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Shadowrun: Novella: Neat $2.99
Average Rating:4.8 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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Shadowrun: Novella: Neat
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Shadowrun: Novella: Neat
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Frederic H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/14/2012 21:37:45
Neat has everything a fan of Shadowrun could ask for. Great characters, great storyline, and a very interesting and easy to read prose. As I was reading through the pages I could't stop thinking of the late Nigel Findley and his phenomenal novels. Russell Zimmerman has done a terrific job at bringing together the dystopian world of Shadowrun and the genre noir of gritty detectives along with an excellent exactitude to the rules of the RPG that will please the most hardcore gamers.

Great Job Russell! My only critic really is it's too short!! I was left wanting more, not because of the lack of details or storyline, just because it was darn good. For $2.99 however the price tag is perfect for the length of the story.

More please.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Novella: Neat
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Stephen G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/24/2012 01:54:53
Very Riveting, hard to put down.

Too bad there wasn't a .pdf file in the package?

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Novella: Neat
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Nathan D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/24/2012 01:22:49
The best praise I can give Shadowrun: Neat is that it reads equally well as a classic detective noir story and as a Shadowrun story, without sacrificing the best parts of either genre. As a fan of old-school detective noir novels who has just recently gotten into Shadowrun, I came away impressed. James Kincaid shines as a Shadowrun incarnation of the Sam Spade archetype, a down-on-his-nonexistent-luck PI who just also happens to be a mage (though of diminished talent). The plot revolves around a kidnapped girl who also happens to have corporate secrets in her headware, and all the trouble, both expected and not, that can bring. Without getting into too many spoilers, suffice it to say the twist is somewhat predictable and slightly overplayed, but it's logical and fits perfectly with the tenor of the story. Characters are generally well-rounded and developed. The only criticism I have is that certain critical details are glossed over or hand-waved, usually in the interest of moving the story along. I'd love to see either a sequel or prequel to address these details, but more importantly, just to join Mr. Kincaid and his associates in another well-written adventure.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Novella: Neat
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Stephen M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/23/2012 16:40:30
Well-written with interesting characters and lots of Shadowrun RPGS tie-ins. Like all Shadowrun fiction, it really helps if you know the system, but that's a given for me. I've been a fan of their fiction from the beginning and I hope Catalyst continues with the fiction line.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Novella: Neat
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Rasmus N. W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/22/2012 14:44:55
Critias has done it again. Neat is a very good and captivating story.
The history is a cyperpunk noir detective story where the main character Kincaid is looking for a missing girl. The story ends with a twist as it should.
The characters ae very believable and the story is written with attention to details which really bring it to life.
For only 3$ you get a really good story. I only wish there already was a prequel I could pick up and ultimately I would really enjoy a Dead Tree Format copy on the shelf (yes I'm that old).
Rasmus

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Novella: Neat
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/20/2012 07:29:54
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/11/20/book-review-shadowrun-n-
eat/

Neat is a novella set in the Shadowrun universe featuring the exploits of burned-out mage Jimmy Kincaid. Now, CHL puts out a lot of fiction for Shadowrun, but usually it’s very short stories or sourcebooks like the recent Dirty Tricks, written almost purely in JackPoint prose. It’s been a while, though, since there has been an actual novel devoted to the Shadowrun universe. Before Neat , the closest we had was a nineteen page short story entitled Another Rainy Night, and it’s been years since I could actually pick up a brand new book based on the franchise at my local brick and mortar store, or even on Amazon. So it was nice to see CGL releasing this in .epub and .mobi format instead of in PDF. It may be a digital only novella, but at least that means it’s built specifically for e-readers and thus FEELS like reading a book rather than a PDF. It looks great on my Kindle, by the way.

Jimmy Kincaid is a detective, and as such, Neat is a blend of 20s style noir with 2070s futuristic mega-corporation oligarchy. It’s an odd juxtaposition, but the book makes it work. Aside from a light use of magic, the novella fits into similar genres like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Neuromancer, and other works by Phillip K. Dick and William Gibson. While Neat isn’t as seminal a work as anything by those two authors, or even the stuff Robert Charrette put out in the 90s, it’s still a fun read for hardcore fans of the Shadowrun license. Now, for those that are new to this particular line of games and fiction, you’ll probably be a little lost, as NOTHING is explained, so you’ll never know what JackPoint is or any of the franchise-specific vernacular.

The plot of Neat is both your basic Noir and your basic Shadowrun plot. Alluring and well to do dame Ms. Johnson (A Johnson is the nom de plume of someone hiring your character for corporate espionage or other “runs” in Shadowrun) offers Jimmy Kincaid a large sum of money to track down a young girl who was kidnapped out of her car. Of course, tracking down this young girl is nowhere near as cut and dry as Kincaid would expect, but then, it wouldn’t be a detective/mystery tale if a few curve balls weren’t thrown at the protagonist, right? Kincaid ends up in a few firefights, causes a minor feud between the Yakuza and Mafia and pretty much earns his credstick on this. It’s an interesting read full of well fleshed out characters with believable motivations, and fans of Shadowrun will enjoy the first long meaty piece of fiction set in the universe in some years. I know I did. The mark of a good detective story is whether or not you can actually piece everything together before you get to the end. Now, I don’t mean solve it yourself, but that you can go back and re-read the story with the ending in mind and catch things that you didn’t notice before or realize that some details presented as throw-away text were actually quite important. Neat does all that, and so it fits all the benchmarks of a well-written detective piece.

There are only two problems I had with the story. One is very minor, in that Neat is not very accessible to newcomers. We already talked about that, but suffice it to say, this probably shouldn’t be your first foray into the Sixth World. The other is the twist -slash- “Whodunit” aspect of the story. Don’t get me wrong it’s well done, and it wouldn’t be Noir OR Shadowrun without Kincaid’s employer having ulterior motivations. It all makes sense in the story. The small problem I had is that Kincaid’s job would have not only been a lot easier had Ms. Johnson been completely honest with him from the get-go, but Kincaid himself would have probably tackled the mission with a lot more gusto and positivity simply because this is one of the few cases in Shadowrun where someone would have been wearing a white hat instead of grey or black. All she had to do was speak the truth and things wouldn’t have become as convoluted OR as violent as they did. But then, there would have been no mystery about “Why was person X taken?” and the story would have been MUCH shorter. Still, the conclusion of the story and the “big reveal” will irk some people. It won’t ruin their sense of disbelief or make the story any less fun, but you will probably be sitting there going, “So much of this could have been avoided with honesty.” Basically it’s the Catch-22 of both genres being combined into one novella here. You wouldn’t have a story without the lack of honesty, and yet, you will be annoyed by what could have been come chapter ten. Of course, if honesty wasn’t such a rarity in the Sixth World, shadowrunning wouldn’t be such a lucrative profession, now would it?

So a big thumb’s up here for Neat IF you are a long time fan of Shadowrun. Newcomers should probably read some of the 90s fiction or the core rulebook first. Otherwise, a lot of the tale will be gobblygook and jargon. At only three dollars, Neat is definitely a story well worth picking up for your e-reader. It never drags, and it’s great to see CGL testing the waters for longer pieces of Shadowrun fiction. Maybe at some point we’ll get an omnibus reprint of the old books, or we’ll see Kincaid in the upcoming Shadowrun Returns anthology. I know I’d like to see that myself.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Novella: Neat
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Bridget H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/20/2012 01:13:05
Although I haven't playued Shadowrun since my college days, I decided to give this book a try because I love a hard-boiled, noir-style detective story. Neat is exceptionally well-written, with an intriguing plot and characters that make me want to read more about them. Russel Zimmerman did a fantastic job capturing the retro feel of a 40s-50s detective in the futuristic Shadowrun setting. It gave me shades of Blade Runner as I read it. Quick read well worth the price.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Novella: Neat
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Blau _. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/13/2012 07:42:01
A good read and well-written. It really captures the feel of modern Shadowrun. Oldies will like the links to Jackpoint members and Shadowrun’s past – this is done with subtlety and taste. Newbies and players will like experiencing the flavour and rich background of the Sixth World (ahead of the end of the year), and also the way the novel bridges the gap between Shadowrun titans and the man on the street.

For your average cyberpunk-fan, when you get over the moral-horror of realising “somebody read Neuromancer and decided I want elves and magic with that”, it’s a decent cyberpunk story with a good novella-length plot. I picked it up and didn’t put it down until I finished. If Kincaid has another interesting case he wants to share, of a similar length and for a similar price, I’d read it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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