Official Review: The Author Is Dead by Ches Smith

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any fiction books or series that do not fit into one of the other categories. If the fiction book fits into one the other categories, please use that category instead.
Forum rules
While in the forum's younger and less active days this used to be the one and only forum for "reviews and discussions about specific books", this is now just the subforum "other fiction" in a more well-organized "reviews and discussions about specific books" section with subforums for each genre. Check it out! :) Remember, the forums in the reviews section (including this forum) are for posting about a single book or series in topic, and the topic title should include the book's title. If you are creating a new topic, please try to post it in one of the other genres rather than posting it here in the "other fiction" section. This is only for books that do not fit in any of the other genre categories we have listed.
User avatar
Cecilia_L
Posts: 1485
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading: Split Second
Bookshelf Size: 126
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: New York Linked Up Part 1 Manhattan by Colleen Katz

Official Review: The Author Is Dead by Ches Smith

Post by Cecilia_L » 19 Sep 2018, 13:28

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Author Is Dead" by Ches Smith.]
Book Cover
4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


After a failed marriage and recent suicide attempt, Ches is a depressed writer looking for inspiration when he stumbles upon a chance encounter with an intriguing stranger, Thalia. After her subsequent murder and haunting visitations, she becomes his muse, setting the stage for the dark comedy, The Author is Dead by Ches Smith. Is Thalia a ghost or merely a wishful hallucination? Just how far will Ches go to get his book published?

A computer tech who hates technology, Ches is determined to become a published author so he can quit his day job at a public middle school in Houston, Texas. In search of inspiration, he frequents the local mall to engage in people watching where he has perfected the art of creating small meals out of food court samples. During his mall routine, he meets Thalia, a free-spirited punk rocker who is in a band named Zombie Cowgirls and immediately becomes infatuated. When he learns that she was murdered soon after leaving the mall, Ches becomes obsessed with writing her story. The plot thickens when he begins to have visitations from his new muse and is threatened by her unstable sister, Calliope. More twists and turns follow as Ches is reluctantly enlisted to create a website for the Pencils Down Movement, an anonymous group of middle-schoolers rebelling against standardized testing. As pressures mount, his actions become increasingly erratic as his grasp on reality blurs.

Written in first-person narrative with a healthy dose of sarcasm, this irreverent dark comedy had me laughing out loud as Smith parodied his character's obsession to become a published author at any cost. The book was well-written, fun to read, and hard to put down, and its ending was the pièce de résistance. The characters were well-developed and relatable in a dysfunctionally endearing sort of way.

Being born and raised in Houston, I particularly enjoyed the amusing but accurate references to Texas. "Texas has at least 365 seasons a year," and "Standardized testing in Texas is a revered pastime, like high school football, or Christmas," were a few examples that made me smile. The book's subplot about opting out of standardized testing was presented in a comical way but was also spot-on, as I have family members in the Houston area that have experienced similar issues. Additionally, the Pencils Down Manifesto was a clever and effective way to sneak in relevant information related to standardized testing amidst the otherwise humorous content.

My least favorite aspect of the book was the amount of R-rated profanity. I realize it's a personal preference, but I'm of the opinion that it could have been just as funny minus the expletives. Considering the language, I would only recommend the book to a mature audience. Even so, the creativity and comedic value are worth a 4 out of 4 star rating. It appears to have been professionally edited as I only noted a few spacing errors which may have related to the ePub version I read. Readers who enjoy dark comedies and satire are likely to appreciate the book.

******
The Author Is Dead
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like Cecilia_L's review? Post a comment saying so!

asere_maryanne
Posts: 158
Joined: 10 Feb 2018, 11:54
2018 Reading Goal: 20
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 80
Currently Reading: Source
Bookshelf Size: 25
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-asere-maryanne.html
Latest Review: McDowell by William H. Coles

Post by asere_maryanne » 20 Sep 2018, 02:17

The title got me interested. The review says the book is so interesting, the comedy, well developed characters and the twists and turns will definitely make the book hard to put down. Thank you for the pleasant review.

User avatar
barry_176
Posts: 2
Joined: 19 Sep 2018, 12:39
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by barry_176 » 20 Sep 2018, 04:12

Interesting review and proves to great work by Ches Smith. Looking forward to reading this book.

User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 6384
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2018 Reading Goal: 115
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 92
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 94
Currently Reading: End of the Last Great Kingdom
Bookshelf Size: 234
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
Latest Review: The Third Thaw by Karl J. Hanson

Post by kandscreeley » 20 Sep 2018, 08:34

Sounds like you really enjoyed the book. I think the references to Texas would go over my head having never lived there. In addition, I just don't think I'm in the mood for a dark comedy right now. I'll keep it in mind, though. Thanks.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway

User avatar
Debjani Ghosh
Posts: 670
Joined: 18 May 2018, 05:51
2018 Reading Goal: 24
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 162
Favorite Book: The Lord Of The Rings
Currently Reading: The Evacuees
Bookshelf Size: 86
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-debjani-ghosh.html
Latest Review: Days of the Giants by RJ Petrella

Post by Debjani Ghosh » 20 Sep 2018, 09:22

Judging from your review, this book seems to have a solid plot and well-developed characters. However, I am not sure if I will relate to this book due to so many references to Texas. Hence, I will pass this one. Thanks for the review!

User avatar
Cecilia_L
Posts: 1485
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading: Split Second
Bookshelf Size: 126
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: New York Linked Up Part 1 Manhattan by Colleen Katz

Post by Cecilia_L » 20 Sep 2018, 10:38

asere_maryanne wrote:
20 Sep 2018, 02:17
The title got me interested. The review says the book is so interesting, the comedy, well developed characters and the twists and turns will definitely make the book hard to put down. Thank you for the pleasant review.
Thank you for your comment.

User avatar
Cecilia_L
Posts: 1485
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading: Split Second
Bookshelf Size: 126
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: New York Linked Up Part 1 Manhattan by Colleen Katz

Post by Cecilia_L » 20 Sep 2018, 10:39

barry_176 wrote:
20 Sep 2018, 04:12
Interesting review and proves to great work by Ches Smith. Looking forward to reading this book.
Thank you, Barry.

User avatar
Cecilia_L
Posts: 1485
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading: Split Second
Bookshelf Size: 126
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: New York Linked Up Part 1 Manhattan by Colleen Katz

Post by Cecilia_L » 20 Sep 2018, 10:39

kandscreeley wrote:
20 Sep 2018, 08:34
Sounds like you really enjoyed the book. I think the references to Texas would go over my head having never lived there. In addition, I just don't think I'm in the mood for a dark comedy right now. I'll keep it in mind, though. Thanks.
Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.

User avatar
Cecilia_L
Posts: 1485
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading: Split Second
Bookshelf Size: 126
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: New York Linked Up Part 1 Manhattan by Colleen Katz

Post by Cecilia_L » 20 Sep 2018, 10:40

Debjani Ghosh wrote:
20 Sep 2018, 09:22
Judging from your review, this book seems to have a solid plot and well-developed characters. However, I am not sure if I will relate to this book due to so many references to Texas. Hence, I will pass this one. Thanks for the review!
Thanks for your comment.

User avatar
Allyseria
Posts: 390
Joined: 18 Jul 2018, 16:33
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 58
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 68
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-allyseria.html
Latest Review: Of Zots and Xoodles by Zarqnon the Embarrassed

Post by Allyseria » 20 Sep 2018, 14:04

Thank you for your detailed review. It sounds like a book that most writers will like and may even find a bit inspiring?

User avatar
Cecilia_L
Posts: 1485
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading: Split Second
Bookshelf Size: 126
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: New York Linked Up Part 1 Manhattan by Colleen Katz

Post by Cecilia_L » 20 Sep 2018, 14:31

Allyseria wrote:
20 Sep 2018, 14:04
Thank you for your detailed review. It sounds like a book that most writers will like and may even find a bit inspiring?
Thank you for your comment.

User avatar
daydreaming reader
Posts: 282
Joined: 02 Jan 2016, 19:38
2018 Reading Goal: 24
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 91
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 28
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-daydreaming-reader.html
Latest Review: The Face of Fear by R. J. Torbert

Post by daydreaming reader » 20 Sep 2018, 17:48

The cover and title drew my attention, but the plot certainly sounds interesting, and I like how various subplots are incorporated. Thank you for your review.
"Without chaos, there can be no order"
- Heath D. Alberts
"You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star."
Friedrich Nietzsche

User avatar
Cecilia_L
Posts: 1485
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading: Split Second
Bookshelf Size: 126
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: New York Linked Up Part 1 Manhattan by Colleen Katz

Post by Cecilia_L » 20 Sep 2018, 19:08

daydreaming reader wrote:
20 Sep 2018, 17:48
The cover and title drew my attention, but the plot certainly sounds interesting, and I like how various subplots are incorporated. Thank you for your review.
Thank you for your comment.

User avatar
Agyei Kofi
Posts: 2
Joined: 20 Sep 2018, 03:16
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by Agyei Kofi » 20 Sep 2018, 19:28

Judging from your review, this book seems to have a solid plot and well-developed characters. However, I am not sure if I will relate to this book due to so many references to Texas. Hence, I will pass this one. Thanks for the review!

User avatar
ChristineV1999
Posts: 6
Joined: 19 Sep 2018, 08:28
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 5

Post by ChristineV1999 » 21 Sep 2018, 02:08

The title got me concious, there's a lot of twists in this book, I would love to read this it's so intriguing. Thank you for this lovely review

Post Reply

Return to “Other Fiction Forum”