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Thrillers

Review: Huntress Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers #1) – Alexandra Sokoloff

huntress“People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Beware the dark pool at the bottom of our hearts. In its icy, black depths dwell strange and twisted creatures it is best not to disturb.” ― Sue Grafton, I is for Innocent

 

“There are no heroes…in life, the monsters win.” George R.R. Martin had it right. In life, especially in these days and times, the monsters win. And in Thriller Award nominee for Best eBook Original Novel Huntress Moon, Alexandra Sokoloff draws the monsters in all their disturbing reality. The monsters are out there – living amongst us, drawing upon us, eating their victims, body and soul.

“Put just one of these monsters out of commission – the child sellers, the serial rapists, the mutilators, the torturers – lock just one of the breathing, crawling scum away for the rest of their miserable lives, and the entire balance of the world shifts. Who wouldn’t want a license to do it?

Well, that is what Matt Roarke thought from the time he was nine years old. From the time he learned of the horrors that really exist in the world. For that is the day he learned of what happened to five-year-old Cara Lindstrom and her family. Miraculously, Cara survived the slaughter of her family – a slaughter carried out by “It”, by a “Monster”, not a man. But of course, who is going to listen to a brutally traumatized five-year-old?

Years later, when one of Roarke’s agents is killed in front of him in what appears to be an accident but Roarke knows is not, his attention is caught by what at first seems to be simply a witness. But in that moment, he knows she is something else, something ‘more’. And as his investigation grows, the story becomes something more than he expects. Something that will change his very soul.

While some found the story ‘slow’, and of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, I found the book had an almost dreamlike quality to portions of the story – a development of characters and locations which I found ‘rich’ rather than slow. The book is very well researched and written, and beautifully paced. I don’t need to be spoon-fed story development – in fact, I am disappointed when my hand is held and I find myself with bib at throat in mystery and thriller stories. This was perfect.

From the world of darkness I did loose demons and devils in the power of scorpions to torment. — Charles Manson

In a twisted turn of fate, Cara is back in Matt’s life – and the monsters, ah the monsters – human traffickers, drug lords, the darkness abounds. But hope and possibilities intermingle with the dark. And I can hardly wait to read more. The next is Blood Moon – and I am so excited to start it right away!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. More than a five star read – if you are interested in FBI based thrillers, I highly recommend the series. If you enjoy my reviews, please leave a “Yes” at Amazon.com – it helps me help authors! Thank you.

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Review: Eternal Hunt by Lucas McWilliams Narrated by David Dietz

22811928The Windigo stories, it is surmised, came out of the fear of dwindling supplies and starvation. Underlying fear that glimmers in Windigo stories is the constantly desperate struggle to survive – food ran out, the weather was prohibitive, cannibalism was an inevitable result. There is nothing worse than being alone, cold and hungry – the mind begins to play tricks. As a result, Windigo became this huge creature, 20-30′ feet high, with a block of ice surrounding it, particularly its heart, he was lipless, great bloody fangs, and bloody feet, hissing breath you could hear for miles, great speed and supernatural strength. – Shannon Thunderbird, M.A., Gispudwada Tribe – An Interview with Thunderbird About Windigo

Life in the wilds of Alaska can be not only hard, but deadly.  Bitter cold and starvation are very real, and loneliness in this bitter landscape can drive even the most stable beyond madness.  When Caleb’s plane goes down in the backcountry, his cousin Logan knows that he must reach him as quickly as possible if he is to have any chance of surviving.  However, what he finds when he finally locates Caleb at an old trapper’s cabin proves that sometimes, survival isn’t for the best.

Lucas McWilliams has written an action/thriller with researched elements of Windigo legend.  Of course, the Windigo is not just a Native American legend, but rather an archetype settled within the collective unconscious of humanity, harkening back to a time when humans huddled together in fear of the dark.  The dark is inherent in this particular tale, on many levels – from the Windigo to the modern day military political machine.

The research on the Seneca and the Windigo myth is good, and the overall storyline showed promise.  Personally, as a Native Quapaw, I was uncomfortable with the “prototypical Native American Mythos/Character” developed by the author.  It is easy for a non-native author to gather up legends and weave them into their books.  It is harder to not fall into the trap of creating such a clichéd stereotype as to insult the very people you are writing about.  

This is, in my opinion of course, a book geared towards teenaged male ideology.

The women in the book are weak and hypersexual, falling into bed with the lead character without a whimper, no matter how badly he treats them.  Though there is a supposed relationship between the lead and one of the female characters, he has no problem with having sex with other women on a whim, encouraging the idea that “real men” don’t do honesty.  The action is well enough written, but again, the stereotypes in the book were uncomfortable for me.  There are highly unrealistic happenings in what should be the “realistic” parts of the book, but the horror portions make up for it.  Overall, though I am a huge fan of Joe Hill, Matthew Reilly, James Rollins, Richard Matheson and other action adventure and horror writers, I couldn’t really compare this book with any of my favorites.

Maybe because I had issues with the Windigo portion of the tale, but also because of the misogynistic bent.  Be that as it may, for a certain audience this book will definitely appeal.

I received this book from Audiobooks Monthly in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. 

Review: Midnight Eyes By Sidney Williams – Audiobook Monthly

My consuming lust was to experience their bodies. I viewed them as objects, as strangers. It is hard for me to believe a human being could have done what I’ve done. – Jeffrey Dahmer

We serial killers are your sons, we are your husbands, we are everywhere. And there will be more of your children dead tomorrow – Ted Bundy (Lady Killer)

midnighteyesMidnight Eyes
Author: Sidney Williams
Genre: Thriller
Rating: 3 Stars

We live in isolation. The 1950’s really started the whole “Nuclear Family” phenomenon. Mother, father, children, living in isolation, grandparents and the rest of the extended family in their own little isolated pods as well. But, what happens when the Nuclear family itself goes nuclear? And what happens to the children… Nobody ever told the story of the kids, after . . Because sometimes, those families contain monsters.

The setting of Midnight Eyes is one that I truly enjoy. The swamps of southern Louisiana are the perfect setting for a serial murder mystery, with its slow, deliberate pace, brutal wet heat and the scents of swamp water and death, magnolia and rot. As you enter the swamps, it is through the past, as a serial killer strikes and then disappearing, leaving a town and its sheriff shell-shocked and the sheriff embittered for the remainder of his life.

Now, many years later the murders are happening again. Murders of such horror and brutal viciousness that the mutilation of the victims while still alive horrifies even a hardened FBI Criminal Profiler who specializes in serial killers.

I found the pace of the story somewhat uneven, but still compelling as everyone from reporters to private detectives reach for what one can only call a twisted sort of glory as they track the monster in their midst.

Readers of “true crime” might actually enjoy the story as the author utilizes his own experience as a journalist to make the setting and characters as realistic as possible.

I would give the actual tale a solid four on a scale of one to five. The narrator, however, was embarrassingly substandard. He droned (my housemate came in while I was listening and asked me if I was listening to a lecture by the world’s most dry, boring high school history teacher. Remember those? The ones who made the most fascinating periods of history put you to sleep? So much so, she said, that it would turn her completely off audio books as a whole if she were forced to the whole 16 h 53 min. Yep. That long. Ugh.) And when a narrator cannot even bring himself to learn proper pronunciation of family names or cities, the author should know s/he has a problem. Overall, I would not recommend the audio edition; I would go straight to the print edition. That would be worth reading.

I received this book from Audiobooks Monthly in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.  My review is printed in Audiobook Monthly, however, this is the full review, including my Narration review.

Only Idiots Edit Themselves By Carla Coon – A Giveaway and a Post!

Reblog!

I started out to write a quick post for Carla about her new book, The Glen, and found a post on her website that I couldn’t resist reblogging. So, two for one.  Carla is giving away copies of her book to reviewers, and I can reblog a post that is near and dear to my heart. Score!

Only Idiots Edit Themselves

Trust me, I’ve been an idiot more than a few times. Indeed, it seems to have taken a two-by-four over the head to drum this fact into my thick skull: You can’t edit yourself. I’m an editor for Pete’s sake, and I’m able to edit what others write, missing nothing. So, why shouldn’t that same skill translate to my own prose?

The truth is you can look something over ten times and still miss the same mistakes. You can read and re-read, even aloud (and that certainly is advisable) something you have written and not catch mistakes because you are not truly reading what you have written. I kid you not. Very often, our mind inserts the correct word or spelling or phrase that on paper is simply not there.  Check this out as an explanation of the kind of tricks of which our minds are capable: http://www.livescience.com/18392-reading-jumbled-words.html

Consider this as well, you are too close to the work. Let me repeat that,

YOU ARE TOO CLOSE TO THE WORK.

I know for me when I have pored over a chapter, and I mean pored like a gallon of paint poured, over and over, till I can practically read it from memory, I become blind as a radar-less bat to my own mistakes, misspellings, and grammatical errors. Bad, very bad from an editing standpoint. It’s essential that the piece you are editing be fresh and new to you. One thing that helps is to shove it in a drawer and not look at it for six months.

Funny story about that. After beginning my second novel, Back to the Glen, http://www.carlacoon.com/backtotheglen.html , it seemed we had family crisis after family crisis fully preventing me from continuing the novel. I’d written about one third of it, and it sat on my computer untouched for almost a year. (Please before you judge my commitment to writing, remind yourself I have eight kids.) My husband and I were traveling, and I brought my work with me in the car.  I dusted off the file and began reading. After a few chapters, I decided to read aloud, letting my husband have a sneak preview of Book II. Soon, I was engrossed reading along and getting excited when I came to the chilling climax of a chapter where the main character was maimed in a particularly surprising and gruesome twist. My husband blurted out, “I can’t believe you did that to him!” and I gasped back, “Neither can I!”

You see, I had completely forgotten what I had written. We laughed and laughed over that. It was rather exciting, too, to read my own work as it were someone else’s. Incidentally, I was able to edit those chapters quite well and future edits by others found them nearly pristine. Just goes to show you how that distance from the work is key to editing.  So if you can’t afford to wait six months to read your own material from a fresh perspective, it would be wise to consider having a professional or well-respected peer edit your work.

Incidentally, I fly without the safety net of an editor when I post on my blog. That is,  I edit myself. Have fun finding typos.

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The Effervescence of Truth Is Out! Ivee Olivares Third Sonnclere Mystery

front cover
Click to Order!

Blurb:

A truth drug … A secret uncovered … A desire for revenge …

Who do we trust? Our loved ones, our friends, strangers? In a world where the truth is not always straightforward, scientists have tried time and again to engineer a drug that would compel people to reveal all. But is it always a good idea?

Scientist and Police Consultant Dr Neroli Sonnclere is pulled into the middle of a great discovery—of a powerful new truth drug. It seems everyone sees the advantages in using it, but not always for the right reasons. Neroli soon realises that those close to her have hidden agendas. She learns that even the least likely of people have secrets, and that it’s incredibly easy to lie. And more importantly, that everyone, including her, is capable of betraying those we love.

The third installment of the Sonnclere Mystery Series, The Effervescence of Truth continues the adventures of a young female scientist with a unique gift. Born with hyperosmia, or a heightened sense of smell, Dr Sonnclere possesses the ability to sniff out odours undetected by ordinary humans. Together with Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Adam McClellan, Neroli recognises that others want to use the truth for their twisted plans. She uses her powerful nose and scientific knowledge to defend herself and keep the drug from falling into the wrong hands. The story uncovers intrigue within her University’s scientific community, the questionable ethics of the British media, and reveals that all is not well at the heart of London’s Russian high society.

Is the truth so important? The reality is—truth can be dangerous. Would you want the truth even if it may hurt in the end?

Only $0.99!  Amazon

REVIEW:

My freakish ability, together with my chemistry background, has not only earned me scientific recognition, it has also landed me a consultancy job with the police. – Dr. Neroli Sonnclere, The Effervescence of Truth

 I’ve found a different way to scent the air: already it’s a by-word for despair. – Andrew Motion

Dr. Neroli Sonnclere is an anomaly – a brilliant chemist, she is also a rarity of nature. The scientific term for her particular genetic condition is hyperosmia. To put it simply, her, nose can discern all sorts of scents even in minute quantities, including those that escape more ordinary human beings. While persons with hyperosmia may become exceptional sommeliers or world-famous parfumeurs, Neroli uses her skill as a chemist to both explore her own difference and to create chemical formulae utilizing her capabilities. Which not only allowed her to become the “Pied Piper of Buckingham Palace” as well as a police consultant (the police consultancy and Pied Piperism show up in previous books.)

Now, Dr. Sonnclere’s particular abilities are not only placing her in personal danger, but threatening the very stability of world politics. For the truth shall not always set you free – it may, instead, cause the collapse of governments.

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. – Marcus Aurelius

It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense. – Mark Twain

The Effervescence of Truth is wonderfully unusual, written in a voice that is uniquely Ivee Olivares’ own. Filled with the logic and through processes of a woman of science, there is a deep and abiding truth in everything Ivee writes, whether it be the truth of the chemistry involved, or of the depths of human nature and belief systems. Filled with political machinations, espionage and overwhelming greed – both financial and within the halls of education where the tenure requirement is publish or die. And death, in this case, stalks even the rarified halls of academia.

Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. – George Orwell

Trust. Truth. Greed. The push to publish and the longing for funding and discovery and success. All laid against a background of political intrigue and deep and abiding hatreds. Yep. Well worth a read!

___________________________

I edited Ivee Olivares’ The Effervescence of Truth and found Ivee to be a wonderful person to work with – a person who has written as deeply interesting and thoughtful novel with deep strengths. All opinions are my own and not affected by my client relationship with Ivee.

Review: The Burning By Jane Casey

burning
Click to purchase!

First, to get this out there, I love British police procedurals. They are normally crisp, compelling and well written. The Burning is a premier example of the best the genre has to offer. Written from the viewpoint of Detective Constable (DC) Maeve Kerrigan, the story focuses on the hunt for “The Burning Man” a serial killer terrorizing London. His crimes are horrific, and no young woman is safe. There have been four murders committed which can obviously be credited to the killer – but now a fifth murder has been committed. And Maeve questions whether this particular killing shouldn’t be attributed to a copy-cat killer.

Maeve is an extremely likable heroine. She takes serious verbal abuse from her so-called colleagues as they make sexual and misogynist comments about her work style. Abuse that she handles with dignity – even when it comes from her own partner. As the story evolves Maeve becomes more and more involved with the fifth killing, following a trail of murder, drugs, deceit and violence that goes back several years to the victim’s college days. Maeve is smart without being omniscient, funny and serious by turns, and is willing to put herself on the line for what she knows is right and true.

Filled by turns with violence and heartbreak, deceit and deep sociopathy, The Burning is a must read for anyone interested in police procedurals, thrillers and suspense novels, with a very light dose of romance to round things out.

I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. All comments and thoughts are my own.

Review – York: Skin Walkers #6 By Susan Bliler

An Irishman is never at his best except when fighting.” – Irish Proverb

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies. – Aristotle

york
Can I hear an: Oh, Yummy!!!

OK, here is my little secret. Shhh….. don’t tell anyone, but I rarely ever, indeed if I ever do at all, fall head-over-heels for the hero in anyone’s book. Nope. Not me. Oh, I may drool a little, but hey, who doesn’t?

Just what I always wanted. My own little bunny rabbit. I will name him George, and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him… …and pat him and pet him and… and rub him and caress him and…– Hugo the Abominable Snowman in the 1961 cartoon The Abominable Snow Rabbit

York is my definition of the perfect male. Tall, muscled, with gorgeous eyes and red hair all the way down to his ass and his beautiful bod covered with tattoos . . . yummers! An Irish God, in the flesh. Sigh…(OK, laugh. Go ahead. I can take it . . .)

Anyway, back to the storyline, right? This is the sixth volume in the Skin Walkers series by Susan Bliler, and it is just as good as the others. Things have been building up for the Skin Walkers of StoneCrow Estates, a private sanctuary where Skin Walkers can live safely in a dangerous world. And dangerous their world is. For no one knows of Skin Walkers in this world, and no one should – for anyone different, as we all well know, is subject to horrors. Especially the Walkers, for there are creatures more terrible than one can imagine – and they hunt the Walkers, for their heads, for their “halos” – the equivalent of an antler which grows naturally around their necks. And for their powers, which they steal by drinking a Walker’s blood. Vicious cowards, the Megalya, soulless and insane, prey on the women and children of the Walkers, those too weak or too small to defend themselves.

In this difficult world, all York has ever wanted is his Angel –his life mate and soul partner. Hurting and alone after the incidents in Gauge: Skin Walkers #5, York takes an assignment from Mason StoneCrow to travel to the Philippines in order to attempt a rescue of Gauge’s mate’s sister. While Leto’s Shy was held with Leto in a Megalya research facility, Sky, her twin, has been searching the Philippines where she has been told she might find Shy.

As York arrives in Quezon, the capital city, he searches far and wide, until he comes upon Sky in an out-of-the way bar. Watching Sky take down a strange, blond man with fists and feet, York is immediately stricken with “The Affliction” the Skin Walker ailment which is brought on by finding his one true mate. As he writhes on the ground in agony, Sky is off like a shot, escaping the myriad police officers who come pouring through the back door.

York can find her, now he has her scent, but others can too – and not just the Megalya. And none of Sky’s pursuers, other than York, have her best interests at heart. York finds his Angel, but when his Angel finds out what York is, and what creatures are following her (and why) this becomes an edge-of-the-seat thriller just as much as it can be labeled a Paranormal Romance.

Susan has really found her stride with the last few Skin Walker books, and as she comes into York and Sky’s story, suspense and thriller aspects of the Skin Walkers tales are become even more intense.

___________________________________

I am the editor for Susan Bilber’s Skin Walkers books, just want to get that out there. This does not mean, however, that I gush over her books because of that. Nope. These books are good, and if PNR is your thing, I highly recommend Susan’s works!

Review: Seal Team Six: Hunt The Wolf By Don Mann

sealwolf
An interesting novel, full of testosterone! LOL

 It is a principle of human nature to hate those whom you have injured. – Tacitus

 

It begins with a bomb. With a roar and devastation the U.S. Embassy building in Rabat, Morocco explodes in a blast of heat and light and death. An explosion brought about by hate and envy, pride and religion and everything else that is wrong with the world. All die. The good and the evil, the foolhardy and the wise. Dead is dead, and nothing shall ever be the same again.

And so begins an adventure covering much of the world, from the slopes of K2 to France as Seal Team Six, lead by Chief Warrant Officer Tom Crocker, the assault leader of the infamous “Blue Team” of the U.S. Navy SEALs, involve themselves in a massive manhunt across countries, and through the mountains.

Waylaid by the CIA, Crocker and his team are taken off their training mission to climb K2 and sent after Abu Rasul Zaman, third in the power structure of al-Qaeda. As the hunt for Zaman is to begin, however, they are given yet another mission – assist the King of Norway in finding a young girl, Malie, who has been taken by white-slave traders.

As the story becomes more and more exciting Crocker and his team being to connect the dots – dots which show connections between Zaman, a known associate of Zaman’s named Rafiq who has been providing bomb making materials to Zaman and his co-conspirators and the white slave trade. When Crocker and Akil (Akil Okasha El-Daly, aka Akil Daly) one of his team members are captured, tensions ratchet higher and higher, leading to an explosive story of crime, punishment and layers upon layers of conflict – just as expected from a novel set in such a volatile part of the world.

The author, Don Mann, is a Navy SEALs veteran with seventeen years of service, and his eight years served as a member of SEAL Team Six, later known as DEVGRU, significantly defines the plot and the characters. Mann has a grip on character development, especially in how I would expect a Navy SEAL to react to the conditions and happenings of the story line. Overall, this is an excellent story for lovers of action, adventure, suspense and military intrigue. The first of a series, I will be reading the others as well.I received this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review.li

Review: House Of Jaguar By Mike Bond

jaguar
A bloody, horrific tale based upon True Events…..

Humankind seems to have an enormous capacity for savagery, for brutality, for lack of empathy, for lack of compassion. – Annie Lennox

Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less he demands in slaughter. – Winston Churchill

I read a lot of thriller and action adventure novels, so I expected this novel to be yet another rollicking read for me. To say that I couldn’t have been more wrong is a gross understatement. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Bond. I know that he lived through a lot of this hell as the story is based on his own horrifying experiences as one of the few journalists to survive this ghastly American funded war. Caught up in bloody, savage battles between Guatemalan people, their oppressive army and the secret machinations of the CIA (why is one not surprised?) Bond pulls you into the horrors of life in Guatemala, forcing you to nearly breathe the oppression and senseless and horrendous slaughter.

Ok, that is the “good” stuff. Other reviewers have written of who, and what, Joe Murphy is, and what the story is “about.” Which is good, as I was totally unable to finish it. I know that monstrous things happen, usually to people who do not, under any circumstances, deserve the sort evil they are forced to suffer. Normally, I have a pretty high tolerance for that sort of thing. In this case, that is so far from reality that we aren’t even on the same planet.

The descriptions of rape and slaughter were so hideously explicit that I simply had to stop before I totally lost my mind. The descriptions of the rape of young girls – and especially the scenes where the rape is portrayed from the rapist’s point of view, turned my stomach.

We study the injustices of history for the same reason that we study genocide, and for the same reason that psychologists study the minds of murderers and rapists… to understand how those evil things came about. – Jared Diamond

Overall, what I did read of the book before I had to strip it off my Kindle was a story of the slaughter of innocents – men, women and children suffering a depth of brutality that is unimaginable. Bloody carnage beyond all sense of humanity, fed by lies and political agendas, drugs and drug lords, all at the expense of the poor and the innocent. While this book clearly wasn’t one that I enjoyed in any way, I am certain that there are those out there who will have the opposite reaction. 75% of readers who posted reviews on goodreads found it acceptable, or even “good.” That simply wasn’t my finding. The unrelenting, mindless brutality is highly disturbing and absolutely not a read for the faint of heart. Or even the hearty of heart, like me. I would think you would need a cast-iron constitution to handle this book.

I received this edition from Mandevilla Press in exchange for my honest review.

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