Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Concrete Grove by Gary McMahon

The Concrete Grove by Gary McMahon
Publisher: Solaris (2011)
paperback edition 2011

The Concrete Grove starts off by kicking you in the teeth and then dragging you along for a ride through the gloomy lower class society of Concrete Grove where strange things are afoot. Drugs are sold openly on street corners, a loan shark takes repayments in cash, in kind and in soul, and a fourteen years old girl has discovered a doorway to another place between realities and the 'power' of that place liked what it saw. 

Gary has given us a council estate that most of us know well or have seen and he paints it dark, gloomy and inserts supernatural horror of ageless otherworldly entities into the mix.

We have 4 main characters. A solo mum doing her best for her daughter, said daughter is having fainting spells and weird dreams, Tom is an average guy not from the Grove but after helping the daughter (Hailey), he discovers an interest in Lana (Mum). Monty Bright is a loan shark who lent Laura some cash, and now she can't make the repayments and he is sending the 'boys' over to have a chat with her. But Monty is hiding a secret. He has been searching for a special place in the Grove, a place so well hidden it is impossible to find, but he is not giving up and has a feeling Hailey has a special bond with The Grove.

Sound complex? It's not really, McMahon keeps the reader on track and page turning with characters whom act (almost) like a real person would act (there were a few places where I made a face) and the story lines come together creating a climax that explodes from the page in rip-roaring speed.

What's bad: Not much. I feel too much time was spent on Tom and his wife.
What's good: The characters are fleshed out. They are people you may know or have noticed on the street from time to time.The drama and interactions between the characters and the story playing out before them is all engrossing.

Over all, this is an excellent first book in a trilogy, there are a few unanswered questions that may be answered in the coming books. I have Book Two sitting on my desk, Silent Voices, just waiting for my eyes to devour.

4 out of 5 stars



Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Dark Path by Luke Romyn

The Dark Path by Luke Romyn
Kindle version
  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Author Luke Romyn (January 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0987214934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0987214935
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches 
I did not know what to expect when I downloaded this onto my phone. I'd never heard of Luke Romyn before apart from the tweets about his book and other tweets saying how great the book was. So, I had to find out for myself.

The story is about Martin Roberts, a cop whose split second inaction causes the death of his best friend. The Russian mob is involved and for revenge, Martin agrees to go to court and put the mobster away for life. The FBI move them to a safe house. The stress naturally gets to them and after a fight, Martin leaves the house to cool down. When he returns the unthinkable happens. On the verge of death himself, a voice in his head tells him to get up, but Martin just wants to die, so the voice in his head takes his place and blocks out all of Martin's Memories. This new man's name is Vain and he becomes an assassin. And a good assassin at that. But he makes a mistake and gets captured, and his path changes from that moment onwards.

This is a rocking thriller that moves fast and hard, where the main character is put through tests of his characters and will. He is pushed beyond his limits but keeps going.

The only thing I didn't like much was the overuse of adjectives but that is easy to skip over, because the story pulls you along and drags you into the pits of Hell and Madness and Revenge.

4 out of 5


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Becoming - a novella Allan Leverone

The Becoming -- a novella Allan Leverone
  • File Size: 203 KB
  • Print Length: 90 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Rock Bottom Books; 1 edition (April 26, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007Y9IFCK
This tale starts off nearly a hundred years in the past and then shoots to modern times. A hundred years ago a coal miner simply disappeared. The mine was closed up after that upon the government discovering that safety rules did not really exist and several miners have gone missing. For the past 90 years no one has set foot in it...until now. 

Enter Tim McKenna, a 12 year old who wants to explore the forbidden mine. He was bored since moving to this town and with few friends he needed some excitement. At school one of the teachers talks about the mine and that gets his heart pounding. But none of his new friends want to go. They are locals, they had heard the whispers about the mine--whispers about creatures or ghosts. And although no one really believes it, everyone avoids the mine.

Tim is determined. He fakes being sick and kicks off from school. He has his bag packed with essentials he thinks he needs and off he goes.

What fate awaits him? It may not be what you think.

This is an interesting and fast paced book. I actually wanted it to be longer, but I feel the author ended it where it needed to end. The writing is smooth to read and the story never goes off track or dwells too long in the back story. It is a novella, after all. And it is a good real.

4 out of 5 stars from me.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Zombie Generation by Drake Vaughn

The Zombie Generation by Drake Vaughn

  • File Size: 561 KB
  • Print Length: 239 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1475216378
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Dead Orb Pres; 1 edition (April 7, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
Warner is alone...kind of. The end of humanity was broadcast live with game shows when the zombies arrived. But these are a different kinds of zombies and they are called buggers. They love brains and alcohol. The last human sees figs, has a girlfriend called Pam and has the best safe house in the history of zombie thrillers.

This is a newish take on the tired zombie genre and the way Warner survives is believable during the coming end. It's a book filled with exciting happenings and things pick up when Warner encounters three survivors.

This book has a problem: long passages that need to be spruced up to add tension in the sections were not much action is happening. I understand the need for back story and why Warner suffers figs (figments of people or things) but did we need the long expositions?

Overall this book is entertaining and well worth a couple of bucks in e-format and your time.

3.5 / 5

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Ghosts can Bleed by Tracie McBride

Ghosts can Bleed
Tracie McBride
Dark Continents Publishing
145 pages, Paperback

Ghosts can Bleed is a collection of dark stories and some poetry thrown in the mix. 42 tales. Some make you think, some make you smile (evilly), and there are a few in there that didn't strike my fancy. Overall, this collection hits the awesome mark quite high.

My favorite tale is: Fridge Wars.
Baptism runs a close second.

All the stories are different to what you would expect, not traditional in the slightest as there is a mix of fantasy, horror and weird. More weird than the rest (like Fridge Wars).

Some books you just can't help but like and this is one of them. All the stories resonate with the reader and you are quickly pulled into the world Tracie has created.

Not much can be said without giving anything away but I did like the tid-bits of info at the top of some of the stories, these are always fun to read, especially how a story came about.

Get yourself a copy and you'll be in for a heck of a ride.
4 out of 5 stars.