Tall Tales of Felony and Failure is a hilarious, mind altering, soul deadening ride through the eyes of a mildly insane and somewhat super-powered protagonist, Cranston Staigne. After discovering his ability to control time, Cranston embarks with his cohort Tom on a drunken escapade across three continents. During their travels, the pair commit numerous crimes, evade authorities, and cheat death. It’s magnificent decadence and dereliction as they explore unlimited power and unrepentant failure.
If you do pick up this fabulous tale, be sure to also grab the extended ending, which is available as a free download (Highly Recommended. Plus, it’s FREE). You can also peruse some general dereliction over on our blog!
Praise for Tall Tales of Felony and Failure from the Open Book Society:
Like Oscar Wilde and “The picture of Dorian Gray” before him, Warren Haustrumerda takes you on a moral journey that is in parts incredibly funny, and in others really sad – but a thouroughly satisfying read all-round.
Kyle Brodzky posted a fantastic review on his website, Brodzky Books:
Having just read Warren Haustrumerda’s debut book, Tall Tales of Felony and Failure, my mind keeps telling me to sum it up with a single phrase. A complete reversal of the “life is pretty bad sometimes, but you can sometimes find peace” stylings of Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse Five, one can corrupt an oft repeated phrase from it and capture the essence of Tall Tales perfectly: Nothing is Beautiful and Everything Hurts.
See what the Something Awful Forums Goons are saying about Tall Tales of Felony and Failure!
“Awesome and quick read, man. It reads like a disturbed offspring of Hunter S. Thompson and Jack Kerouac.” - Drunk Tomato
“With a casual, familiar voice that calls to mind equal parts Salinger and Hunter S. Thompson, Warren Haustremada has set out to tell you what is certainly a tall tale; call it Robinson Crusoe by way of Irvine Welsh with that buzzphrase “urban fantasy” hanging out in the background. Unpredictable? Yes. Unbelievable? Quite certainly. Unexpectedly good for a first-time work? Very much so. Anyone who is a fan of stories which poke at the often thin barrier between Reality and Weirdness, and do so with an unpretentious awareness of genre and the kind of casual charm that one finds at the bottom of a tequila bottle, would be well served in slamming this shot of 90 proof wit and adventure.” - Precision
“Taking the time to read through this book was an excellent decision. Everything about it feels so real and gritty, steeped in this dark semi-alternate reality that Warren Haustrumerda has created for the reader. The characters are relatable and face similar emotional, moral, and physical problems that anyone else would have to deal with. The plot, while sometimes a bit out of the ordinary, keeps from being convoluted by reinforcing the fact that the main characters are ordinary people placed into an extraordinary situation. As the story progresses and you learn more about Cranston’s powers, there is a great deal of morality that gets tossed around. It makes you put yourself in the characters’ shoes and makes you question what you would do in similar circumstances. As their adventure grows more intense and goes beyond their control, you can’t help but feel like you’re losing it right along with them.
Warren has injected a great deal of dark, sarcastic humor into these pages and it really kept me laughing throughout. Just being able to observe the banter between main characters Cranston and Tom always made their friendship seem like something any one of us would have in our lives. This quality helps keep you interested throughout and it creates one hell of a page turner, despite its relatively short length. Overall, Tall Tales of Felony and Failure is an excellent read and I highly recommend it to anyone willing to take the ride.
tl;dr: Fucking loved it. I thought it was hilarious, dark, and real.” - Houseplant
“This story is not only funny, as the main character is well fleshed out and has a great personality, but it is a very original take on the “guy gets a super power suddenly” genre. Definitely worth checking out.” - Magnus Gallant
“That was an exemplary book. It was raw, and rough, and grimy in a wonderful way, and the Science fiction/Fantasy genre needs more of this. More stories that do not hinge on good or evil, but what a real person would actually do in this situation, and this is what makes this book awesome. Who gives a damn whether these guys were doing the right thing, or whether it worked out for them? It’s not important, the story is, and thanks for an awesome story. Overall, high marks. Thanks for writing such a rad-ass book.” - KingTron
“Antiheroes have always enjoyed popularity in literature, provided they maintain a certain balance between their virtues and flaws. The protagonist (if he may be called that) of Tall Tales of Felony and Failure has very little in the way of virtues, and an abundance of flaws, including drunkenness, lying, stealing, malingering, and casual murder as a tool of convenience. He’s about as distasteful and reprehensible a man as you could never wish to meet. He’s also thoroughly likable and engaging. Even as he and his friend, Tom, go about their business and exemplify every nasty trait one should avoid, you can’t help but root for them. This is a buddy-road-trip-adventure story turned on its head, smashed to bits, and then reanimated with misanthropic glee.
Tall Tales unfolds quickly. The reader is immediately thrown into the plot, one that frequently seems to be one thing, and then is revealed to be another. With less skill, this would be chaotic and difficult to follow, but the author, Warren Haustrumerda, tells the story with vivid and nimble precision. As with most antiheroes, Cranston Staigne has some mitigating factors in his past. His tragedies, both small and great, are gradually and deftly revealed. It would be a disservice to give away the plot, and the style defies an exact label, but I will say that it reads like a collaboration between Henry Miller and Philip K. Dick. If that doesn’t sound like something you want to see more of, there’s something wrong with you.” - GrauFrau
“I hardly noticed when, two or three chapters in, the way this is written had me completely empathizing and feeling like I was riding along with the main character. The language easily put me into his head and even the most off the wall thoughts came in stride. Twisted, absurdest and great fun. Sadly, done quickly. I loved it!” - Raiche
“A short, engaging novel centering around two close friends and their sudden involvement in a large plot far greater than themselves when one of them discovers a power he never knew he had. The witty banter between these two makes for nonstop, although at times very dark, humor that provides excellent comic relief in a grim and mysterious setting that certainly benefits from it. The plot starts slow, but picks up almost instantly once the setting has been laid down, keeping you engaged and guessing as to what will happen next. The novel deconstructs the “ordinary man gains superpowers” trope, leaving you marveling at the oftentimes questionable choices the main characters make and raises the question of what you would do in their situation.
The novel is absolutely worth the short amount of time needed to read through it. Those who enjoy the story should also check out the extended ending available on the author’s site, a welcome addition to the short novel that adds some extra chapters and provides much needed closure.” - tssentry
“So now I’m two-for-two when it comes to books written by Something Awful forum members. The first was Zack Parsons’s Liminal States, and now Warren Haustrumerda has created a shorter but equally mind-bending romp through the barely believable. Disclaimer: I’m a sucker for any story involving the manipulation of time, so I might be predisposed to like this type of novella. However, of all the science fiction I’ve read, few characters ring more familiar than Cranston and Tom. These are guys that I feel like I know, moreso due to the vulgarity and outright meanness shown between two friends.
The realness of the main characters makes the tailspin into insanity all the more disorienting, and this makes for a fun read. By the time Cranston figures out how to control his newfound timestopping power, things have already spun so far out of control that it makes you wonder if such power can even save these guys from what fate has in store for them. And all the while they never change their immoral ways, even in the face of probable defeat.
I do recommend this novella to fans of scifi, and even moreso to fans of regretless depravity. This is what you or I would do if we could stop time. If you deny this, you’re in denial. If you accept it, shame on you.” - Anisocoria Feldman
“Weird. As. Fuck. The concept as a whole was really innovative, and I really have to give some major praise for having the characters behave like real human beings in that they are nowhere near perfect but also not flawed in traditional ways and that was refreshingly awesome to read.” - iolo_the_bard
“I would have to say this book ties in elements of the Odyssey, Grand Theft Auto and Clockwork Orange. It explores the depths of moral depravity and mixes equal parts bad hygiene with gratuitous violence. A must read to be sure!” - Ceros_X
“I definitely liked the book, it is well written and enjoyable — a bit of a twist on the “regular guy gets super powers, becomes hero” theme. This is the story of a loser who gains a super power and becomes a super loser. Each new deed at first seemed completely unbelievable but at the same time I could see a random schlub with sudden power doing exactly that. The extended ending makes the whole thing work better. I’m glad I read it.” - Ouroborus
“Tall Tales is a great mix of adventure and dark humor. The two main characters have a fun, if slightly adversarial, friendship and their scheming to make a profit with this new found power is very entertaining. The story starts out as a story of two men on the lam but becomes something more. It’s satisfying and complete on its own, but contains enough world building to be expanded into another book. This novella and the “expanded ending” on the author’s website are definitely worth your time. ” - UltimoDragonQuest
“The novella Tall Tales of Felony and Failure isn’t a light read. It has a lot going for it though. The story is as black as they come. However, the writing style flows nicely and the characters develop as the story progress. I do recommend this book… make sure to read the extended ending.” - Anal Trauma
“Really great book! I started reading it at about 11pm last night and didn’t finish until nearly 3am with my husband growling at me to turn the damned light off, already. I literally could not put it down and read it all in a few hours. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up! You won’t regret it!” - That Damn Satyr
“The extra chapters really add a lot to the story. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and it really does flow quickly in a sort of dreamlike way.” - Capntastic
“This read was like when you go to a BBQ place, and see that they are selling brownies. So you say, “What the hell?” and grab a brownie.
It is the best brownie ever and its over before you can blink.
Great read – thanks so much: 5/5″ - FireWhizzle
“Cranston Staigne is your normal American guy in the Navy. Beautiful wife, nice house, good kid. Except that he ran away from his family after a horrible tragedy, he’s an alcoholic and he’s now hallucinating from a head wound he took away from a bar fight. Tom is his sidekick that’s done his share of getting them the fuck out of trouble. Now they’re running from the law and Cranston’s bleeding skull just may give them the powers they need to loot and murder their way to the good life.
Warren’s description is far beyond most writers of today. His absurdist attitude matches the current zeitgeist in America’s careless, individualistic world view. The allusions to memories, different times and his plot kept me turning the page. I got done reading this book in two days and was hooked the entire time, wondering what would happen next.” - The_Skull_Electric
“If you’re sitting on a pile of books and Tall Tales of Felony and Failure is one of them — do yourself a favor and read it first! I promise you won’t regret doing it!!!” - Red Robin Hood
“This story was entertaining all the way through. This is a non-stop action story filled with humorously unpleasant characters. The characters Flashman and Cugel came to mind when I was reading this. The prose is well-written and the plot becomes more and more ridiculous as the book progresses. I definitely recommend this!!!” - Duncan
“If you like short stories, dark humor, a bit of violence and mystery, this book is for you. Overall I did really enjoy this book, because the concept of freezing time is just cool.” - Grawl
“The book is a good, quick, and funny read.” - utahisnotastate
“Just finished Tall Tales of Felony and Failure. Have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it… It’s actually quite funny as I found myself laughing more times then when I read funny books from more prominent writers. If you’re looking for a short quick fun read I suggest supporting a goon and picking this up. I was pleasantly surprised! Thanks WarrenH and good luck! Be sure to let me know if you decide to make this a series!” - smarion2