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text 2018-02-17 20:19
Reading progress: 25%.
Moth - Daniel Arenson

I'm glad I started this -- an author and a series I kept meaning to start but kept losing in Mount TBR.

 

So far, I'm really into it.  I was in the mood for good science fiction -- it is; from the book description and the hype I wasn't sure this would suit — it does; or the lightside/darkside planet could have been too derivative of the numerous books already using that theme — so far, not with its own spin on worldbuilding, races and characters.

 

*crosses fingers* hopefully stays this good and author can handle a good story then series arc well.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-07 00:37
Splatterpunk Fighting Back by MULTIPLE
Splatterpunk Fighting Back - Dave Benton,Jack Bantry,Tim Curran,Rich Hawkins,Duncan Ralston,Glenn Rolfe,Bracken MacLeod,Kristopher Rufty,Adam Millard,John Boden,Matt Shaw,W.D. Gagliani,George Daniel,Elizabeth Power

Splatterpunk Fighting Back by MULTIPLE
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The definition of "splatterpunk" should give an idea of what this volume entails: characterised by the explicit description of horrific, violent, or pornographic scenes. With an abundance of monsters, gore, and sexual tones, it stays true to the nature of the sub-genre. My advice? Just be prepared.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

I never would've known about this analogy had I not joined the one and only Horror Aficionados on Goodreads, and took part in their January group read with author invite. Being new to the horror sub-genre of splatterpunk, I expected that it would probably involve some disgusting and gruesome "what the hell did I just read?" moments, and I quickly discovered that I was correct. I enjoyed some stories more than others, however as a whole I consider it a great piece of horrifically violent and graphic literature.

Listed below are each individual tale, starting with my most favourite. I also thank the authors for being so pleasant to talk with, and for donating all proceeds of sale to charity.

Check out my blog to see the Q&A with some of the authors.

* * *Hellscape by Rich Hawkins* * *
Even this quick glimpse into this forsaken world left me completely engrossed. A twisted, bloody apocalypse? My cup of tea any day of the week. The Cthulhu-theme fascinated me, as I've actually never read any such thing before (I know, shame on me). Even though it was short, and seemed to drop the reader right in the middle, I was immediately pulled into the maternal desperation of the protagonist, as well as that drive of trying to keep the madness at bay. I loved every gruesome detail and the sheer brutality.

* *Feast of Consequences by WD Gagliani & Dave Benton* *
Victims fighting back - it's a particular favourite of mine. This one actually began as rather typical, reminding me of the whole Texas Chain Saw Massacre trope, yet it turns into something else entirely. The inclusion of the "Sasquatch" type monsters made my skin crawl, as I suspected the family had a rather... intimate relationship with them. Definitely images I didn't need in my head.

*Extinction Therapy by Bracken MacLeod*
This one made me think a lot, admittedly a bit more in comparison to the others. There's a belief that we all have it inside ourselves - an animal, primitive, left over from our ancestors. What if that gets tapped into? Even good people can do bad things, and we all have unwanted thoughts that seep to the forefront sometimes. I found Spencer's journey to be fascinating, and I couldn't help but want a full-length novel.

Darla's Problem by Kristopher Rufty
A classic, isn't it? The monster in the closet, or beneath the bed. I really liked this one and, sure enough, the monster creeped me out! It made me think about how we so readily dismiss children when they speak of monsters or other such creatures that don't fit into our notion of reality - no wonder it's been the plot of so many books and movies. Also, poor Darla.

They Swim by Night by Adam Millard
If it's one thing I love, it's mythical creatures, especially when an author involves their own personal twist. Ana was portrayed with such raw sexuality, and I loved the hold she had over the men in her midst. This one in particular sparked my imagination; I couldn't help but ponder over Ana's origins. She struck me as an apex predator, but also something more. Ancient. Malevolent. Like at one point in time her kind were respected and feared, yet they faded away into nothing but stories and superstition.

The Passion of the Robertsons by Duncan Ralston
Well, this one certainly took religion to the extreme, and delved into the sheer insanity of two individuals. Being an atheist myself, I wouldn't want to get on the Robertson's bad side. Really, I think the couple would've been better suited to the good ol' days of when atrocities in the name of religion were the norm. Whilst I enjoyed it for what it was, it lacked in something to really make an impact. The ending was good, though!

Limb Memory by Tim Curran
To think if we lose a part of ourselves, a piece of our soul goes with it. Despite the added humour to the otherwise eerie tone of this one, I didn't favour it as much as the majority of other readers. Disembodied limbs generally don't interest me all that much.

Molly by Glenn Rolfe
My partner has pediophobia and while I often tease and laugh, I admit that there's something unsettling about dolls. It's the uncanny valley, right? I was left with a lot of questions regarding Molly, and I would've liked a bit more information for the events that transpired to make sense. She was able to clean up after her own murders? I felt like there was perhaps too much telling and not enough showing.

Melvin by Matt Shaw
I admit, this one made me laugh, but there was a tinge of discomfort below the absurdity. The detail was disturbing - such as Claudia's skin darkening from her insides being torn apart. It makes me shift in my seat when I think about it even now. The ending? Well, it was a great ending. However, despite my brief flare of enjoyment, I can't say I favoured it highly.

Only Angels Know by George Daniel Lea
I get the impression this was supposed to be intentionally hard to follow - as it was a piece written by the character himself, of whom was a very intense and unstable individual. I had to read it twice, and still I'm not sure exactly what happened. I know he had a procedure done to himself, but it doesn't give details, and I'm left wondering if that's the whole point. Whatever we come up with in our minds might be bad enough, if not worse than what George Daniel Lea intended. Was he getting parts of himself surgically removed? Getting parts of other people stitched onto him? Maybe I just missed it completely, and it's lost within his jumbled rambling!

The Going Rate by John Boden
Honestly, this one was just too short for me to get a real feel of anything. I liked the idea, of a neighbourhood having to give their pound of flesh to appease the demon, but I was left with too many questions. Like a flash, it was just over, offering what I felt like very little. I would've loved this had it been longer.

In conclusion - There's something here for everyone, but be aware of the pushing of limits. It's not pretty!

© Red Lace 2018


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/02/07/splatterpunk-fighting-back-by-multiple
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review 2018-02-03 20:25
Weird murders, a London setting, a ticking clock, and a morally ambiguous hero.
Ragdoll: A Novel - Daniel H Cole

Thanks to NetGalley and to Trapeze for offering me an ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review.

This novel had passed me by (my to be read list is getting longer and longer) when it was first published, but I have been reading quite a number of thrillers recently, saw this book mentioned, and remembered I had yet to read it.

The ARC copy I read includes a funny introduction by the author, which sets the tone for what is to come quite well, although I did not see it in the look inside feature at the front of the published e-book version. The novel is a hard thriller but with a considerable amount of dark humour thrown in (a very British version of it as well). The initial premise is gripping. We have a brief prologue that introduces us to a past case and a deranged detective, and then we discover that four years later he’s back at work, and he has to investigate a very bizarre case. The ragdoll of the title is the name given to the macabre discovery of a body composed of the parts of six different victims. Not happy with that, the killer also releases a list of names of people and the dates when he intends to kill them. And the said detective (Wolf) is the last one on the list. The methods the killer employs are also very imaginative, and there is plenty of violence (and pretty extreme at that).

This thriller, set in London, follows the format of a police procedural novel, but as some reviewers have noted, it does require a certain amount of suspension of disbelief. The fact that somebody who was as disturbed as Wolf, and who very seriously assaulted a suspect in front of a whole courtroom, is allowed to go back to work, stretches the imagination. The way the team works, that seems confused and disorganised, also will surprise those who appreciate the attention to detail and authenticity. As a psychiatrist who has worked in the UK, I didn’t find the portrayal of the mental health secure unit where Wolf had spent time very realistic either (although one could query the fact that he was not well at the time, and other than a brief visit by one of the members of the team, we don’t have any objective accounts of it), and one hopes that news agencies will not be like the one depicted in the novel either (Wolf’s ex-wife works for a TV news station and becomes involved in the case also). But, if we accept the premises of the novel, and forget about how likely it is that this could happen in the real world, it is difficult to fault the book for its imagination, pace, energy, and for the way it grabs and keeps the reader’s attention.

This novel keeps taking us back to the past, and at some points it felt as if it should have been the second novel in the series, as it is evident that what happened four years earlier has a lot to do with the current events, and the way the narration is structured, around the previous case, is one of the strong points, in my opinion. It is as if the whole department had been affected by what happened to Wolf and it has become something of a dysfunctional family. Although there are things that seem far-fetched, on the other hand, the general feeling of pressure, desperation, media attention, cover-ups… felt very real. I have mentioned dark humour, and there is a very cynical undercurrent permeating the whole book, which suits it well and, perhaps, will be easier to appreciate by those who live in or are familiar with the UK, its politics, and its current social situation. I felt as if it was almost a caricature of the truth. Exaggerated and taken to the extreme but easily recognisable nonetheless.

Although it is not a psychologically complex story (and many of the characters play to stereotype: the older detective who is about to be retired, the young rookie who’s just been transferred from a different section and is a stickler for details and rules, the young attractive female detective who looks up to the lead investigator but whose feelings are unclear…), there is plenty of action and many twists and turns, characters, locations, and the ticking clock makes it a rather tense and intense read that will keep most readers guessing. There are a large number of characters, and although we get to know the members of the New Scotland Yard team fairly well over the novel (although quite a few of them keep secrets and are contradictory at best), victims, witnesses, characters from the personal lives of the detectives… all are given a bit of space, and it is important to pay attention not to get lost, especially because of the way the story is narrated.  The story is told in the third person but from quite a number of characters’ points of view, not always the main characters either, and although I did not find it difficult to follow and it is a good way to keep the intrigue (by switching points of view and giving us snippets of information only some characters have access to), it means readers should not miss a beat.

Notwithstanding the dark and sharp sense of humour, there are some introspective moments, guilty feelings, and characters wrestle with the morality of the situation, although I do not think it breaks new ground or is the most successful attempt at delving into such issues. At some point, the novel seems about to enter into paranormal territory, and it did remind me of Jekyll and Hyde, as there comes a moment when you have to wonder what it takes to make somebody step over the fine line between fighting a monster and becoming the monster. I don’t want to go into too much detail to avoid any spoilers, but let’s say that good and bad are not ultimately such clear-cut concepts as we would like to believe.

This is a very enjoyable page-turner, especially recommended for those who like a tense and gripping read and are not put off by some over-the-top characterisations and some stretching of the truth, and who don’t mind graphic violence and dark humour. And if you enjoy a London setting, even better.  

 

 

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review 2018-02-02 17:19
Die Reise seines Lebens
Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe berichtet über seine Reisen, sein Leben und seine Abenteuer - wobei wohl die größte Herausforderung seine Landung auf der berühmt-berüchtigten einsamen Insel ist.

Dieser Klassiker bzw. Abenteuerroman ist erstmals 1719 erschienen und hat bestimmt schon etliche Generationen an Lesern fasziniert. Robinson Crusoe berichtet von seinem Leben. Der bürgerliche Engländer erzählt, wie er einst gegen den Willen seines Vaters aufbrach, um die Welt zu sehen. Er lässt den Leser an seiner ungeheuren Reiselust, seinem unstillbaren Hunger nach neuen Ländern sowie Kulturen teilhaben, und berichtet, welche Abenteuer er im Lauf seines Lebens bestehen musste.

Der Erzählstil ist sehr nüchtern und detailliert. Dieser Klassiker wird nicht umsonst als ‚Bericht‘ gehandhabt, sondern entspricht tatsächlich dieser Bezeichnung. Denn Robinson Crusoe berichtet in der Ich-Form, jedoch ohne wirklich Spannung oder Emotionen zu erzeugen. Er hakt die Ereignisse ein ums andere ab, geht sehr genau auf Umstände und Begebenheiten ein und kommt dabei vom Hundertsten ins Tausende - ohne dabei einen Spannungsbogen aufzubauen.

Das Buch ist dementsprechend in keine Kapitel unterteilt. Es geht von Anfang bis Ende durch als ob es in einer wahren Litanei geschrieben worden wäre. 

Mit dieser Erzählweise hatte ich oft sehr zu kämpfen, weil es einiges an Konzentration abverlangt. Ohne großartige Höhen, Tiefen und Spannungsbogen fiel es mir schwer, bei der Stange zu bleiben und dem Geschehen zu folgen.

Die Handlung selbst hält Überraschungen bereit und bestärkt mich, weiterhin Klassiker zu lesen. Denn Hauptaugenmerk liegt gar nicht auf Robinson Crusoe und seiner Insel - was zumindest für mich eine Erkenntnis ist. Die einsame Insel nimmt nur einen kleinen Teil davon ein. Tatsächlich wird von vielen weiteren Reisen erzählt, weil das Buch fast das gesamte Leben des bürgerlichen Engländers beinhaltet. 

Aufgefallen sind mir stark religiös geprägte Passagen und die gottesfürchtige Lebenseinstellung des Protagonisten. Robinson Crusoe ist ein gläubiger Mann, der dem Drang Neues zu entdecken trotz all seiner heimatlichen Pflichten nicht entgehen kann. Es treibt ihn raus in die Welt, wo es Abenteuer zu erleben gilt. 

Zum Ende hin hatte ich mich schon sehr an Robinson Crusoe gewöhnt, weil mich das Buch recht lange begleitet hat.  Es hat mich beim Abschied fast ein Tränchen gekostet. Die Worte sind behutsam und zur Abwechslung mal berührend gewählt und ich habe mit einem Seufzer das Buch geschlossen.

Obwohl ich mich durch diesen Klassiker kämpfen musste, habe ich es im Endeffekt nicht bereut, mit Robinson Crusoe die Weltmeere zu besegeln. Es ist faszinierend ein Werk zu lesen, dass vor 300 Jahren zu Papier gebracht wurde, und nun reihe ich mich - ein bisschen stolz - bei den Robinson-Crusoe-Lesern ein.

Wer Interesse an abenteuerlichen Geschichten hat, den geschäftsmäßigen Grundton tolerieren kann und sich mit religiösen Ansichten auseinandersetzen mag - dem kann ich diesen Klassiker ans Herz legen. 

Source: zeit-fuer-neue-genres.blogspot.co.at
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review 2018-02-01 21:26
Suicide Squad on the moon
Suicide Squad (2016-) #28 - Rob Williams,Adriano Lucas,Tomeu Morey,Tony Daniel,Danny Miki,Eleonora Carlini,Wilfredo Torres

The Squad gets talked, and coerced into going to what promises to be a fatal mission for them on the moon.  

 

Some nice interaction, some nice history on Task Force X - going back to the original team which was far different than the Suicide Squad in the backstory, and some nice interaction between Harley Quinn and Rick Flag's grandfather about how he's dead - and she loved him.  

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