Monday, October 31, 2011

"Home" by Carson Buckingham

Carson Buckingham and I originally met through email, but I have been lucky enough to become her friend. And I was extremely pleased when she asked me to read and review her novella, Home.

Home combines two of my favorite things ever, Irish folklore and a great near-gothic setting. Its the story of Katie Kavanaugh, whose mother and aunt both pass away at the same time and leave her their house in the town of Three Oaks. Fleeing an abusive marriage, Katie goes home to claim her inheritance. What she gets turns out to be far more than she bargained. Her inheritance includes much more than just a strange old house.

To say it was a compelling read would be putting it mildly. I actually read it all in one sitting, because I couldn't put it down. Carson weaves interesting characters, odd situations and strange goings-on seamlessly into the narrative. The reader can't help but be intrigued and almost desperate to find out what's really going on. All is revealed at the end and the explanation not only makes perfect sense, but will resonate within the reader. And for those discerning enough, it will not be unexpected as there are many subtle hints throughout the story. Anyone familiar with Irish folklore will begin to recognize elements in the story.

The only fault I can find is the length. The story was so good, that it seemed to fly by. I would love to have had a little more length to savor. Having already read several of Carson's published works in anthologies (and one unpublished, as yet, one), I was already a fan. Now I'm a huge fan and will eagerly await her next novel.

I highly recommend Home, and any of Carson's work. Home will appeal to anyone who enjoys gothic-style literature, mysteries, Irish folklore, and well told tales. There's the feel of Bradbury in her work. Home is available on Kindle, Smashwords and available from Amazon in paperback.

As always, I've got an interview with the author up at The Author Spot. Go give it a read- Carson's an interesting lady.

Happy Reading,

Monday, October 24, 2011

Where Darkness Dwells by Glen Krisch

Glen Krisch contacted me about doing a review of his novel, Where Darkness Dwells, and I was absolutely intrigued by the synopsis. It reads as follows: Summer, 1934. Two boys, searching for a local legend, stumble upon the Underground, a network of uncharted caverns. Time holds no sway there; people no longer age and their wounds heal as if by magic.

By morning, one boy is murdered, while the other never returns. Below a town ravaged by the Great Depression, an immortal society thrives, built on the backs of slavery and pervasive immorality.

I'm a sucker for underground worlds to begin with, fascinated by abandoned mines, subway systems, and the like, because who knows what flourishes down there? Well, Glen Krisch apparently knows. And it's nothing nice, that's for sure.

The story catches you right from the start, when Jimmy and George sneak out of their homes at night for one last adventure. The entire book is peopled with rich likeable characters that are fully drawn and display a wide depth of emotion. Cooper, the transient who feels pulled to the town, and one house in particular, is especially well developed. He has a full back story that gives us insight into his motivations. I'm also partial to Jacob Fowler and Ellie Banyon, the siblings of the missing boys, and the only children who play a large part in the book.

While, on the surface, the daily lives of these characters are being played out, dark characters exist underneath the town in a system of caverns and mining shafts. They exert their influence on the town and its people in horrific ways. I've seen some reviewers call them zombies or vampires, but I really don't think there's an easy classification for the monsters Glen's created. They don't decay in the underground and they have way more thinking capacity then any zombies I've read about. They don't drink blood or consume flesh like vampires, although the above ground air and sunlight do have a negative effect on them. No, Glen's monsters are original, but just as horrific.

The novel is definitely a battle between good and evil, but its not just the good townsfolk vs. the evil under-dwellers. Its also a battle of justice vs. the evil men do. Its a social commentary on the evil that men inflict on one another.

The novel is set in the 1930's and is rich with historical background. Its grounded in the gritty realism that was life in the depression era. And it travels even farther back, to the days of slavery and the plight of runaway slaves, those who helped them, and those who hurt them.

It was a great book. I highly recommend it to all horror readers. I think fans of Scott Nicholson's would definitely enjoy it, as well as fans of Dan Simmons. I look forward to reading more of Glen's work.

As always, I've interviewed the author over at The Author Spot. Stop by and read about my chat with Glen Krisch. I think you'll enjoy it.

Where Darkness Dwells, as well as Glen's other books, is available on Amazon.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Shining in Crimson, Book One of the Empire of Blood series...

Shining in Crimson is hard to classify. Its a vampire tale. But its also a dystopian society tale. Its a tale with complex characters and it comments on socio-political themes. Its rather intense.

I'll be honest, it was a little hard to get into. It wasn't that it started slow, it does not. It starts with immediate action. I just wasn't hooked. But I'm stubborn, so I kept reading. And I'm glad I did. It's an excellent book. Its exciting, its involving and its original.

Vampires have been around for centuries. Well, not real vampires (well, maybe), but vampire lore. Its on nearly every continent, in every culture. The stories vary widely, and we all know that they don't always agree: sparkly in the sun vs. ashes in the sun. So to find a novel that has an original take on vampires is not an easy feat. But it is refreshing.

Shining in Crimson is about so much more than vampires, though. Its about society as a whole and how we treat others. Its about government having too much power. Its detailed characterizations pull you in and get you involved in the story. Its plot turns and twists keep you engaged and sometimes surprised.

I loved that Las Vegas ended up being the home of the vampires, where prisoners are sent to die. Irony, no? I recommend Shining in Crimson to intelligent readers everywhere. Its much more than just a book about vampires. So much more.

Want to learn more about Robert Shane Wilson? Visit me over at The Author Spot for an interview with the man who, like his novel, has hidden depths.