Saturday 2 September 2023

Idol Speculations - Karina Fabian - A DragonEye, PI Story

Idol Speculations
DragonEye, PI Book 8.0
Karina Fabian
Laser Cow Press
ISBN 9781956489149

Every time I read a book by Fabian, no matter the series, I think ‘it can’t get better than this’ and yet somehow it almost always does. And this story, wow it blew my socks off. It is an amazing read in a wonderful series. But I will get back to that in a minute.

I read this volume in a day over three sittings. I could just not put it down. It was such a fun story. The way Fabian pulled it off was masterfully executed. I did love the original working title, Vern vs Godzilla! It was so good I almost immediately started reading it again as soon as I finished it the first time, but I decided to write the review first and will circle back when the book releases. I believe that with each new book I read from Karina Fabian’s masterful pen I am more and more impressed with her writing. To date, I have loved all the books and all the series I have read by her. This new story is another excellent offering. It was great reading during a heat wave, and amid smoke air quality warnings, and a few flash thunderstorms, reminiscent of those in the story. 

I have been reading stories from Karina Fabian since 2008. But in the last three years I have read or reread over 40 books and stories published by her. In that time I have read stories across most of her series, some a few times. I usually read her books and then often listen to them a second time using adaptive technology. My understanding is that this is the order of the series at least at the time of writing this review:

?.0 Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (Revised edition)
?.0 Live and Let Fly (Revised edition)

I have no inkling what the next story in this series will be, it was not teased at the end of this one. And yet I am already desperate for it. I have the older original eBook of Live and Let Fly that I picked up in 2011 and never got around to reading, and to be honest mainly because of the covers. My understanding is they are undergoing a major rewrite, and if they are as good as the eight more recent volumes, they will be well worth the wait. There are a couple of other short stories published in this universe as well:

And yes, with my dyslexia every time I read the title of that last one I think A Wrinkle in Time, but that is another author and universe. But back to this story. The description of this book is:

“Vern vs. Godzilla?!

When Japanese investors want Vern as the mascot and protector of their new commercial center in Los Lagos, Vern thinks he’s got it made. Finally, the respect he deserves, a cushy job patrolling the store area and amusement park, and a new lair built into the artificial mountain!

But nothing is ever easy in Vern’s world. When an elder god that’s been hiding in the lakes of Los Lagos, grows under the inadvertent influence of Mundanes, it emerges as a monster out of a kaiju movie. Vern gets the help of mages, the National Guard, and even a mechadragon, but in the end, it’s up to Vern to save the day.

Can a dragon the tenth the size of a monster take on an elder god powered by cliché?”

The chapter tiles in Fabians books are often very important, the chapters in this volume are:

Old Roofs and New Digs
Lair Placid
Something Fishy this Way Comes
The Great Clara Arrival
The Gist of It
Los Lagos Rim
Lair Improvement
Terror Most Fowl
How Not to Tame Your Monster
Go, Go, Shogzallie!
Rise of Shogzallie
Saving Private Vurnerrah
Shogzallie Showdown
Shogzallie vs. The National Guard
Shogzallie Raids Again
Shogzallie vs. MechaVern
Shogzallie: Tokneo SOS
Shogzallie vs. Megamom
Kaiju Kleanup
The Dragon’s Lair 

It is 21 chapters of fun, adventure, and an epic battle. This story really ties in well with the series and pulls elements and links from a few of the other stories. And in this one Vern and Sister Grace must face something that neither of them is sure they can beat, even with back up. They get a new home at an amusement park. It is so much better than their old run-down warehouse with parts of the roof leaking and maybe even missing. The new home is thanks to Tokneo Corporation and only requires some protecting and public appearances from Vern. 

“Tokneo was a business development outside Los Lagos, not far from the Gap that connected the Mundane to the Faerie. Japanese developers had purchased a huge swath of the valley to build a high-tech commercial and tourist center, with stores, a movie theatre, even a small amusement park. Father Rich had likened it to the Epcot of the 21st century. It was bringing in jobs and, now that FlintCorp had decided to help Territory improve its housing and business areas rather than tear them down for a mall, it would be Los Lagos’ new shopping and entertainment area.”

And shortly after that:

““The Western culture treats dragons as vengeful, fearsome beings,” Tanaka-san, the leader, said, “but in the East, we know them as benevolent creatures who care for those who respect them.””

But all is not well. There is a lake missing all its fish, and Vern is being accused even though there is clear evidence it was not him. Then a body turns up. And it points to something but both Vern and Sister Grace hope they are wrong. Then when you through in a military unit listening to Vern’s advice, a crazed sport-oholic grieving mother and a Shogzallie things go from bad to worse quickly. Oh, and did I mention an animatronic Dragon? Can Vern and Sister Grace turn it around and save the planet yet again? To find out you will need to read this amazing story!

This story is another masterfully written tale of Vern and Sister Grace. They have a case to solve, Vern has a restraining order and no fly zones. And the clues keep adding up to big trouble. One of the best parts of this story is several hat tips and references to other stories in the series. I love how they are all tying together, and Vern and Sister Grace’s crew is ever growing. Every time I caught one it made me want to add that book back to the to be read pile to reread it.
This book is another vastly entertaining read, in a great series. It is another excellent offering from Fabian’s pen. Even if you have not read any of the other DragonEye PI stories I can easily recommend this book to you. I have said it before, and I say it again in many ways it reads like a catholic version of Robert Apsrin’s MYTH series and his Phule’s Company and also the works of Tom Holt, especially Holt’s Nothing but Blue Skies. Give this book or the series a try; I am certain you will be entertained. Another fantastic read in a great series.   

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

Dex Hollister Series:

The Old Man and the Void
Dex's Way

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator Series :
Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator
I Left My Brains in San Francisco
Shambling in a Winter Wonderland

DragonEye PI Series:
DragonEye PI Novels:
?.0 Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (Revised edition)
?.0 Live and Let Fly (Revised edition)

DragonEye PI Short Stories:

DragonEye PI Original First Editions:
Live and Let Fly

Space Traipse Series:
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 1
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 2
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 3
Space Traipse Stories

Mind Over Series:
Mind Over Mind
Mind Over Psyche
Mind Over All
Hearts Over Mind

Edited by: Karina Fabian:
Infinite Space, Infinite God I
Leaps of Faith
Infinite Space, Infinite God II

Contributed to:
Firestorm of Dragons
The Zombie Cookbook
The Book of Tentacles
Twisted Fayrie Tales
FRIGHTLINER: And Other Tales of the Undead
Mother Goose is Dead
Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary
Image and Likeness Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body
Corrupts Absolutely? Dark Metahuman Fiction
Weird Noir
The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels
Manifesto UF
Avenir Eclectia
Planetary Anthology: Jupiter
Planetary Anthology: Pluto
Planetary Anthology: Luna
Planetary Anthology: Uranus
FlagShip Science Fiction and Fantasy v2i5
My Little Book of Headdesks
To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity

Good Intentions DragonEye, PI Book 7.0 Karina Fabian

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