Right from the start The Underclass grabs you by the throat. Its spindly fingers reach out, the flesh dripping like a tap that can never be switched oRight from the start The Underclass grabs you by the throat. Its spindly fingers reach out, the flesh dripping like a tap that can never be switched off. It is an intriguing take on the zombie trope; the idea that a sense of consciousness and emotion can remain intact was one that initiated deep thought…is everything that we have seen in Hollywood zombie movies just glorified the creation as brain hungry street walkers? Imagine dying in some accident only to come to and realise that you are now an undead version of yourself, only your spouse and relations want nothing to do with you? That is the dilemma that is staring Lee Callows dead in the eyes.
The Underclass examines the change of the natural occurrence of dying. Gone are the days where an individual would pass away in the typical sense. People are reanimating back to life, they are the walking dead, they are dead, corpses amongst the living, an unnatural abomination. How on earth are these undead going to co-exist with “The Pulses” surely it is only a matter of time before one of the groups starts an uprising, wanting to get rid of the other.
The story that follows is one of pure terror. The line between the living and the dead is a path that just shouldn’t be crossed. We are supposed to have direct roles, the living, well, live and the dead are dead. They are no pass go, no going direct to jail, nothing. Nada. Imagine waking and finding out that you go against natural and biological norms. Forget looking in the mirror ever again, not unless you want to be faced with a rotting bag of flesh and bones. This was such an awesome and highly irregular take on the zombie story – I found myself transported to a world that didn’t give a fuck about social norms! The Underclass blew my socks off!
The Underclass has heart though, at its very core it is a story of acceptance – accepting what you cannot change and accepting of the person right next to you. Gone are the social norms, forget the heirs and graces. You get to the very core of someone’s personality, when you lose the pretense and the trying to be someone else you can see someone for who they are. Strip back the layers and you are left with the baring of a soul; it matters not if they have a pulse or not.
The Underclass has a definite uniqueness to it and it really was a race to the end to find out the suspenseful conclusion. If this was a paperback copy, I would have had multiple papercuts from the rate I flew through it. The narrative was ensnaring, and the atmosphere was palpatingly toxic. Weatherer has a masterful skill of yanking the reader in from one world to another. The descriptive writing perfectly served both horror and a true sense of humanity. The authors love for his craft seeped into every line and the reader was helpless but to go along for the ride. ...more
Some things just damn well intrigue me. History being one of them. The Roman Empire was always a dynasty that just got those creative juices flowing. Some things just damn well intrigue me. History being one of them. The Roman Empire was always a dynasty that just got those creative juices flowing. The riches, the military prowess and the fantastical world of Ancient Rome. Echoes of Germania is that perfect blend of fiction and history. This book blew every expectation or preconceived idea I had clean out the water. The prose and the dialogue were swift and laser precise, it didn’t take any time at all to fall hard for this superbly ambitious tale of love and mythology. The novel has the beating heart of a warrior.
Picking up Echoes of Germania was a gamble as typically I struggle with historical fiction. The chance paid off and instantly you get a sense of the labour of love this story was for the author…research and passion surely screamed to me as much as a baby calls for its mother in the middle of the night. From this point forward I will trust Ashman with my heart and my imagination. One thing is for certain – you are in good hands. Every second spent in this world is never a wasted moment. Time is a fragile construct whilst reading this story.
The prologue really sets the scene. We are transported back to around 9 BC with the celebrated General Drusus reaping the benefits of a victory against the Germanic Suebi tribe. After a brutal act of killing the tribes Seer’ daughters he is cursed from that moment on, a moment that will have significance when he falls from his horse and becomes crushed, he perishes from his injuries. Just as easy as these characters live and breathe, I could feel myself in that moment and Ashman could bring any scene to life with a mere sentence, a fleeting moment captured for all of time to witness.
The Echoes of Germanica is centred around the main protagonist, a nineteen-year-old girl living in the present day. Her life is plagued by wanting to be in another place, her father is extremely archaic and is living vicariously through her talent as a Judo competitor, her love however, lies in becoming an engineer. Amalia has been given more than she bargained for however, when she is transported back in time after trying to save an apparent drowning woman in a lake. She slips under and awakes in 1 AD a world that is ruled by Emperor Augustus.
The Echoes of Germania was seamless – the transition from twenty first century to 1 AD was flawless. The detailed descriptions and action-packed battles had me racing on to find out what would happen. I could smell the countryside, imagine the putrid scent of decaying bodies, blood-soaked tunics and battle cries. The political intrigue felt very real for the times and the backstabbing and personal agendas again breathed life into the story.
The Echoes of Germania is delightfully dark and historically brilliant. You can really feel the drive to it, the gearstick is put into high and you immediately just want to go with it. Its not a flowery tale but one with brutality and heart. I’m going to struggle to wait for book two! ...more
The past always has a way of catching up with us and Don’t Tell the Dead by Gary Donnelly epitomise that notion. Lace up those Nikes because you’re gThe past always has a way of catching up with us and Don’t Tell the Dead by Gary Donnelly epitomise that notion. Lace up those Nikes because you’re going to be doing some running!
Writing is such a labour of love and writing a series is doubly true. The commitment, the research, and the psyche to get into the head of your characters time and time again requires a special kind of author. Gary Donnelly has consistently delivered a gritty, raw, and deeply compelling crime series set in the pulsing heart of Ireland. The atmosphere is catastrophically real, you can almost feel the elements battering you where you stand, the characterisation gets stronger each time we meet these much-loved characters. Its like watching evolution before your very eyes.
Donnelly certainly doesn’t take the easy route in Don’t Tell the Dead. You can feel the pressures that the plot is threatening to crush each protagonist, the timeline doesn’t leave an inch to breathe and his deep and dark narrative creates a deadly web of intrigue with past events being the catalyst that threatens to consume.
I was very excited to be reunited with DI Sheen and Aoife McClusker. The book started off on a tense note and never let up until the very end. It opened leaving you questioning the troubles lingering impact and trying to already connect the dots that Donnelly so expertly had left dotted around. Something serious is about to go down and its exactly how I love my Crime Fiction books to start; explosive, exciting, and having me scramble for answers even though the question has yet to be posed. Nothing is so black and white in a Gary Donnelly book.
Belfast’s past is casting an ever-present shadow. Serious Offenses Historic Unit. Multiple different directions lead to a game of cat and mouse. Buckle in you’re in for a hell of a ride.
The one thing I love about Gary Donnelly’s writing and Don’t Tell the Dead in particular, is that he is a dab hand at creating realistic characters. DI Sheen isn’t perfect. Not by a long shot. He has many flaws and anxieties, but he knows how to do the right thing. He might be up against the powers that be at times, but he follows his gut and is assertive when needed. He sometimes dwells on past events, but the important thing is that he doesn’t just move in, he gives himself a shake and tackles the case at hand with all his might and expertise.
Don’t Ask the dead is brutally Irish. The inner voice is acerbic and injected with local phrases, humour and most importantly you feel as though you are there. Donnelly knows how to take risks but time and time again it pays off. It’s a story about truth, battling injustice and trusting your gut. This series just keeps getting better and better and I wait on bated breath to see what Gary comes up with next....more
The Good Guy is thrilling, and you can feel the adrenaline coursing through your veins. The anticipation, the fear, it is all a heady mix that bubblesThe Good Guy is thrilling, and you can feel the adrenaline coursing through your veins. The anticipation, the fear, it is all a heady mix that bubbles up to a conclusion. It’s a novel that I’m surprised hasn’t been adapted for the screen – suited to the Jason Stratham type actors. It was a fun read that passed the hours quickly; was it Koontz’s best novel, not by far but it was fun for what it was. A lot of stuff didn’t add up for me and I’ll get into that soon.
The Good Guy centres around the event of a stranger walking into a bar and mistakes our protagonist, Tim Carrier as a for hire killer. He’s given a package with a bucketload of money and the picture of his target, a woman called Linda Pacquette with instructions on how to kill her. Before he can say anything the actual killer walks in and Time hastily tells him he’s changed his mind and offers the money as a “sorry I’ve wasted your time” severance. (Yeah, right.) The killer leaves, Tim follows him out, he gets into a cop car and off he pops. Intriguing premise, right? Well from here in out it gets zany, quickly.
The Good Guy had a storyline that should have blown me away but ended up just being a kind of meh-ish read. From this point forward the intriguing storyline just paled due to substandard narrative and things that just didn’t ring true. Linda Paquette is the targeted woman who says things like she loves action movies but doesn’t own a TV?? After mere hours together they are talking about living with each other?? Although I did really enjoy the wit that they shared together. They seemed to hit it off quickly and they propped each up during a very traumatic situation.
The Good Guy has a villainous villain. The guy has a serious god complex and seems extremely unhinged. Was he always like that? He can’t recall any memories before his eighteenth birthday so assumes that he came from another realm…the mirror realm. I would have thought, considering he was working for some elite, hugely secret government organisation that they would have at least performed a psych evaluation. He kills people left, right and centre and that’s not even the contracted kill, he calls them collateral damage. It all draws to a final confrontation in one of the most underwhelming endings ever.
The back story of Tim Carrier interested me the most and it did have a great payoff. He’s tortured by events in his past and it all makes sense how he could do the things he did as no normal civilian would have the courage to do. Overall, it was an okay read but it definitely wasn’t the best Koontz novel I have read....more
I was a little worried about reading Smoke Screen, not because I believed that it would be a terrible read but because I just loved Death Deserved so I was a little worried about reading Smoke Screen, not because I believed that it would be a terrible read but because I just loved Death Deserved so much and wanted Smoke Screen to have that lasting impact also. This review is the proof that this writing duo know just how to deliver time and time again. An intriguing title, a mysterious cover and a synopsis that promises to deliver a narrative balancing on a tripwire. Enger and Horst have penned another addition that will create a shadow on my soul and leave me hungering to visit the Scandinavian Isles.
Smoke Screen is book two in the Blixx & Ramm series and its New Years Eve in Oslo. The partygoers have gathered at the square at city hall. The annual fireworks display goes horrifically awry with an explosion which ups the terror threat level to extreme. One of the casualties is the mother of Patricia Smeplass, a two-year-old girl that was kidnapped around ten years ago and never found. Is this a coincidence or is it a targeted attack? Blixx and Ramm go about investigating the connection.
Smoke Screen and its narrative was like walking into the eye of the storm. Familiar sights were gone but you were completely powerless to the pulling power that the book had over you. The plot pulled you in every direction, leaving you feeling disorientated, but the narrative had the threat of a knife edge breaking you, but you can’t look away with the thrill of it all. I was rattled and I loved every minute of it.
Two incredibly flawed characters that seem to be an odd pairing but one that works because well, it just does. They feed off each other’s energies and the pressure mounts imperceptibly but it never stops them getting to the bottom of their cases. Smoke Screen surely puts this dream team of authors at the top of their game. Blixx, a police officer that is plagued by traumatic events and Ramm, a journalist and blogger that has her moral compass intact despite previous difficulties. Blixx is more a father figure to her than acquaintance.
Smoke Screen highlighted the fragility of life and I was brought to my knees with its hard hitting and bleak prose, it was genuine and often felt like a punch to the gut. I have only experienced this kind of flow with but a few authors but Enger and Horst nailed the inevitability of life and death.
Smoke Screen is laced with more than a smattering of the dark and disturbing but gives a bird’s eye view of what being human entails and the depths of depravity that some individuals will stoop to....more