Book Review—Sorrow’s Lie

[Sorrow’s Lie Cover]Well, it seems Jimmy is hitting his stride at last. He’s gotten himself together enough to actually be in a place where he can contemplate married life with his sweetheart, Tabby. The ghosts in his charge are more or less intact (wait, can ghosts be intact?). And he might actually be just a little…happy.

But of course, with Danielle DeVor, you know this rainbow is doomed to turn gray—even black. There’s always some new evil lurking just around the corner that demands Jimmy’s attention. And this time, it’s baaaaaad. So much for honeymooning in the Poconos.

I am a huge fan of this series, and so far, this is my favorite. The characters are well developed and familiar, and the terror is worse than ever. If you like dark fiction with this author’s trademark humor, then I suggest you pick up Sorrow’s Lie. Just make sure the doors and windows are locked and warded.

You can find this review at Amazon US.

Book Description
Only an Exorcist Can Confront His Demons

Jimmy Holiday, exorcist extraordinaire, is about to embark on his most unusual case yet—a baby that may be possessed by the demonic…or worse, a true demon spawn. The Order wants him to make sure it is a true case and not some hoax…or so they say.

Once Jimmy arrives, the situation changes into a living nightmare. The Order is not what he thought at all. And now, they demand he commit an unspeakable act. But Jimmy has enough scars of his own.

When the full truth of the corruption within the Order comes to light, Jimmy must act. With a voudou woman who lives down the lane as an ally, Jimmy must fight for the life of this supernatural child, but at what cost?

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Book Review—The Last Victim

[The Last Victim Cover]So, I’m swearing off Alaskan king crab and Baked Alaska now. In fact, I will most likely never take that Alaskan summer cruise I was planning. Why? Because I read The Last Victim. More specifically, I allowed Jordan Dane’s mad tale to get under my skin and into my nightmares. Yeah, really.

This is some seriously good writing. The author has presented a well-researched, imaginative story about an FBI profiler with a big problem—he can connect with the dead. Oh, great. I’ll bet he’s fun at parties. I mean, this guy’s got more baggage than a luggage cart at the Ritz Carlton. The book is well crafted and haunting in its ability to pull you into the mind of a serial killer and the hunter who is in pursuit. And, believe it or not, there’s still room for a little humor—gallows humor, maybe. But hey.

If you’re drawn to the gruesome while still demanding good plotting, believable characters, and plot twists coming at you at a breathtaking pace, then I suggest you pick up this novel. You won’t be sorry. But, like me, you might be hesitant to visit our forty-ninth state anytime soon.

You can find this review at Amazon US.

Book Description
When a young hunting guide from a remote island in Alaska is found brutally murdered, his naked body is discovered in the Cascade Mountains outside Seattle—the shocking pinnacle to a grisly Totem of body parts. Nathan Applewhite is the fourteenth victim of a cunning serial killer who targets and stalks young men.

With the body count escalating, FBI profiler Ryker Townsend and his specialized team investigate the gruesome crime scene. They find no reason for Nate to have mysteriously vanished from his isolated home in Alaska before he ended up in the hands of a sadist, who has been taunting Ryker and his team in a sinister game of ‘catch me if you can.’

But Townsend has a secret he won’t share with anyone—not even his own team—that sets him on the trail of a ruthless psychopath, alone. The intuitive FBI profiler is plagued by recurring nightmares—seen through Nate’s dead eyes—that slowly chips away at his mental stability. Is he burning out and losing his mind—becoming unfit for duty—or is the last victim reaching out to him from the grave?

Townsend sees horrific flashes of memory, imprinted on the retinas of a dead man, the last image Applewhite saw when he died. Ryker must piece together the fragments. Each nightmarish clue brings him closer to a killer who knows how to hide in plain sight and will see him coming, but when the dead man has the skills of a hunting guide, he has the perfect ally to track down a killer—the last victim.

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Book Review—The Death Of Me

[The Death Of Me Cover]I really liked this novel, but I have to be honest. DC Philip Harris drove me crazy. And maybe that’s the point. Take a guy who, let’s face it, is not the shiniest penny in the jar and throw every kind of roadblock in his path as he attempts to salvage what’s left of his career, and what do you have? Pure Grade A frustration, my friend. I mean, there were times when I wanted to scream at the guy to just grow a set. Then again, I was deeply impressed by his analytical skills and dogged determination, if not his wussy approach to those who taunt him—and there are plenty.

At this point, you’re probably wondering why I am recommending this book. Simple. Because it’s so bloody well written. The fact that another author can make this author seethe with anger each time the stakes are raised is something I admire. Also, the writing is taut and the characters well developed. My only criticism is that Phil’s Catholic backstory could use some work. But hey, that’s me.

If you like dark characters, conspiracy, and political intrigue—not to mention a couple of nasty abductions—then you should read The Death Of Me. You won’t be disappointed.

You can find this review at Amazon US.

Book Description
He watched. He studied. He planned.

Every detail meticulously organised. Every detail perfect. The basement was ready, now all he needed was the girl.

Grace Dalton was just fourteen years old when she was snatched from Greenwich Park on her way back from school. A beautiful, shy, but socially awkward girl, she would do anything to stay out of trouble and away from her bullies. Pressed for time and her tormentors blocking her usual route home, she makes a split second decision with catastrophic consequences.

After facing public humiliation from a previous investigation, Detective Constable Philip Harris once again finds himself under savage media scrutiny when he’s assigned to Grace’s case. Determined to find her and solve the case to gain back his credibility, his frustrations mount when he repeatedly finds himself hampered at every turn. With no other suspects and the case rapidly becoming cold, the finger of blame points to Tom, Grace’s father. Struggling to keep his personal resentment towards Tom away from the case and the press, DC Harris embarks on his own investigations to find who the real kidnapper is against the instructions from his superior officers. But when his digging leads him to a mysterious concealed road protected by impenetrable iron gates he soon realises his investigations have not only endangered himself, but also his family.

Pitched alone against a highly organised crime syndicate and not knowing which side his colleagues are on, he’s faced with some tough decisions. Either drop Grace’s case, declaring it cold and allowing Tom to take the fall, or embark on a highly dangerous quest for her safe return. Time’s running out, which will he choose?

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Book Review—The Ghosts of Idlewood

[The Ghosts of Idlewood Cover]When I’m not reading horror, I like immersing myself in a good ghost story. The thing about this sub-genre is, you can pretty much do what you want anywhere you want. I love learning about different parts of the country. The Ghosts of Idlewood paints a realistic picture of the modern South. And in reaching back to centuries past, it provides the reader with a rich tapestry of what life might have been like on a plantation.

If, like me, you haven’t been steeped in the author’s Seven Sisters series, don’t worry. This story works well as a standalone, and I had no trouble picking up on the backstories of the main characters as they face paranormal danger in trying to solve the mystery that lies within the walls of a once-grand estate called Idlewood.

You can find this review at Amazon US.

Book Description
Carrie Jo Begins a New Renovation at Idlewood!

The Seven Sisters Spin-Off You’ve Been Waiting For!

When a team of historians takes on the task of restoring the Idlewood plantation to its former glory, they discover there’s more to the moldering old home than meets the eye. The long-dead Ferguson children don’t seem to know they’re dead. A mysterious clock, a devilish fog and the Shadow Man add to the supernatural tension that begins to build in the house. Lead historian Carrie Jo Stuart and her assistant Rachel must use their special abilities to get to the bottom of the many mysteries that the house holds.

Detra Ann and Henri get a reality check, of the supernatural kind, and Deidre Jardine finally comes face to face with the past.

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Come As You Are—Girl Who Reads Review

Wow! Take a look at this review of my new collection Come As You Are, which is available in eBook and print at Amazon. Oh, and don’t forget about the Goodreads book giveaway, which ends on September 20, 2017. Details here.

And finally, for those of you who haven’t taken the opportunity, you can download a free copy of Book One of my horror thriller trilogy, Tell Me When I’m Dead. Just visit my homepage for details.

[Come As You Are Cover]

 

A Collection of Macabre Stories: Come As You Are by Steven Ramirez
by MK French

“Come As You Are” is the title novella in this collection of macabre stories. Ivan Stein and his best friend Ollie are bullied in school and often run off the skate park by older kids. When Ivan finds a notebook in an abandoned locker that seems to be the key to power, he takes it despite his misgivings. Unfortunately, the power is demonic in nature and doesn’t discriminate who falls in its path. It’s understandable that Ivan would grab hold of any hope to get past the bullies and survive seventh grade, even if it’s otherworldly. Knowing others’ secrets at first seems rather innocent, but completing the list in the notebook takes on a more dangerous turn, and Ivan’s soul hangs in the balance. The end of the story was a bit of a stretch, and not one I would have predicted when starting the novella, but definitely was vividly done.

To read the rest of this review, please visit Girl Who Reads.

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Book Review—The Angel Maker

[The Angel Maker Cover]For me, a short story is like a stranger on a bus you happen to sit next to. The trip is short, but in that interval, you see that she’s crying—you don’t know why. She may take an urgent call, and you overhear snippets of conversation about a broken relationship, missing money, or a nightmare she once had. Then at the next stop, she gets off and is gone forever.

I enjoyed the stories in this collection because they remind me that suffering is all around us—most of our own making. Bad choices, a desire to be forgiven, a sudden awareness that our world is being torn apart by unknown forces. It’s all here. My favorite was “The War.” I sincerely hope the author will use this as the first chapter in an as-yet-to-be-written kick-ass novel.

If you enjoy the creepy, then grab this book. And be glad you made better choices in your life.

You can find this review at Amazon US.

Book Description
A drunk driver tries to get home. A college coed takes a devastating turn in her life. A lawsuit against the devil? A young woman comes face-to-face with her father’s past. And an invading army. These are the situations that are explored in these spine-tingling stories. Reminiscent of the old Twilight Zone episodes, these stories take ordinary situations and turn them into extraordinary experiences that will leave you unsettled and looking over your shoulder. You might not want to read these in the dark.

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Come As You Are—Horror Palace Review

I am so excited to share this with you. Here is a review of my new collection Come As You Are, which is available for preorder at Amazon. Enjoy!

And for those of you who haven’t taken the opportunity, you can download a free copy of Book One of my horror thriller trilogy, Tell Me When I’m Dead. Just visit my homepage for details.

[Come As You Are Feature Image]

Come As You Are: A Short Novel and Nine Stories is a collection, featuring a short novel and several short stories. Steven Ramirez is the capable voice behind the supernatural gloom and thrills, and you will quickly learn that this author has a very subtle skill. His target audience for the short novel and I assume the anchor for the collection, is clearly young adults, although Ramirez does not shy away from the graphic details. He is clearly experienced in conjuring up a wonderful story, even if they are all drenched with innocent blood.

The collection starts with Come As You Are, the short novel based on a kid called Ivan. He is in the seventh grade and faces a daily routine of getting bullied with his best friend, Ollie. That is until Ivan comes across an old locker at school, and it holds a strange list. When Ivan starts reading from the list, the seats of power take a dramatic change. All of a sudden the bullies are taken down a step, with fatal consequences. Unfortunately, Ivan does not realize what he unleashed until it is too late.

The stories that follow are a blend of different horror/thriller themes, which I can not really connect other than by being within the horror genre. For example, Nailed It sees a writer waiting for his flight to take off, then gets bothered by a kid sitting next to him. The writer notices the kid is very organized and neat, so he tells him the story of a guy he knew with the same neurotic habit. The guy eventually went over the edge and did things I can not reveal without divulging any spoilers. Then there is A Bone in the Throat, which is based on a scam artist becoming the victim of a crazy surgeon.

All-in-all, the collection features ten powerful and very different stories.

To read the rest of this review, please visit Horror Palace.

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Book Review—Dark Screams: Volume Six

[Dark Screams Volume Six Cover]When I pick up a new collection of short fiction, I am ever hopeful that I will find at least one gem. Dark Screams: Volume Six is such a collection. Happily, though, in addition to the jewel in the crown I discovered in “The Corpse King” by Tim Curran, I also found two other stories I liked very much: “The Manicure” by Nell Quinn-Gibney and “The Comforting Voice” by Norman Prentiss.

But it’s “The Corpse King” I want to talk about. I tried researching to see if it had been made into a movie but was unable to find anything. Pity. The writing is so visual! I could actually see the two boozy, foul-mouthed resurrectionists Clow and Kierney as they moved through the dank, rat-infested cemeteries of Glasgow, retrieving bodies for the insatiable anatomists who paid them.

If you like horror set in a time when brutality and death were the norms, then grab this collection. Oh, and try not to think about what happens to the human body once it’s in the ground. Yeah.

You can find this review at Amazon US.

Book Description
Stephen King, Lisa Morton, Nell Quinn-Gibney, Norman Prentiss, Joyce Carol Oates, and Tim Curran plunge readers into the dark side in this deeply unsettling short-story collection curated by legendary horror editors Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar.

THE OLD DUDE’S TICKER by Stephen King
Richard Drogan has been spooked ever since he came back from Nam, but he’s no head case, dig? He just knows the old dude needs to die.

THE RICH ARE DIFFERENT by Lisa Morton
Even though she made her name revealing the private lives of the rich and famous, Sara Peck has no idea how deep their secrets really go . . . or the price they’ll pay to get what they desire.

THE MANICURE by Nell Quinn-Gibney
A trip to the nail salon is supposed to be relaxing. But as the demons of the past creep closer with every clip, even the most serene day of pampering can become a nightmare.

THE COMFORTING VOICE by Norman Prentiss
It’s a little strange how baby Lydia can only be soothed by her grandfather’s unnatural voice, ravaged by throat cancer. The weirdest part? What he’s saying is more disturbing than how he says it.

THE SITUATIONS by Joyce Carol Oates
There are certain lessons children must learn, rules they must follow, scars they must bear. No lesson is more important than this: Never question Daddy. Or else.

THE CORPSE KING by Tim Curran
Grave robbers Kierney and Clow keep one step ahead of the law as they ply their ghoulish trade, but there’s no outrunning a far more frightening enemy that hungers for the dead.

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Book Review—Mrs. Saint and the Defectives

[Mrs Saint and the Defectives Cover]Sometimes, life sends us spiraling in directions we never wanted to go. A death in the family, a natural disaster, or a devastating divorce. And more than the actual event, it’s the resulting fallout that keeps the spiral going until we either grab on to something to stop the inevitable descent into despair, or we simply let go.

The author deftly covers this theme—and much more—in Mrs. Saint and the Defectives. As the journey of the protagonist, Markie, and her son, Jesse, unfolds, we come to learn that, generally, people are broken. Some in little ways and some to the point of near self-destruction.

What’s important, of course, is what we do with the information. Recognizing our own faults and shortcomings, do we still find ways to help others or do we simply wallow in our own misery. And which is the road to happiness? In Markie’s case, maybe she still has a chance at a life worth living.

I enjoyed the interplay of the rich, quirky characters who populate the book. Markie is not the brightest bulb when it comes to self-realization. Fortunately, the author has left the work of solving her problems to the reader. Enjoy the ride.

You can find this review at Amazon US.

Book Description
Critically acclaimed author Julie Lawson Timmer returns with a tale of how community can heal the brokenness in all of us.

Markie, a fortysomething divorcée who has suffered a humiliating and very public fall from marital, financial, and professional grace, moves, along with her teenage son, Jesse, to a new town, hoping to lick her wounds in private. But Markie and Jesse are unable to escape the attention of their new neighbor Mrs. Saint, an irascible, elderly New European woman who takes it upon herself, along with her ragtag group of “defectives,” to identify and fix the flaws in those around her, whether they want her to or not.

What Markie doesn’t realize is that Mrs. Saint has big plans for the divorcée’s broken spirit. Soon, the quirky yet endearing woman recruits Markie to join her eccentric community, a world where both hidden truths and hope unite them. But when Mrs. Saint’s own secrets threaten to unravel their fragile web of healing, it’s up to Markie to mend these wounds and usher in a new era for the “defectives”—one full of second chances and happiness.

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Book Review—The Memory Box

[The Memory Box Cover]This is the story of a madwoman—an unreliable narrator par excellence who creates more twists and turns than a plate of linguine. All the while, I was laughing my ass off at the wry observations of stilted suburban life, and the hilarious inner dialogue comebacks directed at the parade of boobs and morons who actually had the temerity to get in the way.

Am I exaggerating? Possibly. But I can’t help it. Eva Lesko Natiello has given us a story that defies logic—and worse, sends you halfway to the looney bin as you try to sort through the protagonist’s anxiety-ridden bitch of a day-after-day. Halfway through, you almost wish Caroline would just pop and be done with it so you could get half a breath, for crying out loud.

All I can say is, read The Memory Box at your own peril. But first, make sure you’ve got a stiff drink close by. And a pillow to scream into. You’re probably going to need them.

You can find this review at Amazon US.

Book Description
NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestseller

A psychological thriller page-turner with twists and turns until the very last page.

WHAT IF YOU GOOGLED YOURSELF & DISCOVERED SOMETHING SHOCKING?

In this gripping psychological thriller, Caroline Thompson Googles herself and discovers the shocking details of a past she doesn’t remember.

A HOUSTON WRITERS GUILD MANUSCRIPT AWARD WINNER

A fast-paced suspense where a group of privileged suburban moms amuses themselves by Googling everyone in town, digging up dirt to fuel thorny gossip. Caroline Thompson, devoted mother of two, sticks to the moral high ground and attempts to avoid these women. She’s relieved to hear her name appears only three times, citing her philanthropy. Despite being grateful that she has nothing to hide, a delayed pang of insecurity prods Caroline to Google her maiden name–which none of the others know.

The hits cascade like a tsunami. Caroline’s terrified by what she reads. An obituary for her sister, JD? That’s absurd. With every click, the revelations grow more alarming. They can’t be right. She’d know. Caroline is hurled into a state of paranoia–upending her blissful family life–desperate to prove these allegations false before someone discovers they’re true.

The disturbing underpinnings of The Memory Box expose a story of deceit, misconceptions, and an obsession for control. With its twists, taut pacing, and psychological tenor, Natiello’s page turning suspense cautions:

Be careful what you search for.

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