Showing posts with label scary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scary. Show all posts

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Book Review: Skin Cage by Nico Laeser


Synopsis (from the author): Daniel Stockholm was fifteen years old when a parasite hijacked his brain, rendering him paralyzed and reliant on machines that run day and night to keep him alive. 
For nine years, Danny has been confined within a biological prison with only two small windows, through which to view the world around him; a silent witness to the selfless compassion of some and the selfish contrivance of others. 
When the malicious actions of care worker, Marcus Salt, threaten to push Danny farther from the ones he loves, and deeper into the dark recesses of his skin cage, he is left with only one option. He must find a way out.

Review: Nico Laeser is an author name you would remember, and Skin Cage is such  a strange and affecting title for a book. Then, you consider the artwork, which just adds to the overall strangeness. The synopsis adds another level to this - and then - you start reading.

Skin Cage holds the reader's attention from the start, telling us the story of Daniel (Danny) who gives clues to his state. He is paralysed, and can hardly move anything, save for his on occasion or when his head lols to one side or another whilst being repositioned in his chair.

It is told in first person perspective. I've told a few stories like this already and it is a skill that most authors cannot pull off effectively. Ultimately, if you don't care about Danny, the first person narrative starts to grate. However, the author has been smart in keeping his chapters short but utterly readable. It's not a book you can skip parts on and understand what is going on. The author treats his reader with respect by saying 'you're in Danny's head with his thoughts, and in his body through his skin cage - if you casually skim past stuff, we will punish you by not filling in the blanks.'

Here is a story where each word, each sentence and paragraph has been painstakingly thought through before committing to paper and screen. 

Danny's view of the world is a strange one. He has his carers, some, like Cassie and Anna, who genuinely care about him. There are others, like Marcus Salt, who seems to be the villain of the story, but again, Skin Cage is not so explicit in the difference of black and white. 

Despite the engaging narrative and thoughtful 'thoughts' of Danny, which are always interesting, the story is never heavy, but neither should it be taken as light reading.

In the first third of the book, I found myself clocking up the chapters even though I hadn't sat through and read it for say a solid hour. By the second third (forgive me, I have an ice hockey past!) things take a dark and twisted turns. A few 'a-ha' moments arrive. That's not the end of it. Or the start.

By the final third, there was only one thing to do - finish reading this elegant and articulate story and find out the ending. It's hinted at where the story is going. But once Danny escapes his skin cage - a sequence that I thought was brilliantly highlighted in the synopsis but wondered could it possibly work in its execution - wow,  is all I can say.

Skin Cage sounds dark, twisted and disturbing. It is. But it is also funny, engaging and well worth anyone's time and money to read. I say that with the confident knowledge that this book is fighting against millions of others to be seen.

Scenes where a nurse is wondered a character may harm themselves should be disturbing. Instead, the author gives us a humourous scene:-

"Can I have a pen and paper?"
"I'm not going to kill myself with it."

Another scene.

I would love to have the use of my body for long enough to deny him the further use of his.

There's a scene with a car that was my favourite moment in the entire book. It's so good, you will simply have to read it. I must also apologise to the author -Skin Cage has been on my read list for ages - but thankfully, it's been read now. I hope this review will help others to read it sooner than I did!

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Book Review: Ten For The Devil by Deborah R Mitton


Synopsis (from the author): Ten For The Devil is a labyrinthine murder/revenge ride from an idyllic English Village to the industrious shipbuilding port of Saint John, NB (then St. John), in the newly formed country of Canada, over a span of fifty years.

Chief Inspector Michael McLaughlin has believed that his nemesis was dead, but discovers that Seth 
Shaw is alive and in the very city that Michael and his family are visiting. His loves ones at risk, Michael closes in on a collision course with a serial murderer while the city is in flames.
Book 1 - Michael was an eleven year old boy when he witnessed a murder and the lives of the families - friends, of both our murderer and witness are intertwined throughout generations from 1850 to modern day. 

A dark tale of obsession, revenge, murder, seduction, a love curse, reparation and survival. Our young boy grows up to join Scotland Yard and is obsessed with bringing Seth Shaw to justice. There is a sense of paranormal forces at work protecting our villain. 
The story’s climax will occur during the fire of June 20, 1877: a fire - second - only in size and damages to the famous Boston fire.

Review: Reading many books over the years, I cannot quite recall coming across a stronger representation of evil than the primary antagonist in Ten For The Devil. The story itself is a truly remarkable work in depth and in scope. This is the first book in the series and yet manages to cover a huge amount of time within this one volume.

Reading it back, and actually feeling sorry for Seth, I wondered why he had become so evil? We hear in modern media that the reason killers do what they do can be explained away through some medical imbalance in the brain. Others may state there was an emotional disconnect at home, where the father constantly beat the child for every minor infraction, or the mother never offered a simple hug.

In Ten For The Devil, I think the answer is far more simple. The main antagonist is evil, but not pure and certainly not simple.

I found it remarkable how the author drafted other characters into the story, some  who were an unknown witness to several brutal and unnerving kills, and as the reader I felt like I was over their shoulder too - that if the antagonist saw me reading this stuff, he would come after me too.

No-one is safe from his brutal ways, yet he displays many signs of  the psychopath - he is self assured, full of himself, has a total lack of respect for all kinds of life, and is vain in the extreme.

This is, however, just one facet of the story, and it would be inaccurate to list Ten For The Devil as a one man show. I will admit, however, that as rotten as he was, I missed him when he was not part of the narrative.

The story ends satisfyingly, though there is a lot more to come from the author, the extremely talented Deborah R Mitton.

Ten For The Devil features bizarre and sometimes distasteful elements of romance,  but in no way does the author try to colour her main baddie with shades of grey. Yes, he is handsome, charming, disarming. But he is also a killer, and we must never forget that. 

He is not someone you can root for, but you cannot ignore him either.

The story does not lack humour though, and one of the lines I liked:-

Referring to Pastor Brown: 'His voice carried the whole breadth and width of the church and a parishioner had once speculated that the pigeons in the bell tower flew to safer perches when he preached.'

But it is full of beautiful lines like this, too:-

The candle on the side table gave the sleeping pair a halo of golden light before it flickered and died, enveloping the room in darkness.

The book is choc-full of lines like this. Eerily beautiful, I have to say.

Beautiful, eerie, strange, dark, deliciously compelling. Buy Ten For The Devil today!

Friday, 10 April 2015

GoodReads Giveaway: Innocent While She Sleeps (A Tale of Vampires, 3)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Innocent While She Sleeps by John    Hennessy

Innocent While She Sleeps

by John Hennessy

Giveaway ends May 20, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Dream the Crow's Black Dream - Major Cover Reveal!

Hi all. Well here is the front / spine / back cover of the new book, out 1st May or you can pre-order the Kindle version now!

Let me know what you think of the artwork, and of course, the story, when you've read it!

This is the fourth in my Tale of Vampires series, if you haven't checked out 
  • Murderous Little Darlings
  • The Blood and the Raven
  • Innocent While She Sleeps

I advise you try these first!

Yes, there is one for the second in series The Blood and the Raven. Enter and try to win!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Cover Reveal: The Blood and the Raven (A Tale of Vampires, #2)

I'm happy to announce the second in my novella-style tale of vampires. Entitled The Blood and the Raven, the story is related to the first Tale, Murderous Little Darlings, and yet any in this series can be read on their own.

Unlike Murderous Little Darlings, which was told rather tongue-in-cheek, The Blood and the Raven is more of a straight up horror tale.

Synopsis: A group of teenagers spend a night amongst the ruins of an old priory, taking turns to scare one other with a tale of horror, each  one more scary than the last.

When it comes to Seth, the last storyteller, he is reluctant to tell the story, because once the story has been told, those who hear it, will begin to die.

As he is still alive, his friends think Seth is bluffing - but is he in fact, telling the truth?

To find out, you must dare to read the tale of The Blood and The Raven. 

Expected release: February 2015. You can read the first tale and buy it here.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Book Review #28: Mine by J. Kahele


Once in a while, a true edge-of-the-seat (or in this case, page) thriller entertains and enthralls us.

Mine tells us the tale of Jenna Kramer, who comes into contact with handsome attorney Andrew Carington. All well and good, you may say. But Jenna is married. Not only that, she is married to Ben, a Senator. Not only that, Ben is a possessive nutjob, I'm thinking his mother could be Annie Wilkes from Misery.

Mine is a brutal examination of how people can be controlled in relationships. Of course there are things we will do that our partner / spouse will not like. But in Jenna's case, she finds herself eating a wall because she chose to wear blue jeans. Something with Ben doesn't like. He doesn't like this at all.

In fact, when the first assault from Ben happens, it is truly shocking. And the way he follows it up with an 'I Love You' makes it all the more worse.

I have had Mine on my to read list for a while. It's such a pleasure to read a truly thrilling novel, where the author uses great prose to draw us into this world.

You root for Jenna, that's a given, but really, no-one should have to go through what she goes through in this book.

Even more pleasing is the knowledge that a second book in the series exists.

Make sure you read Mine, because I was reminded of Fatal Attraction, Jagged Edge, Stepfather...and similar thrillers of this ilk. Ben could be in any of these kind of films...he is a guy you love to hate. But is down to the author's talent as a writer that this Ben is so utterly chilling.

I find myself still thinking about the book, even though I have read it, and would re-read it!

So buy Mine, and enjoy. You may not look at your relationship in the same way again!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Currently Reading: Screamscapes by Evans Light


How fantastic is it when you come across really gripping horror yarns? In the first two stories, which I have completed, Crawlspace and What Ever Possessed You? are picture perfect horror tales, and I seriously loved them both.

Evans Light is clearly an excellent writer and understands his genre well. What I particularly like from these first two stories is how the gore is kept to a relative minimum, but the creep factor is high throughout.

I suppose comparisons to Stephen King are obvious, in that perhaps all horror writers wish to emulate him. But I suspect readers of Evans Lights will find he has his own distinct voice - and it will be heard!

The first two stories are great, and I hope the remainder are too. I'm very impressed!