#NGEW2019, Book Reviews, Crime, Dectective, Fiction, Horror, Noir, Crime and Dark Endeavors, Thriller

The Whisper Man #PublicationDay #AlexNorth

There is nothing that I love more than a true psychological thriller, one that gets into your head and won’t let go. That is exactly what I found in The Whisper Man by Alex North. 41nYBGAZjpL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Let me first say that the cover art is one of my all time favorites. I had to read this book just for the cover alone and it definitely is representative of the horror within.

Tom and his son Jake have suffered the loss of their wife and mother. As a result, Jake – a very sensitive child – is having nightmares about the house in which she died. The pair move to a new village and into a home that others call “the scary house” but Jake insists is his very favorite. Tom decides the house has character, not terror, within its walls. He was wrong. In their small, sleepy village there once was a child killer, currently behind bars, Now another person is abducting children. Will Jake be the next victim of The Whisper Man?

This very easily could have been a run-of-the-mill child abduction book but it is so much more than that. The character development was superb throughout, even with minor characters who only appear infrequently such as Jake’s teacher. These characters draw you into their lives so that you become part of the story itself. And what a story it is! This is a very scary, creepy book. It is on the scale of Stephen King’s earlier works and reminded me why I originally read horror/thrillers. It turns out to be more psychological than horror but, wow, you do not know that until the very last chapter of the book. And yes, I am being deliberately evasive about the story line because part of the joy of reading this book was going into it blind and not knowing the real from the psychological terror. I want that for you as well.

This is a must-read book for anyone who loves horror, thrillers, psychological suspense or simply a really well told story! It is in my Top Ten favorites for this year and I highly recommend it.

It is publication day for The Whisper Man so run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookseller and get it today.  Thank you to #Netgalley, #CeledonBooks and @writer_north for my copy of this terrific book!

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#NGEW2019, Book Reviews, Domestic Noir/Thriller, Horror

Theme Music by T. Marie Vandelly

She didn’t run from her dark past. She moved in with it…

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Theme Music was one of the most hauntingly bizarre tales that I’ve read in a very long time. There is a paranormal element to it that adds to the horror aspect of the story but the story line itself is macabre enough to frighten off those with weak constitutions. Never-the-less, I couldn’t put this book down!

Dixie was the sole survivor of a family massacre that occurred when she was two. The official story is that her father murdered the family with an axe before slitting his own throat, leaving only Dixie alive in her high chair. Dixie, who was raised by her aunt and uncle, has grown up with the stigma that surrounded her family as a result; so when the house – THE house – is put on the market, Dixie decides to buy it and move in. Not only that, but she gathers all of the old furniture and belongings that have been in storage and creates the house as near to the original as possible. Talk about a bit “off,” or perhaps just slightly obsessed. Of course, once inside the house, all hell breaks loose for Dixie. The problem for the reader is that we never are clear if Dixie is as crazy as her father allegedly was or if there is more to the story that Dixie – or us – even suspect.

Admittedly the story was brilliant until the midway point and then I found myself hurriedly reading through to the end to find out what was going on with the characters – all of them. I think there could have been a bit more editing, especially toward the end of the story. However, even with that in mind, Theme Music is a terrific book, frightening, suspenseful and definitely horrifying.

Thanks to #Edelweiss, the author and #PenguinPublishingGroup #Dutton for my copy of this book.

Book Reviews, Domestic Noir/Thriller, Horror, Thriller

Little Darlings @MK_Golding

I believe in fairy tales
Hey diddle diddle
the cat and the filddle
and I believe in you….

39893197There are times when you read the synopsis for a book and you just know, just know, that it is going to be one of the best books you’ve read, knock your socks off, surprise you and stay with you long after the last page has ended. Little Darlings was exactly that book for me. It sounded like an adult noir fairy tale meets a Stephen King novel gone awry and I was right – it is all of that and so much more!

Lauren is has just given birth to twin boys whom she adores. It wasn’t an easy birth and she truly is terrified of raising the boys, having feelings of inadequacy and an inexplicable fear of “losing” the twins. These feelings are compounded when she sees what appears to be an old “crone” in her hospital room/ward who threatens to take away her boys and replace them with changelings. Lauren traps herself in the washroom and calls the police but before they arrive, the attendant on duty puts her back in bed and convinces everyone that it is just post-natal depression. Oh yes, the wonderful catch-all for everything that occurs after delivery. Once home, Laurens fears increase and soon she is unable to leave the house, has stopped bathing, does nothing except breastfeed the twins. Her husband, a narcissist useless boy-child, is no help at all and is, apparently having an affair or is he? Perhaps it’s all in everyone’s imagination. It becomes increasingly impossible to tell what is real or not, fantasy or fiction, fairy tale or reality. When the boys go missing for a short time, then found, Lauren is convinced the returned boys are the “changelings” and not her actual twins. Everyone, except the female cop who is investigating, thinks Lauren has gone mad and eventually she is placed in a sanatorium. Was that the goal that her husband had all along or is she really mad – or, maybe, the boys really are changelings.

Yes, Little Darlings is terrifying. It plays on every single, solitary fear that every mother ever has had: inadequacy, failure to care for their baby, post-natal depression, the “system” not believing you when you need them to, cheating spouses… you name it and this book covers it and amplifies it to the point that while I was reading I was doubting my own sanity! Yikes!

The things is, I love the old, really dark, horrifying fairy tales of the old world. They served a purpose and had meaning and were meant to educate people about the dark things lurking – in the forest, in the water, in the dark, wherever the danger was hiding. What was the danger that this Irish folk tale was warning Lauren of and was it valid? Hmmm…. you’ll have to pick up a copy of Little Darlings to see for yourself and, trust me, you will be so very glad that you did.

Watch out now, take care
Beware of the thoughts that linger
Winding up inside your head
The hopelessness around you
In the dead of night
Beware the darkness….
(George Harrison)

Thank you so incredibly much to Melanie Golding and @CrookedLaneBks for my copy of this new favorite book. I had the pleasure of reading it with #TheTravelingSisters book club but, you know me, I’m the red-headed step child who is always a day late and dollar short posting my reviews. Thank you!

 

 

 

Crime, Dectective, Horror, Young Adult

The Rain #ECFisher @BooksGoSocial

Beware of The Rain and what it will bring to your town….

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Thirty years ago, Charlie Hamilton was the owner of High Tide Camp, a youth camp for middle schoolers. However, that fateful summer, the kids took their bullying and pranks too far and one of them ends up dead. Now it is time for revenge and it is coming with…The Rain.

The Rain is a very short story or novella that is creepy and campy all at once. The descriptions and the characters are perfectly drawn allowing the atmosphere to be scary and a bit horrifying. However, the dialogue was a stumbling block for me. No where does it mention that this is a horror book for younger readers but the style of writing suggested that it might be and certainly that is the age level that I would recommend for this story. It is just too campy to be an adult horror read. It wasn’t that it was bad, just not up to the usual standards for adult horror. I did, however, thoroughly enjoy reading it. It had the aura of the old Twilight Zone television show – creepy, scary but a tad bit over the top. It will be book that I think of each time it rains and I bet you will too if you read it!

Thanks to #Netgalley and #BooksGoSocial for my copy of this fun read.

Horror, TBR Tuesdays

The Witch of Willow Hall @HesterBFox

I am mortified that my post containing my original review for this terrific gothic tale somehow went into the etherlands!  As it draws closer to Halloween and since it TBR Thursdays, I’m actually re-posting the post that never was. Yeah, it’s already one of those types of days. <sigh>

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The Witch of Willow Hall is a perfectly written gothic tale of witches, dark secrets and history.

This is the debut novel written by Hester Fox and all I can is, “Wow!” Every first book should be this amazing! I was completely blown away by the history, the suspense and the storyline itself. It was, without a doubt, a great book!

Lydia Montrose is the middle child and a loving sister. Her family was run out of town after horrible rumors began to swirl around the family. It’s 1821, and these types of “rumors” can be a death warrant even 200 years after the Salem Witch Trials. Her family moves to Old Newbury where her father sets up a mill. But things at the house itself are more than a strange. Lydia hears noises and sees ghostly type apparitions. What exactly is going on in their house and with Lydia’s family? This slow simmering tale will answer those questions – and more.

One of the first “big girl” books I ever read was “The Witch of Blackbird Pond.” It set the stage for my intense love affair with gothic tales, horror and spooky reads. Although, when I re-read Blackbird Pond I chuckle at how tame it is in comparison. The Witch of Willow Hall is not so tame – it has everything a reader could ask for in a great witch story. The characters are very well drawn; the love that Lydia and her sisters have for one another shines throughout the book. There is a touch of romance and a plot full of  well placed twists to keep you on your proverbial toes. The Witch of Willow Hall is the perfect Halloween read – but be sure to leave your light on when you do!

Thank you #Netgalley, @HesterBFox, and #Harlequin-GraydonHouse for my copy of this perfect gothic tale!

Horror, Thriller

Dracul by Drace Stoker and J.D.Barker

1537468779-1537468779_goodreads_miscIt is Horror Week at Goodreads and what better way to start it off than by reading a seriously chilling tale? Dracul will have you hiding under the covers and wishing for morning light!

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I practically learned to read by devouring horror books and there simply was no better horror story than Dracula. For decades writers have attempted to recreate the image of Dracula or to write “sequels” about the Count. All fell miserably short of success – until now. Dracul, written in tandem by Drace Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker, and J.D. Barker, a master storyteller, is based on Stoker’s original papers kept within the family until now. When Dracula was first published, the first 100 or so pages were cut from the printing. The foundation of Dracul lies within those pages and in the notes made by Stoker. For those of us who are huge fans of Bram Stoker, this work is a dream come true!

The story is set in Ireland and features a young Bram Stoker as the primary character. As a child he was sickly and often bedridden. The family had a beloved Nanny, Ellen Crone, who was able to care for young Stoker and bring him back, literally, from the brink of death. Suspicious deaths in the village, however, are eerily linked to Nanny Crone and suddenly she vanishes without a word or a trace. Years later, Bram and his siblings, rediscover their nanny but she brings with her a horror they never imagined. It turns out that Nanny Crone is a Dearg-Due, a bloodsucking being of Irish folklore. Be still my Celtic heart! As if tower crawling snakes was not enough, we have Celtic tales of fright as well!

To say that I adore Barker and his writing is understatement. He can captivate the reader like no other and Dracul, clearly, is no exception. The gothic feel of the prose resonates throughout the book and the suspense builds to the point of sheer terror that will have you shivering with trepidation and dread! And no, don’t even reach for that light, because Dearg-Dues can walk in the sun! Oh yeah! It is a superbly told tale of fright! I truly did not believe it was possible for any book to come close the brilliance of Dracula but these two men have proven me wrong. Dracul is a classic in the making and one that you will not want to miss reading – not on your life.

There was no other book that I wanted to review more in 2018 than Dracul and I am forever grateful to Drace Stoker, J.D. Barker, @Edelweiss and G.P Putnam’s Sons for making it possible.

 

 

Horror, Noir, Crime and Dark Endeavors

Fab Fiction Friday – The Clockmaker

All the stars and a few full moons, too, for this amazing gothic thriller!

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First, take a look at that gorgeous cover art! Rarely are we treated to such beautiful cover art. Of course, that is just the beginning. The real treat is inside the cover where there awaits an amazing cross-genre tale that will have you hooked from beginning to end.

The Clockmaker is the story of Annette and her son, Duncan, who are moving to an ancestral home in the highlands of Scotland. It is a tale set during the post-war era and has all of the atmospheric prose of that time period. The house is old, full of creaks and sounds that lend to the overall aura of the book. Of course the house comes with secrets, a some-what supernatural element and an old man that is full of surprises. As murders begin to happen, Annette starts to wonder how this man is tied in with the murders and the other strange events that the small family is experiencing.

This tale is fabulously written. There are times that it could have veered off into the “campy” side of horror or supernatural but it never once did that. Instead, it is  captivating and will have you mesmerized until the very last page – and then you will want more because this is the first book in a trilogy! While this story ends well, there obviously are questions that will be answered in subsequent books – and I cannot wait for those books to be written and printed!! The Clockmaker offers something for everyone’s tastes: history, horror, supernatural, thrills and suspense. I highly recommend it for all.

Tons of thanks to #Netgalley, #Troubadour Publishing Limited, #CeriWilliams and #DrewNeary for my copy of this outstanding book!