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review 2019-01-19 19:16
The Devils of D-Day by Graham Masterton
Devils Of D Day - Graham Masterton

In July of 1944, 13 mysterious black Allied tanks crossed the bridge into the village of Le Vey, Normandy, and laid waste to the Germans.

12 of those tanks vanished into the mists of history.

The 13th lies rusting where it stopped. And after 35 years it remains, welded shut, sealed with a crucifix and given wide berth by the locals.

Until Dan McCook, an American cartographer making maps of the area for a book on World War II, becomes fascinated by the old relic....and inadvertently unleashes a demonic force intent on reuniting the 13. To wage a war that will bring Hell on Earth.

Masterton flips the old standby of "Nazis tampering with the occult" and drops the responsibility for supernatural weapons on the Allies in this fast, fun read.

Recommended for fans of old school horror.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-01-19 19:06
Final Thoughts: Song of Achilles
 The Song of Achilles: A Novel - Madeline Miller

This one is definitely going into my list of favorite reads for this year. It moved me deeply enough that I'm not sure how much I can even write about it. I might have to come back and add to this post in the days to come, because I know that the story and characters will haunt me for a while.

 

It took me several pages to realize who the first person POV was (in my defense, it's been at least a couple of decades since I last read the source material), and I found the choice intriguing. Why Patroclus? After all, he will die before Achilles, and it is his death that calls down the final act of the hero's life. But it made sense. Patroclus is the one closest to Achilles, the one who knows him almost better than he knows himself. At the same time, it lets the reader have some needed distance from Achilles; after all, he is half god, and there is always a part of him that is unknowable and must remain so.

 

Of course, this left me wondering how the ending would be handled. After all, what is the story of Achilles without his final rage at the death of Patroclus, and his own fate fulfilled? The solution came in the story's environment itself: the system of beliefs that populate the world with shades and spirits, until these are put to rest. Thus, through the eyes of a now helpless and immaterial Patroclus, we see the final days of Achilles, and the end of the war. And only once the story is complete does Patroclus gain his release, and is able to rejoin his beloved Achilles.

 

There's a lot more here, of course: the story of two boys growing up together; a mother's attempts to procure both safety and fame for her son; and above all the complicated insistence on a man's honor and memory. Achilles, and the men of his society, are definitely in the camp of "better to burn out than fade away." Given the choice between a long but uneventful life and a brief glorious one, he chooses the latter. It is Patroclus who helps us, the readers, understand this philosophy; we share his journey from denial to acceptance of Achilles' destiny.

 

This helps give depth to a hero who is often perceived as being arrogant and a shallow chaser of glory. We see him as a young man, decidedly against fighting and struggling to come to terms with the divine part of himself. Later on, a prisoner of prophesies, he still does his best to remain in control of the situation, helping drag the war along for a decade as he postpones his encounter with Hector, whose death will precede his according to fate. And finally, we see him accept that everything happened as foretold, and seek out his own end. By the end of his story, we might still be frustrated at some of his decisions, but we also acknowledge that he knows things we do not about the fickleness of fate and of the gods. And, in the end, we are perhaps comforted by the thought that he and Patroclus are reunited in the afterlife. How this last piece of the puzzle falls into place is the most moving part of all.

 

Edit: I had meant to include accompanying music; a piece or album that I find goes well with the book. For this one, the album that came to mind was An Ancient Muse, by Loreena McKennitt.

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review 2019-01-19 14:32
The Buzzard Zone by Ronald Kelly
The Buzzard Zone - Ronald Kelly

An unknown parasite brings the human race to it's knees....transforming the living into ravenous Biters, ambulatory undead vehicles of infestation and certain death.
The only warning that they are coming....monstrous flocks of buzzards that follow the swarming Biters....feeding on the carnage they leave in their wake.

And people aren't the only living things susceptible to the plague.

Levi Hobbs and his family have managed to survive in his childhood home in the Smoky Mountains. But when their luck finally runs out and the Biters find them, they are forced to flee east, seeking a new safe haven.

But safe places are few and far between. And the Biters aren't the only threat on the road to sanctuary.

Along the way, they will find survivors, decent people fighting for their lives.....and predators who prey on them.

Will they find a place to make a life in a world gone mad......or a place to make a last stand against the inevitable?

Ronald Kelly has written a tense, superior zombie thriller, peopled with characters that are perfectly imperfect. Each bearing the traumas of their own pasts, traumas that surface as the trauma of their battle for survival takes it's toll. Add in a welcome dose of true humanity, and country common sense, you can't help but feel for them....and in doing so, feel the horror of their plight that much more.

And let's not forget appearances by folks that fans of the horror community will recognize immediately.

Ronald Kelly is back....and better than ever.

Highly recommended.

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review 2019-01-19 12:17
Maybe Ever After by Cassie Graham
Maybe Ever After - Cassie Graham

 

 

When the going gets tough they have each others back, but are they ready for something more? When best friends become a heart's desire are when the lines between heart and head become more than a little blurred. Maybe Ever After is the road less traveled. Brynn and Easton know the risks, yet still hunger for more. Graham stirs up the obvious emotions with a friends to lovers romance. If not a romantic this sentimental roller-coaster ride will make a believer out of you.

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review 2019-01-19 11:49
The Magnolia Inn by Carolyn Brown
The Magnolia Inn - Carolyn Brown

 

 

Life is not about the mistakes made, but the lessons learned. For Tucker and Jolene fate is about to teach them the beauty of a second chance. Knocked down by life, crippled by heartache and wishing for something more, the lonely widower and the determined thorn in his side are about to discover that even a bruised heart can heal. The Magnolia Inn is a restoration project for the soul.

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