Friday, 30 May 2014

Ancient Enemy by Michael McBride

This is the story of Sani. His ancestors have lived in the same place for over 700 years. Bewildered by what is slaughtering his sheep in the middle of the night, he will have to rely on his sick grandfathers help to solve the mystery. Sadly his grandfather is now mute after a stroke and close to death, so it will not be easy. he must go on a journey into his tribes past to confront the truth, a truth he may wish had stayed hidden...

This was a fast paced page turner of a horror. I identified with Sari as he initially tried to find out what was killing his sheep, to go on the journey of a lifetime to find out his past. The bond between him and his grandfather shone off the page and I felt it throughout the story until the final twist at the end.  The authors notes at the back of the book made for interesting reading and I even learned a thing or two! I recommend this totally for lovers of Native American history, and horrors alike.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Dead Fives Pass by Colin F. Barnes

This is the story of Carise, a volunteer mountain rescuer. Her life has turned into an alcoholic mess after a miscarriage and a rescue that went horribly wrong. Persuaded to go on one last rescue with her ex, Marcel, can she curb her drinking and her feelings for him to facilitate the rescue? Before too long it becomes clear this is no ordinary rescue and she will have to rely on Marcel more than ever...

At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like this, but it hooked me after the second or third page. The pace was relentless and crackled with tension. The flawed relationship between Carise and Marcel was well played out and their characters shone off the page. The descriptions were vivid and the atmosphere claustrophobic. I liked the nod to Lovcraft with the monster and the ending worked well and wasn't too predictable. I recommend this for a quick but action filled read.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The Fading Place by Mary SanGiovanni

This is the story of Charlie. Putting her baby in the car after a mornings shopping trip, she is accosted by a woman intent on abducting her and her baby. She needs Charlie to take her to a special place where she plans to kidnap the baby and she will stop at nothing until she reaches her goal.

This was a fantastic novella, I really enjoyed it. There was a couple of places that I felt things could have gone differently, but they didn't ruin the story for me, and this is just my opinion. My only real niggle is I wish it were longer! The tension throughout was palpable and the story belted along. Charlie was a strong lead and it was nice to have a female cast as a psychopath for a change! Another great addition to the DarkFuse library.

Monday, 12 May 2014

The Janus Legacy by Lisa von Biela

This is the story of Jeremy. He has inherited his fathers custom organ regeneration and transplant company after he is killed in a tragic air accident. Recently split from his girlfriend and suffering a debilitating and possible fatal disease he has nothing to lose. SomaGene is not all it seems though. Behind the scenes, Jeremy's father has been pushing the boundaries of ethics and creating a much darker project. One that will have lifelong repercussions for Jeremy.

 I was glued to the page from the beginning of this book. I read Lisa's debut novel and this was a fantastic follow up. I am quite a fan of medical thrillers, and I like the idea that sometime in the future, the main focus of SomaGene could become the norm. The story itself started one way and then careened off another way and its conclusion was heart stopping. The pace was relentless and the characters well rounded although one or two of them needed a slap! The ethical questions raised were treated and answered in a sensitive way, and Lisa was brave to confront them. If this is the standard that Lisa is putting out, long may there be more!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Walk in the Park by Jacob Rayne

This is the story of Debbie. She has taken her daughter to the park for an ordinary morning of fun. Unfortunately, it turns out to be anything but after she witnesses a murder. The teenagers she saw committing the atrocity wage a campaign of terror on her and her family, eventually kidnapping her daughter. With the help of her neighbours, can she dig deep and find the reserves she needs to meet their demands and be reunited with her daughter?

This is one of those stories that gives you chills because it COULD happen.  Stories rooted in real life  are always more horrifying I think. Debbies plight moved me, and Frank seemed like such a lovely chap, as he helped her move heaven and earth to get her daughter back. Could I do what she had to? I'm not sure to be honest. The pace belted along and I read the entire novella in about an hour. The twist at the end was totally unexpected and rounded off an already outstanding novella really solidly.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Deadlift by Craig Saunders

This is the story of David Lowe, a weightlifter and giant of a man. He suspects his wife of an affair so he hires a hitman who is an expert in explosives, to blow up the lift that his wife is in with her suspected lover. After the initial explosion he has a change of heart and now he is holding onto the lift by one cable, with a man holding a gun to his head. Add am insane serial killer into the mix and it goes horribly wrong very, very quickly...

This was a most unusual story. On the face of it, it looks like a weightlifting story, but it isn't. It is much more than that, it is a horror story and a love story (sort of!). On the horror side, there were definitely a few gut wrenching moments. The pace belted along, flipping between past and present until it came to it's unexpected ending. The essence of the story was great and the characters were fleshed out. I have read Craig's work before, but this is his debut for DarkFuse. What a debut, is all I can say!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Menace by Gary Fry

This is the story of Jane Marlow, a model. After a short-lived affair with a soap actor she finds herself pregnant. Knowing her commissions will now be limited, Jane takes on all the jobs she can before she begins to show. One such commission is for a book cover for a mysterious unknown author. She sets off for Yorkshire and finds herself in front of a huge and imposing old country house. When she goes inside to get changed for the shoot, she looks outside to see 6 children, all with startling blue eyes. On going back outside they have disappeared. On her return to London, strange things start happening to her, and her ex-lover. In a panic she reaches out to the author of the book. That's when things really start to get strange...

This was a nice easy read with a suitably horrifying ending. The tale built up slowly, and then in the last quarter rocketed to it's horrific ending. The descriptions were vivid, making me feel like I was there in Yorkshire. The characters were solid and I was invested in what happened to them. I read this in one sitting, as I could not put it down. I find myself enjoying Gary's work more and more and I am so glad he has found a home at DarkFuse.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Reluctant Jesus by Duncan Whitehead

This is the story of Seth Miller.He is happy with his life. He has a good job and is happy leading a carefree lifestyle. All that changes however with a phonecall from his mother inviting him for tea. Everything he knows is ripped asunder when his mother casually informs him he is the new Messiah. When a phone call from God confirms this news, he must eliminate his skepticism and gather a band of disciples in order to perform miracles, and prepare for Armageddon and the fight of his life...

After a bit of a wobbly start where I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this, it turned out to be a laugh a minute comedy fest. The characters were great with some great names alluding to the original Messiah. (Maggie De Lynne and Bill L Z Bubb anyone?) The story romped along and I couldn't put it down. I am really loving this author's work and I hope there is more to follow.