This month the review team and I have several of our book reviews featured in the following magazines,
Fleet Life is featuring the following books, for the online version go to http://www.fleetlife.org.uk, click on the online directory and load the magazine, turn to page 40 for this month’s book review page.
Elvetham Heath Directory is featuring the following books, for the online version go to http://www.ehd.org.uk, click on the online directory and load the magazine, turn to page 32 for this month’s book reviews.
Cathy has been reading The Sickness by Dylan J Morgan.
In the small village of Nash Grahame Harris is woken by noises outside his farmhouse. What he discovers as he goes to investigate is beyond comprehension and is the last thing he ever sees before dying horrifically.
The only reason for James Harris’ continued existence, and going through the ordeal that is his life, is his Goth teenage daughter, Ruth. he normally has her to stay at weekends but she turns up at his house unexpectedly one Thursday, which breaches his custody agreement. He’s more than glad to see her, all the same. When he receives a phone call from his estranged sister, Laura, informing him of the murder of their parents, long-buried and distressing emotions begin to surface. After taking his daughter to school the next morning, James very reluctantly begins his journey to Nash to attend the funeral.
Unbeknownst to James Ruth had skipped school and was even now back at his house. Curious to know why her dad didn’t want company on the trip, or her to be anywhere near the village, and why he never talked about his boyhood, Ruth decides on a course of action that will have repercussions beyond imagining.
“With a sigh she placed the drink carefully on the coffee table and hurried down the corridor, pausing outside his bedroom door. Ruth glanced down, pursed her lips, and wondered if this was such a good idea. She’s never snooped around in her father’s bedroom before, and a twinge of guilt held her at the doorway for a moment. Shaking her head, Ruth tried the handle and her heart picked up rhythm as the lock released and the door moved in the frame.
She took a deep breath, stepped into the bedroom, and hoped her father would forgive her if he ever found out.”
The horror is evident from the start of the book, beginning as it does with someone raising a corpse from the grave. The depressing and sombre atmosphere of Nash as the backdrop for the story sets the scene for what is to come. The identity of the culprit, and reason for the bringing corpses back to life to take revenge, is the mysterious thread running through the dark and gruesome story.
Facts about James’ traumatic childhood and teenage years are revealed slowly, by degrees, until I couldn’t help but think his parents got their just deserts. I liked James and Ruth very much, their relationship and love for each other is wonderful, so well defined. The rest of the characters, although unsympathetic and impossible to like, are very well drawn and so easy to picture, even if that picture isn’t a very pleasant one. Dylan Morgan is a very descriptive and skilful writer. I love how the suspense builds steadily right up to the intense and completely unexpected ending. Great cover, too.
In halcyon days BC (before children), Barb Taub wrote a humor column for several Midwest newspapers. With the arrival of Child #4, she veered toward the dark side and an HR career. Following a daring daytime escape to England, she’s lived in a medieval castle and a hobbit house with her prince-of-a-guy and the World’s Most Spoiled AussieDog. Now all her days are Saturdays, and she spends them consulting with her occasional co-author/daughter on Marvel heroes, Null City, and translating from British to American.
Catch Barb on Twitter @barbtaub or follow her blog for some brilliant posts.
One Way Fare published by Hartwood Publishing
Superpowers suck. If you just want to live a normal life, Null City is only a Metro ride away. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. Demons settle down, become parents, join the PTA, and worry about their taxes.
Null City is the only sanctuary for Gaby Parker and Leila Rice, two young women confronting cataclysmic forces waging an unseen war between Heaven and Hell. Gaby and her younger brother and sister are already targets in the war that cost their parents’ lives. Should they forsake the powers that complete their souls and flee to Null City? Meanwhile, Leila has inherited a French chateau, a mysterious legacy, and a prophecy that she will end the world. Gaby and Leila become catalysts for the founding and survival of Null City.
It just would have been nice if someone told them the angels were all on the other side.
The Silver Award went to John Privilege and his book The American Policeman
Not one to shout about himself, John hails from just out side Belfast, there’s very little to be found about John, but you can find him chatting on Twitter as @BeardyJohn
The American Policeman
After everything, there is peace. The Collective took London away from the gangs that terrorised the city after the plague and the slow terror of the Breakdown. The blood on the streets has dried. There is food, water and good housing. Everyone has work. But the meek have not inherited the earth. On a bitterly cold night a woman is brutalised and murdered, shattering the fragile calm of the city. The investigation of London’s first murder in two years falls to Inspector Timothy Conlan and the District team of the New Metropolitan Police. Tim ‘Con’ Conlan serenely navigates the harsh new London. He is dedicated, conscientious and smiling. Around him society is broken. People are traumatised, fearful and wracked with guilt. Now the dark, empty spaces of the city are being stalked by a monster. Con must find and catch a killer who seems to know his every move. At the same time, there is something rotten at the core of the new government. In the very heart of the Collective, massive lies are being spun. There are rumours of war, whispers of betrayal. The Collective is harsh, relentless and utterly unforgiving. The problem for Con is simple: find the killer; stay alive.
Karen has been reading The Sickness by Dylan Morgan
The story starts at an unmarked grave and a conjuration. James Harris is forced to return to the home town he despises – to attend his parents’ funeral. I will not tell you more about the story than shown in the Goodreads plot description. This would spoil the fun of reading this book yourself.
With The Sickness, Dylan J. Morgan has created an expertly woven plot, a thrilling horror novel. The Sickness comprises authentic characters; James is a very likeable guy, I liked him from the start. You may feel inclined to change your opinion on his daughter Ruth. The more you learn about her, the more you are inclined to really like her. I had a great time reading – this is a very compelling read. I was drawn into the story right away, close to James and relieved to be invisible.
The cover is awesome – perfect for this story.
This is for you if you like some shivers running down your spine, a creepy atmosphere and a mystery that needs to be solved.
Terry chose to read and review The Sickness by Dylan Morgan
The Sickness by Dylan Morgan
4 out of 5 stars
Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team
First of all I have to say what a terrific cover this book has!
James Harris is a divorced, part time dad, living on a run down London estate. He has a warm, close relationship with his wayward, punky daughter, Ruth – which goes a long way to make up for the horror of his childhood and the breakdown of his marriage. But something’s happening in the isolated village of Nash, where he grew up, and a phone call from his sister moves him to return….
Dylan Morgan is so adept at writing the underlying sinister atmosphere of the one horse town or small, ‘Straw Dogs’ type village – he did the American version in his excellent ‘Flesh’, which I read earlier this year. Travelling through Nash, I felt the silence, the claustrophobia, the despair, from the depressing mood of the sparsely populated pub, to the darkness of his former family home; there almost seems to be a sepia tone over the whole book
This book is subtly rather than in-your-face creepy, at least at first, and the story unfolds at a steady pace, the supernatural element and details about James’s dreadful childhood being released gradually, building up to an explosive end; this is a writer who totally ‘gets’ suspense. The characters are so well drawn, even the minor ones, particularly Ruth’s creepy stepfather. I loved Ruth, she’s a great kid, tough and ballsy but with a sometimes most mature outlook, and James is very likable, too.
Definitely recommended for all lovers of supernatural horror.
Shelley chose to read and review The Sickness by Dylan Morgan
Book Review ‘The Sickness’ by Dylan J. Morgan #RBRT
4 out of 5 stars
I received an ARC of The Sickness in exchange for an honest review via Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT
An unmarked grave, a ring of salt, and four black candles are my favourite type of opening hook. As a fan of horror, and supernatural novels, I am always happy when the two mix and The Sickness provides this in abundance.
From the opening paragraph, we are shown that some of the characters have returned from the dead. To discover why this has happened, and indeed, how it was possible, we must join James Harris as he re-visits his home town, and a past he has tried so hard to forget.
The story unfolds in the thick of the action and only after we’ve experienced our first evisceration do we get to meet our hero.
I like James, a lot. I also like his teenage daughter, Ruth. Their relationship is beautifully crafted. The bond between them is clearly evident and even though Ruth is a feisty teenager with a strong will and tendencies towards truancy, you feel the love they have for one another flow off the page. I didn’t warm to Kath, who is Ruth’s mother, but I think that was the whole point, as it strengths the readers compassion for that father and daughter attachment.
If you like your supernatural horror to be dark, gruesome and unequivocally gory, then this is the book for you. The author’s ability to describe a brutal murder down to the last laceration is captivating. He paints a vivid and colourful picture of blood and bodily fluids.
The story is set in Nash, an English countryside community. I love Morgan’s style of writing as he sets the scene. His descriptive prose is so crisp that I found myself tugging at my collar to shield from an imaginary storm. Although I don’t believe the British weather is quite as dismal as it is in Nash, Morgan certainly captures the essence of the dark and gloomy horror backdrop, and he uses it to its full potential. I believe George Romero or Wes Craven would have enjoyed developing this story for cinema.
I was expecting horror, but I wasn’t expecting such graphic sexually explicit scenes. They are sprinkled throughout the story, some of them are vital to the plot, but there were others that I felt were unnecessary, this is a purely personal observation that may not be mirrored by other readers.
I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but I must briefly mention the ending. It is explosive, expertly written and riveting. I didn’t blink in case I missed something. The plot is neatly interwoven and carefully planned out, so you don’t see any of the twists coming.
No review would be complete without a shout out for the book cover. The image, colours, and typography fit the horror genre perfectly. It drew me in straight away. I would highly recommend The Sickness if you enjoy horror or/and supernatural novels.
Teri chose to read and review The Sickness by Dylan Morgan
First, I have to comment on the book cover. If you saw this cover staring back at you from a shelf in a bookstore, there’s no way you could ignore it. It compels you to pick up the book and investigate further and the murky colors set the tone for this supernatural horror novel.
Eerie happenings occur from the first page and continue throughout nearly the entire story. The reader knows these characters have returned from beyond the grave for revenge, but the reason and identity of the person who brought them back is a mystery until the latter part of the book. Speaking of the revenge scenes – they aren’t for wimps, so if you’re not a fan of gruesome and gory details, you may want to skip over those parts. But that would ruin the fun, in my opinion.
With the exception of James and his daughter, Ruth, there really aren’t a lot of likable characters in this book – which may explain all the revenge killings going on. The author did an admirable job of demonstrating the sometimes difficult relationship between a teenage daughter and her father, but also the strong bond of love James and Ruth share.
One thing that seemed a little misleading was the book description in regards to the farming community hiding secrets versus only James’s family but, for me, it didn’t detract from the overall story line.
The Sickness serves up a generous helping of suspense and chills, so if you’re feeling the Halloween spirit and looking for something to make you wonder about that scratching noise against the window or the creak on the staircase – this is your book.
This review is based on a digital ARC from the author through Rosie’s Book Reviews in exchange for an honest opinion.