Book Review, Humor, Science Fiction

Cousin Calls by Zeb Haradon

A college student reluctantly attends a family chili cookout that turns into a never ending nightmare. A man desperate for job skills uses a brain implant to help him learn, but it malfunctions and leaves him sexually attracted to shadows. A private investigator is hired to discover who keeps befouling the walls of convenience store bathrooms. Two deer engaged in combat find that they are unable to unlock from one another’s antlers after the fight is over. A single mother spends 2020 battling an evil landlord, a fascist neighbor, national political chaos, and a global pandemic. These are the strange stories told by regulars at the local bar on Christmas Eve, stories which each began with a phone call from someone who announced “you don’t know me, but we’re cousins.”

I did not know what to expect with this story. This differed from what I am used to reading, but I kind of liked it. I have seen this style of storytelling in movies and television, but this is the first for me as a book style. The book held my interest, but in all honesty, it was a struggle at the beginning. After I got through with that, it was an easy read from then on.

There is not a specific main character per se. What this book did was, there is a character who is listening to tales from these bar regulars. Each one had incidences involving a call that started with “you don’t know me, but we’re cousins.” These characters were interesting in their own way. They were well written, and each one allowed the book to move forward without slowing down.

Like the character, there were many settings in this book. The main setting would be the bar, but you have very little time before another story starts. The stories the regulars tell are from different locations and time eras. There are very science fiction things written into this that, as a reader, you can forget until something futuristic comes along.

This was an interesting book. There were some stories I was like “what am I reading” but after I trudged along and kept reading, my interest still held. If you like humor and multiple stories, then this is the book for you.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion.

I give this book a 3/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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