Glasshouse: Morwenna Blackwood

This is a sequel to “The (D)Evolution of Us”, a dark and harrowing novel about a set of damaged individuals who are trying to claw their way up each precarious step in their lives: some with success, some not so much. In Devo, their relationship with social services and mental health providers is only fleetinglyContinue reading “Glasshouse: Morwenna Blackwood”

Tipping Point: Michelle Cook

The title “Tipping Point” probably refers to the moment at which there can be no return from catastrophic climate change. A difficult subject to write about in fiction; easy to get both doomy and also maybe a little worthy. Not the case with this author. Her near-future eco thriller is so busy embroiling her mainContinue reading “Tipping Point: Michelle Cook”

The Curse of the Mountain: Tyler Cram

A group of kids, having just left high school, go on a hike and discover a book. They make the mistake of opening it and having done so, unleash all sort of mayhem and madness on their small town of Roanville. Massive wolves, terrifying spiders, zombified residents, and lots more: the list is a what’sContinue reading “The Curse of the Mountain: Tyler Cram”

Face Off! “The Dark Chorus” by Ashley Meggitt and “The Sadeiest” by Austrian Spencer

I read these two books back-to-back by accident rather than design. I’m glad of the confluence because it pointed up a stark similarity in their themes that was simply impossible to ignore.   Both have a take on the release of souls. At the start of The Dark Chorus (TDC), the concept is introduced throughContinue reading “Face Off! “The Dark Chorus” by Ashley Meggitt and “The Sadeiest” by Austrian Spencer”

The Unquiet Spirit: Penny Hampson

This is a lovely story. Reminiscent of Barbara Erskine, The Unquiet Spirit, weaves historical allusions within its contemporary setting: a much-loved and ancient house on the outskirts of similarly ancient woodland in which there harbours a terrible secret. Her characters have been through the mill. I was especially impressed by the character of Tom andContinue reading “The Unquiet Spirit: Penny Hampson”

Caffeine and Nicotine: Eric Weule

This is a deceptive novel. It purports to be a crime fiction, but in actuality it’s a great deal more than that. Primarily, I think, it’s about cleaning up the world.There are two main characters, each with their own POVs: Jackie, a strong but secretly damaged individual who has forged a life for herself asContinue reading “Caffeine and Nicotine: Eric Weule”

Façade: Helen Matthews

“The problem with wearing a façade is that sooner or later life shows up with a big pair of scissors.” I can’t remember where I got this nugget from, but it certainly does sum up this particular “Façade” by Helen Matthews. There’s the central metaphor – the family home – seized by entropy and fallingContinue reading “Façade: Helen Matthews”

The Devolution of Us: Morwenna Blackwood

Such a lot to say about this book. Not an easy read but – because of that – nevertheless moving and provocative. Written from different points of view, and often flashing back through time, a picture is built up to explain the reasons behind the choices each character made, and because of their flawed personalities,Continue reading “The Devolution of Us: Morwenna Blackwood”

Cry of the Lake: Charlie Tyler

Charlie takes ordinary characters, characters like you and I, and sets them against a backdrop of dysfunction so damaging, the main players become quite extraordinary. Opening with an inciting event which calls us to read on, we become sucked into their world of pretence, share their coping strategies as they shape and become shaped byContinue reading “Cry of the Lake: Charlie Tyler”

Stone Angels: Paula R. C. Readman

I love dark crime and this is definitely dark! The main character, James Ravencroft, is an artist who, once he sets his eye on a model for one of his ‘still lifes,’ will stop at nothing to capture them on canvas – to become his ‘stone angels.’ ‘Capture’, of course, is the operative, word, sinceContinue reading “Stone Angels: Paula R. C. Readman”