By Beau Smith

In Memory and Respect To Steve Gerber and Dave Stevens

Written by Matthew Reilly

As most of you regular Knuckleheads know, I read a lot of books. My average is one to two a week. The library and the bookstores are my friends. This is on top of comic books, newspapers and magazines that I read. I’ve always been this way. I also walk an average of two to four miles a day, seven days a week. Recently I upgraded my iPod Shuffle to the new iPod Touch, you know, the iPhone without the phone part, (The annoying part if you ask me) when you walk as much as I do sometimes music just isn’t enough, so I also listen to audiobooks as well. As you can see, if I’m not reading then I’m listening. It’s also kinda nice to be able to surf the web and check email when I’m globe trotting.

This past week I was looking for something with a lot of action to break my new iPod in. I went to a writer that I enjoy like I enjoy doughnuts. Matthew Reilly. I’ve read all his books except Scarecrow so that was my choice to listen to.

Scarecrow is one of Reilly’s heroes from his other books Ice Station and Area 7. By far, Scarecrow is the best of the three by far. Captain Shane Schofield is the best of the best of the elite Marines. He’s Batman, Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, G.I. Joe and Jack Bauer on full throttle steroids. Speaking of Eastwood, the reader of the audiobook is Scott Sowers. He is one of the best. In reading Scarecrow he uses a Clint Eastwood tone and pulls it off perfect. He is also superb at doing various voices and accents. He’s one of my favorites and perfect for this story and character.

In this story, Shane Schofield, A.K.A “Scarecrow” (For scars around his eyes) is being hunted by a seemingly endless army of international bounty hunters and mercenaries. The prize for the hunters is $18.6 million per head, and all 15 heads must be taken within six days. The search for the person behind this bounty hunt takes Schofield and his loyal band of marines and new found friends, around the world and in and out of one life-threatening situation after another. If you think 24 is told at a break-neck speed, then you haven’t experienced anything yet. This story is a foot stomped on the gas pedal and there is no letting go for almost 400 pages. Take every cliffhanger in all three Indiana Jones movies and double it a dozen times. Take the most impossible situations you can think of then triple it. You will be amazed at all the action in this story.

Let me tell you ahead of time, if you think you’re gonna be reading Cormac McCarthy, Hemingway or another great piece of deep character literature then think again because you’ve come to the wrong place. This isn’t a steak at Morton’s. This is a triple-decker, three kind of cheeses, onion covered, pickle populated, mustard coated, ketchup wearing, four strips of bacon cheeseburger with a mountain of chili cheese fries and a quart mug of Jolt Cola.

There are no deep layers of character background. There are no flowery passages of description heavy scenery. This is old school, balls to the walls hero stuff. Every cool weapon that you can think of is here. (even ones you don’t know yet). Schofield’s Marine vest has more toys than eight Batman utility belts. There’s maximum gun play, jet dog fights, fist fights, snapped necks, broken jaws, legs, arms, busted eyeballs and more bloody, gory deaths that you can poke an ice pick in.

The bad guys are beyond bad. They’re every James Bond, Jonny Quest, and Osama Bin Laden villain multiplied by a dozen. Many times when there was a cliffhanger and all looked lost I would pause, take a breath and then hear what I knew was coming and smile because I KNEW it was coming, I mean that in a good way. This story was every hero fantasy I had as a 10 year old, but wasn’t allowed to read. Now as an adult I can read it and just enjoy as I would as a kid. If they ever made this as a movie the budget would have to be over 300 million.

The names of the characters are straight out of a Larry Hama written G.I. JOE comic book. It’s that much fun. I’d call this a guilty pleasure, but I have no guilt!

Check the book and author out at his website Tell em’ Beau sent you and be manly about it.

Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff
Harper Collins Publishing

While at the library I happened across this striking cover attached to an unusual formatted book. I had to pick it up and look at it. I’m glad I did. What I found was Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff. Two-Hundred and twenty five pages of a true reading experience. Just when you thought you’ve read every kind of style there is, something comes along and surprises you.

Bad Monkeys is like a bag of Chili Cheese Fritos. You have to eat the whole bag. Once I started, I had to read the whole book right then. After the first chapter there was no way I could stop until I had read the very last word. Bad Monkeyswas like seeing Pulp Fiction for the very first time.

Bad Monkeys is told in a style that I haven’t come across before. It screams to be a film. Writer Matt Ruff has the eyes of a director, an Oscar winning director. His slant on story telling and dialogue is amazing.

Bad Monkeys is about a very interesting woman named Jane Charlotte. She’s been arrested for murder. She tells police that she’s a member of a secret organization devoted to fighting evil; her division is called The Department For The Final Disposition Of Irredeemable Persons?”Bad Monkeys” for short. Her confession earns Jane a trip to the jail’s psychiatric wing, where a doctor attempts to determine whether she’s lying, crazy or playing a different game altogether. What follows is one of the most clever and gripping novels I’ve ever read.

Bad Monkeys is insane and you’ll enjoy being crazy enough to read it.

Busted Knuckles Manly Cover of the Week: Primate: The Sword of Darwin #1
Image Comics 2001
Cover painting by David Michael Beck

Speaking of Bad Monkeys…it’s not often that I pick my own books as Manly Covers of the Week, (So I lie…) but this week it seemed to be right. Behold Primate: Sword of Darwin. This is cover A from mine and Kevin Bernhardt’s one shot thriller. It’s painted by THE David Michael Beck of Star Wars, Jonah Hex and movie poster fame. You can never go wrong with a giant ape that knows sign language and trench knives. It ain’t bad to have a double gun totin’ babe with you either. The interior art was by the fabulous Mitch Byrd. One of my favorite covers of all time!

Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week: Kate Del Castillo

She hails from Mexico City, Mexico. She has stolen my heart. You may know the curvy Kate Del Castillo from such films such as……naw, unless you’ve seen her Mexican films and you speak Spanish, then you probably haven’t seen much of her stuff. Being the urbane, well traveled kinda guy that I am…I have seen her in some of her films. You should keep your eyes peeled for her in the crime/action movie Bad Guys coming out this year.

The Roundup

Okay, You say you’ve never met me or heard my soothing, twangy, semi-southern accent? You say you want to? Well then , my little amigos, it’s your lucky day. Earlier this week our local NBC affiliate WSAZ-TV did a very nice interview with me here in my hometown of Huntington, West Virginia. The interview took place at Comic World owned and operated for 28 years by Kathleen Miller. Anchorman, Tim Irr and I spent two hours talking comics, writing and my lurid background so you can be better informed on…ME!

If you have the time, check out the 3 minute video at the WSAZ link:

They have a place for you to leave comments so I expect to see you write something nice. (That goes for my family members as well)

I hope you enjoy. See y’all next week.

Beau Smith
The Flying Fist Ranch

Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!

About The Author

Beau Smith

Beau Smith is a writer for Comics Bulletin