SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1651 Waiting for Mister Cool, by Gerard Houarner Book Review |

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Waiting for Mister Cool, by Gerard Houarner
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Crossroads Press
Published: 2013
Review Posted: 3/27/2014
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

Waiting for Mister Cool, by Gerard Houarner

Book Review by Ray Wallace

Have you read this book?

My introduction to the works of Gerard Houarner came several years ago with The Beast That Was Max, a collection of novellas relating the seriously dark adventures of an assassin named Max who has a demonic entity, a.k.a. the Beast, residing within him. Max has been known to take on the dirtiest of dirty jobs the government has to offer and, as a result, finds himself in all manner of violent and disturbing situations. 

A trained killer, proficient in the use of a wide range of sophisticated weaponry, Max will nonetheless give in to the Beast's demands on occasion, use the weapons he was born with—hands, feet, and teeth—to maul and kill in a need to assuage the demon's primal blood lust. Max's closest companions include Lee, also a professional killer, and his adopted "nieces," Alioune and Keuer, known for their own unique gifts when it comes to the art of killing.

In Waiting for Mister Cool, we find Max and company out for an evening drive when they're stopped by a group of armed men who mistake Max for a hired killer they've been waiting for named—you guessed it—Mr. Cool. The men lead the four companions to a military compound where Mr. Cool is expected to help eradicate a rival group intent on using the place's strange, experimental weaponry for its own sinister purposes. Not surprisingly, a lot of carnage ensues. 

One of the strengths of Mr. Houarner's writing—and there are many—is his ability to depict sustained sequences of violence, an ability he uses to full effect on a number of occasions throughout this novella. The Max stories have never been for the faint of heart and Waiting for Mister Cool is no exception. I don't want to give the impression, however, that all we have here is an exercise in mayhem and gore. Far from it. 

Amid the chaos, this grim tale manages a level of emotional resonance exceeding previous Max stories as we get a glimpse into our anti-hero's true feelings for his nieces when he finds himself fearing for their safety. And if such capable, destructive creatures as Alioune and Keuer can find themselves in trouble, this alone should give potential readers an idea as to the depths of the darkness explored within this grim and utterly enjoyable tale.

From my very first encounter with Max the assassin, I was hooked. The dark and arcane version of the world he inhabits should be high on the list of places to visit for any fan of horror fiction. If you are new to the series, then Waiting for Mister Cool is as good a place as any to start. And, thanks to the e-book revolution, most of the preceding stories are available for purchase--which is a good thing as I can't imagine anyone who's made his or her way through this particular tale not wanting to read the others as soon as possible. 

Along with Tom Piccirilli's Necromancer, F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack, and Andrew Vachss's Burke, Gerard Houarner's Max is one of the characters any reader of dark fiction should get to know. I, for one, have been glad to make his acquaintance and look forward to going on more adventures with him and his little group of killers in the future.
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