Review: Apostle Rising

Apostle Rising
Richard Godwin

Detective Chief Inspector Frank Castle never caught the Woodlands Killer and it almost destroyed him. Now years later, mauled by the press and traumatised by nightmares, he is faced with a copycat killer with detailed inside knowledge of the original case.

He and his partner DI Jacki Stone enter a deadly labyrinth, and at its centre is the man Castle believes was responsible for the first killings. He’s running a sinister cult and playing dark mind games with the police. The investigation has a shattering effect on the lives of Castle and Stone. The killer is crucifying politicians, and he keeps raising the stakes and slipping through their hands. Dark coded ritualistic killings are being carried out on high profile figures and the body count is rising. Castle employs a brilliant psychologist to help him solve the case, and he begins to dig into the killer’s psyche. But some psychopaths are cleverer than others.

Review: Godwin offers a brutal tale of murder, trauma and heartbreaking suffering. Castle and Stone face a villain whose chutzpah is matched only by his malevolence — and his seeming inability to get caught. Castle, haunted by the elusive killer years before, has been consumed by the case, drinking his way out of his marriage and nearly his job. Stone finds herself slipping toward the same fate, and begins fighting her way back from it. The addition of a second set of serial murders seems impossibly vicious — the only thing worse is that the two killers seem to be working in concert.

Not for the faint of heart, Apostle Rising offers a bloody bouquet of excruciating murders and bizarre religious mania. Right down to the final, cruel twist of discovery, each page offers more horror. But you read on in hopes that Castle and Stone will survive ad that they will finally stop the unrepentant mastermind behind the crimes. Prepare your heart for darkness — and like most of the characters in this book, you’ll probably want a strong glass of something to help you bear it.

~ K. A. Laity

Shards of the Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder

“The Brothers Grimm meets Lord of the Rings.” –Patrick Thomas, author of The Murphy’s Lore series

Amazon Kindle US:Shards Of The Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder

Amazon Kindle UK:Shards Of The Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder

Author: Roy A. Mauritsen
Publisher: Padwolf Publishing Inc. (April 16, 2012)
Print Length: 320 pages

Shards of a glass slipper pushes beyond the boundaries of alternative history.  But not our history, the history of fairy tales and fables. Well actually it creates a whole new world.  I was amazed to find CGI pictures of characters and scenery throughout the Kindle Version.

In the beginning we are taken to a secluded hut on a beach inhabited by a crippled young woman.  A young woman who hides a secret and her identity from the world.  Yet her disability has far from broken her will and spirit which is shown when she attempts to rescue a shipwrecked soul.

The scene shifts to a travelling pair, Patience and Hamelin, who are on a journey to deliver the shards of the much fabled glass slippers to the grave of Cinderella’s mother. Their travels are interrupted at the scene of the grave and both travelers, and they are thrown into the battle if tyranny, rebellion, and self-doubt.

Throughout the novel, we meet many characters from our childhood stories, with a whole new venture in the after-times of the stories we once known.  Hansel and Gretel turned witch hunters, Goldie Locks travels with her three furry companions, Snow White commands the rebellious army of dwarves battling against Queen Cinderella who has been corrupted with power.  Plus many more characters and sly yet quirky hints and mentions.

As the Frog Prince commands Queen Cinders army they also are searching for powerful artefacts in which they can restore the magic back to its full capacity.  In the process, they break an ancient treaty and the evil army and its leaders are faced with a whole new threat on the horizon.

I have to say the book is mostly ‘believable’, with the exception of the characters and creatures from An End World. Though many characters have already been pre-developed,  we find ourselves reading the development of Patience and  Hamelin as they find themselves adapting to their new lives. Thus being said we also follow the changes of the other predominant characters as challenges, heart ache, old and new love are thrusted upon them.

Review: Speed Loader – Buy It Or I’ll Punch You In The Face

by L. Vera

Okay, so I get many books for free, but I would have easily paid five times the amount for this book. (5 times .99 not 5 times 0) It’s that good. So far I’d say it’s the second best book I’ve read all year. Dig Ten Graves would still be number one. But Speed Loader was just a damn good compilation. There are only six stories but each one brings its craziness to the surface.

First off, Nigel Bird’s “You Dirty Rat”. It’s a attention stealer, I could not put the story down. I love the length and the complexity, it’s an overall great and polished read. It’s a story about a man who was brave enough to do the right thing – revenge an unnecessary wrong. It really spoke to me, since I was always told I had a Superman complex. Only if I was as brave.

Secondly, W. D. County “Plastic Soldiers”. It’s a story that may be a little hard to swallow. The subject is dark, not a little dark but straight up dark. It’s about kids who are stolen and there souls are sold to pedophiles and perverts for money. One child’s only solace is his plastic soldiers. It’s emotional and deep. This is the first story I read of County’s work. (Which I’ve regretted) and will definetly look forward to others.

“Cuffs” was also a great read. What happens when a normal joe is pulled over by a crazy cop? This happens, and boy does this story make me hate cops even more. It’s a crazy and twisty ride, which is worth the price of the book alone.

These two stories alone are the best out of the book. The rest also kept my attention, but I think just having the book start off with those two stories, made me want to keep reading the others. I read the whole book in two days. The only other story I want to talk about is Johnathon Woods “Crash & Burn”. It’s a story which has a good mix of complexity. It has many stories weaving in and out, characters moving and interacting slowly with each others world’s and it’s done nicely. I always ask for more complexities in stories, which is something different from the linear path amateur writers use – Woods is no amateur. I did think he got a tad carried away and could have used one less character, but still pulls off a nice long story, the perfect story to end the book with.

If you buy this book and tell me it’s not great, I’ll punch you in the face. Don’t even think of trying it either, I workout. 🙂

Buy Speed Loader on Amazon:

UK for 77 pences.

U.S.A. for 99 cents.

My Tricky Interview With A Zombie

This is a special day. Not only will I be reviewing Zed by Stephen Herfst, he has also graciously accepted my invitation for an interview.

My Review

Imagine being the only Zombie that can think. Do you belong with other zombies, or should you avoid them? You would have to wonder, why me? Why am I the only one, and where do I belong?

Zed chooses a life of seclusion, away from zombies and humans alike. That is until one eventful night when he encounters Chase. Thrown together by chance, they stay together to survive. There is danger for a young girl in these times, especially one traveling alone. Not to mention the human horde that wants to kill and mount all zombies they come across. Maybe, if they work together, Chase and Zed can make it to a safe zone and live their lives in peace.

I am still struggling to tell you about this story. It is much more than the gratuitous zombies eating people scenes, of which there are some doozies. It is also funny, like when Zed goes to the maul. And Chase, man is she a firecracker. She provides the spark and sets his book on fire. You can not help but love her.

Let me tell you, this book is an amazing read. There are so many ups and downs, spins and teeth-clenching thrills inside it. It is unlike any other zombie book you have read and you should not miss out. Get Zed and get reading. I hear there are more books to come.

Now I have a special treat for you. Today I was supposed to be interviewing Stephen Herfst. Alas, he was unable to attend, so he sent Zed in his stead.

To those of you who have not met Zed, Stephen Herfst has written a whole book about him. The book is called Zed.

Now, Zed is a zombie and we know they don’t like to be kept waiting, so I better get to the interview.

Would you prefer eating brains from a man or a woman?

Hmm…it would be relative to what I am in the mood for; the flavour of a woman’s brain is intense, sweet and decidedly complex with hidden nuances that require my full attention. A man’s brain is musky, with a strong flavour that underlies the overall demeanour of the host. of course, certain nationalities would result in some differences, for example, Italians/Spanish are prone to irrational bursts of flavour.

Could you describe what brains taste like?

First of all, the texture deserves some focus: a combination I would best describe as between broiled cauliflower and pate. A pert outer-shell that gives way to a smooth creamy centre. The flavour of the brain is subtle, and its most basic flavour tastes similar to pureed fatty chicken bathed in a brine of embryonic fluid. The flavour is also influenced by the host’s diet, with a wine-favouring host being the most delectable. I do like a good red wine marinade.

Would you date another zombie?

If the right female zombie came along…maybe. I take a pride in my appearance and so my partner would need to follow suit. There is a certain predictability to the female of my species, and so, they simply require no more than the offering of some human flesh to win their heart. it is true what they about the way to one’s heart.

Do you want to remember who you were before?

It does irritate that the information does not come to me. All of my knowledge I have gained since my rebirth. Sometimes something triggers what might be a glimpse into what I think is the past. I am not sure but I have times , so  when it happens, it will be one more thing that I can tick off my list.

What pet would you prefer?

I already have many pets. My books are house-trained, silent and speak to me when prompted and they can be silenced just as easily.

Do you floss?

Yes. Personal hygiene is important. I certainly would not want to suffer from gingivitis(or gum-disease). – certainly do not want to exacerbate any additional flesh rot.

Where would you like to live?

Wherever I can be left to my own devices. Humans are a troublesome horde, always wanting to kill me, mount me, or worse, rescue me. It irritates me that they would somehow think my present situation would require rescuing.

If you were like other zombies that only mutter brains and could say something else, what would you say?

I have to admit, I do use the classic call of Brains when enticing my antagonists into one of my traps. I believe it is best to play to expectation until their realisation comes too late. Alternatively, I prefer saying nothing. Why would you want your prey knowing ahead of time of their impending doom, anyway?

Now I think I have answered more than enough questions. It is a good thing that I am in a good mood(and do not have my Zombie Kit with me). You caught me at a moment of weakness…and I do not like it. Now be off before I find reason to change my mind…zombies are known for that, after all.

Well, I beat a hasty exit, glad to still be in one piece.

My thanks to Zed for being so obliging and to Stephen for allowing this interview.

For a prologue of Zed and my comments you can go here: http://wp.me/p27ipo-68

You can read more about Stephen and Zed here: http://stephenherfst.blogspot.com/2012/06/impromptu-interview-by-zed.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheRandomThoughtsOfStephenHerfst+%28The+random+thoughts+of+Stephen+Herfst%29&utm_content=Yahoo%21+Mail

To purchase your copy of Zed just click on the cover image above.

Review: Harry Charter’s Chronicles (An Uppercutting Detective Story)

Reviewer: L. Vera

Author: Graham Smith

Book: Harry Charters’ Chronicles

A very interesting read. The writing is quick, full of fights and detective work. It’s basically a whole bunch of short stories thrown together to form a novella. When you read it, it’s like reading a very busy detective’s life. Almost like watching a whole season in one sitting. I actually enjoyed being pulled into this world. I would read a lot of book  structured this way. It’s new and I just so happened to like it.

I had some problems with the Harry Charter. The character is invincible, and extremely lucky. I did think he was almost like Popeye but instead of spinach, his fuel was alcohol. Okay, he had vices, the most obvious one was his alcohol addiction, but beyond that he beats up everybody like he’s Chuck Norris. I actually wanted to see his ass handed to him near the end; but instead we find him uppercutting and maneuvering like ninja. A guy like this shouldn’t be a detective, he should be the one who takes The Ring into Mordor. (Yeah, I fit a LOTR reference in ’cause I’m awesome.) This guy should have higher rates then what he charged since he never failed a case.

This book would be perfect if it had these three fixes:

  • Better transition between stories. (It’s like whatever happened Monday, didn’t really effect anyone or anything; and by the end of the book only the last case mattered)
  • The case that made him the sonafabitch that he was.
  • Got beat up. (At least once. I’d like to see how he deals with something not going as planned.)

Overall, it’s a good read. The structure itself reads great. It’s fresh and even though I was wondering where the next story ended and one began, accepting the fact that like life, there is no beginning and end, it works. It could use a little refining and a table of contents, but overall a fresh book and a decent price.

-L. Vera

Patient Zero

 

I went looking for a good zombie collection on my Kindle and look what I found.

ZERO

Edited by TW Brown

FORWARD

How did it all begin for you? What was the instant you became a die-hard zombophile? For me, it was my fourteenth birthday when a neighbor took me to see Dawn of the Dead. The funny thing is, I was actually there to see the other film playing in the double-feature (remember those days?).

So … think back to the past dozen or so zombie books you’ve read.

How many really delve into how it all begins? It has to start somewhere … right? In these pages, you will find out how it all began.

Seven writers have given you a look at that first person to fall: Patient Zero. This anthology opens the door to the genesis of the zombie apocalypse in detail. Could it really be something as simple a s a paper cut? The answer awaits you.

The Morning Show Host by Patrick Shand

Minnie Brown was the catalyst, the one that brought about the beginning of the end for mankind. And to think it all started with a paper cut.

Minnie tells her story in the form of a written apology to be read by a survivor, if there is one. It doesn’t look too good out there.

A simple paper cut lands her in the hospital.

“I died forty times from a paper cut?” I said. “Wow, I’m a bit of a pussy.”

She is witty and likes to tell jokes, especially dirty jokes, you know, ones about body parts.

“… Hey, you want to take any bets on how many times I croak?”

She thought of herself as “Just some crazy lady who told dumb jokes on the radio at the asscrack of dawn.”

The Zombie Curse by Bennie L. Newsome

This story takes place over 96 hrs, the amount of time Justin is given  to save himself.

Justin Burrows, ladies man, cheat. He slinks home in the wee hours of the morning and is caught by wifie when he tries to sneak in. When she doesn’t buy his explanations, he figures if all else fails turn the tables on her. He lied so well that he actually convinced himself that he had been wronged.

His restless night on the couch was filled with vivid dreams of his sexual escapades with his one night stand. In the middle of their activities, Justin opens his eyes and sees the woman is no woman. Her face has morphed into an evil visage of a demon, an ugly one. He should have run away screaming but, “Justin always thought with his smaller head, and he did not see why he should stop at that point. The man closed his eyes and enjoyed the ride.”

Now we know how it started. A romp in the sack with a demon. It was spread by a little love bite he gave the wife while having make-up sex.

Justin isn’t feeling too well at work, a severe migraine sends him home. Figuring a quick shower might help, he jumps in and lathers up. A loud smack makes him look down.

“The startled man looked between his legs, nothing there. Blood was not even present. His stuff had just … fallen off. somehow. He returned his gaze back to the bottom of the tub. There it was, the whole set, both the faucet and the two knobs.”

Boy, a lot of women would consider that poetic justice. I couldn’t stop laughing and read this whole story out loud to my mother and sister. We laughed our asses off.

Fatal Attraction with the ultimate twist. Maybe he should have just went home.

Termination Papers by Suzanne Robb

“The goal of Project Re-Genesis was to alter the internal structures of the human body so when an injury occurred, the body would be able to heal itself within mere seconds. Jerrod knew they meant well, but he didn’t think they had the interest’s of the soldiers at heart. First, they planned to inoculate the soldiers without telling them. Secondly, the kind of alterations happening would be painful and most likely result in the death of some. What they were asking his company to do would be an alteration of human DNA.”

What? The government isn’t concerned about our welfare? Big shocker there.

Months into the experiment, Spencer still has no results. It is do or die time, literally. He makes a mistake and one of his test subjects takes a bite out of him. Now he is on the other side of the safety glass, while others observe him and takes notes. Life is funny that way.

The Scientific Method by Nathaniel W. Phillips

A  mere clerk for The Post, more of a fact finder than anything. Why send him to Russia?

“It seemed like a pretty simple assignment, and in fact, it was, but the repercussions of it all … good Lord, saying that it was merely out of my league would trivialize the whole situation.”

The assignment was to gather documents about one Dr. Fenstermacher, a former Nazi SS officer. The scuttlebutt was that, while not as notorious as Dr. Josef Mengele, he also committed experiments of a most atrocious nature.

What our clerk discovers is Fenstermacher’s journal, containing descriptions of an unknown contagion. Inside the pages, he reads about unimaginable horrors performed on young boys and their ramifications.

Welcome to Nazi Germany 1944.

William by A. A. Garrison

A man, a woman, a child and a robotic babysitter.

A jingle from the commercial:

“Do the right thing for your loved one. Get a Swammy Sitter today.”

They seemed too good to be true. You could teach them to do damn near anything. Mow the lawn? Yep. Pressure wash the house? Sure, and you don’t have to worry, they don’t rust.

What you have forgotten is the golden rule. Never believe what you see on television and, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Escarg-O by Chantal Boudreau

Business is booming at The Crystal Fountain Bistro. Mars Grimm, a music icon and new patron, has made the restaurant very popular. To keep him coming back, Steve and Ray, cooks at the bistro, have to come up with new and unusual dishes.

You see, Mars will not eat the same thing twice. Except for snails. That’s what drew him to the bistro in the first place.

Desperate to hang on to their jobs, Steve and Ray use the black market. Steve finds the ultimate snails – Novisuccinea Ovalis. They are unusual, with eye stalks that rippled and vibrated, glowing a flourescent green. Truly revolting looking.

“Well, I was thinking of serving them raw.”

“Raw?! Are you crazy?!”

“Well, they serve sushi raw, don’t they? Ane we have to keep them alive to maintain the special effects. That’s the whole point, isn’t it – a weird novelty food? Mars will love them!”

Eating them raw probably would have been okay if Steve and his friend hadn’t given the snails a concoction of drugs to keep them from crawling off the music stars plate.

If I didn’t like escargo before, I definitely won’t be eating any now.

Quietus by Christopher Beck

One thing you could say about Reed is he is punctual. Every morning, at the same time, he arrives at the small pond to feed goldfish crackers to a pair of ducks. Also waiting for him is a starling, perched in a tree. The bird knows Reed’s feeding schedule and is waiting when he arrives.

Knowing Reed is a food source, the starling follows him to the lab and finds an open window. People mean food so it flies inside. Ever the opportunist, it samples what is left in a petri dish. Reed enters the lab and spots the starling but is too late to stop its escape.

Now the bird has a new appetite. All it takes is a peck on a tiny hand to spread the contagion.

These teaser reviews should have you drooling to read more. I will provide the napkins.

For more go to: www.meydecemberpublications.com

Review: Drunk On The Moon

Reviewer: L. Vera

Book: Drunk On The Moon

Author: Various

The idea is simple. Use a successful story, give other writers a chance to stretch the world of that story, wrap it in a pretty bow and sell it as a collection. I like the idea especially since that successful story is good, full of meat to work with. The anthology opens with the original story by Paul D. Brazil. It’s a mix of crime pulp and The Goon. (If you haven’t read The Goon you need to.) Roman Dalton, a werewolf detective is just an all-round, nicely created character that cracks skulls and bangs like a hard boiled detective should. I could see him easily in his own tv spot where we see him sitting in a diner, like an old Casablanca setting, alone and full melancholy fighting an itch that only the full moon could bring. I just think television needs more noir.

The book dances in a world of werewolves, zombies, detectives and gangs. The first story is exceptionally good, almost good enough to just drop 2.99 on it alone. After that we still see some other solid work. Allen Leverone does a great take of the werewolf detective, like he owns the character and does it without even having the detective using his werewolf form – nice. It’s smart writing you don’t see anymore and I love it.

K. A. Laity and Julia Madeleine also deliver, they always do. And B. R. Stateham did a wonderful job, he really out did himself in his story “Insatiable”. It’s the only real detective type story in this collection and his story is truly the hidden gem in this book. Just these few stories would have easily made me shell out money for this book. These authors never let me down.

Now Jason Michel story “Back To Nature” seemed to stop my express train through the book. The other stories were fast, no fat, all meaty stories. Then SCREECH! We come to “Back To Nature”. It starts with fat, a piece you can actually cut off. I found myself uninterested in the whole beginning, it was slow and pointless. You can actually skip it and jump to where the story picks up, where our detective finds a women alone in her cabin. Now the story grabs me. I wished he had just started here. But alas, he did not.

Now we get back on track with “Blood and Alcohol” by Frank Duffy. It was a solid read, nothing crazy just clean writing. But the next two stories seemed almost distant from the others. One was about a man who loved to hurt women and the other was about a man who liked to torture people. Both seemed like it was pushing towards snuff, which I like reading (mostly because it requires an art to keep it from being a straight up gory piles of mess). But come on, it’s just a werewolf put in situations. They didn’t take advantage of the characters in the first story or any of the good stuff that Paul D. Brazil had laid out.

Once you get past those two the rest of the book is good. It ends on a nice sweet note, with a prequel written by Paul D. Brazil. Good stuff. I would love to have read just a large array of short stories from Paul D. Brazil, he’s just a really good writer, who brings great edgy images to the surface. I like that.

I say buy this book. Buy it to read more of Brazil’s and Stateham’s work. Buy it to get connected with Laity’s and Madeleine’s, creative styles and stay for Roman Dalton, a detective that just so happens to grow hair were it doesn’t belong – we’ve all been there.

Like oversexed dames, werewolves and zombies? This one’s for you. Buy it on Amazon Here.