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April 26, 2024
By PW Staff
In this edition of Indie Spotlight, we feature humor and satire. Want to see your book featured? Check out the Indie Spotlight calendar at

Comic Adventure Novels

Crook Tales for Two
Ellen Byerrum
Author statement: “Comedy, mystery, and romance intertwine. Mere days before her first Broadway opening, playwright Esmé de LaForet discovers what happens when good deeds go awry: murder, mobsters, reporters, dangerous dames from high and low society, and nerve-wracking opening nights. My inspiration for Crook Tales for Two came in the middle of the night, in the middle of the pandemic and quarantine, from the dark center of my dreams. I heard gunshots and breaking glass, and I found myself hiding in a utility closet in a closed elementary school, complete with the smell of chalk and freshly washed floors, facing a blue-eyed man who burst in with a gun, demanding to know what I was doing in there. When I awakened, I knew, somehow, that it all happened in 1934.”
Gene Helfman
Author statement: "Pirates catch sharks in a marine reserve, lop off their fins, and discard the sharks for dead. A series of puzzling, apparently related shark attacks follow, suggesting that sentient, compassionate, maternal, and goal-oriented sharks are cooperating to exact more than revenge. I am an animal behaviorist turned conservation biologist turned novelist, and have authored reference books, peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and popular scientific and magazine articles. I wrote Fins to right a wrong, namely to counter the influence of the hyped, sensationalist, grossly unfair portrayals of sharks in novels and too many sharksploitation movies. Fins is eco-fiction with a conservation message snuck in between the laughs. Consider it a beach read that just might keep you out of the water."
License to Die
Haris Orkin
ISBN 978-1-68513-224-8
Author statement: “James Flynn believes he’s an expert shot, a black belt in karate, fluent in four languages, and irresistible to women. But that’s because he’s a patient in a private Los Angeles psychiatric hospital. Flynn believes his locked ward is the headquarters of Her Majesty’s Secret Service and that he is a secret agent with a license to kill. Then he’s sent to a state mental hospital that houses those convicted of violent criminal behavior and judged not guilty by reason of insanity. He meets mass murderers, serial killers, mad bombers, arsonists, and a fierce and beautiful woman who might be even more dangerous and delusional than he is. I wanted to create a modern Don Quixote and I decided that today’s equivalent of a knight errant would be a superhero or someone like James Bond. That idea sparked the creation of James Flynn.”
Magnus Opum
Jonathan Gould
Author statement: “Magnus Mandalora never planned to go out into the big, wide world, but fate had other ideas. Before he knows it, Magnus finds himself smack-bang in the middle of the long-running war between the fair and noble Cherines and the vile and despicable Glurgs. But the more he delves into the history behind this conflict, the more he discovers things are not as they seem. This story is really about me wanting to have fun with the archetypes of classical fantasy—discarding the conventional character types, such as elves and dwarves and wizards, and creating my own unique and distinct world of creatures. I also wanted to dig a bit deeper into the idea of good versus evil. It’s not always as clear as we think.”
Zombie Turkeys
Andy Zach
ISBN 978-1-5394-6675-8
Author statement: “Sam Melvin, an underachieving e-reporter from a small town, changes forever when he meets turkeys that won’t stay dead. You can shoot ’em, chop ’em, burn ’em—they come back stronger. The undead plague of poultry spreads uncontrollably, rocking the whole country. As Sam tracks down the zombie turkeys and how to eradicate them, his editor, Lisa Kambacher, nags him to turn his stories and expenses in on time. Lisa snipes at Sam for plebeian writing but uses her intelligence to pursue the lucrative carnivorous turkey story. Throughout the turkey apocalypse, they dare ravaged cities, plow knee-deep in gore and corpses, and upload streams of zombie turkey video news to the world.”


The BharatCal Chronicles: A Geopolitical Satire
K. Kailash
Author statement:The BharatCal Chronicles takes you on a whirlwind journey through the birth, rise, and eventual fall of a nation
like no other. When the United States grinds to a halt, a group of ambitious non-resident Indians, backed by India’s political powerhouse, seize the moment to carve out their own sovereign state: BharatCal. The idea for the story of BharatCal came about when I was reading news about two things—first, the logjam in passing the U.S. budget, which threatened to derail the functioning of government agencies, and second, the rise of NRIs or Indians in Silicon Valley to positions of leadership in leading U.S. technology companies. But as Silicon Valley becomes the heart of this new world, power struggles, cultural clashes, and international intrigues ensue.”
Saint Richard Parker
Merlin Franco
Author statement: “In this satirical reimagining of the Eastern odyssey trope, a Brown man faces colorism and racial prejudice when he travels to Southeast Asia in pursuit of love and enlightenment. In 2012, I boarded Malaysia Airlines MH 2592, headed to Miri in Malaysian Borneo. I had just quit a coveted position in India for the allure of Sarawak. As I approached my seat, the lady occupying the seat next to mine pinched her nose and got up. Making sure not to touch me, she walked past and requested a seat change from the flight attendant, who wasted no time in obliging. Little did I know that this was just the first of many such experiences awaiting me in Southeast Asia. Saint Richard Parker is a satire inspired by such laugh-worthy experiences. I hope you’ll also laugh along with the wannabe saint on this odyssey.”
Sex and the American Male
Jay Williams
Author statement: “Once upon a time, Zack Hardiman, a typical American male, attempted to find a shirt for jogging that contained absolutely no advertising. This became the first step in his descent into insanity. When he recovered, he slowly began a more extensive trip along the winding road we call American culture. This humorous book parodies everything from advertisements that use sex to sell massive gas-guzzling cars to mindless political parties and juiced-up science fiction conventions. When Douglas Adams died, I wanted to honor him with a sort of Hitchhiker’s Guide to American Culture. I was also inspired by the crazy mass consumerism that seems to have consumed America (pun intended).”

Personal Essays and Humor Compilations

Building a Better Boomer
Neil Offen
ISBN 978-1-08-790860-1
Author statement: Building a Better Boomer is a humor book that offers tongue-in-cheek advice for the generation caught between ChatGPT and Betamax VHS. There’s guidance on how baby boomers can better see, hear, eat, exercise, sleep, retire, and even remember better—and maybe live long enough to see the launch of the iPhone 211 Pro. I’ve been a humor columnist for different publications for four decades and on two continents. The book started as a series of columns before I realized there was a common theme.”
The Good Humor Man: Tales of Life, Laughter and, for Dessert, Ice Cream
Jerry Zezima
Author statement: “When the going gets tough, the tough eat ice cream. That’s the theme of The Good Humor Man, in which I write about family foibles and the funny little things of everyday life. It’s the kind of stuff that millions of people can relate to. And it’s a welcome respite from all the bad things going on these days. I write a syndicated humor column for Tribune News Service, which distributes it to 600 newspapers nationwide and abroad. The Good Humor Man is a themed collection of my latest columns. Humor is a tonic for troubled times and a way to celebrate life at any time. I don’t believe in cruel or mean-spirited humor. Mine is good-natured and self-deprecating, a kinder and gentler answer to all the negativity and divisiveness in the world.”
Mom & Dad Are Dinosaurs!: Humor for No-Tech Parents with High-Tech Kids
Frank Mastropolo
Author statement: Mom & Dad Are Dinosaurs! is told in the voice of a sardonic kid who doggedly—and unsuccessfully—tries to teach his parents the facts of tech life in the new century. Gripes about learning new technology are
heard in every social setting, online and off—especially in my circles. Rather than write a book full of rants, I thought it might be fun to call out tech illiteracy in the voice of those we turn to when the wi-fi goes out: our children. And why stop at the war with technology? There’s plenty more that upsets me. The changing world has given us cappuccino potato chips, electronic Monopoly, home treadmills, artisanal bread, and robot vacuums. Each of the 25 chapters highlights a new affront to the old guard.”
A Paper Orchestra
Michael Jamin
Author statement: “I’ve been a professional TV writer for 28 years. I think people are surprised to learn that I don’t write what I want to write. I write what the studios pay me to write. I’m not complaining. Screenwriting is a tremendously fun way to make a living, but after a while, I longed to write something just for myself, free from studio notes and constraints. I’ve always admired the writing of David Sedaris and was inspired to write my own collection of personal essays. Of all the terrific shows I’ve written for, this is the work I’m most proud of.”

Canine Humor

Maya and Waggers: I Have to Scoop What?
W.T. Kosmos
Author statement: “Join Maya, her best friend Lily, and the rescue puppy, Waggers, as they bound through a wacky neighborhood to avoid scooping poop on Uncle Puddin’ Head’s perfect lawn, learning some unexpected life lessons along the way. A hilarious chapter book for ages 8 and up, this book was inspired by my experiences as a parent, an uncle, and a proud dog owner. I’ve noticed the heartwarming joys and sometimes hilarious lengths that kids will go to avoid pet care responsibilities, including messier ones. It was also inspired by not-so-dog-friendly neighbors.”
Ralph & Murray
Rick Glaze
ISBN 978-1-73729-513-6
Author statement: Ralph & Murray is a humorous autobiographical story set in the late 1950s and narrated by a dog and cat. I wrote this book during the pandemic and took a chance with an unconventional approach of short, snappy chapters. Ralph & Murray was influenced by Tuesdays with Morrie, in terms of its standalone chapters that are tied together by the characters. Humor can be subjective, and as I wrote and laughed my way through each adventure, I wondered if it would seep through to readers. I’m gratified that even at this early stage, the response has been very supportive.”