Brick Marlin
July 8, 2016
Seventh Star Press
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Welcome to Brick Marlin’s second book in the Transitional Delusions Series, OZARIUM. Intended as a continuance of the grisly horror portrayed in Shadow Out Of The Sky, book number two actually lands us in somewhat different territory. There is a brief touchstone to the previous book though. Martha, the lone survivor of the massacre of her village is picked up by some strange men driving a classic Lincoln Continental. She is extremely fatigued and passes out as the Lincoln flies, rather than drives, away to Ozarium, a new colony. After she’s gone, evil entities come by and collect all the souls left from the murder victims.

Then we are whisked off to a new situation that is shocking and somewhat hilarious. There are bizarre commercials for robots that kill rats, “bouncers” which are cars that fly modeled on old classics, caskets, and a Mobile Suicide Unit that resembles an ice cream truck. Whatever this place Ozarium is, it is highly controlled by a man named Maximus Slader. He has a kind of Nazi SS force called the demi which handles all of his dirty work. The population has to be kept in check and too busy with hi-tech gizmos to realize just what a pile of cow plops they’re standing in. To this end, they run a lottery somewhat similar to the one in Shirley Jackson’s famous story. Except in the case of Slader Corp’s version, the person is given tons of money and anything they want until it is time for them to die. At which time they must cheerfully give up their lives for the greater good. Some people don’t want to play by the rules and are taken out by a strange assassin named Chainsaw Freckles who is clown that carries a large chainsaw and other weapons.

Click! Now we meet a couple of pleasant teenage lads named Walts and Jonas. Kind of your all-American teens of the future, these guys are tight! Blood brothers basically. One rich, one poor, each one envying what the other has. They like to use terms like groovatronic, squiggle-stupid, and play video games. Perhaps a little overly white bread in my opinion and a lot of their activity is fairly pointless and takes up too much of the body of the book. There are numerous other sub-stories occurring around those of Walts and Jonas but it gets to the point where there is so much open-endedness that the book is confusing. A doper gets run over by a bus and becomes a ghost which is also controlled by Maximus Slader, a girl has a baby with her boyfriend that’s against the law and tries to run away. A guy commits suicide at the mobile suicide unit it just goes on and on while the author keeps dropping references to classic books and films. Yes those things are cool but to just throw it out there is weird. Kind of like putting artificial bacon bits on your salad. Has crunch and flavor but lacks substance.

I like Brick Marlin’s enthusiasm and I like the cover of Ozarium. I also liked some of the characters but the problem is too big a jump in story type. We started with a slasher-type horror story in book one to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as a sequel? The connections are too minimal. Instead of continuing the original story, Ozarium opens a lot of new ones in a different place. My advice would be to read the books separately. Perhaps book number three will have stronger tie-ins to one and two. For now, we’ll have to wait and see.

About Brian J. Lewis

Brian James Lewis is a published poet and writer who enjoys reviewing speculative fiction and dark poetry. With all the great emerging writers, magazines, and presses, it is exciting to be part of this growing community! Word of mouth and keyboard is more important than it’s ever been, because readers want to know about books before they buy. It makes Brian feel great to see writers he’s reviewed become successful and their work go on to win awards! Whatever happens, he’s always glad to offer encouragement and increase visibility of writers who trust him with their work. You can catch up with Brian on Twitter @skullsnflames76 or on his WordPress blog damagedskullwriterandreviewer.com