Cover Image: Saint Oswald

Saint Oswald

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Member Reviews

Dark humour with a few LOL moments but at times almost trying too hard for effect. Overall worth a read for a somewhat pleasant bit of time spent.
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Do we really need a novel about a killer who seeks to atone for the deaths he caused? Do we need a rather silly novel on the same topic? Well, it's here, and Saint Oswald is not without merit. It's an easy read if you can go along with the mind of Oswald. He sees the spirits of those he killed. Many of the scenes are funny, and I submit that the novel is enjoyable, depending on your tolerance for silliness.
Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC.
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When his wife asks him to atone for all his sins whilst on her death bed, Oswald becomes the saint of the title as he sets about righting the wrongs he’s done in the past - namely the killings, to do this he must save a life for every one he has taken. A really good book that had me rushing through the pages.  Excellent!
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This novel has some good and bad. I rate it 3 stars out of 5. It moves but it is overwritten and doesn't really develop characters (other than the title character) or a real sense of plot. It's imaginative; however, several lines of dialogue border on cliche. Ultimately, I did not connect to this book.
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This book is such an unexpected thrill.
You expect the same sort of thing we've seen plenty of times before but this one IS different, Oswald Means is a lumbering giant who you can't help but root for and even empathise with. His dying wifs wants Oswald to atone for his sins and of course being a hitman there's many of them. We get to follow him as he tries to become Saint Oswald and let me say that it's definitely worth joining him on the ride to get himself in karmas good books.
Whole-heartedly recommended this book.
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In this opening to a series, an overweight, deceptively quick, chronically tipsy Native American assassin named Oswald Means attempts to salvage his soul by saving as many people in a fortnight that he’s killed in his career, so he’ll be able to spend his afterlife with his wife, recently dead of it doesn’t matter instead of in hell. In his pursuit, he enlists the aid of his partner- and as we’ll find out, daughter -to back up his plays. The conceit leads to funny situations, like Means taking the credit of two lives saved because they were trying to kill him, but he merely disarmed them, when to his mind, he was justified to use lethal force, or when he threatens a suicidal man with a gun to avert his follow-through. The chorus of souls that Oswald has killed are funny too, especially when he seeks their advice in his quest, despite the rather lazy connection to Means’ Native heritage. But the language, which is attempting to strike “slacker casual,” is more forced jazzy, and it’s frustrating that the very white author hides behind the excuse of Italian mobsters to drop racial and ability-related epithets like he’s a gifted edgelord instead of a moderately talented writer hung up on the scatological, who has overextended his welcome.
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Jay Bonansinga's thriller is hardboiled and humorous, and completely un-PC. It's crude, rude, madly innovative and complexly original with a denouement aboard a moving train that well-and-truly puts Tom Cruise and the entire Mission Impossible franchise to shame 
Oswald Means is a 270-pound Native American with a real determination to get into heaven and join his late wife Mathilda. A bit of a task for a hitman until he decides to seek redemption and he's only got until the next full moon to do it 
Full of fabulous characters - both living and dead - this is an outstanding novel I can't recommend highly enough.
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Oswald Means is a small hitman honing and peddling his dubious skills in Chicago, and when I say small I mean really small, a very small pebble on the bottom part of the mobster scale. And then Oswald Means has another problem, a problem that isn't made to fix things over so easily in his life at the moment . Oswald has a conscience, he is a professional killer blessed with the ability to feel remorseful sometimes and when he starts to think about the poor souls that he coldly dispatched on the other side of the great beyond, well it doesn't sit well with his conscience.....
Oswald is also married to Mathilda. He loves his wife and she doesn't know the real nature of his professional skills. Then one day Mathilda gets sick, she falls prey to cancer and Mathilda tells him that she had known all along that his professional skills weren't so spic and span. So because she is kind of religious and she feels that her life is ebbing slowly away she tells him that the only way they could be blissfully reunited in the afterlife, will be for him to promise that from now on he will have to become a do-gooder and save people lives instead of gunning them down. So Oswald goes on a crusade to keep people overground and not send them six feet under....
So far so good, but really????? Well, not so fast because soon everything starts to go bonkers and mayhem ensues of course...

Saint Oswald is the first title in a new series coming out of the twisted mind of the very talented Jay Bonansinga and boy it's a winner. A noirish caper full of delicious fireworks and character idiosyncrasies that had me in stiches all night long and got me into trouble because I laughed too loud. Fiendishly plotted with razor sharp dialogues this first title heralds the arrival of a wonderful character on the American crime fiction stage. Please Jay, please send us another one soon.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Burns&Lea for giving me the opportunity to wake everbody up in the middle of the night with my laughter before this  wonderful novel was even  released.
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What an unexpected gem this is!

Picked up on NetGalley mainly because I liked the cover I was soon sucked into the chaotic frantic world of Oswald Means, An American Indian Freelance Hitman.

When his wife asks him to atone for all his sins whilst on her death bed, Oswald becomes the saint of the title as he sets about righting the wrongs he’s done in the past - namely the killings, to do this he must save a life for every one he has taken.

This then becomes a surprising, addictive, thoroughly enjoyable, absolutely jet paced thrill ride as you barrel along in Oswald’s coat tails.

With help from his friend ‘Gerbil’ this story tells of their madcap and almost slapstick adventures. It’s completely crazy, completely brilliant and actually really quite heart warming as you take the giant bumbling killer to your heart.


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Oswald Means is a small-time hit-man, who, in his most recent assignment, proves inept. His boss is out to get him, his wife is dying, and he's barely getting by financially. Oswald's wife's last words are that he must save as many people as he has killed if they are to be reunited in heaven. Oswald and his sidekick, "Gerbil," set out to save lives in the most outrageous manner. Saint Oswald reminded me of a darker version of Carl Hiaasen's Florida mysteries. Very enjoyable.
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A fast-paced fun read. The saint isn’t a saint by choice, but out of obligation. So he can be reunited with his wife in the afterlife, he must atone for his sins as a second (or third)-class hit man. His escapades and efforts provide non-stop entertainment.
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I found this in the Read Now section of Netgalley. Thanks to the author, the publisher and Netgalley for putting it out there. 
I really, really enjoyed it. (I was a little shocked. That's 3 for 3- all the ARCs I've read this week have been gems. That never happens.) Saint Oswald isn't quite my usual fare. While I like my stories gritty, I'm less fond of writing which is, I'm not sure how to put it, mean? in tone. Acerbic, maybe. I'm an oversensitive person, it makes me feel a little uneasy. Saint Oswald was definitely acerbic. But it worked. The story was heartwarming. No, really. Yeah, people get offed, there's violence, there's some extremely inappropriate language, one filthy  shockingly absurd sex scene ,(which had me in stitches) and yeah, there are scenes like this:

"Billy Elgart bangs into the room and gets halfway to the stainless steel counter before dropping to his knees and roaring vomit.
Seven and a half Rusty Nails come spewing out across the lovely checkerboard parquet in a mini-tsunami of Drambuie, Scotch, macerated cherries, and salmon-colored bile. The retching noises fill the empty restroom and bounce off the tile walls."

which, I for one, think is beautifully written, but...
fundamentally, it's a story about a guy trying to do the right thing. Oswald is an immensely likable protagonist, as is his young protege, Gerbil. Hired killer though he was, you can't help but hope he succeeds in his quest so he can reunite with his dead wife in the afterworld. 
The concept was great. It allowed for a fast-paced, action packed plot, but also some genuine emotion and pathos, and a few scenes that will make you laugh, hard.
I enjoyed every page, and was delighted to see that it's the first in a series. 

(One last thing. Is it just me, or were there a more-than-usual number of scenes with very fat women in strange situations? Like, a lot? The author actually mentioned Lane Bryant- twice. From the hugely fat old lady at the laundromat in the beginning of the book with the underwear fit for a Volkswagen bus, to the enormous woman getting a tattoo on her aircraft carrier bosom st the end of the book, with several other scenes in between, and a fat, once-crooked lady detective with Margaret Thatcher hair. It was... weird. Was it a running gag? Was it coincidence? I don't know.)
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Oswald Means is a small-time hit-man for the Chicago mob. On his wife's deathbed, she tells him that they can only be together in the afterlife if Oswald saves as many lives as he has taken. So, Oswald must come up with a plan to start saving people, but how do you do that? 

This is a fast-paced, action-packed and fun crime noir novel with some supernatural elements that was much better than I had expected. It reminded me in away of the Charlie Parker series by John Connolly. It's well written and almost impossible to put down. I really hope there will be more books about Saint Oswald because this was a fun read. 

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and Burns & Lea Books for the opportunity to read this book and to share my honest review.
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This book was great. A criminal who develops a conscience and hijinks ensue. Couldn't put the book down. Can't wait for the next book in the Oswald Means series.
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