Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Bloody Black Flag by Steve Goble

  Set in 1722, the same year that 16-year-old Ben Franklin contributes to the 'Dogood Papers' on moral topics and J.S. Bach publishes The well-tempered Clavier, John "Spider" Rush reluctantly joined a crew of cut-throat pirates.

  John and his best friend Ezra planned that after this voyage they would live a life of peace. On the pirate ship, Plymouth Dream, someone recognizes Ezra as the "witches son" and fears for his life.  One night John woke up and saw that his friend Ezra wasn't in his hammock, so he went up to search for his friend and found him dead!  He knew Ezra was murdered and he vowed to find the man who did this and render to him what he deserves a hundred times more. With an amateur detective at work, Spider would have to become an 18th century Sherlock Holmes and start deducting.  Try doing that on a ship full of murderers.  A story of pirating that wouldn't be the life for me!  For those mystery buffs, pick this one up---you won't be sorry mate.


Spider stood by Ezra's shoulder. "this is not good..."
"No," Ezra said. "Not at all good." 

Monday, October 09, 2017

Fast Falls the Night By Julia Keller.

     Julia Keller has written six novels that take place in the fictional town of Ackers Gap, West Virginia.  This small town made its money in the past from a coal mining operation, which has closed and with it the good paying jobs.  Drugs are rampant and this book showcases a twenty-four hour period where sheriff deputies, EMTs and the prosecuting attorneys office try to stop the deaths from heroin which has been tainted with a deadly tranquilizer.
The first death takes place in a small bathroom in a gas station convenience store and after that it is a struggle to keep up with the overdoses. 
     While the deputies are busy tracking the dealer, Bell Elkins and her staff at the prosecuting attorney's office spend their time comforting the grieving relatives and tracking down a missing child.  Each chapter tells the story from the viewpoint of someone involved, the missing child's mother, Jake the deputy, Bell and her assistant Rhonda and others.  They all have evolving discussions and feelings about rescuing those who over dose repeatedly with nary a thank you for saving their lives.
     As the clock ticks and the count rises, so does the sense of urgency.  This drug must be stopped before there are more overdoses and deaths.  It ends with a deadly cliff hanger so hopefully there will be another book soon.  This book is based on an incident in Huntington, West Virginia where Julia Keller was born.  She is a Pulitzer Prize winner for writing feature articles for the Chicago Tribune.  To get the full story of Bell Elkins and Ackers Gap, you should start with the first book "A Killing in the Hills". 

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Darkhouse by Barbara Radecki

I always pictured living on an island to be a sun-filled paradise and a peaceful existence but for teenager Gemma, it is a solitary existence. Never having left the Canadian island she lives on, Gemma has been sheltered and isolated her whole life and is naïve to the real world. Her sheltered existence is beautifully explained and some parts seem wonderful and some just lonely. She spends her days with older residents of the island while her father, Jonah, either works on his experiments at home or is at his job as the ferry captain.

The only family she has around is a cold-hearted father who does not speak that much to her and keeps her from ever venturing outside of the island. All that she has ever heard or known about her mother is that she left Jonah and Gemma and that she is crazy and she cannot find out any details of where her mother is. Her father only explains that she was once beautiful but he does not like recalling Gemmas mother because it makes him sick and angry. Where is her mother? Why does she stay away? What is her father hiding?

One day, a mysterious stranger, Marlie, arrives on the island and gets acquainted with Gemma. Little does she know, this strange woman is about to completely change everything in Gemmas life. Marlies arrival brings events that ultimately reveal Jonahs secrets and his past. When Gemma finds out the truth, she decides to venture out on her own and figure out the truth and what she wants in her life leading to an exciting and unexpected ending. This story keeps you in suspense and eager for a resolution.

For fans of psychological thrillers, drama, and mystery, check out The Darkhouse from the teen room!


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Seagull by Ann Cleeves

Vera Stanhope, a Detective Inspector, was asked by her boss to do a talk at a local prison about victims experience.  After the meeting with the inmates, an old man in a wheelchair insisted that he speak with her.  Vera knew who the man was right away.  Former detective superintendent, John Brace.   Brace was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper.   Vera played her part in putting him in prison. But what would he want to speak to her about? 

This book tell of a Gang of Four all whom we know except for one, "The Prof".   We have a cold case missing person and the death of one of the Gang.  John Brace tells Vera where to find  Robbie Marshall's, bones but wait, there's another set of bones!  John, seem to have forgotten to tell that part to Vera.  Vera and her team keeps very busy and continually on the go trying to find clues and that means digging up part of Vera's childhood history along with old crimes, bringing them to life.  Hector, Vera's father and one of the Four, haunts her from his grave.  When we have another death and a break-in things start to heat up.   They all seem to be connected to The Gang of Four!

This book is very well written and kept me interested to the very last page!   I didn't want it to end.  Each character was given a strong background to work with. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Strange Weather

Joe Hill’s Strange Weather is a stark examination of the duality of man.  The four short novels expose the individual and societal pressures that motivate our sometimes fateful decisions.  The first story, Snapshot, is nearly a sentimental coming-of-age tale with an added bit of horror, both real and imagined. Thirteen year-old Michael, a self-proclaimed coward, begins to examine the impact we have on others, when his kindly neighbor, Shelly Beukes, begins wandering the neighborhood, hiding from the “Polaroid Man.” Forced to confront his own fears, Michael discovers that Shelly’s Alzheimers may not be what it seems.
The second story, Loaded, is an unflinching look at what has become a common tragedy, mass shooting.  The lives and histories of Aisha, a young black mother who, as a child, witnessed a family friend gunned down for being in the wrong place at the wrong time; Becki, a young white woman who becomes entangled in a messy affair with her boss; and Kellaway, a veteran whose family life has fallen apart as he falls into a pattern of domestic abuse. No clear villain emerges, and each find themselves under Hill’s perceptive microscope.
The third novel, Aloft, is an unrequited-love-meets-the-Twilight-Zone story that touches on loneliness and the lies we tell ourselves.  Aubrey Griffen, fool-heartedly agrees to a bucket list challenge in honor of a deceased friend and bandmate, but he mostly does it for Harriet (despite being consciously aware of the fact that there is absolutely NO CHANCE that she would ever be in love with him). A strange occurrence forces his jump after he chickens out, and he finds himself stranded on a “cloud.” The cloud appears to be sentient and eager to fill his needs, though he quickly realizes that all might not be well in his cloud kingdom.
The final story, Rain, is a tad more poignant and introspective, though less-than-kind in its imagining of our response to real and unexplained catastrophe. Filled with satirical, and frighteningly realistic, portrayals of consumerism and corporate hegemony, Rain, is a what-if tale that will stick with you.  What would you do if the rain was suddenly transformed into piercing crystals? Would your loyalty take you as far as Honeysuckle’s love for Yolanda took her?

All four tales often gave me pause and made me think. The horror was often a side show that augmented a close look at our own human frailty.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of character-driven works of horror and/or drama.
Reserve a copy of this October 24th release here: