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Dead Eye: Pennies for the Ferryman Gryphonwood Press Jim Bernheimer


8th May 2013 Literature & Fiction 39 Comments

My name is Mike Ross. I’m a Ferryman. I help people with ghost problems, or ghosts with people problems. Funny thing, no one ever helps me with my problems. Civil War ghosts bent on killing me, Skinwalkers who just want my body, and a vindictive spirit linked both to my bloodline and my destiny… It turns out the dead still hold a good deal of influence over the world, and they don’t want to give it up. I’m in way over my head. Fortunately, I’m too stubborn to quit.

A devilishly rich world of ghost wars, evil hauntings, and one man’s curse to save humanity from a nefarious spiritual takeover. I can’t wait to read more by Bernheimer! –Ryan C. Thomas, author of Ratings Game and The Summer I Died

Jim Bernheimer lives in Chesapeake, Virginia with his wife, Kim and two daughters, Laura and Marissa. Somehow, they put up with his foolishness. By day, he is a Network Administrator and runs his own computer consulting firm as a side company. Amazingly enough, he also finds time to write. Visit his website at www.jimbernheimer.com.

A devilishly rich world of ghost wars, evil hauntings, and one man’s curse to save humanity from a nefarious spiritual takeover. I can’t wait to read more by Bernheimer! –Ryan C. Thomas, author of Ratings Game and The Summer I Died

Dead Eye: Pennies for the Ferryman










  • 39 responses to "Dead Eye: Pennies for the Ferryman Gryphonwood Press Jim Bernheimer"

  • mikeylove
    2:19 on May 8th, 2013
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    This is the third book I have reviewed by Jim Bernheimer (or the 2.5, since the last book was a short story collection Jim edited & contributed one tale to) and the quality is still there, along with the freshness of a new author.

    Our protagonist is a “Ferryman” one who can “see dead people” (and talk to them). By doing so, he can sometimes help them over to “the other side”, thus “Ferryman”.

    Mike is a disabled Iraqi war vet. And, what’s more- an “everyman”. He’s not dashing, not tall and handsome, not a super-warrior, not brave beyond human ken, not a stud-muffin, not rich, etc. Oh, he’s not bad looking, he gets an occasional date, and being a combat vet he is certainly no coward and can more than handle his own in combat- as long as he has his trusty pipe wrench as an equalizer.

    I liked that realism, and more. Yes, I said “realism” in a fantasy novel. Mike also has some money troubles- after all, he has only a corporal’s disability pay, and in the start, he has no moral issues with making a few bucks with his new power. The realism continues in that very few have the ability Mike has, and most have it to a much lesser extent- leading them to be considered madmen or charlatans (and some are scamsters, too). This explains why the ability is not better known, and why the ghost-world is more or less out of normal ken.

    Nice little moments of wry humor too. Not “laff riot” funny, no, but I got more than a few chuckles.

    This book gets solid 4.5 stars. I am rounding it up to ***** as he’s a new author.

    I rcvd a copy of this book for review purposes.

  • Huskien
    3:01 on May 8th, 2013
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    Just got this earlier today, and sat down to read it. So I figured I’d pop in a leave a review for it. And just for kicks, I’ll do it story-by-story.

    HHH starts off with ‘The Wolf’s Cry’, a quick story that gets the reader familiarized with Jim’s writing style. It’s quick and painless, if a bit gory in place. A good intro.

    Raw and Real is the next story, one about the televised execution of a werewolf. A good story, but forgetable. I’d already forgotten about it when I sat down to write this review.

    The next two stories are very short. ‘My Son- the Monster’ is a take on the greek myth of Icarus, one almost everyone is familliar with. ‘The Red Badge of Doom’ is the tale of a man bitten by a zombie. Both are alright, but extremely short.

    The next story is where I really started enjoying it. ‘Charlie Horse’ is about a future where Zombies are common and are harnessed to do everything from being power sources to racing. At first, when reading it, I was scratching and my head and asking what I was looking at, but by the end, I was begging for more. ‘Charlie Horse’ is followed up by ‘The Rally’, the final part of the zombie trilogy.

    I’d already heard ‘Reality Bites!’ and ‘Cookie?’ before on the Drabblecast, so they were nothing new. Both seemed much better in audio format, and ‘Reality Bites!’ is the weakest story in the collection.

    ‘Adventurers Beware!’ was, to simply state it, made of pure awesome to a Dungeons and Dragons player like myself.

    ‘A Matter of Perspective’ was alright, but one of the weaker stories. It also had the problem of being forgettable.

    ‘The View from My Room’ was a very good bit about the first kid born in a moon colony, but it seemed to be lacking something. It should definitly be turned into a novella, or even a full length novel later down the road. The next story, ‘Lieutenant Armchair’ is in the same boat, only it doesn’t seem to be missing anything. It’s just a damn good story that needs it’s own book.

    Next is where the collection really flies. ‘Confessions of a “D-List” Supervillain’ is by far the best, and longest, story in the collection. It by itself is the worth the price of this collection. It also needs it’s own novel. Actually, it needs a series.

    ‘Battle Maidens’ is a short teaser for an upcoming series. It’s only there to make you want to buy the first book in the series. It worked. When the first Battle Maidens book comes out, I’ll cheerfully drop some cash for it. Nuff Said.

    Overall, HHH is a great collection that nicely shows off Jim’s talents as an author. I look forward to any and all future works from him.

  • sam setton
    3:49 on May 8th, 2013
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    The previous “review” of this book shows the shortcomings of Amazon’s “Are you over 13?” button before commenting; the question should be posed as mental age, not physical.

    Unlike the prior reviewer, I’ve actually read Jim’s book. I’ll be honest: urban fantasy is not my cup of tea. I find Butcher’s Dresden Files novels mildly entertaining, if formulaic (the long build-up to a “crowning moment of awesome” and then a power plus-up for Dresden gets a little old after ten or so installments).

    That said, I enjoyed Jim Bernheimer’s book a lot. It avoids many of the cliches of the genre (no hot, tramp-stamped vamp on the cover in torn leathers) and tells a fresh tale, not a hackneyed vamps vs. lycan replay.

    The story is about a down-on-his-luck Iraq War vet who acquires the ability to see and communicate with ghosts via a cornea transplant. He becomes a Ferryman, with the ability to help ghosts acquire closure with their lives and deaths and pass on to the next world. The ability to see ghosts has existed throughout modern literature (Hamlet, Jesus Christ, the ancient Greeks, many African spiritual traditions, and yes, several B horror flicks); the challenge is to tell the modern ghost tale in a fresh, interesting way. Jim does.

    In such stories, there is often a supernatural world existing beneath normal human perception. The mark of a good tale in this genre is whether it’s a compelling, interesting enough world that the reader wishes to join, if only vicariously through the written word. Jim delivers in spades.

    What’s good about this novel: Jim’s characters are organic and interesting. His hero isn’t a superman, but rather an average guy thrust into difficult circumstances. His weaving of Civil War era history into the tale is engaging and clever. He works in the sort of bitter humor that’s become a staple for modern heroes and that keeps the prose lively. And, as those who know his writing from other genres can attest, he pens heart-thumping action sequences with the best.

    I suspect this novel will be difficult to place on booksellers’ shelves. I wouldn’t characterize the story as horror so much as supernatural/suspense, but the story doesn’t quite have the grandiose scope of a classic urban fantasy yarn (ala Butcher’s novels). It’s a gritty, realistic tale of a real guy that doesn’t try too hard to be what it’s not. It does leave some loose ends and probably deserves a sequel.

    If they allowed half-stars, I’d give this 4.5/5.

  • Tom Sawyer
    4:48 on May 8th, 2013
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    A very good and enjoyable read. The action was exciting and the hero’s dry, sarcastic humor hit the spot. I highly recommend it. I’m eagerly looking forward to a sequel.

  • Zach Bashore
    6:23 on May 8th, 2013
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    I got this book as a time killer, so to speak. Something to read while my games were going through their abnormally long loading times, my cakes were baking, I was on a plane, or something equally tedious. And, in fact, that was what I used this book as. Well, for about five minutes.

    Then I closed down my game and sat here for a few hours and read Dead Eye cover to cover. I can say, without a doubt, that Jim is a phenomenal writer, who manages to blend action, mystery, a bit of romance, and make a compelling tale.

    Plus, it made me care about the civil war. As someone who fights sleep in every history class, there’s not much higher praise then that.

    Let’s just wrap this up by saying that I didn’t think Jim could top “Horror, Humor, And Heroes”. Not that I don’t think he’s good, but I just enjoyed Confessions of a D-List Superhero that much. I can say, without a doubt, that he managed to do that with Dead Eye.

    If you enjoy any of the books I’ve mentioned, or even are just browsing for something to kill time, I can’t recommend this highly enough.

  • Justin K.
    10:01 on May 8th, 2013
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    I’ve read this book twice now and for the most part, it’s even better the second time around. Of all the gems in this collection, my favorite is “Confessions of a D-List Supervillain”. The wry humor and fast pace of the novella is addictive, and I was actually sad to see it end; in fact, I’d like to see this story turned into a full-length novel.

    Another very good story is “Raw and Real”, a story as much about political opportunism as much as werewolves. Other really well-done stories are “The View From My Room”, about the life of a teenage boy living on the Moon, and “Charlie Horse”, which is chock full of darker humor. “Adventurers Beware!” is a very funny take on the absurdities of the wandering hero genre, and “Lieutenant Armchair” is another story, along with “View”, that beg to be written as stand-alone novels.

    “Cookie?” was one story I didn’t like, as it seemed too short and vague to draw me in, and “A Matter of Perspective”, while it has its funny parts, did essentially nothing for me.

    “Battle Maidens”, the preview included of an upcoming novel, was well-done and left me itching to get the completed book. The teaser could use a bit of polishing, but I’ll certainly be on the lookout for the finished novel.

    Overall, I’d give the collection a 4 out of 5, and honestly, my rating would be 5 of 5 if the book contained only “D-List”, “View” and “Charlie Horse”; that there are other entertaining reads inluded is merely icing on the cake.

  • Paul Benjou
    13:12 on May 8th, 2013
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    Not a big review writer, but for the money, I was very impressed. All the stories were original and well written. I would have paid more just to read the last one!!
    Well done sir!!

  • Cavity Emptor
    15:15 on May 8th, 2013
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    A disclaimer: I am not the author even though we have the same name!

    Like a previous reviewer, I generally do not read books in this genre and, in fact, became aware of the novel because I do, coincidentally, have the same name as the author. My curiosity piqued, I was rewarded with an entertaining tale.

    Bernheimer’s story moves at a quick pace and is told through the voice of a protagonist who is an interesting, complex, and well-developed character. The spirit world envisioned by the author is well developed with enough consistent internal logic to become believable over the course of the story. Tie-in’s to the ghosts of historical figures (Justice Taney, Edgar Allan Poe) are interesting and their is just the right amount of humour to keep the story from becoming too dark.

    Recommended.

  • clickety
    18:44 on May 8th, 2013
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    This book has some great short storys, Like charlie horse and Lieutinant armchair, but its pride and joy is Confessions of a D list supervillan, which is a amazing independent read with few flaws.
    Many of these storys could be easily continued like a View from my room, or Lieutinant armchair, this collection has one amazing read and a set of good, and funny short storys.
    Worth every penny.

  • whitewater
    20:29 on May 8th, 2013
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    I have been reading science fiction and fantasy for over 40 years (Dragon Riders of Pern was the series that really got me hooked on the genre). However, I lean towards hard science fiction (Asimov, Clarke, Weber, Flint Etc…) rather than fantasy. I probably never would have found or picked up “Pennies for the Ferryman” if it wasn’t for the fact that the author, Jim Bernheimer, started to work with me recently in the same IT department. I was surprised to find out that he was a published author, especially a science fiction/fantasy author. A short while later Jim gave me his book and asked that I let him know what I thought of it. To tell the truth, I somewhat dreaded it, what would happen if I didn’t like it, it almost felt like a school assignment.

    I set on it for a while but then decided to take it with me on a weeklong business trip, figuring it would make good airport and hotel reading. Imagine my surprise when I started reading it while waiting for the plane to head to my destination and got hooked on the story line. During that whole week long trip I could not wait to get back to the hotel and continue reading the book.

    Jim has a dry and sarcastic sense of humor that comes out in the main character, Mike. I noticed that some reviewers commented on some lack of polish in the book’s dialogue. The book is a first person account and Mike sounds like a normal person not like some English scholar. That adds to the believability of the story rather than detracting from it. I especially liked the way Jim has his character comment on and behave in the little things. Those little continuity issues or implausibles that even some of the major writers in the field miss (the equivalent of seeing the microphone boom in a movie frame). Bottom line is this, you know a book and the storyline is good if you can’t put it down and then when you do finish you are hungry for more. That is the way I was with this book, and I can’t wait for the sequel. One advantage (or is it a disadvantage) is that Jim has given me some glimpse into the sequel and I can’t wait for it to come out.

  • The Bear
    22:00 on May 8th, 2013
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    Click to watch this video Length:: 3:31 Mins

  • ababy
    22:13 on May 8th, 2013
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    Engaging. Read it in 2 sittings. Hope there are more to follow. Similar to Butcher’s series. Good protagonist. Nice he isn’t loaded up with superpowers, yet

  • TrueDx
    23:19 on May 8th, 2013
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    Short stories are really tricky. Some writers try to bite off too much and cram an entire novel into the short story. But the best short stories give you just enough of a taste of the situation and characters to tell what needs to be told. That’s exactly what Jim Bernheimer did in this case, except he added a delicious ironic twist to most of his stories.

    Well done Jim.

    This collection of short stories covers such a variety of situations that it’s hard to believe they’re all from the same author.

    I read these stories after I finished his novel, Confessions of a D-List Supervillain (Volume 1), and wanted more. Portions of the D-List Supervillain are included in this collection, so I just skipped them. Even so, this collection is long enough that I didn’t feel like I was shortchanged in any way. Just the opposite in fact.

    I’ll have to say, I’m jealous of Bernheimer’s talent. Now get back to work, Jim, because I need some more.

  • kayabasi
    1:31 on May 9th, 2013
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    I don’t often review books on Amazon.com, but I’ll make an exception in this case.

    Jim Bernheimer’s compilation, Horror, Humor, and Heroes, is an excellent, if eclectic, mix of short stories, a novella, and a sneak-peek at his next novel. On the whole, the writing is solid, with vivid characterization and memorable scenes, something he is known for in other writing circles. There are some real gems inside: “Lieutenant Armchair” is excellent and deserves its own novel (are you reading this, Jim?); “Charlie Horse” is great fun; “Raw and Real” and “Reality Bites!” are both entertaining; “Battle Maidens” (think “Yang Men Nu Jiang,” but with unicorn cavalry) left me hungry for more.

    Short stories are tough because so much must be done in so few words; Jim is one of the few who can be relied upon to deliver, crafting convincing, engaging worlds in only a couple thousand words.

    Not every story was to my taste, but I hasten to add that this phenomenon is hardly unique to HHH and is a function of the medium. (I can’t really fault him there; I felt the same upon reading other compilations, such as Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors and William Gibson’s Burning Chrome).

    In all, the great outweighs the good and HHH is indeed great: well worth the price of a paperback or Kindle.

  • iUnarchive
    5:08 on May 9th, 2013
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    Dead Eye – Pennies for the Ferryman by Jim Bernheimer

    So here we have what I consider the perfect protagonist. We have Mike Ross, 23 years old and already a war veteran with a disability. Or is it? Some would say he was given a gift when he lost part of his eyesight in the war and then regained it during a corneal transplant. Well let’s just say not everyone would appreciate the sort of gift Mike was given, because now he can see ghosts and they aren’t all the “Casper the Friendly Ghost” kind.

    Through a bit of trial and error and a lot of ghostly fighting and several near concussions, Mike finds out that he has a new job- he needs to send restless ghosts on to wherever it is that they belong, for they certainly don’t belong with us. But just maybe some do! I am most certainly not going to spoil this book for you by telling you what the plot is all about or giving way spoilers. Nope. What I am going to tell you is that if you are a fan of the paranormal, of suspense and mystery with a touch of history thrown in, then you are going to love this book.

    Mike is great as he learns to live with his new abilities and in just this one book we see him grow quite a bit, but not to the point that he has no room to grow in future books. The secondary characters are wonderful and I hope to see much more of them in the future. The book also has a number of surprises that keeps things fresh. Mike is a witty, sarcastic Protagonist who can definably “roll with the changes”, can make you laugh one minute and then smack yourself in the head for his naivete the next.

    There is not a lot of bad language (nothing you really wouldn’t expect to see in a book of this sort),and no sex; which will make parents comfortable recommending it to younger teens. I would recommend this book to any one from mid to late teen years on up to adults, and what is great is that this book will appeal to both sexes.

    This book is going to be a hit; and if not this book I know that the author is going to make it. His concepts are new and fresh, the writing tight and humorous. The additions of the historic tidbits are something that I don’t think I’ve really seen in this manner in this genre.

    I am counting the days until I get to read the next book in this series.

  • spikespencer
    6:43 on May 9th, 2013
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    Hello All. I have a been a fan of Jim’s for a while, reading his stories online. I love his train of thought, his stories, but most of all his characters.
    Dead Eye is a great book. Its not abnormally long or anything, and I finished reading it in under two hours. The story was awesome, full of great characters. I love Mike, the main character, and Vincent, a supporting character, the most. They are both unique in their own way, with Mike reminding me the most of my own sarcastic self. Mike is also what you could call a unusual hero. He’s not amazingly powerful, smart, cunning, superhuman or anything. He’s a plain old guy that you could find in any corner of any land. It makes the story so much more enjoyable, because I do not scoff at the hero’s unwavering morals or anything like that which would make a normal situation seem forced.
    The supporting characters are very fun to read also. Jenny, a potential love interest, is a perfect version of any college freshman: naive, sort of spineless in the face of authority, and plain innocent to the ways of the world.
    The story itself moves at a good pace, neither fast nor slow. It starts off without wasting any time, getting into the thick of things very quickly.
    I could go on and on, but that would be a waste of your time. Just go buy the damn book already and read it.

  • Will Park
    8:02 on May 9th, 2013
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    Book contains short stories that present a different point of view of your traditional horror zombie stories. Some of them are really creative and when you think about it, they are really good solutions to an undead problem.

  • Frizbee
    11:25 on May 9th, 2013
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    Plot/Storyline: 3 3/4 Stars

    The first half of the book drew me in quite nicely, even though I am not normally a big fan of `ghost stories’. I have to admit that I was surprised as I had judged the book a bit by the cover. I mean, the cover made this seem like it was going to be creepy scary, but it’s not really scary at all. There are some action scenes where Mike Ross, the main character, is `killing’ ghosts. So, there is some tension, just not the kind that gives you goosebumps.

    The beginning made the whole ‘seeing ghosts’ thing quite believable. I enjoyed Mike’s reactions to his new ability. His little forays into helping people and ghosts made for interesting, if a bit mundane, side plots that kept my interest.

    However, a little over halfway through, the book took a few too many turns into the bizarre. It just seemed to stretch past its boundaries and delve into the absurd.

    I questioned why, when Mike finally managed to get a little money, he seemed to be willing to help others prior to ever helping his mother. Unless it was forced, such as fixing the furnace, he just didn’t seem to care about helping her at all. He lived with her, and mentioned how she struggled to raise him after his father took a powder, so there didn’t seem to be any tension or dislike there. Yet, he sits back an lets her work two jobs while he sends some other elderly lady on a trip to Hawaii.

    Several of the chapters started with too much backtracking. There would be a long rehash of things the reader already knew. It was almost as if the novel had previously been published in sections, kind of like you do when publishing sequels, retelling old things as a reminder. This repetitiveness caused me to try to skip whole paragraphs to get on with the story.

    The plot did seem to be well thought out, with plenty of twists and interesting scenes. The only real question I had regarding the machinations behind being a `Ferryman’ was: “If Mike could `dispatch’ or `kill’ a ghost with his ghost sword, why jump through all the hoops to help some `move on’? Why not just `kill’ them all? Didn’t `killing’ them make them move on? Granted, though, I’m not a big fan of this genre, so I could have missed something there.

    Character Development: 3 Stars

    Mike Ross was adequately developed, if completely unlikable character. He was selfish and self-centered. He did grow somewhat as the story progressed, but not much. He was a continuous whiner which did get annoying after awhile. Mike’s relationship with his mother was never really explained. He seemed to have no real problem with her; he even lived in her house. Yet, he didn’t seem to care about her at all, other than avoiding upsetting her so he wouldn’t have to deal with her. It was as if he were still a teenager.

    The women in the story were either flat, stereotypes, or both. Their actions didn’t always have the proper motivation, and their supposed attraction to Mike never made sense.

    Overall, most of the characters were immature and annoying.

    Writing Style: 3 Stars

    The writing style was juvenile in many areas. There were too many uses of exclamation points. The sentences were very choppy and did not flow well.

    However, other portions of the novel were very gracefully written. I have found that action scenes are some of the most difficult segments to write without confusing the reader. The action scenes in this novel were not only done without that confusion, but had a flair to them that made for a very enjoyable read. The descriptions were excellent, though. And, the dialogue was pretty realistic.

    Editing/Formatting: 4 1/4 Stars

    There were a few editing errors scattered throughout this novel. Mostly, they involved missing words and poor puncutation.

    The formatting was of professional quality.

    Rating: PG-14 for Adult Situations

  • Alan Pearlstein
    12:35 on May 9th, 2013
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    I have been reading Bernheimer for a while now and I bought this book as soon as I was able to. Bernheimer is able to create characters that are so real I feel as if I know them in real life. The protagonist, Mike Ross, is an everyman character. But unlike most of the ‘everyman who gets a special power’, Ross isn’t completely defenseless in the beginning. He is a trained soldier and war veteran. He is human, he makes mistakes, he realizes it and then he makes amends. That is what I felt truly sets Bernheimer apart. Most authors never have their characters truly apologize for screwing up. Bernheimer makes his characters act in truly human ways.

    The storyline felt somewhat episodic, with each new chapter bringing a new challenge. Kind of like a season of a show. There is a major bad guy that gets fought at the end, little challenges both mundane and supernatural that appear in every chapter and a cliffhanger that neatly sets up the next book and leaves you begging for more.

    That’s not to say that Dead Eye is boring, I couldn’t stop reading the book. I can’t wait for bigger, better and longer sequels. The Roadtrip to Hell is waiting for Mike Ross and I can’t wait to come along for the ride

  • Jay Tokarz
    13:39 on May 9th, 2013
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    This is an excellent collection. I would say that I am not a huge reader of the horror genre, but none of the stories are what I consider to be truly “dark”. That being said, this isn’t a book for children. There are quite a few surprises, and Jim’s humor is out in force. Personal faves are “Charlie Horse”, “The Rally”, and “Confessions”. “Adventurer’s Beware” alone is worth the price of the book. Give it a try, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

  • Nicola Kidmann
    15:33 on May 9th, 2013
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    Jim Bernheimer’s first released publication, Horror, Humor and Heroes is a collection of 12 short stories, one novella and a preview of a novel he currently has in the works. Perhaps it would have been more appropriately titled “Zombies, Humor and Heroes”, as I personally don’t find zombies scary, as I typically them more amusing than scary. Overall, it’s a mixed bag, but the positive certainly outweighs the negative.

    The first two stories are rather mediocre, with the first glimpses of quality not revealed until the third story, “My Son – the Monster”. It’s a rather creative slant on the myth of Icarus.

    Stories four through six are all zombie related. “The Red Badge of Doom” concerns a man who’s just been infected by a zombie. A decent idea, but not developed enough to really be interesting. “The Rally” is also short, but its brevity isn’t an issue, as the idea doesn’t need a lot of space to breathe, in a future where a congressman won’t let a simple thing such as death stand in the way of an election. “Charlie Horse” is the best of the zombie stories, taking place in a largely zombie overrun U.S. where zombies are harvested for uses ranging from energy production to a slightly altered version of horse racing, zombies being the stand-in for horses.

    Stories seven and eight are rather forgettable, short affairs. “Reality Bites!” deals with a recently made vampire who is trying to collect on his life insurance policy, while “Cookie?” is about an Easy-Bake microwave that may be haunted. I liked the idea behind both stories; I just didn’t find the execution to be there.

    “Adventurers Beware!”, the ninth story, has villagers in a magical world lamenting the adventurers that recklessly destroy their villages. It’d probably be very amusing were I into World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons, or any other role-playing game, but as I’m not, some of the humor was lost upon me.

    The tenth story, “A Matter of Perspective”, is almost painfully bad. Some whiny guy makes a device that turns stereotypical liberals into stereotypical rednecks. The book would have been improved with this story left out.

    The eleventh story, “The View from my Room” is a great short story, the best one in the book. It’s about the first child born on the moon, and the apprehension he feels for being a celebrity for nothing he had any control over, and his nerves about going to college back on Earth. It contains well-drawn characters, reasonable scientific detail that adds in enough depth for it to feel plausible. If the author can someday capture this sort of essence on a regular basis, he’ll gain himself a lot more readers.

    The final short story in the book, “Lieutenant Armchair”, is a fine conclusion to the short stories. It deals with a future where the Midwest U.S. has been quarantined, due to mutant animal and insect infestation, and the grunts that are drafted into service to fight them. The “Armchairs” are the officers that command the grunts via video transmission, which creates some obvious resentment. Some nice ideas here, which probably should have been expanded upon, as the story felt too short.

    If this book only consisted of the previous twelve short stories, I would he hard pressed to recommend it. However, the novella “Confessions of a D-List Supervillain” is fantastic. The story centers around “MechinaCAL”, a down-on-his-luck villain who finds himself the only person standing in the way of global devastation, as almost the entirety of the human race has been enslaved by genetically engineered bugs. The story is written in first person, Cal, the downtrodden inventor, guiding us through his world. His main adversaries are the Olympians, government sanctioned superheroes that were given their powers by the Greek Gods themselves.

    The author strikes a nice balance by adding enough scientific details to give an idea of how these advanced technologies work, but simplifies the explanations enough to not bog down the narrative. Very satisfying.

    The book ends with a preview of the Jim Bernheimer’s upcoming novel, Battle Maidens. While I’m not exactly fond of the title, if the preview is any indication, the full novel should be well worth the reader’s time.

    While this book certainly has its ups and downs, the quality short stories that do exist, along with the great novella, make this one certainly worth picking up. Definitely recommended.

  • Otelia Febres
    17:15 on May 9th, 2013
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    I got this book from the author in exchange for an honest review :-) I really enjoyed it a lot; it’s a great paranormal ghost action story that is fast paced and creative.

    Mike Ross returned from fighting in Iraq less an eye and with some hearing loss. His eye is replaced with a donor eye upon his return home. There is only one thing wrong, now he is seeing ghosts with his new eye. As if life for a recuperating vet wasn’t tough enough, now Mike’s got ghosts hunting him down because they want him. Apparently Mike is a rare type of person called a Ferryman; a Ferryman hasn’t existed in the States for over a century and he is plunged into the dangerous world of ghostly politics.

    This was a really good book. The book is broken into thirteen episodes. Initially each episode deals with Mike solving a ghostly mystery and the episodes are somewhat contained. As the story continues there begins to be more of an over-arcing story that ties everything together. The book is nicely wrapped up but has a couple loose threads that need to be answered in another novel.

    In the beginning the writing is a bit rough and the characters a bit over-characterized, but after the first couple episodes Bernheimer really hits his stride. Mike isn’t the most likable character; he is crass, prone to anger, and in some ways your typical ex-army guy, yet Bernheimer gives Mike a noble streak that makes Mike likable and real.

    The idea of Mike seeing the dead with his implanted eye and the whole way Mike interacts with the ghost-world was very well done and creative. I really enjoyed learning about it. Again, Bernheimer does a great job of making Mike’s interaction with the dead reasonable and believable. The plot is non-stop and propels the reader forward making the book hard to put down and the action scenes are really well done. Bernheimer does a great job throwing in some dry humor to keep things from getting too serious.

    I have a couple small complaints; Berheimer’s characterization of women is a bit rough at times. Most of the female characters are annoying as all get out and a bit cliched. This was something that got better as the book continued. The female characters introduced later in the novel were more reasonable and interesting. Bernheimer did do an excellent job characterizing the male characters. Also in the beginning of the book I thought some of the language felt a bit forced and the characters were a little over done; this is also something the went away after the first couple chapters.

    Overall this was a great read and a lot of fun. I really enjoyed Bernheimer’s take on ghosts and interactions with them. I think this is a start to a wonderful new series and really look forward to reading the next book in this series. Bernheimer is definitely a writer to keep an eye on; he has some great ideas and a fun writing style to read.

  • Larsen
    19:14 on May 9th, 2013
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    I had downloaded and read samples of several books, but this was my first Kindle purchase. I thought the first story was original and clever and with a price of only $0.99 for the full book, I figured I couldn’t go too wrong.
    It turned out to be a great mix of genres and styles and I enjoyed it so much I bought and am currently reading “Dead Eye: Pennies for the Ferryman” by the same author.

  • Harlan Mulroy
    19:39 on May 9th, 2013
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    I enjoyed this first novel, an urban fantasy that reminded me of early Jim Butcher. A quirky sarcastic protagonist, who has to figure out who he is, and his place in the world, against all odds. The plot really kept moving, and kept me up too late at night, since I wanted to know what happened next. The characterization was believable, and the main character grew over the course of the novel. The fantasy elements were creative, and the author continued to fill us in on new and interesting details. I’m picky about what I read and have stopped reading novels mid-stream. But while some of the other reviews are correct about the need for better editing, I enjoyed this book and look forward to the sequel.

  • Omaha Joe
    19:54 on May 9th, 2013
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    If you’re looking for demon-killing nymphomaniacs, this book is not for you. If, however, you’re looking for a brilliant first novel by a very promising storyteller, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Set in modern times (the protagonist is a medically retired veteran from Iraq) it’s an adventure story where the hero doesn’t know he’s a hero, and in fact finds the whole hero business to be an inconvenience – he’d like to get back on track with his life, thank-you-very-much.

  • gandhy_
    21:54 on May 9th, 2013
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    This was a really fun read for me as I know the author through some of his fiction written on the web. I was quite excited to get it and really liked the design of the cover as it linked in suitably with the story it was trying to portray.

    The book was essentially a compendium of short stories on various topics laced with Horror, Humour and Heroes. One of my particular favourites was the zombie congressman and the slogan “Vote for brains”. What I did like was the face that the novella that was in there titled; Confessions of a D-list super-villain, was superb and re-enforced my belief that the author Jim Bernheimer is a great author and someone who I would happily read again.

    The teaser at the end for a story called battle maidens was also very entertaining and made me quite keen to read it.

    I think if you are entertained by the slightly quirky and like your humour dark and preferably quite gory then this is definitely a book for you!

  • argu me
    22:45 on May 9th, 2013
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    Engaging. Read it in 2 sittings. Hope there are more to follow. Similar to Butcher’s series. Good protagonist. Nice he isn’t loaded up with superpowers, yet

  • Pteve Ko.
    0:50 on May 10th, 2013
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    I especially liked “Confessions of a D-List Supervillain”, “Adventurers Beware” and “Lieutenant Armchair”. I would have loved to have seen more of “Confessions”.

    Bernheimer is a solid new author who’s works I’ll be looking for in the future.

  • flubber
    1:11 on May 10th, 2013
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    Imagine some petty, vindictive, ungrateful and even psychotic people. Now imagine that these people knew that no one could punish them for murder (or worse). Meet the ghosts that Mike Ross — Jim Bernheimer’s great new hero — is forced to deal with.

    Ferryman Mike is down on his luck but doesn’t quit. His sarcastic wit, moral code, and generally proactive style remind me of a Jim Rockford or a Thomas Magnum. Like those other two antiheroes, he gets: plenty of grief from his “clients”, precious little money, and no glory. Still, we love him and the characters he is surrounded with.

    The story starts with a single false step (a little questionable politics) but quickly draws us into Mike’s world as we watch him learn — the hard way — to deal with his unwanted gifts. This book is a real page-turner with excellent characters and great action scenes. The mystery moves along nicely and the plot twists are well done. It ends all too soon, leaving us wanting more.

    I sincerely hope there will be a sequel.

  • The Link
    2:10 on May 10th, 2013
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    I’ve just finished this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. I found it to be very original and what I liked most was this whole world of ghosts pretty much going about their business. Hurry up with those last two chapters Jim!

  • Alexander West
    6:33 on May 10th, 2013
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    At 99 cents this is not a bargain, but an out right steal.

    This is the best short story collection I have read in a long time. The title reflects what you will find here. There is not a boring story in the bunch. Highly imaginative and well written. All in all great stuff!

  • John Leung
    7:06 on May 10th, 2013
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    I had read a few other stories by Jim Bernheimer, so I was pretty excited to get this book. It did not disappoint.

    I have to say that initially I was put off by the slightly vapid women, but began to realize that we were seeing them through the eyes of a slightly immature young man (not the most mature or reliable judge). Both he and they grew throughout, though. By the middle of the book, there were some pretty strong characters with whom the reader really wants to share the rollicking ups and downs of the story.

    I really enjoyed the ways in which Mike explored his new ability, his ever present search for both a lucrative job and a sympathetic woman. The characters of the ghosts seemed more real than many people, and their interactions with each other and the ‘live’ humans alternated between hysterically funny, poignant and infuriating. I became intensely involved in Mike’s growing desperation to solve the mysteries surrounding his new gift and its implications for himself and his new role.

    Overall, this was quite an enjoyable book. I thought Bernheimer’s creations and the theory behind them inventive and plausible. The writing is strong and easy to follow, and the story never lags. I look forward to seeing more from this author.

  • nmhhm
    7:29 on May 10th, 2013
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    I got this book from the author directly in exchange for an honest review :-) This is a great collection of stories that vary widely but focus on mainly urban fantasy and sci-fi stories with a touch of humor. Story length varies from very short (a couple pages) to novella size (a 70 page novella).

    There are thirteen stories in this book, along with a preview of Bernheimer’s new book “Battle Maidens”. As I said the stories vary widely, most of them were really well done. “Confessions of a ‘D-List’ Supervillain” was the novella and was great; it is about a low rank supervillian who has to save the world from mind altering bugs who are trying to take over the world. I also liked “Cookie?” in which a toddler teams up with a supernatural force to make cookies in her Easy Bake oven that people will do anything for. Then there was “Reality Bites!” in which a vampire tries to take on an insurance company to get his death benefit, which was also good. I enjoyed “Lieutenant Armchair”; in which we get to watch soldiers struggle in an America filled with animals of more than gigantic proportions. “Charlie Horse” was another enjoyable story that dealt with zombies being used as a power source, I loved the irony in this one.

    Really almost every story in this book was interesting. The only one I thought was a bit weak was the first story “The Wolf’s Cry” which had some awkward sounding dialogue.

    Bernheimer did a great job changing the tone of his writing to match the wide variety of characters in his stories. The writing was easy to read and really propelled the reader forward; in most of the stories the dialogue was witty and funny. Bernheimer writes especially good action scenes and does a good job of taking a creative idea and making it into a great short story. Most of the humor was of the ironic kind or slightly dark; I enjoyed it a lot.

    There are some really short stories in here, only a couple pages long. I am always interested in these types of stories because short stories are hard to write and make complete. Bernheimer did an excellent job of putting a lot into these short stories, they are very well put together, the writing is concise and no space is wasted. I was impressed with how much story he conveyed in such a small amount of space.

    In general I really enjoyed this collection of stories and was glad I read it. I also have Bernheimer’s book Dead Eye: Pennies for the Ferryman which I plan on reading shortly and I am looking forward to reading it. If you are a fan of urban fantasy, humorous sci-fi, fantasy, superheroes, short stories, zombies or just speculative fiction in general, I would pick up this book. It is a fun read and there are a lot of creative stories in here. I look forward to reading more of Bernheimer’s work in the future.

  • Kinjal S Shah
    12:21 on May 10th, 2013
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    Mike Ross is an injured veteran of the War in Iraq, he gets a cornea transplant and suddenly… he can see ghosts. He’s then pushed onto an adventure he would love to stay out of, unfortunately, there are higher powers at work.

    Dead Eye is a story that can easily be measured above all that Jim Bernheimer has done before. From the dry, witty humor to the serious fight scenes, to the misfortunes of love, to the historical aspect of the ghosts, it’s full of everything you could want from a story.

    I tip my hat to Jim for this amazing work of his and I look forward to more from him.

    Colin (cpd6000)

  • Regis Sauger
    14:08 on May 10th, 2013
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    I am surprised at the number of glowing reviews on this page. I just finished Dead Eye, and while I enjoyed the premise of the story, the novel fell short on a number of levels, most noticeably the shoddy editing. I won’t bother detailing the plot summary which you can read in other reviews and that I actually enjoyed, which is why I was so frustrated with the poor editing.

    I was amazed at the number of grammatical errors in this book! I’m not sure whether that’s the fault of the author or the editor; however, the poor editing definitely impacted my enjoyment of the story. The typos were primarily visible in sentences containing too many/not enough words to make sense, and not simple misspellings. Sentences throughout the story read as if they were reworded at some point and relevant words were not removed in order for the sentence to make sense. For example: “I went to the her office.” (This example is mine, not the author’s, but you get the point.)

    In addition–and this is not necessarily an editorial mistake–but the excessive use of “air quotes” around every pun or ironic observation Mike makes is also very distracting and become tedious quickly. There is also an abundance of exclamation points after sentences! I found this punctuation mark distracting when applied in excess to Mike’s dramatic observations, which didn’t really require the additional “shout” to make a point.

    Aside from editing, there are some key issues that detracted from my overall enjoyment of the story. First is the lack of any likeable female characters. With the exception of Mike’s mother, there are really only three supporting female characters: Jenny Goodman, Officer Candy McKenna, and Elsbeth the ghost. All of these women are written as vapid, petty, promiscuous, or outright bitchy. This may not matter to some readers, but I found myself unable to sympathize with any of these women, all of whom become dislikable and/or irritating shortly after their introduction. Jenny is the flirtatious college classmate of Mike’s who sells his tale of being able to see ghosts after a corneal transplant operation to a tabloid, thus exposing him to all manner of kooks calling to ask for his help. Their relationship starts as potentially romantic when Mike banishes Jenny’s malicious ghost until Jenny gives Mike the cold shoulder. Without going into too much detail, her immature and manipulative behavior are so irritating that I found myself questioning why–other than physical appeal–would Mike want anything to do with this girl? Mike’s pseudo-girlfriend Candy (he calls her his girlfriend after one date) is also Jenny’s cousin–a fact that initially causes friction when Jenny becomes jealous of Mike’s attention when they aren’t dating. Candy’s “southern” accent is written into her dialogue i.e. “Ya gotta” which, coupled with her seductive banter (the only lines she has in the story) make Candy “read” as a promiscuous airhead. Elsbeth is a ghost who seeks Mike’s help in stopping her husband from murdering her mother. She hangs around assisting Mike and fast becomes critical of his every move shortly thereafter. I could not understand why Mike tolerated her antics for as long as he did before finally confronting her about her attitude.

    The pacing of the story is somewhat slow in the beginning as Mike discovers he can see ghosts, which leads into a series of unrelated, irrelevant episodes in which he assists people with ghost problems or ghosts with people problems. Only two of these incidents have a remote connection to the main plot that doesn’t even occur until the second half of the story when Mike discovers the Gettysburg ghosts. As a result, I found myself putting the book down often and picking it back up again. The pacing definitely gets better toward the latter half of the story once Mike gains more ghost experience and learns that he is “the Ferryman.”

    On the plus side, the author has come up with a clever and interesting storyline for a series that, despite my frustration with the afore-mentioned problems, I was really into. I normally stop reading books that irritate me, but I stuck with this novel determined to finish. Some of the criticisms I had (such as “with” punctuation!) may simply be to the author’s inexperience and will hopefully correct themselves in future novels. I really hope there is at least one likeable or strong female character introduced in the next novel. I would recommend this book to a friend with the warning to expect grammatical/structural errors. If you can get past those (as many seem to have done) then you may enjoy this story.

  • Koray Y?ndem
    14:47 on May 10th, 2013
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    I really love short stories. Good short stories, at any rate, but the stories in this collection just fell a little flat for my tastes.

    Short stories need to have a good amount of OOMPH to make them memorable or enjoyable– the format keeps the writer from delving too much into things like character development, so there has to be a little something else to make the story a gem. The themes– zombies, Greek mythology, various types of fantasy– are definitely something I enjoy reading, but the stories in this collection just didn’t do it for me. ‘Adventurers Beware’ and ‘Confessions of a D-List Supervillian’ were my two favorites, but the latter was in chapter format, providing a longer, meatier tale. There was really no horror, save for some of the creatures, and the humor was in short supply, no matter how the author tried to spin the tales.

    At the end of the short stories section was a preview for a novel entitled ‘Battle Maidens’, and, despite the corny title, the story itself looked promising in a fantasy-light sort of way. (Unicorns. Unicorns, and their elemental, battling maiden mounts.)

  • I can help
    15:57 on May 10th, 2013
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    Jim Bernheimer is a fairly new fantasy author. I think this is his first book, a Create Space publication. This collection consists of 12 Shorts and one Novelette- which is run as 5 chapters.

    As one would expect of any collection like this, there are hits and misses. But the hits far outweigh the misses.

    Here’s a few of the Hits: “Charlie Horse” is a somewhat humorous horror story about what really would happen if there was a Zombie apocalypse, Hey Zombies can run all day, seemingly inexhausteable, right? Perfect power source then. Green too!

    “Reality Bites’ again takes the idea of Undead, and explores the legal repercussions of being Undead. Nice use of dark humor.

    Continuing on a theme, we have my favorite; what would real villagers think of D&D style Adventurers? We find out in “Adventurers Beware!”. Great little story!

    Well, to stop Jim getting a swelled head <g> and to let you know they are not all gems, I think I will now tell you about a couple of the lesser stories, then on to the best.

    ‘The Wolf’s Cry’ is rather sophomoric, we have all read it before- the noble spirited forest creatures, the bad “two legs” with their “boom sticks”. Not very original, and not well done. Poor choice of tales to lead this compilation. “Raw and Real” is also not all that well done, and very predictable. Others, like “Cookie?” rate a “meh”.

    ‘The View from My Room’ is the best written of the shorts- it really reminded me a lot of a Heinlein Juvenile. Sure, not one of the Masters best juveniles, but still, if we found someone new to SF and slipped this into a collection of RAH’s YA stories, it’d slip right on by. That’s pretty high praise.

    Finally, the last story, “Confessions of a “D-List” Supervillain’ is a winner. Again, I get a faint feeling it’s a little like “PuppetMasters” but with SuperHeroes.Really nicely done world and good characterization. I want more!

    Now it says “Horror” but the “Horror” stories are not super gory or creepy. More like Shaun of the Dead than Dawn of the Dead. It also says “humor”; and there are a number of good chuckles and a lot of grins, but don’t expect a “laff riot”, ok?

    This overall is one of the best collections I have read from a new fantasy author. Take a risk, get it.

    Note that I rcvd a review copy.

  • Jenny Hamper
    17:35 on May 10th, 2013
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    First, I have to say I really enjoyed the story. The plot, characters and pace were all very well done. It made me want to continue reading, and I devoured both this and the sequel in only a few days.

    The problem is that the editing in the book is atrocious. The tense slips between present and past on several occassions. There are many grammar issues that could, and should, have been caught before releasing this. Many times a sentence made no sense because of words left in it after what I can only assume was an editing pass.

    Like I said, the story is great. The characters are well developed and the pace of the book is exciting. But it could have been much better if not for lousy editing.

  • David Stutter
    19:36 on May 10th, 2013
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    This is an amazing collection of short stories. From a new Vampire attempting to collect on his life insurance, to new and novel ideas in the Zombie genre (I mean who else has ever decided that Zombies would be useful in power generation or the racing circuit?), Jim’s work here is just short of amazing.

    His novella “Confessions of a ‘D-List’ Supervillain” turns the entire Superhero idea on its head. I’ve hear rumors that Jim is going to expand this idea, and I look forward to it.

    In short, great book, buy it! is my best recommendation.

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