Charles Stross, "Overtime"


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Review: The Shawcross Letters: My Journey Into The Mind Of Evil

The Shawcross Letters: My Journey Into The Mind Of Evil The Shawcross Letters: My Journey Into The Mind Of Evil by John Paul Fay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review: THE SHAWCROSS LETTERS by John Paul Fay

Years ago I read a poignant description in a novel that I've never forgotten. The title and author I don't remember, but this sentence is indelible. It describes a patient, in an asylum or care home: "Only her eyes were alive, and they burned like those of someone who looked frequently into Hell." I firmly visualized, and still do; today, reading THE SHAWCROSS LETTERS, I feel it. I feel I've opened a book and I feel I've peered directly into Hades. Reader, if you've ever wondered if evil exists, if in human form there are those beyond the pale, wonder no longer. Remember: not all the dangerous ones are imprisoned. Out there are those whose thought processes don't even enter the same universe as us. We humans are fodder--just fodder.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Review: Darkest Night

Darkest Night Darkest Night by Tara Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review: DARKEST NIGHTS by Tara Thomas

If you want to know how the 10% live and love, try this mystery/romantic suspense. If you're curious about the links some will go to in order to.maintain their status, or to feed their greed, or to boost their status (or just cause they're sadistic, cruel, and unconscionable), take a close look at DARKEST NIGHTS. The War Between the States was not the only trouble that came to Charleston.

DARKEST NIGHTS is a fast-paced and sometimes gritty mystery that will entice and enthrall fans of Romantic Suspense.

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Review: The Goat Parade

The Goat Parade The Goat Parade by Peter N. Dudar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Release Feb. 27

Review: THE GOAT PARADE by Peter N. Dudar

First off, THE GOAT PARADE is my personal choice for one of the Best of 2018. I'd always wonder how readers and reviewers selected "Best of Year" early in a calendar year; now I know! THE GOAT PARADE is non-stop excitement, thrills, sheer unadulterated terror, and some of the deepest characterization I've read.

Author Peter Dudar doesn't stop with human characters, though he delves into each very deeply, exposing their past and future (for those allowed a future). One ongoing character is Old Scratch (yes, you know who I mean), the character who contains all the selfishness, all the greed, all the evil; and this novel is rife with evil, and Evil. THE GOAT PARADE is incredibly and indelibly gory, visceral, and outre, out of this world. I spent the entire novel wondering who would survive, for the horror is Juggernaut-imp'relacable. Every time a character thinks he or she exercises free will, they always discover their lives are fully designed by Old Scratch, for his own purposes, and there's no escape.

My cautionary warning: this novel is full-on extreme horror. It deals with such potentially triggering topics as incest, torture, rape, mutilation, murder, Satanism, serving the Dark Lord, childhood abuse, controlled substances, and more. So sensitive readers, slip away.

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Review: Her Mourning Portrait and Other Paranormal Oddities

Her Mourning Portrait and Other Paranormal Oddities Her Mourning Portrait and Other Paranormal Oddities by John Brhel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


WILDLY IMAGINATIVE! With a continuing frisson of perturbation, each story deals with relationships: between mortals, between deceased, between mortals and deceased. In this collection, Love never ends. Nor does Vengeance, or Betrayal.

Almost every story in this collection I found unsettling. Many are perturbing,several are disturbing. All set hooks in my imagination and refuse to be uprooted. I actually feel like a different individual for reading this collection--more aware, far more imaginative.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Review: Defiant Souls

Defiant Souls Defiant Souls by Kathleen Chadwick
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Review: DEFIANT SOULS by Kathleen Chadwick

"The Devil walks to and fro throughout the Earth." In this novel, that's exactly what he does. Walks, hitchhikes, builds a desert ghost town/mirage, and summons followers. You see, "the Devil came down to Southern Utah, looking for a soul to steal." {Okay, I changed the wording a little...} Stealing souls, calling out followers, interfering in a classified military/government complex hex--er, compound, and confiscating the project's most important Secret (and ultimate weapon). But hey, he's Lucifer; who's gonna stop him?? And that, as the late Paul Harvey orated, is The Rest of The Story...

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Review: Operation Cairo

Operation Cairo Operation Cairo by Lisa Klink
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


In serial format (shades of Charles Dickens), OPERATION CAIRO leaps head-first into the very high-ticket black market of artifact smuggling. From the lowly locals paid a pittance to dig for artifacts in the desert (in this case, in Egypt) through the "fences," on to smugglers who ship concealed artifacts within legal cargo, eventually to high-end art galleries whose clientele collectors are greedy to increase their collection, and careless as to provenance, cost, or legality.

Language expert, FBI Intelligence Division Agent, Georgetown-educated Cairo native Layla al-Deeb synchronistically becomes a part of a new sting to break this black market scheme, which has been twisted to fund terrorists. The downtrodden child of the most disrespected area of Cairo now is undercover infiltrating the very top society echelons in her native metropolis, among greedy, uncaring, fabulously wealthy strangers. Layla is a stranger in her own land, becoming a stranger to herself. A rapid-paced read, OPERATION CAIRO sets its protagonists as a pigeon among cats, and her high intellect and gift for languages must translate into a chameleonic ability to pass as a scion of High Society.

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Review: Primogen: Origin of Monsters

Primogen: Origin of Monsters Primogen: Origin of Monsters by Ramsey Campbell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The first word for this anthology is WOW!! Then, AWESOME!! Editor Donelle Pardee Whiting chose an absolutely stellar cast and truly superb stories. From the breathtaking first story, right through the last, I marveled, I boggled, I feared, and surely I didn't breathe. This is a truly outstanding anthology.

If you're really courageous, lock the doors, turn off the lights, read at night. If these stories don't raise goosebumps, stand hair on end {reading turned me into a twin of the Bride of Frankenstein....and speaking of twins....}, if this collection doesn't turn your hair white and leave you cowering in your Panic Room...well, you're braver than me.

One last note: thanks to the continuing generosity of Stitched Smile Publications, I was enormously privileged to read this anthology, in advance. But--on release date, I purchased a copy. That's how highly I value PRIMOGEN.

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Review: The Highwayman

The Highwayman The Highwayman by Matt Manochio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE HIGHWAYMAN by Matt Manochio

It's not uncommon for me to get involved in a book; that's part of my role and gift as reader. To become involved as deeply as happened with THE HIGHWAYMAN, is rare. I rode an emotional roller coaster with this novel. Part of that is the sensitive subject matter. Part is the author's courage in putting out there some really horrible individuals. Part is the plot itself; I'm sure readers will divide on who is ethically right and who is not. Then there was the denouement and climax, which left me astonished, astounded, and yes, speechless. I continued pondering that, and was further awestruck by the ending. Oh my, oh my, oh my.

This novel is very topical, very present. Dealing with the criminal justice system, with crimes often unreported or unpunished, with authority and its abuse (by individuals, not just "the system.") Unfortunately for our society, the story also rings all together too realistic. I came away with a strong drive "to speak Truth to power," as the author very much does here, and I also concluded with awe at Mr. Manocchio' s gifted output. My applause!

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Review: Waking the Ancients

Waking the Ancients Waking the Ancients by Catherine Cavendish
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: WAKING THE ANCIENTS by Catherine Cavendish

Some dark magic never dies. Some historical figures should not be returned to life {Idi Amin, Stalin, Pol Pot. Cleopatra and her sister}.

Paula and Phil Bancroft have just signed a three-year tenancy on a lovely mansion in the extraordinarily historied and cultured city of Vienna, Austria. Phil holds a significant post at the UN, and Paula is an artist and former history teacher. Unfortunately she is also psychically vulnerable, and their lovely new home is possessed by an evil magician/ archaeologist who will literally stop at nothing and no one to bring Cleopatra back to life (or some semblance of life).

Catherine Cavendish can unfailingly be counted on to scare readers senseless as simultaneously we find ourselves totally engrossed with her realistic characters. This haunting tale is second in the new WRATH OF THE ANCIENTS Trilogy.

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Review: Amber Fang: Revenge

Amber Fang: Revenge Amber Fang: Revenge by Arthur Slade
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: AMBER FANG 3 by Arthur Slade

Slide into a...comfortable vampire cozy thriller, with a vampire protagonist-heroine who reads (and delivers easier deaths to bad guys who read). Who can resist Ninja Librarians, dedicated to preserving Human knowledge and culture {shades of The Universal Library}? If you like your vampires not sparkly but snarky, your thrillers highly adventurous but leavened with quirky humor, and your characters likable, check out this third entry in the Amber Fang Series. (Caution: includes breathtaking moments!)

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Review: Days of Night

Days of Night Days of Night by Jonathan Stone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review: DAYS OF NIGHT by Jonathan Stone

DAYS OF NIGHT is a Hemingway-esque thriller set on the planet's final frontier, Antarctica. Joseph Heller, detective of long experience, is appointed by the US Marshals' office to investigate an unsolved (possibly unsolvable) cold case murder at McMurdo Station. Heller, for quite serious reasons of his own, welcomes the opportunity. However, the case is really difficult and clearly the killer is highly cunning. His progress is nearly nonexistent-and then the unthinkable happens: McMurdo Station loses all contact--with anywhere. Apparently the worst has come to pass, and the end of the world has manifested. Even other Antarctic stations are unreachable...and it's "winter-over," the season of unending night, when travel is impassable. It's just 157 lonely scientists, technicians, administrators, and maintenance personnel, isolated, in the way below freezing pitch dark Antarctic night, likely the last humans on Earth. 157..156...

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Review: Looking Glass

Looking Glass Looking Glass by Andrew Mayne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: LOOKING GLASS by Andrew Mayne [The Naturalist, Book 2]

LOOKING GLASS is the eagerly-awaited second novel/scientific thriller/criminal mystery in author/illusionist Andrew Mayne' s super fantastic THE NATURALIST Series. Computational biologist, mathematical and programming genius, Dr. Theo Cray (formerly Professor, University of Texas-Austin), is without a doubt my favourite protagonist. (I can only think of one other protagonist and one highly important secondary character I admire as much, and both of those are found in John Connolly's Charlie Parker series.) Theo is an exceptional individual, a character who is so self-analytical but almost constantly doubting his human traits, an intellectual genius, a scientist with incomparable value to science, academia, law enforcement, business and industry, government, because he is a savant at spotting patterns. What he doesn't see on his own recognizance, he codes programs to find. He could be so valuable, but bureaucracy and egotism rule, so instead of being applauded, his own academia jettisoned him, certain law enforcement agencies basically despise him, and now he is employed by a subcontractor working on Defense Intelligence Agency research. But you can't keep a facile brain muzzled, and quickly Theo finds himself drawn into a horrid ongoing killing series spanning decades, involving children, international politics, conspiracy and cover-ups--and black magic. I kid you not. Theo nearly didn't survive his first encounter in The Naturalist; he's likely not to survive this either.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Review: My Father Didn't Kill Himself

My Father Didn't Kill Himself My Father Didn't Kill Himself by Russell Nohelty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: MY FATHER DIDN'T KILL HIMSELF by Russell Nohelty

Honest emotional vulnerability: that's my appreciation of this novel. A year or so ago, I read a journalist's description of a certain celebrity clan as open about their emotional vulnerability, what I would term "transparency." I can't speak to that quality in regard to celebrities, but it's definitely what we have here. A high school sophomore with a drive to achieve Harvard's Early Admission, Delilah is the offspring of devoted, caring parents. Popular best friend Alex is the child of moneyed, emotionally distant, physically absent, parents. Together they balance and ensure each other's stability and passions, Delilah for achievement and education, Alex for her gymnastics excellence. Their English teacher traditionally assigns the writing of a term-long journal, and Delilah decides to post hers online as a blog, dragging Alex into that too.

Life proceeds swimmingly until one morning, Delilah's mom discovers her dad, deceased, in his study. It isn't natural causes, so it must be suicide--right? Certainly the local police think so. But devoted daughter Delilah won't acquiesce. In no way is that the father she knew. Grief leads to depression to anger to hatred of the whole world and a burning determination to solve the case--I.e., to prove it's murder.

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Saturday, February 3, 2018

Review: Tip of the Iceberg

Tip of the Iceberg Tip of the Iceberg by Ash Hartwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: TIP OF THE ICEBERG by Ash Hartwell

Now we know WHY Titanic collided with the iceberg! Seriously, horror doesn't come much more implacable than this. Given the nature of a closed environment, disaster-natural or man-made, serial killer or plague, any type of danger is inescapable. Neither good fortune or intelligence and cunning will suffice.

Although I appreciated the author's handling of the horror (and this is a horror novel), even more do I applaud his treatment of Edwardian society and culture, both British and American. Mr. Hartwell rings chords on the class system like ringing a bell, whose echoes and repercussions never fade.

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