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review 2017-09-19 21:54
Lord Halloween
A Soul to Steal - Rob Blackwell

*Published 2011

Today is the first day of October. By the end of it, five women, five men and five children will be rotting in the ground. You cannot stop me, just as you cannot stop change. I am night. I am cold. I am flesh rendered and torn. I am steel. I am the harbinger of fail: I am death. You can call me Lord Halloween. 

Borrowing heavily from the Headless Horseman legend and adding some Jack the Ripper and Freddy Kruger elements, this definitely had a nice Halloween feel to it. Our heroine Kate finds herself having dreams where she is being chased by a headless horseman and her mother is trying to warn and help her. When Kate was little her mother was murdered by Lord Halloween and he always told her he would come back for her. Unable to ignore her dreams Kate goes back to her hometown to try and solve the Lord Halloween mystery.

Quinn works at the local paper and immediately is drawn to the new reporter Kate. He's also been having dreams about a headless horseman chasing him. Coincidence? I think not! What follows is a murder mystery involving a Lord Halloween who writes letters to reporters describing his murders and wanting them printed so he can get the respect he thinks he deserves for everyone celebrating his holiday. There is also a paranormal mystery with the headless horseman chasing Quinn and Kate in their dreams and real life. There is a sizable cast of characters that work to keep you guessing as to who the murderer/s is/are and how Kate and Quinn tie in to it all. 

I think adding the paranormal aspect overly complicated matters and gave the story a looser feeling; I couldn't follow along with it. The graphic and at times creepy letters from Lord Halloween were adequate enough to provide some spook factor. This looks to be a continuing series and I imagine the paranormal storyline and connection Quinn and Kate have will be continued on and maybe flushed out a bit better. 

The writing was overall good but like I said, the murder and paranormal plot lines had a tendency to get a bit loose. A great October read though to get you in the Halloween mood. 

We are night. We are October. We are flesh rendered and torn. We are the rider that was promised long ago, the harbinger of fall: We are death, riding on a black horse. You can call us the Prince of Sanheim. 

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review 2017-09-19 15:42
Lies She Told
Lies She Told - Cate Holahan

By:  Cate Holahan 

ISBN: 9781683312956

Publisher:  Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: 9/12/2017 

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

LIES SHE TOLD by Cate Holahan is a dark and twisty mind-bending thriller with more than one unreliable narrator. 

On almost every page, this imaginative psychological thriller forces the reader to reconsider what is real. A book within a book when the lines of fact and fiction are blurred.

“The most dangerous untruths are truths slightly distorted.” — Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Notebook H 

Manhattan author Liza, (of romantic suspense) is under extreme pressure with her upcoming novel. 

Trevor, a forty-two-year-old (editor) is telling a thirty-five-year-old woman in the middle of her target audience demographic, what her peers want in the sack. He thinks he knows trends. 

Alternating between Liza’s POV in the real world, and Beth (the protagonist) in Liza’s novel. Needless to say, both these ladies lives are complex. 

"Blurring fact and fantasy is my trade. I am a con artist. A prevaricator. I make up stories." So why does he think this one is real? 

David Jacobson, husband of twelve years. Nick Landau, David’s law partner is missing. Nick never liked Liza.

Liza and David have been unable to conceive. Both the anxiety of this plus her writing deadlines push her to get lost in her characters. Their marriage is strained. 

. . . She does not invent her characters. She steals them from her surroundings. To be a writer is to be a life thief. Every day she robs herself blind.

"It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place." —Henry Louis Mencken, A Little Book in C Major

As the pressure of the deadlines mounts, Liza becomes immersed in her heroine. Unfaithful? Murder?

Is she writing about her own life? 

Beth has a new baby and her husband, Jake is a prosecutor. He is cheating, while she is home taking care of the baby. The sexy officer, Colleen. The psychiatrist, Tyler, and an old friend.

Will both stories lead to murder? The lines are blurred. 

Who is telling the truth? Who is not? Two stories intertwined.

The author cleverly draws readers into a world where truth blends with delusion, plus more. . . 

Dark, twisty, and sinister grip-lit. The author keeps the reader on its toes while switching from fact and fiction while questioning every move. 

Chilling, unique, intriguing, and disturbing, LIES SHE TOLD, will keep readers turning the pages. With all the books about LIES these days, this one definitely takes a distinctive spin. 

A special thank you to Crooked Lane and NetGalley for an early reading digital copy. 

I also purchased the audiobook narrated by Amy McFadden and Lisa Larsen, for a captivating performance.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/05/12/Lies-She-Told
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review 2017-09-18 22:16
Lightning Men
Lightning Men: A Novel - Thomas Mullen

Darktown #2

By:  Thomas Mullen 

ISBN: 9781501138799

Publisher: Atria 

Publication Date: 9/12/2017

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 5 Stars + 

 

From the acclaimed author, Thomas Mullen who introduced readers to the hit, Darktown landing on my Top Books of 2016 —racial integration of Atlanta’s police department in 1948 — with an explosive multi-layered complex follow-up: LIGHTNING MEN. 

Racial violence and corruption continue in 1950’s Atlanta, with African-American police officers, Boggs and Smith. 

As they say in the South, these two find themselves in a "heap of trouble.” (Among others). 

“Hot Atlanta” is not just sizzling. It is blistering. Fiery. Tensions and emotions run high. Loyalties are tested between family and law. Color lines are threatened. Moral lines are blurred. 

The second in the Darktown series, Mullen uses his hard-boiled crime, cop procedural, to explore post-WWII racism in the South. 

The highly anticipated character-driven LIGHTNING MEN is much more than just a crime-fictional thriller. It is infused with critical historical details and timely controversial subjects we face today.

“Any candid observer of American racial history must acknowledge that racism is highly adaptable.” – Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow 

Highly-charged, Mullen turns up the intensity with characters facing moral, family, social issues and compromises. 

Tensions rise. From racial prejudice, moonshining, drugs, greed, conspiracy, Klansmen, fascist Columbians, white supremacist, corruption, bigotry, violence, Jim Crow laws, preachers, shootouts, paybacks, fear, power, and segregated neighborhoods.

In Darktown, we met rookies: Officer Lucius Boggs and his partner, Tommy Smith. 

From different backgrounds, their office was housed in the basement of the Negro YMCA, a makeshift precinct. They were not even allowed to arrest white men, nor allowed to drive a squad car. They could not patrol outside of the Negro neighborhoods that constituted their beat. No respect and little support. 

Only ten black officers patrolled those thousands of souls. A third of Atlanta were black, yet they were crowded into only a fifth of the land. 

Boggs and Smith had not taken bribes; however, with two years on the force, it appeared half of the white officers took bribes, so how long would the Negro officers resist? 

They were tiring of their powerlessness. The son of a preacher, Boggs was all too familiar with the fallibility of men, even men with power. 

Denny Rakestraw (white) is distrusted by his fellow officers for his suspected role in the disappearance of his former partner, Lionel Dunlow. 

Rakestraw is not a racist but finds it difficult to fit in with his fellow white cops and work with the ten black cops. Neither side, fully trusts him. 

Denny’s problems increase when his Klansman brother-in-law, Dale Simpkins, gets involved in a plot to stop the influx of African-Americans into his neighborhood, Hanford Park. 

Some cops are part of the Klan. Will they accuse one of the richest men in Atlanta of selling moonshine and marijuana?

Boggs had come to respect McInnis over the last two years. He had stuck up for his charges during a few disputes with white officers. How far can he go to protect them? 

Boggs (preacher’s son) is dating Julie with a young son, Sage. Soon to be married. His family opposes the relationship since she is not of their social status. She has a secret past. She is intimidated by their prestigious family. 

When a black man, Jeremiah is released from prison after five years, things get personal. Boggs life gets complicated when he learns the connection. 

Two years earlier, Boggs came close to resigning his position and had second thoughts after a near-death experience. Now, he is unsure again.

Too many mistakes that weighed heavily on his soul. He is sure there would be more guilt and an awkward relationship with his partner. Can he remain as a cop? 

Events will lead each character to major soul-searching. Smith had crossed another line as well. He was afraid. 


. . . The Armor. The façade victims’ families typically wore when they needed to protect themselves or the memory of their loved ones. Folks who wore The Armor sometimes had secrets to hide. 

The Armor was firmly in place as they parried the officer’s attempts to learn more about the deceased. They wore The Armor to keep the cops from learning things. The secrets. . . 

The Armor was worn by the innocent, who had nothing to hide but their dignity, and they were so deeply offended to be questioned by these employees of the corrupt City of Atlanta, these paid enforcers of Jim Crow, that they refused to play along. They may be innocent, hurt, or protective. 

. . . “And lines are only ideas people dream up, to govern what should be possible, to keep you from moving toward the forbidden.”


Three policemen struggle. Each has an agenda and react in different ways to protect. Loyalties are tested. Family versus law. 

Can they continue to work with one hand tied behind their packs without the proper support to do their jobs? Will the latest emotional events, their actions, and tensions make them second guess their current careers? Will they continue to serve and make Atlanta a better city, or is it a useless effort? 

After violence and a shootout, will Hanford Park be transformed? Will the lines between white and black be blurred after the postwar crowding, pushing blacks into areas formerly considered whites-only (without violence)? 

From racial politics and struggles of history, Mullen does not miss a beat! 

The complex emotions of each character are portrayed in depth, making the characters jump off the page. Others threaten lives. Others protect. Struggles both interior and exterior. 

Complications. Affairs interrupted. Old scores settled. Blood feuds magnified. Pride. Costs were high. Greed. 

Hard-boiled. Explosive. Riveting. Timely! 

Love this enthralling series and looking forward to seeing what is in store next for Smith and Boggs. 

When reading of Boggs at his dad’s house for dinner with Julie, reminds me strongly of Greenleaf (a favorite show) and their preacher/family dinners. Heaven forbid, their children do not follow their well-laid controlled plans. 

Movie-worthy! For those who enjoy good crime fiction, and historical fiction as Mullen meticulously traces the civil rights movement through his well-written crime stories and cop procedurals, that involve "real" characters you come to care about. 

Fans of TV mini-series: Underground, Greenleaf and Queen Sugar will enjoy this intense series as well as Michael Connley’s Harry Bosch and Greg Iles' Penn Cage series. 

In addition to the early digital reading copy (thank you) provided by NetGalley and Atria, I also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – for an award-winning performance. Just finished. 

Move this series to the top of your list. If you reside in the South, this is a “must read.” Especially for those of us who found (find) Atlanta our home for many years. Another Southern winner! 

JDCMustReadBooks

****
Due to post-Irma, residing in South Florida with water damages, power outage, cell towers, and loss of internet for nine consecutive days; no gas, grocery, or mail service – late posting my review on pub day. Let's hope Maria does not pay us a visit. 

Yay! Today we have internet restored, power, cell towers, and mail service! Back in business. Ordered the hardcover copies of both DARKTOWN and LIGHTNING MEN for my personal library. So excited, they are out for delivery today, from Amazon! (Love the covers) Looking forward to receiving my copies. (Now, I have to figure out how to get the author to autograph) my copies. 

Busy catching up with posting reviews and my blog. Thanks everyone for your patience.
 
 
 

City on the verge of a race riot in ‘Darktown’ sequel


Thomas Mullen’s new novel examines brotherly hate  

By Tray Butler - For the AJC

 
 
 
 
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/04/19/Lightning-Men
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review 2017-09-18 21:40
Psychological Horror – Eeny Meeny by M J Arlidge @mjarlidge
By M. J. Arlidge Eeny Meeny: Di Helen Grace 1 [Paperback] - M.J. Arlidge

The cover and title for Eeny Meeny by M J Arlidge made this an easy reading choice for me. It gave me a feeling of danger and kept me reading to the end.

 

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace, #1)

Amazon US  /  Amazon UK  /  Amazon CA  /  Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW

 

The cover and title for Eeny Meeny by M J Arlidge made this an easy reading choice for me. It gave me a feeling of danger and kept me reading to the end. It’s his debut novel…and it’s a good one.

 

Adult Reading. S&M, bondage.

 

Hitchhiking, I think not. It will be very hazardous to someone’s health.

 

Sam and Amy had been taken and Amy wondered if she was capable of doing what was necessary to survive.

 

The psychological horror for Amy starts on the very first page. Will it destroy her?

 

Helen was born to be a cop. She is a badass with a flawed, yet soft heart, dedicated to her job.

 

With a sadist serial killer, Eeny Meeny reads like a Criminal Minds episode.

 

Some characters are flawed, but for me, that makes them more interesting. What is normal?

 

Others are innocent, yet doomed. Who and why? Have I met the killer?

 

Mystery and betrayal. Confrontation and choice? Love and sacrifice.

 

Someone was playing a devious and cruel game.

 

It took me a while to figure out the connection.

 

Be careful. The author is not afraid to kill off anyone if it suits his purpose. I love dark and evil, with mystery and suspense to die for, and we have plenty of it here.

 

I will be on the lookout for the next story in the Detective Inspector Helen Grace series.

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Eeny Meeny by M J Arlidge.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

 

Read more here.

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/psychological-horror-eeny-meeny-by-m-j-arlidge-mjarlidge
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review 2017-09-18 21:29
Pinky up while fighting
Soulless - Gail Carriger

 

Lord Conall Maccon,Earl of Woolsey, was Alpha of the local werewolves, and as a result, he had access to a wide array of truly vicious methods of dealing with Miss Alexia Tarabotti. 

Alexia is a preternatual, she has no soul and is therefore, something between the living and the supernatural. Whenever she touches a supernatural she renders any powers or offshoots of their supernatural ability moot. 
Conall is an Alpha werewolf leading the Woolsey pack and works for BUR, an organization that monitors, investigates, and keeps supernaturals in check. 
Alexia and Conall's back and forth sassy and grumpy chemistry was fun to follow along with but the supernatural world dominated this story.

The puritans left Queen Elizabeth's England for the New World because the queen sanctioned the supernatural presence in the British Isle. The Colonies had been entirely backward ever since: religious fingers in all their dealings with vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. It made America into a deeply superstitious place. 

It's the Victorian age and with a bit of alternate history, the world knows about supernaturals. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and the very rare preternaturals all knowingly exist. It took me until around 40% before I felt comfortable in the story. The pace and tone is written in a bit of a frenetic way and with so many new terms, beings, frameworks, and relationships thrown at me, it took awhile for me to catch up. 

"I am beginning to understand," she said in a quiet deadly voice, "who is the monster." 

The story is written with a bit tongue in cheek, is it more damning that our heroine is a preternatural or spinster? English decorum must always be displayed, regardless if one is dealing with vampires, werewolves, or villainous scientists. I liked this bit of irony on manners and how the author subtly took a jab at cultural norms, ideals, and human nature. 

I could have stood for more structure and development of relationships and less of the felt forced in steam punk components but overall, this was a fun world to visit for a couple hours. I'll read the next in the series and hopefully the groundwork laid in this one will allow me to hit the story running and secondary characters and relationships will flourish more.

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