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Doubletake (Cal Leandros) Mass Market Paperback – March 6, 2012
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"In DOUBLETAKE, Rob Thurman conjures up one of the grittiest tales of the Leandros brothers yet. The dangers here come from unexpected directions, with multiple (and conflicting) treacheries threatening them from all sides... Recommended." -SF Revu
"Touching and at times hilarious, yet intensely compelling, Thurman's story lines are among the darkest in urban fantasy... Any book by Thurman is worth the purchase, but the Cal Leandros series shines, each one better than the one before. DOUBLETAKE is the seventh in the series." -Fresh Fiction
"[A] lightning-paced fusion of Lovecraftian world-building, caustic humor in the style of Harlan Ellison (A BOY AND HIS DOG), and enough gory pulp action to fill a couple of KILL BILL sequels." -FEARnet.com
About the Author
Rob, short for Robyn (yes, he is really a she) Thurman lives in Indiana, land of rolling hills and cows, deer, and wild turkeys. Many, many turkeys. She is also the author of the Cal Leandros Series: Nightlife, Moonshine, Madhouse, and Deathwish; has a story in the anthology Wolfsbane and Mistletoe; and is the author of Trick of the Light, the first book in the Trickster series.
Besides wild, ravenous turkeys, she has a dog (if you don’t have a dog, how do you live?)—one hundred pounds of Siberian husky. He looks like a wolf, has paws the size of a person’s hand, ice blue eyes, teeth out of a Godzilla movies, and the ferocious habit of hiding under the kitchen table and peeing on himself when strangers come by. Fortunately, she has another dog that is a little more invested in keeping the food source alive. By the way, the dogs were adopted from shelters. They were fully grown, already housetrained, and grateful as hell. Think about it next time you’re looking for a Rover or Fluffy.
For updates, teasers, deleted scenes, and various other extras, visit Rob Thurman's website and her LiveJournal.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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But as I am an aspiring writer myself, I've become a huge supporter of frank, constructive criticism. That said, I'll try to be as succinct as possible - and not too much of an insensitive jerk.
I had two major problems with Doubletake.
The first problem isn't with the bond between Cal and Niko, or their relationships with Robin or Promise - that remains pretty much the same. The problem is the story. The plot takes a lot of interesting turns in this book, and unfortunately a lot of them are fairly pointless. For instance, in one chapter, Robin hires Cal and Niko to work as bouncers while his entire race comes together to decide which of them will reproduce. You would think that a great gathering of the Pucks, the oldest and most devious race of tricksters on the planet, would play an important role in the story. Not so much. It pretty much just turns out to be a giant, disgusting orgy that goes on way too long and described with way too much detail. And after the important gathering/orgy is over with, that's it. Nothing. There's no intrigue - no pucks plotting against one another. No thousand-year-old grudges get settled. Nothing. We got a few tidbits about Robin's past, but nothing else.
And that's just one example. I would expect to encounter things like that in well-written (but ultimately misguided) fan fiction, not from the real author!
The second problem was the villain. Of course, as per usual, there is more than one bad guy for the brother's to tackle, but there is always a Big Bad. In this book, it's a man called Grimm. He's pretty much exactly like Caliban but in the all the worse ways. Kind of like Professor Moriarty - all of Sherlock Holmes' abilities, with none of his morality.
The very idea of Grimm makes my spine tingle with anticipation. Finally! Someone that can really challenge Caliban! None of that crap where Cal just makes a gate and boom - bad guy dead. Unfortunately, Grimm is pretty harmless. We get to hear about all the people's he's killed and eaten and whatnot, but we don't really get to see it. I'm sure all of the horrid experiences he describes are true, but talk is just that: talk. I want action. Show me that he's a bad mofo - don't just tell me. Add that to the fact that because his master plan for world domination relies partly on Caliban's participation, thereby keeping him from causing any serious harm to Cal or his friends....like I said, harmless. Virtually every scene they share together is him making big threats and then being unable to follow up on them while Cal kicks his butt at every opportunity. You can't bring Moriarty into the story and then tell him he has to follow certain rules.
That's pretty much where my complaints end. There are some other annoyances, one of them being TOLD about a semi-important character's demise at the hands of Grimm. And Delilah's absence.
All in all, I'd say I am not mad that I read it, but I'm certainly not satisfied either. There was a lot I could have done without *cough* orgy *cough*, and there was even more I really wanted to see but didn't. If you're a fan of the series, there are a few important plot developments you'll want to be aware of in Doubletake, and plus it's always fun to listen to Cal, Niko, and Robin joke and banter with each other while facing certain death. And also, we get an extremely small hint of another romantic candidate for Cal - God knows he needs one.
If you're new to the series, don't start with this book. Ideally, you would start with Nightlife, the first book in the Cal Leandros series, but if you're on the fence about it, I'd recommend starting with Blackout first. It's the strongest book in the series to date. You know...in my opinion.
It seems the author regrets doing away with her main villains, the Auphe, and decides Auphe v.2 is the only fix. So having the evil doppelganger of Cal escape lifelong tortured captivity, go to school to become as smart as Niko, travel about the country learning from and killing many teachers (including Cal's lost love), establish a huge underground lair, capture fifty brood mare succubae, breed over a thousand super-Auphe, somehow single-handedly supply food and necessities to said lair/population, all while keeping a close eye on Cal and learning all of he and his associates weaknesses, all in twelve years, is a wee stretch on immersion in the narrative.
For a series that makes a point of repeatedly saying there is no such thing as magic, this activity is impossible without some serious hocus pocus. I would get caught up in the action and plot twists, only to be jarred out of it by the timeline and impossibilities of the accomplishments of the big villain. I understand he had to be pretty bad-arse to one up all of the past ones in the series, but come on. Don't claim to be plausible and then throw more and more evil successes onto a bad guy that is portrayed most often as a lurker and introspective devil than a guy who would be spending 28 hours a day hauling food and supplies to his lair. Not to mention where does he find the time to continuously rape his brood mares to make the Bae?
At least make my fantasy reading follow some kind of rules.
Most recent customer reviews
Doubletake is another good story of them.
And of course, Robin Goodfellow rocks!