author, book review, reading, writing

Book review: King of the Nine Hells – Dean Klein

There are some books that should never be read. Some power and promises that are reviewbetter left undelivered, lost in the flow of time. Such could be said about the Imprecation Sortairii. Forged in the dark ages its power is both ancient and terrifying. When an antique bookshop owner happened across it he could hardly believe his luck. It didn’t matter the tome was not for sale, and its acquisition, which should have eased some of his burdens, did nothing but add to them. It was sold and returned, deemed evil, haunted, and cursed, but that is just part of its lore. Any possessing it can have their dreams come true, for a price. Its last return came with a request, one which was not heeded and now threatens to unleash unknown terror on the world and all whose path it crosses.

Dean Klein’s King of the Nine Hells is a thriller/horror following spanning an era from the dark ages to the present day building up the events as they unfold. The author has multiple main characters, from the scriber of the grimoire to those whose hands it touches. With such a vast and timeless tale the author has ensured a clear indication of time and place at each chapter start making it easy to follow and understand, especially since each chapter adopts only one characters narrative. There is some great scene setting and developments. Threat, fear, and tension build from the first page to the last, with an ever-escalating threat that keeps you intrigued and both eager and terrified to find out what will happen next.

Book link: (I could only locate a paperback at this time.)

King of the Nine Hells

author, book review, reading, writing

Book review: Gordon Bickerstaff – Tears of Fire @ADPase

Zoe’s own tactics had been used against her with precision execution. Captured, shamed, reviewand manipulated into silence it seems her only option is to accept death in order to protect those she loves. The people who thought that obviously didn’t know her, or her allies well at all. But her liberation just serves to throw fuel onto an already raging fire. Given the choices that await her, perhaps the hangman’s noose would have been preferable. Gavin Shawlens has been recruited to investigate an insurance fraud, but he had not been given all the details. Behind a seemingly innocent front, murderers hide in the shadows, seeking revenge, and that revenge is now within their grasp and they will stop anyone who gets in their way, or threatens to expose them. Unfortunately, Gavin’s investigation does just that, and he has already made some powerful enemies, but this time he doesn’t have Zoe at his side to protect him. The clock is ticking before they up their game.

Gordon Bickerstaff was born to write this genre. Tears of Fire is his latest instalment in his Lambeth Group Thrillers and to date I have read every book in this immersive and tension-filled series, and they just keep getting better and better. They read as stand alone and yet also reward the frequent reader. Twists and turns don’t do justice to the complexities of the masterful plot, and it is so involved that revenge, murder, questions, betrayal, and suspense are just the tip of the iceberg. Gordon Bickerstaff achieves the perfect balance between a character and event driven plot. You’ll be hooked from the first page to the last, wondering how things will turn out. This is one hell of an involved plot, and a word to the wise as you navigate through the dangerous tale, remember to breathe. A truly masterful and amazing book, written with flair, style, and an intensity that will leave you wanting more. Tears of Fire is, without question, a five star and highly recommended read.


Book link:

author, book review, reading, writing

Book review: Tabula Rasa: The end is nigh by Gordon Bickerstaff (@ADPase )

When they attacked Zoe Tampsin in her own home they made the worst possible mistake of their lives. Zoe had received a mission directly from the PM, she was the best of the reviewbest. None of them gave a thought to how easily they had subdued the renowned and feared woman. Now she is on the hunt for revenge. Her attackers didn’t realise they had provided Zoe with intel even she was unaware of. The words Tabula Rasa. It is time for Zoe to get to the bottom of this once and for all. Her mission had been to locate Ramsey, the son of a deceased scientist. When things get scientific, the Lambeth group get Gavin Shawlens. He and Zoe embark on the quest with no idea the true depths of what they will uncover, the end is nigh, but no one seems to realise it.

This is the fifth book of the Lambeth Group Thrillers. To date I have read each one of these, and have enjoyed them all. I was excited to finally find time to read this one. There is so much built from the first book to this one, and the relationships forged continue to grow and change. Each book is self-contained, and individual in plot, premise, and ideas. The Lambeth series is certainly one of my favourite thriller series, and like its predecessors has been written with skill and attention to detail. You will find yourself lost in the story, journeying beside the characters, and be prepared for some amazing revelations. Gordon Bickerstaff has certainly set the bar for writers of this genre, and I am hoping to see more from the Lambeth Group Thrillers soon.

Book link:

Tabula Rasa: The end is nigh

author, book review, reading, writing

Book review: The Black Fox by Gordon Bickerstaff

Gavin Shawlins is on the run, only he doesn’t know it. Following their last mission for the reviewLambeth Group someone realised he knew something important, something that could put the US itself at risk. Zoe Tampsin, on the order of her superior, takes him and goes dark. In exchange for Gavin the US have offered The UK billions in upgrades, a manhunt of epic proportions is about to begin, no quarter will be shown, no stone unturned. Zoe swears to protect him at all costs, attempting to tease a secret, that even he doesn’t realise he knows, from him. Time is running out.

I really enjoy reading Gordon Bickerstaff ‘s books. He weaves excellent tales of secrets and conspiracies, all enhanced by vivid characters. It is rare for me to say that something would work well on the big screen, as either a series or movies, but these books would. They are dark, interesting, believable, and could easy be transferred into a gripping film. I certainly had a hard time putting this book down. If you want to lose yourself in a thrilling, action packed, conspiracy, espionage, then this is certainly a read you’ll enjoy.

Book link:

The Black Fox


author, book review, writing

Book review: Deadly Secrets by Gordon Bickerstaff

Gavin is an influential and recognised scientist, who uses the lab at the university to 51nkdzv9gslinvestigate enzymes. His own motivations causing him to become renowned in the field. It was this affinity to his work that saw him integrated into a secret government organisation, to be called upon when his particular area of expertise is required. He is sent to investigate an investment potential, but what he happens upon goes far beyond the line of duty. A company he is sent to has developed an enzyme which will change the food industry itself, but their secret development is not as closely guarded as they thought, someone has their targets trained on this revolutionary process, and they will do whatever it takes to take it for their own.

I originally picked up the fourth book and enjoyed it so much I thought I’d circle back to the start. I am so glad I did. I enjoyed Deadly Secrets as much, if not more, than the first one I read. I can only imagine the transformation Gavin undergoes from this starting character, to the one found in Toxic Minds. It is a journey I am eager to follow. The involved plot is enhanced by the revelation of characters’ own story arcs, adding depth to both them and story. Nothing is simple, as in life, and this complex weave of plot and characters will soon have you in its hooks. Gordon Bickerstaff creates a plethora of deep and well-developed characters and constructs a plot with no shortage of action and suspense. Small details from start to finish knit and blend proving an amazingly detailed story. With the vast amount of information needed to ensure the plot works it is clear how much time and research has gone into it, as well as ensuring the more technical matters are easily understandable for those with little to no understanding of the topics. Book two is already on my to read list, and I can’t wait to see where Gavin’s next adventure takes us.
Book Link:
author, book review, reading, writing

Book review: In Between Dreams by Eugene Knight

Toby had been haunted by dreams so vivid, so real that he questioned his sanity. He 51iznv1asldreamt of murder, but that which plagued him seemed to be more than just a dream. Toby was under the care of psychiatrist Dr Louis who started to have had his own theories, ones he shared with Dr Niles, a specialist is such things. It was not long before his fears were confirmed and Toby came face to face with a vision from his dreams. It became painfully clear he was not losing his mind, at least not in the way he first thought. He was not imagining these brutal killings, he was witnessing them. But what if the link wasn’t only one way, what if the killer knew Toby was there watching, and has plans of his own, a motive beyond Toby’s understanding, but one he is central to.
Written in alternating case between the first person perspective of the protagonist Toby, and the third person narrative of other characters In Between Dreams by Eugene Knight presents an interesting plot that grips the reader’s attention. A window opens into a horrific world, to create a focal point of this psychological thriller that will leave the reader trying to pick through details to discover the truth of before it is revealed. Murder, deception, secrets, and failings all rise to the surface to set the stage of this well-paced and character driven tale. While this book is filed into the young adult paranormal, I would certainly peg it as a more adult read spanning the genre’s from urban paranormal to thriller.
Book link:
author, book review, reading, writing

Book review: What I’d do for Love by K.F. Johnson

Greer had sacrificed so much for her husband Michael. She supported his decision to 51kgxmcikplchange career, she funded his education as he studied to become a sleep therapist. She gave and she gave. Committed to her marriage, to building a better life, not once did she resent putting her dreams on hold while he pursued his. What she did resent however was discovering his affair with a woman from his new dream job. He didn’t even hide it well, sex-soaked sheets and her perfume lingered on their marital bed long after she had left. Well no more. She had given too much for too long to be left with nothing in divorce. She hatched a plan, and his fancy woman Marlene would be the one to take the fall. Her plan was fool proof. Or was it? Her new found freedom brought with it confidence, a power she had never tasted, and she wanted more. With Marlene’s trial coming up she had to be careful, easier said than done when even her own so-called family, true to form, go out of their way to treat her with anything but the respect she deserved. They had not welcomed their father’s bastard child into their house when she was but a little girl, and their hatred only deepened over the years and one of her so-called sisters already suspected she knew more than she was telling.

Sex, lies, betrayal, murder, and love ensure What I’d do for Love has all the ingredients of a great tale. K.F. Johnson creates a wide cast of characters every bit as complex as their relationships. Hauntingly real, the characters are filled with such life and emotion that you can’t help but be caught up in their life. You learn their darkest secrets, their dreams, and all they have had to endure. Greer was not the only one suffering, but is the focal point of this tale and she is certainly a woman scorned and without restraint. Her progression from the book’s start to its finale is brilliant, her actions more daring as she allows the power from her deeds to fuel her jealousy and rage. A Brilliantly written and highly imaginative tale of transition, showing just how far a person will go when given the right push in the wrong direction.
Book review:
author, book review, reading, writing

Book review: The Borman Factor by Robert Lalonde

It all started with the murder of investigative reporter Terry Reynolds. The local police wp-1485106851329.jpgwanted to chalk it down to a mugging, but Stan Novak isn’t convinced. He thinks there is more to this than it was made to appear, but pressure from the mayor sees the investigation ruled a mugging gone wrong. It is election year after all. Nick Borman investigates industrial espionage for a living, but after a conversation with Bill Piermont, an old friend of his and the father of Terry’s wife, he willingly accepts the case. He expected to investigate a simple murder, his gut had warned him it wouldn’t be a fun ride, and boy was it right. Borman uncovers a trail of bribes and underhanded deals, and now must follow the money to uncover the truth behind Terry’s murder.

Robert Lalonde’s The Borman Factor is an action packed, investigative thriller filled with deceit and corruption. The scene is well set, and the alternating narrative between third and first person flows really well. Being well-paced, this book is sure to appeal to lovers of the genre, and written in such an accessible manner that people reading out of their genre will find themselves following along effortlessly. A strong debut novel for the character of Nick Borman.

Book link:
author, book review, reading

Book review: Dark Associations by Marie Sutro

Dark Associations is a crime fiction thriller written by Marie Sutro

Kate Barnes, a detective in the SFPD with a haunted past paved in guilt, tries to keep 51wr8yeqazlpeople at a distance, but in every day life even the simplest of exchanges can develop into something more. Kate was selected to be mentor, to watch over and guide the impressionable mind of a brilliant student whose idolisation of her role-model led to tragedy. When Kate looks upon the brutal scene of her prodigy’s murder she swears to bring her killer to justice, but soon discovers there is more to this case than an isolated event. A serial killer, known as the Tower Torturer, has reared his head, his focus on Kate and the women she holds dear. This brutal killer has already once slipped through the hands of the FBI. Can she bring him to justice before he once again fades into the background, or worse, kills everyone close to her while forcing her add to the burden of guilt she already bears?

There is nothing I love more on a dark night than sitting with a book and trying to work out ‘who-done-it’ before the truth is revealed. I love watching and reading murder mysteries, be it the more widely enjoyed CSI or the old classics first penned by Agatha Christie or  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. When I read a book of this genre it has a lot of expectations to meet in order to receive a five star and Dark Associations ticked all the boxes for me. It is dark, gripping, tense, and filled with deep and interesting characters. From the onset I knew this book had promise, but I did not expect to be so blown away by the author’s skill at creating tension and a complex plot to keep the reader guessing right until the end. If time had allowed there would have been no prying this book from my hand, and I always wanted to read just a little longer. I will certainly be on the look out for more books from Marie Sutro, and would not find myself surprised, in the future, to find myself watching it on TV. A great book, deserving of five stars and my highest praise.

Book link for pre-order:

Dark Associations

author, book review, reading

Book review: The Invasion of Heaven by Michael B. Koep

The Invasion of Heaven is a Thriller/ urban fiction written by author by Michael B. Koep indexexploring the realms of madness, heaven and hell, and broaching questions on life itself.

Bethany Winship was the beginning, or was she the end? Either way he had been warned it happened to everyone in his profession at some point. Her suicide brought with it what Loche Newirth’s friend called the three heavy what ifs. But as he reflected on these he found only questions, questions heavier than self-doubt, greater than time itself. Loche entered psychology because he sought nothing more than to find a means to heal the mind, yet as he stood atop the cliff, gripped with doubt, his own mind began to fracture. He began to write, detail the strange happenings no reasonable mind could comprehend, leaving the manuscript for his mentor Doctor Marcus Rearden, with the instruction it should only be read should something happened to him. Something happened. The content within the pages, what he has seen, experienced, will change the life of anyone who reads it. Unknown pasts and ancient conflicts start to provide answers, but at what cost? Murder, betrayal, and the long inescapable descent into madness.

I will be completely honest, at first I found The Invasion of Heaven quite difficult to get into. I think one of the main reasons for this is Michael B. Koep writes in the simple present tense, a style largely unused in favour of the more familiar past-tense. The story itself, due to the amount of insight needed, is also rather slow to start. As I continued reading I was rewarded with an intricately woven tale of madness, betrayal, hardship, mystery, perception and confusion. The story alternates between the first person perspective of Loche Newirth and the third person viewpoint of other characters, a touch I always appreciate when reading from the first person perspective as it serves to further enhance the tale. Michael B Koep weaves together countless insights into myths, mental states, beliefs, and the human condition to create the tale, all of which come together to create a unique and reflective read. Forget the characters, The Invasion of Heaven will leave you questioning what was real and what the hell just happened?


Book link:

The Invasion of Heaven