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review 2019-06-25 18:45
THE REAPING by (the AWESOME) Bernard Taylor
The Reaping (Paperbacks from Hell) - Herb Errickson,Bernard Taylor

Bernard Taylor-I LOVE the guy! SWEETHEART, SWEETHEART is still my favorite from him, (and one of my favorite quiet horror tales of all time), but THE REAPING is another fine example of horror at its best!


An artist and father is invited out to a country manor to paint a portrait. Thomas is offered quite a bit of money to leave his family and business to come do this and his every need will be met while he is there. Upon his arrival, though, his surroundings, the family and the servants all begin to unnerve him. Young Catherine, his model for the portrait seems a bit...off as well. Will he finish the portrait and collect his generous fee? Will he happily return home afterward and resume life as he previously knew it? You'll have to read this to find out!


Books like these are the reason I got into the horror genre in the first place. Somehow I missed Bernard Taylors' works back in the day, but thanks to Valancourt Books and the phenomenon of a book written by Grady Hendrix and Will Erickson, PAPERBACKS FROM HELL, many of these older books are coming back into print. Just in time to delight a whole new generation of horror readers!


Bernard Taylor's work is surprisingly well written. He takes his time setting up the story and he writes so deftly that you cannot see where the story is taking you. What you DO see, (and feel) is an atmosphere that nearly suffocates. The tension thrums as the mystery finally unravels and there is no way to put this book down after a certain point. No. Freaking. Way. !!


Once again, a Bernard Taylor story gets my highest recommendation! Don't let this one get away!


Get your copy here: THE REAPING or at http://www.valancourtbooks.com/


*I was provided an e-ARC of this excellent book by Valancourt, in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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text 2018-12-26 08:51
Dried Herb Market

Herbs are those plants that have a plethora of uses and benefits in different industrial applications. Fresh herbs, however, are perishable and more susceptible to bacteria and fungus. Thus, to prevent the damage of versatile plants, these herb are converted into a dried format. Dried herbs are a result of the water removal from the fresh herbs by using drying techniques such as air drying, microwave drying, and vacuum drying. Drying intensifies the taste of many herbs by concentrating the flavor aspect. Dried herbs find ample of applications in both, the B2B and B2C segments. Dried herbs are extensively used in the B2B sector in food processing applications, cosmetics formulations, and medical remedies.
The global Dried Herb market is valued at xx million US$ in 2017 and will reach xx million US$ by the end of 2025, growing at a CAGR of xx% during 20182025. The objectives of this study are to define, segment, and project the size of the Dried Herb market based on company, product type, end user and key regions.

This report studies the global market size of Dried Herb in key regions like North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & South America and Middle East & Africa, focuses on the consumption of Dried Herb in these regions.
This research report categorizes the global Dried Herb market by top players/brands, region, type and end user. This report also studies the global Dried Herb market status, competition landscape, market share, growth rate, future trends, market drivers, opportunities and challenges, sales channels and distributors.

The following manufacturers are covered in this report, with sales, revenue, market share for each company:
Archer Daniels Midland Company
Firmenich S A
McCormick and Company, Inc
Kraft Heinz Company
Dohler GmbH
Pacific Botanicals
Mountain Rose Herbs
Van Drunen Farms
British Pepper & Spice company

Market size by Product
Bay Leaves
Market size by End User
Food Industry
Medical Industry

Market size by Region
North America
United States
South Korea
Central & South America
Rest of Central & South America
Middle East & Africa
GCC Countries
South Africa

The study objectives of this report are:
To study and analyze the global Dried Herb market size value & volume by company, key regions, products and end user, breakdown data from 2013 to 2017, and forecast to 2025.
To understand the structure of Dried Herb market by identifying its various subsegments.
To share detailed information about the key factors influencing the growth of the market growth potential, opportunities, drivers, industryspecific challenges and risks.
Focuses on the key global Dried Herb companies, to define, describe and analyze the sales volume, value, market share, market competition landscape and recent development.
To project the value and sales volume of Dried Herb submarkets, with respect to key regions.
To analyze competitive developments such as expansions, agreements, new product launches, and acquisitions in the market.

In this study, the years considered to estimate the market size of Dried Herb are as follows:
History Year: 20132017
Base Year: 2017
Estimated Year: 2018
Forecast Year 2018 to 2025

This report includes the estimation of market size for value million US$ and volume K MT. Both topdown and bottomup approaches have been used to estimate and validate the market size of Dried Herb market, to estimate the size of various other dependent submarkets in the overall market. Key players in the market have been identified through secondary research, and their market shares have been determined through primary and secondary research. All percentage shares, splits, and breakdowns have been determined using secondary sources and verified primary sources.

For the data information by region, company, type and application, 2017 is considered as the base year. Whenever data information was unavailable for the base year, the prior year has been considered.

Source: www.qandqmarketresearch.com
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review 2017-11-29 20:32
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 10 - Pancha Ganapti - and Square 12 - Festivus
The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga
Coffin Road - Peter May
Cronica de una muerte anunciada - Gabriel García Márquez
We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson,Bernadette Dunne
Farewell, My Lovely - Raymond Chandler,Elliott Gould
The Golden Age of Murder - Martin Edwards
Call The Midwife: A True Story Of The East End In The 1950s - Jennifer Worth
Woza Shakespeare!: Titus Andronicus In South Africa - Gregory Doran,Antony Sher
Brother Cadfaels Herb Garden - Robin Whiteman,Rob Talbot
Shakespeare's Gardens - Andrew Lawson,Shakespeare Birthplace Trust,Jackie Bennett

Tasks for Pancha Ganapati: Post about your 5 favourite books this year and why you appreciated them so much.


Tasks for Festivus: [...] --OR-- Perform the Airing of Grievances: name 5 books you’ve read this year that have disappointed you - tell us in tongue-lashing detail why and how they failed to live up to expectations.


I decided to create a joint post for my most and least favorite reads of the year -- and I'm going to have to divide the "favorite" part into "fiction" and "nonfiction." There is no way I could whittle the list down even further than these 10 books or treat some of them as "honorable mentions."  That being said:



Favorite Books -- Fiction

... in reverse chronological order of reading:


Aravind Adiga: The White Tiger

A searing portrait of modern India, writ large on a colorful, chaotic, topsy-turvy and utterly depraved and amoral canvas, but told with a great sense of humor belying the distinctly perceptible underlying sense of urgency.


Audiobook splendidly narrated by Kerry Shale -- if ever someone deserved the title of "the man of 1000 voices," it's him.


Gabriel García Márquez: Crónica de una muerte anunciada

The spine-chilling portrayal of an honor killing in a small Columbian seaside town and the events leading up to and following it, told in barely 100 pages and essentially in reverse chronological order, with the actual killing occurring on the last pages of the book: a brutal indictment of false morality, backwardness, cowardice and ineffectuality, both social and individual.



Peter May: Coffin Road

Ostensibly a stand-alone, but actually more of an extension of May's Lewis Trilogy, featuring some of the same characters but chiefly told from the point of view of an amnesiac scientist and an Edinburgh teenager in search of her missing (presumed dead) father.  Starkly atmospheric and so gripping it made me overlook the fact that it contains not one but two elements I don't particularly care for: an amnesiac protagonist, and first person present tense narration of part of the story.  (Note to Ms. Allingham -- see below, Traitor's Purse: This is how you convincingly write an amnesiac protagonist in search of his own identity while making sense of a murder that he may or may not have committed himself.)


Shirley Jackson: We Have Always Lived in the Castle

What can I say?  It's Shirley Jackson -- nobody does psychological horror like her; slowly and meticulously building from a slight initial sense of unease to full-blown terror.  I don't know how often I will actually revisit this book, but I do know that it, and the ladies in "the castle," will stay with me forever.


Also a great reading of the audio version by Bernadette Dunne.


Raymond Chandler: Farewell, My Lovely

Not quite on the level of The Big Sleep, but what a pleasure to revisit Chandler's version of 1940s Los Angeles.  His books are all essentially of a pattern, so I can't take too many of them back to back (or if so, it has to be in different formats; the way I revisited them for the Halloween bingo, with full cast audio adaptations mixed in), but it's hard to beat the gut-punch quality of his imagery and language, particularly when rendered as splendidly as in this audio narration by Elliott Gould.



Favorite Books -- Nonfiction

... again in reverse chronological order of reading:


Martin Edwards: The Golden Age of Murder

The early history of the Detection Club, told by its current president and first archivist.  Martin's knowledge of both Golden Age detective fiction and the lives of its writers is downright encyclopedic, and he tells a multi-faceted story very compellingly.  At times I had the feeling that he was taking his own conjecture a bit too far (I will, e.g., have to explore Anthony Berkeley's and E.M. Delafield's writing for myself before I wholly buy into his theory about their relationship, what they may have meant to each other, and how it is reflected in their novels), and there were things, chiefly relating to Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, that I was already familiar with, but by and large, wow, what a read.


Not yet reviewed; status updates here:


210 of 528 pages

107 of 528 pages

67 of 528 pages


Jennifer Worth: Call the Midwife

Yes, I know, I know, I'm late to the party and there's been a whole TV series at this point.  And I'm sure the TV adaptation (which I've yet to watch) brings across the stories and the characters very nicely.  But there's both an unflinching straightforwardness and a genuine warmth to the original literary version of these tales of midwifery in London's mid-20th century East End that I wager will be hard to replicate in any screen adaptation -- particularly if read with as much empathy, sense of humor and tasteful restraint as by the incomparable Stephanie Cole (who I would sorely wish would narrate many more audiobooks!).


Review as yet to come.


Gregory Doran and Antony Sher: Woza Shakespeare -- Titus Andronicus in South Africa

Man, what a trip.  Titus Andronicus is not, and never will be my favorite play by William Shakespeare, but having read this book, I'd give anything to be able to watch a recording of this particular production.  In the 1980s (when Apartheid was still in full swing) Gregory Doran (later: Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company) and Antony Sher decided to take this most violent and controversial of all the bard's plays to Sher's homeland, from which he had emigrated some 20 years earlier, wowing never to return (and even dramatically burning his passport).  This book reproduces the salient parts of Doran's and Sher's diaries written during the project, from the moment the project was born to the play's actual run in Johannesburg and later, London and on tour.  Insightful, illuminating, dramatic and, particularly in the moments of greatest tragedy and misfortune, surprisingly and supremely funny -- this is definitely one of those books that will stay with me forever (and not only because I happen to own it).


(And yes, one of these days I may even write a proper review of this book, too.)


Robin Whiteman & Rob Talbot: Brother Cadfael's Herb Garden / Robin Whiteman: The Cadfael Companion - The World of Brother Cadfael

Shared honors for two simply gorgeously illustrated coffee table books full of facts and knowledge about medieval monastery life (Benedictine and otherwise), the healing arts of the medieval monks, and the plants they used.  Must-reads not only for fans of Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael series but for anyone interested in the Middle Ages, monastic history, social history in general, botany, medicine, and pharmacy.


Review as yet to come, too.


Incidentally, a third book by this pair of authors -- Cadfael Country: Shropshire & the Welsh Borders -- provided, together with Ellis Peters's own Strongholds and Sanctuaries: The Borderland of England and Wales, important information and stimuli for the "Welsh borderland" part of my trip to Britain in late July 2017, and will certainly be consulted again should I make good on my plan to spend some time in Wales proper next year.


Jackie Bennett, with photographs by Andrew Lawson: Shakespeare's Gardens 

A lavishly illustrated coffee table book-sized guide to the gardens Shakespeare knew (or might have known) both in Stratford / Warwickshire and in London, as well as an introduction to the gardens of the five Shakespeare-related houses in and around Stratford, with an introductory chapter on Tudor gardening in general.  The find of several great finds of my trip to [London, Oxford and] Stratford in mid-June of this year.  (And it's even an autographed copy ... as I only discovered when I unpacked the book back home!)



Least Favorite Books

... again in reverse chronological order of reading:


S.J. Parris: Heresy

This started well, but went downhill fast literally within a page of the first murder having been committed.  And I sincerely hope the real Giordano Bruno was not anything even remotely like the headless chicken that we're being presented with in this book in lieu of the incisively intelligent, street-smart -- indeed, supremely cunning -- philosopher-scientist and sometime spy that anybody who had spent even an hour reading about the real life Giordano Bruno would have expected.


Utterly predictable and unengaging, never mind the author's obvious amount of research into 16th century Oxford academic life.  Would she'd spent as much time thinking about her characters' personas and motivations ...


Margery Allingham: The Crime at Black Dudley / Traitor's Purse


Shared (dis-)honors for my two recent reads from Margery Allingham's Albert Campion mystery series.  Both of the spy / international conspiracy variety that none of the Golden Age witers really excelled in, and Allingham's plots (and characters) tend to be among the most ridiculous of the lot -- as certainly exhibited here.  Thank God her Campion series also contains some genuine jewels, such as Police at the Funeral, The Case of the Late Pig and, particularly, the downright devious Death of a Ghost.  I hope my next exposures to Mr. Campion's adventures will be decidedly more in the latter line again.


Val McDermid: Forensics

Possibly the disappointment of the year, even if I knew that McDermid's background is in journalism and crime writing, not in science.  But she's associated with a forensics program at Dundee University and her crime novels manage to transport forensic detail with what has so far sounded to me as a reasonable degree of accuracy, so, given that I like her crime writing in other respects, too, my anticipations for this book ran fairly high.  Alas, what I got was a frequently manipulative piece of investigative journalism and true crime writing, whose actual scientific contents was on the super-light side and entirely third-hand, with frequently not even a chance given to the reader to verify the precise source of a given statement or piece of information.  I do hope Ms. McDermid will turn to crime fiction again in her next literary ventures ... her crime novels show just how much better than this she can really be.


Simon Brett: An Amateur Corpse

 My first book by Simon Brett, and again, from a former president of the Detection Club I would have expected better.  This novel wears its 1970s setting like a stifling cloak; it hasn't aged well at all and, what's worse, I didn't take to the protagonist at all, either (an actor in the throes of a midlife crisis); neither as far as his attitude towards women nor as far as his attitude towards amateur theatre productions was concerned -- in short, he struck me as a mysogynistic snob.  I may give the series another chance at a later point, but it certainly won't be anytime soon.


Patrick O'Brian: The Final, Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey

I love O'Brian's Aubrey / Maturin series and raced through the whole 20 books at breakneck speed earlier this year, but by God, this particular  publication (I won't even call it a "book", because it isn't) has to be one of the most blatant exercises in the exploitation of an author's literary legacy under the sun.  Patrick O'Brian died when he wasn't even halfway into this story -- but instead of letting things rest, because this really is not anywhere near a completed novel, his publisher went and released the puny few initial chapters as a "book" in its own right.


My sincere advice to all newbie readers of the series: Spare yourselves the trouble of looking into this one; it's not worth it -- not for all the enjoyment of O'Brian's writing.  Blue at the Mizzen, O'Brian's last completed Aubrey / Maturin novel, has a very satisfying conclusion -- content yourselves with that and just take it as read that "they lived happily ever after."  Or, well, maybe not entirely happily as far as Stephen Maturin is concerned.  But then, he probably wouldn't know what to do with himself if ever he were entirely happy; he's just not that kind of person.  And Jack Aubrey couldn't possibly be any happier than he is at the end of Blue at the Mizzen.


Didn't review this and am not planning to.



Least Favorite Books - Honorable Mentions

Chris Bohjalian: The Sandcastle Girls

Not an entirely bad book, but boy, this could have been so much more. Ostensibly, it deals with the Armenian genocide perpetrated by Turkey in the middle of WWI.  What we really get is -- at least chiefly -- the love story of an American volunteer nurse trainee who has accompanied her father on a humanitarian mission to Syria and an Armenian refugee who, having concluded that his beloved wife is one of the 10,000s of victims of the death march through the Syrian desert to which the Turks exposed their Armenian women and children captives, falls head over heels in love with the aforementioned Western nurse trainee.  Oh, sure, there are bits about the genocide as well (and Gallipoli, too, for good measure), but for many of these parts the reader isn't even right there with the characters but learns about them second-hand and in hindsight; and the ending is incredibly soppy -- and while it's obviously intended as a happy ending, a look beneath its shallow surface reveals that some characters' happiness comes at the greatest of all costs to another ... and at least one of those living happily ever after even knows about this, and nevertheless doesn't do anything about it (and if I hadn't stopped caring about that person long before I reached the end, that bit alone would have been the absolutely last straw for me.)


Georgette Heyer: Death in the Stocks

Georgette Heyer's books are hit and miss for me; this was definitely the most "miss" of the miss books to date.  It's got a nicely-drawn atmospheric beginning, but that doesn't last  for more than a few pages, and I didn't take to any of the characters; certainly not the "bright young things" and "good old chaps" at the center of the story -- nor even really Inspector Hanasyde, who is being introduced here.  Also, the "who" in whodunnit has a likely candidate from early on, even though the "how" is a bit out of left field.


I'm not planning to read the entire Hanasyde series, just one or two more (those that have the most direct ties to the subsequent Inspector Hemingway books, which overall I prefer); and -- but for the odd stand-alone -- I think that'll conclude my foray into Heyer's crime writing.


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review 2016-06-09 09:04
Ein zukünftiger Klassiker
A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin

Westeros erbebt unter Kämpfen um den Eisernen Thron. Der Anspruch des Kindskönig Joffrey wird von seinen Onkeln Stannis und Renly Baratheon angefochten, da er angeblich nicht der rechtmäßige Erbe des verstorbenen König Robert Baratheon ist. Die Baratheon-Brüder kämpfen allerdings auch gegeneinander, weshalb Joffreys Berater die größte Bedrohung in Robb Stark sehen, der sich zum König des Nordens ausrufen ließ und den Truppen der Lannisters herbe Verluste zufügt. Unterstützt wird er von seiner Mutter Lady Catelyn, die sich im Stillen um Robbs Geschwister sorgt, die seit der Hinrichtung ihres Ehemannes über ganz Westeros versprengt sind. Arya konnte aus King’s Landing fliehen und reist nun unerkannt Richtung Norden. Sie hofft, sich nach Winterfell durchschlagen zu können. Dort herrscht derzeit ihr 8-jähriger Bruder Bran, der sein Bestes gibt, um der Verantwortung gerecht zu werden und sich um ihren jüngsten Bruder Rickon zu kümmern. Einzig Sansa befindet sich noch in King’s Landing, als Geisel von König Joffrey und seiner Mutter Königin Cersei Lannister.
Der Krieg der Häuser fordert die Aufmerksamkeit aller Beteiligten und Unbeteiligten. Niemand rechnet damit, dass die größte Gefahr für Westeros nicht vom Kampf um den Thron ausgeht, sondern außerhalb der Grenzen lauert…


Es ist eine undankbare Aufgabe, eine Rezension zu einem der Bände der Reihe „A Song of Ice and Fire“ von George R.R. Martin zu schreiben. Es ist einfach unmöglich, alle Handlungslinien und Charaktere in „A Clash of Kings“ zu besprechen. Diese enorme inhaltliche Komplexität kündigte sich bereits im ersten Band an und setzte sich nun fort. Es gibt Autor_innen, die es kaum schaffen, 300 Seiten zu füllen, ohne sich zu wiederholen oder die Ereignisse künstlich zu strecken, doch George R.R. Martin nutzt die knapp 1000 Seiten der Fortsetzung effektiv aus und verleiht seiner Handlung geballte inhaltliche Substanz. Kein Satz, keine Zeile, keine Szene ist überflüssig. Alles fügt sich nahtlos zusammen, ohne jemals ungelenk oder uninspiriert zu wirken. Ich liebe seinen Schreibstil und sein Worldbuilding, was mich jedoch am meisten begeistert, sind seine realistischen, lebendigen Figuren, die trotz der hohen Anzahl niemals austauschbar wirken. Martins Charakterisierungen gehen weit über eine Unterteilung in Gut und Böse hinaus. Er nötigte mir selbst für Figuren, die ich nicht mag, Respekt und Verständnis ab, allen voran für Königin Cersei Lannister, über die ich intensiv nachgedacht habe. Im ersten Band „A Game of Thrones“ wirkte Cersei wie eine egoistische, skrupellose Schlange, die Westeros als Schauplatz ihrer Machtspielchen missbraucht. Mittlerweile bin ich überzeugt, dass Cersei primär ein Produkt der gesellschaftlichen Umstände ist. Sie ist wütend, weil sie niemals die gleichen Möglichkeiten wie ein Mann haben wird. Es wurmt sie, dass sie als Frau stets auf einen Mann an ihrer Seite angewiesen ist, und sei es nur, um den Schein zu wahren. Ich denke, sie neidet es ihren Brüdern, ihrem Vater und auch ihrem Sohn, dass sie eine Macht in sich vereinen können, die sie niemals erreichen wird. Sie hasst es, indirekt vorgehen zu müssen, zu manipulieren, zu verführen und dabei selbst nichts anzubieten zu haben außer ihrem Einfluss auf den König. Ich kann ihre Frustration absolut nachvollziehen. Es wundert mich nicht, dass sie ihre Wut an Sansa Stark auslässt, die Cersei in ihrer Naivität an das Frauenbild erinnert, das Cersei verabscheut. Sansa selbst ist ein schwaches, bemitleidenswertes Ding. Sie ist nicht stark genug, um sich selbst zu retten. Ihr fehlt der Schneid, für sich selbst einzustehen. Wäre sie nicht so bedauernswert, würde sie mich wahrscheinlich schrecklich langweilen. Ich wünschte, sie würde sich ein wenig mehr auf den Hund einlassen, denn zwischen den beiden herrscht eine spannungsgeladene, knisternde Beziehung, die ich wahnsinnig aufregend finde. Ich bin gespannt, was Martin mit den beiden vorhat.
Gespannt bin ich auch bezüglich der Einführung einer neuen, monotheistischen Religion, die erstmals durch Stannis Baratheon in Erscheinung tritt. Er stützt sich auf die Hilfe der roten Priesterin des Gottes R’hllor, eine gefährliche Frau, die mit Kräften arbeitet, über die Martin bisher nur wenig verrät. Nachdem es in Westeros seit langer Zeit keine Magie mehr gibt, könnte ich mir vorstellen, dass sie diejenige ist, die sie wiederaufleben lässt. Außerdem wittere ich einen gewaltigen, hässlichen religiösen Konflikt. Stannis ist ein harter, unnachgiebiger Mann – wer wäre besser zum religiösen Fanatiker geeignet? Umso mehr hoffe ich, dass er den Eisernen Thron niemals besteigt, obwohl ich ihn für den rechtmäßigen König halte. Ehrlich gesagt sehe ich aber in keinem der Anwärter einen passablen Regenten. Renly ist ein Schnösel, Robb fast noch ein Kind und Joffrey wäre zu Zeiten der französischen Revolution geköpft worden. Ich wünsche mir Tyrion Lannister auf den Thron. Er gehört eindeutig zu meinen Lieblingscharakteren, ist meiner Ansicht nach der gefährlichste Mann in Westeros und scheint einer der wenigen zu sein, denen das Wohl des Landes wirklich am Herzen liegt, was angesichts drohender Gefahren aus Norden und Osten Gold wert sein könnte.


Ich könnte noch seitenweise über meine Gedanken zu „A Clash of Kings“ schwadronieren, muss mich an dieser Stelle allerdings zügeln, weil andernfalls vermutlich niemand mehr bereit ist, meine Ergüsse zu lesen. Letztendlich sollte euch die Fülle meiner Gedanken alles über das Buch verraten, was ihr wissen müsst. Es ist fabelhaft. Die Atmosphäre ist dicht und greifbar, der Schreibstil eingängig, die Handlung hält unzählige kleinere und größere Überraschungen bereit und die Figuren sind so wundervoll tief ausgearbeitet, dass es mir schwerfällt, sie als fiktiv anzusehen. Die Reihe ist ein Muss für High Fantasy – Fans und alle, die es werden wollen. Eines Tages wird darüber als Klassiker und in einem Atemzug mit Tolkiens „Der Herr der Ringe“ gesprochen werden.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/george-r-r-martin-a-clash-of-kings
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review 2016-04-21 12:38
Nope, not for me...
The Warriors: Jailbreak #1 (of 4) - Erik Hendriksen,Herb Apon,Todd Herman

It wasn't horrible, but I hate main characters who have no real redeeming qualities - and I think these qualified.   They were gang members, one who lost a girl to a richer man who could keep her in a nice home - and even that dude was cheating on his wife with her. 


Also, there were two pencilers and yet the art pretty much looked like this: 



So, yeah, not continuing this, at least not right now.

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