Showing posts with label detective story. Show all posts
Showing posts with label detective story. Show all posts

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Book Review: Zeeka's Child (Revenge of Zeeka Series, #2) by Brenda Mohammed



Zeeka's Child is a continuation of the story "Revenge of Zeeka: Zeeka and the Zombies." The story evolves into a more complicated plot of kidnapping, suicide note, diamond necklace with tracking device, arson, major corruption in the Police Force and a few 'skeletons' jump out of the closet.

In a shocking turn of events, Zeeka is revealed. Detective Jack Wildy certainly has his work cut out for him in this episode. Who is the mystery Master Zeeka and who is Zeeka's child?


"This is no dream! This is really happening!"

- Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Revenge of Zeeka was a quirky, fun horror tale with zombies at its heart. Like any new born, it can struggle to walk and find its feet. However reading book two in the series (and it's helpful to read book one back too), this is confident storytelling where the author has given us more thrills and twists that might sit well in a longer book. To accomplish this in a novella is quite something.

When book one ended, there was what I would call a 'soft' cliffhanger in that readers would not be annoyed that there was a cliffhanger in itself, because it was a complete tale in itself. Now with Zeeka's Child, the plot revolves around Raynor and Janet, and the serious nature of having to raise a child that is not his own.

This is an interesting concept to feature in a zombie story, which would at first appear to be nothing more than a skin bursting sideshow, and I was a little (just a little) put off by the initial chapter because it seemed more like a romantic interlude than anything else. This is actually a very clever piece of writing by the author, because it is like she is saying 'hey, you know this is a zombie tale, I know it's a zombie tale, but let's confuse the hell out of the readers by focussing on contemporary romance for a while.' This could be the first ever zom-contemp-rom, unless you know of another story like it.

The characters are better realised here too, I like Raynor and Janet, because they act like a real couple - fawning over each other one minute before having serious disagreements. This is actually a lot more fun to read about than experience. 

However, both of them are confused, because they have a sense of duty to a child that is disproportionate. However, they have a strong bond with each other. Despite that, they still manage to throw at us a number of twists at each chapters' close.

Throw in the discovery of a necklace by local cop Jack Wildy (who makes a pleasing return from book one) and sidekick / waif-with-badge Jerry Cole. He plays an energetic, idealistic cop to Wildy's jaded persona. Cliche? Not really. These two really enhance the story, taking it into mystery-crime-thriller and away from zom-contemp-rom land.

This could be the first ever zom-contemp-rom, unless you know of another story like it.

The necklace links the mysterious Zeeka with Janet in a way she - and especially Raynor, are not happy about. It also leads into the best question ever asked of anyone in history (probably):-

"Did you know that he had a secret basement where the zombies were kept?"
- cop not expecting to ask this question, ever.

"My God! No! If there were zombies there I would not have gone there."
- Janet affected by the word 'zombie' causes her to spew 'there' several times. As you would.

Right on, lady, right on. Rule number one of surviving a zombie story, don't go to a place where they might convene en masse, playing cards, poker, eating human heads, that kind of thing.

Whilst not as gory / creepy as the first book, it is the better one because the story is more layered, developed and you can identify with the characters more. 

It ends satisfyingly, and we get a hint of what might be coming in book three.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Book Review: Going Under by Silas Payton


Synopsis: (from the author) While investigating three unexplained deaths, Inspector Bill Roberts finds himself in the middle of a retaliation, after a biker gang moves in on mafia territory. With few leads and increased scrutiny by the Chief of Police and the Mayor of Toronto, he tries to track down whoever is responsible, making himself a target in the process. 

Bill Roberts, an Inspector with the Toronto police, has decided today was the day to drag himself back to the gym, for the first time since a recent arrest attempt left him with a broken leg. A mishap on his first day back sets the tone for the next twenty hours. When he gets called to the scene of a murder, he finds a wife has shot her loving husband, for no apparent reason. He and his team of detectives investigate, finding bizarre connections to a local biker gang, the mafia, and the Mayor's office, throwing themselves in the middle of a much larger scandal. 

With few leads, Inspector Bill Roberts must connect three strange deaths and find the person responsible. When he suspects the connection is a psychiatrist, Dr. Barry Nelson, the Inspector's priority becomes finding him before he leaves the city, onto his next job. What he doesn't realize is the doctor has one more job to finish... to eliminate Bill Roberts. 

This is a thriller laced with humour. It will keep you intrigued and on the edge of your seat to the last sentence, while giving you a few laughs along the way. If you like the books of J.A. Konrath, Blake Crouch, Jude Hardin, or Tracy Sharp, this book is for you.

Review: This book just screams COOL, doesn't it? From the stylistic artwork, top title, and super cool author name I was intrigued by this intelligent looking thriller. Chapter One opens with a fantastic Law & Order: Criminal Intent type scene that utterly grips the reader.

The writing is superb, as is the characterisation. Bill Roberts is an interesting protagonist, as his detective is a smart cookie, and far from the worn out representations I have seen in some other books, even by authors I absolutely adore.

Going Under follows a murder trail that seems an open and shut case, but as the story unfolds, and is unveiled through different characters (there are many in this story apart from Bill), and I liked the author's engaging and irreverent style. 

This is only a minor gripe, but I felt the main character Bill was the one I wanted throughout the story - when other characters fronted the chapter, I felt less engaged. Perhaps that is because Bill towers over everyone else in my view as the most interesting character.

Going Under is well paced, brilliantly plotted and virtually unputdownable. For a debut novel, it packs a hell of a punch, with wit and style that will make you grin. 

How does it all end? Through the many jumps, hoops, swings and roundabouts this tale puts you through, you will want to know.

Some detective thrillers take themselves way too seriously, or are high on the ick factor. Fortunately this is a story that is taut, smartly told, and should be high on your read list.

Go for it, you won't be disappointed.