Book Review and Author Interview: An American Weredeer in Michigan by C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus
Book Review: An American Weredeer in Michigan (Bright Falls Mysteries #2) by C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus
One of the authors, C.T. Phipps, kindly agreed to answer some of my questions! So, below is my review and following is the interview.
An American Weredeer in Michigan is the hilarious follow-up to book one, I Was a Teenage Weredeer, (read my review here) which I also thoroughly enjoyed.
We pick up with the witty weredeer shapeshifter Jane Doe soon after the last tale ends. She’s become the town’s shaman, taking over from her mother, and a self-appointed detective after the success of her first mystery. After a hike in the forest uncovers a mass grave, she’s compelled to find out whodunnit and bring them to justice.
There’s only one hitch. Jane lives in Bright Falls, Michigan, one of a few places in the USA where supernaturals, gods, demons, vampires, spirits and all manner of weird creatures reside. So, finding the perpetrator might involve some magic, unique special powers and a gun that’s inhabited by an angel.
Jane’s aided in her quest by her best mate, a werewolf called Emma, a hot FBI agent who might or might not be her boyfriend and the local crime lord, who happens to be one of the last dragon shifters. She also picks up two ‘monster’ hunters who only hunt the bad monsters, much to her relief, and a woman called Robyn.
Robyn is a specific kind of ‘fairy-kin’ and has some unique gifts including becoming the sexiest-person-alive to anyone, on demand, and being able to talk with plants. She’s determined to take revenge on her biological mother – and when Jane hears what Robyn’s mother did, Jane makes a promise to help her.
But promises are sacred in the spirit world they live it, and Jane gets in a pickle when they discover just who (and what) Robyn’s mom is… eek. Jane’s investigation reveals how Robyn’s mom might be tied to the mass grave, what a sleazy cult leader – who’s suddenly wanting to take up residence in the town – has got to do with it, and why they really shouldn’t raise a certain bit of forest down to build a new hotel and golf course complex.
Meanwhile, Jane has to deal with her siblings trying to sell off her family’s diner, her blossoming relationship with the FBI guy (and his brother’s love for her – cue awkward love triangle) and rare creatures like griffons trying to kill her.
This is a well-written, fast-paced read with tons of laugh-out-loud moments, deer puns and pop culture references. It’s an entertaining murder mystery told from the point of view of a sarcastic, yet bucking lovable doe (deer pun alert!).
Definitely recommend for those who enjoy light-hearted banter, nerding out on pop culture references, a mystery to unravel and battles between good and evil.
My rating: 5/5
Goodreads | Author website
*I received a review copy from the author
Q. Please tell us a little about yourself?
I am the servant of the dread Cthulhu and shall bring down upon your world a vicious wroth that will cause the seas to run red with blood and the skies to burn. Oh, wait, sorry, that’s my answer for another interview.
I am C.T. Phipps, an urban fantasy, horror, and comedy writer. I’m from Ashland, Ky and I used to work in academia. I’m married and have four dogs. In my free time, I like to review fantasy and science fiction books for The United Federation of Charles [my blog], Booknest.EU, and Grimdark Magazine.
Q. What is your favourite book and why?
That's a tough pick because every book is a different sort of adventure and has a separate meaning for me.
If I had to choose what books have been the most influential on me and my writing, I'd have to choose The Lord of the Rings [easy call I know] by Tolkien, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, and The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie for fantasy.
For urban fantasy, I'd have to choose The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs, Anita Blake [first 10 books only] by Laurel K. Hamilton, and the Hollows by Kim Harrison. They really showed me what could be done with writing and have the biggest influence on the way I create both worlds as well as characters.
Q. What got you into writing?
I was writing as early as age five. The thing was I wasn’t any good at it until college and wasn’t until well after that I was good-good. At least, that’s how I choose to perceive it.
A famous writing saying is “your first million words are crap” and I believe that. I actually had to re-write my first novel, Cthulhu Armageddon, six times before I came up with a draft I was comfortable with. During this time I also wrote Esoterrorism.
Q. An American Weredeer in Michigan is the second book in the Bright Falls Mysteries urban fantasy series, the first being I Was A Teenage Weredeer. Where did the idea for the series come from?
I was a big fan of Twin Peaks and Buffy: The Vampire Slayer when both were on the air. However, what really inspired the series was the fact I wanted to do something with rural horror to contrast against my urban horror series Straight Outta Fangton. I grew up in a rural town, so I know all about all the hidden secrets, economic anxieties, dark histories, and creepy abandoned places that make them perfect places for horror stories.
This is more a mystery series, though, it just so happens to have shifters and spirits. The first book dealt with Jane Doe, my punily named heroine, investigating the murder of her high school rival. The second book deals with Jane stumbling over a mass grave where lots of unwanted children were left to die of exposure. It’s an old crime, possibly centuries, but the effects of finding it resonate throughout the community.
The Bright Falls Mysteries is really a story in contrasts with Jane Doe being the spunky idealistic heroine who has a very solid image of her parents, her town, and how the world should work. The first book seriously challenges that and the second plays with her decision to try to fix things to how they should be (and whether that’s even desirable).
Q. What did you most enjoy about writing An American Weredeer in Michigan?
I absolutely love writing Jane's dialogue as she is a snappy, filter-less, snarkfest of a character. Jane says what she thinks and is incredibly witty in how she lets her feelings be known.
I especially like her playing off her best friend Emma O'Henry (who is a werewolf). Jane is a working-class heroine, snarky, and aggressive while Emma is rich, demure, and sweet. The fact Jane is the deer and Emma is a wolf is something I find humorous. Maybe I'm just easily amused.
I also love fleshing out the town of Bright Falls. It’s a real place in my mind and every new detail about it fits into a larger tapestry that comes to life on page.
Q. Who is your favourite character in An American Weredeer in Michigan and why?
Oh, it's easily Jane Doe but I can honestly say I don't have a single character I dislike in the Bright Falls Mysteries. It's a series that I really enjoy writing because all of them jump out from my mind to the page.
Alex, Lucien, Emma, Judy, Jeanine, Alice, Larry, Yolanda, and others are tremendously fun to write with a complicated web of relationships among them.
A small-town environment like Bright Falls means everyone knows everyone else and that they all interact differently. There’s old grudges and past relationships that mean almost no one is neutral to each other.
Q. Do you have any favourite quotes from An American Weredeer in Michigan that you can share with us?
Some dialogue I’m very proud of:
“I can't believe how much the town has changed since I was last here. Two years ago, Bright Falls was the sort of town that outlawed dancing.”
“You thought Pound Puppies was a cartoon about escaping a concentration camp.”
“Buck off or I’ll gore ya.”
Q. Can you tell us more about the third book, coming soon, in the Bright Falls Mysteries series?
A Nightmare on Elk Street is the third and final novel in the Bright Falls Mysteries trilogy.
Jane Doe has successfully managed to fight the evil supernatural in her hometown (and protect the good supernatural) for about five years.
However, it's also taken a toll on her as well as her relationships. Worse, bills wait for no heroism and she's flat broke. Lucien Lyons, the local crime lord, offers to fix her financial problems if she provides security for the filming of a bunch of B-grade horror movies he's filming in their hometown.
Unfortunately, this job becomes a lot more dangerous than she expected since there's a horror movie-themed monster stalking the cast--or are they stalking Jane?
I think fans of the series will love this book and hopefully I'll return to Jane sometime in the future with a new trilogy.
Q. What writing projects are you currently working on / excited about?
I'm excited about A Nightmare on Elk Street. The Bright Falls Mysteries is one of my all-time favorite creations.
I also have just finished the third book in my Red Room series, The Fall of the House, which is a prequel to the United States of Monsters world that Bright Falls is a part of (the others being The Morgan Detective Agency and Straight Outta Fangton).
Q. Where can readers find out more about you?
The best place to find out when my books are coming out are:
My Bookbub Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/c-t-phipps
My Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1491731877784498/
My Website: https://ctphipps.wordpress.com/
Thank you C.T. I can’t wait for A Nightmare on Elk Street!
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