Reflections of Mamie: A Story of Survival by Rosemary "Mamie" Adkins AVIVA Publishing, 2013 ISBN: 978-1-938686-53-5 Hard Cover 286 pages Memoir
Reflections oReflections of Mamie: A Story of Survival by Rosemary "Mamie" Adkins AVIVA Publishing, 2013 ISBN: 978-1-938686-53-5 Hard Cover 286 pages Memoir
Reflections of Mamie is a book you cannot read without being touched. Whether it be the gratitude shown so clearly to many of us in her life or the support of such important charities as DREAM CATCHERS for ABUSED CHILDREN or the moment when she reveals that her mother used to beat her with a coat hanger until the flesh was ripped from her tiny body, Mamie takes our hand and guides us through her life, her dreams and her hopes until we finally see her for the vibrant survivor she is.
A member of my family bought Mamie's book and declared it to be the best book she/he had ever read.
"What was it to me?" I asked myself.
The answer is not simple. I admire Mamie greatly—for the strength of spirit she showed by writing a book about the private details of a life where the abuse never really ended until the day her mother died, when Mamie was a grown woman still looking for a simple "I love you." she never did get. I treasure her capacity to make friends and forge unusually strong bonds, something you can see developing as you read the book. And I love her for her ability to hold her dreams and her hopes close, to never let go of them in the face of tremendous adversity, both as a child and now as a mature woman. Mamie is a light for other victims and a teacher for those of us who will never know the kind of suffering she writes about in her memoir.
If I had to guess, I would say that Reflections of Mamie is garnering so many accolades because there is no guile in her writing. This book is an honest account of a child who should have been left irreparable but who refused to give up and who learned, as an adult, to trust and to love far more deeply than most of us.
Bad Blood: A Virgil Flowers Novel John Sanford Putnum, 2010 978-0-399-15690-8 Hard Cover 388 Thriller Virgil Flowers
Virgil Flowers, the detective everyone lBad Blood: A Virgil Flowers Novel John Sanford Putnum, 2010 978-0-399-15690-8 Hard Cover 388 Thriller Virgil Flowers
Virgil Flowers, the detective everyone loves but hates, because trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes, has a puzzle on his hands that even he doesn't even like the feel of. But doing what he does best―Virgil finds trouble wherever he goes, along with interesting women and a litany of other characters. This time, however, the trouble has already raised its mighty head. Virgil has 4 dead bodies in one very small Michigan town and virtually nothing to move forward on. So, he keeps knocking on doors and reporting his progress at lunch at the local diner, looking for some way in; he wants a way into the problem, something, anything that will produce a crack in the invisible shield that surrounds the town and its mysterious church. Oh, Virgil can guess. In fact, he's pretty sure he knows exactly what is going on. But it's so heinous, so unbelievably wrong, that he can't bring himself to accept it until he and the local sheriff find some proof.
Virgil Flowers, otherwise known as that fucking flowers, is quite the character. A maverick who owns an endless supply of inappropriate T-shirts for the job he does. That job is lead investigator for Lucas Davenport of the Prey Novels. Other than being a fellow with absolutely no pretenses, Virgil could be a young Davenport, with his unrelenting focus on each case he works, with his propensity for rule breaking and for a type of charisma that simply wins people over.
Bad Blood is not a wild ride. It's not even the thriller that the Dust Jacket claims it is. Bad Blood is a police procedural. John Sanford marches his character(s) through a step by step process that cannot help but isolate the core problem and crack it open like a nut. Even with the almost unbelievable scope of the crime(s) Virgil Flowers must solve, I still felt as though each step taken was a step that must be taken, that this was how police work is actually done. Now, that's a suspension of belief!
John Sandford's Bad Blood develops more of his hot new character, Virgil Flowers, in one hell of a case. How could a fan not like that.
As one of the editors, I think the greatest compliment I can give this group of authors is I never tired of reading their stories.
Now here is what othAs one of the editors, I think the greatest compliment I can give this group of authors is I never tired of reading their stories.
Now here is what others think of the book:
The Speed of Dark is an anthology of twenty-seven horror stories by nineteen authors. The stories are macabre and disturbing and are as much literary in style as they are dark and horrific in their content. They are all stories with unexpected endings, but the darkness they portray is often more psychological than full of blood-splattered violence for its own sake.
So often horror stories do everything to shock and go to all lengths to terrify the reader into submission. Here the reader will be made uneasy as creepiness and fear will attack, but, though there will be feelings of discomfort, the memories after each story will not be ones of disgust and nausea. They will all be unforgettable and will leave a lasting impression that the writers have created an effective depiction of the genre. In fact, it may be advisable if reading the book in bed not to leave the curtains or window open as any whisper of a breeze might cause an extra gasp of terror. - Mike Brecon, Author
This was a horror anthology I was mightily pleased to have read. I've read some horror stories that are of the "gore" variety, which can honestly bore me sometimes. While everyone has their own tastes and preferences, it is "psychological horror" that gets to me, that I find a lot more dark and disturbing than explicit violence (i.e. the motivations and psyche behind brutal and/or cruel acts).
Perhaps the greatest thing about anthologies is that they feature a wide variety of authors--different voices, different styles, though the stories in this case are linked together based on that psychological horror dimension. The anthology is very aptly titled after one of the stories ("The Speed of Dark", by Clayton Clifford Bye)--in terms of concept and pacing. That story in particular is a great short story, in the sense that the writing flows in an effortless, succinct kind of way where all the pieces (the story has something to do with "food" *ahem*) come together really neatly.
There is a lot of scope and dimension in these short stories, all of which are accompanied by a short summary at the beginning of the story (I always like that with anthologies, so that I have a rough idea of what each story is about before I get into it further). I enjoyed stories like "Jesse's Hair" (by John B. Rosenman) and "Little Girl Lost" (by Lyn McConchie) for that same reason (the handling of macabre themes in a very stylish, understated way--actually this goes for the entire anthology; I'm just naming those two right now because I especially enjoyed the themes in those two stories!).
Do consider adding "The Speed of Dark" to your digital and/or paperback library, if you're looking for a good dose/exploration of original--and relatable--psychological horror. - Jess Scott
The Speed of Dark is an anthology of short tales of horror by Cynthia Ainworthe, Kenneth Weene, Clayton Bye, Micki Peluso, Mary Firman and more than a dozen other great writers. It's one of those hard-to-put-down books that keeps you up all night reading…and trembling. From the computer generated green terror in Retrovirus, to the dreadful secrets in the cellar in Taking Care of Mother and the unexpected fate of the man in room 600 in Hansom Dove, readers are sure to find that each of these macabre stories will keeping them wanting to read one more before, if they dare, turning off the lights. – T.R. Heinan, author of L'immotalité: Madame Lalaurie and the Voodoo Queen
And yes, they're right about the sub-title which says Strangely Different & Disturbing. It's not that different from some horror anthologies that I've read, nor did it disturb me to a huge degree. But yes, some of it was still a bit different and slightly disturbing. The trouble with much recent horror that I've (unwillingly) read, is that those who write it go over the top. They bring in monsters, lakes of gore, dismembered bodies, and graphic sex. I like my horror low-key, understated, and more about the human condition. In The Speed of Dark I got two things. One was excellent presentation with very good editing, and the other was well-written work that in most cases wasn't overly graphic, but which was interesting, involving and rarely over the top. Much of it was quietly creepy and therefore very effective. And the editors were intelligent, where an author presented two suitable stories, they didn't insist on taking only one, and then, finding they needed more work, filling out the anthology with poorer-quality tales. Instead where they were offered two good stories, they took both, so that in a number of cases an author had two stories appear. And I noticed that when they happened those authors' work was often the work that I really liked. So – I'm not going to comment on every story, but that said, I didn't find any stories that I felt were inadequate. Some I didn't like that much as a personal preference, but I thought that all of them were well-written and of real quality. I've seen a previous award-winning anthology from this stable, and that one too fitted everything I've said here. This outfit could be one to watch.
The first story set the tone for this anthology beautifully. What About Mum by E.J.Ruek is horror, not because of anything in-your-face, but from the gradual realization of what this is about as you read it. It ends with a newspaper clipping that ties up the story consistently and neatly, and makes sense of some of the final loose ends. It's a story you may come across in the newspapers regularly, but the author makes you see it for yourself. Jesse's Hair by John B. Rosenman is again delicately intrusive. It begins in such a way that you sympathise with the protagonist, understand her pain, and wish people would be a bit kinder. And then you find out what the years of abuse have created. Which is brutally realistic because this type of low-level bullying can produce effects out of all proportion. Retrovirus by Clayton Clifford Bye was clever. It took an aspect of our computerized society and moved it into a new space and a new form of the 'post holocaust' sub-genre. Micky Peluso's Death of the Spider is both horrific and sad, while Lyn McConchie's Little Girl Lost is savage in a way that makes the reader like it. I was prepared to be horrified at the topic until I was almost at the end and realized what was happening, then I smiled, I do like evil to get its comeuppance. Unbreakable fetters of Admantine by Jim Secor is an interestingly surrealistic tale, it winds and confuses but ultimately satisfies. While Across the Tracks by Tony Richards has some of the same factors although with a very different background and protagonist but with an ending that is equally as effective.
Clayton Bye's title story, The Speed of Dark is plain creepy, a little sickening when you see where this is going, and very well handled as a theme. Taking Care of Mother by Mary Firmin is unpleasant, it has something to say about society's attitudes towards those marked in our minds as either 'less fortunate' or 'the dregs of society,' and just how wrong we can be in some of our assumptions. It may also be a warning about being patronizing. Lyn McConchie's Sowing On the Mountain is all too realistic in some ways, and delicately drawn fantasy in others. And yet, the fantasy element is sketched in so lightly the reader is uncertain as to whether it really existed, an aspect of the story that enhances it considerably. And the final story, Plastic People, by Lisa Lane chronicles a descent into the darker places of the mind and is exactly the right note on which to conclude. All in all the editors have done a fine job on this anthology which only confirms my impression of the previous one the publisher had out. Take a look at the site, http:shop.claytonbye.com Buy this anthology, and maybe copies of the previous one as well. I think it would be money well spent. - Glenda's Bookshelves
Review: Speed of Dark Anthology By Kimberly Morgan
As children, we’re frightened of the things that hide in dark places. As adults, we learn that it’s the things hiding in plain sight of which we really need to be afraid. This anthology underscores that fact.
Some of the stories in “The Speed of Dark” are terrifyingly mundane, making me want to check over my shoulder to make sure the sweet old lady next door isn’t hiding some horror inside her house. Others make me want to laugh, but the kind of laughter that happens when you realize you’re the last person in the world to get the joke, and you’re the punch line. And still others make me wince, as conventions of comfort and polite society are ripped away, exposing ugly truths you suspected might have been there but were never really quite sure.
All of them, however, make me glad I have a large watchdog, a phone in every room, and a bedside light to keep the shadows away while I read.
Not for the faint of heart, I felt violated by a few of the pieces, repulsed, as, I believe, was intended. The writing is sometimes so beautifully lyrical and descriptive, however, it makes it hard to put the book down. Shame on me for appreciating the clever turn of a word. And these authors are wordsmiths, whether or not you’re a fan of horror. There’s a beauty here that mocks the subject matter – or maybe it’s the other way around. Things this eloquent shouldn’t be so vulgar, should they?
I received this book for review purposes, and I’m grateful to have been one of the lucky ones. No matter what I think about the ugly, fantastic side of human (and inhuman) nature, “The Speed of Dark” is a winner.
As a final, desperate effort to turn around World War II Wolf Hunter J.L. Benét Belfire Press ISBN: 978-1-927580-03-5 Trade Paperback 200 pages Horror $10.99
As a final, desperate effort to turn around World War II the Third Reich, via Himmler, decides to create a group of super soldiers by turning them into werewolves. However, the experiment goes horribly wrong and only one lone wolf escapes. Viktor Huelen makes it through the rest of the war and eventually ends up living in Michigan in the good old US of A.
Steve Williams is a University of Michigan student obsessed with the idea of becoming a werewolf. And now his research into the werewolf myth is paying great dividends. Not only has he found the machine used by the Nazi’s in WWII, he has gathered the herbal elements required for the “ceremony” of becoming a wolf. All he needs are a few missing pieces and he’ll be there. Of course, he finds Huelen and blackmails him into helping.
As all this is going on, an Ojibwa shapeshifter named Jack is hunting down these evil werewolves and killing them. His elders have told him about Huelen and Steve. His assignment? Kill them.
What you have for the rest of the novel is a fairly predictable urban fantasy. Yes it’s fast-paced. Thought provoking, as one reviewer claims? I don’t think so. Is the end a surprise we couldn't possibly see coming? I don’t think so. Is the ending a good one? You guessed. I don’t think so.
You must forgive me for the sarcasm. It’s just that here we have a book that apparently has no bad reviews and, conversely, has received nothing but 5 star reviews. And the old alarm bell is going off in my head. Especially considering I finished the novel feeling unsatisfied and that I had just experienced a bumpy ride, rather than the smooth one I would expect from an author of such apparent skill.
In all fairness, the book touches everything it should have touched. But Jack’s character, for instance, was such an obvious chance to do some superlative writing, to create a fine story within a story. What do we get? We get the story, but it’s bare bones, lacking the richness such a character deserves. Jack’s not even treated like the main character. No, that goes to obnoxious Steve. Why, for God’s sake? The title of the book is Wolf Hunter!
And that last bit probably sums up my thoughts with respect to Wolf Hunter: It has a fine skeleton, but the flesh that is a great story is missing. This is a honed down, tough and unforgiving novel that does not serve the reader. One critic compared J.L. Benét to Robert McCammon in his early days. Well let me say this clearly–Benét’s book is nothing like McCammon’s own werewolf story. The Wolf’s Hour is brilliant. Its main character is so rich and interesting, one cannot get enough. And McCammon recognizes this by spending at least 80% of the novel on the werewolf’s story. In contrast, Benet’s own main character is unlikeable and not much more than a caricature.
My final comments? Wolf Hunter left me feeling cranky. Revisiting it for this review has not changed that feeling.