Friday, 31 August 2012

The Caline Conspiracy by M H Mead

This story is set in the future. Dogs are genetically engineered to be the perfect pets called calines. they are tailored to the needs and requests of the individual owner. One such caline, Madeline, stands accused of savaging her owner, a world famed geneticist, and is sentenced to execution. It is up to PI Aidra Scott top get to the bottom of things and find out if Madeline really is a killer or not.

This was a great mystery story and raised some great ethical questions. It was a pacy story with plenty of twists and turns. In a world where genetic engineering is OK for dogs but not so OK for people it painted some interesting pictures of what the future may look like, and how far people will go to get what they want. Some parts of the book I found myself asking 'Would I do that?', particularly the scenes regarding Quinn's baby. The ending was explosive and was right for the book. I do recommend this one, a great read.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Breakdown by Matt Shaw

This is the story of Brandon and Hollie. They have an accident in their car on the way home and are trapped for the night. Whilst waiting for help, they discuss Hollie's recent infidelities. When daybreak comes though Brandon dicovers that things are not at all what they seem....

This was a pocket rocket of a short. As usual we are drawn into the characters lives, and made to care about them. Then comes the sledgehammer of a twist in the ending. It's a little different from Matt's usual offerings and shorter than usual but it still works, and works well. A good short, that will appeal to everyone.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Duplicity by Ian Woodhead

This is the story of Henry Collins. Trapped in some caves with his wife, he encounters some shape-shifting humanoids. Henry and his wife are killed and eaten by them, and the humanoids assume their identities and lives. But these are the runts of the tribe, and their tribe is not happy they have escaped and are coming after them....

This was great, it reads a little like Invasion of the Body Snatchers but with a bit of twist. The action was unrelenting and the gore was pretty graphic in places. Not for the faint hearted! The characters were solid and the story just flowed. The ending was perfect. I recommend this one totally.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

100 Years of Brotherly Love by Linda Rae Blair

This is the story of Trick, Chase and Blade. Bonded as blood brothers when they were five, this story traces important events in their lives. Told in three stories, from each of the brothers points of view, it gives a glimpse into the lives of a rancher, a half native american lawyer and a full native american veterinarian. The stories tell of heartbreak and triumph and of significant moments in their lives. It also gives a glimpse into the native american way of life and some of their customs.

This was a fantastic story. Told from each of the brothers points of view, the descriptions of their lives and loves was rich and vivid. From the heartbreak of Trick's ranch problems, and the fallout after, to the joy of confirmed bachelor Chase finally finding his soulmate again and marrying her. It was a story that kept me coming back, as I just HAD to find out what was happening next in the brothers lives! The pace was just right and I was sad when it ended, as I knew there would be no more! I totally recommend this, it is a fantastic book, rich in culture and vivid in description and portrayal.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Alison Wonderland by Helen Smith

This is the story of Alison Temple (who fancies calling herself Alison Wonderland!). Cheated on by her husband, she now works for the detective agency she hired to follow her errant husband. She has been given a huge case to investigate involving improper activities and involving the worlds first 'shig' (a sheep crossed with a pig). Suddenly her friends are in danger after her daffy client turned best friend loses her address book. Now she must get to the bottom of the mystery before anyone is hurt. With a cast of kooky characters to help her on her way, it can't be that difficult, can it?

This was a fun little mystery. it had me laughing out loud in places. The cast of characters was fantastic and kooky. I particularly liked the interplay between Jeff and Alison and the 'will they won't they?' thread running through the story. The friendship between Taron and Alison was great as well, particularly as Taron is utterly bonkers! The problem for me though, and it was really only a small problem, was at times it felt like two different stories going on. On the one hand we had the major investigation, and then the road trip with Taron and Alison and the quest to find a baby for Taron's mother. That being said, I still loved the story and all the mental images it evoked! It was an enjoyable romp with laugh out loud characters and moments.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Romance is Dead by Matt Shaw

This is the story of Naomi. Fed up with her husbands constant sniping at her, she decides one day enough is enough and takes a frying pan to his head. Now she must work out how to cover up his sudden disappearance before too many questions are asked by friends and nosy neighbours.

I enjoyed this. It was something a little different from Matt again, it's good that he is exploring new areas whilst still sticking to what he knows best. This was a love story of sorts, but more an anti love story. The slow descent into semi madness that Naomi took was engaging and the tension was drawn out well. Some bits were quite funny as she ran around trying to work out how she was going to cover up her crime. Despite having a small cast - again a trademark of Matt's - the tension was ramped up and there were plenty of twists and turns on the way to a totally unexpected ending. It was a quick read and quite dark, possibly Matt's darkest yet. Once again he has delivered a blinder and has not disappointed. This should appeal to die hard Matt fans, fans of dark and twisted horror and new fans alike. Once again I find myself eagerly awaiting the next release.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Painted Black by Debra Borys

This is the story of Jo Sullivan. She is a reporter, writing short stories about the forgotten homeless of Chicago. This is a mystery and Jo must get to the bottom of a missing teenage prostitute, a dodgy funeral service that specializes in freeze drying corpses for those that can afford it, and a possible link between the two. With a Youth Worker and one of the prostitutes closest friends for help, she tries to get to the bottom of the mystery whilst fighting her own demons at the same time.

I enjoyed this immensely, but it was also quite gritty at the same time and made me think of the fates of others, especially the 'forgotten' homeless.  Whilst on the one hand highlighting the fate these teenagers have to face, it was also a good mystery at its heart. Jo and Chris are damaged in their own ways and must put aside their mistrust of each other to work together. It is a gripping story. A real page turner but also very sad. The characters were true to life and leapt out of the page at me, at times their pain was tangible. The ending was sad but right for the book. A great mystery that highlights the problems facing the homeless more or less every day. I shall certainly look out for more by this author.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Buried by Matt Shaw

This is the story of Todd. On his 21st birthday he wakes up trapped in a box, about to be (he thinks) buried alive. With only his fractured memories for company, he must try to work out how he got into the situation and why.

Once again Matt delivers. I have got to know his style quite well now, and this was a little bit different in that it had a happy ending of sorts. Well, a 'Matt' style happy ending at least! The journey to get there though was vintage 'Matt'! Blistering, dark, claustrophobic and ultimately very sad. A quick read, but a read that is best read in one hit as it is unputdownable! I love Matt's work and eagerly look forward to each new release, and once again he has not disappointed. Keep them coming Matt - your fan base is growing!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Normal for Norfolk by Mitzi Szereto & Teddy Tedaloo

This is the story of Thelonius T. Bear. He has sold his flat in London, ostensibly to take photos for his job as a photojournalist, but also to sample the Norfolk lifestyle, and maybe relocate there. As he begins to settle into his possibly new life, publicans are being murdered all around him. The local head of CID has him in the frame for the crimes and seems to be following him everywhere. Throw in the over-amorous landlady of the B & B Thelonius is staying at and suddenly relocating doesn't seem so attractive! Can Thelonius convince the police he is innocent?

I so wanted to enjoy this. It had all the makings of a fantastic cosy mystery but in the end it just didn't deliver. It had some genuine laugh-out-loud moments but was spoiled by pages and pages of long paragraphs with no breaks. It got so bad at one point, I nearly gave up, but I didn't, feeling I owed it to the author to persevere. The descriptions of the characters were brilliant and I found myself warming to one or two of them. The actual mystery itself took so long to get going, I almost forgot what the plot was! All in all it was a great idea that was marred by over-long paragraphs and too much 'padding'.