Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Federal Agent by Sean Sweeney

This is the fourth outing for Jaclyn Johnson (codename Snapshot), the visually impaired secret agent extraordinaire. This time around she is chasing a high ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan who has been broken out of prison moments before he was due to be executed. He has targeted certain people for revenge and it is up to Jaclyn to keep them safe, including the President and his opposition, Dick Bennett. With Dick Bennett against her and everything the CIA stand for - will she be able to keep her promise and do her job?

This was another great 'Snapshot' book. I love the gadgets, I love the cars and especially the fact that the Secret Agent is a woman and a blind woman at that. The subject matter of the KKK was a brave one to tackle and I commend Sean for doing it. In no way was the Klan glorified or revered. The bad guy was possibly the most odious I have come across and it worked so well. I enjoyed this greatly and recommend it for fans of the series and for newcomers too. These books stand alone well with only very brief mentions to previous places or missions. Another great 'Snapshot' story, long may the series continue.

Friday, 19 October 2012

The Fleshless Man by Norman Prentiss

This is the story of Curtis, Glen and their mother. She is dying from cancer, and Curtis has returned home to be with her in her last days. Things have changed a bit since he left. His brother has lost lots of weight and seems very jittery, and Curtis himself has been having terrible dreams since he returned. The nurse tells of the legend of 'The Fleshless Man' and Curtis' mother is afraid that the 'Fleshless Man' is trying to kill her. Who is he, why is his brother so twitchy and his mother so afraid?

This was a short, fast and poignant read. The story explores Curtis' feelings about leaving home and leaving his brother to care for his mother and her illness on his own. It was chilling and quite a hard book to read in places, because of the emotive subject matter (described quite graphically!). In short it was a tactfully written story with just the right amount of chills. An enjoyable read.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Hoard by Alan Ryker

This is the story of Anna, and her son Pete and his family. Anna is a hoarder and has lived all her married life in the house her husband built for her. Now she has had an accident and must go and stay with Pete and his family. Her behaviour soon becomes increasingly erratic and Pete fears for her mental health. Then she runs from his house and back to her own and the comfort of her things around her. Then people start to go missing....

This was an interesting subject to base a horror on, probably unique too. It made for compelling reading as we followed Anna's descent into madness and Peter's shame at the state his mother had got into and the fact that he had allowed it to go on for so long. It was a chilling book in places and kept me hooked until the end. Great characters and a unique plot make this an absolute winner.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Trinity by Kristin Dearborn

This is the story of Valentine (Val). Newly released from prison, he has to cope with life on the outside and his mother near death from cancer. Ever since he got back he has been hearing a hum that gets worse as he gets nearer an old mine, and why does he keep sleepwalking and waking up in the desert? When bodies start turning up horribly mangled near his trailer he knows he has to get to the bottom of things. His journey to find the truth will turn out to be far more horrifying than he could ever have imagined.

I liked this. It was a different sort of alien story with a shot of horror laced through it. It was fast paced and action packed. The characters were solid and the storyline was tight and tense. It turned many of the alien myths upside down and I liked that the author was unafraid to challenge things. This was a well rounded and well written debut story from a promising new writer.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

When We Join Jesus in Hell by Lee Thompson

This is the story of Fist, an ex boxer turned workaday Joe family man. He feels lost in his new role and tries to drown his sorrow in drink. One night he comes home drunk and stumbles up to bed. What he sees in the bedroom will change his life forever, and over the course of that night he tries to set right a series of wrongs.

This was an intensely moving and powerful story. Yes it was dark, and gory but still enormously moving. My heart went out to Fist for what he felt was a life wasted. It was a quick read, but there was no quality lost, in fact it made it more profound for that. The pace was good and I felt I was walking in Fists shoes with him. This was amazing and extraordinary writing.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

No Turning Back by Andy Deane

This is the story of a girl (we never know her name) who has had her family brutally tortured and killed, she is the only survivor and now she has been kidnapped by the men who did it. They in turn torture and rape her. She escapes and runs into a car containing five travellers who are headed to a cottage for a quiet weekend. They take her with them and now the killers are after them too. They are soon trapped in the house, but these are no ordinary killers, they are something far more horrifying....

This was great. It was soaked in blood and gore, just how I like it. It starts off as a typical slasher type story but soon develops into something far more scary and horrific. There was also a twist in the story that was totally unexpected. It is short but perfectly formed! All the action was neatly contained in the package, and I never felt I was needing more. The pace was fast and I devoured it in one sitting. It was delicious and dark and very very well written.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Supercritical by Shawn Kupfer

This is the story of Nick Morrow. He is an Asian American lieutenant in charge of 47 Echo. Set in the future, the units are made up of convicts. Due to the Convict Conscript Act, prisoners are used almost as human shields to the regular forces. To Nick, his unit are his friends and he will guard them with his life. China is at war with the US and now Nick and his rag tag unit are being sent on an almost suicide mission to Shanghai. Can he complete the objective and get everyone out alive or is everyone doomed?

This was a great, action filled story. I loved the characters and I felt for them, always being sent on suicide missions as they were seen as being expendable. The pace was fast and the action unrelenting. The story itself was an interesting one, set in the future. It was a future however that anyone could recognise (apart from the China/Russia war with the US!). The characters were believable, and Nick stood out as the hero, who, having paid his dues, had earned the right to lead his team as a regular Marine. I enjoyed this very much and would be happy to read more from this author.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The Fifty Shades Trilogy by E. L. James

This is the story of Ana and Christian. Christian is obsessed with Ana from the moment she stumbles into his office to give him an interview.He has very singular sexual tastes though, can Ana overcome her initial revulsion at his proposals or are their lives together doomed before they start?

I started these with some trepidation as I felt I was really just jumping on a hype bandwagon. I was captivated by the first book. The burgeoning relationship between Ana and Christian was beautifully told, including Ana's revulsion at Christian's lifestyle. There were moments of repetition throughout the whole trilogy. Ana's use of 'oh my' started to grate after a while. I loved the battle between Ana, her subconscious and her inner goddess but even that became repetitive by the end of the third book. Book two I felt lost it's way a little bit but by book 3 it was like putting on an old pair of slippers and welcoming friends in for dinner. Overall I enjoyed the trilogy but I realise it won't be for everyone. I would call it a marmite set of books. Either you are going to love them or hate them. If you go in with your eyes open and ignore the hype then I think you will enjoy this trilogy as I have. Hopefully there will be more more from Christians side as the teasers at the end of book three suggested!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Virtually True by Adam L. Penenberg

This is the story of True Ailie. He is recovering from a Virtual Reality addiction and in danger of losing his job as an ace reporter. Then a friend of his along with an eleven year old shanty orphan are killed with a futuristic bomb that tracks DNA to assure success. Now he must put together the pieces and find out why they were killed and how it ties in with an earthquake in Japan. Hampered by a corrupt police chief, it's not going to be as simple as it looks.

This was an interesting idea. Set within a dystopian future, the world has changed from how we know it. Some countries have gone and others have been created. True is interesting as the damaged hero, still lingering after his ex wife, recovering from a Virtual Reality addiction and trying to crack open a worldwide news scoop. This is a lesson on becoming too reliant and therefore ending up hooked on VR. In places it was confusing and the different strands were hard to keep up, but don't let that put you off as it all comes together rather nicely at the end and you will go 'Ohhh yeah!'. It is a little bit like 'Inception' in its approach and I rather liked that, it made it seem a little different to the books I normally read. This was a good techno thriller and I will be happy to read more of this genre and more from the author.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

He Waits by JG Faherty

This is the story of Ron Francis. His brother fell in a well when they were children and died. At least that's what Ron told everybody. What really happened is far more sinister. Now 30 years later, his sons have fallen down the same well, and fearing they have succumbed to the same fate as his brother, he decides to go down the well after them. What he finds down there is far more horrifying than he could ever imagine.

This was chilling and gruesome and horrible. I loved it. It's a quick read, and a captivating one. Ron's anguish and need to put things right shines through and you want to find out what happens to him and his family. The descriptions of the well and beyond were creepy and claustrophobic in places, and made me shiver once or twice! The ending was shocking, with a huge twist. All in all this was a belter.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Puppet Graveyard by Tim Curran

This is the story of Kitty. One day she receives a letter that contains a lock of hair - she knows it's her sisters and sets out to find out what has happened to her. She knows she worked for a ventriloquist so she starts her search there. Soon she learns secrets she wishes she hadn't and things take a very sinister turn.....

This was brilliant! It was scary and atmospheric and creepy and did I mention scary? So much so that I had to step away from it for a bit as it was freaking me out a little. I love a book that can do that - even better as this was a novella. Busting at the seams with witchcraft and malevolence, this was definitely a wild ride - not one for the easily scared. I recommend it totally!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Infinity Twice Removed by Michael McBride

This is the story of Malcolm Jeffers. He was a Navy SEAL deployed in the Middle East until a serial killer known as 'The Infinity Killer' murders his wife and young son. On returning he vowed to find and deal with the person responsible. This he does, vigilante style and flees the scene. Fast forward 20 years and it seems like someone is copycatting the MO of The Infinity Killer when a rash of bodies shows up. Is there a new killer on the loose?

This was a good solid story. I liked the back and forth between past and present as it gave us a peek into the back story of the characters. I felt it could, however, have benefited from being longer. The pace was non-stop and I felt Malcolm's loneliness as he tried to fit in a world without his family. There were some truly gory bits and several places were quite chilling and the ending was quite spectacular. I recommend it as a great lunchtime read but I just wish it was longer.