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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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Audio, Cassette, Jan. 1 2005 --  
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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.

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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 Rick Boatright - 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 11 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.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic paranormal serial killer tale Dec 24 2004
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
Fiftyish Canadian Russell Walker writes "The Fifth Horseman" opinion column twice a week for the Globe and Mail national newspaper, but recently has found no joy in his work or his personal life, which he admits has been very good. As Russell hides inside his remote home on Heron Island near Vancouver, he is depressed and thinking about committing suicide as he has ever since his beloved wife and companion for over three decades Susan recently died.

Russell's college acquaintance Zandor "Smelly" Zudenigo arrives needing help. In 1967, Russell met Smelly, an Einstein clone, who could read minds. Zandor needs Russell, the only mind that the genius can tolerate for more than a nanosecond as reading minds devastates the gifted; this skill turned him into a hermit. A low flying plane over his deserted island enabled Zudie to read the brain of a serial killer planning his next murder. He needs Russell to serve as his intermediary with the cops. Russell is blown away by the police categorizing him as a nut; only police officer Hilda Mandic helps, but though they close in on the killer, he is ready to become their predator.

This fantastic paranormal serial killer tale contains four key characters, who seem genuine whether they are depressed, can read and influence minds, have doubts but take a chance, or just sadistically brutal. Russell tells the tale so the audience gains greater insight into him than the others as he somewhat filters how the remaining trio appears. Joyfully, Spider Robinson not so subtly hints this team will return.

Harriet Klausner
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I could put in words why I loved this book. Oct. 9 2006
By Joey Morgan - Published on
I consider this book one of Spider's best. Yes, Spider's heroes are often Spider-like. Heinlein's heroes were all some aspect of him too. And yes, Just like Heinlein's did, Spider's libertarian outlook permeates his fiction. But I don't know that I consider these faults, especially in the face of the book's virtues.

The story is ultimately a story of weak, nearly powerless people risking not just their own painful deaths but the pain of knowing they might well fail in sparing someone else's painful death in order to stop a very evil thing from happening. Is the villian or hero believable? Maybe, maybe not. (You should meet some of my friends!) But the SPIRITS of the heroes are true to the core of humanity Spider values so much in his species, and the villian is very much the antithesis of that same spirit. And that makes Very Bad Deaths a Very Good Book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different than I expected. Jan. 11 2007
By P. Breakfield IV - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was quite a bit more down to earth than I expected. I had never read Spider Robinson before and with all the Heinlein comparisons, I expected very sci-fi material. This one isn't, really. It is more Dean Koontz or Stephen King (not horror as much as fantastic) with some Jonathan Kellerman (Alex Delaware novels) thrown in for good measure.

In other words, it is a mystery novel with a character that has a supernatural power. Overall, it was a pleasant read and worth checking out. I'm curious to see what his more sci-fi oriented books are like.
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