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The Blue Blazes (Mookie Pearl Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Chuck Wendig
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Meet Mookie Pearl.

Criminal underworld? He runs in it.

Supernatural underworld? He hunts in it.

Nothing stops Mookie when he’s on the job.

But when his daughter takes up arms and opposes him, something’s gotta give…

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Family Matters | When Underworlds Collide | Thrill of the Hunt | Chips and Old Blocks ]

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 586 KB
  • Print Length: 310 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Angry Robot (26 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #279,202 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wham, bam, thank you Chuck! 9 Aug. 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you haven't met him yet, you are going to like Mookie Pearl. You shouldn't like Mookie Pearl, but you will.

Some people would say that Mookie is a mountain of a man, however mountains are likely to take this amiss. They would be offended by this metaphor since mountains have a richly deserved reputation for not hunting people down and beating them to a pulp or, just as another example, driving garbage trucks into them. Don't get me wrong, Mookie wouldn't do this to you unless you deserved it, or his boss told him to do it, or unless you happened to be one of the creatures which started climbing up from below since a gateway to hell was opened up below New York City.

This is the world in which Blue Blazes is set, where creatures, evil and not so evil, have climbed up into our everyday existence and are infiltrating our lives, crime syndicates and sometimes our bodies. The novel barrels along with the exuberant energy of the best graphic novel but with the turn of phrase of an author who clearly enjoys his characters, his writing and words. If you read this book in company, warn your companion that you are going to be reading out some of the choice phrases which you encounter: trust me you won't be able to resist it! With these phrases Chuck Wendig creates characters whose company you quickly come to enjoy and some of whom you might miss when you finish the book. Speaking of which, it would be best to start this book when you have a free day because you aren't going to want to put it down until you have finished and can start whining about there not being a second Mookie Pearl novel available...yet...are you listening Chuck?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Memorable and awesome 9 Nov. 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Chuck Wendig is a writing machine and has a steam-roller personality. Not only has he published ten novels in the past two years, he also blogs almost daily on his site Terrible Minds. And if you read his blog and follow him on Twitter you can't help but be charmed by this, somewhat foul-mouthed, but always entertaining phenomenon that is the bearded one. Me? I've been a convert ever since reading Blackbirds, the first in his Miriam Black series, so to say I was looking forward to his first novel in a new urban fantasy series was a given. And in Mookie Pearl he's created a main character that is just as memorable as Miriam Black.

Like Miriam, Mookie lurks on the edges of society, though he is a hard-core criminal, where Miriam is more of a small-time con artist. Despite the dark nature of his occupation, he's a sympathetic sort of fellow and you can't help but feel for the man when he is confronted by his estranged, and angry, daughter. It's this painful and complicated relationship that is central in the novel and it was one I connected to quite strongly. Nora's need for her father's love and acceptance and her need to make him hurt for the pain he caused her came through the narrative on a visceral level and the way this conflict - which on a less intense level is universal to most children of broken homes - is handled and evolves during the novel was touching and really well done. But Mookie is more than a rather s***ty dad and a criminal; he's also an enforcer who keeps those above safe from the denizens of the Great Below. And he's also a guy whose hobby is charcuterie a.k.a. making fancy sausages, a fact which I love and which cracked me up the first time it came up.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Urban Fantasy 24 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Mookie Pearl works for the criminal underworld of New York City, dealing in the newest drug craze that's come to the streets of the Big Apple: the Blue stuff, Cerulean, Peacock Powder. It comes straight from the bowels of Hell itself. This is a New York that lives alongside an opening to the real underworld. And Mookie works for both. Take a hit of the old peacock powder and you'll see what you never saw before - everything that was once hidden in the cracks; the shadows; behind the eyes of people in the streets. It opens up a whole new side to the world around you - it opens up The Blue Blazes.

Chuck Wendig's latest is an urban fantasy thriller that uses a setting that's completely unique, and offers up a cast of characters who feel like a breath of fresh air to the genre. It's almost like Wendig has taken the cast of Goodfellas and dragged them, kicking and screaming into a fantasy reality of New York, opened up the playground and let them run loose. The story seems at its roots to be typical gangland mafia fare, but with the real underworld alongside the criminal one, and the different "pigments" of hell serving as our drug-runners delight. The plot concerns Mookie Pearl's quest to save the dying mafia leader by hunting out the fabled fifth pigment, Death's Head: the purple pigment; the lifegiver. Along the way, Mookie encounters a range of different mythical beasts and bizarre creatures, as well as seeing whatever The Blue Blazes show him. But things get complicated (as ever!) when Mookie's daughter, Nora, comes into the fray.

Wendig has really created a fascinating and original main character in Mookie Pearl. He's physically enormous - a real, old fashioned street thug.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  75 reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monsters. Roller Girl Gangs. Cool Drugs. Sublimely written. Yep, it's perfect. 28 May 2013
By T. Sparks - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
So you might have guessed by now that I loved The Blue Blazes. I guess I could stop right here and say "Just read the damn thing, already!" But since I'm already typing away, I guess I'll tell you why I love this book, and why this ought to be a primer that every aspiring author should read, an awesome example of what a well-written, well-paced story should look like. Some of you may have read this book, and maybe you didn't love it the way I did. You might be thinking to yourself, "I don't get it. What did she see in this book that I didn't?" Reading is a personal experience. Not everyone will connect with this book the way I did. But in this review I want to talk about the awesome things that Chuck Wendig did that can't be disputed. There are mad skills involved here, people. And I'm going to tell you about them.

The story is very complex, but I'll try and give you a short synopsis: The setting is New York City, probably in the present day. Mookie Pearl is a hulking badass with a cleaver who works for the Organization, a suspect group of men who control the trade of a mystical drug called Blue, a powder derived from a mineral known as Cerulean that is mined in the tunnels far below the streets of New York. Mookie knows the truth about what really lurks below, since Blue opens the inner eye of those who use it, allowing them to see the monsters that sometimes come up through the tunnels from The Great Below.

But Mookie's got problems. His grownup daughter Nora hates him and is trying to sabotage his business. (Plus, she wants him dead.) He hasn't talked to his ex-wife Jess in who knows how long. And he just found out that the Boss, the guy who runs the Organization, is dying of cancer and only has six months to live. He's named his grandson Casimir as his successor, but Casimir isn't thrilled about taking over. And so he asks Mookie to find the elusive (and probably non-existent) drug called Death's Head that might be able to cure the Boss. So begins Mookie's journey into the Great Below to search for Death's Head. But a series of unexpected events changes his plans, and Mookie must work with a motley group of gang members, drug addicts, and even his hateful daughter Nora in order to prevent the city from being taken over by the denizens from Below.

Here's why I loved this book:

The characters. This story has some of the best female characters I've ever run across. Let's start with Nora. I hated her in the beginning, because not only is she trying to double cross her father, but she poisons him in the first chapter! OK, so the poison only puts you to sleep, but still. She's a pretty rotten girl. But then, later on, she isn't all that rotten after all. She evolves. Wendig makes you hate her in the beginning, but by the end of the book, you feel for her. Another of my favorite characters is Skelly, a member of the girl-gang the Get-Em-Girls.Skelly is like many of Wendig's characters: tough, brave and kick ass on the outside, but soft and squishy on the inside. She and Mookie have quite the adventure together, and I loved every scene she was in.

And Mookie. What can I say? He's a grumpy, sad and angry man who loves his daughter despite how nasty she is. But he has a heart of gold, and he'll do anything to save the people he loves.

The world-building. This isn't the first story I've read about an underworld that lies beneath us and is straining to make its way out (hello, Buffy!! Hellmouth!!) But the New York setting adds a gritty quality to the story that would be lost in any other city. Wendig's detailed yet spare descriptions brought this world to life, from the dark tunnels filled with horrible monsters, to the town of Daisypusher where the dead hang out, to the deepest reaches of Hell, the Ravenous Expanse.

My favorite world-building element, however, has to be the drugs. In addition to the Blue Blazes, there are four other drugs that make up the Five Occulted Pigments, and they may or may not exist.

The writing. Chuck Wendig has a way with words. I honestly think if I were to read passages of The Blue Blazes out loud, flowers would bloom at my feet. He's got the best similes ever, and each one is better than the last. Not every reader will like his writing sytle--he uses lots of short, incomplete sentences--but in a story filled with graphic violence and death, his oftentimes beautiful prose is like a balm on a nasty burn.

The pacing. Wendig does several smart things to keep things racing along. First, he sends Mookie on a journey to locate Death's Head. But along the way, Mookie gets sidetracked, and each new discovery leads him to another level of Hell, another secret hide-out, or another person who needs saving. His mission is still the same, but Wendig's added many more layers to it. He also fills in some of the world-building gaps by adding journal entries from a man named John Atticus Oakes at the beginning of each chapter. These short passages often mirror what Mookie and his friends are about to confront, and they give more insight into the mysterious world of Below.

The emotional punch. Mr. Wendig tore out my heart and stomped on it. He made me hate characters, and then somehow made me love them. He promised things, then took them away. At the end of the book I felt as if I had been pummeled by the beefy fists of Mookie himself. It was an exhausting story, and yet I felt giddy at the end. And he just keeps things coming. You think the characters are out of danger, but then they're not. And so it begins again. The end was heartbreaking, and yes, there will be a sequel.

The Blue Blazes is like a cabinet full of wonders--dark, damaged and twisted wonders--where the action never stops, the characters are always in danger, the writing is sublime, and emotions run high. Read this book. You won't regret it.

Many thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blue Blazes review by Melanie from The Qwillery 15 Jun. 2013
By Melanie - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
You can read the review here

The Blue Blazes is set in modern day New York but New York with a twist, a big, dark, evil twist. The evil that once lived below the earth's surface now roams freely on the streets. When excavations of the bowels of the earth bring every scary thing that ever went bump in the night to the surface, they also uncover Cerulean, or Blue Blazes. This highly addictive drug makes people stronger, fiercer and able to see things for what they really are. The story is that of Mookie Pearl, a one man killing machine. He is a brute of a man working for one of the city's many gangs. He helps keep the goblin population under control, amongst more nefarious things. Needless to say, our hero, Mookie, is an addict as is his daughter, Nora, aka Persephone. Nora is out to punish her Dad and takes him and the reader on a wild but deadly goose chase across the city.

So what do I think of The Blue Blazes? Do I think it is a superbly written, harrowing story of a father's love for his daughter? Yes I do. Do I think that Wendig is a master craftsman when it comes to dialogue and characterisation? Yes I do. Do I feel that Wendig pushes the boundaries, not just for characters but also for the reader? Yes I do. But did I enjoy The Blue Blazes? No I didn't. I have read Wendig's other books including both of the Miriam Black books and Double Dead. While I found his lead characters unlikable, there was still something about them, something desperate to do the right thing, that had me cheering them on from early in the story. I felt none of this for Mookie or his daughter Nora. They were both completely selfish and showed little regard for anything and anyone around them. Even a hint of redemption towards the end was not enough to sway me toward their corner. It wasn't until almost 3/4 of the way into the book that I became sufficiently gripped with the plot to not want to put the book down. In true Wendig style, the ending is a complete roller coaster to hell and back of action and mayhem.

Despite not finding this a completely palatable read, I would still recommend The Blue Blazes. It's important as a reader to be challenged and that is certainly the case with this book. Wendig doesn't pull any punches, especially for his characters. I have said that both of the Miriam Black books were not for the faint hearted, and with The Blue Blazes I think I would have to say the same - but times 10 (possibly x100). If you are looking for something well written and verging towards horror, then I urge you to read The Blue Blazes. I would advise not to read too close to bedtime, however, without checking under the bed a few times first!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neverwhere meets the Mob 28 May 2013
By Chris Black - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition

Every once in awhile you come across a book that hits every sweet spot you have when it comes to fiction. THE BLUE BLAZES by Chuck Wendig is such a book.

Seriously, folks, this book has everything I love. Mobsters! Monsters! Violence! Gratuitous swearing! In all honesty I'm certain that Wendig wrote this book especially for me. From page one to the very end I enjoyed every single word. Between THE BLUE BLAZES and TRICKSTER, 2013 is becoming an excellent year for gritty, awesome urban fantasy.

Oh, yeah, so what's it about, you ask? The book centers (for the most part) on Mookie Pearl. Mookie works for the Organization. They're ones that control the supply of the titular "Blue Blazes" - a drug that gives you increased strength, endurance and the ability to see the denizens of the Underworld.

In the first few chapters we find out that Mookie's daughter Nora has also been getting involved in the criminal underworld and that the Boss of the Organization is dying of cancer. The Boss tasks Mookie with finding the mythical drug known as Death's Head or The Purple. This one is believed to cure everything and quite possibly bring the dead back to life. This sets of a story that moves at break-neck speed as Mookie finds himself in the caverns and tunnels below New York as he searches for the Death's Head. He'll fight goblins, ghosts and a multitude of other creatures.

The world of THE BLUE BLAZES is fantastic - think Neil Gaiman's NEVERWHERE written as a mob book - and as Wendig slowly reveals more and more of the demonic underbelly of New York you can't help but go along for the ride. At turns creepy and horrifying (but always entertaining), THE BLUE BLAZES is a must-read. I'm kicking myself for not checking out Wendig's work before now. Don't make the same mistake I did
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wild UF/Sci-fi ride 4 Aug. 2014
By Lexxie (un)Conventional Bookviews - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
*I received a free ARC of The Blue Blazes from Angry Robot via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

The Blue Blazes takes place in a weird-ass version of New York! The underworld is close, and Mookie is a huge hulk of a thug who is somehow trying to keep the world more or less safe from the monsters. A part of the organization, Mookie realizes that his biggest opponent in the war for power is his daughter, who now answers to the name Persephone. But all Mookie thought was truth slips away from him as he moves forward through the labyrinth he used to know as well as the back of his hand.

The pacing is simply amazing! Sometimes, so fast it almost hurts to read, and other times it slows down to a painfully slow read, where each detail is etched into both Mookie’s and the reader’s conscience. Fear is ever present, but Mookie just never gives up. The Blue Blazes is the epitome of a wild ride, with a perfect anti-hero at the helm.

The story is something between a convoluted mess and infinite clarity, Blue Blazes simply blew my socks off. Like completely! My first book by Chuck Wendig only left me wanting more, even in this extremely gritty world I would never want to be a part of. Actual monsters, an Underworld filled with some kinds of gods only called ‘the hungry ones’ and other beings desperately hating the humans who live in the light. There is no end to the suffering, even the ending left my heart feeling hollow and sad – as if a piece of my soul had been thorn out by this horrific world where crime, thugs and monsters fight for the power.

The Blue Blazes is also filled with poetic prose, the writing is so different from any other I’ve encountered in the past, and even the ugly, without-morals Mookie somehow managed to gain my respect. I can’t help but rooting for him, it’s just impossible to not want the guy who tried his best to keep the gods, the gobbos and the other monsters safely encased in the big below to win – but I still wonder if that is at all possible.

If you enjoy science fiction / urban fantasy / dystopia / mystery – yeah, it’s kind of difficult to choose only one genre – you should definitely pick up The Blue Blazes as soon as possible, and just sit down, preferably with a seat-belt, and try to enjoy the wild ride.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sopranos meets Supernatural meets The Cabin in the Woods 14 Feb. 2014
By MC - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
3.5 stars.

Mookie Pearl is your familiar thug, bruiser, enforcer. He works for a New York City crime organization. Beneath NYC are worlds beneath worlds of which most people above are unaware. But Mookie and a few others know what's down in the tunnels and lower still. There lies Hell and the Underworld and all manner of dark creatures.

An upheaval in the crime organization endangers Mookie's comfortable life. That his estranged daughter seems to be causing or aiding in the upheaval is a curve ball Mookie does not need.

As it is above, so it is below. The crisis in the world above seems to be mirrored in the worlds below. In order to survive, Mookie might have to wage war with the bosses of the Mafia above, the lords and denizens of Hell and everyone and everything else in between.

A fun read and, if you live in NYC as I do, a different perspective. I wonder what Chuck Wendig sees when he walks the streets of NYC. I, for one, have increased my vigilance and am keeping my eyes very wide open.
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