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review 2018-09-18 06:57
The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Labyrinth of the Spirits - Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The final chapter in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series follows secret police investigator Alicia Gris, scarred body and soul, as she takes one final case, and finds herself following a deadly trail which begins with a rare book that leads her back into the shadows of Barcelona's dark past, to the horrors of Franco's fascist regime....and even greater evils that some will commit any act to keep hidden.
A brilliant literary thriller that captures a pitch perfect sense of time and place, along with a near Gothic atmosphere that wafts from the pages like fog and the scent of old books, while the tension ratchets up to garotte tautness.

I was drawn in by the first paragraph, and didn't come up for air until I reached the last page.

Highly recommended finale to a highly recommended series.

Thanks to HarperCollins for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-08-31 00:31
The Siren and The Specter by Jonathan Janz
The Siren and The Spectre (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Jonathan Janz

Jonathan Janz has penned a Laymonesque haunted house tale.....no, that isn't right. What we have here is a purely Janzian ghost story, because no one writes like Jonathan Janz. At turns both bone chilling and gut wrenching, where the sins of the past return to taint the present, while leaving one guessing as to whose sins they are....and whose pasts.
An excellent addition to the sub-genre, tautly written, that will leave the reader guessing.....and sleeping with the lights on.

Highly recommended.

This was an eARC from Netgalley

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review 2016-08-13 02:36
Chills by Mary SanGiovanni
Chills - Mary SanGiovanni

 

When a rogue late season snow storm cuts off the town of Colby, Connecticut, the weather proves to be the least of problems for the stranded locals. Bodies are turning up in the snow, victims of ritual murder and something far worse. Joining forces with an enigmatic occult crime expert, police detective Jack Glazier finds himself in a race against time, for as the snow rises, so does the body count....and the bizarre goes off the charts. A cult has come to Colby, one with the keys needed to unleash an unspeakable horror upon the small town...and the world.

A fast paced horror/police procedural, populated with well rounded characters, an intriguing new spin on Lovecraftian style Mythos building, and enough chills to cut your air conditioning bills, SanGiovanni's latest delivers.

Highly recommended.

This was an eARC from Netgalley.

Expected publication: September 27th 2016 by Kensington Books/Lyrical Underground

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review 2016-08-06 23:58
The Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea
The Jersey Devil - Hunter Shea

 

This creature feature novel should come with an extra large bucket of popcorn....recalling the Saturday afternoon monster movies of my youth, with a healthy dash of "Die Hard" style mayhem thrown in. Pure, escapist fun.

When the legendary Jersey Devil returns to it's old stomping grounds, the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, all Hell breaks loose, as the once elusive creature is now hunting....and it may not be alone.

Only the Willet clan, all four generations of them, dare to challenge the Devil's reign of terror, to end a family curse. And the Willets are ready for war. Joined by a cryptozoologist, they head into the Pine Barrens armed to the teeth to face a legend.
And that may just be exactly where it wants them.

Hunter Shea brings his own spin to the Beast of the Barrens, expanding on the original legend with terrifying results, while peopling his novel with characters that are truly characters.

Non-stop, fast paced fun from the first page to the last.

Highly recommended.

Expected publication: August 30th 2016 by Pinnacle

This was an eArc from Netgalley.

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review 2016-07-12 03:46
Cast a Cold Eye by Alan Ryan
Cast a Cold Eye - Alan Ryan

 

Cast a Cold Eye is a perfect storm of a novel, bringing together atmosphere, location and mystery in one of the finest ghost stories it has been my pleasure to read.

An American author travels to a remote village in Ireland to gather background for a book on the Irish Famine, and discovers that the past is closer than he thinks.....and it does not lie quietly.

A beautifully constructed example of literary ghost story that doesn't burn slowly....it creeps up on you like the mists off the moors, slow and relentless, running chill fingers down the back of your neck. The suspense builds just as slowly, ratcheting up the reader's unease to the breaking point.

Kudos to Valancourt Books for bringing this masterwork by an underappreciated author back into print.

Highly recommended.

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