The premise for Reaper's Walk is tantalizing enough to grab your attention immediately, but it is it's development that will hold your breath hostage...moreThe premise for Reaper's Walk is tantalizing enough to grab your attention immediately, but it is it's development that will hold your breath hostage until the last page is turned. There is a bit of everything for true lovers of the genre, from witches to werewolves in a supernatural cauldron that encompasses demons, vampires, the Grim Ripper and even werecats. The pace is unrelenting and the author is at his best when detailing obscure passages of times long past. Reaper's Walk is the perfect story to start a saga. Keep your eyes open for whatever Don Franklin has prepared for us next.(less)
The Black Death of Babylon starts with two death bodies, darkened and decayed a few hours after their deaths by an invisible killer that hasn't seen t...moreThe Black Death of Babylon starts with two death bodies, darkened and decayed a few hours after their deaths by an invisible killer that hasn't seen the light of day in over 5000 years. That's where Don Oberbier fits. He's a seasoned investigator of anomalies, none as frightening as The Black Death of Babylon, now he must run against time to find the person who set free this bacteria before fear runs rampant at Babylon University and the real killer finishes up his horrific work.
A dark mystery/suspense, The Black Death of Babylon is atmospheric, enigmatic, and a thrill. Imagine the lovechild of Fringe, The X-Files, The Masque of the Red Death, and Indiana Jones. Weird? You'll be surprised at how well McFadden manages to pull this one out.
The characters are interesting and the reader is treated not only with the mystery behind the killings, but with the many secrets every character seems to be holding up. However, I must say the main character, Don Oberbier, is a hard sale for the reader. He is rude, arrogant, and a jerk who puts people through hell just for the kicks. Now, this is the guy we will follow through the ordeal and the one for which the reader must root...like I said, a tough sell. The supporting characters are better rounded, though, and they are in fact the ones with whom I connected and for which I rooted, so I still enjoyed the ride.
As much as a mystery, The Black Death of Babylon is a Science Fiction that uses the world of Scientific Investigation to propel us into the fear of technology and knowledge without moral boundaries. The science behind the story is pretty sound and allows the reader a rare insight into the dog-eat-dog world of scientific discovery. A nice treat that will also let you wonder just how scary it is to know that a handful of people are in absolute control of the deathliest viruses/bacterias known to mankind. True story kids. Ask the CDC.
My regular readers know I review horror mostly and when I dare out of the genre the results are a gamble. With McFadden's work I was pleasantly surprised and I'm happy to say to my non-horror-readers that this is a great book for everyone. If you enjoy Fringe, this is a book for you, its mysteries will have you all guessing to the very last page. (less)
Pandora is the story of Maria Vakros, a woman fighting her own demons in order to reclaim control of her life as she and her husband, a teacher by tra...morePandora is the story of Maria Vakros, a woman fighting her own demons in order to reclaim control of her life as she and her husband, a teacher by trade, start anew in the small town of Sickle Falls. Leaving behind the big city of Chicago, they buy a quaint old house in the nicer part of town with a beautiful view of the lake, but hiding in the shadows of the basement lies an ancient horror waiting to be unleashed. It has infected the whole town, even causing the previous owners untimely deaths.
The plot is well constructed, weaving five different stories without making it confusing nor heavy. At all times the narrative is fluid and interesting, the sense of doom and horror is well transmitted without the overuse of adjectives. The story starts slowly, building on the mystery and creating a menacing atmosphere, and though there are segments quite violent, it never gets too graphic or gory. I found particularly refreshing the rich vocabulary Parypinski uses, it has been a while since a book made me open a dictionary, and though I always thank an author who teaches me something, when the uncommon vocabulary forces you to interrupt the reading in order to look for a word, it gets in the way of enjoying the book. I mean, if you use obscure words that the reader can deduct from the general context, you're okay, but don't over do it or you risk looking like a snub. Now, Parypinski doesn't go to that extreme but once, so we won't hold it against her.
The characters are interesting and complex and each individual story builds to a final crescendo that has all kinds of unexpected turns. Parypinski's style is refreshing, almost poetic in her descriptions, giving the horrors depicted a tragic and twisted feeling. It is outstanding how much information the author manages to convey and still leave the reader craving for more, in particular when relating the story of the box, and yet the ending feels a bit abrupt; but knowing how difficult it is to find the perfect balance between giving closure to a character's story and simply going too far, I think Parypinski's decision to give the final word to one of the side characters is an interesting one that explains the insertion of the box's story and allows for a small moral very apropos.
I highly recommend Pandora to every horror lover, even the squeamish ones as there's something for everyone in this mystery/horror. An outstanding story edited to perfection, Pandora shows small presses can be every bit as professional as the Big Six.(less)
Red Island is the story of Sgt. Reid. He used to live in Vancouver, but after a grueling case that left him and his family scarred, they moved to Prin...moreRed Island is the story of Sgt. Reid. He used to live in Vancouver, but after a grueling case that left him and his family scarred, they moved to Prince Edward Island. Otherwise known as The Gentle Island, it seems like a great place to concentrate on his family and leave the past behind. That is until the body of a young woman appears hanging from the feet, naked, and baring the terrible markings of torture. The island is not gentle anymore and the only hope for its people lies in the expertise of Reid against serial killers.
Red Island is a strong story where the great abilities of Oliver to paint a picture without dragging the description forever are put to work so well. The simple matter-of-fact narrative allows the reader to loose himself in the story, and though some of the scenes depicted are quite gruesome, it never feels out of place or even graphic. The language is also under control, without four-letter expletives thrown everywhere, but realistically applied.
The novel is divided in two stories, that of the detective and that of the killer, where one is narrated in present tense and the other in past, but both in first person. Particularly enjoyable are the sections related to the killer, his development as a killer, and the reason behind his horrible murder spree. A true study on the psychology of murderers and simply outstanding. Sadly, I found very difficult to empathize with the main character. Although he has a dark past haunting him and, maybe, going through somewhat of a middle age crisis, I found many of his actions hard to justify and, at times, annoying.
The procedural side of the story is also very aptly done, always leaving the reader wishing for more and actually paying attention to the details that true cops are interested in. No shortcuts or illogic actions are put there so the author can go from point A to point B. The book, however, has several editorial mistakes, mostly the kind resulting from merging two sentences or typos. Very rarely these mistakes get in the way of understanding or involve a grammatical mistake, so it shouldn't put you off if the blurb and genre appeals to you. All in all a good, an interesting story worth reading.(less)
I just finished it a couple of hours ago and I really liked it. Coming from a Latin background, I'm used to read very rich poetic prose. In that sense...moreI just finished it a couple of hours ago and I really liked it. Coming from a Latin background, I'm used to read very rich poetic prose. In that sense, it reminded me of Pedro Paramo or A Hundred Years of Solitude. Its evoking of years lost, youth misspent, yearning for what we can't have, all summed up with how much the characters felt more than saw (most of the interchanges with the witch and the way Mr. Halloway knew how to fight back) was reminiscent of Magic Realism to me. But however beautiful, I think that heavy prose carried for such a length without a reprieve is always very hard on the reader.
The characters were so likable, my heart ached for all of them; the villains I think weren't so well fleshed, other than the witch that made me tremble between the sheets of my bed. All in all, I realize how masterfully Bradbury played with the language and why he gained so high praise and even though I got tired of such elaborate language, Something Wicked This Way Comes has won a piece of my heart.(less)