Big Stick

Big Stick coverIn 1897, Beverly Haddad is well aware that her sex and race will keep her from investigating the deadly and mysterious lightning strikes that have plagued New York. She seeks help from Police Commissioner Teddy Roosevelt, and soon the two find themselves hunted by a vast conspiracy known as Gideon’s Trumpet which has access to amazing new scientific devices never before seen. With the help of Mark Twain and others, they launch an attack, aided by Teddy’s new massive lightning gun, which he lovingly calls BIG STICK.

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“Full steam ahead! With BIG STICK, Michael Ventrella gives us a wild and thoroughly entertaining steampunk adventure featuring an improbable cast of historical figures, plenty of action, and lots of fun! Highly recommended!” – Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Deep Silence and V-Wars

“Memorable characters, snappy dialogue and plenty of action and adventure. BIG STICK has it all. One of the best books I’ve read in a long while!” – Gail Z. Martin, author of Vengeance: A Novel of Darkhurst

“Full of the best kind of steampunk adventure with one of the biggest personalities in American history. A great fun ride!” – Philippa Ballantine, co-author of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series

“BIG STICK doesn’t have everything. It has more than everything! A dynamic PoC secret agent! Teddy Roosevelt! Steampunk inventions! Real dirty politics in a fantastic might-have-been world! Rayguns! Airships! Assassinations! Teddy Roosevelt with a raygun! And a cover by Phil Foglio! What the heck are you doing looking at this stupid blurb? Buy this book and read it!” – Ryk Spoor, author of Grand Central Arena and Princess Holy Aura

“Take the Underground Railroad, add golems, and then dirigible warfare. Stir briskly, accent with snappy dialogue, apply to the ocular goo-spheres, and voila.

I’ve read the first 2/3rds of this story about four times. Even at a skim, by five pages in, there’s a goofy smile on my face and I’m thoroughly enjoying the ride. Ventrella has a firm hold of the reader’s humerus. Why only 2/3rds of the story? Because I never wanted it to end. I’ve read the entire thing now, and I still don’t want it to end.

From the initiating incident to the final denouement, the story just keeps getting bigger and weirder and even more fun. I’d be willing to bet that 90% of the characters introduced, get outros/closure as well. Somewhere, I can hear the faint cry of an editor being slightly overpaid.

Much like his previous BLOODSUCKERS, BIG STICK makes politics sound like fun. I can definitely hear echoes of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 in his presentation, which will be all the more impressive if he hasn’t read it. I haven’t asked him yet.

This is a delightful read full of unexpected surprises, with a real sense of liking its characters, even its moustachio-rotating villains.

I generally don’t read male authors. I make an exception for Michael, for what will become obvious reasons once you read this story. Have good time, and keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times.” – L.M. Kate Johnston

“I enjoyed this immensely. Plenty of drama, as well as lighter moments. Folks who like reading fiction set in US political history should appreciate this whether they care about the steampunk aspect or not.” – C.V. Connell

“In all fairness, for a person who tends to be an eclectic reader, open to a wide variety of different genres, I must embarrassingly admit, BIG STICK by Michael A. Ventrella was my first-ever steampunk novel. I’m happy to report; it did not disappoint. In fact, I unequivocally and truly enjoyed it.

From the jump, Ventrella delivered a cast of characters with bigger than life personalities. He incorporated witty dialogue, snippets of actual historical facts interspersed throughout a fast-paced, and innovative plot, laden with super cool futuristic devices and gadgets used by charismatic heroes and dastardly villains alike. It all made for a highly enjoyable and entertaining read.

But wait! ––there’s that cover. We readers all like to say that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s utter hogwash. A-fib. A sham. We all do it, even subconsciously. I found Big Stick’s cover eye-appealing, and the design complemented the story perfectly. The whole package––well done! Or as Teddy Roosevelt in the story would say, “Bully!”

Lastly, Ventrella didn’t write a steampunk action-story exclusively, but cleverly dropped throughout his plot and prose, a multitude of political innuendos and inferences, providing the reader an additional and impressive layer of reading satisfaction.” – Sahar Abdulaziz

“5 out of 5 stars! Great Steampunk Romp with Teddy Roosevelt, Robots, and Rayguns!!! This was a very fun read, as is any novel that can bring to life our most interesting president, Teddy Roosevelt. But he’s not the only celebrity of the 1890s to show up – there are some really surprising ones, dropped in periodically throughout the book. And yes, we get to see Teddy with rayguns and other seemingly futuristic weapons and other devices as he charges ahead into each adventure, battling evil politicians and robots and more! In the afterword, you discover that even many of the minor characters were real people. So if you like Teddy and other, historical figures come to life, steampunk, or just high adventure, you’ll probably like this.” – Larry B. Hodges

“This book is a load of fun. it creates a alternate history of the beginning of the twentieth century and the end of the nineteenth. a wonderful escape into another world and time.” – Ralph Hieb

“A rollicking tale of Teddy Roosevelt in his best over-the-top character and Beverly, a black undercover agent who is helping him. There is a host of real historical figures worked into the tale of attempts on commissioner Roosevelt’s life as he tries to solve the mystery of electrical strikes out of the blue. There is a steam powered clockwork army built by evil scientists. What is it going to do? And then Teddy and Beverly learn of a plot against McKinley’s life. Non-stop action! Rating: 5 stars.” – Wendy Snyder

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