Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mining Robots, A Dystopian World and the Dangers of Drugs

First Paragraph:

"Louise saw her first. "Stop the van!"
"No way." The driver spun the wheel to the left to carve a path between the young woman in their path and a twisted, blackened hunk of machinery. "She's not our problem."

A Wasting Time by William Esmont is a short novella set in a dystopian world. Sometime in the future, robots are very real and now do the jobs no human wants. For example, working the mines. Robots drill through the rock and find anything of use. However, bringing in the robots doesn't free the men. As is turns out, quite a few men are needed to service the robots and keep them going.

One of these men is Angus Mundy, who uses drugs to keep himself going throughout the very long days. Unfortunately, he also owes a "Mafia-type" boss a lot of money. The boss gives him a choice, setting up the plot of this very short story.

In this world/future the drug Angus uses is J4X or JAX (to give it its street name). What the drug is isn't important though. This is a story more about Angus and his daughter Hilary and how much damage drugs can do. Not just to one person, but to everyone around them too. Since the book is short, the slippery slope is very abrupt, but I suppose it's representative of how quickly a person's life can spin out of control.

I know we've seen this plot a million times, but still I was gripped by it. I keep saying it's a short story, but it really is. At only around 70 pages, the book was over before I knew it. At no point was I bored or put off by a topic that could very easily be repetitive and dull.

For such a short book, a lot happens. However, there's no real conclusion. We're brought full-circle to the beginning without any more knowledge of what's happening than when we began. I'm under the impression that this may be a series, so there'll probably be answers in the next book. If you cut out the beginning and the end, this could be a good book about the dangers of drugs, not just physical ones, but all the other ways they can damage peoples' lives. With the whole book, we need another part to have any closure. I'm looking forward to seeing the direction this series (if it is one) will go, because at the moment the story is incomplete.

If you've read any of the author's other books, this has his writing style all over it. We have a sporadic timeframe, the dystopian world, the very gritty, dark atmosphere and the very claustrophobic ambiance, that all combine to make a very tense read. A good story, but missing the next part.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author through a giveaway. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hey I Just Met You, And This is Crazy, But Now You're a Zombie, So Please Don't Kill Me Maybe

First Paragraph:

"Megan Pritchard stretched and yawned. She was only two hours into the graveyard shift, and she had already served three customers. The first had been a laid-back, beer-drinking trucker, the second, a German who reeked of tequila and had trouble keeping it up, and the last, a wild-eyed, fifty-something man who smelled like a dirty ashtray and wouldn't take no for an answer. Number four, another trucker, was in the bathroom washing up. She sighed and ran her hand across the bed, smoothing the comforter.  The toilet flushed.

The Elements of the Undead: Omnibus Edition contains all three books in the trilogy by William Esmont. Those three being Fire, Air and Earth. I'm going to explain a little bit about each one (without giving too much away) and then conclude with my thoughts on the series as a whole. 

But first, a little background. The Elements of the Undead Trilogy is a horror series (though the horror is pretty tame considering the plot. I would call it more of a thriller/ adventure). A zombie apocalypse breaks out at the very beginning and we're brought along with the characters as they react and absorb all the information and struggle through each situation they're faced with. 

I'll start by saying there are a few graphic scenes, such as zombies eating people or sex scenes, as well as course language. If that's not your cup of tea, you have been warned.

In book 1, Fire, we meet quite a few pivotal characters who, step by step, are brought together. First we have Megan Pritchard- a prostitute who works in a brothel in the desert, four hours outside of Vegas. She is planning to visit her sister in Tucson when the zombies start appearing.

Meanwhile, we have very brief snippets of Alicia (who is more of a secondary character if that), working in a supermarket, when she witnesses a zombie attack outside the store.

We then switch to Jack and his wife Becka in New Mexico, who have two twin daughters, Maddie and Ellie, who are in the process of building a birthday surprise for their girls, when Jack's mother calls telling him to look at the news.

Then there's Cesar, the illegal immigrant from Mexico, crossing the border with a few others into the States in the hope of making it to Kansas.

We then switch to Kevin Salerno, who has just landed in Idaho returning from a business trip to Shanghai. 

Then along comes Captain Mike Pringle, flying a Boeing with his co-pilot Marty Sellers, when one of the passengers goes rogue and starts attacking people.

Switching again, we meet Peter Woo, a devout Christian who believes the apocalypse is the Rapture come again.

Finally, we meet US Navy Commander Betty Hollister, who is the first woman to ever command a ballistic nuclear missile submarine in the Navy and her second in command, Andrew Pollard as they receive a message from HQ to bomb certain cities in the US to try contain the zombie plague.

So you can see we have quite a few characters to keep switching between, but somehow the author makes it work. Bit by bit, we get brief, little snippets of each group before moving onto the next, slowly revealing more and leading them all, inevitably, to the same place. We are given more information about a few particular characters more than others. In the first book, I would say the key characters are Megan, Jack, Cesar and Hollister. With Mike, Peter and Andrew adding specific important plot points. 

However, as you can imagine a lot of the characters (if not all of them) end up in sticky situations and we're not always given the details of how they manage to escape. For instance, hopefully this won't be a spoiler, but Mike is in the cockpit of the Boeing. The last thing we witness of him before he crops up again later in the story, is a zombie banging against the door trying to get in. They're 30,000 ft in the air. Yet, we never receive any explanation of how he survived or got to where he was. Or what happened to anyone else on the plane. This happens for a few characters, but it's understandably considering how many of them there are. 

In this case, having that many characters actually works in the story's favour. Normally, I would say too many characters spoil the broth. They just make it confusing and distract from the main "flavours" you want people to experience. If done wrong, it can destroy a book, but if done right, like in these books, it creates the necessary viewpoints to get across the different reactions people would have and allows the author to mess with their brains the way it would in real life. Think about it, a zombie apocalypse breaks out. What are the odds everyone (providing they survive long enough) would keep their sanity. We all have a very different way of dealing with problems, especially one of this magnitude. Some people will harden up and become the nearest thing real life has to action heroes, some people will fold and lose their minds, some people with end it, rather than face the alternative. Those are just a few possibilities because the mind is so complex that you can never really predict how someone will adapt (if at all). That's where having a large cast plays to the trilogy's advantage. Not only can we get multiple reactions, but it also lets the author write some of the characters off without leaving too small of a cast behind.

Pretty much all of the individual stories happen simultaneously, giving us a view of many different parts in the States. We don't ever hear much about the rest of the world, all we know is that zombies are global and likewise situations are probably happening everywhere. 

In Fire, we get some information about the zombies themselves. As pretty much anyone who has ever heard of a zombie knows, they can come in many different forms, with many different strengths. In this trilogy, we have simple, traditional zombies. They lumber along (with the exception of radiation-poisoned zombies (courtesy of all the bombs dropped on the States via Hollister's orders), who can sprint), are often missing limbs, organs or anything else, their vocabulary is restricted to moans and growls and you can only kill them with a headshot. They also travel in packs. Oh, and when food is scarce, they're cannibals.

While we're never given any concrete reason for zombies appearing out of nowhere, it is suspected that "zombiefication" happens from some kind of virus or disease. The victim starts off with symptoms similar to the flu and then quickly becomes aggressive, before converting to complete zombie. It's quick and deadly. It also spreads surprisingly fast, in fact, the virus went global in only a few hours. Also part of traditional zombie lore, one bite is enough to turn you, with the added complication that any of their fluids (saliva, brain fluid, etc) can infect you as well- if they get into your bloodstream. So when you're fighting for your life, make sure to keep your eyes and mouth closed and cover any cuts or scrapes. They have no blood though, so at least you don't have to worry about that too. Unless of course you have to kill a human who has been bitten, to stop them becoming a zombie. Though most of the people in this trilogy keep a spare bullet for themselves in that eventuality. 

As the story progresses, we witness two survivalist camps forming (with a few stragglers on the side heading their way). On one hand, we have the Scorpion Canyon group in Tucson. A relatively laid-back (considering the situation) group, who are looking out for everyone's best interests. On the other hand, we have an aggressive group, run in military style. The two groups deal with the living dead and the people in their confines very differently. The first group survives on raids and equality, while the second struggles under a dictator for a leader, who is quickly losing the plot, but still desires power, authority and complete loyalty on penalty of death.

As the two groups become aware of the other's existence, tensions run high as one group wants to co-exist and the other wants absolute dominance over everything and everyone. 

Throughout the books, there are some nice quotes from the likes of Robert Frost and Ezra Pound (among many others) which make for some pleasant, figurative palette cleansers between scenes.

Now we come to book 2, Air. An original and unusual idea for a second book, Air has almost nothing to do with the first book and at only 10,000 words long, it's not a format I've ever seen in a series before. The only similarity in plot is the zombie apocalypse. But I found it an interesting way to backtrack and introduce a new character, without confusing the readers or relying on flashbacks.

In this book, we meet Chris Thompson. Using another not-often-seen technique, the author places us in the middle of his story, without even a name to go on. Though considering this book is only 10,000 words, we're pulled up to speed rather quickly.

It starts off with him on the roof of the Liberty Medical Centre, holding off a horde of zombies with the aid of a rather feeble door. He's contemplating what he believes are his final few moments and the choices he made earlier in the day to end up at this point.

I won't give too much away (especially considering the length of this book), but it's suffice to say he came to the hospital to visit his brother, Dave, after he was in a car accident. Of course, considering how the virus starts (remember the flu symptoms), they have the bad luck of being in the exact worst place possible. What's the old saying? The worst place to be sick is in a hospital. This is quite a while back from the main story (a few months back in fact), as we return to the very beginning of it all. 

Short and sweet, Chris' story continues and ties in with the rest in the final book, Earth. There will be a few spoilers from the previous books below here (nature of a series I'm afraid), so if you don't want to know, stop reading now. If you're interested in the series, why not try it out? Final warning for spoilers below.

Set three years later, not much has changed. Zombies are still everywhere. There are less survivors than before and those still around are more savvy than they were at the start.

Straight away we're introduced to yet more characters. Ryan Franklin, his wife Paige and their 14 year old son, Luke. They live in an underground bunker in Arizona, courtesy of Ryan's brother-in-law Mitch persuading him Armageddon was approaching. Unfortunately for Mitch, he never made it to his own bunker. The only other members of their community are Jim, his wife Felicia and Jim's father, who live in an adjacent bunker.

Megan and Jack return, along with another new character in the form of an ex-military retiree, Archie Henderson. They are planning to move the Scorpion Canyon group to another canyon across the valley, where they'll have more access to water and food.

Immediately, we can see that something is different in the zombies' behaviour. They are gathering in swarms much larger than previously seen and all seem to be waiting for a command. They are now almost impossible to fight (due to sheer numbers) and are advancing upon all compounds. 

The Franklins are forced to decided whether to stay and fight an impossible battle or try to escape in their car, while a wave of zombies fast approaches. Meanwhile, Megan, Jack and Archie are still in the wilderness trying to survive more zombies than they've ever seen. 

Not surprisingly, the two parties eventually meet up. Drawn together by necessity, they discover something that leads them to believe there is another survivalist group in Tampa. Deciding, it would be best to find them, they start the long journey.

As we start to learn more about the newcomers, the unease builds. As it turns out, Paige was on antidepressants long before everything went under and it's no surprise that zombies all over the world have put her precariously close to the edge. Dealing with a woman who only has brief moments of lucidity and a rapidly weakening grip on reality, while trying to survive impending death, is enough to make anyone nervous.

Chris Thompson also returns with a brief explanation of the last three years. He and a few other survivors made their way to Galveston and then onto one of the oil platforms in the Gulf. Their group has been slowly growing since and (apart from storms) they are kept safe by the sea. The sea also provides plenty of food, they gather water from frequent rains and the generators provide ample electricity. Surprisingly, they also have internet. Some satellites are still functioning it seems, allowing them to keep a check on storms in the area.

With zombies such a dominant presence on the planet and the number of living people dwindling by the second, is there any way to win or even to simply survive?

The way these books are written is less like three books made into one story and more like one story made into three books. What I mean by that is that the plot flows almost seamlessly between one book to the next (with the exception of the second book for obvious reasons). Within the plot, the timeframes change often enough that even with the 'three years later' subtitle at the start of the third book, it could well have been part of book 1. It would even be possible to make it all one book without making any changes. What I'm trying to say is it's less episodic than some series. There's no obvious end to one book or beginning of the next, more just the start of the next scene. And I enjoyed it being like that. Often in series, the later books will be set some time after the previous ones and we get a lot of backtracking and flashbacks to fill us in. While we do get a little filling in at the start of the third book, it's done in a way that could've taken place after the end of the first. I actually didn't realise I was on the third book until I finished the series.

The ending is a little abrupt and leaves no real conclusion. But then considering that the zombie apocalypse has broken out, there are very few ways to give a definitive ending, short of killing all the survivors. 

However, there are also a few unanswered questions. One, what happened to Hollister's group? The last we see of her she went stir-crazy, was drugged up and killed her second in command. Did she end up destroying the group through sheer ineptness? Did the zombies attack them at the same time as Scorpion Canyon? Did she kill everyone and then die herself? 

The final niggling question is the zombies themselves. In the third book, the idea that they're under command is introduced, but never expanded on. They seem to be getting smarter or are waiting for orders from a leader, but it's never explained.

I don't know whether there were ever any plans for another book (perhaps Water based on the previous titles?), but I would've liked that plot point to go somewhere.

Having said that, I did thoroughly enjoy the series. While I'm not always a fan of gore, it's handled well here. It is graphic, but not too graphic. At no point did I find the huge cast of characters confusing or distracting and they were all given surprisingly detailed situations considering the amount of time we had with each one. Each of their survivalist stories are basically the same, but then they would be. A zombie apocalypse breaks out and your first instinct is to get away from the larger cities. To try to find other people. To bunker down and try ride it out.  And that's exactly what they did. While the stories are similar, they're all given just enough individuality to make them interesting, rather than reading the same scenario ten times. 

If you're a fan of zombies or dystopian worlds this series will be right up your alley. I breezed through it and, before I knew it, was at the end.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author through a giveaway. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Every Evil Doer Needs an Evil Animal Companion

First Paragraph:

"Arlo winced at the pain in his tail which a few hours before had been gripped soundly and nastily in the teeth of the other guy and which now showed signs of infection. For the second time this year, Arlo doubted his vocation. The handsome tabby cat who had successfully completed so many heroic missions now wondered whether he still had what it took to be a successful covert operative."

    Amazon /Amazon.co.uk

Arlo's Epiphany by Jane Oldaker is a short, little story starring Arlo the Barncat. Arlo is different from your average cat or dog though. He's a covert operative working for the Agency. 

What is the Agency? And why was it founded? Well all over the world there are villains and these villains train animals to be villainous and perform villainous deeds (enough with the villainous). So of course an opposing force had to be created.

Like all Agents, Arlo can talk to various species (including humans). The Agency employs its own medical expert, Dr.Phelps, who works undercover as a vet. They also have handlers. Arlo's is Charlie, who debriefs him after every mission. Arlo himself is a "technocat". With his Stealthberry and skills, he's a wizz at all things technical and generally and all round fantastic agent. There is only one aspect that he falls short on- thuggery. Yes he can walk the walk, but not talk the talk.

This worries his old friend (and retired agent) Mahoney. A mature, feral tomcat, his reputation precedes him and none dare mess with the infamous Mahoney. But when Arlo comes visiting and claims to have been attacked (with the bite marks and missing fur to prove it), Mahoney suspects none other than his long-time rival, McTavish. This attack has his MO all over it, but Mahoney must follow Agency rules and they clearly state he is not allowed to attack non-strategic animals. Maybe he can find a way around that rule without actually breaking it?

A fun, little story with plenty of character. Any animal can be an Agent, so we get hilarious characters and situations, such as Agent Brenda Chicken- who can peck with the speed of a striking cobra.

I'm not entirely sure what age group this book is intended for, however. My natural instinct would be younger readers, but there are some rather large words for small children.  For example, here are some words I can see younger readers having problems with; avuncular, sporadically; incorrigible; insouciance to name a few. While I realise this could be a good method to teach children what these words mean, I still hesitate to say this is a book for small children.

Also, Arlo may be the name on the cover, but it is Mahoney who we see through the eyes of for most of this book. Not that that's a bad thing (and it may only be in this book that this occurs). I'm assuming this will be a series and we'll hear more from Arlo and friends in the future.

We do get a couple of nice illustrations of a few characters that are pleasant to spy as you scroll through the pages. 

I found the subject a little familiar too. For anyone who has ever read the Hank the Cowdog series, you will probably realise what I'm talking about. However, the main difference (aside from the characters and situations being completely different) is that Hank just believed himself to be "Head of Ranch Security", but Arlo actually is an Agent. He can talk to animals and humans and do all the stuff we read about. It's not the fantasy of an imaginative cat.

There are some nice characters that make this book worth the read. If you're interested, why not give it a try? 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author through a giveaway. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bea and Ben Return and All Murderesses are Poisoners

   First Paragraph:

 "If there's one thing I hate, it's a messy guest at the Bard's Bed & Breakfast. Oh, I'm not talking about the people who leave wet towels on the floor of the bedroom, when there's a perfectly good linen hamper in the en suite bathroom, any more that I'm talking about the guests who like to spice up their romantic interludes with whipped cream between the Egyptian cotton sheets I launder for them. I'm talking about the visitors who bring their plug ugly baggage with them when they come to stay."

A Plague O' Both Your Houses by Sara Barton is book 2 in the Bard's Bed and Breakfast Mystery Series.

A quick warning, this review will contain spoilers from the first book (as is the nature of a series). If you're interested you can check out my review of Let Slip the Dogs of War here: http://needtoreadgottowatch.blogspot.com/2013/01/shakespeare-meets-spies-and-terrorists.html.

Anyway, spoilers beyond here, so continue at your own peril.

Returning to the Bard's the story this time centres around Linda Romano- a retired CIA agent, who specialised in chemical and biological warfare. To be accurate, her job was to find antidotes, but to know how to cure it, she needed to know how it was created. Linda is a crotchety, old woman dying of lupus and plagued with the inability to treat anyone with a shred of decency. She has a nurse (the lovely Manie from Jamaica) to care for her round the clock and cater to her every need. 

Linda is at the Bard's to live out her final days in peace and comfort. Being an ex-CIA agent, they set her up at a CIA specialising B&B, much to Bea's chagrin.

Bea and Ben are their usual selves and are still bickering constantly. In this book, we are joined by the Turkmani sisters, Fatima and Wardah- going by the aliases of Emma and Rosalind (Rosie for short) respectively. It's been a few months since the events of the first book and the girls have started at school, while their mother recuperates in Boston and their father fights his brother in Syria.

Again, terrorism is the plot here. When a letter that Linda sends off get intercepted by the CIA, claiming she's poisoned someone, the Bard's is soon filled with CIA agents from around the globe (all undercover of course) to find out the truth, most of which we are kept in the dark about. But then they are spies. Is the devious plot Linda's devised as simple as it appears, or is there a more sinister plan at hand?

In my review of the first book I said it was almost too fast-paced. In this book, that problem's gone. We have some nice down-time in between all the action (which definitely builds this time), though a lot of it is information about the first book. There's a lot of deja vu as we re-read the first story in small chunks. I know it's a recap, but it's almost as if we're expected to have forgotten everything about the first book. We do get some nice extras though, giving us a little more information we didn't know about the characters or events from the first book. I was a little sad that there was virtually no mention of Yuri, but maybe he'll be in a another book, provided the series continues. And we do get a few tidbits about the mysterious Afari.

We also have a more complete ending and I can feel the books getting better as the series progresses. Again, I did enjoy this book, perhaps even more than the first. I preferred the plot of the first, but I prefer pretty much everything else about the second.

If you liked the first, you'll like this second book. If you didn't like the first, maybe give this one a try- why not? The series certainly has a charm about it that keeps me following its progress. I can't help but wonder- what dastardly plan will be the plot of the third book I wonder?

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author through a giveaway. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Shakespeare Meets Spies and Terrorists in a Vermont B&B

    First Paragraph:
   "It's just for two nights."
   "Please? Do it for me?" I hate it when he looks at me like that. I hate that he knows I hate it when he looks at me like that. Most of all, I hate that he knows if he looks at me that way, I will cave in and let him have what he wants."


Let Slip the Dogs of War by Sara M. Barton is the first book in the Bard's Bed and Breakfast Mystery series.

Starring Bea (Beatrice) and her retired husband Ben (Benedick), we follow their adventures in running a B&B in Vermont. But not just any B&B. No this is an establishment that specifically caters to the CIA and a few others to keep the ruse up. A little history of the place then. The B&B was founded by Uncle Edward ( who used to work in the OSS as an intelligence officer). Now retired, he created the Bard's B&B (so named for his love of all things Shakespeare- in fact he used to work at the Bard's theatre as a dresser). You may have already noticed the Shakespeare references in the book titles, but we also see them in the form of quotes and as aliases for people in the book, as well as room names.

So, how did Bea and Ben come to take over? Well Uncle Edward needs a hip replacement and just couldn't take care of his guests anymore, while at the same time Bea and her bookshop, Marbury Books, were going through a whole heap of CIA mess. The CIA naturally thought of the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone.

The plot of this first instalment is terrorism. In fact, the second book's plot is terrorism too, so it may be a recurring theme. The first couple chapters are about the CIA, terrorism and explain how Bea got to where she is. Then one day, she finds a body under the bed (not her first apparently). The body is that of a young woman, who had her clothes removed and has two tattoos- one made with edible ink that is the image of a bee and one that is scented and shows the image of a rose. 

Ben and Bea figure it's a CIA code for something and the plot thickens as terrorists begin to show up, along with CIA spies. And who is the mysterious Yuri? 

This series reads like a cozy mystery, but this time with the added twist that the protagonists (and most everyone else) aren't exactly new to the game. The basic story is a little darker than your average cozy because of all of the terrorism involved. 

The plot itself is very fast-paced, A lot happens in this short book and I found it almost too fast-paced. There was never really any down time, you were constantly going from action scene to action scene, revelation to revelation. I don't often say this about a book, but it could have used a little extra padding. While too much can have a negative effect, a little goes a long way to helping the reader absorb all the information you give them, especially when throwing such fast-balls as this book does. 

I would've also liked a little more closure at the end. I don't know if the author plans to revisit that particular character, but the ending is pretty ambiguous and abrupt. But then I suppose it's a good thing that I want to know more. It's a mark of good writing if the reader wants more.

The relationship between Bea and Ben I can see some people loving and some people hating. They are constantly bickering and Bea seems forever annoyed with her husband. Their form of bickering is quoting Shakespeare at each other, which is at least nice to listen to (or read in this case), but it's so frequent that it can get a little grating sometimes. 

While I am not a great fan of unresolved endings, I did enjoy this short book. I found the characters of Yuri and Wardah to be my favourites and wanting to know what happens to each of them is enough to keep me reading. 

Disclaimer: I was sent this book by the author through a giveaway. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Serial Killer, Haitian Voodoo and New Orleans

First Paragraph:

"It was the night of a full moon and a total lunar eclipse when a young girl with a weak heart was laid down on the floor amidst a circle of candles in a room of stone."

The Bourbon Street Ripper by Leo King is a dark and thrilling mystery. Set in the New Orleans French Quarter during the 90's, there is a killer on the loose. Horrifically torturing victims before killing them by vivisection, this person is eerily similar to an infamous killer from 20 years previously- the Bourbon Street Ripper- so named for his similar MO to Jack the Ripper and surgical abilities.  The question is whether this is a copycat and, therefore, a serial killer. The race is on to find The Bourbon Street Ripper copycat before they kill again.

Heading the investigation is Rodger Bergeron, a seasoned cop who put away the Bourbon Street Ripper, but left him with plenty of trauma, and his partner, Michael LeBlanc, a very intelligent man with little to no social skills. As they try to find evidence and leads, their lives intersect with Sam Castille (the only living descent of the Bourbon Street Ripper and a woman with understandable emotion scars) and Richie Fastellos (an author in town for a book signing, who also has anxiety issues). Together, the four of them try to solve the case, for the sake of their home and themselves. 

As the case makes little progress and more women die, tensions run high. Sam and Rodger have past issues that need to be resolved for both their sakes, Michael and Rodger develop problems as the former feels his partner is deliberately keeping him out of the loop, and Richie must decide whether to stay and help or leave and go back to the safety of his home in Pittsburgh.

The four try to figure out where the killer will strike next and who the target will be by revisiting the old Bourbon Street Ripper files. When more of the past is revealed and small clues begin to shed a different light on the past killings and meaning for them, everyone must fight to stay sane and alive in a torrent of gangsters, voodoo and a mysterious Nite Priory leaving messages with dangerous men.

The Bourbon Street Ripper is a dark, gritty and graphic telling of a murder in a place ripe with faith and belief. The line between reality and fiction is blurred indecipherably. Haitian voodoo and worship to the loa (the gods of their belief) keep appearing in the case, without any evidence that it even factors at all in the big picture. 

The characters are realistic and each comes with their own set of very real, very difficult problems. Whether they be from guilt, anger or fear. There's also the added uncertainty that any of them are innocent. In fact, for all we know one of them is the actual killer and as this book ends with more questions than answers, we'll have to wait for the next instalment to finally know. I have theories aplenty, but there can only be one answer.

I enjoyed this first part of the Sins of the Father series. There is a second part to come before the final reveal and the end of this first book ends on such a cliffhanger that it will leave you unable to stop reading.

A warning to those of younger age (or those who just don't like it), but there are very graphic scenes and course language is present. If you're okay with those, like mythology (and enjoy whodunits) then this is a great book for you. It's a little longer than most (at almost 500 pages), but the words fly by as the tension builds and the story unfolds. A fantastic first instalment that will leave you begging for more.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author through a giveaway. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.