Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TOUR STOP AND GIVEAWAY: Kaboom by George Lee Cunningham

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The interlocking stories of a typical community and the lives and drams of the untypical people who live there. Lawnville, where murders have broken hearts, mailmen and bus drivers are locked in a secret feud, loving husbands betray their wives, bullies rule the local school, dogs yearn to be free, justice happens despite the police, and a beautiful but ruthless nymphomaniac destroys the lives of the men who love her.



I must say that this is one hard book to review. Honestly, I was just one roller coaster of emotions. One second I'm appalled (because what is with that dark-haired woman??) and the next second I'm laughing my head off, practically rotfl.

I think that's the best thing about this book. The characters are all outrageous-

Outrageously funny.

It's a pretty short, quick read. And I loved its style. It had a certain something that is rather hard to describe.

From the beginning, I was trying to guess what Cunningham's game was. Because he didn't just start off with a table of contents - he started with character intros. I've only seen that in plays and Under the Dome by Stephen King.

In both cases, there's usually a point so grandiose that you can't be bothered to get to know the characters - you need to know them right off the bat.

So what was Cunningham's grandiose point?

Let's see: two pages in, four people are dead. No names are revealed. This is how the dark-haired woman is introduced.


Like with any story about a smallish town/city, there are a few subplots that all interlock in some way or another. And I almost didn't even realize this. I know that sounds odd, and that's because it is. At times it seemed like there were three totally different things going on. But it all ties together nicely in the end. And it didn't even try. It flowed nicely and I appreciated that.

This was some crazy stuff and I loved every second of it. There was quite a bit of details - particularly with gore and other adult content *ahem*. But it was the humor that had me hooked. It was rather subtle at times. And you kind of have to read it twice to notice it. But sure enough, it's there. Before you know it, you're laughing like crazy and your sister looks at you like you belong in an insane asylum.

Little does she know.

Amidst all the deaths, there is terrible irony and that's something I enjoy when executed well-

This was executed flawlessly. 

Distinct characters, that are realistic and believable, even when they're not...
A epilogue that brings everything home...
This was some good stuff.

And even though I'm looking for some larger point, I think it's a more subtle and humorous one - people are nothing at all like you expect, you shouldn't let a future-billionaire out of your hands, and for goodness sakes stay away from  nymphomaniacs.

Rating: 4 stars

Recommendation: anybody who likes a good laugh at the expense of some crazy characters, or enjoys the subtle humor of irony and karma - this is totally for you

About the Author

George Cunningham comes from a long line of story tellers and prevaricators. Sitting around the living room on Sunday nights, drinking Coca Cola out of the bottle, listening to his grandfather pass down stories to his sons and their families, hearing his father and uncles tell their own stories, each one trying to top the other, and learning as a kid how to take the humor and bitter-sweet tragedy of life and weave it into a good tale.

George grew up on the West Coast of Florida, where he spent many happy hours dipping his toes into the warm waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. He was a late bloomer who didn’t graduate from University of Florida until he was 29. As a young man, he worked as a survey crew chief, a civil engineering aide, a short-order cook, a painter, a laborer, a construction inspector, a gardener and a seltzer bottle washer. After graduation he worked as an editor, a copy editor, a layout man, a columnist, a police reporter, a business reporter, and a feature writer. He served three years in the U.S. Army, including a year in Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

George came to California in 1969 and immediately fell in love with the state. He worked at the South Bay Daily Breeze, City News Service, the Orange County Register, and the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

He is the former editor and publisher of The Cunningham Report, an electronic newsletter on West Coast ports that he and his wife Carmela founded in 1995 and ran for 15 years before closing operations in December 2010. They have now founded a new venture, Reader Publishing Group, which will represent and publish books by a select group of authors, including themselves.

George is a writer because he has to be. There are new stories to tell, new ways to tell them and new people to tell them too. He plans to write until he dies.

He has published two novels – The Big Story and Kaboom.

The Big Story, set in the early 1970s, is about a reporter who is chasing a story that the police, the mob, and his own editors want to kill. Kaboom is a darkly humorous look at the quirky community of Lawnville and the ripples that extend throughout that community following a brutal murder. Both The Big Story (link to Big Story page) and Kaboom (link to Kaboom page) are available in printed and digital form.

George and his wife Carmela are currently writing a book on the history of the Port of Long Beach. Look for it in 2015.

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