Saturday, 30 August 2014

Relic of Death by David Bernstein

This is the story of a briefcase, that is the harbinger of death, chaos and evil. With the ability to grant its possessor their greatest desires, death and mayhem follow in its wake. It is found in a seemingly empty house by two mob enforcers, they look inside and find millions of dollars worth of diamonds. They steal it, and from there it passes from person to person until the Keeper (the owner of the house) can find it again and lock it back up.

This was an interesting concept. It was many stories within one story that linked up at the end. Each new section followed on from the previous flawlessly and you were never in any doubt as to who was where and when. The pace flowed at a cracking pace, and I read it in one sitting, after only intending to half as I needed an early night! I thoroughly enjoyed this and recommend it totally as a quick, chilling horror read.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Hellfire's Judgement by Linda L. Barton

This is the story of Sherry Jeffries. She goes to the shops for her mum one day and doesn't come back for hours. When she does come back however, her clothes are all torn and she is soaking wet. She says she was kidnapped, beaten and raped but refuses to name her attacker. Some days on a young lad named Todd comes round with flowers and Sherry goes berserk, naming him as her attacker. They go to court and astonishingly he gets acquitted. Sherry's grandfather, Clay, is disgusted, and fearing that his other granddaughter or possibly other girls may be at risk, he decides to teach Todd a lesson he will never forget....

This is one of those books that stays with you after you have finished it. In fact now, nearly 24 hours after I have read it, I am still turning it over in my mind. If you are a parent, or grandparent then it will haunt you and make you question whether you would do the same. I cried when Todd was acquitted - my heart went out to the family, whom you couldn't help but love. The pace flowed and despite the difficult subject I couldn't put it down, needing to find out what happened at each step. Would I do what Clay did? I'm not sure, but I certainly commend him for his spirit and family loyalty!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Deceiver by Kelli Owen

This is the story of Matt. He has just buried his wife, Tania, who has been murdered. On going through her suitcase (she travelled around a lot as part of her job) he finds a notebook, with dozens of strange entries in it, rather like a diary. As he reads deeper into the 'diary', he suddenly begins to think that maybe his wife wasn't the woman he thought she was...

This was a very cleverly written story that sucked me in from the first line. The pace was relentless and I read it in two sittings. At first it looked cut and dried but about halfway through it took a turn that knocked me sideways. I was sitting looking at my Kindle going 'Wait.....WHAT??'. Then at the end there was one final twist that left me breathless. I felt for Matt as he tried to come to terms with this new found knowledge of his wife. I really enjoyed this, and it was an excellent debut novella and a worthy addition to the DarkFuse library.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Savage by Gary Fry

This is the story of Daryl. He is a cognitive scientist, and has been to a conference. His girlfriend is expecting him back but he decides to go for a drive instead. He runs out of petrol and his car comes to a stop in the middle of nowhere. Spotting a village not too far in the distance he decides to walk there and see if he can get some petrol. Once he arrives however, his real problems start....

I enjoyed this. Yes it was full of big words (that I may have had to use a dictionary for!) but I think that was deliberate to represent the rigidity and inflexibility of the lead character. The book itself was almost a lesson in the extremes of human nature, of discipline and indiscipline. The ending was nice, with lessons learned and Daryl going forward as a far more relaxed individual. A good story that I read in 2 sittings.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Dark Father by James Cooper

This is the story of Jimmy, Frank & Mack. Told in three distinct threads, it is the tale of a man hell bent on pursuing his wife and son across country, of a father descending into madness after the abduction of his son, and of a man in a psychiatric institution who sees his father in everyone he meets.

This was very cleverly written story. At first it appeared to be three different stories about three different men, but they all came together in a surprising ending. The characters were easy to relate to, and their situations were those that any of us could find ourselves in. The pace was spot on, and I read the book in two sittings. This is the first book I have read by this author, and judging by the standard of this, I shall be looking out for more....this was amazing!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Deadlock by Tim Curran

This is the story of Charlie Petty. He is afraid of nothing and no one. Unfortunately, he is also a compulsive gambler, and constantly loses at it. He is summoned to the office of one of the loan sharks he owes money to, Arturo. In return for wiping out his debt of $50,000 he is invited to spend one night on the supposedly haunted Yvonne Addams. He agrees, thinking it will be an easy night. He soon comes to regret that decision however...

I am such a fan of Tim's work. He weaves incredible detail into his novellas, so you feel you are there. In this case, on the boat trapped with Charlie as his paranoia mounts and the hallucinations take their toll. I'm not ashamed to say I read this mostly with the light on, the dank, claustrophobic setting sent shivers down my spine! It was a fast paced and well written story, another great addition to the DarkFuse library and another great story from Tim.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Clown by Matt Shaw

This is the story of a damaged individual. Trying to hide the madness he knows is breaking to break through - he performs as a clown at children's parties. Slowly but surely though, the madness is taking over - can he keep it buried or will it burst through, and what will be the consequences?

This was a very clever story. Seen entirely through the eyes of a man suffering from a degenerative madness. We watch helpless as the madness takes over and can't help but feel for him as he fights to regain control. Matt has once again ensured that we get inside the characters head and feel what he feels. This was not as graphic as some of Matt's books but no less chilling for that. I wasn't especially happy with clowns before I sat down to read this (in one go I might add) and my view has only been strengthened!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

A Beautiful Madness by Lee Thompson

This is the story of a family racked with tragedy. Eddie Woods is an ex-governor who has fallen into disgrace after bashing his wife's head in with an iron pipe after having a breakdown. Now a Senators son has been murdered on Eddie's lawn and he is suspected of being involved. It is up to his drug dealing son to oppose the police and get to the bottom of things himself, and how his druggie sister fits in to the jigsaw.

I sat down to read this and I read a quarter of it and thought 'OK I will read some more tomorrow.' I did and ended up reading the rest of the book last night. I was caught up in the lives of the Woods, and all their flaws and I had to get to the bottom of how and why. There were many threads to the story and it was totally narrated by the son, Sammy. this was an interesting approach as he narrated bits that he couldn't have been present for! There was quite a twist about half way through that knocked me sideways and changed how I viewed the book after that. This was a fantastic mystery that had me gripped.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Reaping the Dark by Gary McMahon

This is the story of Clarke. He is a getaway driver. He has been called to do a job but unfortunately it has gone horribly wrong, and leaving 3 bodies in his wake he drives off. He finds a bag of money in his car and decides to start a new life with his pregnant girlfriend. Then she gets kidnapped and he must find her before something awful, and not human gets to her first....

This was quite a creepy story, the creature everyone was running from sent shivers down my spine..Gary's description of it was very detailed and in my head became something quite scary! The pace flowed and I got into it right from the beginning, and got lost in the story very quickly. Although the was only four characters the story was taut and well written. I previously read Gary's Nightsiders and was eagerly awaiting his next DarkFuse release and this did not disappoint.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Ash & Bone by Lisa von Biela

This is the story of Eileen Maroni and Frank Foster. Eileen is running from her past and ends up in sleepy Cromwell Bay. Deciding to put her past behind her, she ends up buying the Harbor Motel. Frank is driving home from his best friends funeral and ends up at the motel for a rest. Soon their lives will clash in a major way as they try to find out what is wrong with Room #8...

I enjoyed this, it was a gentle horror mystery type of tale. Not as horrific or gory as some I have read but enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, any more than that I think would have spoiled the overall effect. The pace started off slowly, allowing me to become immersed in the story, but I think it finished off a little short. This didn't ruin the story at all, but I feel it could have been expanded a little. That being said it was still a well crafted and thoroughly enjoyable novella. I look forward eagerly to Lisa's next release.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Fairy by Shane McKenzie

This is the story of Cecelia. She works as a Doula, assisting women at the birth of their children. Her greatest wish is to have a child of her own, but she is unable to conceive. Having exhausted all conventional methods, her boss and close friend Judy, gives her another option. Sadly it comes with consequences.....

I loved this novella. I love this type of genre, it is my guilty pleasure and I read this in one sitting. This took me to places I wasn't expecting it to, and back again. The idea itself was simple - be careful what you wish for - but it was so much more than that and had teeth! This is not a fairy tale, be warned. It is warped....and wonderful.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

An Invitation to Drink.....or to Die by Sean Sweeney

This is the story of Benedict Morton. He has hired Connor Wood because he is convinced someone in his family is out to kill him and claim their inheritance. He stages a family gathering with Connor as guest of honour. Sure enough by morning Benedict is dead, but which of the siblings did it? It is up to Connor to find out....

This started off with a bang and drew me in immediately. All the guests were locked in and the story tells of the hunt to find the killer. The characters were all solid, with one or two being suitably obvious as to being the killer, or were they red herrings? The pace flowed well, and it was a novella, it was a nice quick read.  The ending was a surprise, due to a few well placed red herrings. A nicely done whodunnit murder novella.