- File Size: 390 KB
- Print Length: 171 pages
- Publisher: Shinebox Press (November 11, 2011)
- Publication Date: November 11, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0066HBT6U
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #989,585 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Astro Van Kindle Edition
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More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Flanagan is a shrewd observer of humankind, and he has a deft gift for nailing a character or emotion in just a few words of dialogue or description. The things that the people say and do seem completely sensible even when you know that no one possibly could've just said or done whatever it was. The book isn't formatted with numbered chapters and so on, but this lack of formality seems fitting, given the book's easy charm. It's a funny romp from the first page to the last.
The hero, Ted, drives his astro van from Double Falls, New York, to LA, with no idea of what he's going to do when he gets there, and gets a job for a puppet show company. (No, that's not a typo.) His boss, Jack, takes Ted under his wing with the zest of Zorba the Greek crossed with John Wayne, or something like that. The twosome go on to take Vegas by storm. They blow some stuff up, meet women and some good and bad guys, and out of it all Ted receives a bizarre initiation into his true self. I think women as well as men will cheer Ted on, and wish they could have a mentor like Jack, who by the way is also independently wealthy. It's life at its best--impossible yet real.
Jon P. Bloch (The Kindle Book Review)
The story is a lot of fun, with a quirky cast of characters and some genuine laugh out loud moments of comedy. It's tone reminded me of the kind of comedies that popped up in independent films of the 90s. The two main characters had the kind of relationship that Steve Buscemi would have on screen with Seymour Cassell.
My negatives are very few. There are some typos and the formatting isn't perfect, but the book is such a blast to read, you quickly forget about things like that. My main complaint is that I wish it was longer. Some additional length would allow certain incidents to happen a little more organically and not because it's what the author needed to happen at that time to advance the plot. But for purely selfish reasons, I also just wanted to spend more times with these characters. I especially developed a real fondness for Jack during the journey I took with him in this book, and I got a little sad at the end, knowing our time together was over.
I would easily recommend this book to anybody looking for a good read. It's a Hell of a lot of fun and at $2.99 you aren't going to find better bang for your entertainment dollar.
These matters aside, the book works very well. It is fast paced and fun. Ted is a good guy, an average guy who takes off to LA with nothing but his Astro Van. Ted begins working for Jack Herschfeld, a Jim Henson wannabe (who has no love for the Muppet creator) who became famous in the 70s for a Pufnstuf-esque children's television show. Before long, Ted and his Astro Van are on the road to Vegas with Jack, some puppets, and a mysterious car following them...and shooting at them. In the words of Jack,
"Just because a man can work a puppet doesn't mean he doesn't live the darkness."
The book is a comedic crime caper in the vein of Carl Hiassen or Elmore Leonard. It's not a profound book by any means, but it's not trying to be. It's a quick, fun read. Not bad at all for a first novel. Congratulations Josh! I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.
After reading the novel (it's a fairly quick read), I can say that I enjoyed the story, and it was pretty well told. Unfortunately, I kept being yanked out of the story by things I characterized as "needs an editor". There were typos, (a few) errors, and a bit of wandery-ness of story that while I was reading it, I kept saying to myself, "It's OK, and it's entertaining enough, but it's also clear there was no editor". This is only an assumption on my part - but I can't imagine that someone else would have let these sorts of problems slip through without being addressed.
To sum up: I enjoyed it, and I recommend it - definitely at this price! Josh clearly has talent, but if I were speaking directly to him about this, I'd say "please have someone you trust look it over, and try to incorporate their feedback." I have every expectation that his next effort will shine.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A distinct worry crept up on my over the course of the first two thirds of the book. "I see where this is going, it's not bad, it's just how most things like this go. Read morePublished on February 10, 2013 by S. Kreider
A great first outing by comic writer Josh Flanagan. The book is fast paced and attention grabbing, with relatable and well-rounded characters throughout. Read morePublished on July 11, 2012 by J.D. Rice
When small town nebbish Ted meets the eccentric ex-influential puppet maker Jack Herschfeld, it can only be defined as life transforming. Read morePublished on May 28, 2012 by Reuven
Astro Van is the perfect length for a weekend road trip. You might even ask your buddy to circle the block a few more times as you finish reading this picaresque yarn aloud. Read morePublished on February 27, 2012 by Paul F Montgomery
Anyone who has ever been young and struggled to make a name for himself should feel right at home between the pages of this book. Read morePublished on February 13, 2012 by Jim Mroczkowski
I picked up Astro Van as soon as I heard about, being a long-time listener of the writer's podcasts. I had a backlog of reading on my Kindle at the time, and so I let it linger. Read morePublished on February 6, 2012 by Andrew Marshall
Josh Flanagan tells a very entertaining and fun story in an extremely witty, yet not insensitive, voice. I am a big fan of Mr. Flanagan's other work and follow him at ifanboy.com . Read morePublished on February 4, 2012 by Arin
Josh Flanagan has a unique and piercingly witty voice in a marketplace desparate for young talent. Astronomy Van is a bargain at treble the price and when you finish it, check out... Read morePublished on February 3, 2012 by Kindle Customer
I picked this up because well... I know the author and it was $3.99 and thought what the hell. As the first prose offering from the author I was impressed by the fleshed out... Read morePublished on February 3, 2012 by Amazon Customer