Friday, September 23, 2022

You Need to Dig Into This One. . .

My Review of



Buried Deep

Set six months after the events of Left in the Dark, we find Paige Aldridge’s life is chaotic as ever. Balancing her life as a detective with that as a special ‘consultant’ working with the FBI isn’t easy. Yes, her new powers are coming along nicely; yes, the team has enjoyed a pleasing amount of success in the cases they handle. But as for their personal lives?

Ah, the strain is taking its toll.

Bearing that in mind, let’s take a peek at the blurb:

*************

The drama continues as Paige and Junna are summoned to New Orleans to investigate a double murder. From the moment they arrive, they find themselves in a whirlwind of death and devastation. Paige foresees the viscous murder of a beautiful young woman as she falls victim to this serial killer. Is she in time to save her? Meanwhile, Junna gives in to the dark powers that surround her in the back alleys. Is Junna in too deep and is she lost forever?

*************

On the face of it, this is just another case. However, it turns out to be pivotal in the lives of our team. For one thing, it makes them take stock of the strain their caseload is putting on their relationships’. When you add to that the fact that Paige and Junna finally discover more about a so-called prophecy involving Readers and Watcher and a balance between opposing forces of good and evil? Well, something has to give.

What that is, exactly, you’ll need to discover for yourself in yet another rather nifty little story of murder, mystery and the mayhem invoked when you start calling on powers that simply shouldn’t exist.

And once again, I found myself rather enjoying the way Tincher allows her characters to evolve at a natural pace. Yes, they are powerful. Yes, they can do remarkable things. Yet they’re not omnipotent, and are just as prone to all the foibles and weaknesses of everyday life as the ‘ordinary’ folks about them.

And that’s what I like about this series. The interaction between the main players is as you’d expect from a close team, some of whom are intimately involved. Their reactions to the things they uncover are ‘normal’. It makes the supernatural events depicted in the story arc ‘real’ and relatable. And THAT takes skill. You often forget you’re reading a paranormal story, as you get sucked into the investigation itself, the personal revelations encountered by each member of the team, and the interjections of frantic action that make it so darn enjoyable.

And the delicious twist as you go into the final portion of the story? Ah, it rounds the story off in a profoundly satisfying way.

I can’t wait for the next installment!




Friday, September 16, 2022

 Listen to My Review of. . .



The Speaker

If there’s one thing you need to do with a series, it’s ensuring your characters evolve along with the actual plot. And in The Speaker, Tony Acree does just that in a profoundly satisfying way.

Let’s set the scene:

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Tracking and killing demons is all part of the job for the Hand of God, Victor McCain, God's bounty hunter. In this fast paced sequel to The Hand of God and The Watchers, Victor learns facing his inner demons may be deadlier than the real ones. Turning to the bottle to drown out the memories of a lost love, he begins to take risks which could get him killed. One night, drunk and alone in a bar in Tennessee, he's ambushed by members of the Church of the Light Reclaimed. He would have died in the attack, if not for a beautiful stranger named Elizabeth. Later he learns the attack was orchestrated by an old nemesis, Preston Deveraux, and Cyrus Tyler, the new Speaker of the House of Representatives. Victor must lean on the alluring Elizabeth to find the truth behind their plans-only she has secrets of her own which could doom them both. When yet another player shows up on the scene hunting Elizabeth, Victor must find a way to convince the two of them to work together to help him stop Tyler from reaching his ultimate goal: to throw the world into chaos and war.

*************

Yes, the pressure is getting to Victor, causing him to drop his guard in the most insidious of ways: his personal habits.

It doesn’t sound all that bad, does it? Letting things slide a bit here; slack off there; perhaps enjoy that extra drink after a meal. Except when you’re the Hand of God, that is, and danger can strike at any time without a moment’s notice.

And when it does?

Ah, then it’s time to lick your wounds and man-up! Not as easy as it sounds. The women is Victor’s life are complicated, you see, and prone to making decisions that create huge repercussions. An environment Victor would prefer to avoid, seeing as how Satan’s plans are stepping up three gears and becoming ever more complex. Hell, it’s even getting harder to distinguish friend from foe.

As you can imagine, this makes for a rather interesting story. And once again, a great set of characters; sharp dialogue; cutting, no-nonsense humor; and well paced action, helps you navigate Victor McCain’s world without ever losing you place.

As always, a thoroughly entertaining dark thriller that sets the bar for others to aspire to.


Amazon Review



Thursday, September 8, 2022

 A Highly Rated Score In. . .



Dark Test

I’ve been looking forward to reading Marcus Abshire’s Ways of the Warlock series as the into blurb hits all the right buttons. See for yourself:

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My name is Jakobus Shaw, and all I want is to be left the hell alone.

Once upon a time, I was a warlock. I killed, I tortured, I did all kinds of horrible things for more power, for more control, but I have tried hard to put that all behind me.

Now, someone just framed me for murder. A coven of white witches thinks I killed one of their own, and they want their pound of flesh.

My past is coming back to haunt me, and there isn't a damn thing I can do to stop it. If I don’t find the real killer before the witches find me, it’s all over.

Who is going to kill me first? White witches hell-bent on revenge? An assassin hired to tie up loose ends, or an Immortal with more power than he knows what to do with? I guess we'll see.

*************

And ‘see’ you do in a nifty little tale that is as high on adrenalin as it is on dry humor.

I connected with Abshire’s style of writing from the outset, and was immediately reminded of then vibe created by Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. It’s familiar. It’s cozy. It creates a welcoming tone that invites you in and encourages you to take part.

Jakobus is a guy with a checkered past who is doing his best to stay on the straight and narrow. Not an easy thing to do with a seemingly endless posse of magic-wielding practitioners lining up to get a piece of him. While far from happy about that, his down-to-earth and no-nonsense attitude help him deal with such problems head-on. So things get physical, and sorcerous pretty quickly. In a good way. Abshire’s main protagonist is far from invincible . . . but his nobody’s fool either, and sets out to discover just who it is that wants so desperately to set him up for a fall.

And it’s great fun!
I found his characters relatable and convincing. His story arc, entertaining. The pace a pleasing balance of action and plot development that keeps you intrigued throughout. And what the heck, there’s even a dash of sexual tension thrown in.   

As I say, it all adds up to a great story that I thoroughly enjoyed. You really ought to check this series out. I know I will be.



Friday, September 2, 2022

 A Story That Leaves you
Shaken & Stirred



As The Artifacts Stir

I’ve been looking forward to Radar DeBoard’s follow-up to The Altar From Space, as I thoroughly enjoyed his slaughter-fest in micro-g the last time Talisha Martison set foot aboard a ship she should have avoided like the plague.

The thing is, she might have survived the mayhem aboard the SS Revelation, but she hasn’t made it home yet. Or indeed, anywhere near a place of relative safety . . .
as the blurb to As The Artifacts Stir reveals:

*************

After escaping the nightmare aboard the SS Revelation, Talisha awakes on an unfamiliar medical station. She quickly realizes that something truly awful is happening based on the blood splattered walls and piles of viscera. It seems that Talisha escaped from one hell, only to be plunged into another.

*************

After reading that intro, I wouldn’t be surprised if you had flashbacks to when Rick Grimes woke up in the south wing recovery ward in the very first episode of the Walking Dead. Only, Talisha’s reality gets much bloodier, far more quickly. And before she’s had time to find her feet, she’s off and running – or should that be limping, with a lot of slipping and sliding – through an unknown base with a bunch of deranged psychopaths hot on her recuperating heels, all of them hell-bent on adding her entrails to the Picasso art-ery-work on the walls.

She’s not alone of course. There are others, desperate to survive, and unexpected benefactors, too. But picking friend from foe proves rather difficult when everyone and is hyped up on fear and adrenaline, and everything is covered in other people’s blood.

As before, I rather enjoyed this fight-or-flight of fancy. It’s fast paced, has relentless action, and proper decorum and ethics are thrown out the airlock when it comes to making split-second decisions to stay alive. . . (Although one or two could do with a kick up the self-preservation backside). You’ll see.

As The Artifacts Stir. A mission that will leave you shaken, stirred, and in dire need of a vodka martini.




Thursday, August 25, 2022

 This Week, I lost Myself In. . .



The Girls Who Were Found
Just when you thought it was safe to turn the light off, we get a rather macabre twist of fate that reminds us, life – however many times it comes around – just isn’t fair.

Take a peek at what to expect.

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Kate Sullivan’s back from the dead, back from the Beyond, and ready to just be a normal girl again. She, Caro, and Darcy agree not to use their powers and to forget about the Beyond with the whispering ocean. Problem is, one of them is lying. She doesn’t want to move on, and she doesn’t want to be normal. The more she dreams of the Beyond, the more it feels like home. Will the others figure it out and save her before it’s too late?

Kerry Sullivan wants to leave the girls alone, leave the Beyond alone, but her boss isn’t so keen on that idea. She’s got a new lab, new subjects, and one chance to change all of their lives forever. But her brand new sacrifice has ideas of her own—she’s not going to die to go Beyond without taking someone with her.

Luke has moved on himself, even though he hasn’t quite given up on Kerry forever, but a knock at his door will turn his world upside down in a split second. When he answers Kerry’s call, Hannah heads out on a rescue mission, ready to face the Beyond once again.

As worlds collide and battles unfold, who will stay and who will go? Who can be saved and who is lost forever? Will any of them ever be free of the Beyond again?

 

*******

The accelerated pace of the last story continues in, The Girls Who Were Found, the fourth book of L’Erin Ogle’s Beyond series. And as the blurb so clearly indicates, times running out, for rescuers and resurrected alike. The Beyond wants to reclaim its own, and concepts like keeping a low profile or working quietly behind the scenes simply don’t enter the equation. Smash n’ grab brutality and action does, snaring all of the main players in an ever tightening noose that leaves little room for maneuvering.

Yes, lives are about to be changed forever. . .

The trouble is, all these spooky goings-on are becoming increasingly public. So, how to keep a secret when more and more people are witnessing things that simply shouldn’t exist?

One thing’s for sure, Detective Claire Wlazniak and her partner don’t like secrets. Especially the ones that seem to swarm around Kate, her family, her friends, and just about anyone remotely associated with the institute that ‘mysteriously’ burned down. And with all the upheaval, they’re drawing ever closer to finding out the truth. And that can’t be good!

So, let the chaos continue! As you may comprehend, Ogle manages to keep a check on the pace, and steers the story arc along in a madcap, helter-skelter ride of mayhem, fun, and vicious action that keeps you turning the page. Needless to say, I really enjoyed it.



Amazon Review

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

 There's Nothing Cold about This Story



The Darkest Vengeance

Walsh Ritter has had a lot of time to reflect over the circumstances that led to his current predicament, first at the hands of a mad hermit, and later, at the behest of megalomaniac William Victorrio. You’d be forgiven for thinking that things couldn’t possibly get worse?

But you would be wrong. . .

*************

Five years after the events that had left Walsh Ritter imprisoned in the ancient mountain fortress known as Agua Rocosa, William Victorrio’s daughter Angelina was now in full control of the family empire. All that she will require had been packed for her annual journey to the fortress where she would meet once again with the infamous gun hand Walsh Ritter. The fortress had its qualities, but it did not offer what she had in mind. To get Walsh Ritter to the Victorrio vacation home in the mountains, she would have to earn his trust and perhaps even his affections.

After three days of travel an accident occurred during a river crossing. Angelina’s life was completely in Walsh’s hands. It was up to him whether she lived or died. Unbelievable to her, Walsh chose to help her. Tending her wounds and caring for her as diligently as he could until he finally delivered her safely to the mountain cottage. Finally, she decided that she could wait no longer to start enacting her plan of vengeance. Walsh had to pay for the death of her mother. Painfully and methodically, she ushers him into a state of confinement that was as equally brutal as anything he had been subjected to back at the mountain fortress.

*************

So, that’s an idea of what you’re going to get. And while the blurb does provide a bit of a spoiler, it doesn’t sour the impact of what’s to come. As we saw in The Darkest Sin, Jeff Crawford’s The Gun Hand Series is a bit of a dark horse when it comes delivering. And deliver it does, in a stylish, confident manner that makes no apologies for the brutality involved.
This is one of the few offerings I’ve read recently where the second book of the series is a marked step up. It’s terse. It’s edgy. It involves you, allowing you to experience what Ritter is going through. You empathize with his plight. Feel the abject misery he’s enduring. Spit and curse over those moments where he’s cruelly taken advantage of.

But the slow build is there. Oh yes. The pressure gradually increases toward a climax you just know HAS to come. And when that climax hits, it’s delivered in the cold, clinical fashion you’d expect of. . .

Ah, no spoilers from me.

If you want to find out what happens, I suggest you delve into the The Gun Hand Series yourself. Believe me; you’ll be glad you did. It’s one of the finest, morbidly intense, compelling examples of a dark psychological thriller you’ll ever read.



Amazon Review

Friday, August 12, 2022

There Are No Idle Hands In This Tale



The Devil’s Work

In The Devil’s Work, we find loner Jim Colton looking for a change of pace and scenery. Unfortunately for him, his plans are shunted onto the sidelines almost from the word go; as the blurb highlights:

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Jim Colton has had enough of the Eastern U.S. with its big cities and bigger buildings. He longs for the quiet, untouched beauty of the West where a man like him can make it on his own. When his old friend, Alexander Price, offers him a ticket on a train bound for California, he takes it. How can he refuse?

Train life isn't what Colton expects, especially when there's an attempted train robbery by infamous bandit Scratch Maynard. But that's just the start of his strange ride through the United States. When people start dying in ritualistic murders, Colton doesn't know who he can trust except himself and his gun.

*************

Yes, Jim Colton’s hope of finding that simpler life take a turn for the worse when he steps in and kills the leader of a gang out to rob the train he’s travelling on. And it’s not because the marshal or any of the agents on the train are out to cause him trouble. Far from it. The problem stems from the antics of some of the gang members themselves, who are obviously crazy. After all, they hear voices . . . and normal people just don’t do that. Do they?

What follows is a spiraling nightmare of murder, misdirection and deceit, instigated at the behest of a killer who will stop at nothing to get their way. It falls to Colton to do something about it. He’s a loner, don’t forget. A survivor, used to fending for himself. Only this time out, he has to do that within the confines of a train. And with time running out, it’ll take all his skills to survive. You’ll see.

Once again, I really enjoyed Jon Dobbin’s economical writing style. He has a story to tell, and does just that in an easy to understand/easy to follow manner that allows you to immerse yourself in the narrative and follow along as Colton tries to unravel this latest mystery without getting himself killed – by bad guys or the law.

Well worth a ride!