praise for cole's books


*2015 International Book Awards Finalist*

"Surely Dash's run of bad luck must be winding down. He's lost his job and fiancee and finds himself alone on what should have been his honeymoon flight from Vermont to Australia. What else could possibly go wrong? Lots of things, as it turns out. In Cole Alpaugh's darkly comic and richly layered Dash in the Blue Pacific, the defeated Dash never makes it to Sydney but instead crashes in the South Pacific. What seems like a near-death experience at first is actually the beginning of a mind-bending, life-changing journey for a man at the end of his rope.

Dash's adventures begin with a familiar trope: a man washes up on a remote island's beach, worries that the natives will eat him, and plots his escape. In Alpaugh's hands, however, the story is anything but stale. Instead of building signal fires and rafts (though these will come), Dash is preoccupied with a tribal chief who wants to feed him to a volcano, women who want his help to make the island s first white baby, and a young girl who hopes to escape the island with the "soldiers" who sometimes come to her shores looking for the prettiest among them. And then there's the former god Dash spends many hours consulting with, a half-fish, half-man mind reader named Weeleekonawahulahoopa Willy for short who has resigned his godly role after failing to save his people from drowning. It gets weirder after that.

The weird parts work because Alpaugh integrates them into a story that is physically raw and wickedly funny. Dash is as incredulous about all that is happening as anyone, and his self-conscious skepticism keeps the magical elements from seeming off-the-wall. Little by little, Dash's conversations with Willy reveal Dash's deeper emotional wounds, and offer another interpretation for his dreamlike visions.

Taken simply as a comic adventure story, Dash in the Blue Pacific is thoroughly entertaining. When you consider the other elements--racial tensions, human grief, and spiritual redemption--it takes on new levels of meaning. Book clubs will be talking about this one."-Sheila M. Trask, Foreword Review


"Forget James Bond. I'd much rather spend my time with Chase Allen, the idealistic journalist-turned-government spook at the center of Cole Alpaugh's outlandishly entertaining new novel, The Spy's Little Zonbi."-Josh McAuliffe, The Scranton Times-Tribune

"Imaginative. Funny. 3D Characters that come to life on the page and leave you wanting more. The Spy's Little Zonbi is Cole Alpaugh's best work to date!"-Michelle Hessling, Publisher, The Wayne Independent

"The Spy's Little Zonbi defied my expectations. It is at times gruesome. It is at times heartless. Cole Alpaugh's use of dark humor and timing is impeccable ... Part The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo and part The World According to Garp, Alpaugh's latest offering is an exhilarating read that I highly recommend."-Ann Schmidt, MLS, The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

"The Spy's Little Zonbi is a clever and sometimes sad novel about the lunacy of the modern world. It is a vivid, emotional, and imaginative read."-Olivia Patel, Redbridge Central Library, London


*Finalist, 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards*

*Finalist, 2013 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award*

"The book is playful and comic in its creation of ... misunderstandings and coincidences. As their stories unfold and intersect, one comes to believe the island is indeed paradise, as Jesus plays a heroic role and the cannibal, Albino Paul, the shark god, and the birds play out a finale resounding with echoes of myth."-ForeWord Magazine

"Dr. Doolittle meets LOST ... interesting and colorful cast of zany characters on a crash course with fate."-Michelle Hessling, Publisher, The Wayne Independent

"Teeming with outlandish scenarios and bizarre yet deeply compelling characters, The Turtle-Girl from East Pukapuka is a veritable feast for lovers of playfully absurd fiction. Who knew cannibalism could be this much fun?"-Josh McAuliffe, The Scranton Times-Tribune

"Would a god really eat his own boogers? He might inthis wonderful, crazy, non-linear novel filled with a cast of characters floating in and out of a literary universe peopled with pirates, South Sea Islanders named Dante, Jesus, and Butter, and a Loggerhead turtle with cosmic consciousness. Controlled craziness at its best, this novel dazzles with its stylistic inventiveness."-Jack Remick, author of Blood and The California Quartet series

"Lyrical and yet wonderfully warped, if The Lord of the Flies had been written by Kurt Vonnegut, you would have some idea of what to expect from Alpaugh's second novel. Heavily outfitted with wry humor and cutting sarcasm, this unique tale doesn't pause for a breath. You are swept into The Turtle-Girl from East Pukapuka with the same energy as the tsunami that sparks the critical events leading the reader across the vast South Pacifc and at breakneck speeds along a downhill race course, all headed to a place in the aferlife known as Happa Now ... A highly entertaining read."-Hua Lin, MLS, Los Angeles Public Library

"Butter is a six-year-old Pacific Islander who cares for wounded creatures; Dante is a hot-shot downhill racer; Jesus Dobby runs a scavenging barge; Ratu & Jope are pirates and Albino Paul is a cannibal. All these characters meet and while it is not always pretty, it is pretty entertaining. I quite enjoyed the ride. Alpaugh reminds me of James Morrow with more gore and explosions. He has created a fairy tale with mythic figures and classic characters; and an assumptive logic to the cosmos that allows him to end the story without tying everything up with a bow. The Turtle-Girl from East Pukapuka made me laugh and made me cringe, but most importantly it made me think about the world order and how to spend the time we are here."-Uncle Barb's Blog

"Alpaugh's words dance in the mind and tug on the heart."-Regan Leigh, writer/blogger

"In Alpaugh's world, flaws are beautiful, no hero is perfect, and every person-no matter how strange or depraved-has a purpose. And, of course, there's always hope."-Rhiannon Ellis, author of Bonded in Brazil


"There's a story inside, both charming and heartbreaking."-Alex Adams, author of White Horse (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster)

"If you enjoy fast-paced, quirky reads filled with offbeat, colorful characters and a touch of sorrow draped in the colorful striping of a circus tent, I think you'll enjoy The Bear in a Muddy Tutu."-Damien Walters Grintalis, author of Ink

"Pick up The Bear in a Muddy Tutu if you enjoy taking a literary journey that is twisted, peopled by characters who are social misfits, caught up in events that range from bizarrely tragic to merely sad. Reminded me in a way of A Confederacy of Dunces."-Molly Rodgers, Library Director, Wayne County Public Library

"I'd recommend it if you want a charming, bizarre tale with a satisfying, fate-driven ending. It reads a little like Christopher Moore but with more heart. It's fanciful, beautiful, and escapist to the core."-Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Beautiful Sorrows

"A delightful read full of wonderfully twisted characters trying to muddle through this thing we call life ... a must-read."-LK Gardner-Griffe, author of the two-time Pearson Prize Teen Choice Award-winning Misfit McCabe series

"If you are looking for a 'big top' read with lots of heart and laughs, and characters you can sit down with to listen to their story for a spell, magic, whimsy, and dancing bears, then look no further than Cole Alpaugh's The Bear in a Muddy Tutu."-Shannon Yarbrough, author of Stealing Wishes

"From the first page to the last Cole Alpaugh had my attention. His zany and colorful characters and style of writing puts me in mind of one of my favorite authors, John Irving. I suspect that I have now found my next new favorite author."-Michelle Hessling, Publisher, The Wayne Independent