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SHELL GAME COVER 1Shell Game

Unapologetic Lives

Book 3

Author: A. B. Funkhauser

Genre: Dark Humor, Satire Fiction

Publisher: Out of My Head Publishing

Date of Publication:  Coming Soon

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Language:English

 

  • ISBN-13:Pending
  • ASIN: Pending

Word Count: 63,085

Formats Available: Electronic, Paper Back

Cover Artist:  Lora Avgeris

 

The Second Edition Coming Soon to Amazon

 

Book Description:

 

Carlos the Wonder Cat lives free, traveling from house to house in a quiet suburban neighborhood. Known by everyone, his idyllic existence is jeopardized when a snarky letter from animal control threatens to punish kitty owners who fail to keep their pets indoors. The $5,000 fine / loss of kitty to THE MAN is draconian and mean, but before Team Carlos can take steps, he is kidnapped by a feline fetishist sex cult obsessed with the films of eccentric Pilsen Güdderammerüng. Stakes are high. Even if Carlos escapes their clutches, can he ever go home?

 

The third novel in the UNAPOLOGETIC LIVES series, SHELL GAME follows SCOOTER NATION (2016) and HEUER LOST AND FOUND (2015), this time with an eye on a seemingly pastoral community with a lot to hide. More than a cat and mouse story, Shell Game is an examination of community—who we are and how we relate to one another in a questioning world. Written with tongue firmly in cheek, it asks us to open our eyes, see better, and have a little more patience.

 

Excerpt:

 

Escorted with force up creaky wooden stairs into a passageway straight out of Kafka, the cat squirmed as the space opened into a large windowless room. There, light from tall lamps shot white hot from floor to ceiling, their beams reminiscent of Nuremburg on its worst day. These, uniform in design, were placed with deliberate care every six feet or so, like the stations of the cross in a Catholic cathedral. The lack of adornments on the walls and in the cornices, however, made this place anything but holy, the ecclesiastical taking a back seat to amateur theatrical.

Kitty growled a thousand growls, all unheard.

Unlike their hooded counterparts from down below, the humans upstairs concealed their identities not with comic book capes, but with papier mâché masks, obscuring what were probably facial features of little worth. Their bodies, once unshrouded, offered an array of tattoos and piercings. Many were on the heavy side, their adipose jiggling with the multitudes that tried to copulate in interesting ways. Nothing at all like Güdderammerüng’s Blod av Däggdjur, which supported an aesthete both elegant and worshipful, this sexy orgy party tried way too hard to be what it clearly was not.

Large cat statues in the Egyptian fashion added to the absurdity of the occasion. Eight feet tall, the polystyrene golden statues came by way of a prop wrangler and his girlfriend, who had purloined them from a storage locker after a film wrap in Vancouver. Under red-pink lights, the cat sentinels were positioned in equal numbers on either side of a large altar, marked by numerous fetish objects and eschatological symbols. In line with the forced revelry that abounded, their uses gained currency with the rather strange choice of Seventies-era rock music that assaulted the senses.

Working up a large hairball, Carlos barely caught his breath for all the hookah vapors filling the room. Humans of all genders did what they did together, separately and severally. Many appeared older, their sagging midsections reminding him of the old Tom’s that lived out their lives in the Banford barn outside Cavan.

Claiming to want something more, something more in line with Güdderammerüng’s vision, their attempts at consciousness raising from the “darkness to the light” fell flat. These humans, for all their writhing and hookah smoking, fundamentally lacked what the cats had: that state of grace that comes with knowing who you are and what you’re here for.

 

 

PRAISE

 

“…writes with a take-no-prisoners style of prose.”

  • Steve Cronin, AMERICAN FUNERAL DIRECTOR MAGAZINE

 

“Funkhauser digs down deep into each character and shatters the lines of morality, showing us the darkness and light within all of them…”

  • Angela D’Onofrio, Author FROM THE DESK OF BUSTER HEYWOOD

 

From The Writing Desk, Ireland & TBR Reviews

Donnelly Long Review 2019 

Author Biography:

 

Toronto born author A.B. Funkhauser is a funeral director, classic car nut and wildlife enthusiast living in Ontario, Canada. Like most funeral directors, she is governed by a strong sense of altruism fueled by the belief that life chooses us, not we it.

 

Her debut novel Heuer Lost and Found, released in April 2015, examines the day to day workings of a funeral home and the people who staff it. Winner of the Preditors & Editors Reader’s Poll for Best Horror 2015, and the New Apple EBook Award 2016 for Horror, Heuer Lost and Found is the first installment in Funkhauser’s Unapologetic Lives series. Her sophomore effort, Scooter Nation, released March 11, 2016 through Solstice Publishing. Winner of the New Apple Ebook Award 2016 for Humor, and Winner Best Humor Summer Indie Book Awards 2016, Scooter picks up where Heuer left off, this time with the lens on the funeral home as it falls into the hands of a woeful sybarite.

 

A devotee of the gonzo style pioneered by the late Hunter S. Thompson, Funkhauser attempts to shine a light on difficult subjects by aid of humorous storytelling. “In gonzo, characters operate without filters which means they say and do the kinds of things we cannot in an ordered society. Results are often comic but, hopefully, instructive.”

 

SHELL GAME, tapped as a psycho-social cat dramedy with death and laughs, is the third book in the series, and takes aim at a pastoral community with a lot to hide. “With so much of the world currently up for debate, I thought it would be useful to question—again—the motives and machinations championed by the morally flexible, and then let the arbiter be a cat.”

 

Funkhauser is currently working on THE HEUER EFFECT, the prequel to HEUER LOST AND FOUND.

 

Other Books by A.B. Funkhauser:

HEUER LOST AND FOUND

Unrepentant cooze hound lawyer Jürgen Heuer dies suddenly and unexpectedly in his litter-strewn home. Undiscovered, he rages against God, Nazis, deep fryers and analogous women who disappoint him.

At last found, he is delivered to Weibigand Brothers Funeral Home, a ramshackle establishment peopled with above average eccentrics, including boozy Enid, a former girlfriend with serious denial issues. With her help and the help of a wise cracking spirit guide, Heuer will try to move on to the next plane. But before he can do this, he must endure an inept embalming, feral whispers, and Enid’s flawed recollections of their murky past.

Coming Soon to Amazon

 

SCOOTER NATION

Aging managing director Charlie Forsythe begins his work day with a phone call to Jocasta Binns, the unacknowledged illegitimate daughter of Weibigand Funeral Home founder Karl Heinz Sr. Alma Wurtz, a scooter bound sextenarian, community activist, and neighborhood pain in the ass is emptying her urine into the flower beds, killing the petunias. Jocasta cuts him off, reminding him that a staff meeting has been called. Charlie, silenced, is taken aback: he has had no prior input into the meeting and that, on its own, makes it sinister.

 

The second novel in the UNAPOLOGETIC LIVES series, SCOOTER NATION takes place two years after HEUER LOST AND FOUND. This time, funeral directors Scooter Creighton and Carla Moretto Salinger Blue take center stage as they battle conflicting values, draconian city by-laws, a mendacious neighborhood gang bent on havoc, and a self-absorbed fitness guru whose presence shines an unwanted light on their quiet Michigan neighborhood.

 

Coming Soon to Amazon

 

PRAISE

 

“…writes with a take- no-prisoners style of prose.”

—Steve Cronin, AMERICAN FUNERAL DIRECTOR MAGAZINE

 

“…unabashedly frank and uproariously funny.”

—Amazon Customer

 

“…an eccentric, irreverent, sharp tongue-in-cheek delivery.”

—Amazon Customer

 

“Funkhauser digs down deep into each character and shatters the lines of morality, showing us the darkness and light within all of them…”

—Angela D’Onofrio, Author FROM THE DESK OF BUSTER HEYWOOD

 

LINKS

 

Website: www.abfunkhauser.com

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/abfunkhauser

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iamfunkhauser

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/abfunkhauser

Branded: https://branded.me/abfunkhauser

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1FPJXcO

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/unapologeticadult

FAQ’s: https://abfunkhauser.com/faqs/

Interview Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2yhaXfh-ns

Interview Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoPthI1Hvmo

Podcast:  http://mhefferman.ca/author/podcasts/episode-3-an-interview-with-a-b-funkhauser/

Email: a.b.funkhauser@rogers.com

 

 

Awards

 

New Apple E-Book Award 2016 “Humor” SCOOTER NATION

New Apple E-Book Award 2016 “Horror” HEUER LOST AND FOUND

 

http://www.newappleliterary.com/awards

 

 

 

Winner Summer Indie Book Award (SIBA) 2016 “Humor” SCOOTER NATION

 

https://metamorphpublishing.com/summer-indie-book-awards/

 

 

 

Winner Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll 2015 “Horror” HEUER LOST AND FOUND

 

http://critters.org/predpoll/

 

 

 

 

September 13, 2017

FREEDOM IN SHELL GAME AND THE STRANGE THINGS THAT RESULT FROM IT

Freedom has always been a big one for me, for what am I as a gonzo if I cannot judge, poke fun, get it wrong and then slide in a rueful subtext among the laughs and guffaws?

That’s my mission, anyway, and as SHELL GAME’s release date draws near, the notion of freedom as it relates to the plot and characters who seek to keep it has grown more dear.

Imagine a world peopled with ungoverned free-spirits culturally sanctioned to say whatever they like. You wouldn’t have to go too far. Ricky Gervais showcased the concept brilliantly in the film THE INVENTION OF LYING (2009). In it, characters managed to convey whole truths without the sturm und drang of hand-wringing, hair-pulling and copious tear-filled apologies. Chaos did not ensue, at least not until the protagonist started lying through his teeth.

The same happens in SHELL GAME. There, in the humble burg of Pictontown on the Downs, gentle folk go about the business of doing a great deal of damage at little or no cost to the neighbors they try so hard to ignore. It is only when a mysterious and very beautiful black cat enters the picture that untidied things like lies, invasion of privacy, group sex and a missing spouse become important; important because with each new revelation, the freedom to do as one pleases without direct observation becomes very difficult.

Misunderstandings as a vehicle to catapult the plot figure prominently in SHELL GAME as one’s presumed murder victim becomes another’s bratwurst sausage. Likewise, the Beautiful Boy Politician. With all his wealth, intelligence, glamor and promise, it becomes very easy to mix him up with his lackluster opponents because they all wind up saying the same blah, blah, blah to the effect that nothing and everything changes.

A Shell Game is defined as “a deceptive and evasive action or ploy, especially a political one”[1] Readers might want to let that percolate when deciding if the surviving characters are free by book’s end, for as we all know, freedom is subjective and absolutely always illusory.

SHELL GAME releases September 21 on Amazon through Solstice Publishing. As a thank you to readers and supporters, it will be offered as a FREE DOWNLOAD September 21, 22 and 23. Link pending.

Adult, unapologetic, and wholly cognizant, I am

A.B. Funkhauser

seven years.jpg

September 12, 2017

 

SHELL GAME: GENESIS

I didn’t plan on writing a cat book. In fact, I had every intention of devoting 2017 to THE HEUER EFFECT, the prequel to HEUER LOST AND FOUND. But I was sidetracked—drawn into a direction I had not counted on.

IMG_20151111_143637Two years ago, I met this cat. A comely fellow, he appeared at my back door with a “come hither” look that couldn’t move me. You see, I had lived my life deeply saddened by the knowledge that I was allergic to almost all things “fur and feather.” This did not dissuade him. Perhaps he knew I was susceptible—possessed of that human quality (or weakness?) of wanting that thing that I couldn’t have.

His visits went on for days, marked by chalcedony green eyes and an almost inaudible purr from cat epiglottis to my own ears. I didn’t stand a chance: he literally compelled me to open the door and let him in.

I’m so glad I did, and for so many reasons; chief among them, SHELL GAME.

Not long after our first contact, my fine visitor, along with his many free-spirited confrères, became the subject of a dedicated cat hunt spear headed by local Animal Control. According to the letter left on my door step, free-wheeling kitties and the accomplices that aided them were now subject to punitive fines / loss of liberty—theirs to roam, ours to love them on our own terms.

There’s a debate going on about whether it’s right to keep cats indoors and I can see both sides of that argument. But for the purpose of my latest fiction, let’s just say that free range kitties and the humans that aspire to similar behavior do so with the best of intentions.

Tomorrow:

FREEDOM IN SHELL GAME AND THE STRANGE THINGS THAT RESULT FROM IT

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Twitter https://twitter.com/iamfunkhauser

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pg/abfunkhauser

And this website

September 11, 2017

A GONZO NEW RELEASE WITH A CAT’S EYE VIEW

I am thrilled to announce that SHELL GAME will launch on September 21 on Amazon through Solstice Publishing. Part mystery, part social commentary, it will take a satirical look at a community fighting unwanted change through mechanisms both silly and life-threatening. With insights that are both sympathetic and stinging, the novel’s hero and narrator, Carlos the Wonder Cat, will suffer overtures from an awkward feline fetishist sex cult, observe political gamesmanship that keeps going and going without apparent purpose, and assume a crucial leadership role in narrowing class divisions drawn by lines in a forest.

 

All with the lick of a paw.

 

If you believe—as many do—that cats are more than just cats, then SHELL GAME might be for you. For when has unquenchable curiosity not led to things unforgettable?

 

SHELL GAME

 

This time, the cat wins.

 

Buy link pending.

 

For more information:

 

 

Twitter https://twitter.com/iamfunkhauser

Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/heuerlostandfound

And this website.

 

Coming up: SHELL GAME GENESIS

 

March 17, 2016

Nothing keeps the authorial engine sparking quite like a shiny new work in progress. Introducing SHELL GAME, an “Enigmatic, subversive, feline, who dunnit.” Thank you #WIPjoy for making me say it in five words!

Begun during NaNo 2015, SHELL GAME’s genesis stems from a form letter plunked down on the doorstep of every home in a quiet neighborhood. To whit, the letter from animal control singled out one street as a source of roaming, free range kitties of the type not tolerated within municipal bounds.

I immediately took umbrage. The letter warned that if homeowners did not keep their kitties indoors, Eyes 1they’d be fined $5,000 / lose their kitties to THE MAN. I thought: Is it not cruel and unusual to confine a feral kitty, jeopardizing its spirit along with the carpets and throw pillows? I had to know.

After months of scribbling down “pop scenes” and filing them away in a folder along with some awesome character names, SHELL GAME is emerging. My kitty protagonist has just escaped the confines of a really awkward feline fetishist sex cult devoted to the films of Pilson Gudderammerung. I can’t wait to see how it ends.

Stay tuned!

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ABF

 

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