‘The Word of the Rock God’ by Brooklynn Dean – Review

An intimately descriptive fable that merges rock and roll with a powerful message…

Using an encapsulating and immersive writing style Brooklyn Dean places you on stage between your favourite musicians – that’s how it feels anyway. Its intimate and needs to be in order to capture every facial expression, every deep thought and every moment that makes up this parable or even biblical tale of the prophet who faces temptation. On the surface it could be perceived as good versus evil but beneath that is a story full of depth and meaning.

‘Max’ is content with the life he leads as a typically free spirited creative. While his bandmates ‘Phillip’ and ‘Craig’ are partying, he would rather be writing new material over coffee while feeding from the energy of performing. He’s an artist who stands for purity even relaying his message to younger people not to dive in and that it’s okay to wait for certain things in life. Not only is he placed between his two bandmates on stage but figuratively as well – ‘Phillip’ stands as a sometimes sassy but always likeable guardian of sorts, he’s an old friend or even a shoulder to cry on while ‘Craig’ is lesser so but still makes up the band on Max’s other shoulder and this is where the genius of interpretation and symbolism begins. In fact that deep symbolism is all around us.   

While we see the band and their smaller venue touring life captured night after night ‘Max’ encounters two different women who turn out to be so much more. One of them persists with temptation of the many vices our main character has avoided and they start to weigh upon him. Gradually she weaves her way beneath the surface of his consciousness and all of sudden things that never mattered to him start to take over the things that do. The positive message of purity Max carries becomes muddied and almost corrupt where once the art mattered now it seemingly doesn’t.

Like all great stories The Word of the Rock God gives the reader opportunity to interpret the symbolism of it in our own way. It’s what isn’t there that makes you think and leaves a lasting impression after. Even the ending, although satisfying is decided by those who take on these words. From the simple concept of a demon trying to tempt a prophet to the belief of your own art and even the responsibility of being in a position to deliver a message to your audience positively. Sometimes we can lose ourselves or even fall off the path while trying to be someone else so desperately, perhaps being yourself is all that matters. All of this is wrapped up with the rock and roll lifestyle of a performer who lives for his art and it’s delivered through an original unique reading experience. Highly recommended to anyone looking for something a little different.

5 Stars – Rock and roll man! Thank you to the author for providing a copy of the book in exchange for a review.

‘Noxious’ by Bruce Knapp – Review

An enjoyable yet sinister tale of the macabre that’ll keep you turning pages…

There is so much going on in this book and I found myself quickly turning the pages as the events build, unfold and eventually intertwine in what is a clever fusing of several stories that centre around the strange dark small town known as Blackwater. Bruce Knapp has delivered a tale that is dark, sometimes gruesome and wholly satisfying and the setting is delivered well and through the multiple characters. Throughout, the story evolves along with those characters as everything plays out.

Grim shadows loomed over Blackwater, trying to conceal the hatred, but the evil continued to grow like a fungus, a black poisonous mould…

We see those who are looking for faith, some with lust on their mind, religious types, businessmen, lawmen and even those on the fringes of the occult and witchcraft. Hell, there is even something monstrous lurking in the local ‘Suwanee’ river, this tale really is one of variety that even feels like an anthology piece that is all wrapped up in less than a 200 pages and with short but sharp chapters which keeps those pages turning and the flow consistent.

Main character ‘Robert Thompson’ seems to have a dark cloud following him and his choices soon lead to a shocking and gruesome turn of events. It was at this moment I really became invested in the story. Robert is a changed man from this point and his journey is filled with sometimes graphic brutality to himself and others. Of course that cloud hanging over him has a name (‘Nyx’) and plays an influencing role in the form of possession.

Eventually we see the ‘Noxious’ part of the story which kicks in later on but has been cleverly built from the early stages. Of course Robert’s journey culminates during this satisfying finish for a book with so much variety in the horror genre. The town and setting of Blackwater feels like a character in its own right, it’s always there, hanging over everything with a certain darkness. This makes for a great atmospheric feel to the reading experience.

Those who like multiple character led stories with elements of the occult, witchcraft, paranormal that’s a little graphic in places will enjoy ‘Noxious’. Everyone else may just end up in the ‘Otherworld’ on Leap Day.

4 Stars – this review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery. Reviews left on both Amazon and Goodreads.

‘The Player Without Luck’ by Kristina Gallo – Review

A thrilling page turning story that will keep you immersed from the start….

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English isn’t Kristina Gallo’s native language but that is certainly no disadvantage as she tells an immersive dramatic tale of the unexpected that grabs you from the start.

We’re thrown into the seedy world of gambling where main character ‘Silvija’ loves to spend her time and money. With her focus on trying to win she suddenly discovers a body and that’s when the journey of twists, turns and a sinister history begins. To the police she might just be that ‘blonde chick’ but soon enough the revelations come and she just happens to be linked.

Those revelations intertwine through a story that switches back and forth in time with a pacy page turning style and for a shorter read the author manages to include multiple themes from mystery, thriller, tension, deception and even with some erotic tones. There’s a lot going on in a short space of time giving readers a sense of urgency to read it all the way through because as soon as you start this book, you’ll want to read the whole thing.

4 – Stars, the newest read from Kristina Gallo makes for a great escape! 

All Dressed Up (Clown Conspiracy Book 4): A Short Thriller by Mallory Kelly – Review

A satisfying concluding chapter to the chilling and thrilling Clown Conspiracy series…

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Every book of the Clown Conspiracy series acts as an episodic puzzle piece when put together tells a wider story. In this final episode readers will be left mostly satisfied with an ending that is perfect for the genre and the story as a whole – you’ll be wanting more but also you’ll be assured that it’s over (for now).

Of course Agent’s Shirley and Carter are the centrepiece that are trying to put this puzzle together from ‘Dead End’ to the ‘Back Pew’ and all the way to this story that focuses on a carnival themed wedding. You can imagine what follows and the chase culminates this time.

Sharing what happens would be giving spoilers as this book and series is worth the short time it takes to finish and arguably does everything better that a longer book would do. There’s some great use of description sided with the chilling creepiness that comes with clowns and takes readers on a journey.

5 Stars – A great series of short books that pull together for one wider story…