Archive for April, 2019

Osgood As Gone: A Spectral Inspector Mystery (Book 1) by Cooper S Beckett

April 27, 2019 - 3:17 pm No Comments

Osgood As Gone: A Spectral Inspector Mystery (Book 1) by Cooper S Beckett

Published by Horror & Carnage Press on 22nd April 2019

356 pages

When a mysterious email turns up in Prudence Osgood’s inbox, is it a prank or will it be the start of something sinister? With the help of Zack, her partner in crime can she get back into the investigating.

Straight away I liked Prudence Osgood, she wasn’t little miss perfect and had to work for everything she accomplished. Having been injured in a car crash over 10 years ago, she was getting through the day with a mixture of alcohol and painkillers. She had a way of rubbing people up the wrong way, but underneath her cold exterior, she had a heart of gold and hated having to rely on others for help. As you read her story, you learn more about her big break up with the love of her life Audrey Frost and how it ruined both their careers. But when the case reveals information that would affect Audrey, Osgood puts the animosity behind her to involve Audrey and the longer they spend together, you can see their defences start to crumble.  Zach was the computer geek, having all the high tech gadgets, he was a whizz with search engines and knew people in the know, who could help them, although I did think he was a bit excited when he got to play with a record player.

The mystery was well plotted and even though there was a lot going on, secret messages, an aged rock band, vinyl records, missing people and mysterious messages, you can follow the plot with ease. The story is a steady pace until the last quarter of the book when you sense that Osgood is nearer to find out what is going on. The scenes are more intense and I found myself putting real life on hold to finish the story. As well as solving the mystery Osgood has quite graphic nightmares and through these, you learn just how horrific the car crash was and the closer Osgood comes to cracking the mystery, the more graphic the nightmare become.   

This book has it all, horror, a mystery, love and some laugh out loud moments usually down to Osgood’s quick wit. Finishing on a cliff-hanger, I hope I don’t have to wait long for some more of Osgood and I will be following this author closely to see when it is going to be published.

Book Haven: And Other Curiosities by Mark Allan Gunnells

April 27, 2019 - 8:58 am No Comments

Book Haven: And Other Curiosities by Mark Allan Gunnells

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 26th April 2019

219 pages

This is one of my one-click authors and published by Crystal Lake publishing is a win-win. A collection of a novella and 20 short stories of various lengths had me reading this over a day.

With so many choices, I have found it difficult to only highlight a few for this review, so I am not, but will write about them all, even if it is only a few lines.

Starting off with Book Haven, the novella of the book. Set in a dystopian world where all the digital copies of books were wiped from a server, the Government were responsible for acquiring all real books and uploading for people to read or if they had not got the book rewriting from memory. This is what disturbed me, I use my Kindle every day, I can’t read real books. What would I do if I could not read? As you read this story, you follow Paul Nelson as he is on the hunt for his missing friend. This had a thriller feel to it, as you follow the clues. Paul Nelson was a stuffy character at the start, a bit of a jobsworth but he had a love of books. However, as he escaped the confines of the office, I soon realised that he had a rebellious streak and this adventure brought out his passion. Like all thrillers, there are always ones to stop him and this story was no different. With only a handful characters, it is clear who he is up against but there were a few surprises in the story and a few characters will surprise you. I would love this story to continue into a mini-series, although I am still thinking about if I lost all my books on my kindle.

Human Bones in a China Cabinet: Most folk collect, whether it is stamps, books or like Jesse, something a bit more macabre. As a collector of human bones, Jesse liked to brag and put them on display. But what if there were even stranger collections out there.

Welcome Home: Steve and Evan are a regular couple, going about the daily routine. However, a knock on the door changes their lives. This is a story about love and sacrifice.    

C U Soon: Philip was grieving after Monica his girlfriend lost her life whilst texting and driving. With the grief is guilt and Philip is finding it difficult to cope. I loved the twist at the end and shows the length that revenge can take.

End-Of-The-World Benediction: With the way Earth is going, this is a poem, that will get you thinking.

Going to See a Man about a Dog: At 4 Ethan has a sad life. As a mom, I felt sorry for Ethan and even though I knew what was about to happen, I was still shocked.

The Sandbox: Timothy Ellis was a lonely child, an easy target for bullies. What happens next. I am not going to say as it will give the story away but I really enjoyed this story.

Wrong: Whilst at work Janet is listening to Carol talk about her son. As a mom of two, I have had the temper tantrums although not as bad as Carol’s son. An extreme way of coping with it.

Evolution: Set in a dystopian world where only the strong survive. Following Lowell as he is recovering over his loss of Rick his boyfriend. A surprising story of revenge.

The Bracelet: Bryant and Lyle are very much in love. The story of the lengths people will take when a terminal illness is destroying their lives. A mixture of hope and despair and a very moving story.

Click Bait: A very short story and a warning message about accepting unknown friend requests.

A Day Like Every Other Day: A groundhog story with a glimmer of hope.

The Man Who Watched the Ocean or Twelve Steps Down into the Sea: A story about unrequited love and the lengths one man will take to find the love of his dreams.

The Desk: Tells the story of Nick Henson and the pressure he is under to write another best seller. After moving home, he comes across a desk, that holds so many treasures. This was one of my favourites and you can feel the pressure Nick was under whilst he tries and writes. I was expecting the story to go down a completely different route so the ending was a surprise.

When Gas was 52 cents per Gallon: Brandon and Joe breakdown on a deserted road. Brandon has always fancied Joe but doesn’t know how Joe feels. This was a graphic read, that some readers may find hard to read.

The Little Boy Who Lived in the Library: Paul uses the library and books as an escape from his home life.

Waiting for the Fall: A heart-breaking story of an elderly gentleman waiting for his time to come.

Tanner: One thing I have never understood is people boxing themselves into a device that browns their skin. This is a story about Matthew who purchases a second-hand tanning machine, which may have had a chequered past. An erotic read with an unexpected/expected twist you decide.

Go to Sleep Little Baby: Hard to say much without giving too much away, But this a story about motherhood.

The Farm: Have you ever visited a location that was seen in a film. In this story, the resident of the home that was the main setting for The Farm an 80s slasher movie had a very good reason why he did not like fans coming to his door.

The Hidden Cemetery: When a trip to a cemetery for a bit of fun goes an unexpected way.

As I have said I will always one click this author and yet again I have not been disappointed. I love reading his short stories and he has a way of making ordinary scenes into the extraordinary. I cannot wait to see what comes next.  

Caught in a Web by Joseph Lewis

April 24, 2019 - 7:08 am No Comments

My turn on the blog tour for Caught in a Web, a gritty thriller from a new to me author Joseph Lewis.

Caught in a Web by Joseph Lewis

Published by Black Rose Writing on 3rd May 2018

341 pages

The Blurb : Caught in a Web

The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson.  But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer. Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives come to realize that the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff

Here are my thoughts:

As you start this story, you soon realise that George is a gifted teenager. After tragically losing all his Navajo family, he now lived with Jeremy and his foster family.  Having a Navajo upbringing, George has some exceptional talents, one being adept with a blade which as you find out further in the story, has saved him and his foster family before.

Starting the story as yet another teenager dies of an overdose, the police are up against it to find out who is cutting and selling the drugs.  Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann are all well-respected police officers in the community and they use their friendships to help try and solve the case. Whilst they are investigating the deaths, Ricardo Fuentes and the MS-13 are put in the frame, but now the Police know that George’s life is in danger, it is a race to arrest Ricardo before he can accomplish his plan.

This started a bit slow mainly due to all the background and I did find it a bit confusing with the family dynamics. However, after a while, I soon grasped who was part of Jeremy’s family and their relationships with each other. The children and their close friends all had harrowing stories explaining how they ended up being fostered by Jeremy, it also explains why the family is so close. As you are following the investigation, more about George’s history is revealed and as he embraces his heritage and uses his talents, you can see him struggle with his upbringing and fighting to save his friends and family.

The pace quickens as the danger intensifies and you can see that the police are up against it and whilst you find out early on who was behind the drugs, the one behind the planning and their reasoning was unexpected. As for Ricardo’s even if the police did not want to involve the boys, their hands were tied as the boy’s lives were in danger.

There are some graphic scenes and some scenes that some readers will find disturbing, as the characters involved are children. However, if you are looking for a gritty thriller that will grab your attention then you can’t go wrong with this book.

Purchasing Links:

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07CKF7696

Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/caught-in-a-web-joseph-lewis/1128250923?ean=9781684330249

Meet the Author: 

Joseph Lewis has written five books: Caught in a Web; Taking Lives; Stolen Lives; Shattered Lives, and Splintered Lives. His sixth, Spiral into Darkness, debuts January 17, 2019 from Black Rose Writing. Lewis has been in education for 42 years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator. He is currently a high school principal and resides in Virginia with his wife, Kim, along with his daughters, Hannah and Emily. His son, Wil, is deceased.

Lewis uses his psychology and counseling background to craft his characters which helps to bring them to life. His books are topical and fresh and appeal to anyone who enjoys crime thriller fiction with grit and realism and a touch of young adult thrown in.

Social Media: Twitter: http://@jrlewisauthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /

The Pale Ones by Bartholomew Bennett

April 23, 2019 - 8:24 am 1 Comment

My turn has come on The Pale Ones blog tour, written by a new to me author Bartholomew Bennett. Here are my thoughts…….

The Pale Ones by Bartholomew Bennett

Published by Inkandescent on 17th October 2018

98 pages

One thing my daughter and I love doing together is going around charity shops, “rescuing” abandoned books. To buy a book that you have been looking for ages, opening it up, reading the dedication in the book, wondering why they gave it away. A train ticket falls out, Where had the previous owner travelled to? When did they read the book?   

As I was reading this story, I did feel sorry for the protagonist. I had a sense he led a lonely life and his only enjoyment was finding his next fortune. Written in 1st person POV, you follow the protagonist as he tries and makes a living selling secondhand books.  On one of his bargain hunts, he runs into Harris, a book dealer with a secret, who takes him on one of his buying trips around Yorkshire. Harris was a strange character, was he a supernatural or was he just eccentric. There were unanswered questions, but it made me fill in the gaps and make my own opinion on Harris. The journey round Yorkshire has you wondering what Harris is out to achieve.     

Even after the journey, his life was not a happy one, trying to rebuild his life after another tragic event hits him. The characters they meet on their journey, are the type you would bump into in your regular life and I can guarantee that you could walk into any charity shop in the country and bump into one the ladies serving you.

Whilst there are no graphic scenes, there is that hunch that something is going to happen, it’s the feeling that there is a presence in the shadows just loitering in your peripheral vision.

This is a book that I will re-read as I am sure that If I read it again, I will come up with completely different views on Harris and his reasons behind collecting unforgotten books. I am sure that other readers will come up with their own ideas of what the pale ones are. This will be a good book to read in a book club so everyone could share their own opinions.    

Bartholomew Bennett was born in Leicester to an American father and English mother. Since childhood he has been a dedicated reader of all manner of books, but especially tales of the “horror”. He has a First Class Honours degree in Literature from the University of East Anglia and is a longstanding member of Leather Lane Writers Group. He has had various jobs: primarily software developer, but also tutor, nanny, data-entry clerk, call-centre rep, decorator and handy-man. He has also been known to dabble in online bookselling. Currently he lives in southeast London with his wife and two children. And in fact, some of the paper-packed rooms that feature in The Pale Ones bear a remarkable resemblance to locales in his own abode…   

Inkandescent are committed to voices underrepresented in mainstream publishing. Their first publication Threads – a deftly weft and delightfully warped tapestry of poetry and photography – was funded by Arts Council England and long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize, of which their second publication, AutoFellatio – James Maker’s memoir remastered with new chapters and never-seen photographs – was the inaugural winner. http://www.inkandescent.co.uk

Moonlight Serenades by Thom Carnell

April 20, 2019 - 10:41 am No Comments

Moonlight Serenades by Thom Carnell

Published by Crossroad Press Macabre Ink on 19th May 2016

310 pages

One thing I enjoy is short stories, the chance to read a complete story whenever I can get the chance. With 17 different stories, I had plenty of choices. Before each short story, the author gives an insight into how the story was created and where they got their inspiration from. For this review I am going to mention my favourites.    

Opening up with Wedding Day: it’s a story about loss. As you read this, the main protagonist emotions are raw. You can sense just how much they are grieving as they reminisce. The ending was a fitting end

The Thirst: the story about a lone vampire trying to survive after a disaster has nearly wiped out their food supply. There was a sadness to this story, you are left wondering how the vampire will survive without human blood and what a lonely existence.

Clown Town: The longest of the short stories and the story connected to the cover. We follow Detective Bumbo and Inspector Garbo as they try and solve the murder of Angeletta Trivelino at the renowned night club Marceau’s. The story is a crime noir and as I was reading it, I was imagining it being played out on a black and white TV being narrated by a gravelly voiced actor. The little touches to this story added to the enjoyment, whether it was the style of the clown’s makeup or every now and again Garbo would squeeze his horn to emphasise an emotion. Running throughout the story was Bumbo’s love story and his own femme fatale. I would enjoy reading further stories involving Bumbo and Garbo.

Chirality: Hattie Caulfield was out on her daily treks across the mountains and comes across a missing child. This was an easy-going story as you follow Hattie. I loved the twist at the end.

The Politics of Dancing: As I have not read any of this author before, I had not come across Cleese. However, after reading this story, I do want to find out more about him. Working for MEST, he is like a clean-up/hit squad for the undead. A zombie terminator. A quick read with plenty of action.

I enjoyed this book and with its mixture of genres, it will appeal to more than horror fans.