Accepting NO review requests

As of 28 February 2016, due to decline in my health and chronic illness

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

REVIEW: DEATH IN THE PINES by Thom Hartmann. Release

REVIEW: DEATH IN THE PINES A compelling New England mystery set in the lonely forests of Vermont, a state filled with intrepid individualism, DEATH IN THE PINES is a fast yet enduring read. Intermittent private investigator Oakley Tyler, formerly of Atlanta, lives peaceably isolated cabin , until he is sought out by an elderly gentleman who proves to have not long to live. Jeremiah Smith's approach to Oakley serves to tie Oakley in, though he never learned exactly what the elder wanted. An element of prehistoric indigenous Supernatural shines additional light, engrossing readers.


REVIEW: THE EXPERIMENT ON DREAMS by Brandon Zenner An exciting and sensorily vivid and vibrant novel, THE EXPERIMENT ON DREAMS is an adventurous international thriller, as well as deep exploration into the mind and subconscious of one individual. Ben Walker has been an experimental subject for decades, and has become extraordinarily gifted at Lucid Dreaming. He is sought out to be tested in private-sector experimentation with an avant garde device nicknamed "Lucy," which receives and records data of dreams. Ben leaps at both the opportunity, and the payment, only to discover what seems too good to be true, may indeed be true, but not good.


REVIEW: THE CATALAIN BOOK OF SECRETS A delightful, entrancing, and very magical tale (in many senses), this story offers immediate full suspension of disbelief, as comfortably as slipping into a pond of cool water on a hot summer afternoon. A female lineage of witches, as powerful as they seem, cannot always defend against the powers of physical strength, rage, or revenge. A pleasure to read and savor--I anticipate further stories from glorious Faith Falls, Minnesota.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


REVIEW: BRINGING IN THE THIEVES by Lora Lee A Texas-sized cosy murder mystery with big hair, church, community, and cosmetic enhancement, with a heroine whose abrupt return to the small town after an eleven-year self-exile almost immediately results in murder, BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES demonstrates that even small-town life has its petty jealousies, lusts, envy, back-biting, malicious gossip, and murder.

Release: VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar


For fans of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank comes a captivating novel that offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of Vanessa Bell, her sister Virginia Woolf, and the controversial and popular circle of intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury Group.

London, 1905: The city is alight with change, and the Stephen siblings are at the forefront. Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby, and Adrian are leaving behind their childhood home and taking a house in the leafy heart of avant-garde Bloomsbury. There they bring together a glittering circle of bright, outrageous artistic friends who will grow into legend and come to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. And at the center of this charmed circle are the devoted, gifted sisters: Vanessa, the painter, and Virginia, the writer.

Each member of the group will go on to earn fame and success, but so far Vanessa Bell has never sold a painting. Virginia Woolf’s book review has just been turned down by The Times. Lytton Strachey has not published anything. E. M. Forster has finished his first novel but does not like the title. Leonard Woolf is still a civil servant in Ceylon, and John Maynard Keynes is looking for a job. Together, this sparkling coterie of artists and intellectuals throw away convention and embrace the wild freedom of being young, single bohemians in London.

But the landscape shifts when Vanessa unexpectedly falls in love and her sister feels dangerously abandoned. Eerily possessive, charismatic, manipulative, and brilliant, Virginia has always lived in the shelter of Vanessa’s constant attention and encouragement. Without it, she careens toward self-destruction and madness. As tragedy and betrayal threaten to destroy the family, Vanessa must decide if it is finally time to protect her own happiness above all else.

The work of exciting young newcomer Priya Parmar, Vanessa and Her Sister exquisitely captures the champagne-heady days of prewar London and the extraordinary lives of sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf.

Review soon!

Release: ISLAND FIRE by Toby Neal


In the very near future, on the tiny island of Lanai, teens from very different worlds must find a way to survive when technology is destroyed.

Bea and Sam, Hawaiian kids isolated by a paranoid, alcoholic father, are thrown together with orphaned big-city pickpocket Nick when a disaster fries all technology. Aided by a mysterious `aumakua dragon that may or may not be Bea’s imaginary friend, the kids face fire, plane crashes, gangs, pit bulls, thieves, sharks, hunger, thirst and abuse in a coming-of-age that explores a post-technology world where only the strong and connected survive.


Review soon!

Release: THE LIFE INTENDED by Kristin Harmel


From the author of the international bestseller The Sweetness of Forgetting, named one of the Best Books of Summer 2012 by Marie Claire magazine, comes a captivating novel about the struggle to overcome the past when our memories refuse to be forgotten.

In this richly told story where Sliding Doors meets P.S. I Love You, Kristin Harmel weaves a heart-wrenching tale that asks: what does it take to move forward in life without forgetting the past?

After her husband’s sudden death over ten years ago, Kate Waithman never expected to be lucky enough to find another love of her life. But now she’s planning her second walk down the aisle to a perfectly nice man. So why isn’t she more excited?

At first, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she’s really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband’s hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.

Review soon.

Monday, December 29, 2014


REVIEW: MURDER AT THE BOOK GROUP A cunning and cleverly posited mystery, MURDER IN THE BOOK GROUP demonstrates that one should be careful when forming a reading club, careful to keep the friends close and the enemies closer. Watch out for the sweet smile which contains malice, and the gentle hand designed to murder. A cosy and literary mystery in a contemporary style, this story presents a clever puzzle and an abundance of possibly scheming suspects.

REVIEW: SCHISMATRIX PLUS by Bruce Gibson. Release

Review: SCHISMATRIX PLUS by BRUCE STERLING Collecting the original novel (SCHISMATRIX) plus 5 short stories and the author's Prologue, SCHISMATRIX PLUS constitutes the sum total of what author Bruce Sterling intended to write of the Shaper/Mechanist Universe. What I came away with (this being my first reading of Mr. Sterling, one of the founders of "Cyberpunk") is an impression of a universe where, like ours, hard heads and stubbornness prevail, and where two opposing ideologies butt heads like two rams during mating season. Mr. Sterling terms his writing "crammed prose," yet I found it both very readable, and imagination-expanding.

REVIEW: DIE AGAIN bt Tess Gerritsen [Rizzoli & Isles #11]

Review: DIE AGAIN by TESS GERRITSEN This mystery totally absorbed me from Page 1, and the denouement blew me away. In between, I was enraptured, alarmed, anxious, and educated, and always, entertained. I loved the African scenes and thread, I loved the Zoo; and Ms. Gerritsen so deftly interweaved back story and side stories, so that it read seamlessly. I surely didn't see coming the revelations enclosed in the unfolding denouement. I had not read any of Ms. Gerritsen's mysteries in too long, but I'm about to remedy that. [For those readers who are also devoted to the TV's RIZZOLI AND ISLES Series, this is a Rizzoli and Isles mystery.]

REVIEW: AS FAR AS YOU CAN GO by Louise Glaiser

REVIEW AS FAR AS YOU CAN GO Definitely one of the best books of 2014, AS FAR AS YOU CAN GO is a consuming, all-engrossing literary novel which I couldn't put aside till finished. Ms. Kaiser' s approach is amazingly subtle and quiet--but when the momentous events occur--and many there are--their effect is all the more powerful for not being telegraphed. The characters themselves are amazing. Protagonists Cassie and Graham are truly babes in the woods, very self-focused, so that they overlook all clues that don't seem to directly pertain to them, which means they consistently miss both the Big Picture, and the smaller pictures too. They are incredibly naive, for 21st century adults. When they temporarily emigrate from England to Western Australia (with eyes wide shut and brains on hold), their lifestyle is immediate barely improved over what England's convicts transplanted to Australia in the 18th century experienced. And their hosts! Larry, Mara, and sidekick & dogsbody Fred are such fully-delineated individuals, they really need a fourth dimension to explain themselves. (Not to exclude the inimitable Ziggy.) Louise Glaiser demonstrates a powerful mind and an extensive imagination. I will definitely be rereading AS FAR AS YOU CAN GO.


REVIEW FIFTY MICE by Daniel Pyne This novel runs very rapidly, in fact it would make a quite suspenseful film. It's packed to the max with action, adventure, danger and thrills. I just couldn't elicit any empathy in my soul for Protagonist Jay. I wouldn't wish on him the troubles he experienced. I just couldn't sympathize, either.


REVIEW: THE BROKEN SWORD by Poul Anderson This award-winning author has been acclaimed both for his imaginative science fiction and fantasy. This novel is epic fantasy in the Norse tradition, the tale of a power-hungry Northman whose fatal decision results in the abduction of his firstborn son, replaced by a changeling. The lifelong battles between natural son and changeling are reminiscent of the rivalry between Isaac and his half-sibling Ishmael.


An entertaining historical tale with a fascinating focus: Spiritualism in post-Civil War Philadelphia, as narrated in first-person by a skeptical newspaper reporter, a Union Army veteran, as he lives these events. Readers of historical fiction will delight in the period detail, and those who like a Supernatural flavor will be quite riveted too.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


REVIEW: UNBEARABLY DEADLY by Jerold Last The awaited return of dynamic detective duo Roger and Suzanne Bowman, for the first time takes them away from both their Southern California home, and their usual investigative stomping grounds, Latin America. This time they are requested by Roger' s new partner in the private detection agency to check up on the deaths of two of his good friends. All three were long-term undercover agents of the CIA in the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile. The couple were brutally attacked by a bear, on vacation in the Denali Forest in Alaska...or were they? The only known truth is that the two died, but why and how will have to wait for the expertise of Roger and Suzanne, who once again deliver an exciting, scenic, well-designed mystery.

REVIEW: GHOST BOX by Derek Neville

REVIEW: GHOST BOX by Derek Neville GHOST BOX is a very scary book, and I loved everything about it, which is why I decided to post my review. It's no secret that weird as I am, I've loved the Supernatural as long as I've lived. GHOST BOX has everything in a Supernatural horror novel I crave: haunted locations, sinister entities, danger and death; missing children, fires, killer's. It's well-written and very readable. And most of all, it satisfies my single most essential criterion in horror or Supernatural: the story is ultimately terrifying, in its implacability. There really is No Escape.

REVIEW: LAST TO DIE by Tess Gerritsen

REVIEW: LAST TO DIE by Tess Gerritsen I had read some of Ms. Gerritsen' s earlier mysteries quite some years back. When I read DIE AGAIN a couple of days ago, I found it so engrossing I decided to read all I had missed. LAST TO DIE is slightly earlier (2012), and this one is definitely in the category of gritty noir. Set in Boston, Maine, and in Rome of nearly two decades ago, it also references an earlier installment in the Rizzoli-Isles series, ICE COLD, set in Wyoming. LAST TO DIE focuses on a very unique boarding school in a very isolated location in Maine, housing and educating the children of violence. Dr. Isles, the Boston Medical Examiner, is involved because of Julian, the adolescent who was instrumental in her survival in Wyoming. Boston PD Detective Jane Rizzoli's connection begins through a foster CHILD who was orphaned two years earlier, and then orphaned again at the murders of his foster family. The plot threads are complex , but author Gerritsen skillfully manipulates them, never revealing too muck, and keeping readers on tip-toe. There's a couple of vicious villains included here, and I think one will be quite a surprise, so extra kudos to the author on that particular character!

REVIEW: GIRL MISSING by Tess Gerritsen

REVIEW: GIRL MISSING by Tess Gerritsen Originally published in 1994 and revised for this new edition, GIRL MISSING marks the transition between author Tess Gerritsen' s earlier romantic suspense novels, and crime thrillers. In this mystery, an acutely intuitive city Medical Examiner clues into a series of untimely deaths, that others refuse to view either as connected, or as homicides. But as ME Kat Novak proceeds, she is soon validated, by finding her own life newly endangered.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

REVIEW: SKYNOISE by Ernie Lindsey

REVIEW: SKYNOISE by Ernie Lindsey I was fortunate to have read a sample of SKYNOISE, provided to the author's early readers list, so I knew just how fantastic THE finished product would be--and is. If you've any interest in the historical mysteries of Roanoke Island; of Apocalypse; if you like science fiction-fantasy and "watching" dedicated, educated, skeptic battle it out with dyed-in-the-bone conspiracy theorist--SKYNOISE is your book. Bar the Windows, lock the doors, and never look outdoors.


REVIEW: FUSION ANTHOLOGY I really love both anthologies and "boxed sets," because of the range of authorship and topic. I don't see how any aficionado of fantasy or paranormal could not love FUSION: 9 great bestselling authors offering 9 exciting stories! Makes a reader want to shut the doors, unplug the phones, dim all the lights, and relax. .into fantasy.


REVIEW: LOLA GIES TO THE DOCTOR by Marcia Goldman A truly delightful story, with appeal to kids and adults, dog lovers, and pet owners of any stripe or type. Lola is a brave dog, curious and (mostly) unafraid to visit her gentle veterinarian. [Lessons here could be applied to children's visit to pediatricians, too.]

REVIEW: I, ANNA by Elsa Lewin

REVIEW: I, ANNA A very absorbing novel in which couches a mystery--mysterious to the police, to the neighbors, to the estranged family--but understood by the reader. The author, Elsa Lewin, demonstrates a keen understanding of the extremes to which emotional illness, grief, and sorrow, will drive us, and some of the possible paths by which that will happen. I would not call this a novel of redemption; but rather a novel of gritty realism. I can safely label this "New York Noir," so know going in, that you will find neither fairy tale delights nor happy endings here. But you may come away with a deeper understanding of human frailty.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Review/Release: LARQUE ON THE WING by Nancy Springer

A gloriously delectable literary "implosion," a novel with as many meanings as a seven-layer cake, LARQUE ON THE WING" is superb. Who is LARQUE? 40-year-old menopausal, midlife cris-ing, wife, mother, daughter, craft artist, breadwinner, self-sufficient...but LARQUE is also grubby, mouthy, 10-year old loner Sky; and Lark, adolescent good-looking male; and Virtuous Woman, picture-perfect, butter-wouldn't-melt-in-her-mouth, cynosure of her Mother's eye. LARQUE is also: long-time creator of thought forms she calls doppelgangers (Tibetan mysticism terms them "tulpas"), serious artist-in-waiting...and a Self, in search of its identity. How can one woman be all this? Read LARQUE ON THE WING and you'll see.

Another "Best of 2014"!

Monday, December 22, 2014


REVIEW BEHIND GOD'S BACK An exciting and intriguing mystery from a land fairly new to crime and noir fiction, Finland. Additionally, this book and its precursor, NIGHTS OF AWE, both "starring" police detective Ariel Kafka (what a special name!), carry ethnic overtones: Kafka is a Helsinki Jew, non-observant, and BEHIND GOD'S BACK focuses on crimes against Jews, which may be ethnically related. Kafka is a bit of a bumbler in his personal and social life, but endeavors himself to the reader through his humility.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


REVIEW: LA BELLE FEMME by Aine Greaney This is the second time I've been privileged to read an Aine Greaney story published by the illustrious Pixel Hall Press, and I continue to be a convert to Ms. Greaney' s style and substance. LA BELLE FEMME is a short story of four individuals in two marriages, their selfishness and foibles, their inability to see beyond the force field concealing their individual consciousness, and the ineffectual ways they struggle on, blaming others and avoiding assumption of responsibility. I couldn't elicit much sympathy, but in the end, both of the wives do act to change themselves and their situations.

Friday, December 19, 2014


REVIEW: DAIMONES (DAIMONES TRILOGY BOOK ONE) by Massimo Marino A really scary apocalyptic novel which interleaves metaphysics, science, and science fiction, with contemporary events--especially the bird and wildlife mass deaths occurring globally over the last several years. Eventually, not only animal species are extinguished; but, literally overnight, almost all humans are also. All that remain are a few individuals, the Selected. I don't remember an apocalyptic story this hair-raising since my first reading of Philip Wylie' s TOMORROW! over five decades ago.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


REVIEW: WALKING THE LABYRINTH by Lisa Goldstein "Magic, magic, all is magic--" or so the reader feels of this very magical (in so many senses) tale. Stage magic is basically illusion, sleight-of-hand, trickery of the observer's eye; but then, so are con games like three-card Monte and shell games. Interpersonal con artists use illusion too, as do Faery, and with them it's called Glamour. All that brings us to the elusive (definitely, "now you see them, now you don't) Allalie Family: brother Callan, sisters Fentrice and Thorne (and aren't these just magical names?) In 1935, a local reporter tried to interview this illustrious family of stage illusionists, walked away with this conclusion: "Truth? Lies?" Sixty years later, Molly, granddaughter of Callan, orphaned as a toddler, raised by Fentrice, is abruptly accosted by a alleged private detective, about details of the family she doesn't know: all is concealed behind a veil of illusion, and perhaps--chicanery.


REVIEW: REINDEER DUST by Kate Dwyer Glowing with holiday cheer and goodwill, REINDEER DUST demonstrates the value of intuition and determination, of teamwork and cooperation, and a beautiful thematic: "I will always believe." Families will enjoy sharing the story, illustrations, and recipe.


REVIEW: HOW SANTA MET THE ELFS A delightfully new perspective on Santa's companions, HOW SANTA MET THE ELFS is a heartwarming addition to holiday stories. This is a good gift for readers who love science, meteorite lore, and extraterrestrials galore.

REVIEW: THE PACT by George Mahaffey

REVIEW: THE PACT by George Mahaffey Classic horror with twists! In the tiny Appalachian community of Furnace Creek, there are worse dangers than driving drunk off a mountain ridge or hypothermia in the winters. SOMETHING is out there in the woods, and it's not bears or bobcats. It wants sacrifices, and it takes whenever it can. Then begins the cover-up: closed caskets containing boulders, cause of Death announced as vehicular accident, hunting, heart attack, etc. Chris was sent away by his mother when he was small, and raised away. He returns only for his dear cousin's funeral. But Jack is not in his coffin, nor is Chris' late mother Beth in hers. THE PACT is a hair-raiser: read only with the doors locked and the lights on.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review: THE WISH AUGUR by Cecil Wilde. Release


A special touch is required to thrum the heartstrings of a cynical Scrooge, and THE WISH AUGUR is exactly the story to do so. Please make it a Christmas gift to all your "Bah, Humbug!" friends. Magical in the truest sense of the word; share with the one you love.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


REVIEW: THE GIRL FROM THE WELL by Rin Chupeco A lyrical and literary excursion along the paths of the Other Side, through the first-person narrative of Okiku, a centuries-dead murdered spirit who spends eternity releasing murdered victims from the killers to whom they are attached. She leads a purposeful but singularly lonesome existence, until she encounters Tarquin, a tattooed, demon-ridden, adolescent, and discovers she has another cause.


REVIEW: MENTION MY NAME IN ATLANTIS by John Jakes A riproaring science fiction fantasy tribute to legendary author Robert E. Howard, whose Conan the Barbarian stories are beloved of so many rapt readers, MENTION MY NAME IN ATLANTIS features barbarian Conax the Chimerical and the hapless Hopter whose first-person narrative memoir is the modus OF the story. If you've ever pondered the end of Atlantis, check this version out.

Monday, December 15, 2014


REVIEW: GHOST CAMERA by Darcy Coates An intriguingly vivid Supernatural about hungry, angry, ghosts; a failed, though widely-praised, paranormal investigator; and a pair of long-time best friends, GHOST CAMERA will have you checking that cameras are in your home! The theme here is dissimilar to the prior treatments I'd read or seen, when such a cursed camera either photographs those whose death is imminent, or causes the photographed to die soon. This active little Polaroid is quite different; it parts the veil between living and dead. Go ahead and find out.

REVIEW: THE VAGRANTS by Brian Moreland

REVIEW: VAGRANTS Some years back I read David Morrell' s excellent novel CREEPERS, which effectively introduced the practice of Urban Creeping, in which intrepid (or foolish) individuals (often, but not always, university students) explore abandoned function of the urban landscape: subway tunnels, ex-factories, subterranean tunnels under hospitals, etc. The "Seekers" who have such an important role in this story are similar, except that they pursue a "prophet" calling himself Mordecai, who promises the imminent return of the subterranean-dwelling Old Gods. Add a sometimes-failing hero, his dad and girlfriend, and a sadistic Irish criminal clan. Prepare to be quite thoroughly frightened.


REVIEW: NIGHTFALL GARDENS by Allen Houston Oh, what a wonderful book! This book ( and series) appeals to that deep part of my soul that was enraptured by THE SECRET GARDEN as a child, and by the concept of Brigadoon (appearing only centennially). WHO cannot love a living, sentient, always mutable house? Or gardens full of shapeshifters, monsters, and the Dead? I am always magnetized by stories of family curses and a family chosen to hold back evil, throughout their generations. Here there are two such lineages. And the characters!! The housekeeper weaves a web and cocoons herself every night; long-deceased Grandfather periodically rides his steed near the house, to check up. Brother Silas is quintessential Hero; and Sister Lily is beautiful and vain, but has potential. I can't wait to read the next two in the series.

Excerpt/Tour BURN BABY, BURN BABY by Kevin Craig

Burn Baby Burn Baby, by Kevin Craig


Genre: contemporary, young-adult


Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press


Date of Release: December 11, 2014


Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky






Seventeen-year-old Francis Fripp’s confidence is practically non-existent since his abusive father drenched him in accelerant and threw a match at him eight years ago. Now badly scarred, Francis relies on his best friend Trig to protect him from the constant bullying doled out at the hands of his nemesis, Brandon Hayley—the unrelenting boy who gave him the dreaded nickname of Burn Baby.


The new girl at school, Rachel Higgins, is the first to see past Francis’s pariah-inducing scars. If Brandon’s bullying doesn’t destroy him, Francis might experience life as a normal teenager for the first time in his life. He just has to avoid Brandon and convince himself he’s worthy of Rachel’s attentions. Sounds easy enough, but Francis himself has a hard time seeing past his scars. And Brandon is getting violently frustrated, as his attempts to bully Francis are constantly thwarted. Francis is in turmoil as he simultaneously rushes toward his first kiss and a possible violent end.





About The Author:

Kevin Craig is the author of three previous novels; Summer on Fire, Sebastian’s Poet, and The Reasons. He is a 4-time winner of the Muskoka Novel Marathon’s Best Novel Award. Kevin is also a playwright and has had eight 10-minute plays produced. His poetry, short stories, memoir and articles have been published internationally. Kevin was a founding member of the Ontario Writers’ Conference and a long-time member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR). He is represented by literary agent Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group.

Find Kevin Craig Online:

Website | Facebook Twitter | Goodreads

December 16th - 


Kevin Craig is the author of three previous novels; Summer on Fire, Sebastian’s Poet, and The Reasons. He is a 4-time winner of the Muskoka Novel Marathon’s Best Novel Award. Kevin is also a playwright and has had eight 10-minute plays produced. His most recent plays were included in Driftwood Theatre’s Trafalgar24 Play Creation Festival and theInspiraTO Festival at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto. Kevin’s poetry, short stories, memoir and articles have been published internationally Kevin was a founding member of the Ontario Writers’ Conference and a long-time member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR). He is represented by literary agent Stacey Donaghy of DonaghyLiterary Group.


Seventeen-year-old Francis Fripp’s confidence is practically non-existent since his abusive father drenched him in accelerant and threw a match at him eight years ago. Now badly scarred, Francis relies on his best friend Trig to protect him from the constant bullying doled out at the hands of his nemesis, Brandon Hayley—the unrelenting boy who gave him the dreaded nickname of Burn Baby.

The new girl at school, Rachel Higgins, is the first to see past Francis’s pariah-inducing scars. If Brandon’s bullying doesn’t destroy him, Francis might experience life as a normal teenager for the first time in his life. He just has to avoid Brandon and convince himself he’s worthy of Rachel’s attentions. Sounds easy enough, but Francis himself has a hard time seeing past his scars. And Brandon is getting violently frustrated, as his attempts to bully Francis are constantly thwarted. Francis is in turmoil as he simultaneously rushes toward his first kiss and a possible violent end.


"How do you like that, you little bastard?”

My father’s lips are right up close to my ear. I can feel the wetness inside. I’m six… maybe seven. He hasn’t really revved up to his full potential yet, but he knows how to hurt me. He’s getting really good at it.

The punch bowl from the dining room cabinet is in shards on the dining room floor, along with a few other dishes. I was running through the room and knocked into the cabinet. The stupid door never stays closed. You just have to walk past it for it to swing open. This time, after it swung open, the bowl spilled out, followed by a couple glasses.

“How’s that feel,” he says again. His breath is filled with whiskey. It almost burns as it spreads out across my face. “Maybe now you’ll be more careful. Do you think?” He flicks the back of my head and the sting is immediate. I’m just a ball of flinching.

It’s not a question, though. I will definitely be more careful. I don’t want to feel the broken glass on my feet anymore. I will walk with stealth from now on. But he’s not finished teaching me my lesson.

“Do it again,” he whispers. I try to move away from his grip, but there’s no use. He’s too strong, too mad, too determined. “Come on. Once more across and maybe it’ll sink in, you useless little bastard.”

“No, Daddy,” I say, pleading for mercy. “Please don’t make me.”

He takes a step back and crosses his arms. He’s big man on campus and he wants me to know it. He wants me to know that I’ll do his bidding whether or not he’s actually holding me, steering me.

I break. I give in and brace for the pain. I turn around and face the path of glass one more time. I close my eyes as I try to take that first step. The glass crunches as I put my left foot down. I can’t make a noise, though. He doesn’t like it when I make a noise. Real men don’t complain. They take their punishment.

I lift my foot and I can feel a shard of glass sticking out of the bottom of it. I’m afraid to put it back down. I know it’ll make it poke in deeper. I know I’ll probably pick up another piece. My eyes are still closed. I can feel him beside me. His anger is pushing me forward. He doesn’t even have to speak now. I’m an automaton, walking through the field of glass.

My foot is still raised. My other foot is still on safe territory. “Please, Daddy. I’ll be more careful next time. I promise."

“You don’t have to promise,” he says, calm as a cucumber. “I know you’re gonna be more careful the next time. I already know it. Walk.”

I slowly put my foot back down. I feel the glass make its way deeper into my flesh. In an effort to lessen the pain, I bring my second foot forward and down and quickly lift the left one. But it doesn’t work.

The glass pierces my right foot. A piece breaks off as my foot takes the brunt of my weight. There is already a trail of blood from my last pass through the glass, but now there’s a constant flow from both feet. It’s pooling in the carpet and spreads out below me. My eyes are open now, but I don’t remember opening them. I’m staring down at my feet and they’re both throbbing. I’m crying now, but that only makes him angrier.

Just as his hand is about to make contact with my face, I hear Trig’s voice. Nothing makes sense any more. The dining room fades away.

I’m in my bedroom. Trig is practically on top of me, shaking me awake. I beat him a few times before I’m completely back. I would never have raised a hand to my father, but I’m swatting at Trig like I’m trying to kill him.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


REVIEW SPARK RISING An empowered, independent, talented female and a sexy, intelligent double agent make sparks fly--of all kinds. Two centuries into the future, far from the fossil fuel cataclysm that destroyed electricity and nearly mankind, only highly-trained males with native talent, can manipulate "the Dust" (origin and composition unknown) to make electronic devices perform. Only males possess the innate talent, according to the governing Council of Nine. But renegade "deserter" Lena, whose home in the desert is an abandoned gas station, can Spark anything electrical; and now that the whim for rebellion is strengthening, she and double agent Alex may just light that powder keg too.

review: tour. THE MUSSORGSKY RIDDLE by Darin Kennedy


What an enchanting story!! Educational, absorbing, paranormal, classical, mythical--with soul-stirring, soul-consuming depths, THE MUSSORGSKY RIDDLE Is lyrical, empathetic, literary; and because of it, I developed an affinity for the classical music at its heart--specifically Mussorgsky' s PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION, and its contemporary reprisal, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer' s version of it, also Mussorgsky' s NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN. (Next, Grieg' s IN THE HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING.)

Empath Mira Tejador is summoned to Charlotte NC to psychically examine an adolescent named Anthony, a boy who possesses very high intelligence--and Asperger' s--but lately has retreated completely into his mind, refusing food or touch. Similar to Agent Pendergast' s "Memory Palace," Anthony s mind has constructed an art exhibition, initially based on Mussorgsky' s musical composition. But now Anthony is trapped within--and someone or something else is in control.

The Mussorgsky Riddle, by Darin Kennedy


Genre: dark-fantasy mystery, supernatural thriller


Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press


Date of Release: January 12, 2015


Cover Artist: Polina Sapershteyn







Psychic Mira Tejedor possesses unique talents that enable her to find anything and anyone, but now she must find a comatose boy wandering lost inside the labyrinth of his own mind. Thirteen-year-old Anthony Faircloth hasn’t spoken a word in almost a month and with each passing day, his near catatonic state worsens. No doctor, test, or scan can tell Anthony’s distraught motherwhat has happened to her already troubled son. In desperation, she turns to Mira for answers, hoping her unique abilities might succeed where science has failed.


At their first encounter, Mira is pulled into Anthony’s mind and finds the child’s psyche shattered into the various movements of Modest Mussorgsky’s classical music suite, Pictures at an Exhibition. As she navigates this magical dreamscape drawn from Anthony’s twin loves of Russian composers and classical mythology, Mira must contend with gnomes, troubadours, and witches in her search for the truth behind Anthony’s mysterious malady.


The real world, however, holds its own dangers. The onset of Anthony’s condition coincides with the disappearance of his older brother’s girlfriend, a missing persons case that threatens to tear the city apart. Mira discovers that in order to save Anthony, she will have to catch a murderer who will stop at nothing to keep the secrets contained in Anthony’s unique mind from ever seeing the light.





About Darin Kennedy:

Darin Kennedy, born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine. After completing family medicine residency in the mountains of Virginia, he served eight years as a United States Army physician and wrote his first novel in 2003 in the sands of northern Iraq.

His debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, was born from a fusion of two of his lifelong loves: classical music and world mythology. His short stories can be found in various publications and he is currently hard at work on his next novel.

Doctor by day and novelist by night, he writes and practices medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina. When not engaged in either of the above activities, he has been known to strum the guitar, enjoy a bite of sushi, and rumor has it he even sleeps on occasion.

Find Darin Kennedy Online:

Website | Facebook Twitter | Goodreads

Review: FACIAL by Jeff Strand

REVIEW:  FACIAL by  Jeff Strand

This novella is so over-the-top outre, I just want to laugh even while I'm groaning, "Oh no, he didn't really do that." FACIAL (no, this doesn't involve beauty treatments or spas, nor is it about some jerk who adds toxic chemicals to ex-girlfriend's moisturizer) is comedic horror about a trans-dimensional entity and a cadre of clowns. Not in the literal sense, so readers  with coulrophobia, relax. This cast of characters are all ludicrous losers, and the entity is the snake-oil salesman (again, not literally). That said, my head is still exploding with insane laughter.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


REVIEW CRISPY CRITTERS Yesterday I picked up the author's BUZZWORM during a free promotion, then checked out his other books on Amazon and bought CRISPY CRITTERS. I read it today just after finishing a mystery for review, which synchronistically focused on a killer targeting rapists, murderers, pedophiles, and perpetrators of domestic violence. Here is a somewhat similar situation: the culprits target released sex offenders, those being "reintroduced" (euphemistically) into Society. The kicker is the identity of the culprits---very, very unexpected!! Then, even better, our two revengers cross their own Rubicon, in the form of a convicted and released pedophile, and his vicious whale of a roommate, a psychotic sociopath par excellence. I wish she could have a book of her own (she's a real hair-raiser)!


REVIEW A SKETCH OF MURDER by Aya Walksfar (Special Crimes Team #1) Usually a task force or special unit is assigned the more difficult-to-solve crimes, especially MURDER, serial rape, and serial killing. In this instance, the Seattle ScAT are assigned a political hot potato by the governor, who wants it solved ASAP. The self-styled "Avenger" targets known or suspected pedophiles, rapists, domestic abusers, and a suspected murderer, for brutal slaughter, taunting the police and media by notes to one particular reporter. Aya Walksfar, a prolific author, really reaches to the heart of her characters, several of whom are often disagreeable and abrupt, with chips the size of boulders. But all are dedicated to finding this elusive murderer. I particularly enjoyed the approach of using the first person narrative for the Avenger' s viewpoint, with interweaving glimpses of this killer's background.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


REVIEW THE SCREAMING by David Graham I TOTALLY LOVED this book! I loved the humor, the gay slant, the characters, the intriguing plotting. Especially good was the twisted path by which the global truth eventually won forth, and the cooperation among many of the characters to work through horrifying events to find the causes, and then to seek for practical and effective solutions. I also enjoyed the portrayal of law enforcement officers who were human, vulnerable, and caring--preferable to the "alpha male--tough guy--cold heart." The reader's hook is a grabber--yes, both gory and explicit, but fully setting the context of this exciting thriller.

Review: BOOK OF THE DEAD by GRIEG BECK (Matt Kerns 2)


I am never disappointed by a Grieg Beck thriller, and Book of the Dead proves that once again. Additionally, here Mr. Beck vivifies beloved Horror Master H. P. Lovecraft. "The Earth shall fall" before the advent of the Great Old Ones, so HPL prophesied, and here, the Earth is falling all across the globe, as inexplicable sinkholes collapse through bedrock, a geological impossibility, swallowing homes, commercial sites, entire city blocks--and no human remains are left, alive or deceased. Birds of all species suicide, pets and wildlife and people simply disappear. All points to the recovery of the Book of the Dead, known to Lovecraftians as "the Necronomicon of the Mad Arab Abdul Alhazred," who himself makes a cameo appearance. 

For a terrifying horror more implacable than even an imminent asteroid impact, BOOK OF THE DEAD" is the thriller of choice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

REVIEW TOMORROW! by Philip Wylie

REVIEW TOMORROW! By Philip Wylie TOMORROW! was originally published in 1952. I didn't read it then, but I read it beginning to end several years later, as a child. I have seldom been so terrified by a book: for years I could not bear the sound of a jet passing overhead. As I remember from a perspective of 50 years, the seminal books before adulthood were Tomorrow! and Walter M. Miller Jr.'s post-apocalyptic treasure, A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ (another classic I hope to see republished as an e-book). That's probably no surprise, given that I grew up during the Cold War and McCarthyism, Khrushchev' s pounding shoe and the Cuban Missile crisis. 50 years and umpteen wars later, TOMORROW! is just as scary, just as potent, just as pertinent. I think everyone should read it.

Review MARK OF CAIN by Marcus Hunnebeck


An exciting, riveting, and cleverly-translated suspense thriller combined with police procedural, MARK OF CAIN carries the reader into the gritty underside of Cologne [Koln], Germany. This underside is hardly confined to the usual lawbreakers or common criminals. In one case, police had captured the man believed to be a vicious serial killer of prostitutes, and he was convicted and imprisoned. But that one was not the only danger. Unbeknownst to most of the police department, a detective has been culling a regular cut from the earnings of sex workers, and recently developed a violent streak of sadism, which he unleashes on the girls.



Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar continue to certify their editing and anthologizing chops in this collection of five short stories. Four are new, but the first is Stephen King' s 1976 classic "Weeds," which yet again, scared me breathless, to be followed by an amazing and unforgettable "The Price You Pay," by Kelley Armstrong. Then comes "Magic Eyes" by Bill Pronzini (again, SCARY), and British horror masters Simon Clark and Ramsey Campbell, with "Murder in Chains" (a living nightmare) and "The Watched"(terribly scary!), respectively. I am totally anticipating Volume Two!!