Monday, June 27, 2016

Strange Medicine - Mike Russell

Book Details

Book Title: Strange Medicine

Author: Mike Russell

Publisher
: Strange Books 2016

Source: Sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Page Count: 144

Format: Paperback

Genre: Short Stories (various)

ISBN: 978-1522945383


Audience: Those who love short stories and a range of thoughts and emotions.

Laugh or Cry: Both

Buy? Read? Avoid?: Buy it

Summed up in one word: Healing


First Impression: I was very impressed with Mike Russell's first piece and when Strange Books asked me to read another piece I was very happy to oblige. The last outing was very brisk and 100% surreal. Strange Medicine takes MR's work to another level by applying his bizarre and meaningful style of writing to longer and more substantial stories. As the reader I am taken on a journey through MR's world and I enjoyed my time there, I recommend you come and join me.

Summary Of The Book:

The tagline for this piece of work is 'Weird and Wonderful Stories For All That Ails You' and we certainly get plenty for our time and money. Enter Mike Russell's world once again and enjoy the ride.

In Strange Medicine we get 8 stories that deal with all sorts of themes and emotions. 

First we meet Anthony Tobias Bradshaw and his fear of change. 

Next there is Geoffrey and Tiffany, with their strong love, bridges, walls and riddles. 

We hear a phone call between Mandy and Dan.

Follow felicity into the world of mimes and their battle against the park keeper.

Meet Dennis and his one man mission to kill the universe.

A story about paranoia.

See a professor lose his mind...literally.

Finally a story about unity and a fish.

Come along and smile, laugh, cry, feel and experience all the emotions and problems we face under the surface everyday.

My Review:

I was chuffed to get back into Mike Russell's material and I was not disappointed. A varied, upsetting and uplifting experience that builds on his previous work and leads on to a novel..perhaps...hint hint....

What we have here is 8 stories that vary in length between 4 and 21 pages. Russell is a craftsman of inner meaning and along with his previous effort he brings a refreshing and unique front to the short story world. Russell writing is soaked in emotion and depth. In this piece of work alone we deal with such a range of themes and emotions. Change, Love, Pain, Indifference, Risk, Mystery, Sensitivity, Laughter, Death and Catharsis to name about half of the influence that Mike Russell brings to these pages.

There are some minor qualms as every reader has with every book. The length still bothers me slightly, but that is mainly because I am greedy. I was also frustrated at parts of the text as I lost track of what meaning Russell was trying to convey at times. This meant breaking the stream of reading and that in turn meant coming out of the strange and hypnotic world that MR crafts. This is a book that should proudly sit on anyone's shelf as it is a brave and personal effort that just works and everyone who has read it agrees. Mike Russell tries something new and it breaks my heart and mends it over and over.

This is a subjective effort and take what meaning from it you will. If you are looking for an easy book that explains it all to you as you go along then look elsewhere. This is a book about healing the emotion tears in your life but it doesn't do the work for you, just gives you a gentle nudge in the right direction. My favourite piece has to be Dennis and his mission to kill the universe as it took everything from him. It is a prime example of the quality of MR's skill and intensity. 

Go now and read this and please tell me what you thought, I want to talk about this book some more to those who enjoyed it as well!

Overall, Strange Medicine is a tad short for my liking but what is tightly packed within is more than enough to tide me over until Mike Russell releases more of his work. Full of meaning and emotion, with an awesome front cover to go with it. Great Stuff.

9/10

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

6 Doorways To Disturbance - Darla Hogan

Book Details

Book Title: 6 Doorways To Disturbance

Author: Darla Hogan

Publisher
: Kensington Gore Publishing 2016

Source: Sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review (The image is from GOODREADS and is NOT my own)

Format: E-Book

Genre: Horror and its many varieties.

ISBN: 978-1530553525

Audience: Short story/horror lovers


Buy? Read? Avoid?: Buy It

Summed up in one word: Sinister


First Impression: I have read quite a few horror short stories in these recent months and I keep waiting for them to lose their appeal, but books like this just keep fuelling that fire. Nothing is perfect of course but overall this was a great effort. As the reader I was mystified, creeped out and kept on the edge of my seat for parts of these 6 pieces of horror fiction. I will be reviewing this book as a whole as the themes within run across all the material.

Summary Of The Book:

Once you get over that evil looking cover art, tuck into 6 diverse tales that span the horror universe.

First we meet a publisher who receives quality material via email and is chilled by the graphic detail within, wanting to know his secret he pursues this author to experience his talent first hand...

Next we meet a collector. Having brought himself up from nothing and amassed a vast collection of valuable antiques, the collector is very protective of his property. Theft in his house carries the ultimate penalty...

Fellside house is the perfect place for John and Jayne to raise their family. Big, sturdy, near John's work and has plenty of land around it. Never mind its dark past that spans a whole century....

Two girls from the countryside take some interesting photographs, interesting enough for a newspaper to send out a journalist to find out the story behind it. Two days later his skeleton turns up and there is no plausible explanation of what happened to him...

Two neighbours are competing in a rose of the year competition in their local village. John's neighbour David wins every year and John has had enough. Trying to beat the odds John tries something new, but after people start dying and going missing, he begins to regret his idea...

Finally we get mixed up in obsession. Finding the woman of his dreams, an art valuer can't think of any else but her. The only downside is that the woman in question is a portrait of an unknown person. After seeing a mystic he finds out that they are destined to meet one day...but when?

My Review:

As I said before I enjoy horror short stories and these were for me definitely up to standard. I do have several issues with these pieces and I will get back to these but I believe these stories contain the essence needed to scare and entertain the reader.

Let's start with some positives. The strongest area of this book is the story telling, which is important as really it is harder to build up characters in such a short period of time. The basis for every story is strong and they each work in their own way but remain connected by themes. The themes in this book are abundant, curiosity, fear, pain, suffering, black magic and sacrifice to name a few. The author weaves these themes through all 6 stories and even though each story is worlds apart from the next, they all feel connected in small ways. This book didn't make me laugh or cry but it did make me cringe, wince, feel sad and smile in places. 

There are some negative points to this material, I felt they undermined the reading experience and the readers enjoyment. This for me did not stop me from enjoying the book but more fickle readers may be affected. The first major concern is the casualness that DH includes in these stories. A good portion of the stories are very subtle or even mundane until the horror kicks in and takes it up a notch. Especially the Fellside house portion of this book, I began to feel like I was actually just reading about a couple picking out their first house until the underlying horror kicked in. That leads to the other concern which is boredom, which pops up here and there as a result of the more casual and uneventful parts. There was not enough to flag a real cause for concern, but it is there and I had to mention it. I really look forward to reading some of Darla Hogan's more intense fiction, I hope he doesn't hold back as much as he did here.

I have quite a few favourite parts of this material. My Lady, the last story in 6DTD for me was the most chilling, it is really out there and it totally works as horror fiction. The writing is so vivid when DH is doing his thing and I wish there was more of it. There are some truly great talking points to this book but I don't want to get into it too much as I will spoil everything for everyone who reads this. There is no new ground being covered here but its the unique touches to the usual horror set ups that makes this book worth reading.

Overall I do recommend buying this book. I know I am critical of it as casualness for me doesn't belong with horror but that is personal opinion and it does actually work to accentuate and intensify the horror parts when they appear. If you love short stories or the horror genre then this is definitely for you!

7/10

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Devil's Detective - Simon Kurt Unsworth

Book Details

Book Title: The Devil's Detective

Author: Simon Kurt Unsworth

Publisher
: Del Rey (Random House) 2015

Source: Library

Page Count: 358

Format: Paperback

Genre: Horror/Crime/Fantasy

Audience: Those who love graphic depictions of hell and its workings


Summed up in one word: Hellish!

First Impressions: This book is written around the two biggest themes that we must consider in life. Death. And the Afterlife. With the Devil's Detective you get an epic depiction of what may come next, and what that may consist of...Murder, Pain, Evil and Demons among other things. I really enjoyed this piece and highly recommend it even though it is rather graphic...

Summary Of The Book:

Welcome To Hell! Here we meet Thomas Fool an Information Man (Cop) who is tasked with finding out who is taking the souls of his follow inhabitants in the darker side of the Afterlife. Fool meets with angels who are visiting Hell to discuss Elevations and who gets the lucky tickets up to Heaven. Fool is the fortunate soul who gets to give the angels a tour of Hell. During this tour Fool comes across two demons who are arguing over a corpse, the corpse in question is damaged beyond recognition and that level of violence implies a deeper motive. After sending the corpse for 'Questioning' it is discovered that the body has no soul what so ever, it has been torn from the body and most likely consumed by whatever Demon is capable of such acts. Fool does not know what creature could do this and is encouraged by several interested parties to find out.

Come spend a few days in Hell. Join Fool on his witch (or demon in this case) hunt to find the demon responsible for this harsh and unnecessary act of violence. Along with his two fellow information men, Fool must follow a trial of dead bodies, kill plenty of demons and break all the rules to get to the bottom of these murders and expose the horrific, evil and possibly ancient being that is tearing Hell to pieces. There is plenty of graphic detail and gore here so if your up to it then get involved. Set in an awesomely detailed version of Hell and full of angels, demons and tortured souls, you will be glad your not subjected to eternal damnation.

My Review:

SKU scored a great debut with The Devil's Detective, it is dark, gory, interesting and takes on one of the biggest questions (what is next?) and paints a chilling vision of Hell and what could possibly be on the cards after this lovely realm we inhabit right now. Unfortunately at times it slows down, gets a bit sloppy and loses the reader in trying to drag out the story, about 75 pages less I reckon and this would have been a 10/10 contender. anyway to the actual point of my ramblings...

The characters here are very well written. Thomas Fool is naive, but smart. He acts as the perfect conduit for this story and I enjoyed my time with him. He evolves so nicely over the course of this story but I really liked the fact that even with all the upgrades and recognition, he still finds the time for modesty and uncertainty. The other band of characters here are crafted well also. We have the uptight but trust worthy boss, the co-information men and their help, the man of plants and flowers...yeah and the many demons that occupy these pages, each one as ugly and evil as ever! also they have an angel called Balthazar which is an automatic thumbs up ;-).

The story and setting had great potential. I have already said a dozen times that I enjoyed the setting so lets discuss the story. Now I thought the story was good but very unoriginal, the classic whodunnit? with a new coat of paint. The depth of detail and gore added some layers, as well as the great characters interacting with the world. I just felt it lagged in parts and got a bit boring, but there was always a horrific, unnatural twist or turn to pull me out of the funk somewhere along the line so it isn't too bad. The themes included are mainly darker ones like death, damnation and sin. There are subtle themes of the sunny and bright nature. The involvement of the angels was a great touch and really added to the progression of Fool and the world around him. I don't think there was anything uninteresting about this book, it dips in showmanship here and there but I did not find myself wanting to move onto another book. 

There are plenty of great scenes in this book, every reader will come across something that will challenge them or at least entertain them. I thought this book was more upsetting than amusing for all those readers who like to keep it positive :). The Devil's Detective is very objective, SKU does plenty of the work for you as the reader so you are able to relax and enjoy the ride. Finally I don't think this was offensive to those who truly believe in the afterlife, it took a common belief or fear (in some cases), weaved a chilling and gripping world and treated the idea with respect.

Overall I believe that people should read this and support this author as I want to see what he can really do with some experience under his belt! Detailed, gory, sloppy at times but over strikes fear and treats the idea of the afterlife with some respect.

8/10

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Where I'm Reading From - Tim Parks

Book Details

Book Title: Where I'm Reading From

Author: Tim Parks

Publisher
: Vintage (Random House) 2014

Source: Library

Page Count: 255

Format: Paperback

Genre: Psychology/Literature

Audience: Those who want to know the in depth cultural, lingual and social reason for today's reading habits.

Summed up in one word: Misleading... (+ Intense)


First Impression: I feel that I was deceived and made to feel a little bit dimmer than I think I am (which is not that much anyway). This book advertises itself as one of those chummy, coffee break books that give you an insight into small matters of reading. What you really get is a pretty decent and thorough informing of the lingual, literal and social aspects of how and why we read in today's culture....it is A LOT to take in, but I gave it a go.

Summary of the Book:

This is a book about books. This is a book about reading. This is a book about language. This is a book about many things, many aspects of being a reader, writer, translator or publisher. Tim Parks asks, why do I write? Why do I read? Why do we feel the need to review? These are just some of the questions taken up by Tim in this collection of previous works on the world of reading. 

Across 37 separate essays we delve into the insights of a translator, an author and an avid reader. Tim Parks lives and breaths this world and he wants to invite you to see his view of the culture of reading and writing that he experiences in every waking moment. The span of this piece of Non-Fiction is vast and there is something for everyone between these pages. Are you contemplating stopping a book half way through due to boredom of early fulfilment? Are you avoiding E-readers? Does copyright matter anymore? Where I'm Reading From is a journey through the subjective parts of what makes us read/write. 

This book will change your perspective on reading forever, you will gain tools and tricks to help you maximise your reading, understand the content better and find the inner meaning of authors work with the help of understanding language more effectively. Tread lightly though as there is plenty to take in.

My Review:

Credit where it is due...Tim Parks knows his stuff and has a better understanding of language, writing and reviewing than I could ever imagine...I know that...and he knows that too (not personally but the reader...) and it shows. Where I'm Reading From is an amalgamation of Tim Parks' work that is all connected but for me didn't mesh at all.

I love books on books, I get giddy when I pick them up as knowledge of books is something I appreciate. The outside of this book does not reflect the inside one bit. I know judging a book by its cover is a rookie mistake but some indication of the gravity of the contents would be appreciated. The cover is warm, casual and not intimidating. As far as a review goes, Tim Parks set out to explain why we read, why we write and how we understand our language and appreciate others and he accomplished that. The subject matter was respected and conveyed well. My negative experience is hung in the blind-sighting of complex material and the execution of the book. This is barely advertised as a collection of essays and across the four parts of this book Tim Parks covers so much subject matter that a lot of his points are made from his own experience and it didn't sit well with me. 

I have read other reviews of this book and they are hit and miss. Words like challenging, absorbing, enriching and provocative are used and they are absolutely correct. Patronising also gets brought up and I agree with this as well. It may not be great bringing in other reviewers insights into my own review but I was looking into whether this book was just out of my league or if others experience what I did. I got answers from both sides of the fence. Where I'm Reading From is a book to be experienced for yourself, only you can decide whether you can gain from Tim Parks' experience or get put off of books about books for a while,

For those who love the more poetic or philosophical side to reading this was written for you. If you read Thomas Hardy, Salman Rushdie or Arthur Schopenhauer then you will fit right in. Readers wanting to learn more about the connection of words across languages and insights into translation then there is plenty for you here. All those looking for a chilled peek into how us readers tick need to go elsewhere, starting with The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell (it is awesome).

Overall the depth of knowledge here is impressive, I guess I just could not take the heat in the end and maybe I will return here when I have learned to appreciate the art of reading and understanding language better, but for now I will leave it to smarter people...

5/10

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Fictional Man - Al Ewing

Book Details

Book Title: The Fictional Man

Author: Al Ewing

Publisher
: Solaris 2013

Source: Library

Page Count: 308

Format: Paperback

Genre: Fantasy/Science-Fiction

Audience: Those who enjoy pop culture and stories about identity.

Summed up in one word: Hypothetical!


First Impression: I fell victim to another awesome book cover. Thankfully what was contained within was worthwhile reading, which is always a bonus. The Fictional Man is a story of identity, neurosis and pop culture. I enjoyed my time within these wall and I related to the main character quite a bit as I am also an introvert who wishes he was more assertive!

Summary Of The Book:

Niles Golan is an author, he was a half decent one but now he is sliding away from the public view after sending out one embarrassing novel after another. Golan's main novel series is about Kurt Powers, an ex lawyer turned non-nonsense private investigator. After 17 novels under his belt Golan wants to revitalise his character on the big screen and in real life. Golan lives in a world where cloning technology exists and it is quite an established and almost common practice. Society rejects the idea of cloning real-life people as it would lead to problems and most likely increase crime rates. They do however believe that it would be acceptable to use this cloning ability to bring to life fictional characters. Golan wants to invigorate his career and his life by bringing Kurt Powers to real life to be his best friend and his meal ticket.

As Golan has let himself and his career slide he isn't able to just create Kurt Powers by himself, he needs a studio to fund the project and eventually his first movie. After approaching a studio he is offered a project, not the one he wants but he is led to believe that this may be the first step on the journey to a freshly made Kurt Powers. The project is to re-imagine his favourite childhood movie 'The Delicious Mr Doll', a cheesy parody of James Bond with the smuttiness and silliness turned up to 11. Armed with his incredibly introvert personality and his fictional friend Bob, Golan must get to the root of this movies origin and write a box office smash so he can get what he really wants.

Set in a world where pop culture literally walks the streets and the line between reality and fiction is blurred to the max, The Fictional Man is a fun, neurotic and odd novel that will make you question if you really want to meet some of your heroes or just leave them within the pages of your favourite book.

My Review:

The Fictional Man is a book that pulls a lot of separate concepts that appear across literature and pop culture and amalgamates them into an amusing, semi-complex story of a man's undoing. The author takes cloning, espionage, sex, internal monologues and fiction and splices them together, I enjoyed this book and not just because I am a dork just like Niles Golan...

First the positives...The story was original. I found the concept of an author chasing the origin of a story that has been so stretched, mangled and warped that you can't believe how the end result came about vastly enjoyable. Also the undoing of the introvert, uptight, dorkish and unpleasant Niles Golan was probably the best part of this book. The author set up this unbearable and frustrating character and then picked him apart slowly over the course of this episode and left him almost reborn. Niles is a funny character, he's a part of all of us at some point in our lives. He is the bad choices we make, the silly decisions and the internal voice we all wish we had the courage to fulfil (well myself at least). The other cast members all have their place and they add plenty to this story, Bob the fictional best friend who tries to settle the argument that 'Fictionals' are real people. The ex-wife who tests Golan every step of the way and makes him question himself. The various and absurd characters that make the reader smile or think WTF i.e his douche bag agent or the woman who pretends to be fictional. This book made me laugh!

Dislikes...there was not much I didn't like in this piece, it is not perfect by any means but I didn't find myself frustrated, bored or unchallenged. There were a few themes and parts that I did not find interesting, the whole no sex between Fictionals and real people was a bit phoney. The concept of cloning fictional characters is questionable but it was core element of the book so i embraced it. I found it hard to care about Niles to begin with, but once his character started to break apart I found myself rooting for him. This book is cheesy, disturbing and weird, but it is also charming and everyone can relate somehow.

The main themes included are identity, cloning, culture and humanity. The author conveyed these themes well and I think the only weak theme was the cloning, but cloning is always abused in books and television as it is a versatile and shady practice. The authors development was superb, I genuinely saw Golan change and peel of his undesirable characteristics and leave him as a blank slate, taking life one day at a time.

Overall The Fictional Man is a decent and highly readable piece of fiction that all fantasy or science fiction readers at least will appreciate. This novel is grimy, warped and a lot of fun!

7/10

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance - Angela Duckworth

Book Details

Book Title: 
Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance

Author: Angela Duckworth

Publisher
: Vermilion

Source: Library

Page Count: 333

Format: Hardback

Genre: Psychology - Non Fiction

Audience: Those who want to increase their motivation

Summed up in one word: Invigorating 


First Impression: Reading books on improving your life can be hit and miss. I find you have to read quite a few and take the pieces that apply to you and try them out bit by bit. Grit was written more to explain the depth and extent of people's capabilities in life than to out right show you where you need to be improving. Grit was powerful, it sheds light on all aspects of motivation and leaves you nowhere to hide.

Summary Of The Book:

Angela Duckworth grew up with an intellectual and hard to please father, this led her to contemplate and then base her professional life around what makes people successful. Angela came up with the theory of Grit, an amalgamation of passion, endurance, determination, resilience, hard work, perseverance, direction and interest. Is innate talent the main requirement for success? Angela does not believe so. Studying people all her life she has found that those who earn it instead of having it handed to them on a plate are people who truly succeed.

Grit is a journey through success, we meet a whole cast of successful people who lend their lives and their stories to settle the argument between talent vs effort. We tend to believe the people who are at the top of their fields got there with the help of their unending talent, Angela sets out to prove that it is usually those who spend every waking moment honing their craft. It takes two doses of effort to achieve, one to use talent to earn skill, and one to turn skill into achievement. 

Inside Grit you will get a chance to see you own Grittiness level and where you have room for improvement, talent may come to others easier than yourself but succession is an equal opportunity. Come and learn how life is yours for the taking, motivation is the best chance for a better life but it needs to be learnt, nurtured and respected. Angela wants everyone to know their potential and Grit was written so you can find out. 

My Review:

Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance was written to show people how talent is not the only factor in success and that effort makes the most impact and Angela Duckworth does a great job conveying this point. AD has worked long and hard to bring us this book and it definitely shows. I have to be honest and say that seeing so many successful people in one place was a bit of a grind but that is mostly my problem for being such a lazy bones....

Grit is a well thought out, neat bundle of great information to help readers realise that they may have plenty of Grit locked away or at least show that with work Grit can be attained in the future. Angela is both professional and personal within these pages, using her life to show the journey gave birth to the idea of Grit and how she has seen it in action all through her professional career. With real life stories (including the founder of Amazon) and application of Grit we see how lives have been dramatically change through realisation that talent only goes so far and that real skill is earned through copious effort and dedication. 

The writing is easy going, I as a lay person did not find myself confused or bemused. The theory of Grit is an undeniable one, you can see it everywhere when you know what your looking for. Using historical and current figures/events Angela drives home her points and leaves the reader wanting more from their now infinitely bigger possibilities in life. Unfortunately motivation needs upkeep so I do recommend searching for other books to fuel your fire as well. I enjoyed AD's comparison of searching for a career and searching for a partner, Angela Duckworth says 'there are good bits, bad bits, difficulty, exhilaration and after a while you can get comfortable'.

Overall this is a must read, especially if you have found yourself at a loss with motivation and career picking capabilities. Grit is informative, inspirational and fun. everyone can learn to be better and with Grit the sky is the limit.

8/10

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Shadow Of The Soul - Sarah Pinborough

Book Details

Book Title: The Shadow Of The Soul

Author: Sarah Pinborough

Publisher
: Gollancz 2011

Source: Library :D

Page Count: 390

Format: Paperback

Genre: Dark Crime/Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi

Audience: Those who love dark fantasy horror and crime books!

Summed up in one word: Consistent


First Impression: This being part 2 of a trilogy I was going in aware of the main characters, the setting and the themes... That didn't count for much here as SP kept the same basic outline but everything else within was fresh and taken in a new direction with a new bunch of characters and new set of rules to play by.

Summary Of The Story:

London is shaken to its very core by a series of bombings that have targeted busy public transport routes. As the Prime Minister and her party scramble to get ahead of all this terror by working with intelligence agencies to find the culprits they all come to the same conclusion... One man was responsible for the entire execution of this attack. This terrorist was not only in multiple locations in London, he also managed to be in Moscow and New York for other attacks at the same time. 

Cass Jones is back, it is 6 months after the events of the last book and he is finally getting back on his feet. With Christian finally put to rest and his ex-wife gone Cass only has work and a new partner to fill the void and keep him going. Armstrong is young, tenacious and pushes Cass harder then others have before him. Cass has a full plate straight of the bat. 6 young teen suicides, all accompanied by the distinct catchphrase 'Chaos in the darkness'. A letter from Christian with the words 'They took Luke' inside (Luke being Christian's real son taken at birth). And to top it off, one of the Prime minister's body guard has gone A.W.O.L after a supposed threat to the PM's life, and Cass is recruited to find her.

In a typical Sarah Pinborough fashion, everything is knitted together in some way, and all Cass has to do is pick at the thread an watch everything slowly unravel before him. This elaborate scheme includes the elusive Mr Bright and a new host of characters that make up the Inner Cohort, high level members of an organisation called The Bank. With a new gang of characters called The Interventionists in the mix who are there to keep the balance in this conflict, events soon heat up and Cass feels the burn.

My Review:

I will start this review with my biggest impression, though this is a great bridge novel to the hopefully epic finale, I found it did not have that powerful and overwhelming shock and awe of its predecessor. It does keep the characters fresh and sets up some great new characters for the next instalment, though it was more comfortable and easier to digest. I came back for more challenging themes and WTF! moments but maybe SP has saved the best for last. Anyway...

The new story is just as complex, mind boggling and expertly weaved as the first one, though this time round SP went for consistency over potency. This means that I enjoyed it over all but it doesn't stick in mind my like some of the moments included in the first instalment. The political sections were necessary but also unnecessary at the same time, as those bits combined with the new Inner Cohort sections were over confusing for a simple guy like myself. Thankfully the Cass suicide sections and the search for Luke up the ante and we start to see Cass evolving and deteriorating simultaneously. We are left at the end with everything completely shattered/ruined and I am excited to see where we go from here.

In terms of characters. the usual suspects have not changed that much. Cass is still a one man army, Mr Bright is still clouded in mystery (we do see a little more of him this time round) and Josh the pathologist is back and in a bigger role. New characters include Armstrong who is Cass' new partner, he is more involved and more pushy than his last partner as he likes to step over the barrier between boss and employee. The Inner Cohort is full of evil. Finally the biggest new entry is Abigail Porter who is a body guard to the Prime Minister. Abigail is the most diverse character in this book. Covert, cold, caring(ish..) Abigail has a hard time juggling her job, her role in the bigger picture and the suicide of her sister. Each character meshes well in this dense tapestry and no one is out of place. I guess we will learn more about the Interventionists later on...

Overall it is a decent second entry and I am really looking forward to the finale, which I have in my to read pile already :D if you enjoy dark crime with horror elements then this is for you. If you like deep intricate story lines that connect several plot pieces then this is for you. If you like happy, up lifting and feel good thrills then...cat videos???..

7/10

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