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Monday, July 2, 2018

12 Gauge: Songs From A Street Sweeper by Dustin LaValley [4.5 stars]



 
From the Description

(12 Gauge) Songs from A Street Sweeper includes three white-knuckled novellas.

Spinner

A prison escapee leads law enforcement on a chase through the Adirondack Mountains, where they encounter a reclusive elderly man with a dark secret.

 

H/armed

An ultra-violent satirical commentary on societal norms, cliques, and obedience.

 

The Deceived

A criminal pair invade the home of the wrong man on the wrong day.

 

Publication Date: July 1, 2018

Publisher: Sinister Grin Press

Publication Length: 282 pages

 

I received a copy of this book as part of the 12 Gauge: Songs From A Street Sweeper Blog Tour for review consideration. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novel. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review. If you would like to review 12 Gauge: Songs From A Street Sweeper or feature Dustin with an interview or guest article for a media publication, blog, or author blurb, please e-mail Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com


 

 
 


12 Gauge: Songs From A Street Sweeper is a collection of three novellas that are filled with gruesome action, some WTF moments, and a few chuckles if your sense of humor is as warped as mine is. You won’t find any supernatural monsters within these pages but the ones of the human variety do just fine. Spinner is a gorefest worthy of any splatterpunk fan. Most of the WTF moments came with this story. If you take one part Lord of the Flies mix it with one part Battle Royale and film the whole thing as a reality TV show you get H/armed. This one was tons of fun! Two would-be thieves find out that sometimes the owner of the house you plan on robbing is a bigger bad guy than you ever dreamed of being. These novellas are gory, and brutal so faint hearted reader beware, but for my fellow gore-hounds and lovers of all things disturbing this is a fantastic 4.5 star read.

 

 

Buy the Book

 


 

About the Author

 

 
 
 


Dustin LaValley was unable to attend the black-tie gala to receive the SUNY Parnassus Award for Creative Writing, as he had a fight in New Hampshire the same night, where he brought home gold. He's had several books published, and as a screenwriter several scripts produced. His psychological thriller novella The Deceived, has been optioned for film.

 

He lives in the Adirondacks of New York, where he's a practicing Sensei of Seito Shito Ryu karate and Okinawan jujutsu.

 

Follow Dustin LaValley on his WEBSITE and on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads

 

Praise

 

"Spinner is a thriller, a horror story, and an adventure narrative. It's also a lot of fast, bloody, violent fun." --Gabino Iglesias, Horror Talk

 

"LaValley creates a non-stop, adrenaline ride of violence and mayhem, in a setting Americans know all so well. H/armed is a bloody, relentless and visceral assault on the senses. Wickedly entertaining." --Paul Hough, writer/director of “The Human Race”

 

"The Deceived is equal parts thrilling, creepy, and downright brutal. A wonderful tale." --Ronald Malfi, author of Floating Staircase



Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Hearing Evil by Jason Parent [5 stars]



From the Description
 
Michael Turcotte wants nothing to do with his so-called gift—the ability to see other people’s fates simply by touching them. Michael decides to spend his summer searching for answers about his past. He can’t rest without the sounds of forgotten tragedy echoing through his dreams, but reconstructing his memories will come with a whole new set of problems even he can’t foresee.
Detective Samantha Reilly has always looked out for Michael, but now that she’s taken him into her home, she fears her maternal instincts are lacking. When a brutal gang sets off a chain reaction of crimes, Sam struggles to choose between the two most important things in her life: her job and her new foster son. Fate intervenes when Michael is kidnapped, forcing her two roles to collide.
As Michael’s past meets Sam’s present, their bond will be tested while a city crumbles around them. They’ll need all their skills and a lot of luck in order to survive.
 
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Publication Length: 256 pages
 
 

 
 

I received a copy of this book as part of the Hearing Evil Blog Tour for review consideration. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novel. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review.
 
Hearing Evil, book 2 in the Cycle of Evil series, is a fantastic follow up to Seeing Evil. Jason Parent books are always fun but this series keeps me glued to the pages. Sam and Michael feel like real people, people who you’ve come to know and care about. Sam has become Michael’s guardian and my heart broke for both of them as they struggle to define the place they hold both in each other’s lives and hearts. To complicate matters, Michael is struggling to live with his psychic abilities, and just wanting to be like everyone else. When he meets someone who offers answers he jumps at the chance, landing in more danger than he realizes. Sam must fight to stop a ruthless gang of prisoners who have escaped prison and now plan on getting revenge on her and taking out as many people as they can. Fast paced and full of suspense this book will keep you on the edge of your seat. A highly recommended 5 star read.
 
Buy the Book
 
Amazon       Barnes & Noble
 
 
About the Author
 
 
 
Jason Parent is an author of horror, thrillers, mysteries, science fiction and dark humor, though his many novels, novellas, and short stories tend to blur the boundaries between these genres.
From his EPIC and eFestival Independent Book Award finalist first novel, What Hides Within, to his widely applauded police procedural/supernatural thriller, Seeing Evil, Jason’s work has won him praise from both critics and fans of diverse genres alike. His work has been compared to that of some of his personal favorite authors, such as Chuck Palahniuk, Jack Ketchum, Tess Gerritsen, and Joe Hill.
Jason grew up near Fall River, Massachusetts, the setting for several of his novels. He has lived in New England most his life, currently residing in Rhode Island.
You can follow Jason on his Website, Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads
 
Praise
 
If you have not read Jason Parent, do yourself a huge favor and indulge. You will not be sorry. -- F. Spinney
 
I like this author. He is one of my favorites. His writing style easily pulls you into the story, and his descriptions are disturbing because he never holds back, but that is what you expect from the best horror writers. -- Catherine – Writer
 
Jason Parent has a vast imagination, demonstrated in everything he writes.
-- The Haunted Reading Room
 
Major kudos to Mr. Parent - it's hard to do mystery, thriller, and horror all in one but he does it very well. -- Aaron Cross
 
Jason Parent is an author to watch. Closely. Seriously, don't take your eyes off him. -- Adam Light


Friday, June 22, 2018

Scouse Gothic: The Pool of Life and Death by Ian McKinney [4 stars]



 
From the Description
 
Melville wakes with a pounding headache – there had been too many hangovers recently, but this one felt different. What had he been drinking last night? Then he remembered – it was blood.
Enter the bizarre world of Scouse Gothic where a reluctant vampire mourns a lost love and his past lives, where a retired ‘hit man’ plans one more killing and dreams of food, and a mother sets out to avenge her son’s murder, and, meanwhile, a grieving husband is visited by an angry angel.
Set in present day Liverpool, vampires and mortals co-exist, unaware of each other’s secrets and that their past and present are inextricably linked.
But as their lives converge, who will be expected to atone for past sins?
 
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: YouCaxton Publications
Publication Length: 200 pages
 
I received a copy of this book as part of the Scouse Gothic blog tour. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novel. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review.
 
Scouse Gothic: The Pool of Life and Death is a character driven dark comedy/horror novel. In the pages of this novel we get to know Melville, a vampire who has fallen off the wagon and his new love interest, Sheryl. Frank, an irreverent angel who appears to Peter, a man grieving the loss of his wife. Latham is a hitman who has to solve the mystery of who double crossed him and why. Last but not least we have Catherine, a woman seeking revenge for the murder of her son. Every time I thought I figured out how these people where connected there was a new twist leading to an ending that left me wanting more. I loved traipsing through Liverpool with Melville, Franks explanation of organized religion had me laughing out loud, and Latham was kind of a badass. This is the first book in the Scouse Gothic series so I’ll be catching up with Melville and the other fascinating denizens of Liverpool soon. A funny and intriguing 4 star read.
 
·        To find out more about Scouse Gothic and Liverpool read Ian McKinney’s fascinating guest post HERE
 
Buy the Book
 
Amazon       Barnes & Noble
 
About the Author
 

 
 
 

Ian was born and bred in Liverpool, as were his parents, and has always been proud to call himself a ‘Scouser’.
Leaving the city in the late 1970’s to study at London University, when Liverpool was city in decline, with boarded up shops and high unemployment.
After qualifying he worked first in Essex and East London before settling in Shropshire with his wife and daughter. Although he often visited the city during the intervening years to visit family and friends, the visits were brief and it was only due to an unusual set of circumstances that he found himself living in the city for a few months.
During this time the idea for ‘SCOUSE GOTHIC’ was born. As he explored the modern city of Liverpool, so changed in the last forty years but also so unchanged in many ways from his childhood. He wondered how it would feel to someone who had known the city when it was in its prime, when it was the largest port in the Empire. However to be able to do that you’d have to be over two hundred years old…or a vampire.
Melville began life as a short story, as did Latham, Catherine and Frank. However as the short stories developed, so did the feeling that the city of Liverpool itself was as much a character as any of the others. The stories were rewritten to place all the characters in the same time and place, and to let them interrelate to one another. In some cases with fatal consequences.
Response to the first book ‘The Pool of Life…and Death’ was so positive that the characters were further explored in ‘Bloodbrothers..and Sisters’ and finally ‘All you need is...Blood.’


Thursday, June 21, 2018

SCOUSE GOTHIC Author’s Post: ‘Family links to Liverpool’s past.’ By Ian McKinney

 
 

Scouse Gothic is a book about a group of vampires and how their present and past lives are linked to the city of Liverpool. We may not be vampires or immortal, but many would be surprised to realise how our own family histories are also connected to the port.
 
Albert Dock and the Liverpool waterfront, world heritage sites
 
Liverpool was granted its Royal Charter in 1207, at the time it was a small port on the River Mersey trading mainly with Ireland. Very little would change for five hundred years until the world’s first ‘wet’ dock was built, and Liverpool was able to accept much larger vessels. These Ocean going ships enabled Liverpool to begin trading with the Americas, Africa and the Far East, and led directly to its dominance of the slave trade. At one point Liverpool’s merchants controlled 40% of the world’s slaving fleet. Very few slaves ever made it to Liverpool itself (although there are records of slaves occasionally being sold in the city) as it formed the hub of what was called the ‘Triangular trade’: goods from British factories were loaded onto ships and taken to Africa where they were exchanged for slaves; African slaves were transported across the Atlantic in those same ships to the Americas and exchanged for tobacco and sugar, which returned to Liverpool to be sold.
 
Albert Dock and the Liverpool waterfront, world heritage sites
 
With the abolition of slavery in Britain and its Empire, Liverpool had to find another source of income, it chose cotton. Once again, its merchants dominated the world market, and its cotton exchange set the price for raw cotton throughout the world. It was this reliance on cotton that caused Liverpool merchants to support the Confederate cause in the American Civil War. Although public opinion was openly Unionist, a small group of traders decided to help the Southern States. Confederate gold was smuggled across the Atlantic and used to purchase weapons in Liverpool. In fact, two of the most successful Confederate Raiders, CSS Alabama, and CSS Florida, were built secretly in the port. It is the construction of the Florida that forms part of the past life of my vampire, Melville.
 
The CSS Florida a Confederate warship built in Liverpool
 
During the rest of the 19th Century, Liverpool was responsible for transporting people looking for a new life to the US and the Empire. Most of the Irish fleeing the potato famine travelled through Liverpool, and many stayed in the city, giving it its distinctive accent. Most of the new immigrants to the US started their journey across the Atlantic from Liverpool, whether they were Irish, Italian or even Russian Jews fleeing persecution, all roads led to Liverpool.
 
 
The first American consulate in the UK was in this Liverpool building. Later a pub called the Eagle, and now a restaurant.
 
From the beginning of the 20th Century, immigration continued, but during both WW1 and WW2, troops from the US and Canada passed through the port on their way to fight in Europe. The convoy system which played such a pivotal role in the rearming and feeding Britain during WW2 was co-ordinated by the Royal Navy from a secret underground bunker in the city centre. Post war Liverpool has been most famous for the Beatles, but it has also been recognised as the European Capital of Culture in 2008, and the historic waterfront buildings, awarded World Heritage Status. Liverpool, like my vampires in Scouse Gothic is neither good nor bad, but also like them its past hides many dark secrets.
However unlikely it may seem, if you closely examined your family tree, you may find a connection to the city. If your forebears were slaves, they may have been transported on a ship from Liverpool. If they emigrated from Europe, they may have passed through Liverpool on their way to the US. If they served in either WW1 or WW2 they may have first landed in Britain at Liverpool Docks.
If you read the stories in the Scouse Gothic trilogy, you may find that you have a personal connection to the characters or can imagine that one of your ancestors may have known the city as my vampires once did.
Perhaps the history of Liverpool is not simply that of a port on the North-West coast of Britain, but the history of us all.
 
 
  Ian McKinney
 
 


Ian was born and bred in Liverpool, as were his parents, and has always been proud to call himself a ‘Scouser’.

Leaving the city in the late 1970’s to study at London University, when Liverpool was city in decline, with boarded up shops and high unemployment.

After qualifying he worked first in Essex and East London before settling in Shropshire with his wife and daughter. Although he often visited the city during the intervening years to visit family and friends, the visits were brief and it was only due to an unusual set of circumstances that he found himself living in the city for a few months.

During this time the idea for ‘SCOUSE GOTHIC’ was born. As he explored the modern city of Liverpool, so changed in the last forty years but also so unchanged in many ways from his childhood. He wondered how it would feel to someone who had known the city when it was in its prime, when it was the largest port in the Empire. However to be able to do that you’d have to be over two hundred years old…or a vampire.

Melville began life as a short story, as did Lathom, Catherine and Frank. However as the short stories developed, so did the feeling that the city of Liverpool itself was as much a character as any of the others. The stories were rewritten to place all the characters in the same time and place, and to let them interrelate to one another. In some cases with fatal consequences.

Response to the first book ‘The Pool of Life…and Death’ was so positive that the characters were further explored in ‘Bloodbrothers..and Sisters’ and finally ‘All you need is...Blood.’


 
 


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Beast Of Brenton Woods by Jackson R. Thomas [4.5 stars]



 
From the Description
 
Some legends never die....
 
The White Wolf, the Beast of Brenton Woods, a legendary creature said to walk like a man. When the full moon rises, it will feast.
 
Unseen for years, truth has turned to rumor, mere folklore. Until something lures the monster from exile, calling it home.
For Tyler and Ben, a firsthand encounter leads to an exploration of the forbidden depths of Brenton woods, and for Ben, the discovery of a family secret.
 
When Wendy and her friend's hangout in the abandoned cabin is compromised, the hunt begins. The target of a creature's desire, Wendy is hearing whispers in the night, finding footprints outside her window, and can't shake the dreadful feeling that something is waiting for her.
 
Deputy Kathy Wilcox understands the disturbances, the shredded carcasses, and the growing list of missing persons in town are connected to something larger than life. Will her acceptance of the legend end in tragedy?
 
There's a full moon above, the night is coming down, and blood is about to run.
 
Publication Date: June 19, 2018
Publisher: Alien Agenda Publishing
Publication Length: 241 pages
 
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novel. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review.
 
The Beast of Brenton Woods is a fantastic werewolf story that will leave you panting for more! The heart pounding action starts at the very beginning and doesn’t let up until the very end. This book had me saying ‘Just one more chapter,,,’ until the wee hours of the morning. I had to know what would happen to Ben, Deputy Kathy Wilcox, Wendy, Johnny, and Bryan as they searched for the truth about the Beast. The Beast itself was a great villain, evil and relentless in its pursuit of our heroes. The ending is perfect for this tale of werewolfy goodness and leaves enough room for a sequel that I am salivating for. I can’t wait to see where Jackson Thomas takes us next! A highly recommended 4.5 star read.
 
Buy the Book
 
 
About the Author
 
Jackson R. Thomas sleeps in the day, writes and works in the night, and doesn't like social media.
He's worked as a janitor, cashier, fast food slave, and a night auditor for a hotel you don't want to stay at...if you know what's good for you.
You can contact him at jrthomaswrites@gmail.com, unless you know where he works...then you can bother him during his third shift escapades.
 
Praise
 
"At last! A proper werewolf story. Edge of your seat scary and unpredictable." — Catherine Cavendish, author of 'Waking the Ancients'
 
“The Beast of Brenton Woods is a blistering read of werewolf horror, one that chugs along at lightning speed and will leave you howling at the moon for more.” – Michael Patrick Hicks, author of Broken Shells