Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mad Shadows: Book Review

Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser, by Joe Bonadonna

Is a collection of six Sword & Sorcery/Gothic Noir novella's featuring Dorgo the Dowser, a sleuth and jack of all trades who utilizes the unlikely tool of a sorcerous dowsing rod to investigate crimes and mysteries-which usually get him into a heap of trouble to boot.

I could not help but feel the kinship to all the great old noir books and film as I read these. I could have been in the midst of a Hammet or Chandler tale with Dorgo relating a past event at the bar and then suddenly a vicious centaur or gold eating demon becomes involved-and it all makes sense. Bonadonna's world-building is excellent-here is an author I have no doubt has made the most of life experiences within his own fantasy realm.

I especially loved the asides of Dorgo narrating the back-story on other characters as well as Bonadonna's dialogue = magical and gritty. The sorcery encountered is unique and yet the world of Dorgo is realistic and strong on character giving this book the best of the pulps flavor.

Another defining thing I enjoyed about these tales (doing my best not release any spoilers)  is that Dorgo does not always have things go his way. True to the noir turnabouts and twists, situations radically shift and Dorgo isn't in control or even necessarily know what's going on (even if he thinks he does).

This is one that I'm pretty sure all my S&S pulp friends will enjoy.

I'm looking forward to the next Dorgo tale, The Book of Echoes  in the Artifacts & Relics anthology (that I'm also a part of) hopefully released earlier next year.


Keith said...

I've been meaning to give this one a try, and after reading your review, it just moved up in the list.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've got this but haven't read it yet.

David J. West said...

I met Joe on Facebook and ordered a copy from him direct earlier this year-I meant to get to it quite a bit sooner, but life got int he way of my reading schedule big time this year.

Pretty sure you'll like it Charles.

The Wasp said...

Thanks for making me buy this finally. Actually, I've been meaning to check it out for a couple of months now.

David J. West said...

Cool Wasp, I think you'll dig it.