Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Bongo Fury by Simon Maltman

From the Bestselling author of A Chaser on the Rocks and More Faces, comes the noir novella series: Bongo Fury. Follow Maltman’s new protagonist as he tries to balance a music shop, his paramilitary family, a newborn, a little drug dealing and a spot of private detection. A black comedy from the fresh new voice in Northern Irish Crime Fiction. Previous press: “A flair for adrenalin-packed action and unpredictable characters.” Murder, Mayhem and More “The mood is cynical, the wisecracks are plentiful.” The High Window “You hit the ground running and it’s a sprint finish.” Crime Book Junkie

A short story/novella that centers around  Jimmy Black, owner of the Bongo Fury music shop, family man, amateur private eye, and part time drug dealer. When Jimmy tries to help out a friend who is short on the cash he owes to some unsavory characters he ends up in a bit of trouble himself.
This is not my usual type of story but I did find it to be a quick and engaging read, sprinkled with humor here and there.  3.5 stars from me.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Deceptions By Dana Mansfield

Jack Petrov, lead singer of a successful rock band, is spending the Thanksgiving weekend with his wife and children in the Poconos. He has been out of the limelight for two years after a terrible car accident that resulted in the deaths of two of his children. Traveling with the family is the children’s nanny, Penny Shepherd. Penny and Jack have been best friends since their days at Princeton. After a verbal fight with his wife, Jack orders Penny to drive him after he gets buzzed in the lodge’s bar. Before they can return, they are abducted by kidnappers hired by someone called the Employer. Although treated okay at the beginning, their treatment worsens as the Employer demands information from Penny. After the truth is revealed, the Employer leaves after a final goodbye and Penny and Jack are left to try and survive, still as captives.


I have to start by saying I did not realize when I picked up this book that it was part of a Trilogy, so I was a bit surprised to be left hanging. If you are searching for this title on amazon this particular version is now listed as unavailable, but it can now be found under the title Deceptions (Deceptions Trilogy Book 1) with a less appealing cover.
There is definitely a lot going on in this story. Sometimes too much. Maybe that is why it is being continued as a trilogy. Jack and Penny met years ago at university. Penny was instantly charmed by the way Jack was caring for his little sister. They became the best of friends and apparently that friendship continued as Jack became a rock star and  fathered several children with his wife Crystal, none of whom Crystal seemed to particularly want to mother. Jack was not the typical rock and roll type, he loves his children above all else and is a good and decent family man. His wife is the partier in the family and she often takes off for long stretches of time leaving her children in the care of their father and Penny who has become their nanny. Penny has come from a dysfunctional family and having nothing to do with her own relatives she comes to love Jack's children as her own. Penny suffers depression and bouts of anorexia which she tries to hide from Jack along with another darker secret. While spending the Thanksgiving holiday together, Crystal and Jack have a fight and he demands Penny drive him home during a snow storm. On their way they are kidnapped by a strange group who claim that although Jack is the real target they are taking Penny along as well. Someone they call "The Employer" wants information from her.
They soon learn no ransom will be asked for them, and they are to be held prisoner for however long it pleases the employer. Because of the brutal was  Penny was treated by the kidnappers considering she was supposedly not even meant to be kidnapped I thought it was a bit too easy to figure out who this mysterious employer was. Still it did hold my interest even if it did seem to be trying too hard to incorporate too many dramas at once into one plot line.
3 out of 5 stars
I received a complimentary copy for review.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Bayou Strangler by Fred Rosen


Ronald Dominique  was a Patti LaBelle impersonator, meter reader, pizza delivery guy, rapist, and serial killer. This is a look at his crimes, his confession and his sentencing.
When I read true crime I prefer a more matter of fact and less sensationalized approach. I would have liked to know more about his family and what drove him to these crimes and less about his "pulsating" slang for male sex organ. Not much of his family life was disclosed other than he may have been molested by a priest or he may have lied about it, and that his relatives made fun of him for being gay. Out of respect for the dead I would have liked to know more about his victims, other than some of them were gay and some of them were straight, and that most of them were seedy characters. I never felt fully engaged in the story due to the strange writing style. It seemed a bit awkward and clumsy.
3 out of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dark Screams: Volume Nine


Friday, October 13, 2017

Human Waste by C.M. Saunders

A Short Splatterpunk Story.
Dan Pallister is a survivalist and prepper. Much to the annoyance of the people around him, he has been surviving and prepping since childhood. He just didn’t know what for. When he wakes up one morning to find the world overrun with bloodthirsty zombies it all becomes clear, and despite the fall of civilisation, he can’t wait to get started. He just needs to stock up on supplies from the local supermarket first.

But is everything what it seems?

Bonus Content:

Til death do us Part (short story)
No Man’s Land: Horror in the Trenches (exclusive extract)

WARNING: This book contains descriptions of graphic violence and/or sex, and is not suitable for children.
Dan Pallister woke up one morning to find the world had gone to hell over night. The zombie apocalypse has arrived without warning. He doesn't know what caused it, whether it's something in the air, something in the water, or even whether or not he is already infected. Dan knows one thing, survival. He's been preparing all his life for just such an occasion. Forgoing sports, friendships, childhood fun. He's always been preparing and he's ready for whatever happens. If only it hadn't happened right before his regular shopping day. Luckily there's a supermarket near by so Dan makes his move to stock up on supplies while he plots his next course of action. But wait.. there is something odd about these zombies. Why do some of them seem to be going about their usual human habits? Oh well, Dan doesn't have time to ponder all the gruesome details!
This was a quick and creepy read.
Freakier still was the bonus story Til Death Do Us Part
"He was going to have to eat Margaret soon. That much was obvious."
Ronald and Margaret have had 40 years of wedded bliss, but it's no longer safe to go outside and the cupboards are bare. What's a starving man to do?
I would recommend it to all fans of horror and dark fiction.
4 out of 5 freaky stars from me.
I received a complimentary copy for review 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Angel of the Underground by David Andreas

"David Andreas was a super-talented contributor to Fangoria during its glory gory days. His fiction debut bodes well for readers of unique and scary horror."
--Tony Timpone, former editor, Fangoria magazineWhen three children in a Catholic group home are brutally murdered, the survivors are hurried into separate foster homes across Long Island. Robin Hills, a fifteen-year-old who has spent the past several years under religious care, is thrust into a new, dysfunctional family with no spiritual beliefs. No longer protected by the religion and the nun she had come to love, Robin is completely alone and enveloped in fear.As the murders continue and Robin fears she may become the next victim, her faith increasingly falters. However, she finds solace in a budding friendship with Dennis, a boy her age living in her new foster home. Dennis’s kindness, his acceptance of Robin, and his bravery in the face of evil--born of his passion for horror movies--combine to reassure her that she'll survive the killings.Armed with this new friendship and fueled by a rage she finally discovers within herself, Robin finds the courage and self-reliance to confront the darkest aspects of human depravity.
Murders in the group home have forced out the last few children for "safe keeping" to separate foster homes. Robin is sent to live with a creepy family where the mom seems to hate her, the obese and repulsive father is a groper, and one brother apparently worships the devil and is an all around scumbag. Robin is alone and miserable except for the only member of this odd family who seems normal, a boy named Dennis who she grows to trust and confide in. As the murders continue and the police seem to have no leads it may be up to Robin to unravel the mystery and put an end to the killings, if she can survive! This was a quick and creepy read, that held my attention and had me rooting for Robin to find a happy home. I would recommend it to young adult horror fans.
4 out of 5 stars from me.
I received an advance copy for review.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright


Monday, October 2, 2017

Poison by Galt Niederhoffer

Poison is a literary psychological thriller about a marriage that follows minor betrayal into a bubbling stew of lies, cruelty, manipulation, and danger.

Cass and Ryan Connor have achieved family nirvana. With three kids between them, a cat and a yard, a home they built and feathered, they seem to have the Modern Family dream. Their family, including Cass' two children from previous relationships, has recently moved to Portland —a new start for their new lives. Cass and Ryan have stable, successful careers, and they are happy. But trouble begins almost imperceptibly. First with small omissions and white lies that happen daily in any marital bedroom. They seem insignificant, but they are quickly followed by a series of denials and feints that mushroom and then cyclone in menace.

With life-or-death stakes and irreversible consequences, Poison is a chilling and irresistible reminder that the closest bond designed to protect and provide for each other and for children can change in a minute.

I really enjoyed the first half of this book. Cass presented as a strong and intelligent woman who had faced some tragedy in her life but been able to move on. She had little to no emotional support from either of her parents yet still grew into a compassionate and capable woman and mother.
The problems in her marriage, although supposedly subtle at first seemed glaringly obvious to me. There was  a lack of respect from her husband that to me seemed apparent from the start. He gave off a general feeling of ill will and derisiveness. An  insult said with a smile is still insulting, Overriding of a woman's parental authority done with an air of fun, is still disrespectful.
Towards the halfway point of the story and beyond I just found that it strained believability. I can't say much without giving away the plot but I just found it hard to believe a woman of her intelligence would make such choices, or give out personal information so easily to people she had no reason to trust. There were also some medical and safety issues with the children that if faced with in reality a person would seek immediate help. Since Cass was a journalist I would have expected her to have better sense.

I received an advance copy for review.