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review 2018-05-14 18:52
BAD PENNIES by John Leonard
Bad Pennies - John F Leonard

 

Chris Carlisle's life is going to hell and he's taking us with him! It starts when Chris witnesses an accident wherein a gentleman dies. As good citizens do, he gets out of his car to see if the man is okay, but he's not. On a sudden impulse, Chris takes the dead man's wallet, gives his statement to the police when they arrive, and then goes on his way. He later discovers money inside and agonizes over it all day while working his stressful, low paying job. He decides he's going to go back and leave the wallet at the scene of the crime, but in the end it never happens. Instead, he decides to spend a little money on drinks and cocktails, and once he gets home, he discovers the money he spent has reappeared in the wallet. He still has the same amount he started with! How can this be? Will he do the right thing and return the wallet and/or report what he did? Or will he keep the wallet, (after all he is in dire need of money), and treat himself to a few things he really needs-like new clothes for work or a new car? You'll have to read this to find out.

 

This is a novel of supernatural horror and terrible things occurred on the pages of BAD PENNIES. Every time Chris decided on a course of action, I couldn't help but ask myself what I would have done in the same situation. When his actions lead to the deaths of innocents, animal attacks and doors opening where there previously were none, the situation escalates quickly, and I just hung on for the ride. I really felt for Chris and I could easily understand why he did what he did. Would I have made the same choices? Maybe so and I think that's the main reason I kept reading. That and my fascination with the Scaeth and what he/it might do next. I'm not going to say anything more about it, because that should be related to you by the author, not by me. I loved the imagination and creativity that went into several different scenes, and I truly felt afraid once or twice, which is a rarity.

 

The issues I had with this book were twofold and not too bothersome-the pacing was a bit off and it took a while for the story to really get going. (Once it did, though, it went quickly.) The second problem I had, (and this was probably just me being picky), was that there was too much foreshadowing going on. It seemed like every chapter ended on a sentence foreshadowing a future event. I don't mind a little of that here and there, but it was used a bit too often for my comfort.

 

BAD PENNIES had a lot of interesting and intriguing world-building going on that I need to know more about. Who was that Sammael guy? I want to know more about Brian MacGuire and his club. I want to know more about the Scaeth, what it wants, why it's here, and more about where it lives, (between the walls.) So now I'm left to waiting for Mr. Leonard to fill me in and I can't wait!

 

Strongly recommended for fans of supernatural horror!

 

*I received a paperback copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!* You can get a copy, (with it's super-cool new cover) here: BAD PENNIES

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review 2018-05-11 17:42
KILL CREEK by Scott Thomas, narrated by Bernard Setaro Clark
Kill Creek - Scott Thomas,Bernard Setaro Clark

Simply said, KILL CREEK was AWESOME! I've long been suspecting that a really good haunted house book was a thing of the past. I'm happy as hell to be proven wrong on that.

 

At first, I'm not going to lie, the standard trope of four people staying overnight in the oh-so scary house, did not impress me. But between the characters themselves, the background of the house, and how everyone came together, slowly this story began to win me over. In this case, we actually had 6 people staying overnight, on Halloween, to boot. Four famous horror authors, Wainwright, the man who orchestrated this affair, (being the founder of a website dedicated to all things horror), and his girlfriend Kate who is there to photograph any happenings. Then, (and get this surprising twist), not all that much happens and everyone goes home! So where's the scary stuff? What occurs that makes so many people rave about this book? Don't look at me, I'm not going to spoil it. You'll have to read it for yourself.

 

These characters burrowed down deep into my psyche, and I felt like I knew them all intimately. Every single one of them changed throughout, and be they good changes or bad, they were all different people by the denouement. I love that. I love unpredictability in both my books and my characters-who wants to read about boring flat Stanley?

 

The writing had a vivid feel to it and the author is terrific in his descriptive passages as well as with his dialogue. It all rang very true to me. I have to admit that I am impressed-even more so when I take into account that this is a debut novel. For many years, my favorite book was GHOST STORY by Peter Straub, and in my mind, I can't help but compare the two and KILL CREEK holds up to that comparison. That's the highest praise I can give.

 

Lastly, the narrator: Bernard Setaro Clark? You rock, man! You nailed it! What else is there to say?

 

I'm sure this audio will be in my top ten at the end of the year and as such it gets my highest recommendation. You should read it. Right now! Why are you still here? 

You can get your copy here: KILL CREEK

 

*I bought this e-book and the audio with my hard-earned cash and this opinion is my own.*

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review 2018-04-26 18:45
MANCHESTER VICE by Jack Strange
Manchester Vice (Noirvellas) - Jack Strange

 

MANCHESTER VICE is a tale about an ordinary man who makes some poor choices. What makes this a unique and fun story is the giddy abandon with which he goes about making these choices, and the fun I had watching his life deteriorate. I'm a terrible person!

 

But hey, so is Bradley Sharpe, ("just call me Brad"), but he didn't start out that way. He's on the brink of 60, (OLD to Brad), and tired of his boring life. His job as a crime journalist helps support his family, but it's the same old day to day doldrums. He meets with prisoners as a way of making himself feel useful. When he meets with terminally ill Jim, little does he know how much his life is about to change. How will his life change? What are those aforementioned poor choices? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book, (perhaps Miami Vice, except set in Manchester?), but what I got was surprising and amusing. First off, it's not that kind of vice. Second, Brad's decline was rapid, willy-nilly, even. He seemed to be blind to his own ineptness, even when he thought was learning from his mistakes. It's easy for the reader to see where he went wrong, but Brad was clueless most of the time. It was fun to see him rolling with the punches, moving from one thing to another, while the whole time still believing that HE'S the good guy.

 

Entertaining and fast paced, with both outright and dry humor, Jack Strange delivers the goods in this "noirvella" and I had a bloody good time going along for the ride!

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can get your copy here: MANCHESTER VICE

 

*I received this copy free in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2018-04-23 18:45
RAGE by Richard Bachman
Rage - Stephen King,Richard Bachman

I read RAGE for the first time over 20+ years ago, so the story seemed new to me.

 

In the light of all the school shootings that have occurred since this book was written, I understand why Stephen King, (aka Richard Bachman),  pulled it from publication in later editions of The Bachman Books.

 

That said, I do not think this is a good example of King's work. I've always thought that it was King's characters that make his stories so great, but I didn't find the characters in this story to have much depth. I didn't care about any of them and other than the novelty of being inside the school shooter's head, I didn't find anything special about this tale, other than that I did need to see it through to the end.

 

I re-read RAGE so that I could take part in a local Stephen King book group, and I'm glad that I did. (Though I'm still waffling about actually attending the group meeting, as my introvert alarm is sounding.) I say that I'm glad because this story reminded me that King hasn't always been the master of storytelling that he is today, he stumbled now and then. But hey, even when he stumbles he gets 3/5 stars from me because RAGE is a compelling tale.

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review 2018-04-13 18:30
WINTERBAY ABBEY by John Bladek and Javonna Duroe, narrated by Matt Godfrey
Winterbay Abbey: A Ghost Story - John Bladek,Davonna Juroe,Matt Godfrey

 

WINTERBAY ABBEY is a beautifully written Gothic style ghost story and I adored it, from start to finish!

 

When I saw this being compared to Susan Hill's THE WOMAN IN BLACK, I was a bit hesitant because, to be honest, I did not like that tale AT ALL. It was repetitious and I felt it lacked the Gothic, quiet horror atmosphere that I love so much. I needn't have worried because this book was much better than that one and it had the added advantage of Matt Godfrey's narration.

 

This is the story of a man and his wife, Will & Emily, getting over a recent accident where the wife nearly lost her hand. They've also just discovered that Emily is pregnant. Her damaged hand has affected her ability to contribute to the family's financial resources and times are tight. When Will's boss offers makes him take a job in Maine drawing up architecture plans to turn an abandoned abbey into a resort hotel, he jumps on the chance to secure his family's financial future. At the last minute, he decided to invite Emily to meet him there. Will their plans work out? Will they succeed in having a happy and healthy family? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I do love me a quiet horror story. What does that mean? For me, it means atmospheric, inspiring feelings of dread and fear, without spilling a lot of blood and guts. This must be difficult to write, because, to be honest, I haven't read that many good, quiet horror stories. This one is better than good, it's fantastic! There were a few instances where I thought Will made a bad decision or two, but overall, I also felt that it was realistic in the telling, and I was rooting for our couple to make it through.

 

With the always rich narration of Matt Godfrey, I felt this couple come to life. I hope that you give it a chance and let Will and Emily come alive for you.

 

Highly recommended!

 

Get your copy here: WINTERBAY ABBEY

 

*Thanks to narrator and friend, Matt Godfrey, for the audio copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!* 

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