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Search tags: wickedly-disturbed
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review 2017-05-22 18:35
Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman
Black Mad Wheel: A Novel - Josh Malerman

Black Mad Wheel is a story which defies categorization and instead focuses on delivering characters that you like and can believe in.

 

The Danes are a band consisting of ex-army men, (even if they were only in the army band), who are asked by the military to investigate a noise in the African desert. I know it sounds crazy, and maybe it is, but I found it be compelling dark fiction.

 

From Philip's point of view, (Philip being the band's keyboard player), the narrative switches between the trip to Africa and the present, in which he is hospitalized with every. single. bone. in his body broken. He wakes up not quite remembering everything that happened to him or what happened to the rest of the band. The very fact that he wakes up at all is a miracle. Or is it?

 

Featuring some of the creepiest scenes I've read in quite some time, the author's talent for dark fiction really shines through. I doubt that I'll ever look at a goat in the same way again and I'll probably freak out if I ever see a red piano in real life. I loved the writing and the descriptive scenes and I even loved reading about the two prior military teams that were sent to investigate this mystery sound. (Not to mention the story of the couple native to that part of the desert-it was truly disturbing.) The only difficulty I had was that the premise wasn't really believable-at least not to me. However, I suspended my disbelief, and once I did, I just went along for the ride and what a ride it was!

 

If you've ever felt a song in your heart, I believe you'll be able to identify with Philip and Ellen, his nurse, because it's the music they discover is a common bond between them. The ties between band members are also incredibly strong, (especially when they've been together as long as The Danes), and those connections are not easily broken. (In this respect, Black Mad Wheel reminds me of Robert McCammon's THE FIVE, easily one of the best fictional books about a band that I've ever read.) The last scene nearly broke my heart and I can't think of a more perfect ending.

 

Music, mystery, desert mines and mad doctors, (oh, didn't I mention that before?): with all that going on how can you resist reading this book? You know you want to! Go ahead: invest yourself in Black Mad Wheel , at the very least you'll be intrigued. At the very best, you will end up making space on your bookshelf at home-the one that houses all your favorite books. Highly recommended!

 

Available everywhere tomorrow, May 23, 2017 here: Black Mad Wheel: A Novel

 

*Thank to Ecco books and to Edeweiss for the e-ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This is it. *

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review 2017-04-23 15:24
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI - David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon is the true story of the slaughter of dozens of Osage Indians and how MANY people got away with it. It's SO over the top that if this were a fiction story I would say the author had overwritten it and that it wasn't realistic. David Grann has come at this story from two angles.

 

The Osage tribe reigned over much of the mid-west back in the day. By the time of this book, roughly the early 1920's, they were mostly moved onto what was thought to be worthless land in Oklahoma. Then oil was discovered there and their lives changed forever. The first angle was how the Osage were changed by the sudden influx of millions of dollars and how the white man viewed that; how they were jealous over that, and what they did about that.

 

The second angle comes from the law enforcement side of the story, and specifically the building up of the FBI. At the time the first murders occurred the FBI wasn't the FBI yet. By the time the investigation was in full swing, (keeping in mind that the Osage tribe had to basically beg and pay through the nose to get anyone to investigate or do anything at all about these murders), the FBI was officially called that and Mr. Hoover was in charge.

 

There is a third portion of the book, not exactly another angle, but a portion so unbelievable yet proven,(to my mind at least), to be true that it actually brought tears to my eyes. I can't get into more detail but trust me on this: it was horrifying. It was shameful. It was a wrong that's never been righted and I don't believe it ever can be.

 

Bravo to Mr. Grann for his extensive research on this case. A case that, until now, I had never heard of. That is an injustice. I believe Mr. Grann has done his damnedest to bring to light the wrongs that were committed here, and that alone is the only justice that the Osage can hope for at this late date.

 

I think we owe it to the Osage to read this book, and as such, I highly recommend it.

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Random House/Doubleday for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-04-18 18:30
Nightmare of the Dead by Vincenzo Bilof
Nightmare Of The Dead - Vincenzo Bilof

 

Nightmare of the Dead was a different kind of zombie/cannibal novel and I'm torn over it.

 

On the one hand, I enjoyed the creativity and imagination that went into this story. We have the Union and the Confederacy battling it out, with one side using medical experimentation to create the perfect type of soldier. And somehow this was done with a horror/western type feel to it-kudos to the author for that.

 

On the other hand, the writing felt disjointed. At times there seemed to be parts that were rewritten and inserted without regard for the paragraphs before and after. There were also a lot of missing words. These issues did bother me and took me out of the flow of the story more than once.

 

The author's descriptive skills were excellent and believe you me, there is a lot of blood, gore, torture, and rape here to describe. In that vein, Mr. Bilof's writing put me in mind of Tim Curran, whose imagination is beyond compare.

 

This was a quick reading, short novel and I did enjoy it, it's just that the writing could have been better. I would read more of this author's work in the future, in the hopes that he's honing his craft. If that's the case, then we certainly have not seen the last of Vincenzo Bilof.

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review 2017-04-13 22:30
Jericho's Razor by Casey Doran
Jericho's Razor (Jericho Sands) - Casey Doran

 

Jericho's Razor is a fast paced thrill ride, dodging the bad guys and the police until the very last page! What a blast!

 

Jericho Sands is a horror author being stalked by a serial killer. I know that it sounds like it's been done, and it has, but I think this one was above average. Being the son of serial killers himself, Jericho get his bad juju out through his writing. His character, Christian Black, acts out the things that Jericho has thought about and even seen during his time growing up. But now, someone is acting out the role of Christian and trying to pin it on Jericho. Who could it be and what do they want? You'll have to read this to find out.

 

I read the review of a Goodreads friend, (that'd be you, Bandit), and decided I needed to read this one for myself. I'm glad I did! Despite more than a few missing words and a couple of grammatical errors, I enjoyed this book. I read it in only 3 sittings and never once felt bored or questioned the motivations of the characters. A couple of them were rather cliche, (ambitious local politician, I'm looking at you), but overall I think Jericho's Razor was a resounding debut novel and I recommend it! I'll be looking forward to reading the next one later this year.

 

*Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the free e-copy in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2017-04-10 18:55
Elizabeth by Ken Greenhall
Elizabeth: A Novel of the Unnatural - Jonathan Janz,Ken Greenhall,Jessica Hamilton

 

NEVER have I been so unsettled reading a book narrated by a 14 year old girl. But perhaps that is because Elizabeth is not your ordinary teenager. She's descended from a long line of witches and is now discovering the power within her. Or is she? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

The prose in this book is simply outstanding. It's chilling at times because the narrator seems to have no feelings whatsoever. She talks about sex, acts of violence, and eating breakfast all in the same tone. Sometimes I would need to read a sentence or paragraph over again to be sure that I read it correctly.

 

Then, there's the sex. It's not graphic at all, there are no mentions of sex organs or the mechanics of the act itself...it's just there. Perhaps that is why it never bothered me, as sex between a 14 year old girl and adults should. Then again, perhaps it is because Elizabeth herself never expresses any feeling about it, she only mentions it as a...tool, (please forgive the half-hearted pun), to get what she wants.

 

The entire time I was reading, I was wondering if Elizabeth, indeed, possessed supernatural powers. Was everything going on simply a matter of coincidence and her overactive imagination? Or were these things actually happening because of her actions? (In this regard, Elizabeth reminds me of one of my favorite books, THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR by Anne Rivers Siddons.) It was the masterful writing of Mr. Greenhall that had me turning this fact over and over again in my mind. I know what conclusion I came to, I'm interested in yours!

 

This novel reminds me of why I became a horror fan in the first place, it wasn't the gore or the blood, (though those DO have their place and I love them too), it's human nature and what people can be capable of, underneath their ordinary facades. These days we have tons of books and TV shows about sociopaths/psychopaths/personality disorders-all of which are trying to explain things to us. Mr. Greenhall wrote this back in the day, (the 1970's), before FBI profiling and Criminal Minds. Even without all of those studies and the psychiatric manuals, he had this criminal profile down PAT.

 

Is Elizabeth continuing on her family's tradition of witchcraft, or is she another type of animal altogether? I HIGHLY recommend you read this book, and then come talk to me. We'll discuss it together!

 

*Thank you to the most awesome Valancourt Books for the free review copy in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

 

**Furthermore, thanks to Valancourt for bringing back these horror gems that may otherwise have been entirely forgotten. Bravo, guys! Bravo!**

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