Tag Archive for review

8.6 Reasons to Buy In the Dark

In the Dark is available for preorder on Amazon, and I’d say an 8.6 out of 10 review is a pretty good reason to make with the clicky, no?

Featuring 368 pages of horror!

Featuring 368 pages of horror!

I was especially pleased to see the reviewer, David Henderson, mention my short story “All Things Through Me”. I felt the art by Mike S Henderson and colors by Jordan Boyd really made me look good, and David agreed:

This is one of the better stories in the collection thanks to the faith the two Mikes have in their story to let it play out how it does and even give it a heartfelt ending.

Score. Thanks for the kind words, David. And thanks once again to our intrepid editor, Rachel Deering, for putting this book together.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

The Dollar Shave Razors

My first real razor blade came courtesy of Gillette when I graduated from high school. It just showed up in the mail, and I fell right into the “give ‘em the razor, sell ‘em the blades” trap. I used that two-blade system for years, until it started to shred my face.

Then I took a marketing class in college, and we discussed how the best blades went into the newest, most expensive razors. In other words, the shiny, new, four-blade beast with the vibrating handle and the easy-glide aloe strip got the sharpest blades, while the blades with microscopic defects—just enough to hose your shave—went into the older, lower-margin systems.

I wanted a good shave, so I bought a vibrating razor, wondering if it would really make a difference. I called it the dildo blade, and every time I needed new blades I pondered how ridiculous it was, because that stupid vibration didn’t make a lick of difference.

I jumped brands to Schick. Got this Hydro thing with four or five blades. Sturdy, metal handle, nice grip, shaved well. New blades, however, approached eight bucks a box. I found myself milking enough shaves from those bad boys that I may as well have been shaving with a butter knife when I threw them out.

Enter the Dollar Shave Club, and their entertaining commercial and promises of “fucking great” blades.

Free handle, a buck a month for five, two-blade heads, and two bucks shipping. If I wanted to jump up to a four- or six-blade system they could hook me up for a few dollars more. After thinking on it a while, I used up the rest of my expensive blades and set up a Dollar Shave account.

My first package arrived less than a week later. I have to admit, I enjoy their packaging slogans. “Welcome to your better bathroom?” Righteous.

My first Dollar Shave shipment has arrived

They may not be the first to do this new “man marketing,” but they do it well.

The package came with my blades, the One-Wipe Charlies I ordered (and will be reviewing soon), and the free handle. They also threw in a single-serving application of their alternative to shaving cream, Dr. Carver’s Easy Shave Butter.

The handle is plastic with metal clips to hold the blade head, and it’s a bit shorter and lighter than my current Schick handle. My first shave with it didn’t go so hot. The blades are indeed sharp, and I sliced a small bump on the front of my neck and I finished with a few other cuts.

Round two didn’t fare much better. I took a lighter grip on the handle and found I didn’t get near as close a shave as I wanted. By shave three, however, I had the feel for the Dollar Shave razor down and things went great. I got a few more shaves out of the head before tossing it, and then went on to the second head. It worked just fine from shave one.

The verdict: a solid win. I like these blades. Now that I have a feel for the handle, I’ve been happy. While the handle is light, it doesn’t feel shoddy, and the metal clips get a sturdy grip on the heads. Every time the Wife or I would knock my old handle off its hook in the shower, the blade head would fly off. With the Dollar Shave handle, that hasn’t happened yet.

I was less taken with the shave butter. It felt fine, but I shave in the shower, sometimes without my glasses or contacts. Because the butter is transparent, I had a tough time telling where I had and hand’t shaved. Even more important, I’m not sure it did any better than my standard Barbasol shaving cream. The shave butter is eight bucks for a six-ounce tube, while a can of Barbasol costs about two bucks and lasts for what seems like decades. I even use it to clean my shaving mirror and prevent fogging, and it still takes forever to get through a can.

Now let’s talk about value. I’m told Dollar Shave gear is made by Dorco Pace, who also sells their own gear online. In a quick comparison, it looks like purchasing direct from Dorco is close to or cheaper than Dollar Shave, especially after factoring in shipping. This is assuming, however, one buys Dorco gear in bulk and has a drawer full of spare cartridges. I’d just as soon not have the clutter in my bathroom, but your mileage may vary.

Also, the Dollar Shave setup has a feature I wasn’t aware of at first: delivery every other month. I don’t shave daily, so I won’t go through five blades in a month. Now Dollar Shave Club will send me refills every two months, and I won’t have to worry about a drawer full of spares or having to run out to the store because I forgot blades. If I need to change something, then it’s just a couple of clicks in my Dollar Shave account to stop a shipment.

Cheap, convenient and effective is a trio of advantages I can get behind. It appears I could go even cheaper with an old-school safety razor, or just purchase a straight razor and leather strop and be done with refills altogether, but that can wait until I’m older and crabbier. Unless their blades turn to garbage, I’ll be with Dollar Shave Club for a while.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

You Need to See Pacific Rim

The people who said Pacific Rim is too geeky for general audiences are morons.

Yes, there is plenty there for geeks, but overall it is a great, blockbuster action flick with plenty to entertain everyone. The effects are very well done, you can see everything that’s happening, and the 3D IMAX I saw was gorgeous.

Yes, the plot touches on some expected clichés, but it is solid and fun. Idris Elba has the standout performance, and Charlie Day and Burn Gorman are a lot of fun, but I really had no problems with the cast. If you like Charlie Hunnam as Jax Teller, you’ll dig him as Raleigh Becket.

The flick opens with action, and every fight scene is escalated from the last. They are fun and brutal, and you get a real sense of the characters actually being in danger. There is a bit of exposition in the middle, but it moves quickly and moves the plot forward rather than bogging everything down in pointless detail.

Thank you, Guillermo del Toro, for showing us that a big-budget action flick with a geeky subject matter does not have to be dumbed down or peppered with goofy comedy. With Pacific Rim, del Toro redeems Hollywood for putting out that piece of shit Devlin and Emmerich Godzilla flick.

Your move, Japan.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Four More Stars

Suspense Magazine recently posted a review of The Pack: Winter Kill to Goodreads, and they gave it 4 stars. I’m very pleased with that.

A blurb:

“Mr. Oliveri writes in a fun, easy flow style that pulls the reader in. In fact, I finished the book in one sitting. The time flew by, much as the story did. The action is high, the scares are placed nicely and there is just enough comedic banter to keep it fun.”

Way cool. Thanks Carl Isonhart and Suspense Magazine for the kind words.

Purchase links:
Amazon Paperback
Amazon Kindle
B&N Paperback
B&N Nook
Apple iBooks

Grab one of the electronic versions and you’ll have it ready to read while you’re waiting for this weekend’s fireworks displays to start!

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Paperback Horror Reviews TP:WK

Colum McKnight from Paperback Horror recently took the time to review The Pack: Winter Kill, and he had some great things to say about the book.

You have to be dead not to dig this book. That’s right. Dead.

What you see before you is one of the most incredible mixes of crime, action, and the supernatural that you can ever lay claim to reading. To say that this is the best example of how cross genre writing should be done would be an understatement. Between Greg Lamberson and Mike Oliveri – the bar has been set.

Reading that just made my month. You can read the full review here.

I have to admit, I was nervous about this book as we neared the street date. It’s been a few years since my last release, and a few more years since my first novel release. I felt like I’d been out of the game too long, and I worried that it would show in the final product. Fortunately those concerns have been largely unfounded, as the book has been very well received.

Here’s hoping book 2 gets the same kind of attention. You can be sure I’m giving it my all.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

A Winter Kill Review

My librarian recently put me in touch with Michael Cart, a past president of the Young Adult Library Services Association and author of My Father’s Scar. I sent him a copy of The Pack: Winter Kill and he was kind enough to provide the following review.

Mike Oliveri, winner of the prestigious Bram Stoker Award, combines horror and mystery in his riveting new novel Winter Kill, the first in a projected series that will delight fans of fast-paced noir fiction.

Writing in the tradition of the hardboiled crime novel pioneered by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, Oliveri pulls no punches in this hard-edged novel of gun-running and murder. What makes his novel memorably unusual is not only its realistic treatment of crime but also its additional element of horror, featuring the current runaway popularity of werewolf fiction.

Altogether, these many exciting elements combine to make Winter Kill a howling success!

Comparisons to Hammett and Chandler? Nice!

Reviews have been very positive so far. I’ll have to be sure to stay on top of my game as I finish book 2.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

The Horror Fiction Review Covers TP:WK

The best part about Google Alerts? They notify me when reviews of my work show up online. In this case, The Horror Fiction Review covered The Pack: Winter Kill and gave it four out of five stars. Sweet.

Here’s part of what the reviewer Colleen Wanglund had to say:

In this first book in a planned series, Mike Oliveri lays out a crime story with the promise of the supernatural mixed in and he delivers. … It is Mr. Oliveri’s take on the werewolf tale that is fed in small doses to keep the reader coming back for more.

Full review here (scroll down about halfway). I’m in good company, too: Joe Hill, Nicholas Kaufmann, Peter Straub… even a few other werewolf books. Not too shabby.

Remember, if you’re not into ordering from Amazon, Barnes & Noble online stocks it now, too. If B&N online has it, then you should be able to order it at a B&N retail store as well.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

The Black Glove: Interview & Review

The Black Glove just ran a couple of pieces about me and my work.

You can check out the interview here. TBG contributor Karen Newman asked me about everything from my karate studies to my writing to collaborating with guys like Brian Keene and J.F. Gonzalez. Wonder what happened to Muy Mal with John Urbancik, Weston Ochse, and myself? We cover that, too.

The review is here. Newman did the review as well, and the short version is she dug it. Check this out:

Oliveri doesn’t utilize the supernatural as a crutch, a testament to the strength of his writing. Oliveri has made a wonderful contribution to the werewolf mythos in The Pack: Winter Kill.

Rockin’. Ready to buy your own copy of the book? Make with the clicky. You can even get a Kindle version here.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Review: Daybreakers

Daybreakers isn’t a wonderful movie, but I enjoyed it and I give the writers credit for bringing something new to vampire mythos. It’s also nice to see scary vampires coming back, with the viciousness and bloodthirst. The way they degenerate into the almost Nosferatu type with an absence of blood is a fun twist, and the occasional exploding body is a nice bonus.

Spoiler warnings from here out.

All in all, the movie felt to me like the writers had a series in mind, something to spread out across two or three flicks,b ut the financiers were only willing to give them one flick. The action feels very condensed, with events that could easily kill a half hour or so playing out in the span of one scene. There are characters who are introduced but get very little screen time, characters who change switch personalities on a dime, and the ending is left open enough it could easily bring a sequel.

The most blatant example of this is Bromley’s (Sam Neill) daughter. We get a quick explanation that they’ve become estranged because she was scared when he turned into a vampire, and she’s later captured by the vampire soldiers who hunt humans. He forcibly turns her, she goes feral, and he leaves her to be executed with the rest of the blood-crazed vampires they call subsiders. It seems like her storyline is supposed to demonstrate how bad a guy Bromley is, but it plays out so quickly we really don’t feel for her.

Part of the action takes place at a senator’s place, and this senator helps the humans stay hidden from the vampires. However, we get none of his motivation or background, he’s little more than a convenience. When he dies, it’s little more than an afterthought on either side. His work to get the humans set up and keep them human, not to mention his conflict against the other senators and/or Bromley’s company, could easily have played out over the course of the film.

Same goes for Edward Dalton’s (Ethan Hawke) brother. The two of them play opposite sides, with Dalton trying to find a blood substitute to spare humans and his brother, Frankie (Michael Dorman), dedicated to hunting down all the humans so they don’t run out of blood. There’s no other explanation for it than Frankie’s claim that he’s “good at it,” and when he’s cured at the end, he simply changes his attitude and moves on. No conflict, no (demonstrated) growth or change, just a flipped switch in his head.

There’s more, but you get the idea. Again, it just strikes me they had a lot more material than they needed, possibly from squeezing two longer scripts (or perhaps a longer novel) down to about 90 minutes. They could have trimmed some of this without it making much difference, and given us a little more detail for what’s left.

Question is, would it have improved the movie? Hard to say. I did enjoy it, but I didn’t walk out excited about it, or even looking forward to the telegraphed sequel. The whole cure thing is a bit iffy, but it makes sense in the context of this particular flick and at least it’s something different.

On the plus side, there’s some good action, and the viciousness of the vampires is a lot of fun. There’s plenty of blood for fans of same, and the writers (Michael & Peter Spierig, also the directors) give us a very stylish flick that touches on all the standard vampire tropes without resorting to cheese.

If you’re a horror fan, especially a vampire fan, give it a shot. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Read It! – Yellow Medicine

Like tough-guy anti-heroes? They don’t come much tougher or more morally ambiguous than Deputy Billy Lafitte.

I asked Kent Gowran to recommend a few good crime novels a while back, and Yellow Medicine by Anthony Neil Smith was on the list. I ordered it, read it, loved it. Smith’s first-person narrative is top-notch, providing a great picture of Lafitte’s character as well as sucking the reader into the story. The plot and action pull no punches, and my horror readers who enjoy a good thriller would do well to pick this one up.

The plot itself is simple: terrorists come to small-town America. Lafitte bends the law to his advantage from time to time, and when an old partner from New Orleans tells the members of a terror cell that Lafitte can help them make inroads into the meth trade, they waste no time proving they mean business. Lafitte soon finds himself stuck between the feds and the terrorists, but he’s not one to waste time catering to either.

I’d like to see this one hit the big screen, too. It reminds me a bit of Fargo and A Simple Plan, but it would hold its own. Assuming, of course, the Lafitte character makes it through the studio intact…

Give it a read, folks. You won’t be disappointed.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Slip & Fall: A Review

I was down to two choices last week: the latest offering from a popular crime author, or Slip & Fall by Nick Santora. The latter caught my eye with its red cover, “Borders Exclusive” sticker, and simple design. I’d glanced at it a few times in the past, so I finally gave the dust jacket a read and learned it’s written by the guy who produced Prison Break. The writing that finally killed the series for me this season couldn’t be all his fault, and the synopsis sounded interesting enough. I gave the Wife the same two-book option. She chose Slip & Fall and we rang it up.

The first few chapters concentrate on character development and are a bit slow, but things snowball from there. Rather than action (read violence), the plot is moved along by the way the protagonist, Rob Principe, digs himself deeper and deeper into this hole he’s created for himself. The first person narrative is very engaging, and I found myself sucked into the book yesterday rather than taking the time to work on my own projects. It was easy to feel like I was having a conversation with Principe directly, and I dug the way the prologue suddenly clicked into place as the book neared its climax. My only beef with the book was the ending: I liked it, but I didn’t quite buy it, mostly because I expected it to be a lot darker. It didn’t kill my enjoyment of the book, it was just a little too easy.

Slip & Fall is a good read if you enjoy crime drama. I got the impression Santora put a lot of his own legal experiences and background into the book, and it all felt very real. It’s a story about a guy dumb and desperate enough to go into business with the mob rather than the mob itself. Not so much a fall from grace as a nosedive.

Next time you visit your local Borders, give it a look.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Dark Scribe Digs Brimstone Turnpike

Still haven’t purchased Brimstone Turnpike? Dark Scribe Magazine gave it a solid review. The enjoyed the stories and the concepts, but felt the unifying Johnny Divine character could have been fleshed out a bit more.

The short, short summary:

“Burke should be commended for pulling together another stellar lineup and giving them the freedom to run in all directions with his concept.”

I have to admit, being named part of a “stellar lineup” is pretty damn cool. Order your copy of Brimstone Turnpike direct from the publisher today.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.