The Outsider by Stephen King #20booksofsummer (1/20) #Review

I am delighted to share my review today for The Outsider by Stephen King. This is the first of my #20BooksofSummer reading challenge that I am taking part in.

When an eleven-year-old boy is found murdered in a town park, reliable eyewitnesses undeniably point to the town’s popular Little League coach, Terry Maitland, as the culprit. DNA evidence and fingerprints confirm the crime was committed by this well-loved family man.

Horrified by the brutal killing, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose own son was once coached by Maitland, orders the suspect to be arrested in a public spectacle. But Maitland has an alibi. And further research confirms he was indeed out of town that day.

As Anderson and the District Attorney trace the clues, the investigation expands from Ohio to Texas. And as horrifying answers begin to emerge, so King’s propulsive story of almost unbearable suspense kicks into high gear.

Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy but there is one rock-hard fact, as unassailable as gravity: a man cannot be in two places at the same time. Can he?

It’s been a while since I read a book by this author, well apart from a re-read of IT a couple of years ago.

The Outsider started as a crime thriller read after the brutal murder of a young boy. All the evidence points to one man. Other evidence places that same man in another place.

I enjoyed the crime aspect of this story and the thrill of the investigation. I enjoyed the feeling of something being wrong. I did have a theory early on, and to be honest I think that is something most readers would pick up on Mine was based on an urban legend/myth that I thought would be a fitting suspect.

Because this is a King book there are certain expectations that I have before reading. I expect a story that is not straight forward, that is going to have an unsettling feeling, a level of horror that me turning all the lights on. This story definitely does have all those.

The story has an almost two-part feel. The first is more the investigations, witnesses and trying to work out the various angles. The second part is something a little bit different. It also sees the appearance of my favourite character in this story, Holly.

Holly is a character who is almost a mystery in herself, I know she has appeared in other books, but I have not read them. She for me is a linking character. She helps join the two parts of the book for me. Linking the crime investigation to what follows.

There is a good amount of tension that builds up, I think a lot of this was my imagination trying to leap forward trying to guess what the author was going to come up with.

By the time I got to the crucial point of the story where the suspect is cornered, I was thoroughly enjoying the book. Then the reasons behind the murder were explained and I have to say I felt a little deflated. As I was reading it I thought “Oh is that it!”, I just felt it ended a bit quick.

Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy the story a lot, I thoroughly enjoyed the tense build-up, the eerieness and the crime investigation. The description of the brutal nature of the crime was uncomfortable to read. For me this story had more of a suspense and mystery feel to it rather than a horror.
With that in mind, I would recommend this book to readers who like crime, thriller, suspense with mysterious leanings in the second half.

It is a book I would Recommend.


Book #1 of 20 in my #20 Books of Summer reading Challenge

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx

Tarn Richardson – #TheDarkestHand @TarnRichardson @RedDoorBooks – #CoverReveal #BookNews

I have been a huge fan of Tarn Richardson’s The Darkest Hand Trilogy and I am so excited and delighted to be welcoming you all to have a look at the fabulous new look covers for this fabulous and Highly Recommended trilogy. Tarn has recently moved to Red Door Publishing and I wish him all the best for this new journey.

I first became aware of this fabulous trilogy when I read the short prequel called The Hunted. This is action packed from the very start and was when I first got to meet inquisitor Poldeck Tacit. This prequel is available free for download from Amazon and is the start to an absolutely amazing trilogy. If anyone asks me about some of the best books I have read, this series always gets a mention! Get your free copy of The Hunted HERE

In the bustling streets of Sarajevo in June 1914, the dead body of a priest lies, head shattered by the impact of a fall from a building high above. As the city prepares for the arrival Archduke Franz Ferdinand, grim-faced inquisitor Poldek Tacit is faced not only with the challenge of discovering why the priest has been killed but also confronting other menaces: the demon rumoured to be at large in the city and the conspirators of the Black Hand organisation who plan to assassinate the Archduke.

With terrible danger only ever one step away and his private demons silenced only by a strong drink, THE HUNTED introduces us to the damaged soul that is the unorthodox Catholic inquisitor Poldek Tacit. It is a world both like and unlike our own but in which the Inquisition, is alive and well yet existing in the shadows; in which history is poised to take dangerous and unpredictable paths; where evil assumes many horrific forms, from werewolves to the institutional slaughter of the trenches; and the threat to humanity (in all senses of the word) – and to love – is ever constant.


After reading The Hunted I wondered how on earth this author could maintain such a frenetic pace in a full length book? Well not only did he deliver a story he did it in a very intricate way.

The Damned follows and I realised what sort of journey I was on. Referred to as Dark Fiction, for me this series covers many genres. Historical fiction, fantasy, crime, thriller, alternative history, if you love reading any of these or like mystery, thriller and suspense then this is for you as well.

Here is a snippet of one of my reviews…
“I fell in love with a little e-book called “The Hunted”. It had so many things going on its 45 pages, I couldn’t help but wonder how it would transfer into a longer book, nevermind a trilogy of them. Tarn Richardson has brilliantly put together a huge story with a vast array of memorable and unique characters. I have loved some, loathed some and have been very wrong in my opinion of some. For me this shows what a great author he is, he has managed to bring his characters and his books alive for me in the words he has written. It is like reading a film. There has been a huge amount of research gone into this book and it shows, through the way he has intertwined his world into our own world history.”

The Fallen and then The Risen just cemented my love for this trilogy and I was gutted when I realised that I had come to the end of my journey with Polek and the other fabulous characters. This trilogy for me was simply sublime reading, it ticked so many boxes because of the many genres it spans. The attention and research to historical events is brilliant and very evident. There is conspiracy and intrigue at every turn as Poldeck battles his own demons and investigates others. This is a trilogy that was perfect for me and I think deserves far more attention than it has had. It is my sincere hope that as Tarn has now moved publishers The Darkest Hand gets the notice, attention and acclaim that it deserves.

So let’s have a proper look at the covers …

Now when it comes to covers I am one of those that tends to prefer the cover of a book I see. So for me I loved the original ones, but I to say that I am impressed with these new ones. I love that the original main colour was kept and the imagery is very suited to each book and link in to the main story. I will definitely be buying these new copies when they are published.

Tarn Richardson was brought up in a remote house, rumored to be haunted, near Somerset. He has worked as a copywriter, written mystery murder dinner party games and worked in digital media for nearly twenty years. He lives near Salisbury in England. The Damned is his debut novel, the first in a series of three featuring tortured Inquisitor Poldek Tacit.

Having grown up in Somerset, he now lives in Salisbury with his wife, the portraiture artist Caroline Richardson.

Social Media links – Website Twitter

Many thanks for reading my post, a share or like would be amazing 🙂 xx

Creature by Hunter Shea @huntershea1 @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Creature by Hunter Shea as part of the blog tour with Anne at Random Things Tours. My thanks to Hunter for my copy of this book and Anne for my spot on the tour.

This is available to purchase from Amazon UK from 6th Sept. It is published by Flame Tree Press, the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices http://www.flametreepublishing.com/

Synopsis:

The monsters live inside of Kate Woodson. Chronic pain and a host of autoimmune diseases have robbed her of a normal, happy life. Her husband Andrew’s surprise of their dream Maine lake cottage for the summer is the gift of a lifetime. It’s beautiful, remote, idyllic, a place to heal.

But they are not alone. Something is in the woods, screeching in the darkness, banging on the house, leaving animals for dead.

Just like her body, Kate’s cottage becomes her prison. She and Andrew must fight to survive the creature that lurks in the dead of night.

My Thoughts:

Kate suffers from a whole host of autoimmune diseases and her husband Andrew decides that they both need a break before Kate’s next round of treatment. He rents a lake cottage in a remote and secluded area in Maine. Being city dwellers that find that country living is not as quiet as they thought it would be, and that they are not always by themselves.

The descriptions the author gives for Kate’s diseases is a real eye-opener and part way through reading this book I took a break to have an internet search to discover more. At the end of the book I discovered that the author has used his own personal experiences about autoimmune diseases.

I was shocked to read Kate’s story about how she tries to live a life in constant pain and constant supply of medication. I had a sense of the autoimmune diseases as being like a third person in Kate and Andrew’s relationship, I say this because everything that a normal couple would enjoy from walking, going out and just doing basic things is not an option for these two, never mind a more intimate side to being a couple. Andrew has to work to pay medical bills as well as provide support for Kate, he has a lot on his shoulders and at times it shows. Whereas Kate is the position of feeling helpless and useless, not always able to the basic housework without paying the price and spending hours asleep afterwards.

As I started t get further into the story I got a real sense of them not being alone, while it is implied early on. It gradually starts to build and the suspense of there being something unknown takes a hold. I did have an idea about what was happening and I did wonder if my random thought process would be right as I started to piece things together. Even though I was right to a point, I found the author stepped up the pace and also the horror element and took a route that caught me a little by surprise.

If you are someone who doesn’t read much in the way of horror then be prepared for some blood and guts, but nothing that I felt was majorly over the top. The story of Kate and Andrew as they deal with their life is an emotional and a real eye opener of a story. I found myself quickly turning the pages to discover the truth.

This is a book I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

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Hunter Shea is the product of a misspent childhood watching scary movies, reading forbidden books and wishing Bigfoot would walk past his house. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter’s novels can even be found on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum. His video podcast, Monster Men, is one of the most watched horror podcasts in the world. He’s a bestselling author of over 13 (lucky number!) books, all of them written with the express desire to quicken heartbeats and make spines tingle. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to gobble down Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.

Website http://www.huntershea.com/

Twitter @huntershea1

Facebook Author Page

Follow the blog tour to see what other Book Bloggers thought

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Lights Will Never Fade by Jackson Baer @JacksonPaulBaer #BookReview

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Today I have The Lights Will Never Fade by Jackson Baer. Ideal for readers of supernatural / horror stories. This is available to buy in paperback, eBook and also as an audio-book and you can get a copy from Amazon UK.  I would like to thank the author for my e-copy of this book and also apologise for the length of time it has taken me to  read it xx

Synopsis:

Eighteen-year-old Peyton is a typical Midwest girl – until the Shadow helps her escape the most gruesome murder that the small town of Jenks, Oklahoma has ever seen.

Soon after, she returns home only to find the rest of her family dead.

Haunted by the Shadow ever since, Peyton is not the only one this supernatural being has chosen – and now, no one is safe from its wrath. Escaping to live with her only living relative, Peyton discovers that they both have dark secrets that cannot remain buried. 

Secrets which fuel the Shadow’s vengeance.

In the end, can Peyton prevent any more bloodshed, or is there no stopping this supernatural nightmare?

My Thoughts:

This is an unusual and somewhat quirky book that really intrigued me when I read the synopsis. A supernatural / horror story that tells of the life of Peyton and her family. Peyton is the only survivor after the brutal and bloody murder of her family.

The story obviously focuses on Peyton and gradually the events of her family;s death comes out through a series of dreams, well I say dreams but they are nightmares. Part way through there is a larger section on Peyton’s aunt and the reason for this sudden inclusion becomes more obvious towards the latter end of the story.

Now Peyton as a character I didn’t really like, she comes across as quite emotionless and she was too aware of her own looks. However within the context of her role in the story it does actually make sense. Her life story and how she copes with events seems to be why she has emotionally severed character.

I did get a little confused by another character in the story, the “Shadow” has a supernatural presence and its my own curiosity as to why/ how it has manifested itself. Maybe this is just me wanting to know more rather than just accepting it’s presence, I am curios and well nosy about things so it is sometimes a little difficult for me to just accept things that are supposed to have that mysterious element to them.

That being said I did enjoy the story and the shadow definitely added an element of suspense and a little of the chill factor as well. This type of story would be ideal for readers who like a supernatural / horror story and is one I would recommend.

About the Author:

17155930_10208675062775180_8750491568729042235_n.jpg I’m a professional thrifter who is happily married, the father of four children, and an avid runner. I was born and raised in Georgia, and spent time in Oklahoma, California, Connecticut, and then Oregon, as an adult. I’m a graduate of Oregon State University and now reside in North Georgia, raising my family, near family.

My first book, The Earth Bleeds Red, was released in 2013. It is currently available on the Kindle, in paperback, and as an audiobook on Amazon/Audible/iTunes. My second book, The Lights Will Never Fade, came out in Jan ’18. I’ve recently signed with Evolved Pub for my new contemporary fiction/suspense series, An American Family (Fall 2018).

You can follow the author on his Website and Twitter

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing 🙂 xx

#BookReview: Hardened Hearts : #anthology with @tbraun_author

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts for “Hardened Hearts” a book of 17 short stories with a foreward by James Newman and the book is edited by Eddie Generous.  My thanks to Theresa Braun for asking me to read a copy of this book. It is available in paperback and also eBook and can be purchased from Amazon UK ~ Amazon US 

Synopsis:

17 stories of difficult love, broken hearts, lost hope, and discarded truths. Love brings pain, vulnerability, and demands of revenge. Hardened Hearts spills the sum of darkness and light concerning the measures of love; including works from Meg Elison, author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award), Tom Deady, author of Haven (Winner of the Bram Stoker award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel), Gwendolyn Kiste, author of And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe and Pretty Marys All in a Row, and many more.
Hardened Hearts dips from speculative, horror, science fiction, fantasy, into literary and then out of the classifiable and into the waters of unpinned genres, but pure entertainment nonetheless.

My thoughts:

I am going to give a brief few lines about each story.

40 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR MONSTER LOVER – Gwendolyn Kiste: The loner of the group is dragged along to a party.  She accepts a drink from a man she knows is married, she knows she shouldn’t. There are lots of things she shouldn’t do but does. The man is likened to that of a wolf, he is the hunter, she the prey.
IT BREAKS MY HEART TO WATCH YOU ROT – Somer CanonL: Love does not last forever.  It lasts until the last breath.
WHAT IS LOVE? – Calvin Demmer: He is a lightening bird, a rare creature that feeds on blood.  He is controlled by witch doctors and can take human form.
HEIRLOOM – Theresa Braun: Rachel has an antique mirror, an heirloom. She is with a client when the mirror moves, this plus the strange dreams she has been having and also the unsettling client gives a dark and unsettling read.
THE RECLUSE – John Boden: He is besotted with his co-worker Emily.  He thought she was “the one”.

DOG TIRED – Eddie Generous: Prince and Cassandra are driving, desperate to stay awake.  They cannot allow themselves to fall asleep.  There are beast in the shadows, they carry an infection.
THE PINK BALLOON – Tom Deady: Grace wants to go to the fair, Dad has been busy, is tired and grumpy.  Mum takes her instead.  Walking around is unsettling for mum, be better if her husband was with her.  Grace sees a balloon seller, clowns and stalls.  He should have gone with them.
IT’S MY PARTY AND I’LL CRY IF I WANT TO – J.L. Knight: He still has her breath, it has been captured in the balloons she blew up.

CONSUMED – Madhvi RamaniHe is a married lawn mower sales man, she is recently divorced.  They meet at conferences, trade shows and have elicit meetings.  He is in over his head, out of his depth and then there are the lies.

BURNING SAMANTHA – Scott Hallam: She is Samantha, not Sam.  Ready to attend the Spring Dance with Andrew.  This is a night of change, missed and now lost opportunities.
CLASS OF 2000 – Robert Dean: Didn’t plan on murder today.  Didn’t mean to murder Alex at all.  But he was a bully and a low life, pushed things too far.
LEARNING TO LOVE – Jennifer Williams: Falling in love too fast and too often leaves scars.  Love hurts.
BROTHERS – Leo X. Robertson: Growing up is part of life.  There are mistakes and regrets.  Going over old memories, visiting diaries exploring the past.  This is the longest story, it is diary entries from a group of teenagers, who they are and what they did.
PORCELAIN SKIN – Laura Blackwell: Ruth is sent a music box, it belonged to an old friend who died 13 years ago.  She still misses her.
THE HEART OF THE ORCHARD – Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi: When Melissa father dies the farm has to be sold.  It goes to neighbours and Melissa is able to live in their guest house.  She still grows peaches when an old man comes to her with some advice to improve them.
MEETING THE PARENTS – Sarah L. Johnson: She is trying to describe her boyfriend in a letter to her parents.  It is better if they know some things before they actually meet him.
MATCHMAKER – Meg Elison: Getting over a break up is never easy, especially when you ex can be seen on a dating app with a new hairstyle and smiling.

Back to My Thoughts:

These stories are a really good mix.  There are supernatural, modern, occult, folktale-ish, modern and creepy but all have elements of love in them in all it’s various guises.

This is a great book for dipping in and out of, pick a story, read it, maybe read another….or get completely engrossed and read in pretty much one sitting, it wasn’t the plan !

They range from a couple of pages in length to several, but they all make their point and are interesting and intriguing.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who like the dark side of love, short stories with twists and thorns.

Many thanks to Theresa Braun, one of the authors, for sending a copy of this book.  My thoughts are my own and unbiased.

Many thanks for reading my  post, give it a share if you liked it.  Or go and grab yourself a copy of this book 🙂 xx

#BookReview : The Truants by Lee Markham

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“The Truants” by Lee Markham is available in paperback, hardback and eBook, published by Duckworth OverLook.

Synopsis:

In a fresh twist on the traditional vampire narrative, The Truants is a startling, noirish tale of immortality, bloodlust and rage.

Following his lover’s suicide, the last of the ‘old-ones’– ancient immortal beings as clever as they are ruthless, and unable to withstand the light of the sun – has had enough of this world gone to ruin and decides to end his existence. Yet as he waits for the burning dawn on a bench near a council estate, he is held up at knifepoint by a youth and stabbed. While the old-one’s body turns to ash as the sun rises, his assailant scurries back into the estate’s feral underbelly with the knife in his pocket. The old-one’s blood is still seared into its sharpened blade, and as the knife does its menacing rounds his consciousness is awakened in the city’s children from the depths of the afterlife. Determined to die, he must find and destroy the knife to regain control of his soul. But someone is out to stop him…

A sharp and powerful new voice, Lee Markham has written an intelligent, visceral novel which uncovers the fragility and hopelessness of Britain’s social underclass – and the horror of their everyday lives.

My Thoughts:

The “Old One” is the last of an ancient immortal race, he is centuries old and is awaiting death with the rise of the sun.  Following in the footsteps of his lover, who has already taken this route.  But things go awry when he is stabbed, his blood carried like a plague ready to infect others in the inner city estates.  When his blood infects another, his consciousness is transferred across to it’s new host.

Now this is a hard to read at times book, there are mentions of cruelty to a dog and neglect of a child, be warned!  This story has a “hive” aspect to it, with a controlling leader over it’s workers, but it then delves a lot further than that.  As the consciousness awakens, it takes in the the way some people live their lives in a poverty, drink and drug ridden section of society.  The vampire aspect of this story is actually a “Trojan Horse” concealing a much darker, grim and depraved story.  It explores the filth, stench and grim ridden slums and the desperate people who inhabit them. Now this is bleak reading, but I found also quite addictive and compelling as there is a hint of hope.

The story is told from several perspectives, giving a “both sides of the fence” viewpoint, as well as giving first hand accounts of those living in the estates and the how they struggle to live.  This also has mentions of riots and I was reminded of the London Riots, and the child neglect, again putting me in mind of the case that was in the news headlines regarding Baby P a few years ago.

When I started this book I thought i was going to race through it, but that really was not the case, and it was not what I was expecting, I took my time over it.  I am annoyed that it has been sat on my shelf since I bought it back in May and it has taken me until now (December) to read it.

Now this is a little difficult to recommend to readers, I liked a hell of a lot, but I am also aware that there are things that will not sit right with some readers, and this I get.  Yes it has a horror / fantasy factor to it.  But also an Dark Urban Fiction ( if there is such a thing), but it is very dark, real, gritty and truthful about what happens in the world, just look at the news, (not the vampire bit though) !

About the Author:

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Lee Markham is author of the acclaimed novel The Truants, published by Duckworth Overlook. Inspired by the murders of Baby P, Jamie Bulger and Damilola Taylor, and by the London riots during the summer of 2011, The Truants is a visceral, intelligent, gripping novel which uncovers the fragility and hopelessness of Britain’s social underclass – and the horror of their everyday lives.

With a background in branding and marketing, Lee also writes copy and develops content and narrative architecture for agencies and businesses across all sectors. With an instinctive knowledge for what needs saying and – equally importantly – what can be left unsaid, he is happy to work either as a lone wolf, or to integrate into creative teams to build compelling stories that can be told across campaigns, media and platforms.

Lee is also founder and storyteller-in-chief of Chestnut Tree Tales. Chestnut Tree Tales is a captivating series of children’s stories that generates awareness and revenue for the children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House. The first Chestnut Tree Tale, The Rainbow Snowstorm, is available now, with the next tale, The Flappity Happening, coming soon.

More recently Lee has also started working with schools on a term-long programme that allows Lower School age children to develop and launch their own children’s storybooks. The first book in this project is called The Way Through Gildredge Wood and was created with the Lower School children of Gildredge House School in Eastbourne.

 

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Duckworth Overlook (20 April 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715651765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715651766
  • Purchase from Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked give a share.  Better still go buy a copy of this book xx