I absolutely loved this sequel to 33 AD! The characters I cared about most (Taras and Theron) are back in 61AD and, yet again, McAfee has done a brill...moreI absolutely loved this sequel to 33 AD! The characters I cared about most (Taras and Theron) are back in 61AD and, yet again, McAfee has done a brilliant job of bringing these men to life. Deftly woven, the tale is filled with mystery and intrigue. I just couldn't put this down. It hints at a bigger story that I suspect we will learn about in the next instalment. And there's a new character, Baella, that I totally love. I can't wait to see more of her!
If you read 33 AD, you MUST read 61 AD. And if you haven't read either, go and get them both!(less)
This story follows a cast of characters that are part of an experiment gone horribly wrong (or right if you take this from the perspective of the mast...moreThis story follows a cast of characters that are part of an experiment gone horribly wrong (or right if you take this from the perspective of the master mind behind it). As the book progresses you begin to see how their fates are intertwined and the nature of the experiment in which they are immersed. It's easy to empathize with each of their plights as they are manipulated at every turn to finally end up at their intended destination, The Monkey House.
It's a brilliant thriller that I cannot recommend enough. And if you like shifting points of view, like I do, then you'll easily see the master of storytelling that Nicholson is.
There are writers out there that can pump out a good story, but few can do it was well as Nicholson while still delighting with his ability to craft sentences. This is a man who knows his art. And similar to Drummer Boy, the story doesn't seem to escape your head when you're not reading it. I definitely plan on picking up more of his work. He's on my A-list of authors. (less)
Guido Henkel is a talented writer I met in one of my earlier interviews. And am I ever glad I did!!
The Jason Dark series are dime novels. And if you d...moreGuido Henkel is a talented writer I met in one of my earlier interviews. And am I ever glad I did!!
The Jason Dark series are dime novels. And if you don’t know what those are, they’re shorter pieces of fiction with their history originating in the 19th and early 20th century. To quote Wikipedia: "Dime novels are, at least in spirit, the antecedent of today’s mass market paperbacks, comic books, and even television shows and movies based on the dime novel genres. In the modern age, “dime novel” has become a term to describe any quickly written, lurid potboiler and as such is generally used as a pejorative to describe a sensationalized yet superficial piece of written work."
Although I’d heard the term “dime novel” previously, I had never actually read one. And I would hardly call them “superficial”.
Henkel’s series harkens back to Victorian England. It is peppered with supernatural elements and fun historical references. (Bram Stoker makes a cameo in this book!). The Blood Witch, Vol 8 in this series, centers on Jason Dark’s adventures against a character based on Elizabeth Báthory – the Blood Countess. She was one of the worst serial killers in history, with some references setting her count at over six hundred victims. Some writings even say she bathed in the blood of her victims in order to conserve her youth and beauty. This is the legend that Henkel does a wonderful job of weaving into his tale. And he adds his own supernatural spin on the story that gives a whole new, and hauntingly sad, dimension to it.
Naturally, Dark is not alone in his battle. He has with him a female counterpart – Siu Lin. She’s a martial arts expert that almost acts like his bodyguard. I thought it was a brilliant element that added yet another interesting dimension to this book. And along with this are tantalizing hints at Dark’s past. It’s enough to whet the appetite and make you want to not only read the earlier books to gather more but also to keep reading the subsequent volumes.
The writing for this book is fast paced with enough detail to get the point across without all the fluff. The Blood Witch was an intriguing read and I now look forward to reading the earlier books in the series. Yes, I read this out of order, and that’s fine. From what I can tell, each story stands on its own.
Henkel has now converted one more person to appreciating the dime novel, and in particular the Jason Dark series. The next volume I want to read is called Dead by Dawn. I can’t wait!(less)
Scott Nicholson is an author I learned about this year when I interviewed him for The Skull Ring. I’m not exactly sure why I chose Drummer Boy as my f...moreScott Nicholson is an author I learned about this year when I interviewed him for The Skull Ring. I’m not exactly sure why I chose Drummer Boy as my first Scott Nicholson novel – he has quite a repertoire to choose from – but it was an excellent place to start.
I haven’t read much in the horror/supernatural realm in a long time. I used to read a LOT of Stephen King when I was younger. When King lost his edge, I more or less moved on to other genres – mostly fantasy and scifi. And after that I never really returned.
That has just changed.
Drummer Boy is one of those novels that creeps back into your thoughts long after reading it – in particular, the “Jangling Hole” and the darkness that lies within it. There’s a realism to this story that’s reminiscent of some of King’s earlier work that I once loved. Not the graphic scenes of violence which I don’t have much of a stomach for, but rather supernatural elements that have just enough reality in them to make you turn the lights on at night when you’re alone. It’s the kind of horror that reaches into the deep places where nightmares lurk and make them surface. This is my kind of fright.
With Nicholson, you are in the hands of a master – a brilliant writer that portrays a gritty reality to his characters. They’re flawed in one manner or another, but you can’t help but empathize with their predicaments, especially Vernon Ray. I had quite a personal connection with this particular character – a reluctant hero who shows great resilience considering the harsh environment he’s grown up in.
I think one of the greatest strengths of this writer is the complexities so well weaved into these characters. They live a life you would want to very quickly remove yourself from, yet at the same time you can’t help but be fascinated with them.
Nicholson also references, what I suspect, are some events from The Red Church. This will likely be the next book of Nicholson’s that I pick up. I’m also very tempted by The Skull Ring. Tough call!
All in all, I have to say I’m so pleased to have rediscovered my love of horror through Nicholson. This is a name you should be adding to your TBR list. He’s on mine!!(less)
Let me preface this with the following: I am not into vampire novels. The genre does absolutely nothing for me. This particular book caught my attenti...moreLet me preface this with the following: I am not into vampire novels. The genre does absolutely nothing for me. This particular book caught my attention when I saw the cover and the title. The description sold it. Vampires trying to assassinate Jesus – brilliant idea!!
I was not disappointed.
It’s written by indie sensation, David McAfee. If you haven’t heard of his name, you will, because this man knows how to write a thrilling story and grab a reader’s attention.
I could NOT put this book down.
The story is based in Jerusalem in 33 A.D., the week leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. It is an incredible ride, this story, as McAfee weaves an intricate tale of Bachiyr (vampire) secrecy with the events surrounding the crucifixion. The cast of characters are flawed, yet you love them anyway. They lift off the page and you cannot help but empathize with their respecitve plights, whether their intentions be diabolical or not.
In all this, McAfee handles the character of Jesus deftly. He places him in all the key areas and in the few scenes that include dialogue with him, he sticks to what would be very much in character – that of a simple man.
I’m not a religious person, and my first thoughts when I saw this title was that this might be Christian fiction. I tried it anyway, and I can’t tell you how thoroughly impressed I am, not only with the story (which is quite neutral around the Christian theme), but also McAfee’s writing. It is riveting material that makes you yearn for more.
If you read anything this summer, make sure it’s this book. I, for one, will be looking at McAfee’s other books – vampire or not.