Monday, February 2, 2015

It's a Weird, Weird Canyon

Weird Canyon by A.M. Jordan has a fire-breathing dragon that burns down a mountain town, but the book is not sword & sorcery fantasy.

Instead, Weird Canyon is a fun contemporary fantasy and coming-of-age tale that starts out with two, high school senior, best buddies devastating their Colorado mountain hometown with a science club parade float gone awry. The float has a huge dragon--a fire-breathing dragon powered by a Viet Nam-era military surplus flamethrower that the manufacturer had bought back and refitted as a commercial weed sprayer, only to be refitted back into a flamethrower by one Sieg Shultz, against the advice of his best friend and frequent partner in mischief, Danny Jael.

In the aftermath of the Great Mohawk Fire, the two friends need jobs to stay out in the world on probation, rather than filling cells in prison for arson. Big Ed Jael, Danny's uncle, gets sympathetic and hires them as housemen to work on renovating the run-down Lake Weir Resort that Big Ed has recently acquired.

The boys try to do a good job. Along the way, they find the complications of romance; perform weird science experiments; and discover ghosts, a fake medium, and a shady developer who has other plans for the resort. But most importantly, they meet Howard, an Oxford-educated Sasquatch they struggle to hide from visiting tabloid reporters. [Note: The deciding factor in my decision to publish this book was that the effort to hide Howard culminates in a chase that would make for the best Scooby Do episode ever.]

I think this book demonstrates that Jordan has both the comic sensibility and storytelling skill to take the absurd and make it believable.

There is one scene that might make some parents uncomfortable, where Sieg unleashes a pheromone experiment that leads to a hotel lobby filled with people caught up in varying degrees of passion and undress. Although one character calls the situation an "orgy," the scene is tastefully written and not at all explicit.

In summary, Weird Canyon is a funny, coming of age tale, with memorable characters and imaginative situations.

If you'd like chances to win a free copy of Weird Canyon, go to our Facebook page at and join our email list. Every quarter, we will randomly pick email list members who will receive free copies of the Thursday Night Press book of their choice. While you're there, like us.

[Since the original posting, newsletter signup has been added to the blog.]

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