Friday, December 30, 2011

Zombiedead by Ian Woodhead

Zombiedead by Ian Woodhead
Kindle edition
Flayed Bones Publishing (c) 2011

This is the story of Dean, a scientist working in a secret underground lab trying to find a way to extend life. Believing they had found the answer and getting ready to celebrate one of the test mice goes nuts. The head scientist gets bitten and he go nuts a few minutes later. Lock-down is initiated and Dean escapes seconds before the doors lock.

Somehow the virus escapes and rips into London. Dean believes he has the answer and just needs time to work on the formula to prefect it. London is not the right place for that, so he returns home to Seeton.

There are a host of interesting characters in this book. There is Alison, who wants a new life and returns to Seeton, where she was raped by a high school teacher. Why has she gone back there? Revenge of course. There is a pimp and his two minders after Alison and they track her to Seeton. A father who wants to love his son but he is weak willed and folds to the thoughts of others around him. And a frisky senior citizen.

Oh, and the walking dead.

The story overall is quite good. It's gory when it needs to be not when it doesn't. There are several confusing spots where a flashback occurs out of the blue with no indication it's a flashback. There are people in a couple of scenes not mentioned earlier in the scene, they just start getting shot.

This book needs another edit.

But despite these issues, the story is engrossing. It's a plot driven tale and moves fast. For a quick and entertaining read, this is a zombie book to get. It ticks all the boxes.


Monday, December 26, 2011

What would Satan Do by Anthony Miller

What would Satan Do by Anthony Miller
Brother Maynard Publishing
ISBN: 0615540023
paperback Edition
392 pages

I bought this book based on two points:
1. The title is catchy.
2. Several people in Twitter were loving it.

Did I love it? Yes and No. It is a comedy and not to be taken seriously. The story is basically about Lucifer giving up his job in Hell ("Just popping out for a walk") and taking human form and living on Earth. He still has his powers and likes to squash frogs.

Satan is a teacher, who goes on a journey to stop the End of Times, which God is hell-bent on starting. You see, one day, the Devil read the bible and wasn't impressed with the fact he lost in the end, so he has decided not to let it happen. And does everything he can to stop it.

There are a whole lot of interesting characters in this book and the real fun starts after Satan is attacked and loses his memory and hooks up with a homeless dude: The prophet. And we meet the Antichrist.

The situations Satan finds himself in are serious but with a comedic bent. There are some really LOL moments in this book and some groans, but it was a fun read and well worth the time investment. There are a few typos but that's to be expected. The tale is a good one and the ending won't let you down.

All in all, a book well worth investing in and plopping on your bookcase.

83%

 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Humpty Dumpty by Billy Majestic

Humpty Dumpty by Billy Majestic
Revenger Comics, IDW
ISBN: 978-1-61377-068-9
Graphic Novel 88 pages

First off, let me say this book is amazing in graphic detail. The artwork is OUTSTANDING and almost photo-like in several scenes.

This graphic novel was advertised as graphic in content and the reviews rave about the depravity of the story line. One reviewer goes so far as to say, 'how do people think of this stuff?' Another: 'this is sick.' So, with reviews like that, I had to buy and I must say, I was disappointed. Did I buy the PG version by accident? I must have due to the back cover stating what I could not find in the book. The basic story line was in there -- and when I say basic, I mean basic story.

UFO crashes, hillbilly kills all the males, rapes the female (who has a hand type of tongue but doesn't defend herself with it) and takes her captive as his girlfriend. Sheriff gets wind of the cash, goes to investigate. 4 months later, alien chick is pregnant and disguised as a dog escapes and pops out an egg-shell shaped baby. A crazed egg with massive teeth and later...wings. Government agencies show up, capture the egg and end of story.

Judging by the hype and the fact a movie version is coming out, I really expected more. A decent story line with a few sub plots would have been nice and this comic could have been a serial of four or five books. I will watch the movie, but hope it's better than the book.

We'll see.

32%

Friday, December 2, 2011

Richard Castle's Deadly Storm

Richard castle: Deadly Storm (a Derrick Storm Mystery)
Publisher: Marvel
Story and art by: Brian Michael Bendis, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Lan Medina
Graphic Novel. Hardcover edition

Blurb: CASTLE fans rejoice! For the first time anywhere, CASTLE's titular hero Derrick Storm comes to life in the pages of this all-new graphic novel. This "adaptation" of Derrick Storm's first novel adventure takes our hero from the gritty world of the private eye all the way to the globe-hopping intrigue of the CIA. Eisner Award-winning Marvel Architect Brian Bendis and red hot Osborn writer Kelly Sue DeConnick worked closely with CASTLE creator Andrew Marlowe to create the one thing millions of CASTLE fans have been asking for: Their first real Derrick Storm adventure. A wall-to-wall, gritty, witty, globe-hopping detective thrill ride for fans of the hit TV show starring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, as well as fans of darn good comic books.

I'm not a major graphic novel reader. This is my second (first was 30 days of night). As a fan of the hit ABC series, I have bought two of the Richard Castle novels, Heat Wave and Heat Rises. The TV series mentions Derrick Storm on several occasions. So, I thought why not grab a copy and give it a read.

And I'm glad I did. It was better than the 'Heat' books and it moved at a much faster pace. Derrick Storm is a PI who gets hired by the CIA to track down an ex-CIA agent. A 'person of interest' that he was currently investigating of behalf of this agent's wife.

Things are not as they seem in this graphic novel as they are with all episodes of Castle. There are twists, turns and double dealing (better than Castle). There are a few confusing spots in the storyline and there are a few pages were Derrick Storm doesn't look anything like the Derrick Storm on other pages, especially hair colour and facial shape. In a graphic novel it is not just the story that counts, it's the details in the images as we need these to put two and two together and get five.

Overall, the story is pretty good and entertaining (as a story should be).

77%




Sunday, October 16, 2011

In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami

In the miso Soup
Ryu Murakami
English Edition (c)2003 Ralph McCarthy
Publisher: Kodansha International

This is my first Ryu Murakami book and the story is about a sex tour guild taking an overweight American tourist through the Tokyo sex industry.

A day earlier there was a report in the newspaper of a "Compensated Dating" school student (aka high school dates older men for money, sometimes they shag for more money) murdered and cut into sections. There are no leads. Kenji, our tour guide, is shocked and disturbed by this murder. Maybe because his girlfriend used to do "Compensated Dating" before they met.

Kenji meets Frank and is hired to take him around the sex industry. Frank is different to all the other tourists Kenji has guided. Frank has a dark side to him and we are given brief glimpses of this whenever the character is angered -- but the face disappears quickly. He can also hypnotise people at will. And does, when he sends Kenji outside of a bar to talk with his GF outside.

Kenji returns to find a scene of absolute horror and for the horror and gore lover inside me, it was the best scene out of this book. But the scene did go on for a very long time and for several pages.

If you are expecting a horror novel, or a Hollywood type of book like Dan Brown with daggers, then you will be disappointed. This is a very Japanese book but it capture the social structure of Japan during the late 90's and possible still going on today.

76%

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Full dark No Stars

Full Dark no Stars
Stephen King
2010 (c) Stephen King
Paperback edition with bonus story
Publisher: Hodder

A friend lent me this book as I've kind of lost interest in what King writes recently. But I'm glad I cracked the covers of this tome. It contains 4 long stories and one short bonus. None of the stories are horror but they are engaging.

1922 kicks off this collection and it is the story of a father and a son--a son in love with the neighbour's daughter. The story starts off with the killing of the father's wife. We get a glimpse into a woman who hates the farming life and wants to live in the city. Father and son do not. The wife's inherits 100 acres of land and father wants to add it to his 80 acres and farm it. The wife not impressed with this intends to sell the land to the highest bidder, which so happens to be a slaughter farm. Father convinces son to help him do away with the wife and concocts a cunning plan.

Deed done and the son is never the same again. He gets the girl next door pregnant and intends to marry her. The girl's father won't agree and he sends his daughter to a nunnery where they assist the girls in giving birth and putting the child up for adoption.

One day the son leaves a note for father and travels to the city to be with his love. The story is told through the eyes of father and this is the best story in the bunch and should be made into a movie. It would rock harder as a film, if it is done right.

The next story is Big Driver. It is basically a revenge story. Her reasons for revenge aren't as believable in today's world, but King entwines a great plot with flowing words you'd be sucked into the world and won't want to close the pages.

A Fair Extension is an awesome story. A man riddled with cancer makes a deal with a plump little man. But be warned it isn't your standard 'deal with the devil' story. I like King's take on this old tale.

A Good Marriage bored the crap out of me. Basically a wife stumbles onto a box in the garage that shows her husband to be someone he's not.  A well told story but just not to my taste.

The bonus story: Under the Weather is neat. I liked it and King hid the twist quiet well.

73%

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Armageddon Shadow (reviewed by Scary Minds)

Review “You’re going to hell, Henry.” - Baxter
 




Agent Baxter and his team from a secret Government organisation are tasked with apprehending and destroying an ancient evil know simply as Darkness. They almost achieve their target but are thwarted at the last moment by a gun wielding discipline of Darkness. The Evil naturally escapes and proceeds with a plan to infect the citizens of Wellington, New Zealand's capital city, with a virus via licking victim's eyeballs. Darkness believes he will be undefeatable with an army gradually growing in strength. Arrayed against Darkness are Agent Baxter and three ancient beings of light who emerge as things get desperate.

An attack on a secret Government research facility further complicates matters, as a chemical released by the attack spreads over Wellington bringing the dead back to life. Naturally the reanimate dead have a hunger, a hunger for living human flesh. Can Agent Baxter survive the undead long enough to defeat Darkness, or will New Zealand plunge into the Abyss?

You know what I find strange? That unknown Author you have been following and mentioning at dinner parties suddenly has three published novels behind their name and is well known in dark genre circles, thus lowering your innovative street cred as everyone has suddenly heard of them. While grooving to Lee Pletzers' latest, The Armageddon Shadow, I was interrupted on a train by another commuter asking if I had read the “awesomely good The Last Church”! Sigh, our Authors grow up so fast and are suddenly out in the big bad world! Which kind of just points out we're at the end of our “early works of Lee Pletzer”, when does an Author become an “established” author anyways?

To the novel at hand kids, The Armageddon Shadow is distinctly Pletzer, with an ancient event influencing current events to the detriment of all. In this case Darian, back in days of yore 27 B.C, lead a rebellion against his overlords after the murder of his wife and child. Naturally the rebellion failed with hundreds dead on both sides, and the overlords, three “Elders”, executing Darian in pretty dramatic fashion. Clearly none of the Elders had ever read an Eerie comic folks, they drowned Darian by burying him neck deep in the sand and letting the incoming tide do the work. Still seeking revenge for his family Darian called upon the help of god, got no answer, and then immediately had more success with the other side. Some time later Darian dragged himself out of Hell and into the modern world as the ancient evil Darkness. We also pretty quickly find out the Elders are beings of light, so yes the novel sets up a clash between the forces of good and the forces of darkness in time honoured dark genre fashion.
Of course the clash of light and dark is something of a trope and easily dismissed as yet another pulp novel, but Pletzer stirs in a couple more ingredients to present a hearty stew that isn't so easy to pass over. Agent Baxter and his colleagues present a far more modern adversary to Darkness, and while we may have some sympathy (more on this later) for the reincarnation of Darian in regards to the Elders, we certainly don't from the viewpoint of Baxter and his diminishing crew. Baxter is faced with ultimate evil and an attempt to kick start human evolution, if you want to call it that, but under the draconian hand of Darkness, which ironically mirrors exactly what Darian was fighting back in 27 BC. Ultimate power corrupts perhaps? It's an intriguing theme Author Pletzer is tracking down here. And just in case you are getting complacent over there, after the destruction of the Government research facility a purple mist is released which descends on Wellington reanimating the victims and combatants of the ultimate Good v Evil smack down as flesh craving zombies. So not only do you get a sort of Angels v Demons thing happening but you also get the added bonus of zombies, and wonderfully Pletzer gives his undead at least rudimentary thought processes. Try computing all that with a couple of minor characters who appear to be more than simply set pieces on Pletzer's literary chess board. It's an involving novel that will keep you entertained from first to last page.

Right from the first page the Author gets the pace moving at a hectic run and doesn't allow things to drop off as the tension escalates. Pletzer gives enough background to get you fully in the picture without overstaying his welcome or letting his pace dissipate at any stage. There's a number of mysteries to be solved and the Author deals out the details at a measured clip keeping the reader glued to the page. The novel is left open ended so thankfully we might just get a sequel in due course as the eternal battle, and that slight zombie issue, get resolved in a future book. For those wondering, no The Armageddon Shadow is pretty much an enclosed yarn, so no you aren't left with a cliff hanger waiting to be sorted.

A couple of slight issues I had with the novel, and by slight I mean nothing the constant reader should concern themselves with, but something us anally retentive reviewer types tend to notice. The novel needed another edit, there's some clangers in places, (just like in this review no doubt), highlighting that using MS Word spell check doesn't clean everything. And I must admit to being a tad concerned about some of the descriptive passages that seemed slightly stilted. To be honest I believe Lee Pletzer can write a whole lot better prose but maybe as a Writer he got caught up in his narrative that under normal circumstances, say if one Stephen King tackled it, would be of epic length, hence things are slightly on the rushed side of the editor.

Before wrapping things up I should mention Lee Pletzer pulls off one of the more difficult jobs in modern literature, having a myriad of seemingly unconnected characters who eventually have an impact on the central narrative path. It takes a good Writer to make this device work, and Pletzers hits it out of the ball park with relative ease. Nothing feels like simply a device to get the plot where it needs to head, and more importantly the Author has the ability to work a number of different story lines into the central story without dropping the beat. Pletzer actually makes the device work for him, as we learn how widespread the infection has become by his divergent characters hitting their own personal battles with Darkness.
 
Sorry one further point and we'll wrap. You don't have to be a Wellingtonian to get the novel locations, (I actually for no apparent reason thought up Dunedin locations instead), and no as opposed to a lot of Kiwi novels you don't need to interpret Aotearoa speech patterns.
 
Almost forgot, Pletzers gains some sympathy for his main antagonist, who is almost driven to the dark path by forces beyond his control, but at the same time has the reader hoping Baxter can sort things out. So guess we are talking a fallen character who deserved some sort of revenge.
 
So a couple of issues, and yes it did take me a few chapters to get my The Armageddon Shadow on for some reason, but coming out of the book I was crossing my fingers that a sequel might be forthcoming. Another ripping yarn from a master story teller, recommended to folk who like their dark genre on the pulp side of the book store.
 
The Armageddon Shadow is available from right here or for the computer minded an e-version is available from smashwords.com.

ScaryMinds Rates this read as ...

  Some demon, some zombie, an evil plan that wasn't what we expected.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Alan Wake by Rick Burroughs

Paperback version
Tor publishing
(c)Microsoft Corp
(c) Remedy Entertainment
305 pages.

Alan Wake is a novel based on a game--one that I have not played, as I don't play games :). The story is about a writer suffering writer's block. He hasn't written anything in two years and not being able to do what he loves has made him quick tempered and angry all the time.

His wife, Alice, suggests they take a holiday in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. Almost upon arriving Alan is not happy. There was a creepy guy on the ferry over, Deerfest is about to begin and Alan picks up the key to their rental cabin from a weird woman dressed in black who wears a veil and stays in the shadows.

At the cabin, Alice has set up his typewriter just in case he feels like writing. The new surroundings might help him and there just happens to be a doctor in the town who specializes in helping artists. Alan looses his temper and storms out of the house. A moment later he hears Alice screaming. He runs back but she is gone.

Next minute he is in a car crash, and has lost a week of his life.

The novel is fast paced and written in an easy to read style. The story is plot based as it is a game and we get introduced to a host of interesting characters. There is no massive amounts of description and backstory which clogs up a lot of books. The area is lightly descriptive and the events taken place run fast.

The action is thick and runs fast for most of the book and in the large part this works for the type of tale being told and at other times it seems repetitive. I finished the book in two days and enjoyed it a lot. There is one massive error, which surprised me that it was missed. The end of chapter 16 has Wake about to open a door then chapter 17 starts with him talking to Barry and then opening the door. Something is missing and this really threw me out of the story--but not for long. I just accepted Barry was there.

I really liked the characters Tor and Odin. They were awesome. I wish I could have seen more of them. They stole the story with each scene they were in. 

80%

Sunday, June 19, 2011

O My Days by David Mathew

REVIEW of O My Days,
by David Mathew
Reviewed by Rob M. Miller writer/editor
Kindle Version.
http://omydays.weebly.com/index.html



Who the hell is David Mathew?  One talented and brave writer out of the UK, that’s who.  An accomplished name in the short story field that I’m hoping to see make a big splash in the States with his breakout novel O My Days (Triskaideka Books), a writer who’s literary and surrealistic savvy evokes thoughts of such dark fabulists as Conrad Williams and T. M. Wright.

Online, at the Urban Dictionary, “Oh my days” is defined as an expression used when in shock or in awe of something, when excited or surprised.  But with Mathew’s book, the term’s more that of a lament—a decrying of a nightmarish situation, spiritually, mentally, physically, and geographically.

And why not?  The book’s protagonist and storyteller, William “Billy” Alfreth, certainly has enough on his plate, being imprisoned at Delacotte’s Young Offenders Institute for a brutal crime caught on camera, an act—despite any film to the contrary—that went down totally different in Billy’s mind.  Making matters worse, while being grilled by a visiting psychologist writing a thesis on “prison lingo,” Billy’s starting to lose it, with his estranged family, his girlfriend and baby, his money … and with time: chunks of time, unaccounted for, with only one possible horrific explanation.  Things are coming to a head, and Billy’s going to get some answers.  But in the looking, the price is going to be paid for in blood—lots.

The real pleasure, though, is not in Mathew’s plot, but in the story’s unveiling.  There are books and there are books.  Some are fine reading fodder, but in the end, are simply passable fares, not unlike fast-food, or perhaps ten- to fifteen dollar plates, meals enjoyed for what they are, but quickly forgotten.  Then there are those “fine dining” pieces of work, books that force a reader to want to sit in an easy chair and sub-vocalize every word, skimming nothing.  Works that pack the whole punch with story/setting/character and literary-value.  In O My Days Mathews delivers a first-person tale written in authentic prison voice that challenges a reader (especially American ones) to savor every word, every line, every page.  This is not a work to be skimmed.  I call Mathew brave because the established tone and slow-burn pace of his novel is not the most easily accessible.  Rather, his character- and diction-driven tone require a reader’s complicity … requires the reader to join William “Billy” Alfreth on his nightmarish journey of discovery.  Not every reader will have the patience to do their part in the partnership that O My Days requires.  What’s wonderful, however, is that for those that do, the payoff explodes in spades.

Last word on the subject, remember: "No one kicks off in the Cookery class."  Now, if you really want to find out why, pick up and read O My Days by David Mathew.  You'll be glad you did, bruv.

Rob M. Miller
Writer/Editor
Home page: http://robthepen.pigboatrecording.com

Monday, May 23, 2011

Home by Carson Buckingham

Home
By Carson Buckingham
Digital ISBN: 978-1-937179-72-4
Cover art by: Bob Freeman

Home by Carson Buckingham is a surprise read. It starts off a little clich├ęd with an old woman who reads fortunes. Thirteen years old Lucille Sullivan and Katie Kavanagh are at Madame Samedi's House of the Future; part of the Leight & Fogg Carnival. Katie isn't interested in getting her future told by Lucille is dead keen on it. Suffice to say, the reading is interesting.

...and it propels you into the lives of these two girls as grown ups. The book has a lull in the middle with a much needed back story and Katie's life as a battered wife with a coward of a husband. She finally escapes his grip as she attends her mother's and Aunt's funeral.

In the will, Madame Samedi's reading comes true. Katie has everything she could imagine and sets about calling a lawyer to arrange a divorce. Later that night she heads pacing in the room next to hers but she is tired and goes to sleep. The next morning flour is upturned and a word is written in there.

And then things get even more interesting. The ending is unseen, even for this trained reviewer and all was wrapped up nicely.

Carson's writing is smooth and flows nicely paragraph to paragraph. The book is well thought out and Katie is a well rounded character who believe herself to be going insane.

You'll have a good time with this book as I did and you will find it hard to put down -- as I did.



79%

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Out by Natsuo Kirino

Out
Natsuo Kirino
Translated version by Stephen Snyder
IBSN: 9780099472285
Paperback: 520 pages

My wife has the Japanese version of this book. She told me it was very popular. Typically I ignored it. Then months later (almost a year later) I came across a post about the book and other people were saying they had the book as well. And they liked it. So, I thought, might as well buy it and I got a copy from the book depository.

Out is the story of four women who work in a lunch-box factory (making lunches that go to convenience stores) are put in a position to do the unthinkable and the other lives this one action affects.

A young mother, Yayoi, abused by her husband who has spent all their money including millions of yen in savings finally snaps and kills her husband. Not knowing what to do, she calls her friend Masako to help her. Misako has her own problems: her son doesn't speak--by choice--and her husband just wants to be alone. She agrees to help her friend and co-worker and enlists the help of two other friends; Kuniko and Yoshie. She decides the best thing to do is to cut the body into sections and drop it in a rubbish area.

All the women are struggling to make ends meet, they have debts, especially Kuniko, whom apart from wearing fake brand products is also fat and lazy and always looking for the easy way to do something. Yoshie is looking after her bed-ridden mother-in-law (husband is deceased), her house is an old wooden building with an earthen floor entrance. She has two daughters, one eager to enter high school (if mum can find the money) and the other a single mother who drops off her child to go look for work and returns weeks later and steals all the cash Yoshie has saved up.

The book has some horrific moments which I enjoyed. There are a host of characters in the book and most are delicately balanced on the thin line of morality. The writing is strong and flows smoothly, it's also addictive to read about these characters and learn over time how they are all drawn together.

The only drawback of this book is the final chapter where it is told from one POV and the next section is the same chapter from another POV. And the Stockholm syndrome is sudden and unexpected and unbelievable.

Have I ruined the ending? Hell no. The ending is fast, violent and exciting. This book has won several crime fiction awards but I feel it is more a thriller than anything else. People unfamiliar with Japan's culture, lifestyle and thinking patterns may find the actions of four women and the business that results from it a tad on the heavy/unrealistic side but living here and understanding the way things are makes the actions in this book highly possible.

This book has a touch of everything, lonely housewives, abusive husbands, hookers, hostesses, ex-gang members, Yakuza, murder and the brilliant thing is, Natsuo Kirino blended them all together into the backdrop of the story, making it feel like a daily part of life in Japan but it all ties in.

A brilliant and enjoyable read.

82%

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Blood and Bones by B. L. Morgan

As with all John Dark books, the action comes in hard and fast, from the first book where we were introduced to this balls to the wall hard hitter to the forth book in the series, not much has changed except John Dark is getting angrier and angrier. He's headed towards a meltdown and in this book he barely stays sane.

The book opens with him going to a bar and hooking up with a hot chick, who turns out to be a spider while he's shagging her. He wakes up late afternoon and finds the sun hurts his eyes and there is a bite mark on his person.

His best friend Johnny takes him for some food and John eats the steak raw. Worried for his friend, Johnny's grandmother (wise and hip to voodoo) tells him he is about to drink human blood and if he does that there is no return for his soul. He needs to go back in time and kill the spider-bitch so he is not infected with the poison of the undead.

And then the story gets weird.

I feel John Dark is becoming unlikeable and he has deep (for John Dark) thoughts about time and destiny and how souls are reborn and live several lives. It was a different John Dark than what I was used to. I didn't really care for his plight nearing the end of the book. I wish I could have because the ending is pretty good and...unexpected. For me there is a fire in the three other books that keep you reading and rooting for JD, but in this book that fire dwindled to embers around page 217. John is always tough and angry and the reader always knows why, unfortunately that reason passed me by. Maybe being bitten but a spider-bitch and becoming one of the undead would piss anyone off. or perhaps it's a build up for something coming in a new John Dark book. I'll find out when I buy the next one. Which I am eagerly awaiting. There's one thing about John Dark and that is that the character grows on you. Love him or hate him, you won't forget him.

Most of the one liners are well timed and kept the flow of the book moving at a quick pace. A few fell dead. This book seemed to more fun based than the old hard hitting which is the style of John Dark I love.

On a good note: (quote from book) My mind wandered. I started thinking about all the strange shit me and Johnny had been through. Not only on this journey but on other weird journeys. Hell, on this one we'd almost got married to some girls with bones in their noses who definitely were two tons of fun. We'd been pirates and fought a werewolf and well, hell I'd fucked a werewolf. I'd done a howling good job of it too, if I do say so myself.

73%

Friday, March 11, 2011

An Object in Motion by Ronald Barrios

An Object in Motion
by Ronald Barrios
Short story
80 Pages PDF file converted to ePub


So recently I've been reading a lot of crime stories/books and when I was offered a free read of Ronald's latest short I jumped at the chance. As soon as I finished Castle's  Heat Wave I instantly loaded this onto my Kobo.

Wow, what a blast, this PI is hard when he needs to be and is funny (wise ass) at just the right moments. The story runs smoothly bar one point (which I may have missed) and the ending is a surprise. The story is about an actress who thinks someone is stalking her and her life may be in danger. She has a live-in fitness trainer / lover (?), who is naturally the prime suspect (kind of makes me wonder why he would stalker her when he lives there but he does some unusual things that naturally point to him).

Most everyone in the book has a sordid past, the fitness instructor is a muscle bound steroid user and ex-seller, the actress has an abusive past--but has fond memories of her mother, there's a judge's wife, a high priced lawyer and a magazine editor looking for the inside scoop.

The book is a fast and easy read.

Description: Ruth Addems is a soap opera star on the rise, but when her house in the affluent neighborhood of Black Hawk is broken into it looks as if she has a stalker and she is reffered to Rey. But Rey quickly finds out that things aren't always as they appear. In the world of Hollywood everyone has secrets and most stories are the stuff that nightmares are made of. Rey learns that once an object is in motion, it remains in motion...

 This is a free ebook so grab yourself a copy


77%

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Heat Wave by Richard Castle

ePub edition via Kobo bookstore
E-version
Publisher: Hyperion
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4013-9476-9


I love the TV series Castle on ABC. I like the crimes on the TV show and how they work to solve them, so when I read they launched a book and did a signing as promotion for the new series, I was surprised they would go to that length. It was actually a friend who told me about this new show about to start. He knew I was a writer and this show was about a writer. So I tuned in on the first night just to check it out (I don't normally watch police shows, they bore me) and I loved it. It had the right mix of comedy and action. The first series was very formula based, you can see each section, each scene, each act all working the way it should. Series two dropped a lot of the formula and went character based. The show became even better.

So I bought the e-version of this novel Heat Wave (cheaper and earth friendly, plus I prefer e-reading) and couldn't wait to rip into it. What a let down. Maybe I was too excited to get to it. Maybe I imagined Castle and Beckett (does ABC think we readers are too dumb to tell the difference between the book and the show? Probably.) not Nicki Heat and world famous reporter, Rook. But I knew the characters were different before buying, but I sorta wanted them to be like the characters in the show.


Nicki Heat and Jamieson Rook are two dimensional and the 'heat' between them does not sizzle and pop; it's like 'just there' and barely mentioned (as in, little build up). And what's with one entire chapter of them getting it on? The ending of the previous chapter was enough.

There are a host of characters in this book and all are accounted for every step of the way. The story is good though and the writing is tight but note, this is a plot driven novel and as such if it weren't for the TV show I wouldn't know who I was reading about, no descriptions -- or only a few details are given.

The story is about a NY Estate Tycoon who plunges to his death and there are so many twists and turns the story is actually quite good. The first half of the book is hard to get through with back story seemingly placed haphazardly, but after that the story takes off. And the fun begins.
Back cover blurb: A New York real estate tycoon plunges to his death on a Manhattan sidewalk. A trophy wife with a past survives a narrow escape from a brazen attack. Mobsters and moguls with no shortage of reasons to kill trot out their alibis. And then, in the suffocating grip of a record heat wave, comes another shocking murder and a sharp turn in a tense journey into the dirty little secrets of the wealthy. Secrets that prove to be fatal. Secrets that lay hidden in the dark until one NYPD detective shines a light.

Will I buy the second Nicki Heat book? Yep.

72%

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bad Juju vol 1 by R. Van Saint

Bad Juju: Volume 1
Ebook By R. Van Saint
$2.99
Published: Dec. 20, 2010
Category: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Words: 15268
review based on PDF version converted to epub for Kobo.

R. Van Saint has given us readers a grand collection of stories. The scope and style of writing will grab you by the coat tails. Most of these stories have a twist. I dare say the first story and the last two are the best of this collection, although the others do not pale in comparison. Each story is lined up perfectly which is something you don't see very often in single author collections and each story moves smoothly from one onto the next.

I do however have one grumble and that is with the tale, The Secret of Mothers, it took too long to get into the story and that none of the characters were likable (maybe that was the point?).  R. Van Saint also tells several of the stories in an omnipresent point of view, a lot of authors who use this style fail (including me) but R. Van Saint nails it on the head. This is how she pulls you into the stories and makes you a witness to the oncoming action.

We get to see several sides of humanity strung together in this volume and R. Van Saint's storytelling ability is smooth and will hook you in. Most of these stories fit in the spec-fic genre and one is definitely Bizzaro and even if you don't like these genres you will enjoy these tales. The tales are simply captivating and the book, although short, is well worth the price of a download.

A guaranteed fun ride. Perfect for a cold or wet day inside, not so perfect for a short train or car ride as once you start the story, you won't want to stop.

77%

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The House on Blackstone Moor by Carole Gill

The house on Blackstone Moore
Carole Gill
Published by Vamplit Publishing
(c) 2010

Review based on epub version for the Kobo e-reader

Gothic horror. Not really my cup of tea, but Carole Gill's novel is a smooth read from page one and onwards. Chapter one is interesting and thrusts the reader straight into the world of Rose Baines with a nice tag at the end that forces a page turn.

Coming home to see her family slaughtered by her father, she is struck weak and taken to an insane asylum to recover, where on her first night in a solo room she is abused. This is just the start of the horrors she will soon be faced with. There are sex rituals, sacrifice, vampires, demons (I like Eco, he is demented and brilliantly so), children vamps, and the leader, Louis Dartion, oh and gypsies.

All Gothic fans will love this book and Carole has created characters we can all identify with. Rose is a shy and uncomfortable around strangers and has a tendency to faint. Louis Dartion is the opposite but he too has a soft side. Some of the characters are in the story to move the plot along but most are interesting characters, like Dartion's wife, Marta and Reverend Hobbs.

Secrets will be exposed that will rock Rose's world and throw her life in turmoil. The amount of twists and turns this book takes will leave your head spinning and guessing until the end. And the journey Rose takes in this book is truly epic and you'll enjoy reading her exploits and adventure late into the night.  

71%