Monday, 30 April 2012

Where the Dead Fear to Tread by M R Gott

This is the story of William Chandler. Disillusioned with his life after the death of his husband he turns into a vigilante and starts killing anyone connected to child abduction. He has a police officer after him about the murders but she isn't as disgusted by his behaviour as she should be. Together they must try and save a young girl who has been abducted by an entity known only as 'The Devourer'.

This story started off really well. I liked the idea of a vigilante serial killer taking out anyone connected with child abduction. It made serial killing seem almost honourable! The side story of the police officer chasing him, but not really trying too hard was engaging. Then ghosts were introduced and I thought things were getting a little strange but it was still enjoyable and I carried on page turning to find out what happened next. Then vampires and
werewolves were added. It all got a little bit silly and went downhill from there. It seemed as though the author had decided to throw in every cliched monster and go from there. The last quarter of the story didn't make much sense and created more questions than answered them. The author kept getting their characters muddled up. I wish I could recommend this as it started off so well, but sadly I can't as it just didn't hold up to it's early promise.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Sinema 2 - Sympathy for the Devil by Rod Glenn

This is the second story featuring Han Whitman. This is the sequel to Sinema - The Northumberland Massacre. it is necessary to read the first as this one carries on about a year after the first finished. This time around Han is attempting retribution for the events of Haydon by turning vigilante and murdering bad guys. With sole survivor of Haydon, Carol, and Detective Wright's son Will after him plus a budding relationship and a mysterious helper, can he achieve Phase 2 of the experiment successfully?

Well, this was a belter. Phase 2 of the experiment is under-way and Han has to kill the best part of 400 bad guys to even out Haydon. Yin and Yang if you will. There wasn't really a big cast in this one - really only about 8 main players and this meant that the writing was tight and tense throughout. The suspense was ramped up in this one with the mysterious 'helper' in the background. The budding relationship made the readers see Han's human side once again. The ending was actually quite sad. The gore was present and thick but only in the context of the killings. Totally recommend this if you have read the first. If you haven't why not??

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Sinema: The Northumberland Massacre by Rod Glenn

This is a story about a man. An ordinary man who is a film buff and runs a DVD store. He also has a vision of becoming the most prolific serial killer in UK history. He does his research, meticulously, and picks a village of 392 residents in Northumberland. He packs his bags and goes to stay in the village under the pretext of writing a novel. He gets to know the villagers and befriends them. Then one snowy night he puts his terrifying vision into practice.

Well, this completely blew my socks off. Half the book was a slow burn as we got to know the characters and the other half just took off at a blistering pace and I almost couldn't keep up it was so frantic. I could quite easily see this as a film. I had several characters in my head when I was reading it, all from 'slasher' movies. This book is so much more than that though. It seriously put chills up my spine and certain parts felt very claustrophobic as the terrified and trapped villagers tried to work out what was going on. The writing was wonderfully descriptive but not 'flowery'. In fact it was stark and in your face! The ending was great and left open for a sequel, which I am off to read now.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Katar Legacy by Tobin Loshenko

This is the story of Tsom, a 19 year old sneak thief. He has the misfortune of stealing one of the Rings of Power from a race called the Katar. He runs away to the Resistance to hide and soon finds himself embroiled in a plot to overthrow the Katar amongst a Civil War with another race called the Tarth. Along the way he meets people that can help him learn more about himself and powers he never knew he had.

This was surprisingly good. The beginning seemed a little confusing at first but once I had sorted out who was who and what went where I was well away! The descriptions of the different worlds and races were rich and vivid. At times I felt like I was there riding along with Tsom and Shara. Tsom was a believable lead, learning about his new life and powers. His heartache at the loss of his friends was heartbreaking. The war scenes were detailed but were not overly complicated or lengthy. I enjoyed the pace of the book once it started to pick up at around a quarter of the way through. The ending was poignant and satisfying.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Bad Billy by Jimmy Pudge

This is the story of Billy. Born of incest he is truly a monster. Banished to the cellar and chained up like an animal, he is forced to survive by eating small animals. Then his mother dies and he has a chance to escape. Soon the town will not know what has hit them, as Bad Billy goes on a cannibalistic murdering spree. Then he bites off more than he can chew and things begin to change for Billy...............

I love stories like this. Dark and visceral and unapologetic in their gore and blood. We are taken on a whirlwind tour of Billy's life (such as it is), and subsequent death (which was surprisingly poignant). Be warned though, this is not for the faint-hearted. It is very graphic and the blood-letting rarely lets up. It is what I would call a guilty pleasure. You know you shouldn't read it but are drawn to it anyway and helpless to it's call. A great story that will catch you by the back of the neck and not let go until the end.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Next Move You're Dead - A New Game by Linda L Barton

This is the second book in the 'Next Move, You're Dead' trilogy. It picks up where the last book left off but with an almighty twist. This time around Erebus is playing with a female detective known as 'Mac'. A child has been kidnapped and another girl is in danger. Can Mac find them in time or will it be too late?

This was great. I loved the unexpected beginning and from there I was launched into a tense & taut rollercoaster ride until the end of the book. Mac was a worthy opponent in the game and I felt her pain as she tried to find the child whilst being constantly taunted by Erebus at every turn. The conclusion was well crafted and left the way open for the final part of the trilogy. My hats off the the author for a worthy sequel!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Two Fisted Nasty - Steve Vernon

This is a collection of a novella and 3 short stories. They all have a dark or violent theme running through them.

These are not nice stories. They are stark and violent and dark at their heart. They make for uncomfortable reading. BUT that does not mean they aren't good. Good writing should evoke emotions, and because I found these difficult to read, that means the author has done his job. Most of the stories were violent but a couple had a supernatural feel to them, and that made them slightly different to your run of the mill blood and guts. I recommend these to anyone that likes blood and guts with a side dish of darkness.

The Petorik Thesis and Tales of the Global West by W. Jack Savage

This is an anthology of 13 short stories, 1 not so short (The Petorik Thesis of the title) and an excerpt from another title of the authors (The Children of the Blameless).

When I started reading this, I had no idea what to expect. I love anthologies and every story is different and unique to the author. These were great and certainly no disappointment! There was a very loose theme of redemption running through them. Some were quirky, as in the man who took it upon himself to murder people who had the sheer audacity of eating yellow food, in the aptly titled Yellow Food. Some were very moving as in The Story of Baggs House. In fact this one moved me so much I had tears in my eyes reading it! All of them were enjoyable. Usually in an anthology there are one or two that aren't so great but every one of these was a blinder. I understand this is the author's second anthology of short stories, I am eager to read the first now.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Big Man of Barlow by Brad Carter

Barlow, Arkansas has a secret, and that secret is the Sasquatch...known as 'The Big Man'. This is the story of how Barlow became overrun with Hollywood types trying to make a film about said Sasquatch. It is also the story of Hank Harmon, who has just lost his partner Gus, who is something of an authority on Sasquatch. With a drunk baptist, and the hollwood circus, can Hank save the Sasquatch from being discovered?

This was an interesting story, funny in places and sad in others. It went along at a steady pace but at no point did it blow my socks off. The story idea was different and I loved the idea of a man trying to save a legend and keep it safe because of a loyalty to his late partner. It just never really got to 'wow' status for me. Don't get me wrong, it was a nice story and the
characters were well-rounded and believable, but it was just that - a nice story. I will remember it more for the Big Man than anything else.

I would hesitate to recommend this as it just didn't light my fire.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Fool's Journey by Kristina Jackson & Kay Darling

This is the story of Moira. When the books starts she is at a bad place in her life and a chance meeting with a Tarot reader takes her on a journey of self discovery that changes everything she ever knew about herself. This is the story of a few years in her life, and the twists and turns that occur therein, plus a couple of paranormal mysteries - can Moira solve them.

This was a wonderful story. Moira's journey was not always an easy one but ultimately it was fulfilling. I enjoyed the part the Tarot cards played in shaping Moira's life. Because of the cards advice it was interesting to see her character change from a woman who would do anything to get to the top to someone who embraces spirituality and all it entails. The mystery of Jimmy and Annie added an extra dimension. The story was filled with quite raw emotion and I had tears in my eyes for a large part of the story. If I have any critism it would be for the ending. There was no real explanation as to how Moira got to the bottom of the mystery of Annie's parents. It just sort of solved itself and then the story ended - somewhat suddenly. This was just a minor quibble though and did not detract from my enjoyment of the story in any way. I know this is Kristina's first full length story and if this is the standard set, may there be many more. I totally recommend this one.