Books

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Snyper – A Matter of Caliber’ hits its target

Cross-hairs marks the spot.

 

“Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say, ‘YES’!”

 

That quote will forever live in infamy as one of the most classic one-line references in dealing with deities to grace cinema since the invention of fake popcorn butter.  Mind you, I’m not just saying that – not entirely anyway – because it originated from my all-time favorite flick, Ghostbusters; but I also bring it up since it fits nicely into my latest book review, Snyper: A Matter of Caliber.

 

… you say “YES”!.

 

Author and fellow Geek Outlaw fan, J. Harmon bestowed upon me the exclusive honor of reviewing his first-ever published novel for review.  This is monumental for a few reasons, the main one being it’s the first time Geek Outlaw has been approached by an author to review their book, let alone an advance copy of their very first official creation.  The other reason being, Mr. Harmon believed the vast influence of Geek Outlaw’s enormous community was worth reaching out to.

 

Here’s to hoping that all seven of you don’t disappoint the up-and-coming author.

 

Author J. Harmon wants you… to read his book. (I’d take him up on it)

 

(*NOTE:  There are NO major spoilers below since this is a brand new release and I’m encouraging everyone to check it out.)

 

Back to the topic of gods, Harmon’s first foray into writing revolves around the Greek garden variety that most of us grew up learning about in school… well at least those of us not carving obscenities into our desks with a spork during English class.  For lovers of Greek mythology like myself, Meredith brings all the big names to literary life, including; Aphrodite, Persephone, Zeus, Demeter, Athena, and more.

 

Alas we learn, some gods are indeed mortal.,,, but are remembered always.

This however is not your traditional Toga party, nor does it take place before the Dinosaurs or Betty White roamed the earth.  What sets this tale apart is that it takes part in present ‘mortal’ time, give or take a few earthly years.  Keeping with that timeline, the other fascinating element at play in Snyper is that the gods can walk freely among the mortals at will whenever they damn well please.

 

This is more so the case with the main antagonist of the story, Eros, who carries the burden of being the Greek god of love (Man I’d love that title, pun intended).  For those that need a refresher, the Roman counterpart to Eros was known as none other than the Katniss of Valentine’s day, Cupid.

 

As the reader quickly learns at the beginning of this saga, Eros has given up the biz of love and decided to live in the mortal realm as none other than a private detective by the name, Phil Bowman. (Get it?  Give it a minute, you will).

 

Imagine Nighthawk with wings… and arrows filled with love.

 

At the center of Snyper: A Matter of Caliber, Eros is a hit man of sorts for the gods that seem to have more say in human history than we all think.  After a botched job – which happened to be a biggie – the cunning cupid decides he has had enough with Olympus politics and uproots his life to the land of the non-living-forever.

 

Despite his life choice to disassociate from the heavy hitters of Greek life, Phil Bowman is still not an overly happy guy.  Years of immortality, killing and a mortal ex-wife, have made him rough around the godly edges.  Think of him as a sarcastic, yet witty Philip Marlowe-type detective whose best friend is the bottle (and I’m not referring to distilled water).

 

Envision Bowman as Marlowe, but more drunk, and dressed with the current decade in mind.

 

Plus, part of the fun with Bowman is his sly comeback for almost anything thrown his way.  Nonetheless, he still comes across as a disdainful grump without a positive bone in his body, whose is rightfully under stocked in the friends department.  Even knowing all that, deep down Phil does care (for some people) even though his exterior is thicker than the layer of makeup on Lady Gaga’s face.

 

Ashley, Phil’s sexy personal assistant, is one of a few characters that sees this good as well.

 

Lovingly referred to as Ash by the curmudgeon private eye, Ashley’s character is that of a nymph.  Ok, those with XY chromosomes, before you get too excited, I said nymph… there is no ‘o’ at the end.   In Greek myths, a nymph is a deity (a being with supernatural powers or abilities above that of normal mortals), that is born from a specific location or earthly element.

 

I’m taking creative liberties, but if I could envision (aka dream about) Ashley, this wouldn’t fall far from her description.

 

Ashley, who is a wood nymph (in other words she was born from a tree), is very young in accordance to the normal mortal calendar, attractive as most nymphs were thought to be, and most importantly is a huge nerd!  That’s right she is basically a version of my NBFF Hot Nerd Girl with super natural tendencies.

 

If you can think of a better way to merge from a tree, I’m all ears (and eyes).

 

Ashley’s penchant for all things sci-fi makes her an extremely fun character, and being a fellow geek – easy to associate with.  Whether it’s her references to Harry Potter or Stargate, Ashley’s innocent playfulness comes across as hilarious as being that she consistently views the work through nerd-colored glasses.  The back and forth that Phil and Ashley have with regards to her nerd-based conversation starters are laugh out loud funny.

 

Since we are on the subject of nymphs, another attractive young female by the name of Holly makes her appearance known more than a few times as the nymph who quite literally throws herself at the god of love every chance she gets.  It creates more than a few problems for Phil and results in some funny, yet oddly sad moments in the book.  I wouldn’t be lying if I said it’s a problem I wish I had.

 

Per author J. Harmon, this is Holly down to the last detail (and bra color). You ready for the movie Alexis Kaysen?

 

Much like The Hunger Game series of books, Snyper is told from the first-person perspective of Phil Bowman through its entirety.  With regards to The Hunger Games, I felt the approach was interesting in some aspects, but because Katniss was such a young and closed off character, I, too, felt more closed off from the goings on outside of her own little world.  On the contrary, when it comes to Phil, despite his bitter attitude towards almost all things with a heartbeat, Harmon opens the character’s personality up more to his surroundings and the activities going on in the world around him.

 

Even gods change with the times…

 

For a guy whom just wants to do his job and be left alone, Phil gets tangled up in more of the above-mentioned activities than he would prefer.  These issues include, but are not limited to, the ‘unique’ relationship with his ex-girlfriend Persephone (harvest goddess), family pressures from his Grandmother Hera, mortals trying to dig up evidence on his last bungled hit man job, his latest case taking an odd turn, and a group of horny nymphs all fighting for his attention. (Although I wouldn’t technically label that last one an ‘issue,’ per say.)

 

With all of that going on, I never got the sense of any higher over-arching issue or sinister villain that Mr. Bowman was forced to deal with.  If anything, it’s the summation of the problems that create the overall threat to the main character.  In fact, in an ode to Charlie Sheen, Phil Bowman’s biggest enemy ends up being, Phil Bowman.  Snyper is a classic tale of tragedy in every sense of the word.

 

He’s probably going to feel that in the morning.

 

That’s not to say ‘nothing’ sinister is slowly coming to a boil in the backdrop.  Luckily – in my own honest but accurate opinion – this is the first in a seven book series which will have a grand story arc that unfolds further with each new novel.

 

Even though I feel like I’ve revealed more than I should have, I actually realized I haven’t divulged even the tip of the iceberg.  As with most of my reviews, that is how I want it to be.  I give you my two cents without ruining it for those that want to be surprised and experience something for themselves once in a while.  There is something to be said for a little mystery now and again while also obtaining your own perspective on a piece of entertainment before everyone and their mom’s Yorkie post a review-laden spoiler.

 

Sorry Zeus, even you are going to have to read Snyper to find out what happens…

 

Notwithstanding some minor criticisms, I enjoyed Snyper a Matter of Caliber even more than I thought I would.  It took a few extra few chapters, but the characters and worlds that Harmon created grew on me and kept me intrigued until the very last page.  Grounding the Greek mythos with that of our current world and timeline was brilliant in that it brought a level of realism to the story that most readers will be able to connect with.

 

Bottom-line, I’m now completely vested in the future happenings of Phil and Ashley.  I was truly bummed after finishing the book’s final page, but truly excited to learn the saga would continue soon, and that’s the best possible compliment I could give Snyper: A Matter of Caliber.

 

Snyper hits the spot.

 

 

PROS:

–          Likable and intriguing main characters

–          Creative use of the Greek mythology in conjunction with our present day time

–          Noir-type private eye detective theme

–          Laugh out loud moments

–          Lots of great Geek & Nerd culture references

–          Well written in all aspects of dialogue and description of environments

 

CONS:

–          Overall story takes a while to come together (subjective?)

–          Felt like some of the Greek mythos could have been explained a bit more in detail

–          Technically, no one true threat, bad guy or nemesis … yet.

–          The wait for book #2 might just kill me (on the inside).

 

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  1. Pingback: Book Review – “Snyper: A Matter of Caliber” by J. Meredith Harmon | Hot Nerd Girl

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