Tuesday, September 8, 2015

StrangersStrangers by Michaelbrent Collings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To unwittingly become a part of this deadly game, you must have secrets, things that can never be known, something that can destroy your life and there's only one chance for redemption, you must confess.

A family suffering the loss of a son, drift through life growing further apart by the day, come the anniversary they attempt some semblance of normality, a stab at family interaction, with a simple meal and some TV. It can't repair that which has crumbled over time but their tainted lives are about to take a shocking plunge into sheer panic.

Someone's watching them.

They wake in the morning, somethings not right, someone's been in their home. They can't get out, doors won't open, Windows are barred, there's no way out. The nightmare has begun.

The first chapter is a crime scene, a sickening crime scene and there's no shortage of police officers waving goodbye to their lunch. This gives a mere taste of the stories assailant and he remains very much on the periphery, orchestrating events. What makes this a truly chilling experience is what happens with our family, two adults, two teenagers and their secrets slowly revealed.

It shows that you can never really know someone, not fully, not even those closest to you, especially those closest to you, your partner and even your children. The walls we erect to hide what must never come out and an antagonist who knows it all, everyfuckingthing.

This is a totally gripping psychological horror, you just can't put it down or stop listening in my case and I've never, ever, bitten my nails before. You drill it into your kids not to talk to strangers, yet you're never that vigilant as an adult, nothing can happen in your own home, well think again.

If you fancy immersing yourself in a truly terrifying story that layers so many shocks and stunning twists then you won't go far wrong with Strangers by Michaelbrent Collings. I've had a number of this authors work waiting to be read and my thanks to those who recommended it, I'll definitely be reading more from MbC.

Highly recommended.

A 4.5* rating

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People Are StrangePeople Are Strange by James Newman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

People are Strange is a short story collection by James Newman and its like Jeff Strand says in the foreword, this ain't the James Newman who wrote Midnight Rain, this is the James Newman who sits in a dark corner, giggling psychotically as he pens deviant horror filled tales.

The first story is a bit of a mouthful,The Honest-To-God True Story of Earl P. and a Bug Called Abraham Lincoln, Earl woke and 'stuck a hand down his boxers and gave his balls the ole’ first-thing-in-the-morning scratch as he watched the thing buzzing about above him' . Starts to become annoying, as all flies do but when it lands on his nipple and greets him with a good morning, it's safe to say today is gonna be a different kind of day. Talking to a fly called Abe and visiting his landlord with a gun are on the menu for today and Earl has definitely not been taking his pills.

The Good, the Bad, and the Severely Maladjusted is a naughty little Cowboy and Indian story with a bit of a horrific twist, John Henry Mason prides himself in never having lost a fight and when he gets jumped by an Indian, there's no way he's getting scalped.

Your Cold Black Heart is a deliciously murderous piece of flash fiction and Dirty Black Summer is a tale of secrets going back to the Nazi death camps when young Billy explores his Grandmother's attic. Secrets are dangerous for all concerned.
'His emotions seemed to hover over him in a thick black cloud, contradicting one another, conflicting with the love he had felt for his late grandfather'.

Bless This Meal, O Lord is another piece of flash fiction that quickly explores how to deal with troublesome offspring. Suffer the Children is a diary style story of a woman who tells of her love for her husband Frank and of his obsession with donating his wages to sponsor a child from Ethiopia.

Always Digging is another piece of flash fiction about, well, digging and burying. And Keeping Up With The Joneses is a bit of a precursor to the excellent story Animosity about normal people. People we see every day. People who are sometimes capable of terrible things.

A Town Called Hatred is a twisted place, a warped little town full of freaks, full of psychos and a great place to settle down, maybe start a family. Merrick is a serial killer with a body in the trunk, he drives past Hatred and the place beckons, calls to him and its a place he'll fit right in.

Next up is Holy Rollers and a visit from two religious nutjobs is just what you need as you're about to leave for work.
'He cocked the hammer then, said softly but firmly, “Perhaps I should rephrase the question, Mr. Morris. You will invite my brother and I inside… and you will listen as we share the Word of God with you.”
Now this is the word of God like you've heard before, violently accompanied by a nipple sliced off and thoughts purely of ‘fuck me’ that was heavy.

People Are Strange is a new release on kindle and 94 pages of twisted visions from the dark mind of an individual who needs help, help to get more of this stuff down on paper and released to all the little bunnies like yours truly who love this kind of horror. Top marks for James Newman.

Also posted at http://paulnelson.booklikes.com/post/...

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The Cold Dish

The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire, #1)The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Two years ago, four boys were put on trial for raping a Cheyenne girl. When one of them winds up dead, sheriff Walt Longmire finds himself in the middle of murder investigation. Plenty of people had cause for wanting Cody Prichard dead but who had the guts to do the deed? And are his three compadres next on the hit list?

In my never-ending quest to sample what series crime fiction has to offer, I decided to give The Cold Dish a try. After all, A&E wouldn't make a crime series about a dud, would they?

The setting sets the Cold Dish apart from most crime fiction on the racks. A sleepy Wyoming town next to an Indian reservation is a far crime from most metropolitan cesspools. Walt Longmire isn't a super cop by any means. He's out of his depth and he knows it. His feelings about his daughter, his deceased wife, and Vonna, the woman he's recently taken a shine to, make him seem human and vulnerable.

The supporting cast is also interesting, although I thought some of the Native American portrayals might be leaning toward stereotypes. I liked the backstory and I loved that I had no idea who the murderer was until Walt did.

And now here's the stuff I wasn't crazy about. This very much felt like a first novel, particularly in the first half. Also, the author overused pronouns and sometimes it was hard to figure out which "he" or "she" he was talking about. The pace also dragged. For the first 60% of the book, I thought it was so average that I couldn't pick it out of a police lineup.

The last hundred pages was the saving grace of the book. The story got the kick in the ass it needed and I wound up digging it quite a bit by the end.

All things considered, I'm awarding this a 3.5. It's good and I want to read more about Longmire but there are other detectives in line ahead of him.

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