Book Review: Blood Ties by: Nicholas Guild


Publisher: Forge Books

Publication Date: May 12, 2015

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Synopsis: Homicide detective Ellen Ridley of the SFPD is tracking a serial killer terrorizing young women in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ridley is sure she's cornered her most likely suspect: Stephen Tregear, a hacker and code breaker who works for U.S. Naval Intelligence. But Tregear is not the killer... he's the killer's son.

Ridley and Tregear team up to look for Tregear's father, Walter, in an elaborate game of murderous cat and mouse. As the body count rises, Ridley must race against the clock to stop Walter before he kills any more women--and Tregear must finally confront the father who has been trying to kill him for twenty years.

Review: BLOOD TIES is an intriguing and captivating novel of a serial killer and his son. SFPD detectives Ellen Ridley and Sam Tyler have caught the case of multiple murders pointing to a serial killer. Ridley comes up with a viable suspect, Stephen Tregear; however, he turns out to know the killer intimately because it is his father, Walter. Now it’s a matter of time before the confrontation between father, son, and the SFPD comes to a head. BLOOD TIES is an amazingly complex and engaging thriller. I didn’t mind the fact that the reader finds out who the killer is early on as it only adds to the suspense. BLOOD TIES is well-written with intricate characters who come to life due to excellent development by the author. The pace story didn’t feel hurried in anyway, but it also wasn’t plodding and slow. BLOOD TIES will definitely keep readers on the edge of their seats and I expect we will see books of only the best caliber from this author.

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Book Review: Nightlife: Hazardous Material by: Matthew Quinn Martin


Publisher: Pocket Star

Publication Date: May 11, 2015

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: In the novella NIGHTLIFE: HAZARDOUS MATERIAL, we get a glimpse of The Division’s origins and aims, when a young man stumbles onto a long-abandoned video arcade—which three decades ago was the site of the largest mass shooting in New York history—and unwittingly uncovers a relic of unimaginable power and mind-altering terror.

Review: In NIGHTLIFE: HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, Jarrod Foster spends his time at a job dismantling spaces and disposing of hazardous materials with his boss Ludwig. On a seemingly ordinary day, Jarrod and Ludwig are dismantling an old abandoned roller rink when Jarrod finds a strange door not on the plans. When they open the door, there are vintage games from the arcade which used to operate in the roller rink. They also discover bullet holes and blood, a lasting testament to the largest mass shooting in New York history. Ludwig carts off the games so he can sell them, except for one which Jarrod keeps – an old arcade cabinet named Polybius. A game he’s never heard of, can find no information on, and is seemingly broken. Until one night, when he pops a quarter in the game, and his life changes forever. NIGHTLIFE: HAZARDOUS MATERIALS takes the strange Portland, Oregon urban legend and gives it new life through Jarrod Foster. For a short story, NIGHTLIFE: HAZARDOUS MATERIALS packs a punch. The characters were great and you could really connect with Jarrod. The horror was subliminal, but very psychologically striking. NIGHTLIFE: HAZARDOUS MATERIALS is a prequel of sorts to NIGHTLIFE, but does not have to be read first. Sometimes urban legends aren’t just legends…

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Book Review: Dry Bones by: Craig Johnson


Publisher: Viking Books

Publication Date: May 12, 2015

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Synopsis: Wyoming’s beloved lawman must solve his coldest case yet when a T. Rex skeleton surfaces—along with a dead rancher—in Absaroka County

When the largest, most complete fossil of a Tyrannosaurus Rex is discovered in Absaroka County, it would appear to have nothing to do with Walt. That is, until the Cheyenne rancher who finds her is found face down in a turtle pond. As a number of parties vie for ownership of the priceless remains, including rancher Danny Lone Elk’s family, the Cheyenne tribe, the Deputy Attorney General, and a cadre of FBI men, Walt must recruit undersheriff Victoria Moretti, Henry Standing Bear, and Dog to investigate a sixty-six million year-old cold case that’s starting to heat up fast.

Review: In DRY BONES, Walt Longmire must investigate a new death along with a very cold case. Walt and Victoria (Vic) Moretti find the body of Danny Lone Elk while the largest and most complete fossilized Tyrannosaurus Rex has been discovered in Absaroka County on Cheyenne land belonging to the Lone Elk family. There are many individuals and groups vying for the T. Rex skeleton, not the least of which are the Cheyenne tribe, the FBI, and the Deputy State Attorney General. In the meantime, Walt’s daughter Cady and granddaughter Lola are flying out from Philadelphia for a visit. DRY BONES is a robust and well-written novel. I’ve now read only two of the Longmire series books and I’ve enjoyed them both without reading the whole series. The characters are distinctive and formidable, each bringing a different aspect of the story to life. There is both humor and sadness in DRY BONES, making for a story which really hits the heart. I definitely recommend DRY BONES and Walt Longmire!

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Book Review: We Are Monsters by: Brian Kirk


Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Publication Date: July 7, 2015

Origins:  From Publicist for Review

Synopsis: The Apocalypse has come to the Sugar Hill mental asylum. 

He’s the hospital’s newest, and most notorious, patient—a paranoid schizophrenic who sees humanity’s dark side.

Luckily he’s in good hands. Dr. Eli Alpert has a talent for healing tortured souls. And his protégé is working on a cure for schizophrenia, a drug that returns patients to their former selves. But unforeseen side effects are starting to emerge. Forcing prior traumas to the surface. Setting inner demons free.

Monsters have been unleashed inside the Sugar Hill mental asylum. They don’t have fangs or claws. They look just like you or me.

Review: WE ARE MONSTERS has a very unique group of characters and is very well-written. While the characters were interesting, I personally didn’t always know (or care) what was going on. The illegal experimentation bothered me a great deal, especially with how everyone (except Dr. Alpert) was seemingly okay with what Dr. Drexler was doing. There are some interesting concepts in WE ARE MONSTERS, but I got a bit lost in the differing viewpoints, realities, and characters. I can see a lot of readers enjoying WE ARE MONSTERS, but it just didn’t appeal much to me.

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Book Review: Voices by: Clarissa Johal


Publisher: Permuted Press

Publication Date: May 19, 2015

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: Sometimes the ghosts from your past…are real.

Moira Flynn is arrested for attacking a door-to-door solicitor with a knife. She claims a voice told her the man was intent on assaulting her. The trouble is, she was the only one that heard that voice. Moira strikes a plea bargain and is sent to a psychiatric hospital for voluntary treatment. Dr. Richard Cassano is hesitant to treat her as schizophrenic, as she does not show the standard symptoms. As their sessions progress, Moira confesses there are two voices—and they aren’t voices in her head, but the voices of ghosts. Are they imaginary? Or are they actual spirits, attached to her for reasons of their own? As Moira’s doctor uncovers more of her past, he begins to realize that her ghosts are real. And one of them is determined to drag Moira into the afterlife with him.

Review: VOICES is the story of Moira Flynn. Sentenced to a psych ward for a crime she didn’t commit, she’s being treated by Dr. Richard Cassano for what people believe is to be schizophrenia. However, Moira’s heard voices ever since she was young. During her ongoing treatment, she admits the voices aren’t in her head, but are two ghosts which are attached to her. One is a little girl, Isabella, and the other is Jack, a man who is intent on making Moira suffer the same fate he did. VOICES is beautifully written, with a well-developed plot and well-rounded characters. I was impressed at the flexibility Dr. Cassano showed when it came to Moira’s treatment and didn’t just shove medication down her throat. While VOICES is largely a paranormal story, the psychiatric aspects were very detailed and captured what seem to be realistic attitudes and beliefs of doctors and staff. Moira’s strength and resilience in the face of her ordeal is an inspiration. VOICES is an outstanding novel which showcases the writer’s abilities.

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