Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Book Review: 'Bodacious Creed' by Jonathan Fesmire

California author Jonathan Fesmire earned his degree Academy of Art University in Animation and Visual Effects with a focus on 3D modeling. By day he is a copywriter and by evening a steampunk author. He began his literary career writing fantasy, but he has moved completely to steampunk, enchanted with its aesthetics, possibilities, and implications. He's a fan of the stories, the art, and the gadgets, and enjoys interacting with the community. Jonathan regularly interviews popular members of the steampunk community for his The Wild Steampunk Blog.

For those unfamiliar with the term, Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. According to the Huffington Post, ‘Many Millennials are drawn to eras and trends with rules and boundaries: hence the appeal of the more defined, black and white attitudes of the Victorian age.

Jonathan casually opens his book with a scene that suggests both today and over a century ago – and that takes clever writing – ‘Anna Lynn Boyd served drinks with one of her doves, Karla Hotchkiss, and kept an eye on the saloon. She grabbed a cloth from under the bar and wiped down the walnut surface that captured the blurry reflections of her patrons. Cowboys, hostlers, ranchers, and factory workers gulped ale and whiskey and downed their meals. Today's specials included shark, tuna, seasoned beef steaks, rye bread, fresh corn, and red potatoes. With the supper rush well underway, The House of Amber Doves, Anna's bordello and restaurant, had come alive with its usual evening activity. The exquisitely carved clock on the wall opposite the bar read six twenty in the evening. On this first day of July, eighteen seventy-six, the sun would still be out for another hour or so. A cool breeze turned the hot day pleasant as it blew through the double doors, carrying with it the salty tang of the ocean. Anna went to the far end of the bar, where her companion, Jonathan Johns, sat reading a book and working his way through an omelet stuffed with ground beef and onions and drinking a beer. Just twenty minutes prior, Jonny had downed a sugared coffee. Anna's twenty-year-old lover kept strange hours, which suited her fine. She did, too. It meant they could work together downstairs or make love in her bed as they pleased. She took a moment to look over the short blond hair and long features she loved. He resembled an angel out of an El Greco painting. What's more, Jonny had proven a better lover than any of the men she'd entertained in her years as a dove. More important to her though, he was smart, damned brilliant, actually.’

Hang on because here comes the ensuing plot – ‘US. Marshal James Creed has known loss, starting from the untimely death of his wife and daughter in a sudden fire. His work, chasing down and arresting outlaws across the Wild West, is all he has left to live for. Then one day, in 1876, the infamous killer Corwin Blake catches Creed by surprise and guns him down. Creed awakes after a mysterious young woman resurrects him in a basement laboratory beneath a brothel. Half alive, Creed feels torn between his need for justice and his desire to fall back into the peace of death. Creed's instincts drive him to protect the city of Santa Cruz, California, from the outlaws it harbors while searching for Blake. He uncovers a secret criminal organization, likely protecting Blake, determined to use resurrection technology for its own ends. The former marshal, now faster, stronger, and a more deadly shot than ever before, must work with a brothel madam, a bounty hunter, and the remaining marshals to uncover the criminal syndicate before they can misuse the machines of rebirth and create more mindless zombies. Meanwhile, he must also stop Blake, before the outlaw kills the only people he cares about. His own death can wait.’

Wild ideas beautifully scripted, Jonathan Fesmire proves he is writing for a large audience – even if he must recruit them into steampunk. Grady Harp, January 18
This book is free to borrow from Kindle Unlimited

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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