Mitch Hyman’s name is one you might recognize. He is the creator and writer of the hilarious Bubba the Redneck Werewolf comic and the great 2014 film by the same name. Hyman is not only a great man, a writer and comic book creator, he is also a talented actor, producer and special effects artist.
Mitch’s latest project, a novel titled Vinnie and Mook Hitmen in Paradise has not been long released. I happen to get my hands on a copy. Here’s what I thought.
Not far into the novel it’s clear that Hyman has a knack for character development. First thing, we are introduced to Vinnie and Mook, as they dispose of a body at a gator farm. The dialogue between the two old school hitmen comes across like two siblings picking at each other in a snarky, but playful way. The first couple of chapters delve into Vinnie and Mook’s history and their relationship as business partners and friends who grew up together. Vinnie is good at what he does. He follows a code of ethics based on respect and honor. Mook sees himself as a lady’s man. He dresses to impress and always follows Vinnie’s command. Vinnie is the brains of the operation and Mook is the muscle, and together they make the perfect team.
A few chapters in we learn that Vinnie loves fishing as much as he loves his job. He takes a trip down to Florida for a fishing tournament. There he meets Booger, a lovable, beer guzzling redneck, who he hires to be his guide. Booger, who is very important to the story, introduces Vinnie to Millie, a character who is ageless and enchanted. She becomes very important to the novels’ end.
The book takes a dark turn when Vinnie and Mook are hired by a mobster to do what his own men can’t, find his daughter who was last seen heading to the mysterious, privately-owned Isle de Croix (Island of the Cross) where the world’s most expensive perfume is made. The two hitmen head down to an island near Isle de Croix, there is no where to land on the island even if they could get permission. There they meet several new important characters, especially a young boy named Clayton. Clayton takes the men to the private island by boat, but rescuing the girl will be harder than they imagined. The men are about to face something they would have never have believed was real, vampires, zombies and an evil Voodoo priest who has walked the earth for centuries. I won’t tell you any more, you’ll have to read it for yourself to find out what happens.
Here’s an interesting fact, part of the story was inspired by Hyman’s real life experience with Voodoo.
Let me tell you a story, it’s about an event that influenced the book. I spent some time working in the Caribbean when I was younger, around 1979. I was sitting at a cafe’ having coffee with two friends in the West Indes. We heard this loud whistle blow. One of my friends, a local, told us to put our heads down and no matter what not to look up. The Voodoo priest was coming. I lowered my head and this stink hit my nose, it was nothing like I’ve ever smelled before. With my head down all I could see were these people walking by. Their had bare feet, covered in dirt and blood. They were dragging shovels and tools. The whistle blew again and my friend told us to look up. I asked “What was that smell?” and he said “Zombies, real zombies.” They believe in that stuff down there.
Later, I saw Wes Craven’s The Serpent and the Rainbow and it all made sense. I had witnessed real Voodoo zombies. It is something I’ll never forget and it inspired part of the story in Hitmen in Paradise.” Hyman told me during a conversation.
Hitmen in Paradise is a fantastic mix of mobsters, magic and action. But more importantly, it’s about loyalty, friendship and honor. It’s perfectly balanced between light-hearted fun and dark, magical subject matter. Hyman created a wonderful tale that I truly hopes gets a sequel.
You can pick up your copy of Vinnie and Mook: Hitmen in Paradise on Kindle or the paper-back on Amazon. I also recommend that you stop by the Bubba the Redneck Werewolf website and Facebook page for more on Mitch Hyman’s upcoming projects and details on the next copy of his comic. You can watch trailer for Bubba the Redneck Werewolf here.