A brief but deeply descriptive brush with the dark…
Deep description and pace take centre stage in these three interconnected tales that act like a brief encounter of the dark and enjoyable kind. Shorter stories and books don’t get nearly enough credit and this one certainly deserves it for the small amount of time you spend, you get the maximum experience.
Balance is the key word here as each story is atmospheric and vivid in equal parts where life, death, greed, crime and the many elements of human nature are represented in that unique noir style. There’s intrigue everywhere as these tales are set in the moment but stir the imagination for where the characters came from and where they will ultimately end up. For someone looking to be whisked away for a few hours this is the book for you. Having been recommended this from the vibrant and supportive writing community on Twitter I’m glad to have discovered ‘Nevada Noir’ and I’ll be sure to look out for more works by David Arrowsmith.
4 Stars – Thank you to the Twitter writing community for the recommendation.
Drinking. Hangovers. Fist fights. A clingy ex. A sketchy corporate biggie. An annoying neighbor who just happens to be an investigative reporter (and where are all these reporters when I need one? Huh?) Add a posse of unlikely vigilantes and a soupcon of sudden but inevitable superpowers and you’ve got a heck of a story.
Kurt Wiseman isn’t some stale wide-eyed teen trying to romance the school hottie with his super suit. Or a scientist accidentally becoming a green rage monster. The Teleporter isn’t the sad tale of a down-on-his-luck ex-Army Ranger who is determined to help the little guy. Oh, no. If you’re looking for the same old origin story, turn away now.
Wiseman drinks too much and does as little as possible at work to get by. This guy literally falls into his destiny without a clue. He’s doesn’t have ninja moves or high…
An immersive and suspenseful teen spy thriller with some darker edges, a positive message, originality and depth…
Dan McKeon delivers an immersive and suspenseful tale of one teen assassin who has always followed orders and never questioned those giving them. When things don’t go to plan ‘Wendy’ finds herself facing a rabbit hole of questions as she deciphers what’s good and bad while coming to her own conclusion. It’s part- coming-of-age part-morality check as the ‘agency’ giving the orders begin to reveal themselves as not so reputable.
Through the multiple missions and names she takes ‘Wendy’ begins to realise even if you eliminate bad people, there will always be someone else innocent effected by it. That is without mentioning if the target even is bad in the first place.
“Even those who do bad things have people who care about them, and their loss effects them…”
There’s a certain depth to that morality where choice and accountability of one’s actions make you as a reader question everything. It’s immersive and dark sometimes – death always is but our main character keeps things light hearted and you find yourself rooting for her because she is a force for good. You can give a person all the assassin training in the world and try to engineer out all human elements but they are still human and perhaps that message is at the centre of a great story that I took my time reading.
While there are plenty of concepts that are original and they merge with others that we’ve seen before in spy thrillers; it’s always the abandoned warehouse for a meeting point but the bubble gum idea is genius and of course fun. Although there is some violence there isn’t anything too graphic so I’d recommend this book to older teens and above and to anyone who enjoys a spy thriller with a difference. Highly enjoyable.
An immersive imaginative take on Angels, humanity and immortality…
T.R. Hamby has constructed an original immersive and imaginative take on Angels and how their world interacts with the human one. We meet ‘Nora’ who is a struggling performer when she encounters ‘Mel’ who at first seems like a threat until he reveals who he truly is. What follows is a journey that will keep readers turning pages as the twists and turns present themselves. Its well written and even logical in places – especially when it comes to how these Angel types operate and have operated over time. We get a glimpse at the history of ‘Mel’, his world, and of course ‘Michael’ who plays an instrumental and pivotal role in the wider story which plays out.
With morality being a key theme throughout, these Angels and their motive is to put an end to bad people doing bad things which adds some high stakes as they must track them down before more bad happens. This concept is then woven into ‘Nora’s’ story which continually evolves. Romance and selflessness sits at the very centre of a real world fantasy story that will leave you wanting more.
The Nocturnal series has returned and is better than ever…
Leia Walker faces the implications of her new affliction in this action packed third entry of a series that gets better and better. It’s clear to see Villimey Mist has grown as an author and she delivers this story with tight to the point description along with a style that’s easy to read. That growth and development translates to the diverse cast of characters; some familiar faces while others are still new – multiple characters is a hard thing to get right but for the best part of this book it’s executed well.
We get a front row seat to Leia’s struggle and inner conflict as she tries to adjust to her new reality. ‘Sophie’ although just a vision serves as a stark reminder of a journey that has now taken a different turn. There are sights and feelings not seen before in the series which adds a freshness and new dimension. The lust for blood our hero experiences is part of that conflict which she faces in near enough every direction.
“My blood sings a violent song of brutality. My bloodlust surges through me, and I allow the monster to take the reigns…”
From Amsterdam to London and then over to the US this jet setting story is high stakes, in fact they are the highest they have ever been and its enjoyable. From shoot-outs to car crashes the chase is on to find a cure for the deadly blood of ‘Adam’ a big bad who serves as a calculating sometimes slippery enemy adding to Leia’s conflict. She eventually starts to get used to her situation and takes a responsibility to protect those around her with a desire to be a better fighter. Concepts that are original for the genre are explored further – we see how the likes of ‘Sangues’ work and what it is like to be ‘feral’. There are dramatic turns and even shocking moments that’ll keep those pages turning before a resolve that is both satisfying and even a little emotional.
5 Stars – A great read that caps off an awesome series that represents the genre well. Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads.
A well-thought-out pacey tale of the times from a promising British author…
Pestilence is an extremely well thought out story with an accurate outlook on the events that lead to the collapse of society through a pandemic. For some and in recent times that might feel a little close to home but this book carves a new and different path while acting as a social commentary. The vessel in this scenario is the emergence of a fungus which is the resultant of a warmer climate – a reaction to how we treat this planet. Every major moment that unfolds is covered by Susie Kearley who tells this story with a unique overview style that keeps the events moving and homes in on the reactive details even if things move quickly – this pace works for the genre giving it a page turning flow.
The emergence of a wonder drug ultimately leads humanity on a downward path of addiction and excessive consumption with eventual side effects that become incurable. Its humanity not learning from the past on repeat over and over again as we see the medical system downplaying this emerging threat through lack of knowledge and then being overwhelmed. There’s a theme throughout of vicious cycles where the government or even society fails to take note of a very real threat all caused by our species.
“a toxic culture of unhealthy living, a reliance on pharmaceutical drugs rather than health living, destroying the planet and allowing the pathogenic fungus to thrive…”
The story is told via a wide array of characters and from the very beginning they live their way through a well imagined and ultimately important case study about our nature. We see the elite taking from the less fortunate and with force – more social themes that ring true and echo to our reality. This world we live in is fragile and our attitudes will be probably be our undoing. A threat emerges and those who survive it perhaps leave further generations doomed to live through something similar and that’s probably the most powerful message of all.
5 Stars – A rollercoaster of a read with a powerful message. Reviews left via Amazon, Goodreads and BookBub.
A well-paced horror that puts story first and the finer details perhaps second…
If you are looking for a slow building horror that keeps you engaged all the way through then this is the book for you. It’s ‘Predator’ meets ‘The Thing’ with a dusting of ‘Alien’ as newly released former prisoner ‘Jay’ finds himself taking a job as a logger to start again. After connecting with an old friend he heads out to the forest and mountainous surroundings where he encounters others on their own journey of working to start again. The trees and forest setting slowly closes in and then someone goes missing. That is while something stalks them, what exactly, you’ll have to read it to find out.
“It was quiet here. Not the pleasant kind of quiet in the forest where you can appreciate the the silence of the world. This was the oppressive, pressurised silence that bore down and made them yearn for any sound beyond their own breath and boots…”
Although the story is well paced there are just a few critiques I have that mainly relate to basic spelling errors and sometimes hard to understand abbreviated dialogue that I found myself having to read twice. Other than some over description in places Dylan Burroughs delivers a likeable creepy horror with a sense that something is watching in those trees. If that description was kept tighter this would have been perfect, perhaps something to aim for next time. The characters are three dimensional and react to the world they are in while the story progresses with a slow build that eventually culminates. These men will have to band together to fight the unknown. Our lead character Jay has a history which he looks to escape from and do good by with some old fashioned redemption. There are some good concepts here but some of the finer details just let it down a little.
3 Stars – A missed opportunity with a good concept let down by the editing…
A tale full of twisting suspense about those on the fringes of society…
Kristina Gallo delivers a thriller full of page turning intrigue with shades of a sinister soap opera. It’s gritty and raw and we are introduced to civil servant ‘Viktorija’ who finds herself linked to some less than desirable characters while being on the receiving end of abusive threats. After all she is the deciding factor on whether or not migrants to her native Zagreb are given asylum, a status many would do anything for. ‘Jamal’ just happens to be one of those successful candidates and although he is a husband, father and provider, he is also unfaithful but of course like many of Gallo’s stories this is the just the tip of the iceberg. An affair between these two characters paves the way for murderous implications while we meet a host of characters all on the fringes of an underworld ruled by deception and crime. We meet the trodden down wife, the determined law woman and even a disgruntled ex lover all of which could be behind a pair of murders.
“The underground world was cruel. One day you could be an attractive woman with expensive clothes and powerful men were around you. The next day, the forensic team could be examining your corpse…”
Just who is carrying out these murders and who is behind the threats? The guessing game will keep your interest until the dramatic end by way of twists and turns that make for an immersive experience. I’ll admit it only took a few sessions to finish reading this book as it gripped me about halfway through.
4 Stars– another good addition to Kristina Gallo’s growing backlist of thrillers.
An alternative but realistic take on vampires with sharp political and biological edges…
Those who know the vampire genre will also know the usual tropes that come with it. This book doesn’t have any of that. Chris Hepler has brought the concept of vampirism into a brand new light and territory that see’s it as a type of pathogen in a believable reactive world. This is of course something very relevant today and the depth of this story is found in it’s characters along with the exploration of biological and political impacts vampirism comes to have.
“…human beings are now at risk from a plague. It is crueler than cancer, crueler than AIDS, a disease that makes its victims into villains.”
There are very few books where every scene feels meticulously constructed like this one and while it is a longer read it’s clear the author has thought of everything in a story with a gritty spy thriller/espionage feel. We get to see a future that’s realistic and there are some cool gadgets that help a group of agent/spy types try to trace and put a stop to this spreading vampiric infection. All it’s going to take is for the right or wrong person with connections to ‘catch’ it and well there’s the story – but it’s way more than that.
Giving any more away would be pulling the rug under from readers who will find it original, gripping and overall engrossing, for anyone who’s interested in a political thriller with a vampire edge – something rarely seen before in literature I recommend this one highly.