Richard Godwin’s One Lost Summer takes a detour from the author’s trademark noir / psychological thriller / horror stylings and answers with a resound...moreRichard Godwin’s One Lost Summer takes a detour from the author’s trademark noir / psychological thriller / horror stylings and answers with a resounding “Yes!” the question “Can Richard write anything other than horror thrillers?”
A novel steeped in mystery and suspense, with a subtle yet unmistakable eroticism, One Lost Summer takes the reader deep inside the mind of a damaged man… a tortured soul… where we are witness to the ‘shrouded’ dance of the watcher and the watched.
The story begins one hot summer… the mystery, long before that. And if there is a moral to this story, it is this…
Some things… once lost… were not meant to be found.
Unfortunately, some people find that out too late.
Identity… it is what makes man… it is what breaks man. If I had to choose one word to describe the theme of Richard Godwin’s latest novel… a blend of noir mystery and psychological thriller… ‘identity’ would be that word. Some might disagree with that, but… to paraphrase Joe Pesci in Goodfellas (I think)… “It is what it is.”
At first blush, One Lost Summer would appear to be a simple obsédé noir… a middle-aged voyeur drowning in the pool of his own desire, spending his every waking moment, as well as not-inconsiderable amounts of money, watching his neighbor and cataloging her existence on film.
But… with a master story-teller such as Richard Godwin… well, ‘simple’ just doesn’t apply. This soon becomes apparent as the layers that make up the mystery of filmmaker Rex Allen’s new life are exposed to the often unforgiving glare of the reader.
One Lost Summer is a slow reveal. That is not to say the story is slow, on the contrary; the pacing of One Lost Summer is ‘pitch-perfect’, to borrow a phrase from the music world. Page after page, the suspense builds… occasionally ebbing, so as to allow the reader a respite to consider what has transpired so far.
And to ponder on the two traps of man….
Identity… and memory. One is lost without the other.
Memory can be a cruel mistress. She will taunt and tease… scattering words and broken thoughts, like breadcrumbs, on the floor of one’s conscious. If there are secrets that she is not ready to give up – and there always are - no amount of begging will help. Memory will reveal the bits and pieces of one’s past in her own fashion… and in her own time. And… she always wants something in return. Always.
And this is the ‘crux’ of Rex’s problem. Memory, or more accurately, the absence of a good portion of his, is what drives Rex… what moves him to uproot from his home outside greater London to the suburbs of Surrey, where hopefully a change of scenery and distance from the noise and static of his former life will bring some peace and where Rex can begin to rebuild what was lost. If only he had more than a few broken shards from which to start.
Rex Allen has an obsession. He sees beauty in the ordinary and ordinary in beauty, and seemingly, has an almost singular compulsion with dominating the spirit of those who cross the path of his obsession.
It starts with a single image… flashing in the recesses of his mind like a relentless strobe… teasing something deeper, something still chained… unable to rise to the surface of Rex’s consciousness, where it can be named and placed in this new life of his… put into perspective.
And from that image, a word… “Coral…”
And from that one word, in what is… for lack of a better word… a Dr. Frankenstein-esque quest, Rex attempts to bring to life something more than just a memory. And in doing so, he discovers – or, rediscovers – the ‘flexibility’ of his own moral code. Ironically, he fails to see, or refuses to see, his own reflection in the morality of this new ‘world’ he has found himself in and which he soon grows contemptuous of.
When at last he can begin to enjoy – although, I’m not sure that ‘enjoy’ was ever a part of Rex’s emotional make-up… ‘possess’ might be a better word – the fruits of his labors, something changes. The stage of Rex’s little deux jeux de caractères is suddenly crowded with the arrival of ‘truth’… stage right.
But, as I mentioned earlier… one should be careful of what they wish for. La vérité n'est pas toujours mis un libre.
From page one, the narrative of Richard’s latest novel has a mesmeric hold on the reader, pulling them along… with questions rising as images flash past… and just when the reader thinks they have a firm grasp on the reality of the story, there is that Godwin “turn” that makes the reader sit up and go “Oh!”
At times, the tension is almost palpable… like the taste of silver amalgam… and brings an expectation not unlike that conjured in watching the recalcitrant fuse of a firework moving inexorably toward its explosive conclusion.
And at other times, there is an almost dreamlike quality to parts of the narrative that is like - to borrow Richard’s words – “… a key turning in a lock. Over and over and over…” And with each page turn… a flash of memory… not unlike that of light glinting off the polished surface of a key turning in a lock, as another bit of the mystery is revealed.
Seductive and suspenseful, One Lost Summer is a dark, richly woven mystery… a riveting tale of deception of self and a frightening look inside the human mind and the lengths and depths one will stir to possess another. Richard Godwin writes, with disturbing clarity, the psychosis of a man possessed by beauty, to the exclusion of all else.
One Lost Summer is a `must-read'... it "hits all the marks" of a classic and timeless mystery and is well worth a few sleepless nights.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw (Writing under a large mushroom, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest) 5 August 2013 (less)
(Reviewer’s note – I am an independent writer. In addition to reviewing books that I myself have purchased, I am also a freelance reviewer for Howard...more(Reviewer’s note – I am an independent writer. In addition to reviewing books that I myself have purchased, I am also a freelance reviewer for Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. My reviews are based solely on the merits of the book, and I receive no remuneration from the publisher or author, other than a copy of the book, in exchange for posting a review on my blogs, GoodReads and Amazon. The following is my review of Nicole Baart’s SLEEPING IN EDEN; purchased on Amazon. Thank you – vmls)
~~**~~ Sleeping in Eden is told in alternating chapters… present and past drawing nearer with each turn of the page of this story of life and of death… and all the paths between the two.
The discovery of a body just beneath the hard-pack floor of a disused barn - the scene of an apparent suicide Dr. Lucas Hudson has been called out on, to act as coroner on the case, is the beginning of the unraveling of a lie that has chained three families to a past not entirely of their choosing and has now brought a fourth family into a mystery almost a decade old.
Oh what a tangled web we weave. When Lucas holds back what will later turn out to be a crucial piece of evidence, the ‘good doctor’ takes that first step into the web. Why did he do it? Leverage in a failing relationship? A desperate attempt to plug the leak in his marriage before it sinks completely? Will what started out for Lucas as a little lie, end up destroying him and what little chance left to his marriage? Even as Lucas questions his own motives behind this fresh deceit, he is unable to understand his wife Jenna’s continued grieving over a loss years before; a loss Lucas seems unwilling or unable to understand or share. The river of denial runs deep in some.
Fifteen year-old Meg Painter doesn’t ‘play safe’ like most girls. She isn’t afraid of scrapes, bruises and torn nails. She also doesn’t ‘play it safe’ when it comes to boys, as is soon evidenced in how hard she falls for the new kid on the block, Dylan Reid.
Dylan is a bit of a mystery… a troubled boy, some instinctively sense and try to warn Meg about… a mystery with a past, who at times seems oblivious to Meg’s feelings, or perhaps he does but his young heart, already battle-scarred, isn’t ready to go back in to the fray just yet.
So, where does that leave Meg? Meg finds out that, as the author so eloquently puts it, “… death by devotion is a slow, aching bleed.”
Jess Langbroek, the third side in this teenage love triangle, loves Meg with a intensity almost as fierce as Meg’s own independence. Jess is the ‘safe choice’… every girl’s parent’s ‘dream’.
Meg is torn. Meg doesn’t want to play safe. Meg doesn’t want what it seems everyone else wants for her. Meg desperately wants to “step out of her perfect, pre-planned life” and make her own choices… live her own life.
The ‘echoes’ of Meg’s choices will one day haunt a man already haunted by ghosts of the past.
And that’s probably a good place to stop. I don’t want to give too much away.
I love the structure of this story… it really could not have been written any other way. Nicole has crafted an absorbing and spell-binding tale that fans of mystery and of contemporary fiction alike will ‘devour’, and then ask for more.
Suspenseful, fast-paced, impossible to put down… Nicole Baart’s latest novel, Sleeping in Eden, is all this and more. Having already proven her gift of finely-crafted prose in previous novels, Sleeping in Eden more than satisfies readers’ expectations from this extremely talented author. Nicole’s skill in setting a scene and creating mood with ‘pitch-perfect’ pacing and compelling narrative style will have readers talking about Sleeping in Eden for a very long time to come.
Nicole writes with passion and compassion, drawing on her own experiences and understanding of the unique nature of the family of man. One of the most satisfying things about her novels is the characters she draws… real, vulnerable, redemptive… complicated and unpredictable at times... there is a dimensionality to the people in Nicole’s writing that has become a trademark and one of the reasons she consistently brings out best-seller caliber novels. They are drawn in such a way that the reader can’t help but connect at some level. There is a relatability… I think that’s the word I want to use… that pulls the reader into the story.
And un-stereotypical characters… let’s not forget that. In Lucas Hudson, Nicole has written a truly rich character… a chimera of the two male stereotypes most often identified with. Normally a safe, ethical and reliable man, a faithful and responsible man… the deepening mystery in the barn brings out in Lucas, the ‘bad boy’… questionable motives and ethics, setting aside his own accountability and becoming tangled up in sins of omission and unwelcome desires he can’t quite seem to vanquish.
* Teen angst… unrequited love… a mystery that demands to be solved… coming of age… we’ve all read books before that had at least one of those elements as the main plot. In Sleeping in Eden, Nicole takes these elements and weaves an indelibly sharp and poignant story of lives crossing time… innocence lost…love lost… and love found… of forgiveness and second chances… of seeing beyond one’s own self… of ‘waking up’.
Beautiful and bittersweet, Sleeping in Eden is at once a mystery… a love story… a cautionary tale of walking through life with eyes half-shut, unaware of the life around us, our impact on others and theirs on us.
It is a reminder that faith, fate, destiny, karma - whatever you want to call it - brings one back to the grace they had once lost and the true path of their journey.
I recommend Sleeping in Eden without reservation. This may just be Nicole’s best yet; written with verve and authority, and a unique understanding of the human condition. Beautiful prose, engaging characters and a plot that will keep you engaged to the very end… make Sleeping in Eden a ‘must-read’.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw 29 June 2013 (Writing under a large mushroom, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest) email@example.com
(Reviewer’s note – I am an independent writer. I am also a freelance reviewer, listed with Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. I choose...more(Reviewer’s note – I am an independent writer. I am also a freelance reviewer, listed with Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. I choose the books that I wish to read, the opinions expressed are my own and my review is based solely on the merits of the book. Other than a free copy of the book, I receive no compensation from the publisher or the author. My reviews are posted on the GoodReads website, Amazon and my personal blogs. The following is my review of Sandra Byrd’s ROSES HAVE THORNS, generously provided by the author. Thank you – vmls)
Roses Have Thorns is the third in Sandra Byrd’s Tudor series novels. As with The Secret Keeper, the first of Sandra’s novels I was privileged to read, Roses Have Thorns captivated me from the very first page with Sandra’s rich prose and evocative narrative style, weaving a brilliant tale with unforgettable characters amidst the peace and the turmoil of mid-16th century England.
With a heroine one can’t help but love and admire and as much deceit, infidelity, murder, treason, intrigue, romance… set during the reign of Elizabeth I, the virgin queen of England… one could put into 300 pages, “page-turner” and “I could not put this book down!” are phrases that immediately spring to mind with Roses Have Thorns.
On the eve of leaving for England, Elin, ladies maid to Princess Cecelia of the court of Sweden’s King Erik, discovers two things… two most disturbing things. One…Phillip, Elin’s fiancé, and her sister, have become romantically entangled… to put it mildly… and, two… Elin’s dowry has been gambled away. Her departure from Sweden is thus bittersweet. Elin’s heart is torn from the deceit and betrayal of those nearest her, but her regret at leaving home when her future is suddenly uncertain is tempered with the prospect of finally journeying to England, and all that it promises. Little does young Elin know just how long, or how much, her journey will encompass.
After an arduous ten months of travel and travail, Princess Cecelia’s ship finally arrives in England, where new adventures await the princess and her entourage. For Elin, the coming days are also a time for some hard decisions to be made. Circumstances back home have left her an uncertain future and Elin, through chance or divine design, soon realizes that her future, though it be without her own mother, is in England.
Elin, having ‘anglicized’ her name and now Lady Helena, joins the court of Queen Elizabeth and…
I should stop here before I tell away too much.
In Roses Have Thorns, Sandra brings the reader a richly imaginative story of Tudor England during Elizabeth I’s reign, told through the eyes of one of the Queen’s most trusted ladies. The author’s carefully crafted narrative will thrill fans of historical fiction with its attention to detail and history of the period. History class in school was never this much fun to read! Evocative and at times suspenseful, Sandra weaves an indelible tale, the fabric of which is rich with romance and intrigue, compassion and adventure, tumult and peace, betrayal and faith.
The story’s protagonist, 17 year-old Elin, is ‘transformed’ through marriage to William Parr, into the second-highest-ranking woman in England at the time, Lady Helena Von Snakenborg, Marchioness of Northampton, and one of Elizabeth’s most trusted confidants. It would be no understatement to say that Helena controlled access to the queen; she was indeed a powerful figure in the court of Queen Elizabeth I, finding herself, at times, neck deep in royal intrigue.
Over the course of the next forty-plus years Helena serves her queen, at times making tremendous sacrifices – she was married twice and bore her second husband eight children - to serve her adopted queen and country.
It is here that Sandra really excels in the telling of Roses Have Thorns, giving the reader not only Helena’s view of events which transpired during Elizabeth’s reign, but also a view of the inner workings of the queen’s chamber, making the reader privy to many private conversations between lady and queen and leaving little doubt that Helena was a favorite of Elizabeth’s and much loved by the queen.
What makes Roses Have Thorns even more compelling, for fans of fiction and of Tudor history alike, is that Helena Von Snakenborg was a real lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth. It is quite exciting to have Helena’s point-of-view presented in this re-telling of the life of Elizabeth I and I can’t think of a more authoritative author on the subject of Tudor history than Sandra Byrd, to tell the story.
A storyteller who mesmerizes from the very beginning, drawing the reader in with her narrative… a richly woven tapestry of character and place… and a pacing that is both emotive and suspenseful, Sandra shows a mastery of the craft that few others of the genre can touch.
Roses Have Thorns is a ‘must-read’ for all… not just for fans of historical fiction. I recommend this book without reservation. I enjoyed the story immensely and while it is difficult to pick out a favorite passage, if pushed to it, I would have to say that the incident with the bee would be in a very close tie. This scene tells so much in such a small amount of words… it is a testament to the author’s skill.
I will close with this ‘caution’… you will want to have a box of tissues near to hand, especially at the closing pages.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw 10 June 2013 (Writing under a large mushroom, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest) (less)
"I am a violent man, Miss Fox," Garton-Jones said, without bravado or inflection. "I can and will do whatever is necessary to control this estate. Rem...more"I am a violent man, Miss Fox," Garton-Jones said, without bravado or inflection. "I can and will do whatever is necessary to control this estate. Remember that."
When I read that blurb on the back of Riot Act, I knew I was in for another fantastic and thrilling ride with Charlie, in this, the second of Zoe Sharp's Charlie Fox thrillers.
I was not disappointed. Riot Act is every bit as good as the first in the series... and then some.
Beautifully paced, with engaging characters, action and suspense at every page turn, Riot Act will satisfy even the most hardcore action thriller fans.
The Yorkshire Post hit it right... Zoe makes it all seem so effortless. Yet, completely satisfying to her readers. And, I am not the easiest person to satisfy. Zoe does it effortlessly.
Riot Act gets five-stars and a hearty recommendation from this reader. Zoe is a five-star story-teller!
Thank you, Zoe... looking forward to #3.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw 12 May 2013 Writing under a large mushroom, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest)
(Reviewer's note - I am a writer and freelance reviewer. I received no compensation or inducement to review this book. Thank you. vmls)
Nancy Klann-Mor...more(Reviewer's note - I am a writer and freelance reviewer. I received no compensation or inducement to review this book. Thank you. vmls)
Nancy Klann-Moren’s The Clock of Life is a rich, wonderful story with a distinctive flavor and narrative, engaging characters, and written with a compassion for some of the darkest days in the history of America.
The Clock of Life is an excellent historical fiction, which takes place in the American South in the last quarter of the 20th century. Reminiscent of To Kill A Mockingbird in many respects, The Clock of Life is a “coming-of-age" story about a young boy growing up in a small town in Mississippi. It is a story of truth and freedom… of injustice and inequality.
Told in ‘first-person’, in a clear, compelling voice, Jason Lee, the son of deceased Vietnam War veteran JL Rainey recounts his growing up in Hadlee, Mississippi during a time of much unrest in America. The Vietnam War and the civil rights movement had a profound and lasting impact on much of the country and Jason Lee's 'world' bears much of the brunt of that… a world where racism and intolerance runs deep. Jason Lee learns a great deal about his father and the kind of man he really was through stories from others. It is from these stories that a yearning grows.
In his befriending of a black schoolmate, Jason Lee - through many trials -grows in both character and spirit, learning and appreciating the meaning and value of friendship, freedom and tolerance for others in a society that often takes freedom for granted and does not fully appreciate the sacrifices of those who went before… those who fought and died to secure and ensure freedom for all… and a society that too often turns a blind eye to tolerance and acceptance, unable or unwilling to stand up to injustice and inequality.
Jason Lee wants to be like his father.
Ghosts of the past and the realities of a society rife with injustice and inequality, Jason Lee faces many challenges – not least among them broken hearts and the loss of a very close friend - and while [growing up] he doesn't always make the right decisions, Jason Lee, like the rest of us - especially those who also grew up in that time - learns and grows from his mistakes. He learns that while the 'right thing' isn't always the easiest thing to do… it is the right thing to do.
Jason Lee is becoming the man his father would have been proud to call son.
The author brings a strong narrative style, a very definitive sense of place and a stunning eye for the idiosyncrasies of rural life in the American South to The Clock of Life. Page after page is rich with a flavor that rings true for anyone growing up in that same period and place. One of the greatest strengths of this story, I feel, is the dialogue, with its finely-balanced dialectal quality, which adds to the overall imagery through-out the story.
There is a realism and depth to the characters in The Clock of Life that is sadly lacking in a lot of the fiction on today's market. Historical fiction especially demands richness in character, place and plot. Nancy achieves all three with such seeming ease that one forgets that this is her very first novel.
A minor scene perhaps, but like countless other 'little' scenes throughout the novel, Jason Lee and Samson's first shared experience with moonshine really struck a chord with this reader; in that relatively short passage is a great deal of truth.
A constant thread through-out The Clock of Life is the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War… both times of bitter conflict in which many lost their moral compass, some never to regain it... and the inequality and injustice those events engendered, and the scars left behind.
The Clock of Life is a powerful and thought-provoking morality play, if I may use that phrase, which will have a lasting impact on the reader. I came away from this story with many of the same feelings I had after the first time I read To Kill A Mockingbird. Nancy has written a humbling and inspiring tale of the courage and the strength of the human spirit, a story that evokes in the reader a broad range of emotions and hopefully, a degree of compassion and understanding for our fellow citizens.
If there is one thing we can take away from this story, it is this….
It is one thing to know the difference between right and wrong; that’s something we all learned in the third grade. It is quite another thing to have the courage and conviction of one’s beliefs and to live one’s life for the betterment of mankind and to have empathy and compassion for the family of man. Freedom isn’t free and justice isn’t blind. We should not live our lives with the presumption that freedom doesn’t have a cost and that justice can be dispensed equally with eyes shut.
Nancy has earned numerous accolades – among them, her debut novel was a finalist in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards - for The Clock of Life, which should come as no surprise, and her novel has been adopted by the Los Medanos College’s English Department, to be taught in the school’s freshman writing classes.
The Clock of Life is a "must-read" and I recommend it without hesitation. Thank you, Nancy, for a thoroughly engaging story… one that will stay with the reader for a long, long time.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw 6 August 2013 (Writing under a large mushroom, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest)(less)
Dark... gritty... humourous... Katherine cuts right to the heart of a man's soul... or a woman's for that matter... to that 'dark side'... where somet...moreDark... gritty... humourous... Katherine cuts right to the heart of a man's soul... or a woman's for that matter... to that 'dark side'... where sometimes, reality truly is stranger than fiction.
Katherine's keen understanding of the human condition... what makes us tick when the chips are down... our back's up against a wall... or we've just bloody had enough make for some very imaginative and compelling stories.
Toxic Reality is a wonderful collection of morality tales, written by a master... oops, excuse me... mistress of the craft. Katherine understands the power of words and crafts her stories in such a manner as to make them unforgettable.
If you have trouble sleeping or wake from a nightmare with the threads of one of Katherine's stories clinging to your conscience... be sure and thank Katherine!
Me... I'm double checking the bulb in my night light! ;-)
I recommend this book without reservation!
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw 20 January 2013 Cannon Beach, Oregon (less)
Author and former editor of Dark Valentine magazine, Katherine Tomlinson brings us Nightfalls: Notes From The End of The World, a collection of short...moreAuthor and former editor of Dark Valentine magazine, Katherine Tomlinson brings us Nightfalls: Notes From The End of The World, a collection of short stories themed around 'the end days'... 'armageddon'... 'end of the world'... 'sorry folks, we ran out of calendar, it's been nice knowing you'. Contributors were asked to tell a story about the last day on Earth.
Katherine has brought together an amazing group of people... some of the most talented writers in fiction today. I am both humbled and honoured to be a part of this anthology. Proceeds from sales will benefit at-risk children and their families.
I’d like to take just a few minutes and say a bit about this fascinating collection.
“A few minutes, Veronica? Say a bit?” Okay, okay… maybe you want to pour a fresh cup before you settle in to read this.
Nightfalls: Notes From The End of The World begins with a story from the man who gave me my first 'break' in to the 'print world'.
If memory serves, I first met Thomas Pluck over at Flash Fiction Friday. The thing is…
Memory can be a cruel mistress. She will taunt and tease… scattering words and broken thoughts, like breadcrumbs, on the floor of one’s conscious. If there are secrets that she is not ready to give up – and there always are - no amount of begging will help. Memory will reveal the bits and pieces of one’s past in her own fashion… and in her own time. And… she always wants something in return.
But, I digress…
For anyone who has ever read Thomas’s stories, Acapulcolypse is everything one has come to expect from Mr. Pluck… deftly written with a wonderful undercurrent of humour. I daresay none of us will look at an ocean cruise quite the same way again.
In Some Say The World Will End In Fire, Sidney Anne Harrison brings us a new twist on the ‘world ends in a big, blazing ball of fire’ trope with a revealing look into one man’s madness. There is a poignancy here that sets the mood beautifully. The symbolism is inescapable – “The vegetable just continued to stare down at his string beans, as if they held some secret meaning.” - and makes for a very compelling read. Sidney tells a frightening little tale that left me cold! Well done, Sidney!
“Ren wakes up to find he is scratching his balls.” And thus begins Chris Rhatigan’s premonition on how life on this big blue spinning marble ends. In Forward Is Where The Croissantwich Is, Chris brings us a quirky little tale, replete with wit and a rather disturbing look inside the mind of a man whose lift doesn’t quite make it to the top floor, if you’ll pardon the euphemism. At the end, Chris’s character puts the whole matter of the ‘end of days’ into a perspective that only someone who has seen too much truth, could truly understand.
Kit Laurange’s Somebody Brave conjures up the apocalyptic demise of an ‘other-world’, where ogres and goblins seek to destroy man and dragons eat the sky… where the rattle of ‘bones’ decide… but wait, I can’t tell you! That’d be giving away the surprise!
In Our Lady, by Dale T Phillip’s, an uncle does what he must to make sure his nephew has Christmas before… before los ángeles quemar.
Nigel Bird, one (of many, I might add… don’t want to be giving Nigel a big head, eh?) of my favorite writers, offers up Greene Day… a DJ’s reflections on the end of all things, good and bad, and waxes nostalgic over regrets too late to change now. Nigel’s brilliant sense of humour comes through perfectly with that last caller! Nice one, Mr. Bird!
Megan McCord’s Isabel is a heartbreaking tale of life, love and loss; a touching and poignant look at the ‘end of days’. This one left a lump in my throat and a salty dampness on my cheek.
Anyone who has read Sandra Seamans knows that her writing never disappoints. And so it is with The Memory Keeper… a memorable tale of… well, I can’t say too much without revealing the heart of the story. Let’s just say that there’s a warrior woman and a wise woman… memories to keep and an ending one won’t forget. Brilliant and imaginative, The Memory Keeper is one of my favorites!
Bon Appétit, Barb Goodman’s most welcome addition to this amazing collection, delivers the not-so-subtle message that one reaps what they sow and that no matter how much time man has left on this spinning orb, it’s never too late to stand up for ourselves. Great story, Barb!
Christopher Grant’s Déjà Vu is a wonderfully crafted story with a very interesting twist to the ‘end of the world’ theme… a nicely written tale that challenges one’s perceptions of forever.
Denial only works for a short while and then reality kicks it to the curb, as evidenced in Matthew Funk’s It’s Not The End Of The World. Sharp and tightly written, Matthew’s writing is always a pleasure to read.
A Sound As Of Trumpets offers up one woman’s rationalization for felicide. Unfortunately, for her, karma really can be a bitch. Berkeley Hunt writes a nice little ‘quiet horror’ here that is quite satisfying to read.
Col Bury – who let this bloke in? (just kidding, Col!) serves up the darkly humourous Supper Time… a gritty little tale that, were I a man, I would no doubt be squirming in my seat and touching parts of me for reassurance. Ahh... but look and see who gets the last laugh here!
It takes the end of the world for a son to reconcile with his parents in Alex Keir’s poignant Call The Folks.
A few must be sacrificed for the greater good in Dellani Oakes’ Blackened, a futurist tale of an alien-wrought Armageddon. I’m not a huge sc-fi fan, but I really enjoyed this story!
The End of Everything is AJ Hayes’ poetic ode to the end of… well, everything! Beautifully paced verse brings startling imagery to one’s mind’s eye as AJ unveils mankind’s fate.
Last Shift, Steven Luna’s darkly humoured tale, reminds us that, in the end, we get what we deserve… and sometimes, more than we deserve. Written in the voice of an ego-driven male, Last Shift is definitely on my short-list of favorites. A little insight into the male mind is never a bad thing, right?
Curse you, Steven… now I can’t get the image of that hot chick in black tank top and shredded jeans, blowing white vapor over her red-painted lips, out of my head!
Into The Night, by… oh, wait… I can’t write about my own story; that’d be a bit self-serving, wouldn’t it? I will say this though. In writing Into The Night, in order to bring the emotional depth to the story that I had in mind, it was necessary to resurrect a part of my past that has taken me a long time to come to terms with. Such are the ‘sacrifices’ a writer makes for their craft.
There is a quiet, building horror to Richard Godwin’s Blackout… from the opening lines with the two protagonists discussing proper language use – I’m paraphrasing here: ‘just because the world is ending, is no reason for sloppy language’ – to his description of a naked woman in the street and two men eating her legs, Richard builds on a theme… inevitability. Blackout is one of Richard’s ‘quieter’ stories… it is also one of his most powerful stories. Poignant and reflective, Richard Godwin delivers!
“… Val Sweeney had been present at the beginnings of a few too many apocalypses…” And with that rather cryptic remark, Scott J Laurange’s Amidst Encircling Gloom captivates the reader, pulling them into Scott’s intriguing tale of Earth’s last days. There is a thread of subtle humour throughout that strikes just the right chord, woven in with some beautifully descriptive phrasing…. “Val’s smile had fallen into his scotch…” … I can almost hear the splash! Brilliantly macabre, Amidst Encircling Gloom is a ‘must-read’!
Devotee, G Wells Taylor’s contribution to this little soiree, is a haunting look at one man’s ‘world’… a world that slowly fades away… a world where not even the eternity of love can stop the inevitability of time. Devotee is truly memorable. This is a story that is going to stick in my mind for some time.
R.C. Barnes' Princess Soda and the Bubblegum Knight is the powerful and moving story of sisters facing the last day… and granting one last wish before… night falls and not even an echo survives in the darkness.
In The Last Wave, Kaye George gives us a look at an ‘end times’ precipitated by a shift in government. It’s a cautionary tale… “Be careful what you wish for; you just may get it.” After reading this story, I may cut back on my blogging.
In Allan Leverone’s The Dogs On Main Street Howl, not even an apocalypse can keep Kate from making it to Broadway. Only thing is… there is no one to share her success with. Except for the overdue baby nestled in her distended womb, Kate is alone in the ‘Concrete Jungle’ … just her, the baby and…‘The Things”.
The Knitted Gaol-Born Sow Monkey, by Peter Mark May, offers a ‘last day on earth’ look on prisoner Anthony Slaven… who exchanges one prison for another. Dark magic blended with dark imagery, Peter’s story left a chill over me. Nicely done, Peter… nicely done!
We always think… hope, rather… that there is time enough to reconcile past regrets. Christian Dabnor’s Crossfade explores this hope, bringing to the reader a deftly written tale of human frailties and failings.
Jesse James Freeman brings us The Tasting, a tautly-written plague apocalypse tale. There is a dark poignancy here that rather tugs at the heartstrings. Brilliantly descriptive and evocative, The Tasting is a memorable read.
The Annas, by Patricia Abbott, is a haunting story… a morality tale, really… of a future doomed before its inception. I must admit, the feminist in me finds a certain appeal in the concept presented in The Annas. I probably ought not say too much more though, lest I give something away. Patricia has written a wonderfully imaginative story with an ending that gave me goose pimples! I enjoyed The Annas so much I had to read it again… and then, again! Brava, Patricia!
Jimmy Callaway’s Night Train To Mundo Fine is a quirky little tale with a fine erotic touch. I suppose there are worse ways to spend your last day on Earth. Nice one, Jimmy!
Thank you, Katherine, for your tireless efforts in bringing this all together. I'm sure I speak for everyone involved in this project in saying how much we are honoured to take part in this with you, especially one done for such a worthwhile cause. Knowing that the proceeds will go to benefit at-risk children and their parents was all the incentive we needed to 'put pencil to paper' and bring a story or poem to you. And, knowing that we are helping others is all the 'thanks' we could ever ask for.
Thank you for giving us this opportunity to, if I may borrow a few words from your introduction to Nightfalls, 'light a candle against the darkness'.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw 12 January 2013 Cannon Beach, Oregon (less)
An amazing, riveting story! I will be back to do a proper review in a bit, but I will tel you this...
I recommend this book without hesitation! Lisa ha...moreAn amazing, riveting story! I will be back to do a proper review in a bit, but I will tel you this...
I recommend this book without hesitation! Lisa has written an incredible story of a group of teens caught in a situation that would test the spirit and endurance of anyone. And she is such a mesmerizing storyteller, I had to keep reminding myself that this is a work of fiction. Lisa's telling is so real... it gave me shivers!
Okay for a first effort. A good plot, but lacking somewhat in execution. I don't wish to sound mean, but if this was edited by a professional, I hope...moreOkay for a first effort. A good plot, but lacking somewhat in execution. I don't wish to sound mean, but if this was edited by a professional, I hope Michele has since found another editor... there were some glaring grammatical errors in this book. Serious enough to pull the reader out of the story... something an author definitely does not want.
The recipes are first rate... I have tried several... and a very nice addition to the book. (less)
A quick, enjoyable read... I thoroughly enjoyed Miss Lee's cautionary tale of relationships and losing sight of who we really are... and that we shoul...moreA quick, enjoyable read... I thoroughly enjoyed Miss Lee's cautionary tale of relationships and losing sight of who we really are... and that we should never 'settle' or let anyone 'dim our sparkle'.
Written with a wicked sense of humour and wit as sharp as a mohel's knife, Compromising Positions, and its unforgettable protagonist, Judith Singer, o...moreWritten with a wicked sense of humour and wit as sharp as a mohel's knife, Compromising Positions, and its unforgettable protagonist, Judith Singer, offers an eye-opening look inside a Nassau county bedroom community and reminds us that what happens behind closed doors doesn't always stay behind closed doors.
I'd always considered dentists rather mild-mannered sorts, but Susan shatters that 'myth', and does it with such a wonderful narrative style, weaving completely believable characters (I have worked with a couple of these 'types') into a plot worthy of the silver screen, that Compromising Positions definitely earns a five-star with this reader.
The back cover of my copy has the blurb... 'brilliant first novel...'
I couldn't agree more. I will certainly be adding more of Susan's works to my reading list.
I recommend Compromising Positions without hesitation. Thank you, Susan, for a first rate story!
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw 9 March 2013 Cannon Beach, Oregon(less)