Category Archives: Satire

Hmmm? – A Tale of Mysterious Murr-Derr and a Girl by Simon Plaster (Review #2)

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

HmmmHmmm? by Simon Plaster is the latest brilliant satirical novel the author has written featuring small-town reporter, Henrietta, who lives in Henryetta, Oklahoma. In Hmmm?, Henrietta looks for love in all the wrong places, instead finding intrigue. She also finds many things that make her, and the reader, go “Hmmm?” in a novel that has many LOL passages, along with….a murder investigation, or, at any rate, a facsimile of one, conducted by one of the many humorous and larger-than-life characters in the novel.

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Hmmm? has a large cast of characters, revisiting many from past novels in the series, like Henrietta’s overly-dramatic mom, Wynona Sue, who works at the Best Little Hair House. She is looking for the love of her life, but she has an unrealistic set of expectations and instead has a series of flings with men like Professor Alexander Lehough, who is an expert on insects, was a star witness in a trial in a previous novel in the series, Tick, and has a split personality. His other personality is Zander, and Lehough often has conversations with him.

Alexander keeps Zander subdued by drinking something from a “brown bottle of powerful potion that would put the nagging pest to sleep,” but Wynona Sue overhears her lover talking to “Zander,” or at least someone she mistakes as being “Zander.” The person is really Charlene Lehough, Alexander’s estranged wife, who left him for a new lover, Virgil Carter. She heard that Alexander won a Nobel Prize, however, so left Virgil knocked out and duct taped in Texas to return and try to get her hands on some of money that comes with winning a Nobel Prize.

Alexander does not want anything to do with Charlene, anymore, and would much rather be with Wynona Sue. Wynona Sue convinces herself that Charlene must be the “Zander” Alexander has been having conversations with, though at times, she thinks that maybe “Zander” is a male who Alexander has been having a homosexual relationship with.

Wynona Sue hires a local resident, Max Morgan, who fancies himself to be a private detective, to find out more information about who Zander is, so she will know, once and for all, the truth. “Maximo,” a big fan of novels involving private detectives, decides to become one, himself, and his exploits and misadventures adds even more humor to this highly entertaining novel..

Hmmm? by Simon Plaster is subtitled “A Tale of Mysterious Murrr-Derrr and a Girl.” It is a novel that is, in part, slapstick comedy and in part, it draws from film noir movies and hardboiled detective novels. Hmmm? is a novel that can be enjoyed as a stand-alone book, though I highly recommend reading the other novels in the series, as well, because they are all gems that are well worth reading.

Hmmm? – A Tale of Mysterious Murr-Derr and a Girl by Simon Plaster

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

0991448065In the new uproariously slapstick comedy mystery, Plaster has his characters up to more shenanigans in small town Oklahoma. There is intrigue, mystery, subterfuge and more.

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Take small town Henryetta, OK, add an expanding cast of characters doing unusual, however, very common things in ways that complicate and add more slapstick to this tale. Confusion and miscommunication as well as assumption and pretty outrageous logic combine to keep the reader laughing from almost the first page. This tale starts getting interesting from the first pages. Henrietta hears from her mother, Wynona Sue, that she is smitten and her suitor is equally smitten with her. However, Mom, Wynona Sue, has to string it out with “Guess Who.” In thought reply, Henrietta describes her quintessential mother and her search for that “MAN.” That was a hard one that could take a whole day and then some Henrietta reckoned. Wynona Sue was inclined to fall in love with any and every man who gave her a tumble.” With this the adventure begins.

Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan? by Julia Wilmot

Reviewed by Lisa Gilbert-Brown

Where is Emma Butler's Life PlanA sublimely witty and thoroughly entertaining read, Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan? authored by Julia Wilmot,entrances Chick Lit readers from page to page, with its successful combination of humor, spirituality, and the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment by contemporary woman Emma Butler.

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A light hearted, but provocative read, this intriguing narrative stars main character Emma Butler, she’s single, youthful, intelligent, attractive and gainfully employed, but she begins to realize that she is worthy of something more rewarding career-wise, and with no man in her life her biological clock is ticking away as well. Somewhat complacent with her life, and not quite ready to make any big moves to change her life, Emma’s life stays somewhat stagnant.

Finding Flipper Frank by Patrick Garry

Finding Flipper Frank

Reviewed by Rich Stoehr

One of the first things I wondered, before I started reading ‘Finding Flipper Frank,’ was just who (or what) “Flipper Frank” was. Fair warning – if you’re wondering about that, you will find out about it, but it won’t be until about two-thirds of the way in. And by the time you get there, you’ll likely be so involved in the unfolding story that you’ll forget you were looking for it in the first place.

On its most basic level, ‘Finding Flipper Frank‘ is the story of a road trip. Three people, mostly strangers to one another, linked by the need to get from Montana to Baltimore…or thereabouts. On the way, they share the same space and get to know one another. There’s Izzy, an older man full of stories about his youth and more than willing to tell them at any time, whether his audience wants to hear them or not. There’s Moira, a woman in her thirties on her way home, bringing with her an air of optimism and hope in everything she touches. And there’s Walt, our uncertain hero, who mostly listens and doesn’t feel he has much to contribute. Middle-aged, kind of aimless, not sure where he’s coming from or where he’s going, Walt is headed to Baltimore to see Cal Ripken break a baseball record in a game he’s not even sure he wants to be at.

Hogback: A Tale of Inter-Generational Conflict and a Girl by Simon Plaster


Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Hogback, by Simon Plaster, subtitled (A Tale of Inter- Generational Conflict and a Girl), continues the author’s satirical and often LOL series of novels featuring a young reporter of a small-town newspaper, Henryetta, named “for the small Oklahoma town where she was born and still lived.” She is employed by Harold Mixon’s newspaper, the Henryetta Weekly Herald, and often finds herself right in the middle of a mix of small-town politics and controversy that makes Simon Plaster’s tongue-in-cheek novels extremely entertaining to read.

In Hogback, one of the many humorous events that Henryetta finds herself covering is a golf tournament that is open to people of all ages to play in. The golf tournament is an event instituted under a new program the town has developed, called the Program for Inter-Generational Sports, or (“P.I.G.S”). The program is designed to put an end to the sometimes open hostility that exists between certain peer groups in the town.

Ticks: A Tale of Climate Change and a Girl by Simon Plaster


Reviewed by Rich Stoehr

“Never Waste a Crisis”

Never let it be said that Simon Plaster shies away from the hard subjects. Quite the opposite, really – by the time he’s done, nobody is left unmarked by his double-edged pen.

In ‘Ticks‘ the topic at hand is global warming – sorry, “climate change” – and all the science and politics and bickering that comes along with it. Just as in ‘Gospel’ the lynchpin of our story is one Henryetta, a small-town reporter for the town she shares her name with – Henryetta, Oklahoma – just doing her level best to break a big story and win one of those Pulitzer Prizes.

This time, it seems like she might have a shot at it, with a local Grassroots Association making a bid to save the planet and make a little extra scratch for themselves along the way, citing everything from “the Goracle” Al Gore to the “K-yo-to Protocol.” Complicating matters are a local professor obsessed with saving the tick population from extinction, a green activist social climber looking to save the world with a flourish of her hefty checkbook, a door-to-door salesman with a history of also-ran politics, and a country lawyer turned city lawyer, then back to country lawyer. Throw in a few celebrity guests before the ending – from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Bill Maher to Madonna – and you’ve got all the markings of a Simon Plaster tale.

Gospel: A Tale of Human Mortality and a Girl by Simon Plaster

Reviewed by Rich Stoehr

In the little town of Henryetta, Oklahoma, it seems that people have just stopped dying. But in ‘Gospel: A Tale of Human Mortality and a Girl,’ that’s just the backdrop.

There’s a marquee not too far from where I live, one of those signs with black, replaceable letters, where the message changes every once in a while. Lately, I’ve noticed that it reads “ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE – STOCK UP ON SURVIVAL GEAR NOW!” It reminds me of Simon Plaster’s book, and hopefully you’ll see why by the time I’m done here.

There’s a lot going on in this book – no, I mean a LOT. In addition to the no-death thing, we’ve got a “Gung Ho” survivalist boot camp for pooped business types, a new yoga studio with some pretty special brownies and unique moves, a church with a drive-thru window for their “HOT AS HELL” chili, and a young reporter named Henryetta (yes, named for the town) looking to get one of those Pulitzer Prizes by breaking a big story in her little town.

Everywhere Henryetta turns, someone’s got a new theory about why people don’t seem to be dying – everything from nitrous oxide seeping into the water supply to aliens (of course) to the End Times to hints of a zombie apocalypse. There’s evidence to support all of it, from a blistering-hot summer drought season to a woman whose ankle gets slightly chewed by a teenager, but not enough to figure it all out for sure. Henryetta is bound and determined to try, though, a search which forms the backbone of the novel.

Lifestyle: A Tale of Upscale Suburbia and a Girl by Simon Plaster

Lifestyle: A Tale of Upscale Suburbia and a Girl Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Humans do the strangest things. It’s a good thing that there are supremely talented satirists like Simon Plaster around to skewer society’s conventions and foibles. When we are too serious and full of ourselves to see the humorous side of every situation, we have…um…let the terrorists win. Or, at the very least, we have let the pompous stuffed shirts of society win. Just because they may be the arbiters of taste, and the dictators of what people consider to be fashionable, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be poked fun of, as Simon Plaster does with scathing and witty insights into the inhabitants of the microcosm of the world that is Chelmsford Heights, Oklahoma, in his latest LOL novel, Lifestyle: A Tale of Upscale Suburbia and a Girl.

Like a surgeon exposing a beating heart to operate on it, Simon Plaster exposes the hypocrisy, false pride, and pomposity of the affluent and snobby residents of the town. He does it as he has in his first two novels, Sumbitch: A Tale of Bigtime College Football and SNAFU: A Tale of Presidential Election and a Girl, through the eyes of the stalwart small-town newspaper reporter, Henryetta P. Hebert. Named after the town of Henryetta, Oklahoma, the “girl” of the title is as ambitious in her own way as any bigger-name reporter for a newspaper like the New York Times or the Chicago Tribune.

Having applied for a job working at the Weekly Weekender, in Chelmsford Heights, which she believes is a step up from her previous job as a reporter for the Henryetta newspaper, the Henryetta Weekly Herald, she finds herself instead back at work for her former boss, Mr. Harold. The newspaper’s office is located in the Chelmsford Heights Mall. She is assigned the duty of working on a Special 50th Anniversary edition of the local Weekly Weekender, but things get complicated when someone steals the newspaper’s historical archives.

Henryetta discovers that the townspeople of Chelmsford Heights have their own secret agendas, their own petty desires, and that they are not really any different from the inhabitants of the town she left of Henryetta. They are, though, even less interested in the real news of their state or the world, and are focused primarily on getting their photos in the newspapers, getting awards, and having their social functions reported in a favorable light.

There is a steamy underbelly to the life of the affluent, though. There are…things…about their town and the people in it that the uppercrust would rather be completely left out of the newspaper. For instance, a lawyer has filed a lawsuit alleging that the Chief of Police wrongfully arrested his client for shoplifting from the Chelmsford Heights Mall. If he is successful in court, liability could amount to tens of millions of dollars.

Also, a former embittered resident of Chelmsford Heights, the ex-Mrs. Chester Grossman, who now lives in the adjoining town of Fiddler’s Green, and who owns a run-down cemetery there, does her best to make the life and lifestyle of Chelmsford Heightsters difficult by making it difficult for them to reclaim the remains of their dearly departed who are buried in the cemetery. There’s more than one way to turn a cemetery into a money-making proposition, like holding the remains of deceased loved ones for ransom.

How can an aspiring career woman like Henryetta survive and even thrive living in a town like Chelmsford Heights and being required to report on such trivial social news items like “Perfect Kid of the Weekend,” “Greenest Lawn,” and “Cutest Couple”? Run out and get yourself a copy of the sensational Satirical novel, Lifestyle: A Tale of Upscale Suburbia and a Girl by Simon Plaster to find out!

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