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review 2019-02-19 18:45
The Playing Card Killer (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Russell James


THE PLAYING CARD KILLER was one twisty-turny thriller of a ride!


Brian is tired of taking anxiety meds as he's been taking them his entire life. He decides to quit them cold turkey and see what life is really like. Unfortunately, his panic and anxiety attacks return and they seem worse than ever. Also, he can't sleep without having terrible nightmares wherein he's strangling people. When Brian learns that the victims he's seeing in his dreams are actually being killed, his anxiety ramps up to a previously unknown level. Is he murdering people while he's asleep in some kind of sleepwalking trance? How could he do such a thing? You'll have to read this book to find out!


It's hard to talk about this story without spoilers, but I'll give it my best shot. While I don't think this tale added anything new to the thriller genre, I do think it gave an unflinching look at anxiety and panic attacks. In fact, it personified them in the form of Mr. Jitters and that WAS new. To be honest, Mr. Jitters freaked me out. I've had personal, close up experience of what panic and anxiety attacks can do to a person and I've seen what the meds can do as well. There's nothing good about any of it and this book addresses those facts head on.


I loved the characterization in this book, especially that of Brian and Detective Weissbard. They came across as real to me, with real life concerns and problems. I could understand why Brian wanted to be off of his meds and why it was so important to him.


The only problems I really had with this story was that Weissbard's boss was a caricature of a "bad cop" and I thought that came across as a bit silly, even though I did hate the guy. Also, the real antagonist of this story didn't seem quite real to me at first, but as the tale progressed, I warmed up to him and I could see where he was coming from.


Overall, this fast paced story flew by and I enjoyed it. I think fans of psychological horror, serial killer stories and police procedurals would enjoy THE PLAYING CARD KILLER as well!





You can buy your copy here: THE PLAYING CARD KILLER 


*Thank you to Flame Tree Press for the paperback copy in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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text 2019-02-19 11:52
REVIEW BY SHEILA - Disjointed Lives by Morgan Sheppard
Disjointed Lives - Morgan Sheppard

Promotions Manager, Ava Reese, has all she ever wanted: a fantastic husband, a great job, a good life. But her past haunts her. 

Although she thought she had left the darkness behind long ago, her dreams start to haunt her during the day, making her question everything she has.

Ava hopes that meeting with her best friend, Paige, will help her find peace again. Can they put Ava’s dreams to rest, or will the past destroy everything Ava has so carefully built?

Source: archaeolibrarian.wixsite.com/website/single-post/2019/02/19/Disjointed-Lives-by-Morgan-Sheppard
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review 2019-02-13 18:45
The Immaculate Void - Brian Hodge


THE IMMACULATE VOID is a stellar entry in the fields of cosmic horror and dark fiction!


Brian Hodge has long been a favorite author of mine and this novel only justifies his position on my favorite authors list.


I'm finding that I don't have adequate words to properly review this book. (Which is the same way I felt about John Langan's THE FISHERMAN.) I was lucky enough to read both of these novels in 2019 and I'm just worried that nothing else I read this year will be as good as these two books.


My HIGHEST recommendation!


Get your copy here: THE IMMACULATE VOID


*This book is on the 2018 Locus Recommended Reading List and for good reason. If you don't want to listen to me, please listen to them!* http://locusmag.com/2019/02/2018-locus-recommended-reading-list/


** Book source: I bought this book with my hard earned cash.**

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review 2019-02-10 16:22
Waiting Out Winter - Kelli Owen

A few years ago we had an invasion of caterpillars that was so bad we would be driving over a carpet of them to get into our garage. Seriously, our blacktop was a moving wave of caterpillars. It freaks me out to this day, but hey-at least they didn't fly. Just think about how hard it is to avoid flies!


WAITING OUT WINTER is about an invasion of killer flies; a government experiment gone wrong, (don't they always?) However this isn't your average romping, chomping creature feature. This is a quiet little horror story, taking place during an apocalypse, but focused on the disaster from a small town and family point of view. It's not gory, but it is poignant, sad and scary.


This was a short, entertaining story and only my second from Kelli Owen. I recommend it and I will be on to the second novella shortly!


You can get a copy here: WAITING OUT WINTER


*I bought this book with my hard earned cash and Kelli Owen was kind enough to sign it for me. Thank you, Kelli!*

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review 2019-02-08 18:00
THE DEVIL ASPECT by Craig Russell
The Devil Aspect - P. Craig Russell


1935, Prague.


A young doctor named Viktor comes to the ancient castle/asylum, Hrad Orlu, excited to test his new theories in psychology. Housed at this asylum, isolated atop a mountain, are the 6 most dangerous killers alive today. At the bottom of the mountain in the town proper, a police detective named Lukas is trying his best to solve a series of murders which the press attributes to the "leather apron killer." At the same time as these events, the Nazis are on the rise in Germany. Will Viktor's new theories pan out, and allow psychiatry to identify dangerous individuals in the future? Will Lukas find his killer? Will the Nazis put a stop to all of that before it has even properly begun? You'll have to read THE DEVIL ASPECT to find out!


I found this book to be a marvelous new (to me), voice in fiction. The synopsis of this book had me so psyched I couldn't help but want to read it right away. I loved the Gothic setting of the castle, surrounded by rocky areas and dense forest. (What horror lover doesn't love that type of isolated setting?) Yet, just down the mountain is a town full of scared people. Losing its citizens one by one to a brutally violent killer, with what seems like zero progress by the police- I almost expected to see the townsfolk armed with torches heading up to the castle. (Because, surely that must be from where their misfortune emanates?)


But, that didn't happen, because the voice of Craig Russell is more original than that. This tale twisted and turned until I had no clue what was going to happen! As more of Viktor's theories were tested, some things became clearer, while others became more perplexing. On top of all this, there was the rise of the Nazi party always in the background. Combined together, these components contributed to the overall feelings of anxiety and darkness that permeated this book.


So why 4 stars and not 5? I felt the pacing dragged a bit during the middle portion of the story. Even though I was interested in all of the criminals Viktor was interviewing, I didn't feel that all of them were integral to the tale. It's a small thing, but at times I felt like I had been reading quite a lot without really getting anywhere.


This is what I took away from THE DEVIL ASPECT: A NOVEL. Fun? Check! Hypnotizing scenes between the doctor and the criminals? Check! A Gothic castle, set atop a mountain surrounded by a dense forest, and creating a dark and gloomy atmosphere? Check! Twists and turns galore which put our heroes in jeopardy? Check! A denouement to beat the band? Hell yes!


In short, (too late!), I recommend this novel to fans of the above, but most especially to fans of Gothic fiction and psychological horror! I predict that this novel is going to knock some socks off!


Available March 5th, but you can pre-order here: THE DEVIL ASPECT: A NOVEL


*Thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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