Kirkus Lauds ‘First-Rate Action Narrative’ in Adam Bender’s The Wanderer and the New West

The venerable Kirkus Reviews acclaimed The Wanderer and the New West as a “tight, thoughtful work” with “first-rate action narrative” in a starred review of my new novel (paperback available here).

The Kirkus Star is reserved for “books of exceptional merit,” so this is a big honor! The star also means my book will be considered for the Kirkus 2018 prize.

Here’s an excerpt from Kirkus Reviews:

The author’s new novel might be summed up by a line from Rosa’s editorial: “Sometimes it feels like America is spinning in an opposite direction from the planet Earth.” As real-life America spins out of alignment with other nations’ gun-control laws, he critiques its obsession with the Second Amendment and shows how it could threaten to shred the nation’s true founding principles. For example, a mayor replies to a sheriff’s complaints of lawlessness with “the government hasn’t made laws for years!” Ironically, Bender packages his message in a first-rate action narrative, filled with the sort of violence that has attracted gun lovers to pop-culture icons like Rambo and Dirty Harry for decades. In one cinematic scene, for instance, a gang member meets his end when “thunder cracked, and blood burst out the back of his skull.” Such indulgent moments of machismo are balanced by superior characterization, particularly of the Wanderer’s sidekick, Kid Hunter, and 12-year-old bandit Lindsay. The fact that the Wanderer still wears his wedding band and is haunted by the ghost of a woman named Helen connects to a complex, satisfying origin story that includes Breck Ammunition itself. Throughout, Bender proves to be an instructive novelist, challenging American readers with basic scenarios that could very well come to pass: “when you leave the house, you’re checking for your wallet, your keys, your phone, and your gun. Like these are equally essential things for the day ahead.”

A tight, thoughtful work that has much to offer readers on both sides of the gun control debate.

Kirkus previously raved about my first two novels, We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. However, The Wanderer is my first book to earn the coveted Kirkus Star.

But I really want to know what you think! So, to celebrate the Kirkus review and five-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite critics, I’ve decided to let loose the Wanderer a little early!

You can order the paperback right now on Amazon. You can also get the eBook edition (EPUB) from Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, Scribd and Smashwords. A Kindle version will be available in a few days.

When you’re finished, please leave your own review at the store where you purchased the book and on Goodreads. Thanks for your support!

 

The Wanderer is dead-on for 5 Stars at Readers’ Favorite

The Wanderer and the New West by Adam Bender

Ahead of the 2018 release of The Wanderer and the New West, I’m excited to announce my new novel has scored five-star reviews from five reviewers on the website Readers’ Favorite!

Here are some excerpts about the Dystopian Western:

“A dystopian view of an America that many may well see as a path the country is already headed down … I couldn’t put this book down and read it quickly and easily.” — Grant Leishman for Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars)

“The setting is absorbing, pulling in the reader like a captivating movie, and I couldn’t help getting the same feeling I get when I watch the series ‘Arrow.’ It won’t be surprising if this story ends up on screen.” — Arya Fomonyuy for Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars)

“The action is continuous and horrific … revealing vistas of the future and especially the dangerous paths poor and greed based politics are forcing mankind to follow.” — Deepak Menon for Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars)

“Brutally honest and scarily real, The Wanderer and the New West is a brilliant novel. Raw and gritty, this novel lays down the bare truth without sugar coating anything.” — Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars)

“Bender creates vivid characters in the plot that will resonate with any reader … The author helped me visualize the impact of lawlessness on the media, technology and any nation as a whole.” — Edith Wairimu for Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars)

The cover for The Wanderer and the New West
The Wanderer and the New West — Words by Adam Bender. Cover by Ben McLeod.

I’m thrilled to see early reviewers connecting with my new novel, and look forward to hearing what you think! Stay tuned to this blog and subscribe to my newsletter for updates on the novel’s release. You can also pre-order the eBook version now at Amazon and other online retailers.

Happy New Year!

Prepare for ‘Invasion Day’ — a new sci-fi short story by Adam Bender

With the winter holidays nearly upon us, I’d been thinking about what gift I could give my awesome readers. And then… it suddenly occurred to me! “Hey, I’ve got this great unpublished short story called Invasion Day!”

"Invasion Day" cover
Cover for “Invasion Day” by Adam Bender

On his tenth birthday, a boy living on the moon asks his grandpa about the blue planet glowing in the forever-night sky, and why they live the way they do.

I wrote this story earlier this year, based on a several-years-old idea from my notes, and inspired by the writing of one of my favorite authors — the great Ray Bradbury.

You can read the eBook free on Smashwords and other online retailers including AppleBarnes & Noble, Kobo and Scribd. I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave me a review when you’re finished.

Happy holidays!

Haunting ‘Secret Path’ Tells Tragic Indigenous History Through Art and Music

Secret Path by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire

In 1966, an indigenous Canadian boy named Chanie Wenjack ran away from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School. He attempted a 400-mile walk home along the railroad through freezing weather, without knowing if he was even going the right way.

Through Chanie’s journey, Secret Path — an innovative combination of music and graphic novel available on Amazon as a paperback/MP3 download —  illuminates a darker part of North American twentieth-century history. Gord Downie of Ontario band The Tragically Hip wrote the words and music, while fellow Canadian and breakout comic book star Jeff Lemire drew the sequential art.

The first time I experienced Secret Path, I read the graphic novel with the music on in the background. The book is short enough to read within the album’s 41-minute running time, and is split into sections by song, so it’s easy enough to take this approach. Taken together, the music and art flow together well, with the images enhancing the words sung by Downie and the mostly acoustic folk rock bringing out the emotions in Lemire’s expressive character-work.

Since then, I have listened to the album quite a few times on its own. The music definitely can stand on its own. With the additional talent of Dave Hamelin from The Stills (another Canadian favorite of mine), Downie’s album carries the listener through the emotional highs and lows of Chanie’s walk, effortlessly evoking images of the boy’s tragic walk.

And as I listened, I found myself flashing back to the beautiful artwork by Lemire. I’ve been a fan of Jeff for some time — especially his more indie work like The Underwater Welder and Essex County, but also some of his writing credits for DC Comics including Animal Man. Lemire has a unique art style that I recall actually put me off the first time I laid eyes on it. But when I pushed ahead anyway, Lemire’s haunting compositions transported me to another world. From the first page of Secret Path, Lemire makes readers feel instantly sympathetic to Chanie’s plight. And he leaves us angry with the country that let such tragedies occur.

Angry, perhaps. But also glad that these fine creators have exposed this hidden history through such accessible storytelling. It’s beyond cool to see a project with such important purpose come together into an artistic masterpiece. What’s more, proceeds from the project will be donated to The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

So don’t wait — take the Secret Path. It’s a road worth traveling.

Bender Novels Featured in SELF-e Indie Pennsylvania

Now free at your library!
Now free at your library!

As a local Philadelphia author, I’m thrilled to announce that SELF-e is now featuring my novels WE, THE WATCHED and DIVIDED WE FALL in its Indie Pennsylvania collection.

SELF-e is a curated collection of self-published works by Library Journal and BiblioBoard, and is available to participating libraries across the county. Because I’m from Philly, my books will be featured prominently in the Pennsylvania Indie collection. When you visit a library in any state that has BiblioBoard, you can access eBooks of my novels on library computers or on your personal mobile devices by downloading the BiblioBoard app from the Apple, Google or Amazon app stores. Since you’re getting them through a library, the books are free to borrow, though the app includes a Buy link if you’d like to add the eBook or paperback to your personal bookshelf.

I’m excited to make my books available to new readers! If your library supports BiblioBoard, please let me know your experience finding my book. And if your library doesn’t have it, ask them to look into it!

And don’t forget, you can also get WE, THE WATCHED free by joining the Underground, my monthly mailing list for fans.