New Pulp Press

"Bullets, Booze and Bastards"

Hunt for The Troll Hunt For The Troll
by Mark Richardson,, $3.99 ebook, $14.95 paperback
It all starts when twenty-something software programming genius is visited while he sleeps by a mysterious figure referred to as the Troll. Mostly taking place in San Francisco, Hunt for the Troll is a quirky hybrid of mystery, pulp, and modern fairy tale.

REVIEW by Bob Gelms

Off We Go A-Trolling

            Mark Richardson’s Hunt for the Troll is a captivating combination of a number of genres. He mixes them like a fine Long Island Ice Tea:  it tastes scrumptious but sneaks up on you and packs a wallop. This blend includes a little noir, a little magic realism, a little steam punk, with a little sexy thriller thrown in for good measure.

            There is no question in my mind that Mr. Richardson’s characters are the strong point of the book and we meet them in rather unusual circumstances. His main character is the narrator. He has no name that we can discern other than his name tattooed on his arm in binary code. He bumps into a tech reporter who smokes so much pot it’s amazing he isn’t comatose most of the time, encounters his love interest at work and the troll in his dreams.

            Our intrepid hero works for a computer outfit that runs a very complicated cyber-game called Centre Terrain. His job is to repair any rips in the fabric of the game from inside the game itself. Enabling him to do this is a small device inserted into his head that allows him to work at blazing speed in a most elegant fashion. Since he is working inside the game he is required to have an avatar and it’s a humdinger. He’s a take-no-prisoners kind of guy in the cyber world. I must say I found the game world much more interesting than his real life and maybe my own life as well. I don’t play a lot of computer games but I can see how it could easily take over my life.

He meets a red haired, one eared, femme fatale who has said absolutely nothing to him since he got there despite working just a few cubicles down. Then out of the blue, like manna from heaven, she asks him out and they proceed to have an affair that takes up quite a bit of what happens in his real world. The cyber world takes up the rest.

            The whole book revolves around a kind of quest. The narrator is trying to find the troll who appeared to him in a dream in the first scene of the book. The troll tells him, “We are going to change the world.”

There are a few other characters in the book who would like to meet the troll and things start to get a little dicey. Hunt for the Troll is a fascinating glimpse into the nether world of gaming. It also has a few things to say about the merging of humans with machines, something that is already happening in our real world.

            I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I’m hoping there might be a sequel. The ending hints at it. It’s a short read and I don’t want to give anything away. But don't let the short length fool you.  It just means that every page is packed with plot info and character development and I can’t reveal them without disrupting your reading experience. It’s as if Dashiell Hammett took acid and wrote a book. Parts are nothing short of hallucinogenic. It even takes place in San Francisco. I’d like to read more about our hero and I’d like to learn his name even if he is suppose to stand in for the reader in the book. Hunt down Hunt for the Troll. You will have a great time and you will be very glad you did.