Monthly Archives: February 2012

Book Review – Sadist: The Rise

Sadist: The Rise – Evil in the Projects

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Kel Fulgham
Format: Kindle, Paperback

The progeny of a bizarre coupling between a beautiful young Jamaican immigrant and an old New York city cabbie, Cal Johnson is cursed.  As a young boy beaten into a six year coma by boys in the project, Cal awakens in his sixteen-year-old body with a nine-year-old brain.  His dreams take him to bizarre places where brutal murders of drug pushers and others who have committed various wrongs occur.  Not wanting to remember of even acknowledge these images, Cal wants to forget they have even occurred.  But when he sees his own teenage tormentor murdered, Cal realizes that the twined presence within him is responsible for all these evils and he desperately wants to rid himself of this beast.  But when the young girl he loves is raped and beaten, Cal wants to exact revenge and realizes embracing the beast is the only way to accomplish his task.  But will Cal loose himself to this evil or will he be able to save himself and others before it is too late?

Kel Fulgham’s “The Sadist” is a methodically paced novel fusing together multiple story lines over a period of years.  The slow temptation and transformation of evil as Cal first resists then somewhat accepts and finally embraces the anonymous uncontrolled power is troubling to witness but serves as a reminder for how one’s own actions and beliefs can be slowly warped over time through incremental, seemingly small insignificant steps, until it is too late.  The road to hell, is as they say, paved in good intentions.

The Sadist is written with great intention, carefully crafting its story with a series of interactions between the various characters that might at first appear to be insignificant until later chapters connect the dots.  This could be frustrating for readers who are drawn to more fast paced action thriller types of reads but these narratives are balanced by the brutal murders the sadist commits which quickly ramp the pace.  For those on the squeamish side, be aware these crimes are and graphically described.

Overall, however, “The Sadist” was an engaging and intriguing read.

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.

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Book Review – The Case of the Unnecessary Sequel

The Case of the Unnecessary Sequel – Fargo 2: Electric Boogaloo! Oh my, what a riot!

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Brian Landon
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Jealous of her brothers’ success, Maura Coen begins filming “Fargo 2: Electric Boogaloo” in a small quite Minnesotan town.  But when what was believed to be a prop gun results in the very real death of one of the cast, Doyle Malloy former police officer to the stars turned private detective, swoops in to solve the murder.

As he did in “A Grand ‘ole Murder”, Brian Landon once more brings his wonderfully quirky characters and crisp wit to small town Minnesota where, unfortunately, not all of the men are good looking nor are all the children above average to paraphrase Garrison Keillor.

Readers, especially Minnesota natives, will thoroughly enjoy the local references and cultural caricatures.  Malloy, his main character, blurts out insensitive questions at inappropriate times, flinches at the site of dead bodies, yet he makes ironically insightful observations just when one wonders how he ever became a police detective.

In lesser hands, this novel could not have been written, but Landon makes the premise, characters, and setting work perfectly for an enjoyable, quirky and fun read.   Don’t miss this one!

Book Review – Lights and Shadows

Lights and Shadows – Book 2 in “The Prisoner and the Sun” Series

Rating: 4.5 of 5
Author: Brad Magnarella
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Trapped for months on his swampland island, Iliff knows he must leave or die.  But where to go?  As he considers his fate, Iliff notices a creatures hump that emerges and submerges in the surrounding  water. Hoping it to be some type of sign, Iliff follows the creature eventually encountering the Fythe – a tribe that have been exiled to the forest after having lost a battle to their bitter enemies – the Garott.  Taken in by the Fythe King, Iliff pledges to protect the Fythe and he offers to use his finely honed stone and mortar skills from his years in prison to build a protective wall around their community.  But as the wall grows taller, wider, and stronger over the years, Iliff wonders if he is keeping the Garott out or trapping his people and himself in yet another prison.

Brad Magnarella’s “Light and Shadows” picks up where book one – The Prisoner and the Sun – left off and takes readers back into this fascinating fantasy world as well as inside the mind of Iliff who continues to flounder on his journey to the Sun.  What I enjoyed most about this chapter in the story was Iliff’s inner struggles questioning his own motivations.  Iliff finds ways to rationalize his decisions and behaviors as a way to protect others when in fact they may be more self serving than he would like to admit. The walls he creates are both physical and emotional and one can’t help but wonder if in the quest to protect one’s self from pain both physical and emotional, the cost of losing life’s joys and personal freedom is too high.

This second book starts a little slower than the first, but the speed picks up considerably about a quarter of the way into the story and the climax is perfectly paced leading the door open to the concluding book three.  I remain extremely curious where the finale will take Iliff and what the Journey to the Sun will eventually reveal.  Bring on the final chapter!

Note: A Complimentary copy of this novel was provided in return for a review.

Review – Cell Wars

Cell Wars: A Hilarious yet Heartwarming look “Inside…”

Rating: 5 of 5
Author: Adam Fox
Format: Kindle

Working tirelessly as head of the “Immigration and Foreign Object Office” (IFOO), Bill decides it is finally time to take a vacation and get away from it all.  You see, Bill is one of the many workers responsible for making sure their host – Brian – stays in good health and lives a nice long life.  But as Bill travels through heart junction, spends some time with workers in the Liver and throws back a few at “The Singing Sphincter” bar, Bill sees that not all is running so well within Brian.  Years of poor food choices, lack of exercise and a high stress job have caused multi system problems as well as led to something so dark and evil it could be the end of Brian.  Unable to make his host change behavior in any meaningful way, Bill decides to do the unthinkable and leave the host and try to communicate with Brian’s spouse to see if the solution lies within her.  What Bill finds there is something both wonderful and unexpected.

Adam Fox’s “Cell Wars” is an imaginative, hilarious, light, yet heartwarming tale of the life and the “battles” that take place every day within our bodies.  The characters, their environment, and voice are spot on and the premise so unique that the pages fly by.  I enjoyed how Fox painted a perfectly detailed environment within Brian and used this unique perspective to then contrast the “new world” explored within the spouse.  The connection between the two hosts’ activities, behaviors, and beliefs and how they translate internally especially given their different genders is highly entertaining as well as telling when it comes to overall happiness and health.

Cell wars is a great, quick read, and readers will enjoy the journey.  For the price, this is an incredible value that should not be passed by!

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.

Review – Draykon

Draykon – A Great Start to the Series

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Charlotte E. English
Format: Kindle

While exploring near her home in Glinnery, young Llandry Sanfaer comes across a hidden cave whose walls are filled with a beautiful gemstone.  An amateur jewelry, she mines the gems subsequently fashioning them into rings, necklaces, and other items to sell at the local market. To her great surprise they become the desire of the seven realms selling out quickly.  But soon those wearing these precious stones are found injured or murdered by creatures previously believed to be extinct from the lower realms.  Summoners and Sorcerers alike are called upon to hunt and banish these creatures back to the lower realms and in the process they find the gates between worlds are appearing and opening uncontrolled and at alarming rates.  What is causing this shift in the balance between the worlds?  Who is hunting these precious stones and why? And how is it a small winged girl from Glinnery seems to hold the fate of the seven realms in her hands?

As I finished reading the final pages of Charlote English’s first book in the Draykon series I thought “Noooooo!” don’t let it end here!  The book builds to a nice and surprising climax and satisfactorily answers many questions, but clearly leaves the main story arc unresolved with Llandry.  Well done Ms. English.  I’m definitely interested in seeing where this series is going.  The premise of the seven realms and worlds connected through veiled gates is intriguing and English gives just enough information to describe these realms while leaving the reader to fill in the details.

The juxtaposition of Llandy, the poor girl from Glinnery and Eva, the High Summoner from Glour and how their stories evolve and intermingle is well executed and drives the plot forward along with mystery of the istore gem and the collapsing veil between the worlds.  The evolution of Llandy’s character as she finds herself drawn to the istore gem and her ability to connect with the animals around her when she wears it adds to the gem’s mysterious properties as well as Llandry’s nature.  Is she something more than she appears?  And why are the seven realms separated at all?

Fantasy readers will find familiar elements here but at the same time something quite fresh making Draykon definitely worth picking up.

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.