Archive for June, 2018

The Portrait Lingers like a Whisper by TWM Ashford

June 7, 2018 - 8:59 pm No Comments

The Portrait Lingers like a Whisper by TWM Ashford
Published by White Inc on 5th June 2018
130 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

I first came across this author when I read his dystopian series Blackwater and loved what I read. So when this book was released I got it straight away.
“Jane” wakes up with no memory, in a strange house and no one to tell her how she got there. Wandering round the house, she meets “Jack” who is in the same predicament. One thing they know they need escape, but with an unnatural darkness surrounding the house and “Jack” not what he seems, Jane knows she is in danger.
Written from Jane’s POV, the story follows Jane as she wanders around the house. There is a sense of desperation as Jane realises that she is in trouble. The pace changes throughout giving the story an intense feel to it. The more she investigates, the more she is confused and whilst she comes across strange experimental drugs none of this helps. The introduction of apparitions makes this feel like a ghost story, but the author had a way of leading you in the wrong direction. The writing style was illustrative and it felt as you were watching Jane as she struggled with her situation. As I was reading this I did not expect the truth about Jane when it was revealed and it was unexpected.
A completely different read from Blackwater and still as good

The Puppet Show (Washington Poe Book 1) by MW Craven

June 6, 2018 - 8:11 pm No Comments

The Puppet Show (Washington Poe Book 1) by MW Craven
Published by Constable on 7th June 2018
352 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

After a body turned up with Washington Poe carved in it. Cumbria Police knew they needed extra help. This was the 3rd body to turn up. Brining in the NCA, they needed one man. The problem was he had left under a cloud and living in isolation.
Washington Poe was not a typical police officer. Not one for lip service he was not afraid to ruffle feathers to get the job done, usually resulting in angering the higher ranking officers. He had high regards for justice and would always fight for the little man. He would follow the clues and his ability to think outside the box got the results.
DI Flynn was your typical officer trying to do her best in a man’s world. She did let Washington a free rein as she knew how it worked. As a boss, she was fair and was always the one to try and keep the peace.
My favourite character throughout the book was Tilly Bradshaw. The technology whizz kid with an analytical mind.. Whilst it was not mentioned I had the impression that she had autism. It was so refreshing to read about a character who did not think what people thought about her. She was blunt and straight to the point and not afraid to speak the truth. Having lived a sheltered life, everything she did in the field was new and she reminded me of a kid at Christmas.
From the beginning of this story, you are hit with a gruesome killing and you knew what to expect. The story was fast paced whilst you follow the investigation. As the story progressed you get to find out about Poe’s previous case and you soon realise what sort of man he is. The story is well plotted and even though I tried to guess I had not got a clue who the serial killer was. The reasons behind the killings was tragic. The harrowing scenes were broken up with some witty moments, thanks to Bradshaw. This thriller was fast pacing as there was always something going on.
This is my first read by this author and I really enjoyed this book. I will definitely look out for more in this series. A must read for thriller lovers.

Broken on the Inside by Phil Sloman

June 5, 2018 - 8:17 pm No Comments

Broken on the Inside by Phil Sloman
Published by Black Shuck Books on 3rd June 2018
166 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Having read the novella Becoming David and some other short stories in various anthologies written by this author. I was pleased that he had now got his own collection in the Black Shuck Books Shadows series. The book features 5 short stories where the mental state of the main protagonists play an important part to the stories
Broken on the Inside: The title of the book is a story about Kira a young woman who over time became histrionic. Living with her mom who had the same condition, Kira wanted a cure. So when she came across Dr Secombe who professed to a miracle cure. Kira knew that she had to give it a go. As you are following Kira’s story, there is a sense of happiness as she gets her old life. However as the story takes a turn for the worse, you can sense the tension between Kira and her mom’s relationship. The story builds to a shocking reveal, which I did not see coming.
Discomfort Food: Rebecca works in a fast food restaurant and has a secret that only the meals know about. This reminded me of a modern version of the Tell Tale Heart. This was very descriptive and I loved the ending.
The Man Who Fed the Foxes: Paul is suffering from depression. Drinking heavily, he finds some peace when a family of foxes take up residents in his garden. After he began to feed them, they had an unusual way of showing their satisfaction. The majority of the story revolved around Paul’s grief. As I learnt more about why he is so upset, the actions of the foxes made it just right. An unexpected ending.
There Was an Old Man: I think most people know the nursery rhyme, There was a Old lady that swallowed a fly. Well this story is about John Hinklow and the aftermath of this event. As the story progress you can sense John’s anguish and do wander if a lot is in his head. The story is a page turner as I wanted to find out what happened at the end.
Virtually Famous: Having read this story in Imposter Syndrome, I was happy to see it in this collection. This is what a wrote the 1st time I read it and I still agree now. From the start this story got me hooked. The opening line “He died a thousand times today and would die a thousand more”. Chet Tyler was fixated on his own game and whilst some gamers wanted to be him others wanted to kill him. The fascination Chet had with the game was unnatural. The author has the knack of making you unsure whether you are reading the gaming or Chet’s experience. The lines of fact and fiction is blurred. You know Chet had a substance abuse but was he imagining it. All this made me want to read more.
Each story was completely different and whilst there were not monster’s and demons in this book, it shows how frightening human nature and conditions can be. Each story built up to unexpected endings. I love this author’s short stories and I hope they are more to come. If you have not read any of this authors work before than this is a great collection to get you started.

Larry 3D by Adam Millard

June 1, 2018 - 10:20 pm No Comments

Larry 3D by Adam Millard
Published by Crowded Quarantine Publication on 8th January 2017
162 pages
Yvonne Davies

Larry is back…….again.
Fearfest is the biggest horror con, thanks to Wally Perkins. Like other cons, people dress in cosplay, watch cult films and usually have a good time. Thanks to Edie Travers, this year will go down in history, the year she resurrects her dead son and infamous pigface serial killer Larry.
As the story is set at a con, you can imagine the number of characters and whilst some only make a brief appearance, each one we meet have their own individual style. I had been to a number of cons and I have seen many people who fit the bill. Set in a multi screen cinema gave this story a different feel to the other two as although it was a large complex, the “victims” hiding places were more obvious. Who would hide in a toilet when a serial killer is on the prowl.
There is humour throughout and no one escapes getting the mick taken out of them, even the over exposed actor William Defoe. To find out what he was doing you need to read the book. Like your traditional slasher movies, you still have stereotypical girls, you know the ones, the ones who run and hide whilst screaming blue murder. The main group in fear of their lives were the most unusual group put together. A strong female, a dwarf and 2 cops stuck in the 80s. The killing sprees are bloody and the trusty axe is as sharp as ever, even Edie has a big part to play.
This was a quick read as there was always something going on. The author has a descriptive style that enables you clearly picture the scenes in front of you. Look out for appearances of popular films and the way they play a big part in the story. For the final part in the trilogy, this a good addition to the Larry series.

The Boogeyman’s Intern by Matt Betts

June 1, 2018 - 4:43 am 1 Comment

I have the pleasure to kick off the blog tour for The Boogeyman’s Intern. The Boogeyman’s Intern takes a lighthearted look at things that go bump in the night.

The Boogeyman’s Intern by Matt Betts
Published by Raw Dog Screaming Press 1st June 2018
218 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

As a child, did you have an imaginary friend. Did the tooth fairy visit you when you lost a tooth. These and other creatures all live together on the Hill, rubbing shoulders with the Gods from the ancient beliefs.
Abe was an imaginary friend, good at his job until he got bored. On his final strike, the committee gave him one more chance, find out who killed one of the elite, the boogeyman Ira. Being the first policeman on the Hill, he puts together a team involving his friend Zane another boogeyman and career counsellor Brady. One big problem, he did not know where to start, so had to rely on his connections in the otherworld.
Living in a land of imaginaries, you come across quite a lot of weird and wonderful characters and it is not often that you read about Norse Gods rubbing shoulders with tooth fairy assistants. Ade was a comical character who relied a lot on his quick comments. Coming across as sarcastic he did rub quite a few people up the wrong way. One of my favourite characters was Brady, who reminded me of one of those aging hippies who would be at camp singing Kumbaya.
I enjoyed how the author brought some of the human world into the Hill, Zane’s obsessiveness over a police badge and Ade would fall back on police TV shows he watched when he was an imaginary friend. What starts out with a mysterious death soon turns into a matter of life and death. The story was a quick read and I really got into it until about 50% as Ade was shown into a cave housing all sorts of strange creatures. This stopped me in my tracks as I could not understand where the story was going but as I kept reading, it became clear the reason for that particular journey. Throughout the story you find out more of Abe former life and his relationship with the human boy Truman. There are some laugh out loud moments thanks to Ade and a unlikely character of a deranged Tooth Fairy, and there were times when you felt sorry for the life Ade had and the troubles he had to overcome. The story reminded me of Monsters Inc. for adults as like the film, the imaginaries relied on children to believe in them
This is the first book I have read by this author and I am interested in to reading more of his work. If you like your fantasy read with a difference than pick up this book.

About the Author
Each night Matt Betts fills a bathtub full of pop culture and then soaks in it, absorbing it through every pore. It’s not pretty. The Ohio native is the author of the speculative poetry collections Underwater Fistfight and See No Evil, Say No Evil, as well as the novels Odd Men Out and Indelible Ink. He lives in Columbus with his wife and their two boys.
Raw Dog Screaming Press’ Science Fiction/ Adventure Imprint, Dog Star Books, Thrives
In 2013 RDSP celebrated its 10th year in publishing by launching a Science Fiction imprint, Dog Star Books, to much fanfare. The initial releases have received lots of critical praise. Dog Star Books brings readers’ favorite sub-genres of Science Fiction Adventure under the imprint’s unifying brand. Explosive covers by artist Bradley Sharp invoke the ideas of new pulp, strange worlds, and futures that never were or will be. Dog Star is the destination where meta meets pop, where intellect is fun, and where imagination pulses in all its sensual glory.