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Review: Blind by Sidney Bristol #RomanticSuspense #SerialKiller

Blind: Killer Instincts“Human nature is evil, and goodness is caused by intentional activity.” — Zun Zi

“As human beings we have the most extraordinary capacity for evil. We can perpetrate some of the most horrendous atrocities.” — Desmond Tutu

Plato, bless him, was wrong. No matter how intelligent he was. He said, To prefer evil to good is not in human nature.” Possibly it was simply a blind spot. Or a “if wishes were horses” sort of thing. Because people, no matter who they are, or what they believe in, are balanced on a knife’s edge of savagery. Some more than others, of course. But for some? For some, there is no other choice but the darkness. Twisted, rotting souls, aching for the pleasure of blood and agony. Needing the death, the pain they bring to others. Then there are the soulless ones – the ones born with no conscience, no light. Those who live only for the game of death. A game. Simply a game.

Emma know about the game. Her grandparents were pawns, many years ago, when the TBK Killer took their lives. As if “took their lives” could possibly portray the horror of their deaths. Torture. Blind. Kill. Only, the truly cruel part? They left her father alive. Her father, who never recovered. Who lives in hiding, drunk and brutal and broken. So, Emma tries to understand. She gathered all of the monster’s letters to his victims she could find. Created files. Notes. Timelines. She learned everything she could about the monster who destroyed her family. She isn’t educated, she likes big trucks and dirt bikes, and she has only a single friend. But she is holding it together, working as a mechanic and sculpting in left-over metal and junk parts. She is alive. Sort of.

Jacob. Jacob is different from Emma, but in many ways the same. His father was the cop who brought down Mitchell Land, the TBK Killer. Mitchell Land, who killed himself in prison. Jacob’s father was never the same after that case. Bitter, silent, he never recovered. His father treated Emma’s horribly – hounding the child until he broke from the pressure. Until Emma’s father collapsed under the weight of not only what he saw, but the brutality of the police who were so determined to catch the killer, they destroyed the child’s soul. So. Much. Pain.

Now, years later, Jacob is a cop himself. And one day, he receives a letter. Then another. Letters which, while not exactly the same, reflect those of the TBK Killer. When his politician lieutenant refuses to listen, blowing off the letters as the work of kids or a creep with a personal grudge and knowledge of Jacob’s history, Jacob turns to Emma, hoping her collection will help him to discover if what he thinks is true. There is another serial killer out there – and his next target is Jacob.

Now, the bodies are piling up. And all of them have a connection to Emma. The two of them will have to work together to save one another. And with the FBI shutting them out, can they protect one another from a monster? Oh, but there is more to it than that. A lot more. A type of sick savagery that is both horrific – and yet totally believable. A truth that surely has Plato rolling in his grave.

This is one twisted tale, delving into the darkest depths of what is so lightly called the ‘human soul.’ Or rather, the very fact that, realistically? There are a lot of people out there who simply don’t have what we so blithely call a soul. Homo sapiens so dark, so evil, that even giving them the name isn’t truly realistic.

Homo pravissimus.*

This is a dark and bloody tale, and totally, completely compelling. Well, I can say that with a proviso of sorts. Sidney Bristol is a romance author who happens to write “romantic suspense.” So, there is a lot of sex in the book. I found it disappointing, actually. I am fine with romantic suspense. I like it in fact. But it is when an author like Bristol, who is such an exceptional suspense writer, puts so much sex into a book that it overshadows the suspense, well, I am disappointed. Of course, others will find the sex part to be exactly why they like the book, so to each their own. Be that as it may, I am glad I was offered the opportunity to read the book.

I received Blind from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own and are based upon personal literary tastes. The cover gets a D for being boring and common. I wouldn’t have picked the book up on my own based on the cover.

  • prāvissimus(Latin) Adjective – ‎(superlative of prāvus) 1. most or very deformed; 2. most or very depraved

 

 

 

 

Review: Cold Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff #Childtrafficking

Cold Moon (Huntress/FBI Thrillers, #3)“Josephine Butler (1828-1907) writes in her journals, pamphlets and diaries of the second half of the nineteenth century about seeing thousands (yes, thousands) of little girls, some as young as four or five, in the illegal brothels of London, Paris, Brussels, and Geneva. …The children had a life expectancy of two years, yet the brothel owners, frequently women, seemed to have an unlimited supply…. ‘Clean’ children, who were free from venereal disease, commanded a high price.” ― Jennifer Worth

“. . . outright abduction of children and teens was more and more common, ever since gangs had caught on to the fact that selling kids was more lucrative than selling drugs and carried lighter criminal penalties.” – Rachel Elliott, Cold Moon

Cara Lindstrom is a legend. Victim of a horrific, borderline mythic crime of unimaginable violence. Five years old, her throat slashed, her family dead, her mind shattered. Five years old when IT came to call. The monster. The Beast. IT. Twenty-five men, women and children slaughtered. Only Cara lived.

Jailed at twelve, payback for fighting off the counselor in the group home she had been shuttled into most recently. The counselor who meant to rape her while the thirteen-year-old facility bully held her down. And now, Cara is locked up in Los Angeles County Women’s #8. Locked up, where male sexual predators dressed as guards are free to rape and torture those in their care. “Other countries prohibited the overseeing of female prisoners by male guards, but US laws put its incarcerated women in constant physical jeopardy in the name of equal opportunity employment.” Cara is jailed for the murder of a pimp who ran underage girls in the sewers of Los Angeles. Jailed, with no possibility of bail, after rescuing twenty-two young girls from a life of sexual slavery in the good old US of A. After rescuing the head FBI agent on her case from death at the hands of The Reaper, the same sadistic monster who attacked Cara and killed her family, and so many others.

Thirty-two-billion dollars a year. Two and a half million children and young girls, some as young as five, sold into sexual slavery, locked up twenty-four hours a day, servicing an average of twenty men a day. Their jailers walking free, their rapists walking free. While Cara sits in a cell.

To the girls and young women she saves, Cara is “the Eighth Archangel”, “The Santa Muerte of the Seven Powers”, “The Lady of the Shadows”. Lady Death. Patron saint of the incarcerated and the poor, those who suffer on the fringes of society, the downtrodden and hopeless, the ill and the dying. Lady Death came to Marisol, the tinyLa Santa Muerte by angelero girl locked in the belly of a cement mixer and carried with twenty-one other girls across the border, two dying en-route from abuse, hunger, dehydration. The Lady came, snatching Marisol from under the body of the trafficker who meant to rape the baby girl. . . Santa Muerte, the savior of young girls destined for brutal lives, and more brutal deaths. Their Savior – their Savior, who actually sees the monster inside the men that IT takes for Its own.

“. . . years of looking into the depths. Of a beat that hides behind the masks of ordinary faces: fathers, brothers, uncles, husbands, random men on the street . . . and the mothers and grandmother who turned a blind eye to the abuse.”

Why is Cara in jail? Because she doesn’t carry a badge.

It isn’t ‘politically correct’ to call them prostitutes any more. “Commercially sexually exploited youth.” Let’s call a spade a spade. Child victims of men with no souls, no hearts, brutal monsters who take what they want, pay their fee, and go back to their wives and children, their pretty little houses and pretty little lives. Cara means to save as many of the as she can. And Santa Muerte? Her followers gather. . .

Tortured, convoluted. Alexandra Sokoloff’s Huntress series has been both horribly painful and deeply rewarding. Huntress Moon introduced us to Cara and to her opposite number, Matt Roarke – FBI Special Agent and hunter of monsters of the human kind. Brilliantly crafted, with an almost dreamlike feel, well-written and well-researched, the first book captured me and led me straight into Blood Moon.

“You can never kill them all,” she whispered. “They keep coming back.”

Roarke still tracks Cara Lindstrom – the woman who, as a child, drew him to FBI Profiling– the woman who changed his life with the very fact of her own.

“Twenty-five girls to a block, locked in the rooms and drugged to the gills, servicing twenty-five to forty men a day, twelve hours a day, seven days a week.”

Free them.

Free them.

Roarke seeks “Justice” – but is it justice, truly, to capture Santa Muerte?

This third installment is just as painful, just as mind-blowing, just as fulfilling, as each of the previous books. If you haven’t read the first two – DO. Your life will never be the same. Then? Go out and do something about it.

“There are moments when even to the sober eye of reason, the world of our sad humanity may assume the semblance of Hell.” ― Edgar Allan Poe

I received Cold Moon from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. This series is, in a word, amazing.

If you enjoyed my review, I would appreciate a “Like” for my Amazon review. It helps draw attention to my reviews, which helps the authors whom I review. Thank you!

About The Author

Alexandra SokoloffAlexandra Sokoloff is the Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Black Quill Award-nominated author of the supernatural thrillers THE HARROWING, THE PRICE, THE UNSEEN, BOOK OF SHADOWS, THE SHIFTERS, and THE SPACE BETWEEN, and the Thriller Award-nominated, Amazon bestselling Huntress/FBI series (HUNTRESS MOON, BLOOD MOON, COLD MOON). The New York Times Book Review called her a “daughter of Mary Shelley,” and her books “Some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre.”

As a screenwriter she has sold original horror and thriller scripts and adapted novels for numerous Hollywood studios. She has also written two non-fiction workbooks: SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS and WRITING LOVE, based on her internationally acclaimed workshops and blog (www.ScreenwritingTricks.com), and has served on the Board of Directors of the WGA, west and the Board of the Mystery Writers of America.

Learn more at http://alexandrasokoloff.com

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Review: The Juan Doe Murders by Noreen Ayres

“In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield.” – Douglas MacArthur

The battlefield. Blood and fear, hatred and death. But it isn’t only the battlefield where these things lie. Even here, in the arms of the supposed “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave” the roar of the battlefield shrieks aloud – carrying blood and fear, hatred and death to the innocent, the child, the weak wishing only for food, shelter, a new life.

As a Forensic Specialist, Smokey Brandon knows all about the horrors visited on those who can’t protect themselves. The children, the immigrants, the women and men who are lost and hidden. And California’s newest serial killer is the latest to prey upon the hidden and the vulnerable. Of course, in Orange County the whole Ideal is ‘cover it up, because it couldn’t ever happen in our perfect little rich-man’s world”. But the horrific mutilation of the first victim sets all Smokey’s warning signals flaring. And as the bodies of Hispanics pile up, it is a race to find the perpetrator.

Ayres is brutally realistic in her portrayals of the crimes, the characters, and the attitudes that make up the undercurrents of a deeper story – the immigration, sometimes illegal, of Hispanics across the borders from Mexico to the US. You are dropped right in on the first scene from the beginning, no build-up, no easing in. Just a mutilated young girl, left to rot in a filthy bedroom, in a filthy house.

This was my first Smokey Brandon. Her third book, after “Carcass Trade” and “A World the Color of Salt”. I fully intend to go back and read the first two in order to “catch up” as it were. Smokey is a very well rounded character, even jumping in in what could be called ‘the middle of the tale’ and I enjoyed not only her, but the other characters as well. The forensics and police procedure is believable as is the character of OC. If you are interested in a good forensic/police procedure with solid characters and storyline, this is a series to put on your reading list.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

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