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Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Review: Death Ain't But a Word by Zander Marks + giveaway

Death Ain’t But a Word: A Supernatural Hot Mess
by: Zander Marks

Just because Wilkin's a crackhead doesn't mean the shadows aren't real.

They're real. And they've been haunting him since he was seven years old. Mostly he ignores them.

But when the ghost of his childhood friend shows up at the local motel, Wilkin can't ignore the call of friendship. And when his friend's killer buys the motel so he can destroy the remains, Wilkin can't ignore that, either.

Wilkin steals his friend's skull before the killer can destroy it and is plunged into a hot mess of a supernatural thrill ride.

A death-race pursuit of a child's skull. A ghost-talking trucker hauling plush toys to Kansas. Five demonic farm-kids in a housing project. A Dodge City marshal with justice on his mind. And a graveyard full of snitches.

It's enough to make you want to hit the crackpipe. All leading to a climax where staying alive is the least of Wilkin's worries.

Because when most of the people around you are spirits anyway, DEATH AIN'T BUT A WORD.

The first sentence in the blurb above got me to agree to review this book and I was hooked by the end of the 1 ½ page prologue. I absolutely love the protagonist Wilkin and yeah, he has a drug problem, but you really empathize with him and deep down he is a good person even if he doesn’t believe it.

 There is lots of action, killing, and dark humor, as well as violence, drug use, profanity, but oddly enough no sex. The writing is tight and polished and I enjoyed the unusual cadence of the prose, which is completely different from most of the stories I read and I was surprised at the turn of events in the book. It starts out being about a junkie who can see ghosts and tries to ignore this fact until he runs into a childhood friend who disappeared when they were seven. Wilkin ends up having to run for his life when the killer realizes his secret is out. This isn't a “who-dun-it” mystery, because you know pretty much right from the start who the killer is. This story is more about Wilkin accepting who he is and using it to help others. Unfortunately for Wilkin, he never got the training he needed and doesn't understand the rules and sometimes the dead, even when they were your friend, don’t play nice.

There are a few places where the story drags; one chapter in particular is one big description of what it is like to be high and while there is a reason for the scene it didn't have to be so long. The story is told from many POVs, but mostly Wilkin’s which I preferred. There is also a noticeable change in the tone of the story about 1/3 of the way through. It went from something Tom Robbins/Terry Pratchett –ish to something more like a traditional urban fantasy. Wilkin’s character and the story lost some of its quirkiness, but it was still a fascinating and original take on the ghost world.

If you like your stories dark edged and unusual characters then give this one a try.

Wilkin quotes:

Ganesh was rooting for Wilkin, and it scared the hell out of him. Because when a Hindu god feels the need to offer you strength and compassion, you know the shit’s about to get real.
On Wednesday, the shit got real.

”And don’t piss on my leg and tell me it be raining, cause you coulda stopped it. You let it happen. You knew all along, and you were wrong for that. So F*** you and don’t hand me no light saber and play some bitch-ass Yoda. I AIN’T HAVING IT!”

4.5 “Get your busted butt bailed out” Sheep

Sharon Stogner (edit by Kalpar)

You can this for $.99 right now!

Print copy of Death Ain't But a Word
1. Leave a way to contact you
2. Followers get double entry (tell me how you follow)

Contest Ends March 24th at midnight! 


  1. The first line does hook you. Sounds intriguing.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  2. Wow this book sounds awesome. Butterfli262002@Yahoo(dot)com I follow on facebook and gfc and email and twitter and pinrest

  3. Interesting book! Enjoyed the review. Thanks for sharing.
    I follow by email.

  4. Thanks for the excerpt from the book. $1 is a great price but I hope to win a print copy since my husband hogs the ereader.
    etotschinger at yahoo dot com

  5. It's definitely different! :)

    pyrosama at comcast dot net

  6. Sounds great. I was also looking for a way to join you today, but I haven't found it yet. Love your giveaways and your site. Keep up the awesome work.

  7. I follow you vie Google, and email. And any other way I can find. I think your reviews are spot on, and really make me want to read the book, so I couldn't ask for more.

  8. Your review makes me want to read the book. Very intriguing. I'm in!
    Thank you for this opportunity! :D

  9. Sounds like a great book. I would love to read this book.

  10. Those are interesting quotes

    I follow via email


  11. I've already purchased the digital copy. If I'm lucky enough to win the print book, then yehah! I follow sheep every which way I can.

  12. I follow email fb and Twitter. :-)

  13. contest is over and the picked #11 Tarah Scott! I will send you an email. Thanks to everyone who entered. Please check this book out, it is only $.99 and it is more than worth it! and spread the word to help this cool writer out :)

  14. I enter very few print book contests. I'm thrilled to have won!

    Thanks, Sheep.

  15. Suspense, murder...such a thrill to read!!! A crazy start of a somewhat new, even crazier relationship? "Wilkin" has his work cut out for him! You gotta have this thrill!!

    1. I know, right?! took me by complete surprise. Looking forward to the next book.