Early Reviews of “Pack”

Early Reviews of “Pack”

They say “don’t read the reviews.” This has not been good advice in my experience.

My first book is pulling decent reviews and even the bad reviews generally fall into two camps – those who didn’t connect with the material or the style (which is TOTALLY a legit opinion and I begrudge these one star reviewers nothing) and those who tend to be hard on books. One review of ”FantasticLand” has never not given a one star review to any book he’s ever reviewed. That doesn’t hurt my feelings any. The good reviews…they’re just more than I could’ve hoped for. I’ve had people tell me “FantasticLand” is one of their favorite books and it makes my day…hell, my week, every single time it happens.  I enjoy watching the conversation, is my point.

(I would be remiss if I didn’t at least acknowledge my imposter syndrome and that I am honestly delighted that anyone is reading my book at all. Return to text).

But I’ve been nervous recently as early reviews of my second novel, “Pack”, have started coming in. There’s the “sophomore slump” to consider, there’s the fact that my first novel took a different and risky approach to novel writing and, as a more straight novel, I’ve got less to hide behind. Either I’m a writer who can pull of a traditional novel format or I’m not.

The good news, so far, is that the early reviews are coming in and they’re good. Real good. There’s a long way to go and this could all nose dive at any moment (my general operating philosophy, strangely enough) but so far, so good. In the interest of promoting “Pack” a bit and celebrating a really good review, I’d like to repost an early review of the book by Dee Arr who got an Advanced Review Copy of the book that you can read on Goodreads.com. Here it is:

Mike Bockoven’s newest offering “Pack” takes the not-so-normal and turns it into something that helps us accept the paranormal as everyday life. The book describes a small town that not only has accepted the idea of werewolves but treats the pack as an integral part of the community. When one of the pack steps outside of the boundaries governing their behavior, the decisions made bring outside attention and threaten everyone in the town.

“Pack” continues with some of the reporting aspects that made his previous novel “Fantasticland” an incredibly realistic read. The story is told through the eyes of multiple characters and embellished through his “Selective History of Barter County” chapters. These historical entries reveal bits and pieces of the past, events which were important and shaped the town as it is today.

This is not your typical story of werewolves. It is not a tale of young love nor a bloody trail of horror. Except for their ability to change into wolves, members of the pack are no different than other residents. The author humanizes what is normally presented as scary and spins our way of thinking in the opposite direction. It is easy to empathize with the characters in their struggle to preserve a way of life that has been crafted by their ancestors for almost 200 years.

Bottom line – this is a creative story that assumes the paranormal is real. While most writers work toward this goal, Mike Bockoven’s “Pack” seems to effortlessly achieve this level of realism. Highly recommended. Five stars.

My thanks to NetGalley for an advance reading copy of this book.

It feels really good to have someone tell you that everything you tried to do came across. It’s a relief and it’s made me far more optimistic about how the book is going to be received. If you read the book and leave me a review, please know that I appreciate it a great deal and that I take constructive criticism to heart.


”Pack” comes out on July 3rd and I’m counting down the days. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon right now. As always, thanks for following what I do. It’s a dream come true.



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