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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

 

 

 

 

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Review: Centaur Of The Crime by Michael Angel – Audible.com Edition

centaurDayna Chrissie is the lead Crime Scene Analyst for the LAPD, and from the perspective of a former crime scene analyst, I found myself breaking out in laughter at just how apt our first introduction to Dayna is. Michael Angel really “gets it.” CSI may be “sexy” to the television watching public – but it really isn’t sexy in real life!

As Dayna arrives at the crime scene where we first meet her, she cracked me up right away. First, we have the idiotic politico, Deputy Chief McClatchy, whose response to the murder in question is to send beat cops swarming all over the crime scene, stomping any possible evidence into the ground, and telling the “scene techies” to “Hurry up, we’ve got real work to do,” is spot on, and her response to him, which has him running for a puke bucket, is hysterical. Then there is her description of her crime scene wear; ‘the overall which assures that her hips stay slim and the cottage cheese stays off her thighs,’ because, damn those things are hot, and her “Stompy Gothic Boots of Doom” (They wouldn’t win any awards on the fashion runway. But they would keep corpse juices out of my socks.) Angel caught my attention right away. If you can make me laugh and identify with the main character that quickly, you have my attention. And Angel never lost it.

This particular scene is an odd case, to say the least. Peculiar clothing is only the start. Besides bullet wounds, there is a huge, charcoaled hole in the middle of his chest and Dayna has no idea how it was caused. Add that to “python-like” patterning all over his face and upper body, well, he is a puzzle wrapped inside a riddle, forensics wise.

Oh, but this isn’t the oddest thing. Oh, no. For Dayna finds an odd gold coin inside the body – a gold coin that transports her to another world. Oh, and what a world! I was tempted to say that Centaur of the Crime could be described as Alice in Wonderland Meets CSI but that is doing Dayna a disservice. She is a strong, competent, take-no-crap woman (hey – if you are a woman in a police position, you have to be all those things – just breathing the testosterone in air can cause unwarranted beard growth!) But she is also kind, understanding and very, very intelligent. A balanced character that I couldn’t help but admire.

Pulled into another world to solve the murder of a king, Dayna takes the transition well. She doesn’t go hysterical and flighty when she realizes she is surrounded by centaurs and “The Parliament” (wait till you meet these creatures – they are wonderfully written) and tasked with an investigation that no one here thinks can be done. Especially not by a woman from another world.

I loved this book. The fantasy aspects, the world building, as well as the creative development of the species and their various aspects. I have read what I would call “modern-day day fairy tales” before, and this one is at the top of my list of favorites. Enough so that I am dying to see the second volume, The Deer Prince’s Murder, come out on Audible. I am also adding some of his other works, especially The Detective and the Unicorn, to my Audible library.detunicorn

Of course, a narrator can make, or break, an Audible recording. In this case, I was very disappointed by the narrator, Katrina Carmody. Narrators should understand that they are creating a piece of performance art with every book that they read, and Carmody does a less than acceptable job. As another reviewer, Busy Reader from New York New York put it in their Audible.com review: The pacing was terrible, the characters all sounded the same (with the exception of one character, which had an Irish accent, which would have been fine except that she used this accent for the Hispanic character, who otherwise didn’t have accent); she mispronounced very basic words, sometimes used the wrong words which changed the meaning, and even left words out (I checked with the e-book). Where was the director?

Drove. Me. NUTS. Yes, I have heard worse, but she is far, far from the best. How can a professional narrator care so little for her work product? And how can the production company expect to retain business when their offering is so poorly done?

Other than the disappointing narration, I would highly recommend Centaur of the Crime to anyone who loves a good fantasy novel with centaurs, griffins, and other fantasy creatures. And if you also like procedurals, Angel has a good grasp on that aspect also, so it is all good! Highly recommended.audible

 

About Michael Angel

michaelMichael Angel’s worlds of fiction range from the unicorn-ruled realm of the Morning Land to the gritty ‘Fringe Space’ of the western Galactic Frontier. He’s the author of the bestselling Centaur of the Crime – where C.S. Lewis meets CSI. His books populate shelves in languages from Russian to Portuguese.

Michael currently resides in Southern California. Alas, despite keeping a keen eye out for griffins, centaurs, or galactic marshals, none have yet put in an appearance on Hollywood Boulevard.

 

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

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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.

The Prince’s Man by Deborah Jay! $0.99 This Week!

prince
Click for Deborah’s “The Prince’s Man” goodreads.com page!
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On sale this week! Buy your copy now!

Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings.
Deborah Jay’s epic fantasy THE PRINCE’S MAN, is on sale this week at $0.99
If it isn’t in your library yet, now is the time!

Rustam Chalice, hedonist, dance tutor, gigolo and spy, loves his life just the way it is, so when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Hal, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him.
And to make matters worse, she’s the most beautiful woman in the Five Kingdoms.
Plunged into a desperate journey over the mountains, the mismatched pair struggle to survive deadly wildlife, the machinations of a spiteful god – and each other.
They must also keep alive a sickly elf they need as a political pawn. But when the elf reveals that Rustam has magic of his own, he is forced to question his identity, his sanity and worst, his loyalty to his prince.
For in Tyr-en, all magic users are put to death.

Amazon rating 4.7 stars out of 55 reviews (US+UK)

Available on Amazon, B&N, Apple and Kobo

Goodreads Page:  http://tinyurl.com/oqrp4kk
Spread the word! Here is a ready made tweet:
James Bond meets Lord of the Rings #EpicFantasy on sale $0.99 June 19-23 http://myBook.to/PrincesMan @DeborahJay2 #spies #magic #elves #horses
Facebook:  James Bond meets Lord of the Rings! On Sale $0.99 June 19-23 http://myBook.to/PrincesMan  https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay?ref=br_tf
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Review: The Burning By Jane Casey

burning
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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.

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