Devouring Dark – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review ***Spoilers***

Devouring Dark

41128507

Alan Baxter

Grey Matter Press

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:

“DEVOURING DARK is an urban horror novel about a man plagued since childhood by a malevolent darkness that threatens to consume him. After a lifetime spent wrestling for control over this onslaught, Matt McLeod has learned to wield his mysterious paranormal skill to achieve an odious goal: retribution as a supernatural vigilante.

When one such hit goes bad, McLeod finds himself ensnared in a multi-tentacled criminal enterprise caught between a corrupt cop and a brutal mobster. His only promise of salvation may be a bewitching woman who shares his dark talent but has murderous designs of her own.”

To start, I would like to thank Grey Matter Press for a copy of Devouring Dark to read in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s a wonderful mix of horror, the supernatural and some crime drama. Three things I enjoy.

Matt McLeod, he is a great character. He has this crazy ability to literally devour people with darkness, as the title says. The book gets into the action straight away with Matt devouring a paedophile in an alleyway. Unfortunately, in this wondrous age of digital devices, he is caught on camera by a criminal, who decides his abilities should be put to good use for a criminal organisation as an assassin. Of course Matt isn’t exactly sold on this idea.

Amy Cavendish has similar powers to Matt. They both thought they were alone with their abilities. When their paths finally cross they end up in the fight of their lives, finding out just the true extend of their powers.

The characters of both Amy and Matt are solid. They are wonderfully written; they come across so well throughout the book. This is the second work I have read of Alan Baxter, I love his work. He writes brilliant multi-layered characters that you can develop a real relationship with. He has a real talent and I am looking forward to reading more from him.

Devouring Dark is a brilliant noir supernatural horror mash which will have you hooked from the start and all the way through. I loved it.

4/5

Lesley-Ann

Housewife of Horror

South by Southwest Wales -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review ***Spoilers***

South by Southwest Wales

39979330

️ Book Review

David Owain Hughes

2018 Darkwater Syndicate

“Samson Valentine is the best private eye ever to wear a fedora–or at least he was, before he became a washed-up booze hound. There simply isn’t demand for a whiskey-swilling Welsh gumshoe who insists he’s living in 1940’s Chicago. Everything changes when a massive diamond falls into his lap. 

Before he’s too sure of what’s going on, he’s swept up in the biggest case of his life. The mob will do anything to get its gemstone back, and they prove it when Sam’s friend turns up dead. Now it’s personal, and Sam sets out on a one-man mission to take down the Welsh crime syndicate. Armed with little more than his wits and his fists, the odds don’t look good. Too much time at the bottom of a whiskey bottle has given him trembling hands and an addled brain. If he’s to have any chance of bringing the mob to justice, he’ll first need to come to grips with his worst enemy–himself.”

First of all, many thanks to the author, David Owain Hughes, and the publisher, The Darkwater Syndicate, for a copy of ‘South by Southwest Wales’ to read in exchange for an honest review.

This book really made me smile while reading. From the beginning, the plentiful Chicago gumshoe speak just filled my soul. South by Southwest Wales is a wonderfully written book, a very interesting criminal mystery to solve and a fantastic lead protagonist, Samson Valentine. We have whisky, dames, guns and fedoras. What’s not to like right? Oh, and don’t forget, a huge diamond. I admit that I was a very excited gal when I started reading this, I love things like this. Gangster Noir, I was hooked from the opening.

I love the Noir style, the imagery and the expression used fits perfectly with the scenes created. The Chicago 1940’s lingo used by Valentine throughout too is very fitting. The gumshoe references are aplenty, but not in a way that they become over used. Everything about this book fits. I can see why South by Southwest Wales is David Owain Hughes’ baby.

It’s very easy to develop a relationship with Valentine, he is a troubled man, he has a drinking problem, and has lost two wives to illness. He is a kind man at heart, under that rough lawman exterior, he is a good man, he wants to help people. Reading this character, while he flits between Cardiff and Chicago, the writing is very clean, with very smooth transitions.

There is a great human story behind the case. He is a man dealing with his worst enemy, himself. His drinking has cost him a lot. If he carries on it will cost him more. He needs to deal with this, get control of his life again. Once he deals with his demons, he can then deal with the case at hand. I found myself riveted with his daily struggle. I was willing for him to stop drinking, becoming worried for his safety. It’s crazy how involved you can get with a character in a book, I love that.

This is a very well written book, its very easy to read, well laid out. The pacing is perfect, not too much too soon, but it doesn’t feel stunted either. It’s just right as Goldilocks would say.

The dialogue is consistently engaging throughout and the split between thought, his internal voices, and the spoken word is very clear.

I highly recommend checking out the work of David Owen Hughes (if you haven’t done already). He is a very talented author, and I for one am looking forward to reading some more of his work.

Find it here:

5/5

Lesley-Ann

Housewife of Horror

The Isle – ⭐️⭐️⭐️Book Review ***spoilers***

The Isle

42649924

John C. Foster

“EXPOSE THE DARKEST OF SECRETS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD


A deadly menace threatens a remote island community and every man, woman and child is in peril. Sent to the isle to collect the remains of a dead fugitive, US Marshal Virgil Bone is trapped by torrential storms.


As the body count rises the community unravels, and Bone is thrust into the role of investigator. Aided by a local woman and the town pariah, he uncovers the island’s macabre past and its horrifying connection to the killings.


Some curses are best believed.
Sometimes the past is best left buried.
And some will kill to keep it so.”

First of all I would like to that Grey Matter Press for a copy of ‘The Isle’ to read in exchange for an honest review.

The lead protagonist, Bone, is sent to The Isle to retrieve the body of a fugitive, Richard Slocum. “Still a federal fugitive until we bring him in” he is told. He takes passage on Leviathan, a fishing boat captained by one by the interesting character, Samuel Weeks. Bone has many issues of his own to deal with such as the drinking problem that led to the death of his wife. He is a much layered character, something which I like. The more depth I feel with a character, the more you can relate to them. With this, it also brings you closer, in a fashion, to the story.

The trip out to The Isle I particularly enjoyed reading. It was very claustrophobic, very intense and descriptive, really making you feel like you were there, on the boat. I swear I felt a little sea sick reading it. The atmosphere was very dark and unnerving, as the reader, you never quite knew what to expect.

Bone then becomes stranded on The Isle due to the deteriorating weather, and finds himself embroiled in a murder mystery wrapped up in a curse tied up in very strange bow. This is a very interesting read, a murder mystery in an isolated environment. The Isle is very Gothic in nature, a good collection of odd characters, with a rich, old feeling, New England atmosphere.

3/5

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

Vicious Rumer -⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

Vicious Rumer

39291901

Joshua Winning

“Rumer Cross is cursed. Scraping by working for a dingy London detective agency, she lives in the shadow of her mother, a violent criminal dubbed the ‘Witch Assassin’ whose bloodthirsty rampage terrorised London for over a decade.

Raised by foster families who never understood her and terrified she could one day turn into her mother, Rumer has become detached and self-reliant. But when she’s targeted by a vicious mobster who believes she’s hiding an occult relic, she’s drawn into the very world she’s been fighting to avoid.

Hunted by assassins and haunted by her mother’s dark legacy, Rumer must also confront a terrible truth: that she’s cursed, because no matter what she does, everybody she’s ever grown close to has died screaming.”

This book has a huge Jessica Jones style feel to it, and I do love Jessica Jones. The kick ass, straight talking,attitude filled private eye. Rumer Cross is no different. Except for that rather than having super strength, she is, or believes she is cursed. She has read tales of her mother, an assassin, a killer, a woman who terrorized the streets of London. She believes that she was cursed when she was born, and that everyone she gets close too dies.

I don’t believe she was really cursed, I feel Rumer is more involved in a self fulfilling prophecy than anything else. She thinks everyone is going to die who gets close, and when they do, it’s an accident, and coincidence. It’s true, when you think bad about yourself for long enough and believe you are going to cause harm to people… eventually you will.

The first half of this book I really enjoyed, it’s a great ride, full of action and we are neck deep in the chaotic life of Rumer Cross from the get go. The reason is got a 3* rating from me, well, it really dropped off in the second half. The big villain, Mara, a total psychotic creep with his own personal dungeon and delusions of finding an object called the ‘Crook Spear’ so he can make him immortal, he was wasted I felt. Went from the crazy big bad terrorizing Rumer (which was great to read), and then he actually wanted to hire her which was where for me it got a bit boring I’m sorry to say. I think I would have preferred Mara over bringing in Rumer’s supposed dead mother Celene Cross back.

I couldn’t get behind the storyline of Rumer and Celene. Celene, who is meant to be the scourge of London, faked her own death and has been secretly stalking Rumer all her life. It didn’t feel, I don’t know, it just work for me at all. I really did struggle with the second half, a lot of Rumer being rude to Celene, and a lot of Celene being very perfect mother-like. It really took away from the story for me.

Like I said, I loved the first half of this book, it was really exciting. But it seems to lose its way somewhere and I just muster up any excitement, by the end I was glad I’d finished it.

It’s worth a look and a read if you are a fan of Jessica Jones and YA thrillers.

3/5

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

Manifest Recall – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review ***minor spoilers***

 

Manifest Recall by [Baxter, Alan]

Manifest Recall

5* Book Review

Alan Baxter

Grey Matter Press

 

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:

A SUPERNATURAL CRIME THRILLER FROM THE AWARD-WINNING MASTER OF DARK FANTASY

Following a psychotic break, Eli Carver finds himself on the run, behind the wheel of a car that’s not his own, and in the company of a terrified woman he doesn’t know. As layers of ugly truth are peeled back and dark secrets are revealed, the duo find themselves in a struggle for survival when they unravel a mystery that pits them against the most dangerous forces in their lives.

A contemporary southern gothic thriller with frightening supernatural overtones, Alan Baxter’s Manifest Recall explores the tragic life of a hitman who finds himself on the wrong side of his criminal syndicate. Baxter’s adrenaline-fueled approach to storytelling draws readers into Eli Carver’s downward spiral of psychosis and through the darkest realms of lost memories, human guilt and the insurmountable quest for personal redemption.”

 

Manifest Recall, The Sopranos meets Sons of Anarchy, and gets all kind of twisted. This is a great read, a brilliant novella from Alan Baxter. May I just say a huge thank you to the author and to Grey Matter Press for sending me a copy of Manifest Recall in exchange for a review.

Eli Carver is having the worst day of his life. Who is he? What has he done? What or who is he running from? And who is the girl tied up in his trunk? He has no memory. He knows that something bad has happened to him, he just doesn’t know how bad. To make matters worse, he has the ghosts of the dead talking to him, mocking him, tormenting him. What has he gotten himself into? And how is he going to get himself out of this?

This is one of those books. You know the ones, the ones you cannot physically put down after you start them. You just have to keep going, keep turning the pages to see what comes next. The desire to put all the pieces together, to figure out what is happening right now and what happened before, it’s too strong. Before you know it you have finished the entire book and you just don’t know what to do with the rest of your day. This is one of those books.

I really don’t want to say too much about it, I don’t want to give too much away. This is a must-read, it’s a real edge-of-seat job, a proper page turner.

The writing style is excellent, the first person prose, it does its job of dragging you deep into the story. There is a brilliant claustrophobic element here; you are sucked in so deep you need to finish the story to climb back out again.

It’s excellent. Very stylish and very fast paced. Thrilling.

Find it here via Amazon (UK):

 

5/5

Thrilling from start to finish.

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

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