The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

“The body you are wearing used to be mine.” So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.
The Rook is yet another ambitious urban fantasy set in the sunny shores of Britain. It has secret government organisations, conspiracies, surprising twists and quirky characters that by all accounts should have been something that I would have loved. However the thing that bothered me most is the tongue-in-cheek attitude that the author employs in most situations. It would have been brilliant if used sparingly but right now it feels like the author is just showing off how clever he is. I mean if you are a high ranking official in a secret US government agency, would you really act like as if you’re a character in Legally Blonde or Clueless? The answer is no, it just doesn’t fit.

If you overlook that fault, the book is actually pretty fun. The concept of the story and the strength of its characters are both top notch. The mysterious circumstances surrounding Myfanwy Thomas and the gradual revelation of this secret world with its secret government agencies really gets you hooked on the story. It was a delight to read about the inner workings of the Checquy, the department responsible for overseeing the supernatural events both within Britain and abroad.

At first the letters from Myfanwy’s previous self, felt a bit like the story was told by the voice of god. Whenever the current Myfanwy encounters a conundrum, she would open a letter and, lo and behold, the previous Myfanwy would have written a letter detailing the steps she should take. I would have preferred more showing and less telling but this kind of storytelling grew on me as the story progressed. Many of these self-addressed letters are chock-full of background information that doesn’t move the story forward but I enjoyed reading them nonetheless.

Although Myfanwy comes off a little ditzy at times, she does make a pretty convincing heroine. In fact, she reminds me a little of the early years of Buffy. When it’s time to get down to business there is no holding her back and the new Myfanwy will see it through to the very end.

Despite not enjoying the author’s humour as much, I can’t deny that this is an entertaining novel. A real page turner that shows off just how much skill and wild imagination that the author has. I will of course look forward to the sequel but I just hope that O’Malley can turn down the silliness a tad with the next book.

The Burning Bush

After Dante Bottelli’s slaughter of Vamp-owned Mixbreeds, Lanore and Zulu execute a well-planned attack that hits Dante where it hurts the most—his pockets. But their attack triggers a chain of unfortunate events, and allows Detective Rivera to blackmail Lanore.

Rivera forces Lanore to investigate his case, the Burning Bush Murders. Someone’s been tying girls to bushes and setting them on fire. Lanore must find the killer, or Rivera goes public with his information.

Meanwhile, Dante won’t take his defeat without a fight. He counterattacks and the Santeria habitat, as well as Lanore’s and Zulu’s lives, are changed forever.

I read the outstanding Fire Baptized, the first book in the Habitat series, back at the beginning of the year. I was impressed by Wright’s ability to weave both mystery and supernatural genre so effortlessly together and was also captivated by the lore and mythology of the world she created. The second book builds on top of this strong foundation and introduces the reader to even more of Santeria’s history. What I also liked are the inequalities and struggles of the mixbreeds are brought to the forefront and are now a focal point of the story.

The Burning Bush begins shortly after the events in Fire Baptized and Lanore is once again caught up in a murder investigation. This time, Detective Rivera has charged her to look into the death of a rich girl who was found stuck to a burning bush in the the middle of the police station forecourt. Little did she know her investigation would dig up the sordid past of one of the most powerful Supenaturals in Santeria. To make matters worse, her relationships with Zulu and Meshack are getting even more complicated and there are elements within the Rebels who want to see her dead.

This was another good read. I really like how Wright incorporates the theme of inequality into her stories. In her world, the Supernaturals lost a war with the humans and are left to live in caged cities known as Habitats. However not all Supernaturals are equal and the lowest of them all are the Mixbreeds who are born without any power and are used as playthings by everyone. The Mixbreeds are looked down upon and deemed not able to achieve anything in their life. When they do work, they have to take on the most unpleasant jobs that no one else would do. No one in the society cares for Mixbreeds except for Lanore, Zulu and their MFE who are demanding fair treatment for the Mixies.

The plot is just as strong as before with a good mystery to keep you hooked from beginning to the end. More of Santeria’s background is revealed in the story but you never felt overwhelmed as Wright perfectly balances the pace of the book with just the right amount of world building. The introduction of Zulu’s half-sister Cassie was a good choice as her character brings a playfulness to the story and offsets some of the grimness of the world.

The only thing that I thought was a little too much was the romance in this book. In Fire Baptized, the book is primarily urban fantasy with a dash of romance but in The Burning Bush, the love triangle just got way out of hand at times.

All in all, The Burning Bush is a solid follow up to the Habitat series. If you enjoyed the first book then you would not be disappointed by this. It’s always a pleasure to read a story where the author has obviously invested much time and effort in creating a world with rich, diverse background and history. I look forward to reading the next chapter in the Habitat series.

Other books in the series

The Dead of Winter by Lee Collins

 

Cora and her husband hunt things – things that shouldn’t exist. When the marshal of Leadville, Colorado, comes across a pair of mysterious deaths, he turns to Cora to find the creature responsible, but if Cora is to overcome the unnatural tide threatening to consume the small town, she must first confront her own tragic past as well as her present.

Ok, it’s been a while since I’ve last done a book review and I’ll get things started again with the long overdued review of Lee Collins’s The Dead of Winter. Another brilliant debut from Angry Robot’s amazing 2012 schedule. If you love supernatural stories then you’re in for a treat with this one.

The Dead of Winter stars Cora Oglesby and her husband Ben who specialises in hunting things that even the most hardened hunters are afraid of. Think of them as a Western version of Supernatural’s Sam and Dean Winchester if you will. Like Dean, Cora has a quick to anger temper and prefers action to words, whereas Ben is a more laid-back, thoughtful fellow. Despite how different they are, they do make an incredible pair and have a long history of monster slaying behind them. So that is why the marshal agreed to let Cora investigate the unnatural deaths of two local hunters in Leadville. But things are never this easy and soon they discover what is really lurking around in Leadville.

I really enjoyed the pacing and structure of this book. The first half serves an introduction to help you familiarise yourself with the characters and demonstrates just how effective and ruthless Cora is at her work. Once you reach the second half though, that is when the real meat of the story begins and you are exposed to a world bathed in rich lores and myths. Even though we’ve read these vampire stories hundred of times before, Collins still made it interesting and thrilling. I even managed to pick up a term for vampires that I never knew before!

A lot of credit goes to how well Cora is written. She is a conflicted character torn by a tragic event in her past. Cora wants to settle down to an easy life once she has made enough money but circumstances drive her to continue her journey on the road. Her character and attitude truly reflects on all the crap she has been through in her life. I can’t wait to see how she will evolve after the events in this story.

The Dead of Winter is a fantastic Supernatural tale set in Western setting with plenty of action and quirky humour. Definitely not to be missed and it makes a wonderful addition to your (virtual) bookshelf. Did you know that Collins was discovered because of Angry Robot’s Open Door Month? I’m just glad they did not pass on this gem.

Cora’s tale will continue in She Returns From War, which will be published in February 2013.

The Wrong Goodbye by Chris F. Holm

Meet Sam Thornton, Collector of Souls.

Because of his efforts to avert the Apocalypse, Sam Thornton has been given a second chance – provided he can stick to the straight-and-narrow.

Which sounds all well and good, but when the soul Sam’s sent to collect goes missing, Sam finds himself off the straight-and-narrow pretty quick.
Dead Harvest is one of the best supernatural debuts to come out this year. An explosive thriller that gave us Sam Thorton, a body hopping soul collector who just happens to be the lynchpin of the Apocalypse. Sam was given a nigh on impossible task and must see it through while caught in between the manipulations of both angels and demons. A fantastic action packed story that had all the elements of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie!

In The Wrong Goodbye, Sam Thornton is back once again collecting the souls of evildoers. We’re quickly thrust into the situation when the soul Sam was meant to collect ends up missing and the person responsible is an old buddy of Sam’s. Now Sam must find and inter the soul before his own is blast into nothingness by an angry and ancient god. Joined by a dead mobster and a transsexual fortune teller, Sam takes the road across America as he searches for the missing soul. Sounds like an odd combination right? But you just have to read it to believe it.

You would be glad to know that the thrill and tension that you enjoyed so much in the debut is back and dare I say it, even better in this book. The recently deceased small time mobster, Gio, provides much of the comic relief in this book and makes a good contrast to Sam who can be a little too serious and grim at times. The mythology of the world is further expanded in The Wrong Goodbye and now we realise there are other entities besides angels and demons at play.

The book also references to skirmishes between angels and demons across the world as a result of the events in the first book. To me, it feels like the final book in the trilogy will be about the forthcoming Apocalypse, so I wonder why the angels and demons take a backseat in this book? Although I would have liked a stronger apocalyptic theme in this book, the story here still satisfied my appetite.

You don’t need to have read Dead Harvest to enjoy The Wrong Goodbye as the story neatly fills in any gaps that you may have. If you really haven’t read the first book then you should definitely get it now. This action packed novel will keep you reading late into the night and provide hours of entertainment. An irresistible treat for all the urban fantasy fans out there. Now that much of the mythology and groundwork has been laid, I look forward to the finale when the end of days draws near!

The Collector Series: Dead Harvest, The Wrong Goodbye

The Wrong Goodbye by Chris F. Holm

Meet Sam Thornton, Collector of Souls.

Because of his efforts to avert the Apocalypse, Sam Thornton has been given a second chance – provided he can stick to the straight-and-narrow.

Which sounds all well and good, but when the soul Sam’s sent to collect goes missing, Sam finds himself off the straight-and-narrow pretty quick.
Dead Harvest is one of the best supernatural debuts to come out this year. An explosive thriller that gave us Sam Thorton, a body hopping soul collector who just happens to be the lynchpin of the Apocalypse. Sam was given a nigh on impossible task and must see it through while caught in between the manipulations of both angels and demons. A fantastic action packed story that had all the elements of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie!

In The Wrong Goodbye, Sam Thornton is back once again collecting the souls of evildoers. We’re quickly thrust into the situation when the soul Sam was meant to collect ends up missing and the person responsible is an old buddy of Sam’s. Now Sam must find and inter the soul before his own is blast into nothingness by an angry and ancient god. Joined by a dead mobster and a transsexual fortune teller, Sam takes the road across America as he searches for the missing soul. Sounds like an odd combination right? But you just have to read it to believe it.

You would be glad to know that the thrill and tension that you enjoyed so much in the debut is back and dare I say it, even better in this book. The recently deceased small time mobster, Gio, provides much of the comic relief in this book and makes a good contrast to Sam who can be a little too serious and grim at times. The mythology of the world is further expanded in The Wrong Goodbye and now we realise there are other entities besides angels and demons at play.

The book also references to skirmishes between angels and demons across the world as a result of the events in the first book. To me, it feels like the final book in the trilogy will be about the forthcoming Apocalypse, so I wonder why the angels and demons take a backseat in this book? Although I would have liked a stronger apocalyptic theme in this book, the story here still satisfied my appetite.

You don’t need to have read Dead Harvest to enjoy The Wrong Goodbye as the story neatly fills in any gaps that you may have. If you really haven’t read the first book then you should definitely get it now. This action packed novel will keep you reading late into the night and provide hours of entertainment. An irresistible treat for all the urban fantasy fans out there. Now that much of the mythology and groundwork has been laid, I look forward to the finale when the end of days draws near!

The Collector Series: Dead Harvest, The Wrong Goodbye

Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood

Clerks meets Buffy the Vampire the Slayer in this original urban fantasy eBook about Geekomancers—humans that derive supernatural powers from pop culture. Ree Reyes’s life was easier when all she had to worry about was scraping together tips from her gig as a barista and comicshop slave to pursue her ambitions as a screenwriter.

When a scruffy-looking guy storms into the shop looking for a comic like his life depends on it, Ree writes it off as just another day in the land of the geeks. Until a gigantic “BOOM!” echoes from the alley a minute later, and Ree follows the rabbit hole down into her town’s magical flip-side. Here, astral cowboy hackers fight trolls, rubber-suited werewolves, and elegant Gothic Lolita witches while wielding nostalgia-powered props.

Ree joins Eastwood (aka Scruffy Guy), investigating a mysterious string of teen suicides as she tries to recover from her own drag-your-heart-through-jagged-glass breakup. But as she digs deeper, Ree discovers Eastwood may not be the knight-in-cardboard armor she thought. Will Ree be able to stop the suicides, save Eastwood from himself, and somehow keep her job?
“If Buffy hooked up with Doctor Who while on board the Serenity, this book would be their lovechild. In other words, GEEKOMANCY is full of epic win.” – Marie Lu, author of Legend series. Honestly with that kind of endorsement, can any geek pass on this book?

Well Geekomancy is definitely a book written by a geek for geeks. It is a fun and entertaining story that combines what we love most about popular culture with a light-hearted mystery. I’m sure all geeks would love to have Ree’s power in the story, which is Genre Emulation. With Genre Emulation, Ree gains power by watching TV shows and movies and the more she identifies with the characters the stronger her power gets.

From a geek’s point of view, I love the little references and mentions littered throughout the book and the sudden aha moments that you get when you recognise where that line comes from. I also love the creativity and the way Underwood blends the source materials together in the story.

However from a reader’s point of view, the constant barrage of irrelevant references is distracting and feels like they are there simply to gain geek cred rather than to move the story along. To me the references feel forced, unlike in Ready Player One, where it happens naturally and all mentions to things like Dungeons and Dragons, WarGames and Joust are all necessary because they are integral parts of the story.

Since Ree’s case has a supernatural element to it, I thought a show such as Supernatural would fit perfectly as who can understand situation like this better than the hunters Sam and Dean Winchester? Instead the show was mentioned in a throwaway line and we see Ree stumble along with a bunch of fun but not terribly useful abilities.

I like magic systems with some type of rule, otherwise you can create any solution that you see fit in the story. And in some ways the magic in Geekomancy feels just like that. There are powerful magic artifacts just because they are somehow related to Popular Culture and there is magic for anything under the SFF sun, there’s even one that draws power from Bromance… Yeah it’s fun to read but theGeekomancy world just feels too chaotic and shallow to me.

To put it simply, if you are a geek then you will like this book because of the big fan service it provides. The story is a little uneven at times and even with the flaws I mentioned, the overall story has kept me entertained. It might not be the best thing that’s ever happened in the Geekdom but I’ll definitely recommended it to any geek that is looking for a light humourous read.

Incursion by Aaron Rosenberg

Incursion by Aaron Rosenberg

R.C. Hayes has settled into his job with the FBI, and put behind him the strange incident that ended his military career. But when he and his partner are sent to the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana to look into a murder, events take an unsettling and eerily familiar turn. R.C. struggles to solve the case as deaths pile up around him and as the situation takes a decidedly unnatural cast. With the help of a mysterious new ally, he may finally come to terms with what happened to him long ago—and enter a strange new career he is uniquely suited for. Provided he can survive the incursion of supernatural elements into his supposedly safe and mundane world.
You might recognise the name Aaron Rosenberg from a number of tie-in novels for established fan favourites such as WarCraft, Star Trek and Warhammer, just to name a few but he’s also done plenty of original fiction and Incursion is one of them.

Incursion is a fantastic supernatural story that has plenty of action and mystery to keep me turning the pages. I’m also a person that really enjoys mythologies and found it extremely refreshing to learn so many Native American myths that I have never heard of before. Incursion reminds me of some of the best episodes of classic X-Files and definitely has me interested in the rest of the series.

Incursion is one of the first books in the shared-world series titled O.C.L.T. which stands for Orphic Crisis Logistical Taskforce and is the brainchild of David Niall Wilson and Aaron Rosenberg. There are actually a few novellas set before the events of Incursion but I had no trouble picking this story up as this book is mostly independent of the previous stories.

Our main character R.C. Hayes and his partner have been sent by the bureau to investigate a murder in the Flathead Indian Reservation. What makes this murder so different is that the victim has been killed with a well-placed arrow to his throat. As the pair looks further into the case, they discover that this is only the tip of the iceberg and more deaths are coming. Along the way R.C. is joined by a gorgeous and mysterious Spanish woman who seems to know what is really happening at the reservation. Can they put a stop to the events and restore peace to the reservation?

This isn’t the first time that R.C. has encountered the supernatural. When R.C. was serving in the military, there was an incident in Uppsala that wiped out all of his team except him. He couldn’t believe what he saw as none of it made sense. So it was really great to see R.C. transform from a sceptic to a believer through the course of this book. His cool-headedness is also a wonderful contrast to the gung-ho attitude of Isabella and the two of them make a superb team together.

Like I said before, I’m a sucker for mythologies and I really enjoyed how the different beings from Native American myths are brought to this story. Rosenberg did a great job linking various myths and the plot together to bring a satisfying end to this story.

Incursion is a fun and entertaining story. In the ending we finally get to see what the O.C.L.T. is and what it is that they do. This story is only a piece of the jigsaw puzzle that builds towards something bigger and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for the O.C.L.T. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a good well-written supernatural story.

You can find out more about O.C.L.T. at the following link. O. C. L. T. A new Series for Fans of X-Files, Buffy, Angel and Fringe

Challenges read for:


2012 Self-Published Reading Challenge – Book 8

 


2012 Ebook Challenge – Book 16

Caged View by Kenya Wright

Caged View is a collection of short stories set before the events of Fire Baptized. I know this is a prequel but to fully appreciate these short stories, I highly recommend reading Fire Baptized first as these stories serve as explorations into the main characters’ pasts. Just like Fire Baptized, the stories are well-written and extremely enjoyable.

Love lost, Love found is told from the point of view of a young MeShack. The story deals with the time the Werecheetah lost his mother and how his beast took control in hunting down his mother’s killer.

In The Heart Ripper’s Song, Zulu has a plan to stop the proliferation of drugs in the Mixbreeds neighbourhood which involves ripping out the hearts of drug dealers. Lanore correctly points out that this is not the most efficent way to do things and they should instead be going after the bigger fish, the cartels themselves.

Now we switch to the female lead and Lanore has to make up her mind on the two guys in her life in The Vicious Circle. But which is the right decision?

Last but not least is an excerpt from the upcoming YA novel, Chameleon. Cameo is a Mixbreed with an interesting ability to morph into another person. It already shows a promising start, can’t wait to see how things will turn out for Cameo.

You can pick up these short stories for free at Smashwords and if you like it, be sure to get a copy ofFire Baptized too.

Challenges read for:


2012 Self-Published Reading Challenge – Book 3

 


2012 Ebook Challenge – Book 10

Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm

Meet Sam Thornton. He collects souls.

Sam’s job is to collect the souls of the damned, and ensure they are dispatched to the appropriate destination. But when he’s sent to collect the soul of a young woman he believes to be innocent of the horrific crime that’s doomed her to Hell, he says something no Collector has ever said before.

“No.”
Before I begin the review, I would just like to say Wow! Is Dead Harvest really a debut novel? This book was such a fantastic read that I finished the book in no time at all. I was extremely impressed with the tension throughout the story and also with the cinematic quality feel that this book creates. To top it off, the protagonist Sam Thornton is a brilliant anti-hero that you can’t help but love.

One of the reasons I like this book so much is because I’m a big fan of supernatural movies and shows. When reading Dead Harvest I’m reminded of scenes from Supernatural, Fallen and End of Days. This book contains the best elements of these stories and has created something absolutely wonderful in the urban fantasy genre.

As you can tell from the blurb, the story deals with the fallout that Sam caused by saying no to a soul collection job. You see, Sam only collects soul of the damned and he believes that the girl has been set up. In order to clear her name, Sam abducts the girl from police custody while he comes up with a plan. However both angels and demons think that he has an ulterior motive for protecting the girl. So now Sam not only has to hide from the police but also from both heaven and hell in this frantic cat and mouse chase.

To balance the fast pacing storyline, we are treated to flashes of Sam’s past which cover how he first met demons and how he became a Collector. These glimpses show us why Sam still clings to his humanity and help build Sam into a more well-rounded character.

I really enjoy how the story turned out but there is one plot point that is nagging me. The following may contain spoiler so skip ahead if you haven’t read the book yet. So everything in the book hinges on the fact that the girl’s soul must be collected but why does it have to be Sam who collects it? Surely Lilith knows that Sam is one of the Collectors that remain the most human and he has the potential to screw up the plan. Couldn’t she have worked it so that Bishop or some other Collector like him was sent on the job instead?

The story comes to a satisfying conclusion and leaves plenty of room for further exploration. Has Sam stopped the apocalypse for good or merely delayed the inevitable? Guess we’ll find out in the sequel, The Wrong Goodbye when it comes out later on this year.

If you love gritty supernatural stories then you should give Dead Harvest a go. I believe this story would work well on the Big Screen and wouldn’t be surprised if this book gets picked up by a studio soon. Chris F. Holm is an author that you should definitely watch out for.

Challenges read for:


2012 Ebook Challenge – Book 9

Carpathia by Matt Forbeck

It’s Titanic meets 30 Days of Night.

When the survivors of the Titanic are picked up by the passenger steamship Carpathia, they thought their problems were over.

But something’s sleeping in the darkest recesses of the ship. Something old. Something hungry.
What do you get when you put two of the most popular topic, Titanic and Vampires together? You get Matt Forebeck’s Carpathia, a fun alternate history about the survivors of Titanic. The story pays a big homage to the old school vampires, the ones that are vicious, afraid of garlic and can shapeshift into bats and wolves. None of that silly sparkle in the sunlight stuff.

If you’re into your vampire lore, you will immediately recognise that the names of the main characters inCarpathia are an amalgamation of character names in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Like the characters they are based on, the survivors must take up arms against the vampires or be forever damned.

Initially I had a lot of hope for Dushko, the vampire pack leader and thought he would put up more of a fight but it turns out that he is a pushover and is disposed of rather easily. Luckily there is still Brody who manages to put the survivors through hell and back.

You won’t be disappointed to know that this book contains vast amount of blood and gore. Something that any good vampire stories should have. As each chapter is only a few pages long, it is easy to convince yourself to read on for another chapter and before you know it, you’ve already reached the end of the book.

I would liken Carpathia to Hammer’s horror films. Even though the plot may be predictable and a little cheesy, the story never takes itself too seriously and is a whole lot of fun. You can really feel the danger during the action sequences and you will come to root for the characters and wish that they can pull through in the end.

This may not be the most sophisticated story, but if you’re a fan of classic horror films and looking for a bit of fun, do make sure to pick up a copy of Carpathia.

Challenges read for:


2012 Ebook Challenge – Book 8

Pretty Little Dead Things by Gary McMahon

Pretty Little Dead Things by Gary McMahon

THOMAS USHER HAS A TERRIBLE GIFT.

Following a car crash in which his wife and daughter are killed, he can see the recently departed, and it’s not usually a pretty sight. When he is called to investigate the violent death of the daughter of a prominent local gangster, Usher’s world is torn apart once more. For the barriers between this world and the next are not as immutable as once he believed.
Pretty Little Dead Things is the debut novel from Angry Robot’s Gary McMahon and the first in a series of books featuring Thomas Usher, a sort of sleuth who can communicate with the dead. Thomas Usher doesn’t truly converse with the dead but rather he can sense their story and from this he is able to figure out their messages from the cryptic clues that they give him.

Thomas Usher is a tortured soul. He lost his wife and young daughter in a car crash and since waking up in the hospital, he finds himself able to sense and feel the dead around him. No matter how many ghosts he helps, he has never been able to find the ghosts of the two people he wants to see the most, his wife and daughter. For every ghost or person that he has failed, he tattoos their names to himself as a reminder of his guilt of letting them down.

In Pretty Little Dead Things, Usher begins with a simple job following the daughter of his employer. However things soon turn ugly and he finds himself caught in a complicated situation involving 3 dead girls who all have links back to his employer. At the same time, the niece of his once lover is missing and he fears there is a connection between these two cases.

This is a terrific thriller and horror story with descriptions of ghosts so vivid that makes you skin crawl. The scene where Kareena’s ghost is hanging on Usher’s landing is one of the best descriptions I’ve read of a ghost. McMahon also done a masterful job in portraying the loneliness that Usher feels for being stuck between two very different worlds while not belonging to either. Through these few hundred pages, I came to care about the protagonist, but just when things are finally going well for Usher, suddenly I see his hopes brutally dashed by a great evil.


Note: The following paragraph contains spoilers.

If I have to pick faults with this story, it would be the final part of this book. I feel that a coherent ending was sacrificed because too much emphasis was placed on introducing the big bad of the Thomas Usher series. I don’t think there were enough said about the motivations for the Royales’ to give up their daughter and why they made such a big scene if in the end they were the perpetrators? If the big bad had something to do with pushing them to do the things they did, it wasn’t made very clear in the book.

On the whole I enjoyed McMahon’s gritty style and his bleak depictions of Leeds and he did a great job of adding a supernatural element to a standard crime story. It is a compelling read and is one of the better horror thriller books that I’ve encountered. I will make sure to follow this author.