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Wild Man’s Curse: A Wilds Of The Bayou Novel (Book 1) Susannah Sandlin

wmc“The bones said death was comin’,
and the bones never lied.”
 – Susannah Sandlin

“Morning, ma’am. I’m looking for Tommy Mason. Is he around?” Polite and professional, that was Senior Agent Broussard.
“Lord, what’s that no-good sonofabitch done now? Wait, you ain’t a cop; you’re a game warden. “What’d he do, run over a fish?”
― Susannah Sandlin, Wild Man’s Curse

The songs, the songs, of Bayou Country. Gator’s roar and painter’s scream. Moans of the wind through the cypress trees, the sibilant slide of a body into the water. Whether gator or fishin’ boat, or the sound of a body being slid over the side. Songs and scents – and always, life goes on. Until it doesn’t.

The bayou lives on, as it has always lived, private, dark and secretive. A mystical land where the boundaries between life and death are small. Where Catholicism resides side-by-side with hoodoo, Santaria nestles down with Southern Baptist, and one is just as likely to visit a traiteur as an M.D. She is ancient, unbending, the cycle of life personified. Don’t piss-off the Hoodoo Woman, the veves, or the houngan, for magic is real in the Bayou, and the bones, they never lie.

Eva Savoie knows all about the bone, about life and death . . . and she know, in her own bones, that old man Death is coming. So she cleans her house, scrubs her floors, and sits down to die. But the Savoies have never known the pleasure of a quiet death. And Eva’s is more painful, and bloodier, than any Sovoie before. The curse will have its due, just as it has for the last three generations of Savoies, for what her grandfather did all those years ago.

Gentry Broussard, un bon garde-chasse, a Senior Enforcement Officer for the Louisiana Depart of Wildlife and Fisheries, is the one who finds Eva’s body. He even catches a glimpse of her murderer – a murderer who is, or should be, a ghost. Now, he is on the hunt for a man dead four years, and what he finds may destroy not only his life, but that of Ceelie Savoie, Eva’s niece and heir. Heir not only to Eva’s property on Whisky Bayou, but to Eva’s ability with the bones.

“Its dying call is weak but clear
Yet it’s a plaintive voice I don’t want to hear.
I won’t go back,
I won’t go home,
‘Cause next time, Whiskey Bayou won’t let me go.”

Ceelie promised her daddy on his deathbed that she would escape, and never return. But ain’t life funny that way? Now Ceelie is back in the swamp. And it may be her blood Gentry wades through this time.

Admittedly, I am a HUGE Louisiana novel lover. My favorite author of all time for the stories of the bayous, swamps and small towns has always been James Lee Burke. His soulful renditions of the voice of the land touch the soul, drawing you into the land that time forgot, the land where the curtains of civilization fade away, leaving only the truth behind. Susannah Sandlin doesn’t quite have that soul-deep ability to draw you in, to allow you to close your eyes and smell the funk of brackish water, the sweet waft of water orchid. You don’t quite see the cypress in your mind, or hear the egret’s call. But she is close. The suspense is there, the respect for the peoples and culture of the South. I look forward eagerly to Black Diamond, the next in the Wilds of the Bayou series.

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Let’s Go “Beyond The Ice Limit”

ice limitRemember The Ice Limit? One of my favorite Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child books, it was published back in January of 2000.

I didn’t have this site back then, so there is no review – yet – but I will get to it. I am editing right now or I would pull out my battered paperback copy and read it again and do a review, but edits come first!

The book ended in a Twilight Zone manner (Preston & Child compare it to one of their favorites How to Serve Man) and I have to agree with that concept. You were left with the denouement open ended. Not a ‘cliffhanger’ really, more of a “Make up your own ending to suit your personality and thoughts about the book” sort of thing. Personally, I would have compared it to the end of the last book of The Dark Tower cycle by Stephen King, but that is beside the point. The book was just darn Good.

Now, after fifteen years and, according to P&C, tens of thousands of beyondletters over that time period demanding a sequel, it is on its way! Beyond the Ice Limit is a Gideon Crew novel this time around, but that shouldn’t disturb the story:

Five years ago, the mysterious and inscrutable head of Effective Engineering Solutions, Eli Glinn, led a mission to recover a gigantic meteorite–the largest ever discovered–from a remote island off the coast of South America. The mission ended in disaster when their ship, the Rolvaag, foundered in a vicious storm in the Antarctic waters and broke apart, sinking-along with its unique cargo-to the ocean floor. One hundred and eight crew members perished, and Eli Glinn was left paralyzed. But this was not all. The tragedy revealed something truly terrifying: the meteorite they tried to retrieve was not, in fact, simply a rock. Instead, it was a complex organism from the deep reaches of space.

Of course, it is too expensive for my blood. . . and this is what happens when I work through the night and sleep all day. I am now number forty-seven on the list to read the book at my local library. Sigh. So, I wait. But when the edit of Michael Angel’s A Perjury of Owls (Book 4 of Fantasy and Forensics), (and yes, I am squeeeeing like a little girl at this one!), I will pull out Ice Limit and give it another read and review. Then, when I finally get my copy of Beyond, well, I can hardly wait! And from P&C’s email:

“Free eBook preview! Those of you wishing for a free eBook preview of the first eleven chapters of  BEYOND THE ICE LIMIT can get one by clicking on the following links:
And a special deal for those of you who have not read The Ice Limit: While we took pains to ensure BEYOND THE ICE LIMIT is a stand-alone novel, reading The Ice Limit first will surely enhance the pleasure of experiencing the new book. And to help make that happen, we’ve persuaded our publisher to discount to $2.99 all eBook editions of The Ice Limit during the two weeks leading up to BEYOND THE ICE LIMIT’s May 17 pub date (that is, May 2 to May 16). During that time, if you go to iBooks, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, or Google, you can pick up a copy of The Ice Limit at that special price.”
You can also order your copy from The Poisoned Pen, and for a limited number of books you will get a signed photo of “The Guys” as part of the package. I am not a collector of author ephemera, but if you are this is a first-time offer of signed photos from these two authors.

Guard Wolf (Shifter Agents Book 2) by Lauren Esker

“You think humanity’s found rock bottom, and then they keep digging.” – Special Agent Avery Hollen, Special (Shifter) Crimes Bureau, Seattle WA

“We can never be gods, after all–but we can become something less than human with frightening ease.” ― N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

Guard Wolf: BBW Paranormal Wolf Shifter Romance (Shifter Agents Book 2) - Lauren EskerBack in August of 2015 I wrote a review of “Handcuffed to the Bear” by Lauren Esker. At the time, I said, “If this weren’t a shifter story, it would fall under the suspense or romantic suspense genre without a doubt. So I will call it “Paranormal Suspense.” The focus is on Casey and Jack staying alive long enough to be rescued from a sadistic pack of lion shifters intent on hunting them down and slaughtering them, as they have with many other victims – including Casey’s best friend Wendy.

I had thought from the cover that it was some bondage thing and almost bypassed it immediately, but the blurb caught my eye. And I got a big kick out of reading it, as you can tell if you click on the link to my review, above. I mentioned that Guard Wolf, the second in the series, would come out that October. Then, of course, I got distracted. Oops.

The other day I came across Guard Wolf and thought, “Hum. That looks like a good ‘bathtub book’” (i.e., a book I carry into a nice hot bath with a glass of wine). As I got into it, I got a niggle that I had read another book by this author, and by the time I got to the end I remembered why the story felt so familiar.

I am glad I happened to stumble across Esker once more. Guard Wolf is the second in the series, carrying forward with the Shifter Agents storyline, this time the story of Avery Hollen, Jack’s best friend and coworker at SCB Seattle. Avery has a harder life than the others at the SCB. Badly crippled when an RPG took out the gasoline tanker truck he was standing beside in Afghanistan, he lived only through the efforts of Jack. Jack, who takes full responsibility for the fact that Avery was hurt in the first place. For you see, it was Jack’s ‘private security’ (read, mercenary) team who got themselves stuck on a lonely Afghan road, and cried for the Army to haul their ashes. A whole team of young, fresh-off-the-farm Army boys were slaughtered by that RPG. And Jack never forgot.

Now, Avery walks with a cane, his leg so torn up and twisted from his rapid shifter healing in the field he can barely walk at all. So, he gets desk duty more often than not. And tonight? Tonight he is thrown a curve when a box of werewolf children in puppy form are thrust on his desk. Oh, yeah. He just knows he is going to regret this. After all, his own childhood was a sadistic nightmare. What the hell does he know about children?!

Nicole Yates is a harried, hard-working social worker, specializing in shifters with family issues. When Avery stumbles into her office just before quitting time with said box full of pups/children, well, her life is suddenly not only turned on its head – she may actually not be able to hang onto her life at all. And neither may Avery. For these puppies have scars and shaved spots. Scars and shaved spots that indicate that someone, somewhere, have been at best medicating them. At worst? At worst, something nasty is going on, and these children have been subjected to the unimaginable. Tracking down what is going on leads Nicole and Avery down a warped path of horrors, of science gone incredibly wrong.

“Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” – Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias

Like HttB, this second in the series is very much paranormal suspense of the best kind. Edge-of-your-seat, fast-paced suspense that kept me in the tub for three runs of ‘drain-and-refill and the heck with the empty wine glass’. I love paranormals with sharp edges, suspense, and fast action, and this one fits the bill to a T. It also isn’t simply a thinly developed, poorly plotted story designed to be a vehicle for ‘boom chaka laka’ (Yes, you DO know what I mean) on every page, which I truly enjoyed. Lauren Esker could write suspense thrillers all day long without the paranormal bent – but I am glad she writes what she does. I really enjoy her work.

Review: City Of Echoes by Robert Ellis #Thriller #PoliceProcedural #Suspense

25050652“Through me you go into a city of weeping; through me you go into eternal pain; through me you go amongst the lost people” ― Dante Alighieri, The Inferno

“He felt his heart, which no longer beat, contract, and he wondered if there was anything in the world as painful as not being able to protect the people you loved.”― Cassandra Clare, City of Fallen Angels

Agony. Such an interesting word, with such an interesting origin. “Late 14c., “mental suffering” (especially that of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane), from Old French agonie, agoine “anguish, terror, death agony” (14c.), and directly from Late Latin agonia, from Greek agonia “a (mental) struggle for victory,” originally “a struggle for victory in the games,” from agon “assembly for a contest,” from agein “to lead.” Now, it simply means, Extreme and generally prolonged pain; intense physical or mental suffering.” Yes. Interesting.

Matthew Trevor Jones knows all about agony. His father walking out the door. His mother dying of cancer when he was twelve. His father refusing to accept, or even acknowledge his existence when he had no place else to go. A stint in Afghanistan. And now? Now, on this day, the day before his first day with Hollywood Homicide, he knows the agony of losing his friend, his brother in arms in the Sandbox. The man who pulled him away from all that was wrong with his life on his return from that dark and brutal place of guns and death. Away from his memories. The brother who got him started on the path to where he is today. Detective Kevin Hughes is dead, taken down in a blaze of bullets on his way to meet Matt, to celebrate his promotion. A bloody, blasted shell.

“At the end of the day it’ll come down to this: Kevin and I were brothers in arms. We fought the good fight and somehow both of us were lucky enough to come home. He had my back, and now I’ve got his.”

““Where is the graveyard of dead gods? What lingering mourner waters their mounds?” – ― H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy

Agony.

And as the case turns and twists, layers of deceit and lies, hidden meanings and horrific realizations come clear. Nothing is as it seems. Nothing is real, but at the same time too brutally real to be believed.

Betrayal.

It all comes down to betrayal. The past and present are melding, and the threads of Matt’s life are starting to unravel.

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
– W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming

 This is the first time I have read Robert Ellis, but it won’t be the last. As much as I loved the book, there are certainly some who won’t. Ellis’s voice is harsh, nearly brutal in its ability to strip off the shiny layers, the bright and distracting gaudy bits, leaving the harsh truth behind, lying like the broken body of a child upon the sand.

“It hung there, all of it, in the candlelight and in the shadows, and on a night in late October when the dry wind howled.”

This is noir style detective thriller writing at its best and most complex. Beneath the shiny surface of Hollywood lies a dark and festering heart – and Ellis writes it like it is.

I received City of Echoes from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. If you like my review, please do me the favour of letting me know by clicking “Like” on GoodReads, and on Amazon after it is published. I really appreciate it!

 Publishing September 1, 2015 by Thomas & Mercer

 About The Author

Robert  EllisRobert Ellis is the international bestselling author of “Access to Power”, “The Dead Room”, and the critically acclaimed L.A. Times bestseller “City of Fire”, “The Lost Witness”, and “Murder Season” – selected as top reads by Booklist, Publishers Weekly, National Public Radio, The Chicago Tribune, The Toronto Sun, The Guardian (UK), The Evening Telegraph (UK), People Magazine, USA Today, and The New York Times. His novels have been translated into more than ten languages, are read in more than thirty-five countries, and are available in audio and all digital formats. Born in Philadelphia, Robert moved to Los Angeles where he worked as a writer, producer, and director in film, television, and advertising. Robert studied writing with Walter Tevis, author of “The Hustler”, “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, and “The Color of Money,” and with his friend, John Truby, screenwriter and author of “The Anatomy of Story.” His books have garnered praise from a diverse group of authors including Janet Evanovich’s wonderful review in People Magazine. But perhaps Michael Connelly said it best: “‘City of Fire’ is my kind of crime novel. Gritty, tight and assured. Riding with Detective Lena Gamble through the hills of Los Angeles is something I could get used to. She’s tough, smart, and most of all, she’s real.”

Review: Hot As Blazes by Dani Jace

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares. – Henri Nouwen

The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions. – Leonardo da Vinci

Poor Jo. Such dreams, such power, and yet she never saw it coming. Never saw the spoiled little rich boy user who snuck into her life and stole her power and her career. Now, back home in the small town she grew up in, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Jo can still surf, but never as a professional again.

Trying so hard to build a new life for herself, Jo goes back to her life as a lifeguard, back to her beloved home and her brother’s support. Yet all is not yet well, for her past has followed her to her new life – and the danger is not only to herself, but to all those she loves.

There are things to like, and not like, about “Hot As Blazes”. First, the like. There is well written suspense here, and a strong, likeable female lead. Jo has been betrayed by someone she thought loved her. Trusting to the love of her family, she returns, only to find that not only has betrayal followed her from California, it waits at home as she finds hard truths from before she left for collage and surfing as a professional. And the pain keeps coming. All this was done very well. Actually, change the name of the book and downplay the romance (and change the cover) and this could sell well as a suspense novel.

Now for the irritation. The romance. The love of Jo’s life, Ray, apparently loved her as well, for as long as she loved him. Now, they have the opportunity to make things right. But here is where things go all wrong. Ray is an Iraqi war vet, a firefighter. And a spoiled, jealous, manipulative brat of a man. Everything is aallll about Him. Spoiled, selfish, and so jealous of a rival he is convinced is after Jo that he is willing to throw her to the wolves because he got his little penis in a knot. Pftt. And it nearly gets her killed. So, my thought that the author could write a much better suspense novel if she gave up on the romance and stuck to suspense with a bit of romance thrown in – and didn’t shove her heroine into a box labeled “poor little weakling who takes all the blame when the big strong (spoiled, self centred) man has a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. . . ” Oy.Crying may be a sign of overload in children

Sigh. Read it for the suspense portion – that part is really worth reading. As long as I skipped over Ray I really enjoyed the book, but Jo’s acceptance of all the guilt in the relationship pushed the book from a four star to a three for once more making a mistreated woman the victim of the story, pushing her to accept the blame for the misdeeds of the “Hero”.

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

Review: The Cana Mystery by David Beckett

https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1373547448l/18188093.jpgO waste of lost, in the hot mazes, lost, among bright stars on this weary, unbright cinder, lost! Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When?
O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.”
– ― Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel

Jesus’ mother said, “They have no more wine.” Jesus replied, “Dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.” “This was the first miracle of Jesus and it was performed to reveal his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.” (John 2:3-5) and (John 2:11)

I have a rule for books that purport to be based upon historical events and places. Teach me something new, something I didn’t know and yet will be fascinated enough to research on my own. If this sort of book doesn’t have me highlighting on nearly every page, I get bored. The Cana Mystery delivered.

Based upon the Christian story of The Lost Jars of Cana, the story is a rollicking adventure tale, steeped in Middle Eastern and Christian Church beliefs, carried out across a landscape both understood, such as Harvard and Boston, to the city of Tabgha, the city where the story of Jesus and the multiplication of loaves and fishes supposedly occurred. The jars themselves, the items that sit at the centre of this whirlwind, thrilling story are supposed to be the jars Jesus requested to be filled with water, which he then changed to wine for a wedding party. Saving the jars from an evil man and transporting them across a hostile and brutal land is the largest part of the story, and the descriptive power of the story does not disappoint.

As a non-Christian, I was hesitant to start this book, fearing the science and politics of the lands and the history would be unbelievable. Surprisingly, I found the book realistically portrayed – it is a ‘Christian’ book, but not overwhelmingly superstitious, something I found pleasant.

Overall, a good thriller with a strong thread of history and some good information on areas and happenings I enjoyed learning about.

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

There Are SO Many Collections Out There!

Have you noticed how many book collections there are out there these days? Multiple authors get together and donate a story to a Limited Edition Book Bundle based upon a theme. I have several of these, and have found new authors to love in nearly every one, as well as new stories by authors I already know. Since today is the start of a new week, I thought I would toss some of the bundles out there for you. Some stories you will like in a collection, some you may not, but for the price, these are GREAT bargains! They range from .99 to FREEE! They are in no particular order, just as I come across them on my tablet. There are a lot of bundles out there – search Amazon for “Book Bundles for Kindle” or “Free Book Bundles for Kindle”. You can also search “Collections” and then search by genre. I am sure there are other ways to search, such as on Goodreads (“anthologies, collections” gained me 267 results while “series collections garnered 1904 results! Awesome… I am going to be hitting that list hard!).

23702709A Very Paranormal Holiday

.99 Cents!

There’s something supernatural lurking under the mistletoe this year. Get ready for a twist on the holiday season with paranormal tales from six fantasy authors (both Mark Henwick and J.C. Mells, two of my favorite authors, have stories here!)

Killer Confections: 8 Delectable Culinary 25045580Cozy Mystery Novels

.99 Cents!

A dash of murder, a dollop of intrigue, a little sugar, and plenty of spice create a tasty buffet served up by bestselling and award-winning mystery authors, Denise Dietz, Leighann Dobbs, Pamela DuMond, Harper Lin, Tamar Myers, Joanne Pence, Cindy Sample, and Connie Shelton. This culinary mystery bundle mixes lethal lunches, deadly dinners, poisonous pastries, and criminal cocktails into a scrumptious fare that you don’t want to miss. (And, of course, recipes included.)

 

The Dragon Writers Collection: A Fantasy and Science Fiction 23262719Bundle with Dragons and Elves, Wizards and Magic

Free!

Do you love to read about elves, dwarves, and dragons? Do you find the lure of magic mystery too enticing to resist? Do you crave stories of monstrous orcs and trolls vanquished by brave heroes?
Looking for fantasy with powerful female heroes, or villains? Beware of both!

24268834

Ultimate Undead Collection: The Zombie Apocalypse Best Sellers Boxed Set (10 Books)

.99 Cents for 10 books!

! Pump up your adrenaline with 10 heart-pounding tales from today’s top apocalyptic authors.

THE PARANORMAL THIRTEEN23387007

FREE!

Actually, 14 full length paranormal and urban fantasy novels featuring witches, vampires, werewolves, mermaids, psychics, Loki, time travel and more! 1.3 MILLION words! 3,500 PAGES!

 

23166727

Stars & Empire: 10 Galactic Tales (Stars & Empire Box Set Collection)

23627162

AND!

Stars & Empire 2: 10 More Galactic Tales (Stars & Empire Box Set Collection)

Two collections, .99 Cents EACH!

 

23362716

A Crime Collection – 5 Heart-Pumping Mystery Thrillers Boxed Set

Free!

Five first-in-a-series mystery novels by up-and-coming authors Betta Ferrendelli, R.S. Guthrie, Simon Jenner, Emily Kimelman and Renée Pawlish.

23456673

Shifters After Dark

.99 Cents
SM Reine – OF WINGS AND WOLVES (Review here)
Dannika Dark – SEVEN YEARS
Marie Hall – HOOD’S OBSESSION
Melissa F. Olson – BLOODSICK
Kate Danley – THE DARK OF TWILIGHT
Phoenix Sullivan – HEARTSONG

22500632The Old Kingdom Collection: Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen, Clariel

OK, so these are $34.99. I have read each of these, and they are Wonderful!!!! Garth Nix is a storytelling God…..

Review: Sweet Deception by Angel Nicholas

Sweet Deception: HarperImpulse Romantic Suspense - Angel NicholasAnyone who cannot come to terms with his life while he is alive needs one hand to ward off a little his despair over his fate… but with his other hand he can note down what he sees among the ruins. – Franz Kafka

Truth is everybody is going to hurt you: you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for. – Bob Marley

Sweet Deception. It sounds like one of those “Boy meets girl. Boy saves girl from minor problem. They all live HEA. The end.”

I wonder who decided on that title? Because, though there are six five star and one four star very-well-deserved reviews, the people who are expecting a simplistic story are going to be disappointed, and the readers who would pick up a powerful, contemporary suspense/thriller would not normally pick it up offhand. And this is a powerful book. Oh, the whole HEA romance thing is in there – though it might have been better served in another novel. Just my opinion, because I found that it distracted from the overall story line.

Ally Thompson’s life is boring. Go to work in insurance claims, come home, have dinner, pour a glass of wine and read a book in bed. (Hey, that is my life!) Tired of listening to all the fun that her coworkers had over the weekend on Monday mornings, she decides it is time to do something adventurous. Well, not too adventurous, but riding a roller coaster is a start, right? Ensconced in the “special” seat at the rear of the coaster she finds herself seated next to (of course) tall blond and sexy detective “Surfer Dude”. When one of the riders is murdered and thrown from the car, Greg the Surfer Dude saves her life (of course) and thus begins a much more serious contemporary tale than I had expected based on the cover and title. In a word, this is one thrilling book – but it is also excruciatingly current in what is, to me, the best sort of way. Angel Nicholas rips the blinders off of modern issues that many would like to ignore – or pretend don’t exist in the first place.

Drug running, human trafficking, sex trafficking, dirty cops – all play a gut wrenching role in the tale. And this is why I would have been happier with the book if it left out Ally pining over Mr. “I’m too gutless to have a real relationship but I am more than happy to bang you blind – and if you try to have a relationship with anyone else I will stalk you and show up on your doorstep” Guy. Yeah, yeah, he finally “comes around” several months after the end of the ‘action’ – and yeah, yeah, she takes him back. Meh. It detracts from the importance of the book itself as it tries to pull in both the romance and the suspense crowd.

The person expecting a ‘sweet’ romance isn’t going to like this. There is brutality, rape, sex slavery of both adult women and children, (two instances of which Ally is forced to watch, as “training”), and several scenes where the heroine is subjected to the worst kinds of humiliation, though she is not actually raped.

Yes, yes, I know. I get psychotic over books that depict rape and sadism – but my problems with those books are where the actions are presented as being “acceptable”. This isn’t that sort of book. It brings into the light things that society would rather keep hidden, stripping off the blinders and making the reader truly see.

Something else it brings to light? How our government will allow these things to continue to happen as they “build their case” – no matter the suffering that women and children go through as the “case” is built. Sometimes YEARS of torture, rape and sometimes death – which can honestly be a blessing given what they are subjected to day after day. All enslaved  by monsters, of course. But the real monsters? The ones who live next door – who have wives and children and jobs, who attend PTA and host cookouts in the back yard and birthday parties for your children. And who slip away at odd hours to rape and brutalize women – and of course, children the same age or younger than their own little ones.
/
So. My recommendation? READ. THIS. BOOK. But don’t expect “sweet and cuddly.” Expect realism, expect truth, expect good writing (well, except for the romance part – IMO Ally would have been better off sticking with being the strong, wonderful woman she was, and she does create something truly wonderful with her life before Greg comes back around) than sticking around for Mr. “It’s All About Me” but there was finally a HEA so those that wanted it got a sweet ending.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own, and I am very happy to recommend it! If you like my reviews, please let me know on your country’s Amazon.com! I post to US, CA, AU, UK.

Review: Fade To Black By Tim McBain And L.T. Vargus

23279082The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. – Dante Alighieri

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people. – Carl Jung

“Come on,” he says. “Maybe I want to offer some fatherly advice or some goddamn thing, right?”

Poor Jeff Grobnagger can’t catch a break. You see, he suffers from seizures. Seizures that fling him not only into the pain of the seizure itself. They throw him into another world – a world where he wakes to find himself hanging by his ankle in a filthy alley in a dark and grayscale world. And every time he gets free, usually falling both ungracefully and painfully to the alley’s filthy pavement, his reward is to be strangled to death by a shadowy figure in a hooded cloak.

“Any minute now a hooded man will come barreling out of nowhere and kill me.

So. That sucks.”

That first line of Fade to Black sets the theme for the rest of the book – an extraordinarily snarky, moody, broody, and oh-so-elegant and humourous fall into the absurd that kept me reading well past ridiculously late hours.

I first found L. T. Vargus, the co-author of the book, along with Tim McBain, when I read and reviewed her book Casting Shadows Everywhere. In that book, I wrote:

This book moved me, pained me, in so many ways. It brought up memories best forgotten, pain, heart break. But mostly, it opened me up with the wisdom and compassion shown by the author.

Happily, I can say much the same about this newest book by Vargus. I completely identified with Grobnagger. His lost soul, his pain and distance from others, and his quirky psychological musings touched my heart and carried me away to his world. A world where people still watch VCR’s and the questions of humanity are deeply felt, and pity is far, far away. But I still burst into laughter in what should have been the most inappropriate moments. You can’t help it. Grobnagger is just funny.

Vargus’s work weirdly resonates with me. It is sneaky in a way – it holds the things we fear up to the light – opening the reader up to honesty – to love and hope and the truths of our souls found in the darkest of nights. It’s weird and dark and twisted – and real. And I recommend the trip.

I received this book from the author in return for a realistic review. My weird thoughts are my own!

About The Authors:

Tim McBainAbout Tim

People say your author bio should tell the world why you write. I write because life is short, and I want to make something awesome before I die.

About L.T.L.T. Vargus

L.T. Vargus grew up in Hell, Michigan, which is a lot smaller, quieter, and less fiery than one might imagine. When not click-clacking away at the keyboard, she can be found sewing, fantasizing about food, and rotting her brain in front of the TV.

L.T. Vargus now lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan with her special man friend/writing partner, Tim McBain.

 

 

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