Monday, March 12, 2012

Author Interview & Book Review: The Fourth Stall Part II by Chris Rylander

Title: The Fourth Stall, Part II

Author: Chris Rylander

Publisher: Walden Pond Press

Publication Date: February 2012

Genre: Middle School Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book Two

Synopsis can be found here.
This book was given to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

And... they're back!

Mac and Vince are at it again, running their business in the Fourth Stall. What can they say? They're successful business men. You have a problem? Mac and Vince will help you solve it, all for a tiny fee.
And boy, do they have some problems to solve this time around.
Trixie Von Parkway, yes you read that right, is being terrorized by the new science teacher and has hired Mac and Vince to help her. But as they dig deeper, not everything is adding up. Thrown onto of that some suspicious lunch choices and a new school administrator out to get them and you have a fun adventure story full of twists and turns!

It is the second book in the series, but don't worry about it. You can jump right into the adventure without worrying about catching up. You should read The Fourth Stall, but you don't need to read it first to enjoy this latest adventure.

Mac's voice is fantastic. I love his sense of humour, his observations and his undying trust with his best friend Vince. I love Vince. It's so refreshing to find a story about a strong, solid friendship.  They're a pair, in business and their undying love for The Cubs, and they have to stay strong together to dodge all the crazy obstacles that are being thrown their way.
All of the secondary characters, are fresh and hilarious. I love them all.

Best of all, this book is funny. Within the first ten pages, I was laughing out loud. (The wary customers at my local cafe probably thought I was nuts.)

Part crime thriller, film noir and Godfather all rolled into one, The Fourth Stall Part II grabs your hand and doesn't let you go.

Buy it for your middle grade nephew, or your niece, or neighborhood kid, or yourself, or you know, anyone who can read.
You get the picture.

Rating 9 Ridiculously Awesome like Cookies and Ice Cream

 Author Interview with Chris Rylander!

Thanks Chris for stopping by!

What inspired you to become a writer?
It was mostly my love of books as a kid.  I’ve always loved movies, books, and video games.  I love taking part in stories, and so what better way to do that than to create the stories myself.

What was the last book you read?
The last book I read was GOING NOWHERE FASTER by Sean Beaudoin.  It’s a YA novel that is so funny, smart and just flat out awesome.  It’s one of those books that I just fell in love with from the first chapter and it only got better from there.

What sparked the idea for The Fourth Stall? When you were writing The Fourth Stall, did you already have a story planned for The Fourth Stall part II?
I just thought that the world of organized crime the way it’s portrayed in movies, could really coincide with the world of school, structurally.  Plus, I just thought a mob book with kids in school could be really funny and action-packed.  And, kids books with noirish voices is just a fun concept.  I actually had not even intended to write a sequel while writing the first one, so I definitely did not have that story already planned.

Mac’s luck seems to be running out! But even during tough times, Mac and Vince keep their sense of humor. What are you favorite things about Mac and Vince?
I think it’s their sense of humor, like you said.  Also how close they are.  They know what each other is thinking without needing to even say anything.  Plus, I really like how in some sense they exploit kids and like to make money off of them, but deep down they really are good guys.  They hate to see other kids suffer.

One of the best parts about this series is the relationship between Mac and Vince. Their friendship is so warm, filled with highs and lows and, most of all, trust. Did you base them on real friends of yours? (Perhaps another Cubs fan?)
Not really.  There are certainly elements of my real friends in the characters, especially with Vince, but they’re mostly fictional in the end.  My best friend and only friend who is also a Cubs fan is my wife, so I definitely know what’s it like to suffer through being a Cubs fan friend with your best friend, though.  And misery does love company, that’s why being a Cubs fan really is kind of like being a part of a national fraternity. 

How do you like your potato?
I love all forms of potato.  Preferably fresh, especially if fried, and with either bacon or chorizo and cheese.  Waffle and curly varieties are also great.  But my all-time favorite preparation is probably latkes. 

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Realistically, I’d probably be toiling away in a depressing gray cubicle.  But one of my dream jobs has always been to be a statistician for ESPN or professional sports team.  Or just get to do anything that involves compiling or analyzing sports stats.  I’m a statistics and sports freak.  Also, I’ve always wanted to be a filmmaker, but I doubt I’m organized enough to do that very well.

Do you have a favorite literary character?
Hmm… I’m not sure that I do.  I hate to say this, but if I HAD to pick, it might actually be Ignatius Reilly.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
Playing video games, hanging out with friends and my wife, watching movies and TV, travelling, golfing, eating, pushing people to the ground at my local Target store, starting fires, collecting ants to distribute into people’s houses, you know, normal stuff.

What is one thing you would tell aspiring writers?
Don’t ever let rejections get you down.  I mean, there are people out there who hated the Harry Potter books for some reason.  No story is ever universally loved.  It’s all subjective, so never, ever let it get you down.  And, most importantly, don’t give up.  The only people who don’t find happiness in writing are the ones who quit.

The ending is quite the cliffhanger! What can you tell us about Mac’s next adventure?
Well, I don’t want to give away too much, but all I can say expect a lot of crazy things to happen.  And like usual, not everything will be as it seems.

Thanks again for stopping by!
You can visit Chris at his website here or follow him via twitter @Chris_Rylander


  1. I am glad to see a review for an awesome MG book. I love the cover and title. It is hysterical.
    Great interview questions. I enjoyed it.
    -FABR Steph@FiveAlarmBookReviews

  2. i haven't read part II yet but it sounds excellent. i love vince and mac as well and you're right, mac has a great voice. it's so distinct. and chris sounds awesome especially since he likes his potatoes with chorizo. :)

  3. Like Thuy I have to read Part II but this was one of my FAVORITE reads of 2013 and his speech at SCBWI was awesome.