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review 2018-12-11 22:32
Book Review of The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King
The Lore of Prometheus - Graham Austin-King

John Carver has three rules: Don't drink in the daytime, don't gamble when the luck has gone, and don't talk to the dead people who come to visit.

 

It has been almost five years since the incident in Kabul. Since the magic stirred within him and the stories began. Fleeing the army, running from the whispers, the guilt, and the fear he was losing his mind, Carver fell into addiction, dragging himself through life one day at a time.

 

Desperation has pulled him back to Afghanistan, back to the heat, the dust, and the truth he worked so hard to avoid. But there are others, obsessed with power and forbidden magics, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth of his gifts. Abducted and chained, Carver must break more than his own rules if he is to harness this power and survive.

 

Review 4.5 rounded up to 5*

 

This story is a fantastic mix of action, danger and magic. I loved it!

 

John Carver is an ex-soldier and war veteran. I liked this man a lot. He's someone you want watching your back, but he's seen and done things most civilians don't experience. He's faced danger and sacrificed much to protect others. When his squad was killed in Kabul five years before, his life changed forever. Some call it PTSD, others call it crazy, but John's also known to some as The Miracle of Kabul. To find out why you'll need to read the book. In dire need of funds, he finds himself headed back to Afghanistan as a security consultant. But things are not so simple, and as danger threatens, he will have to embrace his inner power once more.

 

Mackenzie Cartwright is a nurse working in Kabul, kidnapped while heading home after a shift at the local hospital. I liked her a lot too. She has an inner strength that shines through, even when dealing with her capture and subsequent torture.

 

This story is not for the faint-hearted and told through John's and Mackenzie's point of view. I was riveted to the story from the first page and didn't put it down until I finished it. Having read Faithless in 2017, I was expecting a dark, atmospheric tale, and that's what I got, though it was a little less claustrophobic since its set in a desert rather than an underground mine. I could tell a lot of research had gone into the writing of this book, from the military-speak to the weapons used, and everything in between. None of the violence is gratuitous in any way; it only enhances the realistic feel to the story.

Both John and Mackenzie go through hell, so there's little wonder their psyche becomes fractured. I think it was Lewis Caroll, who's character, The Cheshire Cat, said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "We're all a little insane here." What is reality? What is normal? The author explores this concept and adds a twist to it. We know only a fraction of what the brain is capable of, so who's to say that there's no potential for our minds to evolve to use capabilities such as ESP, telekinesis and other paranormal activity. It would be interesting to find out. But it could be several decades, if not a few hundred years before the human mind is understood enough to know if these powers are latent within everyone. Or if it's our perception of the world around us that creates our reality. I find it intriguing.

 

There is a lot of action, particularly towards the middle and end of the book, that had me sitting on the edge of my seat. By the time I reached the end of the book, I felt breathless and was left wanting more. I don't know if the author intends to turn this into a series, but I would be interested to see what John and Mackenzie are capable of together in the future.

 

Graham Austin-King has written an exciting, dark military fiction novel that kept me turning the pages. This book is superb! I think that this book is a lot stronger than The Riven Wyrde Saga and shows this author's growth in confidence as a writer. I love his fast-paced writing style, and the story flowed wonderfully from beginning to end. The characters came alive on the page and felt remarkably lifelike.

 

Although there is mention of sex, it’s not explicitly shown. Nevertheless, I do not recommend this book to young children or those of a nervous disposition, as there are scenes of violence and gore (battle scenes amongst others) that could be very disturbing to some readers. However, I highly recommend this book to older teens and adults alike if you love dark thrillers, military fiction, and/or paranormal fantasy stories that have an X-Men feel to them. - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-12-02 16:01
Noirvember Reading: ALFF by Jakob Nolte
ALFF - Jakob Nolte

Jakob Nolte is a young German playwright and author. ALFF is his debut novel, published 2015. A hideous crime has been committed at the High & Low High School of Beetaville, New England: a student was found dead, sewn into a fence. Soon a second body follows. FBI agent Donna Jones is called to investigate. But the murderer is elusive, the investigation seems fruitless, and Donna reaches the edge of his sanity.

 

Put like this, the plot sounds clear-cut - but it isn't. With Nolte, form comes before function, and so he's less concerned with telling a crime-story, and much more with a danse macabre on the grave of US High School comedies from the 1990s. Nolte, who's born 1988 and has never been to the US, spins a post-modern, absurdist yarn with little regard for reality, but sometimes touching pretty close to the truth: the truth of being a teenager in the 1990s, the time of Grunge and Silence of the Lambs and S7ven, without ubiquitous mobile phones or even ubiquitous internet. It's a bit like Twin Peaks meets Heathers, but more, well, more 90s.

 

I didn't like ALFF as much as I liked Nolte's second novel, the German Book Award-nominated Schreckliche Gewalten, one of my favourite German novels of the last ten years. ALFF felt a bit too long and could've been more punchy. I still enjoyed it a lot. If you want to see somebody using the German language as a playing field, with a sense for style and little respect for convention, Nolte's your guy.

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review 2018-11-27 18:44
Review: "Wedding Cake and Woes" (Peridale Cafe Mystery, #15) by Agatha Frost
Wedding Cake and Woes - Agatha Frost

 

~ 3 stars ~

 

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text 2018-11-21 10:01
How to Kill Friends and Implicate People - I've read 36%.
How To Kill Friends And Implicate People - Jay Stringer

This feels a lot slower than the first part. All the POV characters go on wild tangents, giving us their backstory, their friends' and family's backstory, the backstory of their fathers' goldfish... (Literally. Okay, it was a Koi, but that's just big goldfish.) I sometimes wish they would just stop talking and get the fuck on with the action.

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review 2018-11-18 11:59
Noirvember Reading: Heart's Desire - Boystown 11 by Marshall Thornton
Boystown 11: Heart's Desire - Marshall Thornton

Boystown: SVU edition

 

This one hits hard. Not so much because of the crimes being investigated, but because the Boystown series takes the reader back to 1980‘s gay Chicago – and that means, back to the advent of the AIDS crisis. A time of confusion and fear and so, so many people lost. I know that some people of my generation and younger think it‘s time to let the AIDS-stories rest, to give us queer stories with happier outcomes. I can only partly agree with that. Yes, we deserve happy stories with happy endings. But for many, the pain of the 1980‘s and 1990‘s is still fresh. And their stories deserve to be told, too.

 

Anyway, to the book: Grumpy PI Nick Nowak is even a bit more grumpy than usual; the last installment ended with him being shot and he‘s still recovering from a busted shoulder blade. Which also impairs his sex life. But he can‘t grumble like he‘d like to, because he still has to care about his best friend Ross, who‘s slowly dying of AIDS, and about Mrs. Harker, his late lover‘s mother, who‘s slowly dying of cancer. Although he should be resting, Nick takes a case helping a bipolar woman who‘s convinced she had witnessed a murder. No evidence of said murder can be found and Nick his hired by the woman‘s sister to either prove or disprove her claim. At the same time, Nick has to deal with a law suit concerning his ward Terry, a teenager who‘s supposed to testify against his abusive former deacon. The church wants to cover the abuse, and Nick wants to prevent that.

 

The murder mystery is pretty much only background to show how events in Nick‘s life enfold. And look at Nick: He‘s all grown-up now! Past grief, present fear and anger, but also his commitment to his relationship with Joseph, have changed him a lot. But at the core he stays the gruff guy with a big heart, a rock for his circle of friends and found family, someone people can rely on, although he probably doesn‘t see himself that way.

 

In my review for the last installment, I have complained about too little Joseph and Ross. Both get considerable more on-page time here, and it‘s for the better. Joseph‘s allowed to show his sweet, helpful character again, and his psychological knowledge and good-people-skills come in handy in Nick‘s latest employment. Spending more time with Ross is bittersweet: it‘s painful to watch him slowly fade away. On the other hand his interactions with Nick are just so lovely to read. Those two just click naturally.

 

Although the subject matter is rather grim, Thornton has given Nick enough sense of irony and sarcasm to put a smile onto the readers face every once in a while. This won‘t be the last we see of Nick Nowak. There are some tearful Goodbyes to come, but I hope there will also be some happiness in Nick‘s life.

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