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Habeas Corpses Mass Market Paperback – 24 Apr 2007

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Baen Books; Reprint edition (24 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416521259
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416521259
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 3.3 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,452,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Wm. Mark Simmons is the author of six novels; his first, " In The Net of Dreams," was a finalist for the Compton Crook Award and made the "Locus" "Best" list in 1991. For Baen, he inaugurated a new fantasy series, which began with "One Foot in the Grave," followed by "Dead on My Feet," and now by "Habeas Corpses." Simmons has worked as a teacher, actor, director, musician, and entertainer, hosting his own shows on both television and radio while winning awards as a journalist and copywriter. He currently manages a public radio station in Louisiana and hosts a classical music program.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By PJ Rankine TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Dec. 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not the best one of the four books in this series. Here our hero takes on cloned Nazis hiding in a mountain and plotting to take over the world and defeats them with the assistance of the Wendigo and other native American allies, and the NSA didn't notice? Simmons introduces some nice ideas like 'bloodwalking' where the hero can take over another body by jumping in through their blood if they have a wound of any sort. Once again he shows off his research skills by having his hero spouting needless reams about the Nazis and their experiments. The book is at its best when the hero is interacting with the other vampires at the end and the way he deals with them was new and inspired. Only buy it if you're a fan of the earlier two.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
"Spook softly, Junior, and carry a big shtick" 12 Nov. 2005
By Marise Ann Smirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The headline isn't mine. It belongs to page 228 of one of the funniest, strangest, and scariest books I've read in a long time. With "Habeas Corpses", Wm. Mark Simmons extends the run of Chris Csejthe, a half-finished vampire who also has other problems - things like a touch of demon blood in his veins, a smattering of dissolved silver in his body, a fiance who just happens to be a werewolf, and a neighboring graveyard in which the dead come to life at night and want to borrow his books. Add to that the growing knowledge - among all the 'wrong people', of course - that his blood contains a rujuvenating factor - perhaps even an immortality factor - and you have a novel in which the hero spends a lot more time being chased by the bad guys than the other way around.

Even more interesting than a marvelously contorted plot line, a cast of characters that would make most horror moviemakers pull their hair with envy, and a plethora of puns that can only be described as ranging from the good through the bad to the ugly, Simmons overlays the story with a philosophy of life - and death - that finally becomes downright frightening.

"Habeas Corpses" is the third novel in a series that gets better with each iteration, and should provide several hours of prime-time entertainment to anyone who enjoys an inspired mix of fantasy and science fiction.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Pun After Pun After Pun After Pun After Pun After Pun After Pun... 2 Sept. 2006
By Marc Ruby™ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
William Simmons first book in this series was a very successful parody of the vampire genre. Christopher Csejthe, reeling from the loss of his wife and child winds up in the clutches of a well-meaning vampire with the end result that he is half way to being a vampire himself - a vampire notwannabe if you will. In the ensuing stories Chris gets infected by a werewolf bite (making him a dhampyre notwannabe). When he manages to do away with Erzebet Bathory, the master of New York, Chris has only one choice - to take over the rule of the city before someone kills him for it. Ever hapless, he decides he knows better and, to put it plainly, runs away to Louisiana.

As you can probably predict, living a creaky old house by a zombie filled graveyard with your werewolf girlfriend and a drop dead gorgeous recovering vampire is not conducive to long-term peace. In no time at all Csejthe is receiving living body parts in the mail and unexpected visits by giant cyborgs intent on remodeling the neighborhood. Bad things happen to good people and Chris is off to New York to face the responsibilities he has been hiding from. But vampire politics aside Chris also discovers that a group of revenant Nazi's are determined to use his blood in their quest for eternal life. Enter Dr. Mengele and the valkyries.

I'm going to get beaten up for this but I found Simmons writing more irritating than funny this time around. I don't want you to get the impression that I like being sarcastically critical. I would much rather get sucked into a great book and write gushingly enthusiastic reviews. But what was a good thing in a thin volume wears less well when the author remains determined to write exactly one kind of book time after time. The books, of course, getting heavier and more expensive. Writing and characters have to develop and Habeas Corpses only offers iteration. Chris Csejthe causes 90% of his problems and I find main characters who cannot manage their own lives are a drag.

In addition, it quickly becomes clear that the puns and in-jokes were written first and the plot is really an effort to set them up. Be aware that you need to be over 50 or a horror film geek or you will miss much of the book's humor. Also be prepared for a lot of stereotype jokes. This works in moderation in a book that is genuinely funny on its own, but when it is pasted on over a plot that doesn't always flow the laughs begin to taper off. I'm not sure if this book will make it to paperback, but I'd wait for it to get there before buying it.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A fun third instalment of the half life of Chris Cséjthe 23 Nov. 2005
By K. Maxwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chris Cséjthe is now Doman of the New York vampire enclave. However, his problems are far from over as repeated assassination attempts show. When one attempt is successful enough to part Chris's spirit from his body he learns more about his own abilities and the afterlife than he ever bargained for. He also finds out that not all the horrors in the world are birthed from normal "monsters" or have fangs attached.

This has been an enjoyable third outing of Chris's half life adventures. The story has some unexpected twists and turns. Chris's character also grows and learns and the story is chock full of pop culture references, puns and literary quotes. It makes me look forward to more books in this series. For a reasonably light hearted, semi-vampire novel with a likeable central character these books are worth picking up for a read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The first was the best, but we live in hope for better things 15 Sept. 2008
By Austenparker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Simmons' third foray into the satirical fantasy genre beats out its predecessor in terms of staying on point, plot-wise, and not being eye-rolling-ly inappropriate in the timing of the protagonist's erudition. However, the first book of this series stands out as the best of the bunch.

If you want something more cerebral than bodice-ripping, this series is definitely the way to go. However, be forewarned that Simmons' editor seems to have taken a hiatus, given the success of the first book, witnessed by the increasing girth of each ensuing entry. While it's a plus that the author has done his research, it's definitely a minus for the author to beat his readers over the the head with the painful minutiae of all he has gleaned. Seriously, sometimes less is more. (Or even "brevity is the soul of wit", to throw one back at the quote-happy author.) A more experienced writer would, perhaps, have dropped in an illusion to the mythological framework upon which he was embroidering, rather than giving us all the specs which accompany it. (If we're that curious, we'll look it up ourselves.)

And, yes, I _do_ understand the gag of inappropriately timed discourses on philosophical topics - but, you've done it before. Let it die, even if the protagonist is seemingly unkillable. Some things just need to be laid to rest.

All-in-all, not the worst book I've ever read, but it definitely tried my patience at points and challenged my OCD need to finish things. The author would have done better to have chosen one clean plot and stuck to it, rather than rambling all over the cultural and historical landscape in order to show off the author's own accumulated treasure-trove of knowledge. (This one book alone could easily have been broken down into two, if not three, more tightly-paced novels instead of crammed into one massive, unfocused work.)

If his plot-pacing improves and the characters actually develop a bit, then Simmons is on his way to being a power-house force to be reckoned with in the fantasy genre (he can do witty dialogue like nobody's business). If not, then he'll remain a pleasant, curious diversion in an over-crowded, highly competitive genre.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Dead, the Undead and Chris 3 Sept. 2008
By Arthur W. Jordin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Habeas Corpses (2003) is the third fantasy novel in the HalfLife Chronicles series, following Dead On My Feet. In the previous volume, Chris acted as a stand-in for the Baron Samedi and rescued most of the loa captured by Lilith, the mother of demons. He was rescued from a BioWeb reception by civil war revenants and was pronounced Doman of the New York City demesne after taking down the previous head.

Chris refused to return to the Seattle demesne and went home to his riddled house with Deirdre, J.D., and Kurt. Lupe appeared and was not pleased. Chris was compelled to tell her about most of the events. She was calming down, but then Jenny used in the bedroom shower.

In this novel, Christopher Csejthe -- pronounced Chay-tay -- is having problems. Assassins have been showing up regularly, probably from other factions in the New York demesne. He is having prophetic dreams. And the dead in the cemetery next door are becoming restless about the nightly movie fare; they want Ally Beale instead of monster movies.

Lupe is very suspicious of the continuing presence of Deirdre as his security chief. The ex-vampire has a very alluring body, especially with the new suntan. Chris is very attracted to her by a combination of lust and blood hunger, but has remained true to Lupe despite the attraction.

Then Chris has an unusual email. It showed an inscription in Egyptian hieroglyphs and then pulls Chris into a three-dimension illusion of an unknown room and an elderly man. Doctor Pipt introduces himself and declares that he had spent his professional life looking for the secrets of immortality. He wants some blood from Chris.

Meanwhile, Deirdre answers the doorbell and finds a beating heart in a glass jar on the doorstep. Nobody is anywhere nearby. So how does the heart keep beating without its bodily support? Chris suspects that Doctor Pipt knows!

In this story, Chris calls Stefan Pagelovitch in the Seattle demesne to ask about Theresa Kellerman's head. He discovers that it is no longer in the western demesne. Someone from the New York demesne has taken it back east.

Chris finally finds the right time to ask Lupe to marry him. Lupe accepts and wears his grandmother's ring, but tries to talk him out of a large marriage in New York. Vampires just don't marry Lupen.

It is a dark and stormy night, perfect for a half-vampire to buy to a wedding band for a werewolf. As they are shopping, two strangers walk in and pull guns. They rob the place and then try to take Chris as a hostage.

Chris concludes that the whole ploy is really another assassination attempt. Mama Samm and Olive Purdue ambush the gunmen and release Chris and Lupe. Unfortunately, both are shot and Lupe seems to be dying. Mama Samm takes them to the Gator-man, a traiteur in the bayous.

Later, Deirdre seduces Chris into taking some of her blood and Lupe walks in to see the transaction. Lupe walks out and leaves the house. Chris packs up and leaves for New York City. Kurt Szekely meets him at LaGuardia airport.

This tale leads Chris into a hotbed of intrigue, backstabbing -- literal and otherwise -- and rumor. The vampire clans in New York are even worst than elsewhere. Kurt has been steward for Chris over these scheming, untrustworthy and predatory groups while he stayed in Louisiana. Now Chris gets the full effect.

Chris has new experiences in New York, including being shot in the heart, becoming ghost-like, and meeting a variety of nature spirits. He doesn't exactly live through those times, but still recovers at the end. Enjoy!

Recommended for Simmons fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of preternatural creatures, supernatural spirits, and tangled romance.

-Arthur W. Jordin
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