Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Review of Dead Space by Lee Goldberg
Let me preface this review by saying that I am a huge fan of Lee Goldberg. Love him. Love him. Love him. He was the executive producer of Diagnosis Murder (an older television program that my husband and I thoroughly enjoy), and he wrote all of the tie in books for Diagnosis Murder. He has written episodes of some of my fave TV shows such as Psych and Monk, and he also writes all of the tie in books for Monk. He has written many of those books and still has more on the way. I devour his Monk and Diagnosis Murder books. I can't get enough of them. This is really saying something. I think the only other tie in book I have EVER read (outside of Lee's) was the book based on the movie The Karate Kid back when I was like 12. Tie in books are not usually my thing. However, Lee develops characters so well that it not only feels as though I am catching up with old friends, it feels as though I am getting to know my friends on a much deeper level than ever before. Yes, I know that is corny, but it is what it is. I want to feel like the characters I have grown to care about are my friends. I would never read a book or watch a TV show if I were not somehow emotionally invested in the characters. What would be the point?
I also read Lee's blog, A Writer's Life, almost religiously. I have learned a lot from him, and I have no shame in admitting that I have a deep fear of ending up in his "The Mail I Get" section. Trust me. No one wants to end up in that section. He really knows how shine a spotlight on stupidity.
So, when I started reading Lee's book, Dead Space (also known as Beyond The Beyond), I was looking forward to it. Lee has a marvelous sense of humor, and the book promised lots of laughs. His Monk books are hilarious in places, and I know that whatever Lee Goldberg puts out is going to be entertaining. Period.
That being said, don't assume that if you like his other work that you will love Dead Space. You might. You might not. I tend to be one of those old-fashioned folk who can not abide profanity and graphic sex in the books I read. Some of that is the conviction of my faith, and some of that is just plain personal preference. If you are sensitive to cussing and sex, this may not be the book for you.
However, if the worse thing someone says about your writing is that there was too much language and sex...well, that's a good thing. I mean, I have nothing derogatory to say about Lee's writing ability. This was a fun and fast-paced story. I laughed out loud several times. The book is hilarious. It is a satire on the many...um...colorful fans of shows such as Star Trek. It tells the story of how a new television network wants to bring back an old 60's Sci-Fi show (obviously based on Star Trek or shows like it), but the network wants to revamp the show and play to a younger, hipper audience. This doesn't sit well with a few homicidal fans...and a very nutso former star of the show. Chaos ensues, and it is up to former cop, ex-television star and current studio security, Charlie Willis. I love this character, by the way. He is just really cool.
It is up to Charlie to find the killer(s) before anyone else (including himself) is knocked off. It's a fun read. There are a ton of 90's references (since the original version of the book, Beyond The Beyond, came out in the 90's), but the book is not dated. It just seems like a retro book set in the 90's. I loved the 90's pop culture references. It was fun to think...oh, wow, I forgot about her!
I recommend this book to anyone who loves Star Trek or other 60's and 70's Sci-Fi favorites...if you can get past the language and sometimes graphic and very crude references to sex. I personally could not. It's not my thing. Like I said, if the only bad thing you can say about a book is that the author has a dirty mouth, then you just have to ask yourself what is alright with you. The story is funny and a lot of fun. The characters are a hoot. But I give fair warning that there is a lot of profanity and crude sexual...um...stuff. Some of us care about that kind of thing, and some of us don't give a flying fig newton one way or the other.
I still love Lee Goldberg, but I might stick with the tie in books. Still, Charlie Willis rocks.