Fear by Rob Bliss is a thriller novel filled with action, horror, gore and a story that is both uncomfortable and unnerving in its narrative. AlthoughFear by Rob Bliss is a thriller novel filled with action, horror, gore and a story that is both uncomfortable and unnerving in its narrative. Although predominately a thriller novel it has plenty of horrific themes running through-out. it’s a story that has fear at its absolute core. If the government and subsequent authorities have no fear instilled in its citizens, then they have nothing…no control…nothing. Although I enjoyed the story, I did find it extremely slow at times and it felt a lot longer than the two hundred odd pages it was.
It was an ambitious story with a ton of promise, but it just failed to hit the mark for me.
One thing that seriously had me excited was that prologue. It was haunting and eerie with a serious sense of atmosphere and place and it was the perfect set up to a story that I’d gobble up. A scene with a man in a bathroom with only a razor for company. A little girl being reflected in the mirror. Something unpleasant happening to him. It very symbolic and it did bring a shiver down my spine. The writing was precise and delivered whilst balancing on a knife’s edge.
Fear is exactly that, Fear. We are taken to an underground facility run by a secret organisation. The doctors there are performing what they like to call Nightmare Surgery. It’s the ultimate tool in inducing fear. The procedure with trigger nightmares in the patient, I found this quite frankly, terrifying. Imagine being put through that time and time again. Ghastly. We meet the resident sociopathic shrink – Dr Scylla. Let me just tell you, I have never hated a character more than I do him. He’s disturbed, evil and he uses the phrase, any means necessary to do terrible things to the patients.
The characterization was good from Bliss. Nurse Stitch and her stitched lips, the imagery, the fear. John Doe, a soldier previously serving in the US Army in Afghanistan and Iraq. The facility’s most successful patient. He’s weak and at the doctors will. Mahmoud Farouz, an Iraqi watchmaker, who turned his usefulness with clocks into making IED’s and blowing up and killing many foreign soldier. He’s handy with a gun, but what will happen to him once he is transported to the facility? Will their ultimate plan be realized, or can they find a way to escape but then what?
I can’t fully pinpoint what I found slow about Fear. I had been expecting a bit of a horror story and although there were elements of it, it was mainly a thriller story. A little too political for my individual liking but overall a decent story with good protagonists.
Well holy moly was this a ride and a half. The Liar’s Daughter was as I expected, swift and nerve splitting. Rona Halsall’s novels always get my heartWell holy moly was this a ride and a half. The Liar’s Daughter was as I expected, swift and nerve splitting. Rona Halsall’s novels always get my heart racing, and her new release undoubtedly would be no different. A prologue that had me sweating bullets and asking questions without coming up for air. Paramedics arrive at a remote farm in North Wales, the women they attend to has had a severe knock to the head and is only just conscious. Its an injury that they doubt she has done to herself but she’s insistent. The only thing is, why can they hear someone else in the house?
The title and the cover had me intrigued…the darkness, the intensity of it all. It’s a story that must be devoured. Its fodder for the imagination. Imagine your stepmother receiving a phone call to tell you that your sister has been involved in accident, the point where you discover you have a sister no-one told you about. The emotions running through you would be confusing, right? The shock, the disbelief and the disappointment at years lost. This is exactly Eva’s reality in The Liar’s Daughter. A story that careens to an explosive finish.
Eva has wanted a sister her entire life. She begged and prodded her parents to give her sister, but it just never happened. She’s a graduate in Wildlife Conversation but has had to put her career on hold to help her stepmother care for her father who has been diagnosed with Dementia. He’s in sharp decline and care must be split between them, a harsh reality for someone so young. After receiving the phone call regarding the news of her long-lost sister, Nancy, Eva takes it upon herself to go and look after her until she has recovered from a serious head injury. The vast range of emotions and fears are laid bare and Halsall injected butterflies in MY stomach.
The Liar’s Daughter at its core is a story about family ties, betrayal and trauma. The author has done an exquisite job in her portrayal of mental health and gas lighting…executed with class and dignity. The story is told in dual POV’s, between Nancy and Eva. The atmosphere had me instantly, I could imagine the rolling hills of Wales and could almost feel the wind blowing through my hair. I was there and the immersion of the story was at a completely different level.
There’s a lot to this story – so many layers to pull back and examine. You are given snippets of people’s lives. Halsall has written something that is so naturally flowing, the characterization isn’t forced, everything is just so organic.
The Liar’s Daughter is superb. The pace is liable to give you whiplash if you aren’t careful. The feeling of powerlessness builds to a crescendo. Another belter from Rona Halsall....more
The Stepmother is more a domestic thriller than one that pinpoints at psychological. It tells a story of Kate, a woman who is suffering after the lossThe Stepmother is more a domestic thriller than one that pinpoints at psychological. It tells a story of Kate, a woman who is suffering after the loss of multiple babies. The miscarriages are draining her, and the only thing that really has her focus is her work, sculpting. The prologue opens with a shock – someone being lowered into a makeshift grave. It had me intrigued especially as the narrative leads you to believe that the person being put into a grave is who is deeply loved. What is the story behind it? It’s a great opener and I couldn’t wait to dive in.
I’ve been mulling over just how I would review The Stepmother. It had a great premise, and it is just the kind of book that I enjoy time and time again. The cover is instantly eye catching and I loved the premise of a stepmother meeting her husbands’ child and the secrets that would span from that thread, but it unfortunately fell slightly flat for me. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was itself was excellent and I did read the novel very quickly it was more the plot and characterization that I struggled with.
The story of The Stepmother is one about Kate and Michael. There is an obvious age gap between them, but Kate has never let that bother her. She has enjoyed being in a relationship with someone that is already established and with a good career. The obvious next step for them was to have a baby but for reasons unknown Kate and Michael have suffered miscarriages. Its obviously had an impact on their relationship but even so, Michael is a very distant and emotionally unavailable character. He is a barrister and often stays in Bristol for work, in the flat that they own.
Things start to go awry when Kate meets Steve, a butcher in town. He’s a dog lover like her. There is an instant appreciation for his looks. She’s a sculptor and has this indescribable urge to sculpt his head. She convinces him to sit for her. Then Imogen turns up, Michael’s daughter from a previous relationship. She is obviously messed up but just why is she that way? What has happened? Stepmother and stepdaughter quickly get along with each other and develop a bond, when a secret is revealed about her husband, she is left dazed and blindsided.
The Stepmother is more about the story of one woman’s actions and how that spirals into a catastrophic mess. It’s the domino effect, one she takes one course of action it affects everyone around her. I did think the synopsis was a bit misleading, the secret is a minor subplot and wasn’t really what the story was about. Its one of those stories that I wanted to love more than I did.