Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Strange Ways by Bryan Smith

Strange WaysStrange Ways by Bryan Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Bryan Smith fills a bit of a void for me, well written horror with a sprinkling of sex that doesn't require massive amounts of concentration, good fun basically.

Strange Ways is typically formulaic for Bryan Smith, the plot felt like I'd read it before after the first ten pages and stories about witches are pretty high on my must avoid at all costs list. These three witches are stunningly attractive, they've been alive for a long time using magic to remain youthful and they are powerful, big fucking yawn.

As soon as they arrived on the scene and there's three of them, I was immediately thinking of Go Kill Crazy and there's even a cross as Echo the tattooed stripper makes an appearance.

The White family are pretty rich, the kids spoilt to death, Alan at work with a prostitute while wife Marjorie is spying on the new arrivals for her brunch network. Three luxury cars arrive, one after the other and out step three woman, stunning, stunning and more stunning, the only difference being the colour of their long, lush, and glossy locks.

Marjorie is captivated and soon beholden to the witches, daughter Paige has seduced her teacher and is in the process of bribing him to kill her parents. Paige is the one shining light in this story, how can someone so young be so deliciously evil, well she manages it and with brass knobs on.

Meanwhile here we are at the witches abode casting a spell.

'The physical release she felt as the gathered energy exploded from her body was a sensation akin to a thousand orgasms experienced simultaneously.'

For fucks sake a thousand orgasms at the same time, will that be as much pleasure as pulling into a parking spot and realising the one immediately in front is free enabling a drive straight out experience, yeah must be.

I was more than a little disappointed with Strange Ways, the Bryan Smith magic was lacking, the whole affair was a bit predictable and there was the hint of a familiar pattern there.

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

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Seed by Ania Ahlborn

SeedSeed by Ania Ahlborn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seed by Ania Ahlborn has been patiently sitting on my kindle waiting to be remembered until recently I came across the audiobook and at just over 6 hours immediately thought, yep that’s easily doable in a day, perfect.

Seed is an almost perfect slow building horror, it plans and executes a clinical attack on your emotions as the screw gradually turns and the tension ratchets to unbearable levels. It all starts with a car crash, as the protagonist and driver of the car Jack, sees something at the side of the road, something rooted deeply in the terror of his childhood.

Things deteriorate from that moment on, youngest daughter Charlie takes on the child from hell persona of Damianesque proportion and this family is about to suffer nightmares that grip the reader as tightly as the most terrifying homicidal maniacs bear hug.

'She knew there was only one way to get rid of the prickle that had burrowed into her heart: get up, stand over her sister again. Stand over her and wait until she stopped breathing.'

Seed was Ania Ahlborn’s debut novel and it really is a tremendous piece of work, it's not long, the author seriously doesn't beat about the bush and over describe, and I was heavily invested in the story, the characters and this family's plight. So you couldn't really ask for anything else and I'll certainly be reading more from Ania Ahlborn.

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

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The Hammer and the Blade

The Hammer and the Blade (Egil and Nix #1)The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Egil and Nix, after slaying a demon during a routine tomb-plundering, are pulled into the machinations of a sorcerer whose family has made a pact with the same clan the demon was a part of. Also, they buy a bar.

The Hammer and the Blade seems to be an homage to those Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser tales I love so much, a buddy swords and sorcery tale. The two bicker and exchange witty dialogue while plundering tombs and running afoul of sorcerers and demons and things. It's a lot of fun at times.

However, since I read this shortly after reading a few Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser short stories, I'm reminded of McDonald's. The Egg McMuffin, much like Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser, is wonderful in small doses. However, if you start eating them three meals a day, you begin to suspect it's not the perfect nutrient delivery system you thought it was.

While there are parts I liked quite a bit, The Hammer and the Blade largely feels like a Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser short story crammed into a 300 page paperback. In short, there's a ton of filler. Much like an Egg McMuffin, now that I think of it.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy it. I thought it felt really padded for what it was. I loved the ending, though, and I liked the lead characters enough that I'll read the next one at some point. Three out of five stars.

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Broken Harbour

Broken Harbour (Dublin Murder Squad, #4)Broken Harbour by Tana French
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In a lonely development on the Irish Sea, two children and their father are dead and the mother is on death's door. Who killed them? That's what Scorcher Kennedy and his new partner, Richie, mean to find out. Will what they find destroy them?

Broken Harbour is the story of one man's obsession with order and a family's gradual descent into chaos. When Pat Spain gets downsized, things start falling apart for the Spain family but was it enough for Pat to kill his family and himself?

Scorcher Kennedy is a typical Tana French lead. He's probably as damaged as the criminals he's been chasing all these years, obsessed with order and being the best. He's got some skeletons in his closet, namely his mother's suicide when he was 15 and his crazy sister Dina.

The relationship between Scorcher and his new partner, Richie, drive the book and set it apart from typical cop dramas. Richie is the sensitivity Scorcher lost somewhere along the way and maybe also his conscience.
As Scorcher and Richie tug at the loose threads of the case, the story gradually shifts toward what it's like to have a relative that's insane.

French's writing is as fantastic as ever, parsecs ahead of most crime books. She paints a vivid picture and Scorcher and Richie seemed like cops that could show up on your doorstep after the neighbors have a fight. As usual, the entire cast goes through the meat grinder, leaving little to do at the end but wiping down the counter and turning off the light.

Broken Harbour was my favorite Tana French book yet and one of the best two or three books I've read so far this year. Five out of five stars.

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