Welcome to my review page!
I’ve given four or five stars on other review sites for all the books you see here. I won’t review books I don’t like. Here you will find honest opinions – no point otherwise – and any criticism you may discover is always well-intentioned and aims to be constructive. All comments welcome.
Solid debut from Marcus Hawke – in more ways than one. A mighty tome filled with tons of vivid characters, led by one of the most relateable main protags I’ve seen in a long time, Mason Cole. Steeped in religious mysticism, this book packs a punch, Hawke unafraid to ramp up the horror when it’sContinue reading “The Miracle Sin: Marcus Hawke”
“A Quiet Apocalypse” stands full square in the tradition of the genre. By its very definition, such literature requires that the population becomes somehow depleted or wiped out, triggering a reptilian-brained imperative amongst the remnant to establish control. New hierarchies. Only the fittest survive, the most ruthless, the most brutal; its main characters having toContinue reading “A Quiet Apocalypse: Dave Jeffery”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
There is a lot to like in this book. The author evokes a strong sense of place, setting the story in central London; concentrating on its busy-ness and seamier side. Ada, her main character, is a housing manager who, as part of her work, routinely deals with people on the edges of life. And thisContinue reading “The Tower: Anne-Marie Ormsby”
“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”
If you were faced with the end of the world – literally, what would haunt you the most? Would it be the unknown possibilities of the future – the terrors ahead – or would it be your past; the decisions you made, the promises you broke, the behaviours that defined you? “The End of theContinue reading “The End of the Road: Anna Legat”
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”
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”
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”