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Cash Chronicles: The Book o' Samson Kindle Edition
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In ‘Cash Chronicles’, you’re transported back to what the TV series ‘Deadwood’ looked like: the saloon, the gunslingers, the cowboys, the outlaws, the sheriff and what have you. But there’s an aberration: it’s a world crawling with Mutants, with varying abilities and disabilities: some are just poorly deformed, while others, like Sammy Cash, can do jaws-dropping things like shoot flaming bullets. And just like in the Xmen universe, the Mutants are treated with disgust and distrust by the normal people to such an extent that everybody’s talking about a “racial war”. And at the center of it all is Sammy Cash—hard on the outside, soft on the inside, and brimming with superpowers. Imagine Clint Eastwood in The man with no Name—undefeatable, lightning fast, with the bonus of making rings of fire and flaming bullets—and that’s basically what Sammy Cash is. And as the novel progresses, Sammy finds himself pushed into a defensive position just to protect people with the same mutations as he does, pitting him against representatives of the law, particularly the hard-hearted, extremely prejudiced (only as far as mutants are concerned) Gene Hackman-esque Marshal Luther.
But forget about the comparison with the more established works of fiction of comic books: ‘Cash Chronicles’ is a world all its own, thanks to the author’s deeply engaging writing and the way he can hold your attention and compel you to inhabit the book’s world, even for a few hours. This is top-notch writing right here, and I’m kind of hoping somebody in Hollywood options this for a movie version—this will look awesome on the big screen.
In any case, this is the most enjoyable book I’ve read in months—I love it to shreds, and if the author releases a sequel, I’ll buy it in a heartbeat. Five solid stars for this one.
Unlike many novels since the beginning of the Kindle years, this one makes sense and transports the reader. Most just seem like someone's idea of a mix of setting and plot devices thought up while watching television. This is the real thing boys and girls, white hats and black hats, mutants, and rules. That's the import thing. The rules in this novel, what the mutants can and can't do. Bravo.
Don't worry. Finish the book, and then read it again. You'll enjoy it even more. I know I did.
The world in which the lead character lives and operates resembles the United States in the second half of the Nineteenth Century: the small town, the road, the frontier, the ever-present saloon, the bank, the railroad, the telegraph line, the peppery articles in newspapers, the burly sheriff and his cohorts, the President's speech: it's all there. But the Rules are different.
Oh, yes: the Rules.
The conflict between ordinary humans and a new race of people is in full swing. Some of the regular folk can still afford the luxury of being completely ignorant of it; but to each member of the new race it's a war in which they're heavily outnumbered, tracked down, chased, driven to despair, and forced to resort to survival tactics hitherto unheard of. Some of them have strange and wonderful powers that can sometimes work against them. Well, in fact, all of them have powers, but . . . No, I don't want to spoil it for you.
This is an important point: the book is NOT a modern fairy tale in the spirit of Superman and Batman films. There are no superheroes immune to ordinary human perils, no moody sluggers who can go on for weeks without eating or breathing, walk through fire, and take two-week sabbaticals to wander near the North Pole in only their underwear. Remember? The Rules are different. And the Rules are PERFECTLY REALISTIC. That's the amazing part. A man who can instantly create a circle of raging fire? He himself can be consumed by the flames as easily as the next person. A woman who can leap great distances runs the risk of getting killed by smashing against a tree or wall. Telepathy, a wonderful gift a character can ostensibly use to their advantage can destroy said character unless they're very, very careful (situations in which careful planning is impossible are numerous). And so forth.
The realistic aspect of the story is oftentimes frightening.
The adventures of the lead character revolve around his ultimate goal (which I will not reveal here); his success (or failure) is predicated on a lot more than just his above-average human abilities (handling firearms, quick thinking, forming alliances, etc) and his superpowers (he is very much a member of the new race): he has to stay focused even in his sleep; each aspect of his life is charged with danger. His past? Dangerous. His future? Uncertain and highly dangerous. His present? Danger at every turn. Falling in love with a girl is as dangerous as robbing a bank, possibly more; striking up a simple conversation with a fellow rider is at least as dangerous as confronting a hostile sheriff and his posse. But perseverance is this man's second . . . okay, third . . . nature.
There's a lot of wonderful humor in the story, and it's consistent with the Rules.
For instance, the one traditional character every adventure novel must have, the proverbial Wise Man who knows more than most others, is . . . no, I'm not going to spoil it for you, but here's a glimpse:
"Solomon's demeanor was not subject to much change, and unfortunately most of the time he had a hangdog look about him, as though he were constantly in a foul mood somewhere between anger, impatience and depression."
A few lines further:
"Solomon simply stared at him as if he'd just asked him if he were pregnant."
Throughout the narrative a husky female voice surfacing in the background of the story provides little clues, glimpses of the lead character's hopes and/or intentions. These Southern-sounding mini-monologues are laced with delicious sarcasm; and, yes, they're a masterpiece: the presence of the Voice gives the story an unexpected dimension that is both fascinating and comforting. Pay attention, reader: when all is said and done, the Voice is your only true ally in this murky labyrinth of disturbing thrills:
"But Sammy Cash had a heart, and I hope that much was plain after what y'all just heard. Most men don't know what it is to have a heart, to care for a woman as deeply as Sammy did and then lose her, and the candle o' longing that burned in Sammy's heart never went out. He had love to give, love that started with his and got carried with him through the darkest, rainiest nights, holdin' him steady in the face o' terrible northers, droughts, wounds, struggle and change."
Once you start reading it, you won't be able to put it down. It is highly unusual, amazingly original . . . and did I mention it's a page-turner? No? Well. It is.
The thesis of the book is about mutations who want to live in peace and safety among the "normal" people, instead of being rejected and often - worse - being demonized and hunted down for their differences. This book would be an excellent book for teaching kids about racial, economic, and social and political segregation. It metaphorically addresses those issues. That is good because addressing the issues directly may not consider the sensitivity of those children who are suffering from racial, economic, and social and political differences. Moreover, addressing the issues directly may emphasize the differences and, therefore, it could give to bullies ammo to use against other children.
This book is a joy to read because it is more than a simple fiction book. This book combines comic-book ideas with actual history. Regarding comic-book ideas, most of the main characters, as already noted, have mutant-like abilities. Samson Emmanuel Cash ("Sammy"), "absorb[s] [direct sunlight] through his hair's ends," to create fire and Sammy's eyes turn red (pg. 48). Melissa Revere has a forked tongue, green, speckled scales, and forest green hair. Abraham Lincoln can extend his bones to make himself taller! Regarding actual history, Samson Emmanuel Cash is named after Johnny Cash, the famous musician; Johnny Cash has a famous song called, "Ring of Fire," and Sammy's notable fire-creating ability is creating Rings o' Fire. Melissa Revere is named after Paul Revere; both are revolutionaries. Abraham Lincoln is the sixteenth president of the United States of America.
There are sub-topics in this book that teenagers would certainly be interested in too. For instance, Sammy likes Mackenzie's girl, Tori (also a mutation). Every popular book for teenagers seems to have some sort of struggle for love. That leads me into my next point which is that this book is excellent for character analysis:
1) Sammy is the protagonist of the story, but Sammy acts the wrong way in several different circumstances. For instance, he acts on his liking of Mackenzie's girlfriend, he robs a bank, and so on (I will not give away too much information). So, in spite of all the good Sammy wants to do, one must ask a number of questions: "Is Sammy bad?"; "Is Sammy only seen as good from the narrator's perspective?"; and "Could Sammy have acted differently and within the law to get his desired results?" Sammy is a great character to analyze.
2) Martin Luther (another historical reference) is the antagonist of the story since he dislikes mutations, and yet Luther seems good in other ways. Luther worships God and Luther believes that, "...murder without due cause [is] still wrong, and upholding the law [is] important for the maintenance of civilization" (pg. 58). So, while Luther will not typically blink an eye before executing a mutation, Luther displays the desire to do right and Luther sides with the law. Notably, Luther has good reason to dislike mutations. They harm others and Luther's primary duty is to protect others. Martin Luther is a great character to analyze.
So, this book is very philosophical. It is about justice. It is about the battle of right and wrong. It is metaphorically about the major issues we face today in our society with many sub-plots (e.g. romance stories) sprinkled into it. Rarely do I read a book more than once. This page-turner I read twice. That may not seem impressive to you, but it is in my world - the book is well-written (e.g. the grammar is good), it flows nicely (e.g. the transitions are good and I did not have any confusion), and it displays a sense of humor (e.g. "So you like workin' with dead people"/ "I do."/ "Why?"/ "They do not talk") (pg. 175).
The storyline itself is pretty interesting and written in a very authentic way. There are several paragraphs throughout the book written in an old western fashion that really create that ''old country'' feeling while reading.
Overally, a very different and interesting book to read.