Book Review: The Void by: Timothy S. Johnston


Publisher: Carina Press

Publication Date: March 30, 2015

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: 2403 AD

It would be easier to kill him than to trust him.

Transporting a serial killer might seem like a simple job for CCF Homicide Investigator Kyle Tanner. After spending years apprehending murderers, he's ready to hang up his pistol. Babysitting a prisoner will bring him to Alpha Centauri, where he can search for a way to escape the CCF forever.

If he makes it.

When his ship breaks down in deep space and a CCF research vessel comes to his aid, Tanner realizes he's in terrible danger: the scientists on board have blocked his distress call. And when Tanner's prisoner escapes, he begins to suspect that the proximity of the research vessel had nothing to do with luck and everything to do with the CCF's relentless reach.

Facing near-certain death by his own organization, Tanner must unravel a tangled skein of vengeance, duplicity and murder in deep space. But he's being held at the will of master puppeteers, and if he can't cut the strings, he'll dance straight to a gruesome, excruciating death….

Review: CCF Homicide Investigator Kyle Tanner and his girlfriend Engineer Shaheen Ramachandra are tired of living under the oppressive thumb of the CCF. His mission this time is taking the prisoner he apprehended to Alpha Centauri for execution for his crimes. En route, their ship’s systems power down and they’re stuck in deep space. They’re found by a CCF research vessel and quickly Tanner realizes not everything is as it seems on board. THE VOID is my favorite of the Tanner Sequence novels and I was impressed with how much the main characters, Kyle and Shaheen, have grown over the series. The mystery is very Agatha Christie-ish, with which I was quite impressed. THE VOID keeps you guessing until the very end. To me, the author has brought the Tanner Sequence to a satisfying conclusion. I highly recommend this trilogy!

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Book Review: Paranoia by: Ryan Fortier


Publisher: Ryan Fortier

Publication Date: December 23, 2014

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: “Jacob, we’ll love you always.” 

These are the words that will always haunt Jacob Tyler, the last words spoken by his dying mother. For seventeen years Jacob led a near-perfect life, but that all changed with a brutal home invasion. Four months later, he struggles to return to the lively and humorous teen he once was. Though progress is made, it is wiped clean when he believes the killer has returned to toy with him. Now, along with his best friends Sarah and Keith, Jacob takes it upon himself to solve the crime that slowly destroys him. 

A psychological thriller that aims to show how one horrible event can drive anyone to the brink of insanity, Paranoia is the debut novel from Ryan Fortier. Witness the devastating effects of insomnia, crawl inside a degenerating psyche, and discover how dangerous paranoia can truly be.

Review: 17 year old Jacob Tyler goes off to a party with one of his best friends, Keith. While there, the police show up along with Jacob’s other best friend after a strange call Jacob received from his mother where she says “Jacob, we’ll love you always”. Jacob’s parents are killed during a home invasion and his world falls apart. Four months later, Jacob’s fed up with the police department’s lack of progress and decides to launch his own investigation. However, Jacob’s thinking isn’t exactly clear…

PARANOIA exploits the reader’s darkest fears. No matter what age, you don’t want to think about your parents dying, especially not being murdered. However, the author truly captured the teenage thought-process and language in PARANOIA. It was heartbreaking to see how quickly Jacob’s life fell apart and his mental state deteriorated. Strong imagery and emotions will strike the reader deeply. PARANOIA will surprise you with its twisted ending.

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Book Review: Nightfall Gardens by: Allen Houston


Publisher: Flycatcher Books

Publication Date: May 8, 2013

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: Vain Lily Blackwood and her shy brother Silas wonder if their family will ever settle in one place long enough to lead a normal life. When a mysterious stranger arrives claiming to be their uncle, they discover their parents have been hiding a secret that turns their world upside down. 

The two are kidnapped to Nightfall Gardens, the family’s ancestral home, a place shrouded in ancient mystery, where they meet their dying grandmother and learn of an age-old curse placed on Blackwood females. 

Lily must take over as protector of the house and three haunted gardens that hold mythical beasts, fairy-tale nightmares and far worse. If she doesn’t, the evil trapped there will be unleashed and bring on a new dark age. 

While she deals with malevolent ghosts inside the house, Silas is put to work in the gardens, where one wrong step means death. 

Along the way, they search to unlock the secrets of the house and to stop the creatures in the gardens before time runs out and the world is destroyed.

Review: NIGHTFALL GARDENS tells the story of the Blackwood family. We’re first introduced to Lily, who longs for the stage lights of Paris and London and her brother Silas, who is shy and timid. Their parents run a small traveling theater troop which has yet to turn any substantial profit. When Lily’s uncle shows up, he kidnaps Lily and Silas follows after to rescue her. What Lily and Silas don’t know is Lily is the last Blackwood female and is needed to take over for her grandmother as guardian and protector of Nightfall Gardens, as the curse demands. If Lily refuses or doesn’t show up in the once-a-year window when the gates are open before her grandmother passes, the ancient evils housed within Nightfall Gardens will be unleashed upon the world. Both Lily and Silas have new roles in this strange world and if they cannot resolve the curse, they may be stuck in Nightfall Gardens forever. NIGHTFALL GARDENS starts off slowly and ends very abruptly. I wish there had been a bit more detail about what lives in each of the gardens, but I liked the origin of the curse on the Blackwood women and the information we do learn about each garden they protect from the rest of the world. NIGHTFALL GARDENS has good writing, but I was a little discouraged at the abrupt ending.

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Book Review: Mark of the Beast by: Adolphus A. Anekwe


Publisher: Forge Books

Publication Date: January 20, 2015

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Synopsis: Mark of the Beast: A searing medical thriller by Adolphus A. Anekwe, a renowned doctor, about the ramifications of isolating a gene that causes violent behavior.

Dr. Regina Dickerson is a Catholic physician in San Diego who has discovered that there is a certain genetic marker that indicates the carrier is prone to psychotic violence. Working on blood from prison inmates, her theory begins to prove itself time and again with violent offenders. The variety of crimes is diverse: one couple murders their children for organ money, another man kidnaps young girls to seduce and kill them, yet another has a penchant for cyanide. 

As Dickerson's work begins to show results and catches the attention of the media, people begin to fear that witch hunts and Spanish Inquisition–style mayhem will result if forcible testing is carried out. Meanwhile, a race begins to find a cure. With science and religion at odds, Dickerson must find her own answers while trying to escape those who want to put an end to her inflammatory research.

Review: MARK OF THE BEAST is an interesting combination of medical science and the Book of Revelations. Scientists have discovered a genetic marker which shows a clear indication for a predisposition toward psycho- and sociopathic behavior. Undertaking an unusual and unapproved study on prison inmates, Dr. Regina Dickerson’s theory begins to show promise. Once the media gets wind of this test and their results, the debate about the ethics of mandatory testing rages to a fever pitch. MARK OF THE BEAST has an excellent concept and, even though the characters aren’t compelling, the book itself is very interesting. I think MARK OF THE BEAST a good representation of how much social, ethical, and religious conflict there is in the United States. MARK OF THE BEAST is a quick read and brings up some thought-provoking questions for the reader.

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Book Review: Cherry Bomb by: Kathleen Tierney

 

Publisher: Roc Trade

Publication Date: February 3, 2015

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Synopsis: Meet Siobhan Quinn—Half vampire, half werewolf, and retired monster hunter. Or so she thought…

Three years have passed since Quinn turned her back on Providence, Rhode Island’s seedy supernatural underbelly, walking out on Mr. B. and taking a bus headed anywhere. She hoped her escape would give her some peace from the endless parade of horrors. But a dead girl who quarrels with the moon can’t catch a break, and, on the streets of Manhattan, Quinn finds herself caught between a rock and a hard place. Again.

What do you do when you’re stuck in the middle of a three-million-year-old grudge match between the ghouls and the djinn, accidentally in possession of a hellish artifact that could turn the tide of the war, all the while being hunted by depraved half-ghoul twins intent on taking the object and ushering in a terrifying Dark Age?

Especially when you’ve fallen in love with the woman who got you into this mess—and you ain’t nobody’s hero…

Review: Quinn is a half-vampire/half-werewolf retired monster hunter. She’s walked away from her old life and is shacked up with a woman who is a CPA by day/sub by night. She meets Selwyn Throckmorton at a BDSM club and is immediately enamored. For a woman who has always been emotionally distant and truly indifferent to romance, always looking for a quick screw not cuddle-time, she’s unwound. Quinn will follow her ladylove into hell and that just may be what it takes to save them both. CHERRY BOMB is the best of the three Quinn books by far, still snarky and breaking the fourth wall, but with an edge so razor sharp every word cuts at your soul. CHERRY BOMB breaks the mold of what paranormal & urban fantasy is today and is viciously memorable. I’ll miss Quinn…

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