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Penny Dreadful -

Review from a Transgressive Fiction Fan

Just re read this guy. This time I ran through the MacAdam hardcover. First time I read it was my old $1, used Viking hardcover. The MacAdam’s a much cooler design. Anyway, the story’s an awesome head trip. Of the Phineas Poe Trilogy, this one, as the middle novel, is the odd cow. It’s a cool juxtaposition of noir and reality games — nearly a fantasy. Rather than stay in Phineas’ point of view as the other two books do, Baer takes you into all of the primary character’s heads. You get to see them all wigging out on the game of tongues. Oddly enough, Phineas provides the sober point of view, consistently grounding us after we experience the wacked out near dementia of the other characters. I definitely rate this book over the first in the trilogy. Unlike Kiss Me Judas, Penny Dreadful keeps the momentum right up until the end. But I haven’t yet decided if it tops the mayhem of Hell’s Half Acre. The books are so different in style that I’m inclined to keep it in a class of its own. It’s really a noir gateway drug for geeks. Good stuff.

“Insightful” Review from a Mainstream Reader

-one of the few books I’ve ever willingly given away to charity
-one of the few books I hated from the first line
-one of the very few books I didn’t finish at a time when I finished nearly every book I started
-the only book that has ever given me a headache

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