John Ringo’s sheer volume of output is legendary. Also the fact that an idea jumps into his head, and the next thing anyone knows, there’s another book series waiting to be edited. The last is pretty much the story of how John Ringo ended up writing a series of books set in Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter universe. I’d reviewed the first book previously. The third and final book in the series – Monster Hunter Memoirs: Saints – has just been released a little over a week ago.
In the second book, Chad moves to New Orleans. A few hints are dropped that become relevant in this book, and while it has its own vignettes, and it does climax in a massive battle over Mardi Gras, it’s mostly a setup for this story.
You see, New Orleans is a place where unlike nearly anywhere else in the world, the whole town is effectively read in on “hoodoo”. The MCB team that had been lost at the end of Sinners had actually been pretty cool, and literally put out the “Truth Teller” – a deliberately bad version of the Weekly World News – to cover up stories by badly printing the truth. Graveyards are built with walls, gates, and fences for a reason.
So as the book starts, Chad, pissed and upset at losing his team at Mardi Gras – he was the sole survivor – nearly quits, but stays on, though not as team lead. And hoodoo squad, along with “team happy face” (the main MHI team from Cazador), begin to learn exactly why New Orleans is a weirdness and undead magnet.
And of course do something about it.
Along the way, we get to see yet again how Ringo can spin a story. He makes a genius asshole actually feel smart, and not like some clever kids conception of being smart. His take on Earl harbinger, my favorite of the MHI characters, is pitch perfect. The mix of wry humor, over the top action, and yes, lectures, works. He makes an airheaded valley-girl speaking ditz seem scary. Where the first book was closer in tone and structure to the Last Centurion, over the course of the three books the story becomes more and more of a continuous narrative with less and less of the feel of related vignettes and interspersed rants.
The end is written from Harbinger’s perspective. Not much of a spoiler there – it’s hinted in several places and flat out stated at least once by Larry at an interview that Chad goes out during the infamous “Christmas Party”, so the only way to achieve closure and show how Chad went out was to have someone else relay that. It is funny to note that Earl’s take on Chad’s memoirs boils down to “I know for a fact some of this is bullshit. I know for a fact some of it isn’t. And that some of the most unbelievable stuff I thought was bullshit but couldn’t prove it actually wasn’t.”
If you like Ringo at all, just get the book already and read it.