Saturday, November 26, 2022

 See What I Thought Of. . .

The Hallowed Earth

As an avid reviewer I get to read a lot of books, most of which I enjoy, due to my knack for selecting material I know I’ll like. But every now and then, I come across a little gem that truly resonates. And, The Hallowed Earth, by Carol Coney, really set my ‘happy bells’ a ringing.

Take a peek at the blurb:


‘Gasping for breath, he closed his eyes, willing it to be over, whilst all around him the spectres resumed their pitiful screams into the darkness.’

In the near future, amid the blood soaked aftermath of a global war and a pandemic known as the Mors virus, Luke Faerona is drowning in the waters of Belfast Lough. Just as he lets go of life, he is pulled from the water and thrown into the freefall of fevered dreams and nightmares that soon seep into his waking reality. Luke’s sanity is tested as he begins to see angels, demons, monsters and faeries lurking in the shadows around him. As his world becomes fractured, will Luke accept that his dreams are real, and with each day that passes Hell is closing in.


Intriguing eh? And it gets better, thanks, in the main to Coney’s skill at weaving her tribute to all manner of faerie folk legends into a post apocalyptic setting, centered in one of the few places on Earth where the mundane and metaphysical are known to overlap: Ireland.

Such is the nature of the story arc that I would be remiss if I tried to share anything of what takes place here, as Coney skillfully reveals the plot through hints, subtext, flashbacks, and world-jumping that I would spoil if I tried to explain it here. So I won’t. You’ll have to witness it yourself.

But you’ll be glad you did, as I can assure you . . . You’ll love it!

I certainly felt that way as I navigated a path that leads you from one level of existence into the next in the most delightful way. It’s hypnotic; ethereal; unsettling and addictive all at once, with a wonderfully oppressive, claustrophobic undertow that permeates the characters’ lives, their temperaments, outlooks and aspirations. Humankind is in danger, you see. But it isn’t just the Mors virus that proves lethal.

No, you can’t take anything at face value. Because that’s the one sure way you’ll end up dead.

The Hallowed Earth. A most excellent escape from the drudgery of real life.

Amazon Review

Friday, November 18, 2022

 See What I Thought of. . .

The Darkest Secret

With everything that Walsh Ritter has been through, it’s no wonder he longs for a change of pace. That change of pace needs to be somewhere new. Somewhere fresh and different.

He gets new and different alright. . .
Only, not in the way he expected.

Walsh Ritter had sailed for England on the ship, the Belinda Lynn, and was found upside down, nearly dead, and with the lifeboats nowhere to be seen. None of the crew had been spotted. It had left San Francisco three day earlier but encountered bad weather.

Walsh awakes on an island where everything is different and bizarre compared to everything else he has ever known. Scrambling, he used his skills to finally find water and some hope for survival. A sudden pain and all goes black.

Walsh no longer takes pleasure in killing, but neither is he bothered by it. He finds he has grown dark and numb, satisfied to simply exist as long as there is no one else around for him to hurt. He becomes accustomed to the knowledge that he will never live anywhere else but this island and will never again know human contact and begins to believe that it is for the best for everyone if that is so.


Yes, life certainly takes a turn for Walsh. Marooned on an island full of prisoners and unable to speak, he has to tread very carefully to survive. But if there’s one thing Ritter knows how to do, it’s survive!

But there’s more to life than the drudgery of mere existence.

Now, it’s difficult to talk about this particular story without going into specifics. Alas, those specifics would give too much of the plot away. Something you need to do for yourselves by reading the book. So. . .

Despite his best intentions, Ritter is once again forced to face a moral dilemma. To kill, or not to kill. Doing so freely make take him further along a path that leads to darkness. However, if he sticks to his newfound principles in a situation like this, he’ll most definitely end up dead.

So, what does he do?

Entertain us! That’s what, in a profoundly brutal way. Yes, Ritter is a survivor. And like it or not, he’ll do what it takes to ensure he not only escapes, but makes it back to civilization.

But it’ll take grit. Determination. Choices. Things he’ll do with you at his side, for the tenor of this story snares you from the outset; involves you; makes things personal. And that’s what I enjoy about Jeff Crawford’s writing. He makes his characters instantly relatable so you can immerse yourselves in the adventure, and discover for yourself what it would take to make it safely away from a place that has seen the death of so many.

The Gun Hand series: A truly excellent adventure.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

 See How This Dark Series Ends

Where There is Light

Lynn Tincher’s Mind Bending Series comes to a resounding end with, Where There Is Light, and we find Detective Paige Aldridge still searching for answers. As to whether she finds them or not? Well, you’ll find out for yourself. As the blurb highlights, she’s got her hands full:


Junna is gone without a trace. After weeks of searching for her in New Orleans and in the Collective Conscious, Detective Paige Aldridge returns to Louisville to investigate the murder of a fifteen year old boy. Unfortunately, she lands in the middle of something even more dangerous. Meanwhile, Visette tries to help Paige develop her power, but can Paige trust her?


Yes, Where There Is Light brings The Mind Bending series to a fitting conclusion. And I say fitting, because Tincher has wisely avoided the temptation to wrap things up, ever so neatly, in a rainbow colored bow so that everyone can go home, celebrate, and live happily ever after. After all, life isn’t like that, is it?

Think about Aldridge’s journey throughout the series as a whole.

She suffered a traumatic incident in childhood that marked her forever. She inherited a profoundly life changing set of abilities that she’s never really understood; or had a chance to, come to that, thanks to an abusive, evil-minded brother, and a set of mysterious Watchers, reluctant to share information. (even though the sharing of such information would help a great deal).

Not only must she console herself with the realization that she can read other peoples thoughts, but she’s had to contend with the murderous schemes of her own brother, and those like him, who are out to use their abilities for narcissistic ends. An unenviable position to be in, especially as she’s also doing her best to juggle those threats against the everyday hurdles being a detective places in her way as a matter of course. (Oh, and don’t forget, she’s also trying to maintain a budding relationship with someone who has loved her for years, but can’t quite wrap his head around the things she can do).

As such, Aldridge can never really switch off or relax. Those she is close to either suspect her motives, or are permanently in danger from forces beyond their control. Forces so warped and dangerous that they contradict belief, and always seem to find new ways to make life difficult.

It’s never-ending!

No wonder, then, that this latest case brings certain issues to a head. And a breakthrough!

What that breakthrough is, exactly, you’ll soon discover. But it comes just in time to prepare her for yet another twist in her topsy-turvy life.
And that’s what I’ve enjoyed about The Mind Bending Series. Paige Aldridge’s journey isn’t the superhero rocket ship blastoff you’d see in other paranormal adventures. The author has kept things balanced by concentrating on the changes such abilities would bring in a normal person’s life. The challenges too. And in doing so, presents us with a tidy set of murder-mystery-whodunnits, that are as entertaining as they are a journey of discovery for the reader.

And better yet, Paige Aldridge still has a way to go. She still needs to grow. To discover. To put certain issues to rest. And that will no doubt come in the future.

The Mind Bending Series. A superb lesson in how to keep your characters real.

Friday, November 4, 2022

 A Dish That is Far From Cold


Here we are, rounding off the first Victor McCain Thriller Series, with the fourth Book: Revenge. And I have to say, it’s been a blast. One I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. So, how does Tony Acree bring everything to an end?

Here’s a clue. . .


Victor McCain, God's bounty hunter, knows how to hunt down the world's most evil beings and remove them. Permanently. In Revenge, the thrilling follow up to The Speaker, Victor learns what it's like to be the one targeted for death.

With a $10,000,000 bounty on his head, assassins are finding their way to Louisville to try and collect on the contract of a lifetime, including Black Ice, the world's top killer. But he is not alone.

An old foe has returned from the dead to seek revenge on Victor by destroying those he holds dear, including a new love. To save her and the others close to him, he must avoid the assassin's bullet and the efforts of an angry cop intent on putting Victor away for life and unravel a trail of kidnapping, torture and murder.


As if life wasn’t complicated enough, Victor has to go the whole hog and turn the whole world against him. Fallen Angels; vampires; senators; ghosts; demons; cops; the undead. Oh, and a seemingly endless queue of assassins, keen to add an extra ten million to their bank accounts. Yes, everyone wants a piece of Victor.

So, how does he handle it?

With his usual – strap in, hang on, and stab – shoot – and blow up everything that moves aplomb. That’s how (obligatory witty banter included). It really is that frantic. And the great thing is, you’re never overwhelmed. Mad burst of action are interspaced with sound plot development. Our main characters continue to evolve, and if anything, improve. And the dialogue is as sharp as ever.

I absolutely loved it!

For a final book in a series, it keeps things tight, focused, and rounds the story off in a thoroughly satisfying way. An excellent example of how to keep your readers hooked.