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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars who dares wins
The premise of the book is admirably ambitious. Simply put, take twelve writers (the mad men) and get each to produce a short story on how they arrived in a mental institution, then weave these individual tales into an overall narrative. My main concern initially was that the stories would be too similar. How many ways are there to end up in such a place. Thankfully at...
Published 7 months ago by Robert C

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea but poorly executed.
At times some good stories but mostly pretentious and badly glued together as one book. Not really worth the effort of reading.
Published 13 days ago by John A McDonagh


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars who dares wins, 4 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Twelve Mad Men (Kindle Edition)
The premise of the book is admirably ambitious. Simply put, take twelve writers (the mad men) and get each to produce a short story on how they arrived in a mental institution, then weave these individual tales into an overall narrative. My main concern initially was that the stories would be too similar. How many ways are there to end up in such a place. Thankfully at least twelve seems to be the answer as there is no significant overlap between the tales of woe, gore, and deviancy. Similarly, there's a wide range of writing styles, from gritty realism to the psychotically bizarre. This is one of the strengths of the book, preventing sameness and boredom. This isn’t just a collection of short stories however. At the centre of it all is the narrator / "guard" who's first night on duty grows in paranoid tension as the twelve tales, one by one seep into his psyche, building a story of his own.
Criticisms? Putting the writers name at the start of their tale diverts you from the story, reminding you that you are reading pieces of fiction. It may have been better to just have this info at the start or end of the book. Also, a few of the stories could have been a little longer. That said, unlike the experience of Oliver Twist, asking for more isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Overall a very dark, gritty and effective book, with a high standard of writing. Each reader will have their own preference as to the best story / writer, and that is part of the point of the book. What the book offers as well as a good read, is the opportunity to sample twelve writers for the price of one. No bad thing. Enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 4 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Twelve Mad Men (Kindle Edition)
Having read the works of some of the authors involved in this project previously I thought that I knew what to expect.

Boy was I wrong.

Sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, sometimes paranormal, but always gripping, this is a tale that will impress you with the complexities whilst engaging you with the need to read on.

A fantastic display of some of the best writers of the "I don't give a damn and write to push my artistic limits, please just strap yourself in and enjoy the ride" genre, if such a thing existed, doing just that and all brought together by a master of the art, Ryan Bracha.

Although this concept was a brave undertaking by all involved, they have created something that may be replicated, but ultimately will not be bettered due to the way that they all appeared to throw themselves wholeheartedly into the project, and appeared to enjoy themselves doing it.

An interesting look at mental illness as a subject, as well as the brains ability to find coping mechanisms is apparent, but in reality this is just a fantastic bloody book, by so many talented authors that it is must read for that reason alone. The fact that every penny raised from this will also always go to charity means that by not buying it you are the mad one, and a tight fisted so and so.

Get it bought, get it read and feel good about doing your bit for charity, and then thank the authors for their hard work, toil and dedication by buying their back catalogues. You will not be disappointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Twelve Mad Med, 3 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Twelve Mad Men (Kindle Edition)
Run off to Amazon (unless you’re there already), click the look inside for this book, and read Ryan Bracha’s introduction. If the concept appeals to you, the book should, too. For the tl;dr crowd (that’s “too long; didn’t read, for the uninitiated), the concept is each of the contributors imagined they were “residents” at St. David's Asylum for the Criminally Insane, and tell the story of how they got there. As Bracha says in the introduction, it is a chance for each to “showcase their most depraved sides.” Then Bracha added words of his own between each contribution to weave a coherent whole.

It turned out better than I’d have guessed possible. Assuming depraved and (again borrowing from Bracha’s intro) “violent, sweary, funny, and filthy” are your thing. (Aren’t they everyone’s?) That each author’s character used their own name added to the humor as I, for example, imagined Keith Nixon as an oil painting crazy with a talent for making psychiatrists throw up their hands in frustration or Mark Wilson as a gender-confused patient with an addiction to what in times past was euphemistically called “self-abuse” (often accompanied by warnings of impending blindness). Not for the faint of heart, but a must read for horror fans interested in something different.

**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Think I'm going slightly mad !!!!, 10 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Twelve Mad Men (Kindle Edition)
Brilliant.......only word for it. Great concept of 12 different writers involved in the 1 book. 12 very different stories to keep you captivated to the end. Have to say some really f@#d up imaginations you guys have......brilliant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read involving a dozen authors, 6 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Twelve Mad Men (Kindle Edition)
A good read involving a dozen authors, each of them writing the story of one of the titular mad men. It all takes place inside an asylum on the first night of new guard/orderly. as he does his rounds we are told the background story of the inmates/patients & there is a (predictable) twist in the tail.
I have given it 4 stars because there are a lot of mistakes in the book, which should have been spotted by the many people involved in it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Screams off of the pages and rattles your subconscious, 17 July 2014
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This review is from: Twelve Mad Men (Kindle Edition)
Hugely ambitious in its conception and immensely skilful in its execution. The narrative of pulling together so many different voices shouldn't work but it does screaming off the pages and rattling your subconscious just as surely as the voices of Bedlam did.
Wonderful.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea but poorly executed., 13 April 2015
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This review is from: Twelve Mad Men (Kindle Edition)
At times some good stories but mostly pretentious and badly glued together as one book. Not really worth the effort of reading.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Although it desperately needs a good proof read and I kinda saw the ending coming ..., 27 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Twelve Mad Men (Kindle Edition)
Fabulous idea, and a genuinely interesting book which kept me gripped. Although it desperately needs a good proof read and I kinda saw the ending coming a mile off. Didn't make it any less enjoyable though!
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Twelve Mad Men
Twelve Mad Men by Paul D Brazill
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