Reviewed by Tami Brady
Augustus Valentine is no stranger to tragedy. As a teenager, at a time when he should have been dreaming about his future, Aug was told by his mother that she was pregnant, his father wasn't the baby's father, and they were leaving town immediately to live with Aug's uncle Mark. Aug moved in with his uncle but his parents were both murdered before the rest of the plan could be put into action.
Uncle Mark was good to Aug. He gave him an education and took him under his wing. He even brought him in on some of his most important business projects. Unfortunately, things aren't always as they seem. A suicide that wasn't really a suicide. A robbery where the criminals knew too much. Friends who turn out to be enemies. Under such circumstances, figuring out who is trustworthy is the real mystery.
Painless is a novel about the inner workings of several interconnected groups of criminals. Aug isn't an angel himself. In fact, he's right in the thick of things and has no problem dishing out a little retribution. Still, there's a slightly softer hidden side of him too. Action, mystery, and a little romance, nicely combined.
Book Review for PAINLESS by Bill Poje
"Icky Vicky was not icky."
Bill Poje's new novel PAINLESS takes off from page one and traps and blasts the reader into the "Poje world." A literary roller coaster of a novel that you fear will end way to soon. PAINLESS is an "enjoyable' creative 'Dramedy" with BIG sprinkles of unforgettable characters. PAINLESS is a one way ride on a rocket ship with no seat belts and Bill Poje is steering and having fun doing it.
Augustus Valentine is an original and interesting character. "Aug" is the President of Trove Import-Export. Aug has smuggled precious jewels into the country. Aug is attacked and mugged by culprits who steal the jewels. Aug goes after the bad guys to recover the jewels. Is he successful? Will he get out of the story alive? Aug is an onion and Bill Poje is the onion peeler. Layers and layers and layers are peeled away from Aug chapter by chapter. This is the genius of Poje. He understands that he is "showing" us a very entertaining/interesting adult adventure story rather than telling. PAINLESS is a film in book form. It is a throwback to a 'noir' genre that needed a shot in the literary butt. And Poje succeeds.
WHOOSH! WHAM WHAM!
PAINLESS's plot structure follows Mr. Aug after the robbery as he chases the bad guys! Betrayal and double-crossing is what moves the story swiftly along. There are flashbacks, chase scenes, hurricanes, violence, sex, violence and more sex. There is a plethora of twists, turns and back cover as Poje writes like a season skilled veteran. It's difficult to believe this is Poje's first novel. He understands the arch of a story. He masters the complexities of subplots. He paints FUN, INTERESTING and ORIGINAL characters!
PAINLESS is a thrill ride that has something for everyone and more. Unlike many straightforward novels on the shelves today PAINLESS is a welcome unique sight for sore eyes.
In a recent interview the author says, "Augustus is named after the Roman Emperor who was so powerful that we celebrate one twelfth of the year with a month named for the emperor. The legacy of the Roman Empire lives today but the Roman Empire does not. All of that aside, Aug runs the Trove Import Export company outside of Fort Lauderdale. He achieved this position through his family connections. Through his connections he periodically is required to smuggle goods in and out of the country. This does not bother Aug for he is a man versed in the concepts of legal and illegal activity. He is, in a certain sense, like Joe Kennedy, SR. As far as anyone on the outside is concerned he is just a businessman not involved with anything illegal because being associated with people involved in illegal activity would be bad.
Aug has also suffered a dramatic double whammy in his personal life due to the tragic deaths of his parents and his first wife. These occurred at separate times in his life. During his lifetime he has also survived multiple attempts upon his life. He is a fun guy just trying to get by and have a house and a job and a wife and kids…but life keeps getting in the way. He is now looking towards a future with his girlfriend Jocelyn…will life keep getting in the way?"
Bill Poje understands what entertains the adult mass bookbuyer and pulls no punches and leaves absolutely nothing on the table. PAINLESS fires all guns at once and hits the mark impressively!
Reviewed John Weaver for PageOneLit.com Book Reviews
Painless so far has been entertaining and has kept me turning the pages. For me, thats quite a statement. Aug is my hero.......a regular dude caught up in a problem.........a problem so far he has resolved nicely......I have a couple chapters to go....... Can't wait to finish.......too bad for the gal.......she most likely was a beautiful rough type of gal.......I kind of liked that.....
- Don Verhoeven, Kalamazoo, MI
"I stayed up late last night so that I could finish the book. I really enjoyed it!
It took a while to get all the characters straight and I had to do some referencing back to make sure I knew who was whom but once I did it really rolled. That end was something else with all the what-nots and who’s-its. I was caught by surprise by the events at the end even though I shouldn’t have been and then the way it winds up!
I’ve forwarded it on to…"
— Fran Greelish, Jacksonville
"I have 4 chapters to go. It's taking me a little longer to read than most of the books I read because the style is unique and the story is very unique. But I am absolutely enjoying the story a lot and am looking forward to finishing the book. It's not like everything else out there."
— Paige Hendrix, Jacksonville, Florida
“It’s a page turner, alright. Very into the book. Just left Aug and Joyclen going in their separate ways because…You really had me when Aug and Joy were in the hotel room and…Nice swirl there”
— Michelle Fulcher, Bellevue, MI
“I did read the manuscript you left and it is really good.”
— Jennifer McRae, Nashville, TN
“I am thoroughly digging it.”
— Jim Pierson, Freeport, Bahamas
“Cindy and I read it and we both like it. It is a very good fiction title. Its just my opinion“
— Paul Stepanovich, Grand Rapids, MI
“I have started reading your manuscript and I have to say after 165 pages I am enthralled in the story. The story line is easy and hard at the same time to follow, but if you read like I do it turns out to be easy to follow. I think you have an awesome product…I will say so far that I have really enjoyed what I have read so far and I am excited to read the rest!...Rich tells me you are starting your second and I wanted to say after reading some of the first I think you have found your talent so keep going forward and believe in your ability because you are someone I have enjoyed reading so far!”
— William Carl, Grand Rapids, MI
Painless was an enjoyable read. I read a lot of Grisham and Grisham-type books and this was totally different for a crime novel. I’m very surprised considering you’ve never written a novel before.
— Greg Ebelhar, Naples, Florida
In Bill Poje’s novel, Painless, there actually exists quite a bit of pain. Beginning with a robbery and multiple deaths as a result, the book is a constantly moving train of activity with a full cast of characters carting loads of emotional baggage.
When Augustus Valentine, president of Trove Import-Export in South Florida, is attacked and robbed, he thinks the only booty the thieves made off with was a stash of precious jewels he has smuggled into the United States with a legitimate shipment. This is the jump start of Augustus’ entry deep into the world of organized crime in which his uncle, Mark Kledas, is a significant player.
As Augustus learns about all of the items stolen in the heist, he embarks on a search of the goods, discovers who the thieves are, and works towards getting himself a bigger piece of the deal.
Painless is rife with violence and back story. Initially, the author’s approach to presenting the history of his characters is confusing. Poje drops the reader in the middle of a past event that is already in progress. This technique demands that the reader quickly catch-up. Fortunately, the author is able to tie the history and current events together, all while moving the action along at a 100 mph.
Augustus is driven by the tragic deaths of his parents and his adored wife. As he chases after the bad guys, old scars are peeled away and he is enlightened about parts of his past that he never knew existed.
Poje has a knack for handling multiple characters and plots. His habit of excessive detail often threatens the pace of the story, but he manages to retain a firm grasp of the readers’ attention.
Painless is a super-charged crime novel that action addicts will love.
Melissa Levine for
Independent Professional Book Reviewers
Reviewed by Sandie Kirkland for RebeccasReads (4/09)
Augustus Valentine has a huge problem. Involved in a smuggling ring through his import-export business, he has agreed to smuggle in jewels and precious metals. But before they can be delivered to his client, Augustus is attacked at the business and all the smuggled merchandise is stolen. That's bad for Augustus, and not with the insurance company or even the police. No, Aug's problem is with the Mob and the various men he has dealt with for years and that he believed were his partners. Now everyone is after Aug and expects him to deliver the goods. If he can't, death is a real possibility.
Fast-paced, Bill Poje's Painless follows Aug in the days after the robbery as he delves into the intricate relationships between the various partners. Everyone is out for themselves, and betrayal and double-crossing is the name of the game. As Valentine moves from gangster to gangster, uses of flashbacks reveal that this crime has its genesis in events that happened decades ago. Valentine must figure out the past and the way it affects the present before he can hope to work his way out of the problems he faces. He learns that he can't trust anyone, even those he considered his closest friends.
This book is recommended for fans of furious action and a look at crime and criminals from the inside. The reader is swept along on waves of action and violence. As one might expect in this setting, there is a lot of sex, violence and adult language. The plot twists like a sidewinder and the flashbacks help the reader piece together the puzzle of the various relationships. Bill Poje has created a realistic view of a world most readers will never experience.
Author: Bill Poje
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning "poor" and 5 meaning "excellent," please evaluate the following:
Character development: 4
Cover design: 4
What did you like best about this book?
PAINLESS is a fun read, with two parts drama and one part laugh-out-loud humor. I really enjoyed your authorial voice in this book. Your voice is engaging and as a reader I connected with it. The story is intriguing and the twists and turns are often unexpected. The back cover story blurb was appealing and the author bio is great. Both served the intended purpose of making me want to read the book. I liked all of the interior graphics. They're a good addition to the story. The use of large and unique fonts within the text is fun as well. The volume is beautifully bound and the type is easy to read.
How can the author improve this book?
I think you have two strengths as an author. The first is your authorial voice. This voice works very well, especially in the short story market, but I'm not convinced it works as well in a novel. The reason is because as a reader I want to emotionally connect to a character or characters in the book. Instead, I connected with your voice and it created a less emotional experience for me. You, the author, always stood between the characters and me. It created emotional distance. Your second strength is in your ability to capture real-to-life dialogue. The conversations had a ring of truth to them. If you had written the book in a character's (or multiple characters') view point, rather than in authorial viewpoint, I think this strength would have served you well in interior dialogue. The graphics on the book cover didn't quite work for me. It was very difficult to make out your name and most readers buy by author name. I would have preferred a less busy, and thus more marketable, cover.
|Genre:||Fiction - Thriller|
| Appearance (1-5): Cover, Construction, Chapter Headings, Illustrations, Table of Contents||4|
|Comments:||I was disappointed in the cover, it does not do justice to the text.|
| Plot (1-5): Character, Theme, Originality||5|
|Comments:||The characters are well developed and varied. The theme is interesting.|
| Development (1-5): Description, Dialogue, Creativity, Organization, Point of View, Length, Realism, Fluidity, Conciseness, Coherence||5|
|Comments:||Very descriptive. High action. Adventure filled.|
| Editing, proofreading (1-5):||5|
| Relevance (1-5):||5|
|Comments:||It’s multiple themes will appeal to a larger audience.|
| Reviewer’s Overall Opinion (1-5):||5|
|Comments:||An exciting entertaining read.|
| Stars (1-5):||5|
| Review:|| Our story begins with Augustus "Aug" Valentine, the President of Trove Import-Export. Aug is mugged. The culprits make off with the precious jewels he smuggled into the country. The event draws Aug deep into organized crime. Basically they want to do him in. Painless is not a quick read. The plot is complex. There are many subplots and characters all taking place at once. Bill Poje is a master at multitasking. He successfully brings the plots and characters together to create a mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. Poje refers to his book as modern noir genre. This is the perfect description of Painless for Aug finds himself embroiled in what seems to be a hopeless situation. He has to overcome the force threatening to take him down. I know a good book when I read one and this book is not good it is great. Aug is an exquisite character. He is handsome, a slick ladies man. He thinks fast on his feet. Poje has included a sexy bombshell named, Jocelyn. The intimate scenes are steamy. Ah, but he doesn't stop there, Poje includes a hurricane. This book is fast paced and will keep readers eagerly turning the pages. This book contains a lot of sex, violence and adult language.|
Genre: FICTION (modern noir)
Author: BILL POJE
I’m not familiar with the modern noir genre of fiction but if it means a fun book full of action and quirky humor, then Painless is definitely modern noir. In fact, the author’s opening line is quirky and intriguing: “Icky Vicky was not icky.” Looking for a light, fun read for a day at the beach? Then Painless is for you.
Our protagonist is a silver-tongued, smuggling dude, full of spunk and resiliency; a bonafide chick-magnet of a guy who is appropriately named Augustus Valentine. Okay, now picture—if you will—a stuffed pink flamingo and a plush giant panda filled with diamonds, rubies and sapphires and riding shotgun in a Cadillac DeVille. The deal is: Aug runs an import-export company, but when his own smuggled loot gets purloined, his employers look to rub him out. In page-turning action, we follow Aug to Detroit, Philly and all across Florida as he chases his attackers, including a pair of goons called “The Mountain” and “The Nose”. Believe me, there’s plenty of violence, Bat Man style: BLAM! POW! Not only that, but there’s oodles of titillating sex scenes and innuendos. Consider Jocelyn, a sexy bombshell whose “every word seemed to convey not just a sense of sex, but a sense of hours of sex”. And, naturally, the Stroh’s beer is always flowing. Are you getting the jist? Well, the author provides all that, plus an intricately woven plot including a collapsing stock market, embezzlements of hundreds of millions, money laundering, and high-stakes gambling at grand casino appropriately called the Poseidon. It all culminates with a catastrophic hurricane named Bill. I wonder: Bill the Hurricane and Bill the author . . . any connection?
The book jacket tells us the author recently resided and commuted between Grand Cayman and the Bahamas but now lives in Jacksonville. He claims to be a “hurricane magnet”, having endured or evacuated from nine hurricanes. Well, then, no small wonder Painless climaxes with a hurricane and who better to describe it? In the end, I found the author has a special talent for weaving a complicated and intriguing plot, peppered with plenty of humor, delivered in his unique, quirky style and accompanied by colorful characters that leap off the page.
A Good Read, reviewed by Jan Evan Whitford, Allbooks Reviews
Published by Xlibris
ISBN: 978-1-4363-7048-6, Trade Paperback