I’m a pretty tolerant forgiving sort of person. Just the other day, Jimmy said to me, “Nick, you’re a pretty tolerant forgiving sort of person” . There are few things in the world I’m as tolerant of as dopey adventure writers when I’m in the midst of a reading binge. It’s all about the abundance mentality and its ugly sister, the scarcity mentality.
Any good player knows about that. When you’re not getting laid, you can get thirsty for skirt. Sex is an appetite like any other, but unlike hunger or sleep it also carries a huge ego component that can make you crankier than an alley cat. Food doesn’t reject you when you’re jonesing for it, but women do. Thus falling into the ‘scarcity mentality’ – that you need a woman and any given lead is precious due to its scarcity – can quickly become a vicious circle of neediness begetting neediness.
Abundance mentality is the opposite, that once you’ve got lots of women in your life (or, more crucially, the optimism that the next set of women are just around the corner) you begin to behave differently. You can #WalkAway from neediness and dependence on skirt. The whole of your game tightens up, using roll-offs, terse messages, silences, and indifference like the four horsemen on the gaming apocalypse.
Game is Life and Life is Game.
I find the same abundance/scarcity operates in respects to my free time. I sympathise with all you office-bound losers who are woken by alarms while it’s still dark outside, shuttle in to your worthless jobs on a train, then sit in a cubicle all day. When you finally clock out at 6pm you’ve got a tiny window of free time to get all your shit done. Frankly, I’m surprised you don’t just top yourselves. You have a scarcity mindset of for time. You need to prioritise.  Believe me, I’ve been there and I sympathise .
Something has to give. When I was in that situation I became very choosy over what I’d read. I might only read one book a month so if I’d read something as comically shit as The Satan Sleuth: Fallen Angel I’d have thought to myself, fucking hell I’m not wasting my time on Michael Avallone any more. It’s already a tough sell to read trashy paperbacks about The Punisher of satanists, so a single bad experience would turn me off.
I am, however, on a year-long reading binge. I have fucking tonnes of free time. Here’s my typical day:
- Wake up at 10am, hit snooze three times, get up at 10:30 and out of the apartment a half hour later.
- Sit in a big comfy wing-back chair in a cafe with my Kindle, sipping coffee and reading. Usually I’m fasting so I skip breakfast.
- Hit the gym around 1pm, shower, then back out for lunch around 3pm. Usually my Kindle is with me and I’m reading again. That’ll take me until 5pm when I’ll go for an hour’s walk.
Evenings tend to be varied, depending who is in town, and whether I want to keep cracking on with the book, or writing a book of my own, or hurtling through the latest video game to take my fancy . The point, however, is I have almost unlimited free time. I can read four hours a day without even beginning to prioritise. It’s made me a glutton for punishment regarding books.
I have such an abundance mentality regarding time – and thus reading – that I’ll try almost any type of book. I want to sweep up any novel that interests me even if I know it’s a bit shit. That’s why I kept plugging on with Michael Avallone. I thought to myself, who the hell would write a trilogy of trash like The Satan Sleuth? After ten minutes of google, I had my answer: he’s the American John Creasy and described himself as ‘the fastest pen in the West’. Legend has it he wrote one novel in only a day and a half!
I’m glad I gave Avallone a second chance because he’s really grown on me. The second book The Satan Sleuth: The Werewolf Walks Tonight was decent. This third one Devil, Devil is also…. okay. I’ll tell you what I like about it.
You know how I have an abundance mentality for reading? Michael Avallone has it for writing. He was knocking out a book every week or two so he’d get a concept, run with it, and then move on to the next one. He clearly took pleasure in experimenting with genres and high concepts knowing full well if he made a mistake, he could just submit the manuscript and move on to the next challenge. Reading him is roughly analogous to talking to a man abundant in girls (or money, or fame, etc). He just doesn’t give a fuck. It blows through the prose like a refreshing sea breeze, a sense that he’s going to write whatever he wants and never second guess himself. His books hurtle forwards.
None of that ‘cross out a sentence and rewrite it until it’s perfect’ that dickheads like Dostoevsky or Shakespeare would do. Avallone gets shit done.
The story here is relevant to anyone who has followed #PizzaGate and the #SpiritCooking black masses and satanic rituals in NYC that seem to involve an awful lot of Left-wing celebrities and politicians. There’s a witch  living above Central Park who has cherry-picked a small group of satanists for her rituals, which include brutally murdering and decapitating young women. Cops think it’s a spree killer and are clueless (literally). So the Satan Sleuth comes in and quickly finds out the witch’s dayjob is at a high end fashion boutique. He attempts to infiltrate but things quickly go to shit.
It’s schlock. Don’t get me wrong: when I say I enjoyed it, I’m not pretending it’s at the level of classics like The Three Musketeers or A Deplorable Cad.
What don’t I like about it? Rarely have I seen a book so thin in content. There are very few scenes, no sub-plots, and it moves in a predictable straight line. Even for a slim book, Avallone is noticeably padding it out with superfluous paragraphs and descriptions. It would’ve worked better at half the length. I get the feeling he realised half-way through that he’d never write another Satan Sleuth book so he began phoning it in. Overall, a fun quick read with a very silly story.
Speaking of silly stories, why not check out my memoir series or even treat yourself to a big chunky packed-with-value textbook on how to pick up girls (though not how to decapitate them and leave the body parts in dusty cellars). See my product page here.
 I may have made that up, as an excuse to begin this review on a particular topic.
 So keeping up to date on rambling reviews of low-quality novels probably isn’t high on the list.
 Not really, but I like to at least pretend.
 Right now, that’s Valkyria Chronciles. Awesome.
 Had it been written now rather than in 1973, I’m sure she’d have looked like Marina Abramovich