Although many don’t often consider it, blending the vastly different worlds of novels and comic books is no easy task. Doing it well is indeed even more difficult. “3 Guns Grace” by Kansas-based author Joseph Bowers attempts to take on that very tall order. But how does it measure up? Read on to find out for yourself!
First of all, this is a good concept piece. The idea of having werewolves, vampires, cannibal shapeshifters, witches, warlocks, and the like living alongside regular society is interesting, if not tricky. Given the innate lawlessness of many of the characters in Bowers’ book, I’d say it was a very difficult transition for all parties involved.
The story centers on Grace, a busty, kickass bounty hunter, and her Native American lawyer-slash-shapeshifter friend, Migina Blue. They travel the U.S. bringing in criminals, be they human or other. With the change to society and the new laws put in to place to deal with human/non-human interactions, Grace and Migina have their hands full, and local law enforcement agencies are more than happy to let them assist in bringing in any bad guys. New laws have been put into place that grants them almost the same authority as police officers. A handy thing given some of the explosive situations they get into.
The rest of the cast of oddball and kickass characters is long. One of the most memorable is Sherriff Pusser, who kicks ass and takes no names. He’s not affraid to go old school on a bad guy, up to and including high voltage cattle prods and knocking a few teeth out. There are a whole lot of characters similar to him, but he’s my favorite. There are large amounts of fairly inept baddies in this book, too. There’s the seven foot tall Raul Anamaqkiu, a Menominee Indian, who is something akin to Richard Kiel in his ability to rip a man apart with his bare hands, and Johnny Lovejugs, a cannibal shifter who has a thing for Grace and his three female companions and fellow shifters, Assaseven, Assaeight, and Assanine. He’s interested in making Grace his Assaten.
Again, there’s a huge cast of bad guys to match the good guys. Because, as in life, alliances change and coups happen, many of the bad guys become good-ish, but, so far, none of the good have changed sides. I’m sure that will change in the next book.
I have a few complaints about this book. First of all, it really should’ve been made into a comic, as it seems to be written with that in mind. The chapters were extremely long with many an odd bit of character background information flooding the regular action sequences. It could be difficult to follow at times. Second, it tended to read more like a debriefing, including a lot of really overly embellished but under-described fight scenes. There were times I wasn’t sure who was kicking whose ass. Third, the editing needs to be redone. A good editor could have solved many of this book’s problems, including punctuation, tenses, editing improper word usage (i.e. “besides”). Some of this might be excused as being colloquial in nature if it happened within the dialogue. None of it was, though, so it was an error that was not caught by the editor. I, personally, use more than one for any of my fictional writing. However, this editor missed a whole lot of mistakes, so, I’m going to guess that this is just the editor’s/proof copy (please let that be the case) and this hasn’t actually been run to print yet. If it had, I’d fire my editor, but that’s just me.
The Bottom Line:
Just to recap; I loved the concept, loved the characters, hated the format, and really hated the editing. Make it a comic series and you’ve got a winner, but as it is now, it just doesn’t really measure up. – 5.5/10
Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine