Sunday, 24 January 2016

Book review - Wrath - Chantal Noordeloos

Following on from her previous book in the Lucifer Falls series; Pride. Chantal returns with this book; Wrath.

Wrath follows the story of Nigerian woman; Fatima Oni. Written in my favoured first person persepective, we see a powerful opening to the story as we overlook the brutal and savage death of Fatima at the hand of an unknown man.

As the story continues, Fatima finds her soul reborn, her body naked in another world, where she faces gurdians; tall, terriying creatures, with cold eyes, and their mouths sewn up with thick, black thread. The tortured souls are forced to climb to platforms, where they are judged by Tormentors, remorseless figures who are tasked to weigh their sins.

As Fatima climbs to her platform to recieve her justice, she takes a look back on her life; A young woman forced to marry her fathers brother; Igharuosa, pregnant with her first child at just eleven years old. Forced into a life, looking after her three step children, the oldest of which attempts to rape her. Beaten and locked away by an unloving husband, deformed by childbirth, leading to her losing another two subsequent babies.

Fatima then follows the story of her life with her children, right up to the point where she is murdered, upon receiving her judgement, she makes a somewhat surprising choice.

That's all that I'm going to say regarding the story, as its a fairly short book, and I don't want to spoil the entire plot.

Right, with my thoughts; this is a very powerful, thought provoking read. just when you think that things can't get much bleaker for the character, they do, in abundance. Be prepared for a twisted tale of love, jealousy, guilt, anger, betrayal and of course, wrath. 

Chantal portrays the character in a simplistic, fluid prose, that really befits the character and at times, almost seems poetic.

Be prepared for a read that will really get into your head. Its a story that will stay with you, that in itself makes it unique. It made such a profound statement on me, that I almost had to stop reading at one part for a break. At times, its truly heartbreaking.

That said, the story is brilliantly put together, and no way in hell (excuse the pun) did I see the plot twists coming. This is the first release of 2016 for Chantal. I have a feeling that this is going to be a great year for her.

Go grab this, but be prepared to be moved. And not necessarily in a good way.

My rating, no less than 5/5, superb book.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Book review - CAR NEX - Badlands - Stuart Keane

Following on from Shaun Hupp's Trailer Park story, Keane brings us the latest installment of the Car Nex series.

The story takes us back to the wild west, where we follow a couple of outlaws; Morgan Sprake and Matthew Hickman. (Yes).

The scene is set as both men are staring down the barrel of a gun, belonging to lawman - Sherrif Bradley. Both men are wanted for their involvement in the cold blooded murder of an innkeeper, and cattle hand in Santa Fe. A bounty has been set on their heads for the mere sum of $100.  Cowboy Matt feels that this doesn't do justice to their reputation, so to up the ante, blows the law mans brains out.

As night falls, the two men sit discussing the boundaries that Matt wants to push. He wants to be remembered by their own legacy; one of the true greats. He shares a story of forbidden love with Morgan, and they discuss the evil in the world. 

Morgan becomes concerned, and suspects that Matt is drunk, when he claims to have already been face to face with Lucifer, and produces a pendant, where he claims he can summon a demon to this world to wreak havoc. Herein lies Matt's legacy.

As the two men ride into a new town; The Strip. The hostile reception that they receive from the locals, and a run in with a man of the cloth; Father Lennon, leads to a very unfortunate confrontation; Don't bring a knife to a gunfight, bring a demon.

So, what can you expect? Fun. That is the real word to describe this story.  I make no secrets about my fondness for this author's work, and again, Keane injects his trademark, meticulous scene setting, and addictive prose from the offset. The descrptives are real, and feel genuine, he really did his homework. It's a fantastic read. Full of violence, and chaos, and yes, for the fun of it.

It's a short story, the characters are great, and Keane once again shows that his writing is diverse enough to pack a hell of a punch in any circumstance. Please don't over think it, take it for what it is, with gritty dialogue and a closing scene that will leave you like you have been slapped around the chops, its a great addition to the Car Nex legacy.

Lets see where the baton gets passed next. Terry West - Hint, hint.

In summary, cracking short read, and the most handsome cowboy in the wild west.

My rating 5/5

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Book review - Nails - Fiona Dodwell

Ive read a few things now by this author and thoroughly enjoyed them, so when I saw this title released, I thought I would give it a whirl.

This is the story of Carla Bracken, a young lady who has decided to take the plunge from living with her parents, to her own rented house in the mysterious sounding number six, Moorelands.

In an unsecure job, the move will take her closer to work so that she can save on travel costs and brings her closer to her boyfriend; Josh.

Upon moving into the house, Carla starts to experience some strange occurences; Music stopping itself when played, strange tapping noises and voices throughout the night, and kitchen chairs seemingly moving on their own.

Unsure of whether she is just tired, Carla mentions it to Josh who sets up a recorder to try and capture the noises, with some interesting results.

When Carla gets a surprise visit from her new neighbour; Felicity, she begins to paint a picture that everything isn't as it seems, and that there is something mysterious about the previous tenant; Isabella Dundee and her daughter, Alicia.

Like the other stuff I have read by Dodwell, its very well written. It manages to build atmosphere and suspense well from the start, and has some really nice creepy moments. 

There are some great characters introduced throughout the story, and the character of Carla is well portrayed. Is she a woman who is really hearing and seeing things, or is her sanity beginning to slip away from her.

The only thing that stopped me giving it that extra star, is the character of Josh. He is portrayed as the boyfriend who is reluctant to commit to their relationship, but doesn't explain fully, why. Then, goes full tilt at the end, and again, offers no real reason.

In all, another great read. Creepy and chilling in the right places. The way the Carla character is written, really makes you sympathise with the feelings caused by her ordeal, and the lack of options that she has to escape them. A brilliant build throughout, and a nice, unexpected ending.

My rating 4/5. Keep them coming, I will continue to enjoy this writer's work.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Book review - Shivers - Jamie Page & Brandon Nichols

I just wanted something quick to read while I was out, and stumbled accross this short story.

Two detectives are discussing the evidence from a murder scene. George and Melissa Matthews are found slaughtered in their family home and their son; Dylan is missing. 

The police have a man in their custody; a man named Frankie. The man is dressed up as a clown and covered in blood. 

As Detective David Patton interviews the man, the clown known as Shiver's, attempts to hold back the giggles.

This is only a short story, but is written well. The timeline switches quite effectively, this is where I assume that the writers switch their split dialogue.

There are parts that are quite graphic, but nothing that most horror fans won't be able to handle. The dialogue during the interview is wel played out.

For a short story, it packs one hell of a punch.

My rating 4/5. Definitely worth a look.