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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Psyched Out - M.A. MacAfee review

Can a human pacemaker implanted in a dog cause the animal to take on human traits? Absolutely! Ollie Kline would answer, and he ought to know. An aspiring psychic detective with a cardiac pacemaker, Ollie is killed in a drive-by shooting outside the Pastime where he tends bar. He awakes inside Mugsy, a pug dog, who also has a heart problem and who receives Ollie’s recycled pacemaker. Aware his cardiac device was stolen from his corpse, Ollie wonders what other body parts were taken. Ollie uses his telepathic powers to enlist the help of Nora Cole, the sister of Mugsy’s owner. On receiving Ollie’s thoughts from the dog, Nora fears she’s lost her mind. To verify her sanity, she agrees to help Ollie find his killers. Ollie, Nora, and Mugsy, the pug dog, conduct an investigation which leads them on a merry romp into the illegal side of the human body-parts trade, as well as the dark underbelly of the funeral business. They encounter creepy mortuary workers, graveyard ghosts, and a few brushes with the law—antics which underscore a common truism: adversity is the wellspring of humor. It’s all in the delivery.

Psyched Out – M.A. MacAfee

Score: 40
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

What Worked: For the most part, I enjoyed this book. It was cleverly written, and the premise is definitely something I wouldn't normally pick up on my own. It's unique, witty, and clever. It takes on a new kind of underground world. Through the help of Nora, dear Ollie is able to accomplish quite a bit, and there are some nice twists and turns. The novel is well written, quirky, and the characters are diverse and each have a personality of their own. I especially like how the author combines the canine world with the human one. There are animal instincts mixed with the human ones, and how to find that balance. Oh, and crazy pet outfits are a wonderful humorous touch.

What Didn't Work: Some of the background information was just kind of thrown in there. It would have been nice to see a bit more build up, or more narrative explaining things. All of a sudden I find out our hero is doing something with another character that I hadn't expected. It's hard to describe without giving away spoilers, but just know some of the events come out of the blue. I also didn't like our hero too much, but I didn't take points or penalize the author for that personal preference. I would love to see more sensory development too with his canine body. The world looks and smells different as a dog. For the most part the emotions are touched on well, but I'd have loved to “see” more through his eyes.

Overall: I was entertained. I generally don't pick up books like this on my own, but I'm glad I decided to give this one a review because it was fun. If you're in the mood for something light, funny, quirky, and unique, then I would pick this up. It's a fun mystery with a lot of good wit.

***I got this book for free from the author for the purpose of review***

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