Friday, May 16, 2008

FRIDAYS: Forgotten Books/The Book You Have to Read

FRIDAYS: Forgotten Books:

J.D. Rhoades, Author of Safe and Sound

My forgotten book is THE BEASTS OF VALHALLA by George C. Chesbro (and thanks to Jon Jordan for turning me on to this piece of truly bent thriller fiction). Chesbro's hero, Mongo Fredrickson (aka Mongo the Magnificent) is a dwarf, a former acrobat and circus performer, and a genius criminologist.

Wait, I haven't gotten to the weird part yet.

There's a mad scientist, a talking gorilla who ends up being one of the most human characters in the book, obsessed Lord of the Rings geeks, more Wagner references than you can shake a stick at, and (of course) a plot to save the world by destroying it.

And it all works. Not once do you put the book down and go "oh, come ON!" Instead, you laugh out loud with the sheer audacity of it. It's like watching someone juggle chainsaws.

Chesbro is a mad genius in his own right, and his Mongo series is his lightning-struck masterwork.

J.D. Rhoades

I'm putting these links up to other blogs now and I expect most of them will appear as the day wears on, some may not appear at all. I thank all of today's participants and hope they pass the baton to someone for next week, or write about another forgotten book. If I've forgotten someone, please let me know. I'm juggling these sites on tiny yellow post-its for some ungodly reason.
Click: Forgotten Books

Thanks so much, Dusty. Check out JD Rhoades blog site at


Steve Allan said...

I wrote mine yesterday, but here it is.

r2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
r2 said...

I used to read all the Mongo books. What an interesting premise for a detective And then they stopped. Does anyone know what happened to George Chesbro, the author? Is he still alive? Is he still writing Mongo?

Todd Mason said...

Chesbro, sadly, is dead.

Is it Friday already? I'll have one for you in a few hours, Patti, with my omnivorous link and all.

I think Ed Gorman's take on Robert Bloch's THE KIDNAPPER yesterday might be worth inclusion, too...

the Bag Lady said...

The Bag Lady posted about her favourite forgotten books today, too, at the request of Terrie from Women of Mystery

Todd Mason said...

I, at least provisionally, take it back...I was sure I'd read obits for Chesbro, but can't find any now online. Good, I hope!

r2 said...

I did a little boppin' around the internet and couldn't find out very much about George Chesbro. I think he's still alive. His own website's last entry was August 6 of last year. His last Mongo book was published in 1996. I know the last one in my personal library was published in 1988 and I never ran across any of his books again, although there were eight more Mongo mysteries published. There are none at all in my hometown library. He did an interview in 2002 in which he said there was a new Mongo on the way.

pattinase (abbott) said...

With the Internet, you expect to be able to track everyone down and when you can't it's even more frustrating then when information was hard to come by.

Andi said...

Chesbro dead? That can't be right. At least not according to the website he maintains at While it hasn't been updated in a year, there's also no notice of George's death so I think happily, that Todd mis-remembered. Phew!

Hi, I'm Andi and I work for Kate Derie's "" where one of my jobs is to maintain our database of author/bookstore/publisher/blah blah websites on "Mysterious Home Page" and when I saw that, I panicked and checked our link to the guy's site. It's still there.

George was our toastmaster at the 1994 Bouchercon in Seattle and did a great job. I'm a big fan of the amazing, unique Mongo, less of some of the other books but oh JD, yay for mentioning him. He's so worth reading.

Hunter said...

At the time of this blog, George was still alive, but I'm sad to report that he died yesterday, November 18, 2008.

He wrote a new Mongo novel, LORD OF ICE AND LONELINESS, that was published in France in 2006. Unfortunately, he was never able to find a U.S. publisher that was interested in the book. I'm still hopeful that it'll see print someday....

Hunter Goatley, webmaster for

sexy said...