Category Archives: Predators

Book Case #86 – Elysium Dreams

Elysium Dreams

Book and Author Details:
Elysium Dreams on Good Reads
Elysium Dreams on Amazon
Hadena James’ Website
Hadena James Facebook

Description from Author:

In the cold, dark nights of Alaska, a hunter is stalking his prey. Once found, he takes them into the woods and skins them alive, prolonging the experience as much as he can, but the satisfaction always wanes.

Aislinn Cain and the Serial Crimes Unit head for the north to find this brutal and cruel killer. The climate is harsh, the locals are hostile, and each day the unsub moves closer to claiming his next trophy – Aislinn.

My Review:
I have to admit, I am a new fangirl of Hadena James’ Dreams and Reality series. I was sent book two after reviewing book one, and fell even more in love with the characters within the pages. I am addicted to the character development. I am drawn in and eager to know more. 

Aislinn “Ace” Cain and the SCTU head to Alaska to track a methodical serial killer. With her misfit team members and a new team lead, Ace digs deep into the mind of this Hunter styled serial killer. He takes his victims and mutilates them in a fascinating method. But the more they dig, the more they feel it could be one of their very own.

Again, as readers we are left with asking ourselves, “Will he get too close to Ace?

I loved this book so much more than the first one. I’ve been completely pulled into this series. I’m connected to the team, and Ace. I want to know more about their history, what made them this way, and so much more. I am super glad the end we found out about the new Team Lead a bit more.

One more thing that I thoroughly enjoy about these books by author Hadena James, is that she makes me think. She writes about things I am uneducated about, which leads me to the internet researching. I have learned quite a bit between the first and second book on subjects like sociopaths vs. psychopaths, medieval torture devices, and various medications. Anyone who can write a book that leaves me to reach out and search for further answers is outstanding to me.

I cannot wait for book two, “Mercurial Dreams”

 

Book Case #81- Working Stiffs

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Book and Author Details:

Description from Author:

Working Stiffs is a hilarious, action-packed tale of survival in the fast-paced world of pharmaceuticals. Something has gone horribly wrong in the Pro-Well Pharmaceuticals factory and ex-meth dealer Marshall Owens, the company’s owner and drug genius, must keep the surrounding Pittsburgh area from finding out.

Unfortunately, the undead assembly line workers have other plans. The infection spreads and chaos reigns supreme as the surviving Pro-Well employees battle their way through offices with whatever weapons they can scrounge from the supply closet. They must get outside. But they don’t know that The General is out there amassing a shambling, rotting army of Pittsburgh’s finest.

Will the employees make it? Will two repulsive workers find love in a janitor’s closet? How many office workers can one man take down with the blade of a paper cutter and some staplers? Will Marshall Owens go back to selling meth? And most important of all, will Pro-Well’s stock value plummet? Find out all the answers in this brilliant new horror/comedy novel reminiscent of style of Christopher Moore.

My Review:
This is Lucy Leitner’s first attempt at novel writing. I’m split on my view of this novel. Although the writing is strong, the styling is just too overboard.

PROS:
I am going to start with what I think are the pros for this author and story. 
The author’s marketing is freaking brilliant. The company in the book is called ProWell Pharmaceuticals. The author created a website for this company:
ProWell PHarmaceuticals <— This is beyond hilarious. Not only did she create a website for the company, she created a zombie workout site for survival:
FITApocalypse <—- She really has an edge with her marketing plan. 

CONS:
To me, it had a very Stephen King vibe, not in the story, but in the descriptions; where he goes into pages of description for one person. Another dislike for me was that the author goes on and on about humanity, and whores and women, etc. The story itself was really good. The idea, the flow and thought process from beginning to end.  For a female author, she’s really rough on women. I feel she tries too hard at throwing in pop-culture references.

Overall, this is really midline for me. It was easy enough to read, but I found myself skipping pages and skimming the story, just to actually get through it and finish it. 

Book Case #78 – Fort Reiley

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Book and Author Details:
Fort Reiley on Good Reads
Fort Reiley on Amazon
Author Jerry Hanel Website
Author Jerry Hanel’s Facebook

Description from Author:

Harrison Kass, a tabloid reporter, travels to a sleepy little town in western Oklahoma to dig up an amazing legend. Well, quotes about one, anyway. What he finds is more than he bargains for. Adam Moor, the town patriarch, has a secret. All of Harry’s prying dislodges the secret and Adam vows to convert Harry into a Citizen – a parasitic infection that will take over his mind and body. Tara Roberts, the local vet, isn’t what she seems. She comes to Harry’s rescue and helps him survive infection. Together they must find the only man on record who knows how to free Harry from his condition before he succumbs to the Turning and becomes another of Adam’s mindless minions.

My Review:
First book on my Best of 2015 Category!!!

I absolutely love this book. Jerry, the author, very much reminds me of early Dean Koontz/ Richard Paige. I am really thankful this book was sent to me for review material. Jerry does well with weaving mystery, paranormal, and creep factor into an intriguing plot process. He has strong character development without going overboard with the description process. He gives you enough to allow you to visualize, while leaving out enough to keep your imagination flowing. This was an easy, but wonderful, read.

The story features Harrison (come on, you know a book’s going to be good when the main character is named after one of the greatest actors!) Kass. He’s a tabloid journalist looking for his next big article. He heart rumors of a fountain of youth in the middle of Oklahoma, and ventures out in his pristine vintage VW bug looking for the perfect quote. What he finds instead was much more than a quote of a lifetime, he finds adventure that becomes life or death.

The town is run by a impenetrable Adam Moor; who’s more than he first seems. No one in the town is friendly. Everyone is secretive, except for Tara Roberts, the town’s vet. She goes out of her way, risking her life, to get the town’s secret out. This story takes the reader on an imaginative, genetic alteration, alien, mysterious adventure.

I found the writing easy to read and follow. The story’s plot was fantastic and kept my attention; well into the wee hours of every morning. This sleep deprived book review cannot wait to read more from Jerry Hanel; especially as a huge early Dean Koontz fan. You can’t help but feel for the main character, Harry. You can’t help but root for Harry and Tara to connect romantically. You can’t help but mentally cheer for them to destroy the town’s “Citizens” and bust the secret wide open.

FANTASTIC Book!   

Published: Dec. 16, 2014
Words: 118,310
Language: English

ISBN: 9781311451026

Book Case #68 – Fear Alone

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Book and Author Details:
Author Jim Martin
Fear Alone on GoodReads
Fear Alone on Amazon

Description from Author:

After having been brutally attacked and left for dead by an abusive husband, Gillian Adams has made a full recovery and is only days away from moving across the country in search of a brighter future. In the sleepy town of Shadow Lake, however, things are not always what they seem, and an unexpected radio announcement reignites all of her darkest fears. Gillian knows her only chance for survival is to get out of town before it is too late. But outside, a storm is brewing, bringing with it a series of strange occurrences which threaten to unravel both her plans for the future and her very sanity as well. Shadow Lake, it would seem, has its own plans for Gillian, and she is about to discover that this day may not only be the most terrifying of her life, but also the deadliest.

My Review: *trigger warnings for domestic violence victims*
This is my second written work by Jim Martin that I have had a chance to read and review. As you recall from Book Case #18, “A Madman’s Song” I thoroughly enjoyed his work.

Fear Alone is a novella that is packed with so much intensity I feel like I held my breath from cover to cover.  I have to admit, it was somewhat hard to get through on a personal level. If you are, or have been, a victim of domestic violence, this may be a hard book to get through. Despite my personal reactions to some of the more intense scenes, this book is very well written.

Gillian, a survivor of a horrific event that almost took her life, discovers that the very person who did this to her has escaped prison. Knowing she was set to flee, she now felt the push to make it happen quicker. As her predator chases her, she chases time; eventually, someone is going to give up the chase.

What struck me the hardest was how poetically weaved the abuse, the build up and the ending creating a well written story. The battle within the few hours we tracked Gillian’s life was easy to relate too,  and believable.

For a quick, powerful read, check out Jim Martin’s “Fear Alone”. 

Book Case #54 – The Fading Place

Author & Publisher Information:
Author’s Website
Author’s Facebook
Author’s Amazon Page
Publisher’s Website
The Fading Place on Good Reads

Description:

Charlie Van Houten is a single mother running the usual weekend errands with her beautiful baby girl Haley, until a delusional gun-wielding woman named Simone takes them hostage in their own car. As they make their way to an unknown final destination, and Simone’s paranoia spirals further out of control, Charlie must stop a different kind of monster from taking away all that she loves.

My Review:

This is a short story that takes place in the duration of a car ride. A crazy woman carjacks a single mother by gun and takes both the woman and her infant daughter hostage. We are witness the different psychological processes that Simone, the carjacker, suffers from.

She doesn’t want the car.
She doesn’t want the money that Charlie has.
She’s plotted this for a long while. She’s planned it all out down to credit card tracking and all.

All she wants is the baby.

What would you do, trapped in a car with a baby, desperate and crazy kidnapper, with no cell phone or communication with anyone?

Take a ride on a creepy, intense short story and find out more.

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Book Case #50 – Edge Walker and the Orb of Death

Author & Publisher Information:
Edge Walker on Amazon
Edge Walker on Facebook
K.R. McClure
Solstice Publishing

Description from Author:

When you live in a world where magic lives alongside traffic, taxes and the morning coffee, things can get a little dicey. Especially if you make your living finding things. Things that some people would prefer remain lost. Welcome to the world of Edge Walker, professional Locator. His supernatural gift for ferreting out the hidden brings in good business, spiced with an extra helping of danger. When he and his pet chupacabra, Ommers, go after the Orb of Death, you can bet the stakes will get high in a hurry!

My Review:

I am friends with K.R. McClure, but that in no way influences my view of this novelette. When I had heard that she pulled a book out of her imagination, put into print and released it to the world, I knew I had to read it. Hell, even my 17-yr-old son had to read it too.

This is such a unique and creative look at the world beyond the veil. Edge Walker locates items from the supernatural realm. He’s hired to find and bring in the orb of death. The best part of this book is his side kick, a chupacabra named Ommers.

Ms. McClure does a fabulous job of creating a world we cannot see. She’s great with character development and keeping the story interesting.

The only negative that I can say about this book is that it’s too short. I definitely would love to see it expanded into a series. I can see Edge and Oms going on a long many different, chaotic, strange, scary adventures.

It’s like Indiana Jones for the Preternatural World. 

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Book Case #48 – December Park

Book and Author Details: This book is scheduled to be released in May 2014. I received an advanced review copy from the publishing company.

December Park on Amazon
Ronald Malfi’s Facebook
Ronald Malfi’s Website
Medallion Media Group

Description from Author:

In the fall of 1993, the quiet suburb of Harting Farms is shocked when children begin to vanish, and one is found dead near December Park—a great, sweeping expanse that is sunken below the streets and surrounded on three sides by vast woodlands—a place children believe is haunted.

Newspapers call the abductor the Piper because he has come to lead children away, while kids whisper darker names for him in the school halls.

Angelo Mazzone and his friends discover a link to the dead girl and take up the search for the killer, vowing to stop the Piper’s reign of terror. Their teenage pledge becomes a journey of self-discovery and an odyssey into the darkness of their own hometown.

My Review:
FIRST BOOK TO HIT MY 2014 BEST OF BOOK LIST!!
It’s going to be too hard to top this one. This was THE BEST BOOK to kick off the New Year with.


As you might be aware, I have read and reviewed a number of other books by author Ronald Malfi:
Cradle Lake
Floating Staircase

Now that I have had the chance to read an advanced copy of “December Park”, I truly feel that the previous two were stepping stones into the mind and writing styles of Ronald Malfi. They were the meat and bones to cut my baby teeth on. December Park was so much more than a story to me, it was life itself. To me, it was very “Stand By Me” meets “Kings of Summer“, and in one brief moment, very very “A Christmas Story.”

I am now totally a fan girl. I am so in love with the author’s word usage and ability to build a new world around me with each page. His writing and stories remind me very much of my early reading years reading the first Dean Koontz book, “Servants of Twilight.” I am going to eagerly devour all the books from Mr. Malfi that I can get my chubby fingers on.

There are so many wonderful things to say about this book, and because I tend to get rather ADHD when it comes to books I am eagerly emphatic about, I am going to list them out.

1. Writing style.
Holy smeg! Malfi is truly gifted when it comes to writing. I literally went from anger, sadness, eagerness, sadness, suspense in waiting, page turning, up ALL NIGHT (even though it was on a work night) just to get to the end. I had to know who the Piper was. But more so, I had was so attracted to the characters, scenery, town and troubles that I felt that I was “there.” So realistic. It was like reading the journal of a real teenager. I had to know what was going to happen to them all. I actually had a momentary breakdown when I finished the book. I did not want their book lives to end. I need to know more. I want to watch them grow up, become men. The epilogue, however, was so elegantly written it was all the closure I really needed.

2. Era.
It’s almost as if Ronald dipped into my life as a teenager and wrote about the perceived “hoodlums” I was friends with. Each of us looking sloppy and slovenly, like they just did not care anymore, but in reality we were the most loyal bunch of kids. This is exactly how I saw Angie and his gang, even the awkward Adrian.

I love the characters in this book. I love the relationships, their idiosyncrasies, their strengths and weaknesses. Most of all, I love that they remind me of a day and age when I too thought I was invincible. From the mention of Seattle Grunge fashion to the death of Nirvana, all very fresh in my almost 40yr old mind. I remember each of the bands, music, clothing, and Kirk Cobain like I just stepped out of my high school yesterday. SO WELL WRITTEN!

3. Creativeness.
I love how much work Mr. Malfi put into this novel. It’s as if he reached into his childhood and shared what was deep in his psyche. Everything from the structuring of sentences to the poetic written illustrations to the relationships between friends, enemies and parents. Angie, reminds me a lot of my son, who is now 17. I see the clumsiness of being that awkward age. That fine line that is drawn in life when you morph from curious wide eyed child taking on the world to seeing, witnessing and feeling too much that eventually matures you into adult. I see the boys in this novel trying so hard to keep that intrigue and curiosity. SO DAMNED WELL WRITTEN. 

4. Twists and turns.
I had no freaking clue that’s who the Piper was going to be. No clue. Incredibly well done. I was so busy worrying and wondering about the boys, that I never seen the ending come the way it did. I was completely captivated from the “evidence” they found. I too was curious about who they had on their suspect list. I was for sure it was that cop following them. But much to my surprise, NOTHING was predictable about this book. Well, maybe one thing. That douche’ bag Keener.

Negatives:
This is just an aesthetic “negative” if you will.  It wasn’t until I was half way through the second “book” in the novel that I realized the chapters had titles that were pertinent to the story itself. The chapter numbers are written out in a larger font than the title below it. I would switch that around. It makes it more eye catching and noticeable. I rarely pay attention to what chapter I’m on. If the author is creative enough to title each chapter, I’d rather see the title more so than the chapter number.

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Book Case #47 – Inhibited

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Book and Author Details:
Inhibited on Amazon
Inhibited on Smash Words
Inhibited on Good Reads
Author Christine Wilkinson’s Website

Description from Author:

From the author of Desperate comes the gripping tale of Raiya Bryden. A child molested. A teenager forced into prostitution. An adult sold to a deranged sociopath. A broken soul forced to take a life for a chance at her own. But can she ever escape the prison in her own mind? One man who defies everything she’s ever learned about men, and a dog with unwavering loyalty, may be the keys to unlocking the door to her future, as well as the truth about her past.

My Review:
Christine Wilkinson is a strong author. This is the second novel I have had the chance to read for review. She is creative in a psychological terror kind of way. To fathom living the lives of the women she writes about is overwhelming. She does a great job of writing the story of a victim, of abuse, and overall hate that grows in the pit of your stomach.

This is yet another story of abuse and survival. Christine does a wonderful job of writing twists and turns that leave you guessing. In the process of this book it wasn’t “Who done it?” more so than it was, “Is she going to survive?” Raiya is a strong willed character. Where most women would have given up long ago, Raiya kept fighting to become more than her “mother” sold her into.

Christine has a huge career in front of her. This is NOT a horrible book for a second novel release. I would continue to read her stories. She, so far, is one of the only authors that writes well enough to keep me intrigued until the end of the book. I pick her books up at bedtime and close them somewhere around 2 a.m. That is saying a lot for me. I look forward to seeing what else she writes and where her new career ends up taking her.

If you can stomach the content of what she writes about, you will be intrigued and entangled in her stories as well.

Sexual assault, abuse, prostitution, and pedophiles. This book is NOT for the weak of heart. This book is also not for anyone who suffers from PTSD or easy triggers from their past. 

Negative Impressions

I feel the book was a bit undone or rushed somewhat. For example, I was totally confused on the part where her father tells her that he received a call, and that her mother was alive and in the hospital. The author talks about how Raiya’s father went to visit “mom” in the hospital, who told him Raiya was dead. SO IS MOM STILL ALIVE? Or, did she die from her injuries? Or, what? I feel that the author could have expanded on this more. 

I also feel that she could have expanded on the Cove Inn situations a bit more as well. Raiya entered when she was 12 and left when she was 18, that’s six years of undisclosed story line that could have extended the book more so.

Mr. G’s is another avenue of expansion. If Luke knew he was a possible “pedophile”, when he found out who Raiya was and where she came from, I am sure they investigated his house. Raiya, at the beginning of her venture there, had the realization that other girls were there. Sick fucks like Mr. G keep mementos. I would love to see more of an investigative side to the stories and find out what other girls could be identified. I was left thinking, “Did Mr. G kill them? How did he dispose of them? Where are they now?”

I just felt so much more could be expanded on.

My last avenue of frustration would be that of the same kind of story line from Desperate; previous novel reviewed by me. Again with a female character that has suffered too many years of sexual abuse, immediately runs to the arms of a man? I just find it really hard to believe that that soon after escaping that lifestyle, Raiya would be eager to find love; especially after 13+ years of sexual torture and abuse. 

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Book Case #43 – Tenderloin

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Book and Author Details:
Tenderloin on Amazon
Tenderloin on Good Reads
Ty Hutchinson, Author Website
Ty Hutchinson, Author Facebook

Description from Author:

She’s short. She’s feisty. She’s sexy. She’s Mom. FBI Agent Abby Kane is back.

Life in San Francisco could not be better for FBI Agent Abby Kane and family. With white-collar crimes dominating her work schedule, chasing deranged killers is a thing of the past, until the body of a dead DEA agent pops up in Bogotá.

Ordered to Colombia for answers, Abby’s investigation takes her deep into the Amazon jungle where she discovers evidence of strange experiments at a rundown lab. When she later crosses paths with one of the scientists involved, she learns that a new drug has been invented, and its danger isn’t the addictive high but the terrifying side effects.

Abby believes the cartels are behind the drug, but the locals think it’s one man. They call him the Monster.

My Review:

Another book I received for review from Net Galley. This is a FBI thriller/suspense book based around a bad ass FBI Agent by the name of Abby Kane. Apparently this is the second book in the series. I enjoyed it very much.

Abby is a spitfire FBI Agent who is widowed with two children. She’s a full time mom, with the help of her loving rival, and mother-in-law, “Po Po”. In the midst of fighting everyday crime, she’s called out to Columbia to assist DEA’s office in the bazaar murder of one of their agents. 

Upon arrival to Columbia, she’s paired with another local DEA agent who is very … Antonio Bandaresque. This is about when the book kind of lost its appeal to me. It became more about the subtle, not so subtle, attractions between Agent Cane and Special Agent Dominic Cabrera. 

I would say the best part of this book was the indigenous tribe the agents had to infiltrate to gather further information. The whole “become one with the tribe” was actually pretty funny. 

The plot thickens as they realize the killer of their agent … is something a bit more sinister than man or animal.  

The Ortega brothers are both genetic scientists. Both brothers are working for Faro Zapata, and his boss is a drug lord, El Monstruo. The bosses have a special interest in the drug the Ortega brothers are working on. 

The book was a bit suspense, romance and scifi. … 

But the book was also highly predictable. It was midline for me. It kept my attention enough to finish the book, but not enough to get other books in the series. 

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Book Case #42 – Desperate


Book and Author Details:
Desperate on Good Reads
Desperate on Amazon
Desperate on Facebook
Desperate on Smash Words
Author Christine Wilkinson’s Website

Description from Author:

A well-respected husband manipulates a small town into believing his abused wife causes her own injuries. Ten brutal years later, he murders her father and claims it was her during one of her violent rages. Having nothing left to lose, she escapes and finds refuge with a local cop whose secret could destroy her delicate trust in him, as well as her freedom. Will she be able to prove her innocence, and her husband’s guilt, before he finds her?

My Review:

So much to say about this book, both negative and positive. For the most part, this book was pretty good. This is author Christine Wilkinson’s debut novel, and not a bad one at that. It is creative with a great descriptive aspect and a solid suspense outline. She did well with keeping the reader tuned in and turning pages. I started the book last night with the intent of getting at least the first couple chapters at out of the way. I just kept turning pages. Somewhere around a quarter to 2am, I had reached the end. 

My first observation of the book is a possible reflection of the author. The details in the abuse (physical, emotional, verbal, and especially sexual) were so real and raw I hope that she did not write from a more personal point of view. This book definitely needs to come with *trigger* warnings!  It was really very real, from the abuse to the scars and damage done; both physical and emotional. The author captured the victim, Eris, so well as a real, viable victim.

Christine also did well at painting a sociopath, psychotic individual rather well too. I hated Eris’ husband from the first page he was written on.

The events that lead up to the deaths in the book, the twists and turns, gripped the reader’s view incredibly well. However, with that said, I have two negatives about the book.

Negative Impressions

First negative impression was that of a woman who suffered(s) 10 years of severe, crippling abuse who runs right into the arms of another man. I think even the author, Christine, might have sensed that about the book while she was writing it. There were numerous moments were she implied from Eris’ point of view, “What am I doing? Why am I so attracted to this man?” etc. I personally cannot see a horrifically abused woman less than 24 hours after her escape cling to the body warmth given by another man.

Well, wait.. I guess maybe I can. The main character was so starved for any compassion, love, kindness… I can see her slipping quickly into another relationship scenario.

Second negative impression stems from the first one; all the sexual interludes. I found myself skipping pages to just get through the sex scenes. I am not a prude. I do enjoy a tasteful, classy written sex scene, but not every other page. The middle of the book was a plethora of various sex scenes. I just found it awkward to read, because in the back of my mind I kept thinking, “No woman who escaped that kind of abuse would do this.”

But, then again… I guess I can see where she would. I think a few of the sex scenes were vital in the mental impression the author wanted to present Eris as. Sex is trust. Sex is giving and taking. The sex scene with Eris’ first orgasm was a crucial, imperative plot point for Eris.

Overall, this is a well written, very creative book. I want to thank the author, Christine Wilkinson, for sending an author review copy. It will forever have a home on my Haunted Book Case at home.

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