Joe Canzano Says Hello

 I like a good book more than I like most people.



Lonesome Dove


Lonesome Dove is an epic, 864 page Western about a couple of cowboys who decide to lead a cattle drive from Southern Texas to the wild country of Montana where they’ll be the first lucky fools to establish a ranch.


They have 3000 cattle in the herd, and that’s a lot of beef, but for some unknown reason they usually seem to be eating bacon. If you think they should switch to a healthier diet, you’d be wrong, because nobody seems to live long enough to die of heart disease. Life on the Great Plains involves a lot of death.


This is not a book I’d ever planned to read. The plot takes a while to get going, and I’m not even sure if I’d call it much of a plot. In the end, none of these things mattered. I could not stop reading this book.


Author Larry McMurtry has created a cast of compelling characters, and the story about pushing smelly cattle through the muck is just a vehicle to reveal other things. The main thing that’s revealed (at least to me) is that most of the rough and tumble cowboys are great at fighting Indians and moving cows but not so great when it comes to dealing with women. In that department they are inept, cruel, and cowardly.


The lone exception might be Augustus, one of the principle characters, but even he spends his time pining for “the one that got away.” Eventually, we meet her and realize she rejected him for some good reasons – reasons that he more or less knows are true.


The very ending is a little strange, but it actually highlights the whole man/woman theme. I would have preferred a happier ending that tied up more loose ends, but that’s just me.


This book won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1986 and it was well deserved. I highly recommend reading it.



Swag is a top-notch crime novel about a couple of dumb guys who decide to go into the armed robbery business. It’s written in Elmore Leonard’s signature style – sexy girls, gritty city streets, and people getting blown away by small arms fire. There’s a lot of dialogue and a fair amount of plotting and intrigue.


The book is told from the bad guys’ point of view, but I wouldn’t really call them anti-heroes. The one guy, Stick, is likeable as someone who really should know better than to get involved with an idiot like Frank, but he does it anyway because it seems easier than working for a living. Things go well for a while, despite looming problems—and then the looming turns into actual trouble.


If you like Leonard’s novels (he wrote more then 40 of them), you’ll like this one. If you’ve never read one of his books, I’d recommend “Get Shorty” or “Rum Punch” as a better introduction. There’s nothing wrong with “Swag,” but I think the protagonists in those other books are a bit more fun and memorable.


I just started reading “Lonesome Dove,” a 1,000 page novel that won a Pulitzer Prize. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Western before, but so far it’s good. Of course, I’m only on page five. I guess I’ll write about it when I get to the end sometime in 2037.


By the way, you can get my comic fantasy crime novelette, “Magno Girl and the Beast of Brooklyn” for FREE with a subscription to my Happy Joe Newsletter here.

Magno Girl Summer Special!


"A deftly crafted and unique story populated with memorable characters and a wealth of unexpected twists and turns, 'Magno Girl' by Joe Canzano is a fun read from beginning to end." - Midwest Book Review


You can get the e-book novel “Magno Girl” for 99 cents at all major internet retailers. Do it now!


You can get the e-book novelette “Magno Girl and the Beast of Brooklyn” for FREE right here.

The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change The Fact That You Cannot Kill David Arquette

I’m guessing the author wrote this book thinking it would mainly be read by fans of his band, “The Black Math Experiment.” He’s probably right, too – but I never heard of the band and bought this book completely on impulse when I came across his twitter feed.


I didn’t even know the book was about a band. I didn’t even read the complete title of the book! And yet I really liked it. Maybe it’s because I’ve played in plenty of rock bands myself, and maybe it’s because “Black Math” reminds me of a great local band we used to have around here called “Logs in the Mainstream,” but either way, I  thought it was a cool story centering around a guy who definitely lives life outside the painted lines.


As for “The Black Math Experiment,” I checked them out on the internet oracle, and I like them. They’re in-your-face and outrageous in a thought-provoking kind of way, and they have plenty of catchy tunes. Their most popular song was called “You Cannot Kill David Arquette,” but I found quite a few songs I liked better. Anyway, check them out for yourself right here.


If you’ve never been involved in a local music scene, you can still enjoy this book. Whether he's talking about his adventures in the wrestling ring (two fractured wrists - at once!) or his crazy time at the Rocky Horror Picture Show, or his dealings with typically incompetent and moronic rock club managers (these were spot on realistic), Rouner keeps it interesting.


Overall, the book is  funny, it’s sad, it’s serious—and it’s a story unfinished. I don’t think we’ve heard the last from Jef Rouner, and that’s a good thing.

Whiskey Sour

This is a crime thriller by JA Konrath featuring detective Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels and her one-joke sidekick, Benedict (he’s always eating, yuck, yuck).


Will the next piece of candy be the one with the razor blade in it? Will Jack open the closet where the killer is hiding? I thought the thriller element was well done. Unfortunately, I had some issues with the plot. Would a cop really just start eating from a bag of candy someone mysteriously left on the front seat of the car? Would the killer really break into a police lieutenant’s house and hide in the closet?


Actually, these points are minor tips of a very large iceberg. No police force is nearly so stupid as these Chicago cops. The killer is supposedly hard to catch, despite being an evidence-producing train wreck who abducts people off the city streets in broad daylight before riding away in his rather conspicuous ice cream truck. Am I exaggerating? Not at all.


If I were to list every point in this story that was ridiculous, this post would be as long as the book. You really need to take your brain out of your head and stick it in the freezer while you’re reading this story. But here’s the thing: I don’t think the book is supposed to be taken too seriously. I think it’s meant to be a quick, fun read, and if you don’t mind rolling your eyes a lot (I think I sprained mine a couple of times), you’ll find that it does accomplish this.


On another positive note, the main character is interesting. She drives around in a wreck of a car that barely starts (Lt. Columbo, anyone?), and she’s developed to a likable extent.


There are lots of other books featuring the Jack Daniels character, so if you like this book you’ve got a lot more to read.

Free At Last

I'm a fan of flash fiction, especially the "under 55 word " category. Can you wrte a story in under 55 words? GIve it a try. Here's one of mine:


Free At Last
She stared at the gun in her hand and then at his brains splattered like exploded plums across the bed sheets, and she realized how years of denial, buried beneath the comfort of antidepressants, had finally imploded around the lechery and lies and things more unthinkable, and at last her daughters were safe.


If you like this kind of thing, i'll be posting more of it on The Happy Joe Newsletter. 

In fact, if you want a FREE copy of Magno GIrl (the sassy superhero with a special way of kicking your ass), subscribe to the newsletter and I'll send you the e-book. You can read a description of the book and then subscribe RIGHT HERE.


This free e-book offer ends June 30, so do it now!


Thanks for coming by. 









Doesn’t take life seriously and is packed full of cheesy humour

Reblogged from readaholickitkat:
Magno Girl - Joe Canzano

"I received this book for free though Book likes Giveaways"


Having spoken to the author after winning ‘Magno Gir’l he described the book to me as “It's got a certain flavour that some people like and some people do not. It's meant to be a bit out of the mainstream, because that's kind of where I am.” And you know what he’s right, it’s totally out of the box, it’s not the usual genre of book I read however made a refreshing change and break for me. The book kind of reads like a cartoon strip without the pictures, but sometimes you have to let your hair down and read something light-hearted that is fun and entertaining that brings out your inner child once again, and constantly makes you smile as you read it. Canzano has written a book that doesn’t take life seriously and has packed it full of cheesy humour with lines such “He’s richer than Belgium chocolate”. He has throughout included lively and vibrant array of characters consisting of superheroes and villains, and detailed descriptions of action scenes. Over all I really enjoyed it as I’ve never come across anything quite like it, would totally recommend to anyone who’s after a genre break from their everyday reads.

City Primeval

“City Primeval” is a crime drama from Elmore Leonard. It’s set in Detroit and it’s one of his early crime novels, written right after he made a transition from Westerns.


I’ve read many of Elmore Leonard’s books, so the style was familiar. Like most of the others, it was a fast read, but the reader needs to pay attention. There’s always a lot to keep track of in his stories, like who’s in the Mustang, and who’s in the Cadillac, and who stole the Chevy, and who has the shopping bag full of cash, and who told so-and-so this or that on what day, and now what is the other guy going to do when he finds out the girl lied and swallowed the evidence?


All this stuff isn’t a problem. In fact, it makes the story interesting. Another thing that’s interesting is the way people keep getting shot.  


People in EL’s books don’t usually get knifed, or blown up, or strangled, or poisoned, or ground up into dog food by a meat grinder. No, they get shot, with a Beretta or a Browning or a Walther P38–and no one describes a shooting better that EL. If you’re a writer planning to write a scene where someone gets shot, you should read one of his books. I won’t say you should steal his exact words, but I think they would be a worthy influence. And if you are going to steal, you could do a lot worse.  As someone once said to me, “If you’re going steal, steal from the best.”


“City Primeval” features a bad guy who’s really bad, and a ditzy girl who sort of loves him, and a smart female lawyer, and a cop who thinks he might be acting out his Wild West gunfighter fantasies–but he’s not sure. The characters are believable, the plot is decent, and the setting is gritty, raw, and real. My favorite part of the story was the relationship (I can’t really call it a romance) between homicide detective Raymond Cruz, and the lawyer, Carolyn Wilder. I would have liked one last chapter that revealed where their relationship went, but instead the book ends with a shootout at Ray’s personal OK Corral and that was just fine.

As I Lay Dying

How long do you struggle with a literary masterpiece before you toss it aside and read an entertaining piece of trash?


I always feel guilty about not finishing a book - any book, really, but especially a work of genius by some medal-heavy Pulitzer prize winner. But here's the thing: I usually feel good when I finish one of these books, and I usually do learn a few things. I slogged across the endless desolation of pre-revolutionary Russia with Anna Karenina, and I was better for it in the end. When I got to the last page, I felt like I had been through a shining experience. 


Moby Dick is another book like that. It's difficult to read, and by the time you reach the watery ending you feel like your quest to turn the last page is every bit as monumental as Ahab's pursuit of that damned whale. 


I'm currently reading William Faulkner's novel, "As I Lay Dying." The book has an odd structure. The way he reveals the entire story of a family though the narratives of different characters is brilliant, but that doesn't change the fact that the story doesn't interest me.


Sorry, Will, but I don't think I'm going to make it. 


Magno Girl Giveaway Over - Get FREE ebook

The giveaway for five paperback copies of "Magno Girl" is over.


I feel bad everybody can't win, but Happy Joe Control can only give away so many copies of an actual book. 


I'm surprised by the number of people who hate e-books. Really, they're great once you get used to them. And here's your chance to try one out!


For a limited time, you can get a FREE copy of the e-book version of Magno GIrl


All you need to do is subscribe to the Happy Joe Newsletter right here:


The newsletter has lots of humor and flash fiction, too. (I like flash fiction, especially under 55 words - it's my new thing).  Plus, I plan to give away other stories for free as well as some Magno Girl merchandise. 


So get a free ebook. Tell a friend!






Another Magno Girl Giveaway - Paperback

It's true, paperbacks are not dead. I'm glad there's a paperback version of Magno GIrl, and if you saw it, you'd notice it looks pretty good. There are cool little Magno GIrl silhouettes at the start of every chapter - except for the last chapter, where there's a picture of an octopus. That's because the last chapter is called "Enter The Octopus." 


That chapter title is based on a famous movie. Do you know what movie? I'll give you a hint: it didn't win an oscar, but it is responsible for a million horrible imitations of itself. 


Anyway, you can enter to win a paperback copy of Magno Girl here:


You can also get a FREE copy of the e-book here:


Yes, it's true. Check it out.








Magno Girl Giveaway Over

The Magno Girl giveaway is over. It looks like a nice group of people won, and they'll be getting their books soon. 


For any other news about giveaways, book, stories and just whatever pops into my mind, please visit the Happy Joe Newsletter:


If you like it, subscribe, and it will be delivered to you by email!





Magno Girl Giveaway


I'm giving away 100 ebook copies of Magno Girl, assuming 100 people are interested. Here is the link:


Here is the very short description:

Can Magno Girl stop an evil pizza overlord from ruling the earth? Maybe. Can she get her mom to stop giving her advice about finding a “respectable guy,” having kids, and moving to the suburbs? No chance.



The short story "Magno Girl and the Beast of Brooklyn" is now FREE at these links:


For a lot more info about these stories and complete descriptions, visit



Send me a message (I mean a nice one). I hope to talk to you soon.