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review 2017-02-22 15:57
Highwayman - Craig Saunders
Highwayman - Craig Saunders

I admit it. When it comes to my reading, I'm a completionist. For better or for worse, I finish what I start. I can't remember the last time that my little idiosyncrasy has bitten me in the butt as hard as it did when I read Craig Saunder's Highwayman. So many times I wanted to quit this mismashed bore of a story. But no. I trudged on through the mud of staccato bursts of sentences, multiple points of view storytelling that seemed to lead to nowhere, and a hazy plot that was about as entertaining as watching metal rust. Was it all bad? Not totally, but close. There were, indeed, parts where he'd get the ball rolling and I'd start to get into it only to come to a screeching halt and a new chapter of mundane happenings would be in front of me. I'm sure there's a decent story somewhere in Highwayman. Maybe I don't get what Saunders was trying to create. But, what I read a tedious lesson in patience with no payout for my troubles. Sorry, but I can't recommend Highwayman to anyone.

 

 

 

2 Talking Deer out of 5

 

 


This ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

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http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

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review 2017-02-11 16:49
Dwelling - Thomas Flowers
Dwelling (Subdue Book 1) - Thomas S Flowers

The Suicide Squad is the name a group of adolescents from the 90's gave themselves after getting their hands on the comic book of the same name. Ricky, Maggie, Bobby, Jonathan, and Jake's lives were changed forever that September morning when terrorists rammed their jetliners into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Ignited by patriotic fever, the boy's enlisted to go fight in the desert. Their lives would never be the same. Ricky is killed in combat, leaving his now wife, Maggie, all alone. Jonathan lost a leg in the same attack that killed Ricky and suffers from PTSD and guilt for not being able to save his friend. Heavy drinking doesn't seem to help the PTSD or the haunting vision of the dark creature he saw just before rocket was fired at their Humvee. Bobby is now a homeless vet that brought back more than haunting memories, and it rears its ugly head when the moon is full. Jake is a minister that has lost his faith due to the nightmares that followed him back from Iraq. The war has shattered all of their lives and they can't seem to deal with it on their own. But the remaining members of the Suicide Squad are being called back to a mysterious house on a remote Texas prairie in the small town of Jotham. Do the answers they seek to rid themselves of their nightmares reside in the house, or are their current nightmares just the tip of the iceberg to whats about to come?

 

 

First and foremost, Dwelling is Book One of a trilogy and it reads as such. If you're trying to decide whether or not to give Dwelling a try based off of reviews like this one, keep that little nugget in mind. I've read a handful of reviews from people bitching that the writing was good but nothing was solved or wrapped up by the end of the book, therefore they hate the story. People, people. Do a little research. Yes, Dwelling is open ended. Yes, you'll have to continue to read the rest of the series to find out what happens. That's why they call it a trilogy. Why am I ranting here? Because, I think that Flower's has received some very unfair (and very silly) criticism for the way he wrote Dwelling. Look. It's a very good book. The writing and pacing is amazingly mature for a newer author. The characters are well fleshed out and their problems that center around PTSD and loss from the war makes for a compelling read. The fact that Flowers is a vet himself comes through nicely in his writing. It adds that dose of realism that many authors lack when they write about a place that they've never been to. Dwelling is shadowy and haunting that feels all to real when you're reading it. Yeah, there's some shades of Stephen King's It permeating through the story, but show me a chilling, coming-of-age tale that you can't compare to It? There's definitely a nod to King, but Dwelling is definitely it's own monster. I'm looking forward to jumping into Book 2 - Emerging - and continuing the saga of The Suicide Squad. Won't you join me?

 

 


4 1/2 Rocket Launchers out of 5

 


I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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review 2017-01-30 03:26
The Final Reconciliation - Todd Keisling
The Final Reconciliation - Todd Keisling

So, as a fellow metal-head, I feel a kindred spirit with Todd as he unfurls The Final Reconciliation, a story about a journalist who is interviewing Aidan Cross. Cross is an aging guitarist who is institutionalized for going off his nut over the tragic show his band played 30 years ago. Aidan was the guitarist of the prog-metal band, The Yellow Kings. After hardcore touring in support of their EP, the band lands a two-album deal and head to Los Angeles to record their official first record. After a show in Texas, they pick up a groupie named Camille, who was waiting behind the club for the band. She immediately takes a shine to their lead singer, Johnny. Soon, the band learns that Camille is not your ordinary groupie trying to sponge off the band in hopes that they'll be famous. No, she has a different agenda and the band are simply pawns in her evil plan.

 

The Final Reconciliation pulls out it's inner Lovecraft and marries it with story about a heavy metal band. Metal bands have been influenced by all things macabre and Lovecraft is a favorite of many, i.e. Metallica. Keisling has done his homework. As someone who knows a thing or two, not much more, but a thing or two about metal bands, touring, and recording, he executes the story flawlessly. This is where so many writers can go astray - writing about something that they don't know enough about and the cracks show. This isn't the case here. Kudos to Keisling. Not only did he get his facts right, but he delivered one hell of a story, in the process.

 

 

 

5 Guitar Solos out of 5

 


This ARC was provided by Crystal Lake Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

 

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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review 2016-11-08 20:03
Wrathbone - Jason Parent
Wrathbone and Other Stories - Jason Parent

This is my second read of Jason's and this one is a short story collection. Without further ado, here we go:

 

 

Wrathbone-

 

 

The "title track" of this collection and it's an eerie display of watching a man sink deeper and deeper into madness. What makes this story even more unsettling is that it's based of true historical facts. Henry Rathbone was indeed a major in the Union army. He, and his wife Clara, were the guests of President Lincoln and his wife attending the play at the Ford theater where Lincoln was fatally shot. Rathbone did suffer from extreme guilt and eventually went mad from not being able to prevent the assassination of the president. This is Parent's imagining of what went on in Rathbone's mind after that fateful night. Impressive.

 

 

4 out of 5 stars

 

 


The Only Good Lawyer -

 

 

Bradley is a scum bag lawyer. A damn good one and he defends other scum bags for obscene amounts of money with no conscience hampering his ability to defend these lowlives. He gets a taste of his own medicine when a victim's father takes the stand. A fun ride that you know where it is leading, but still love the ride.

 

 

5 out of 5 stars

 

 

 


Dorian's Mirror -

 

 

What if your looks were what made you a success and defined you? What if every mirror you now gazed in reflected you as hideous and aging more every time you looked into it? For Dorian, the mirror was his best friend. Now it is his enemy.

 

 

 

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

 

 

 


For The Birds -

 

 

Nev's parrot has a peculiar craving. One warped story that is guaranteed to make you cringe!

 

 

 

4 out of 5 stars

 

 

 


Revenge is a Dish -

 

 

Maurice is hired to be a chef aboard a private yacht. Everything was going great until Maurice gets caught sampling the owner's wife's goodies. Oops. So what do you do with a guy when you're out in the middle of a vast ocean and days away from any land? Well, for Maurice, he gets tossed in the drink wearing nothing but his skivvies in shark infested waters. Needless to say, Maurice isn't in good mood after he's been floating on life ring for days fighting for his life. The only thing that keeps him going is his burning desire to enact revenge. Pass the salt, please.

 

 

 

5 out of 5 stars

 

 

 

 

Parent keeps getting better and better. There were 3 absolute gems out of this collection and, overall, there wasn't a clunker in the batch. That's saying a lot. His writing style is fluid and easy to read with an impressive vocabulary without being pretentious. I'm a reader and I read many books. It's been a month since I finished Wrathbone and these stories are still clearly tattooed in my brain. That's the sign of a good writer.

 

 


Overall - 4 1/2 President's Friends with Blood on their Clothes out of 5

 

 

 

You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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review 2016-11-07 16:43
The Eighth - Stephanie M. Wytovich
The Eighth - Stephanie M. Wytovich

I like my horror much the way I like my whisky - high quality, straight up, excellent from the beginning to the end, and leaving me wanting more. I can be all over the board when it comes to horror that I like. The biggest thing is suspension of disbelief. If I'm not buying into the story, it's a struggle to get through. That's why dark fantasy is a tough one for me to choke down. Most of the stuff that I encounter is so comic book-ish, it's hard for me to swallow, like cheap whiskey. So, when I was asked to read and review Stephanie Wytovich's dark fantasy tale, The Eighth, I was apprehensive, to say the least, eyeing it with the same kind of scrutiny as if someone poured me a glass of whiskey made in Cleveland. This may be Wytovich's debut novel, but she's no rookie in the writing world. Poetry seems to be her calling and she's been nominated for Bram Stoker Awards in that area. You can see it in her writing which, by the way, is very good. Her descriptions are top shelf. The girl has quite the vocabulary and she's not afraid to use it. She paints a landscape of hell with liberal strokes of Dante's Inferno along with accents of Clive Barker and Neil Gaimon, for good measure. The tale itself centers around Paimon, Satan's top soul collector. Paimon has been assigned to harvest Rhea's soul. In an unusual lack of preparedness, Paimon goes about the task withouth reading her file first. Bad mistake. If he had, he would've learned that Rhea is a spitting image of Marissa, Paimon's long lost love who he killed so many years ago. He struggles daily with this decision and, upon seeing Rhea, he immediately falls in love with her. There's no way he can deliver her to Lucifer. He has to have Rhea for himself. Well, you can see how this can become problematic and to no surprise, it does.

 

 

Wytovich's elegant writing style breathes life into the story. You can feel Paimon's sadness and pain. She's also no stranger to the red stuff, which this book has plenty. The "rules" of hell are a bit jumbled, but that may also be something that I missed on the initial reading. And that's really my only complaint for the whole story. I feel like I was missing something to tie it all together. Now, that's more of a problem for me and not the fault of the writer. If you're a fan of dark fantasy, pour yourself a tall glass of The Eighth. The writing is excellent from start to finish.

 

 

4 1/2 Deadly Sins out of 5

 

 

You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A2J1JOKW56F2YT

 

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