy, but now, Spiders take on evil is going to have residence in my head for quite a while.

It was worth it. Five starts with an asterisk. Don't leave this one lying down where your precosious ten year old will come acrossed it late at night.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky entertainment Jan. 20 2005
By C. Baker - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very Bad Deaths is quirky and entertaining. We meet some very unusual people in this adventure.

It all starts when an old college roommate knocks on Russell Walker's door in the middle of the night. Poor Russell is a recent widower and columnist for a Toronto newspaper and not feeling too good about the world at the moment. This knock on the door in the middle of the night and the request for help by his old college roommate, Zandor Zudenigo, aka Smelly, jumpstarts Russell, reluctantly, back to action. Now Zandor is a very, very strange character and happens to know that a man named Allen plans to kidnap and kill an innocent family in a very painful and horrible manner. Allen is the worst kind of sadist imaginable and Russell feels he has no choice to help stop this monster. The problem is - Zandor can't go to the police himself, for reasons you'll find in the book. So Russell must do it for him. Fortuitously and by happenstance Russell runs into Constable Nika Mandic (both literally and figuratively), a Vancouver cop whose career is stalled. I don't want to give away too much of the plot - but Russell has a lot of work to do to convince Nika that his request is legitimate and he's not some nut, another fun part of the story. But eventually the chase is on as this odd troika sets off to find Allen and put an end to his heinous plans.

This is a very quirky and entertaining novel and is as much about the characters and their personal plights as it is an adventure story. It's a real page turner from beginning to end and is hard to put down. Definitely a thumbs up.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Bad Book Feb. 9 2009
By financialrelocationist - Published on
*sigh*...look, I'm a Callahan's fan, have been for half my life. I even used to hang out at Callahan's on IRC during some really rough years.

Very Bad Deaths is like velcro stripper pants. A ripoff. I'm sorry, Spider, but you plagiarized your own work. It is literally the timestopping watch story from Lady Slings the Booze, with different characters. He just replaces Christian with a nerdy Marquis de Sade lookalike, removes the watch and throws in a telepath instead. Allen (the sadist) even uses Christian's lines about not going in for fancy torture stuff when the contents of a kitchen drawer are just as good. Russell is just Jake Stonebender with a different "my intensely painful memory" story. (Which is to say, he's really Spider writing himself into the story...only this time, you feel like he's just indulging his ego.)

And dear'll be right in the middle of plot development, and Spider'll veer off onto a ten-page recount of a memory of the main character's, and often they're only slightly related to the plot. I know, Callahan's was full of that stuff, but in those books it was done *artfully*. There's no suspense at all, and every plot advancement occurs due to so many deus ex machinas they're practically a treus ex machina.

I'm sorry, Spider, nothing but love for you, man...but this book just should not have happened.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story devolves to melodrama Feb. 26 2009
By E. N Ritchie - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This story is well written and easy to read, the characters engage you to begin with and it's gradual introduction of its theme (basically the moral consequences of being a telepath) is captivating.

But as the climax approaches the adjectives pile on and it tips to melodrama. The villain becomes a joke as the author tries so hard to convey his horrific nature that I lost suspension of disbelief.

What was worse than that, worse than the moment I tired of the continuous litany of 'he's so horrific he...' jokes (they become jokes) was the conclusion.

The conclusion does not make sense in light of how horrific the villain has been established to be.

Potential spoiler alert:

The resolution involves a character doing something they were loath to do. It was however apparently a simple, direct, irresistable resolution.

And if the characters believed a fraction of the horrific nature of the villain they all would have felt compelled to resolve the climax by any, and the eventual, method promptly.

So it's deflating nonsense to see our heroes prevaricating and basically being stupid. One does not end reading the story with any respect for the protagonists nor the author for ruining the story.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who needs Callahan? Spider becomes mystery writer Sept. 23 2005
By Mark Gilbert - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Like a rock band tired of doing their old songs and wanting you to hear something new, Spider is weary of Mike Callahan and I think he's always wanted to be a detective writer anyway. There are many hints in this book that it is the first of a series. It is a fast read and very enjoyable. It is sparse - not as many characters are developed as in Lady Slings The Booze but it's set in Canada so fewer characters seems appropriate. I didn't notice any political statements . If you're so tightly wound you think a main character who smokes pot and criticizes Bush once or twice in the whole novel is politically extreme, please...Sherlock Holmes did coke (Subcutaneously, My Dear Watson) and how could you be a Canadian (or sentient, for that matter) and not bash Bush? I loved the flashbacks to the sixties when the main character was in college. There's Stinky, the telepath who cultivates his bad odor to keep people away. And Bunny,, you'll want to discover Bunny yourself. Thanks, Spider. Please keep writing. If you could write a novel each week, I'd appreciate it. I loved the Callahan stories, but this new set of characters has great potential, too. And like a rock star, I think Spider will eventually revisit Callahan's so don't give up on that. He just needs a break. By the way, if you ever suspect one of Spider's characters might be real, I assure you it can be true. I met one of the characters from Callahan's Key - he lives here on South Padre Island and is as delightful in person as his cameo in the book.
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